So Avance’s opening might be the big news tonight, but come Monday at 7am, Jose Garces’s dead-on rendition of a classic Miami Cuban diner, Rosa Blanca, will be hitting the scene.
The Foobooz News Team rolled up on Rosa Blanca (the former Chifa, 707 Chestnut Street) just ahead of tonight’s staff-on-staff dinner, and can I tell you how much I loved this place? Seriously, I’ve been pining for some seriously good Cuban food since leaving Tampa more years ago than I care to mention, and this might finally be the place that brings it home. We didn’t get to try a lot–just a few rum-heavy cocktails (including a very well-served Cuba Libre), some ropa vieja (which was excellent), a bowl of black beans and rice and the best fried yucca I’ve had in a decade or more of looking EVERYWHERE for it.
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Construction is underway at 707 Chestnut Street as Jose Garces continues work converting Chifa into Rosa Blanca, a Cuban diner. The diner will be similar to retro-Cuban diners found in South Florida and will feature an open kitchen with stainless steel and white subway tile. A pink and faux-marble lunch counter runs along the open kitchen. Black-and-white tile flooring completes the diner feel. The main dining room is laid out similar to Chifa’s, with booths along the walls and tables down the middle.
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We know quite a few things about the new Cuban diner that Jose Garces is going to be dropping into the space on Chestnut Street that once housed his occasionally-underrated Latino-Asian fusion restaurant, Chifa. We know that there’ll be Cuban sandwiches and we know that there’ll be empanadas. That there’ll be an integral take-out component to the concept, with a counter selling completas and pasteles right inside the door. We know that there’ll be a rotisserie and a rum menu, that Yun Fuentes will be running the kitchen. And we know that the big man himself really wanted the place to be open 24 hours, but still isn’t sure whether or not that’s going to fly.
And now, we know two other very important things: The name of the place and it’s opening date.
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Southwark’s Nick Macri wowed the judges last night with his “You Can Win Friends with Meat Salad,” an ode to Homer Simpson. Where most of the chefs chose one pairing principle (simple pairing, incorporation, mimicking, story telling and experimental), Macri included all five in his Ommegang Hennepin-based dish and that was enough for the win. But the coppa with ginger-pickled chiles, grains of paradise bread crumbs, ballpark nuts, and orange-coriander-cured sauce wasn’t the only dish that impressed. JG Domestic’s Yun Fuentes won the People’s Choice with his duck arepa and Ommegang Rare Vos glaze. And Fork’s Eli Kulp created a first-of-its-kind treat in his Crackerjack-topped beer rye pretzels.
If you were there, you know how good everything was. If you weren’t, the best we can offer you are pictures, shot by COOK photographer and Friend of Foobooz, Yoni Nimrod.
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Yes, folks, it’s that time again. The second-annual Hop Chef competition (last year’s was won by local boy George Sabatino) is happening in Philly on Tuesday, April 23 at Union Transfer. Yes, tickets are still available ($53.50 a head, with part of the proceeds going to local charities) and yes, the smack-talk is already lighting up Twitter (check out #hopchef to listen in on the fun). But right now we have some news…
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On Tuesday, April 23rd at 7 p.m. at Union Transfer, some of Philadelphia’s most talented chefs will be competing to become Philadelphia’s second Ommegang Hop Chef.
The winner of Hop Chef Philadelphia will represent the city in a cook-off at Brewery Ommegang’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown weekend.
Tickets cost $53.50 per person and includes all the Ommegang you can drink plus tastes of all six dishes that will showcase the competing chefs ability to pair beer with food.
The Hop Chef Philadelphia Competitors »