Craig LaBan finds that Jose Garces’s Rosa Blanca may suffer from a split personality but is worth it when it comes to Cuban classics.
Rosa Blanca is at its best when embracing its Cuban comida soul. The ropa vieja was stewed to brisket silk, profound with a subtle molasses sweetness and sneaky red fresno chili spice. Flavorful cubes of pork-shoulder masitas were intense with savory adobo seasoning, practically melting on the tongue. The garlicky roast chickens, meanwhile, are among the most flavorful in town, dripping oregano and achiote-tinted essence down from the spit onto baby potatoes that turn yellow with flavor. With a crock of perfect black beans and rice on the side, it’s a satisfying value for $18.
Two Bells – Very Good
Rosa Blanca still seeking an identity [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Rosa Blanca [Foobooz]
Photo by Frances Olson
Brian Freedman provides the lowdown on chef Konstantinos Pitsillides’s Sunday Cypriot mezze dinner at Kanella. The menu changes each week but you can count on it to be “honest, exciting, deeply comforting experience that, on a Sunday night, is the perfect way to begin a new week.”
Shawn Darragh and Ben Puchowitz are celebrating the first anniversary of Cheu Noodle Bar, their delightfully non-authentic Asian spot in Center City.
Nick Vadala has a profile on the pair, that includes some teases regarding what the pair have in mind for their next venture, at the former Zarape on East Passyunk.
One year on, Cheu Noodle Bar remains deliciously inauthentic—but mature [Philadelphia Daily News]
Cheu Noodle Bar [Foobooz]
There are a lot of students and/or parents of students who keep the Center City condo market healthy — or at least breathing — when all else fails. Jefferson Medical College does brisk business for landlords and sellers in the Wash West/Midtown Village/Gayborhood/etc. etc. part of town. (Side note: Jeff has “more living graduates than any other medical school in the nation,” according to their website.) Often, a parent or two wind up buying a condo for a student, figuring it’ll give the kid a place to live for those few years of hell, and be a good investment as well. Here’s a Property Pick for Pecunious (or Impecunious) Parents: an especially spacious (1,100 square feet) 1BR/1BA condo at 10th and Spruce for $252,500 (plus $342 condo fees).
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Masitas de puerco. Photography by Michael Persico
Jose Garces can take you places. And the most compelling ones are those you’d have the hardest time reaching on your own. That’s why Amada, with its broad embrace of Spain, has always been second in my book to Tinto’s deep dive into Basque country. And it’s one reason JG Domestic’s all-American pantry, for all its ambition, has always felt more expendable than Distrito’s gaudy fantasia of luchador masks and tequila-cured ceviche.
So if there was any silver lining to the closure of Chifa, whose Peruvian-Chinese cuisine was Garces’s most inspired adventure, it was the news that its replacement would be a destination that gets stamped on even fewer American passports: a Cuban diner.
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Jake’s Sandwich Board is offering a special sandwich for those who are skipping meat on Fridays during Lent. The 9th Street Fish Sandwich is lightly breaded flounder, spicy house sauce, baby spinach, red peppers and creole seasoning.
Now doesn’t that sound better than a floppy plain slice of pizza?
Jake’s Sandwich Board [Official]
Musical Fund Hall has a fairly varied history for a building with such a specific name. Built originally in 1824 for the First Presbyterian Church, the hall was converted to the city’s largest musical auditorium shortly thereafter. The Marquis de Lafayette was honored there in 1825 and Charles Dickens addressed the crowds in 1842. In 1856, the hall served as the location for the first Republican National Convention, where the eventual loser to Pennsylvania’s only president, James Buchanan, was nominated. When the Academy of Music was constructed, the hall fell out of fashion. It spent time as a boxing arena and a tobacco warehouse before being converted to condos. Which brings us to this unit, improbably modern within a nearly century-old building.
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It is generally accepted that a luxury penthouse condo will include a private terrace or two. This penthouse laughs at your little balcony and lords its 3,000-square-foot terrace over you. More than a mere “terrace,” it is actually the entire building’s rooftop and the owners are the only ones with access.
The rest of the condo is just as stunning. A private elevator leads to a private foyer and your very own lobby. The ceilings are between 16 feet and 18 feet tall with windows of commensurate proportion. The listing describes “rare stones” among the unit’s fine finishes. It would not be shocking to find actual gems among the granite and marble throughout at this rate.
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There are only a few things that can mar the perfection of a snow day and only a few things that can improve upon its natural exquisiteness. Shoveling is a bummer. But fireplaces make the cold and ice a lot easier to bear. This Washington West condo combines the homey warmth of your own hearth with the convenience of HOAs that ensure you’ll never have to shovel again.
The home was built i 1895 and retains some of its original character in elements like stained and leaded-glass windows, hand-carved doors and fancy balusters. Exposed beams and woodwork abound and work together to forge a sense of cosiness. The unit actually features three fireplaces, which frankly seems more than enough for just two bedrooms. The kitchen comes with standard luxury upgrades like granite countertops and pricey cabinetry and appliances.
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The second night of Philly Cooks Tasting Tours are on sale now (the first night sold outin a matter of hours). We’re offering three different neighborhood tours on Tuesday, February 18th. Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square West and Queen Village tours are all on sale now. Tickets to these events are very limited and sure to sell out fast.
Check out the details »