Joey Baldino is doing it again. The chef is cooking a Sicilian barbecue at his Zeppoli every Monday during the summer. A couple caveats: reservations are required, and so is a party of at least six.
This month was Sidecar Bar and Grille‘s inaugural “Monthly Wing Thing” featuring Jim Burke, and we just found out that next month’s (aka March’s) wingmaster extraordinaire is going to be Joey Baldino of Zeppoli.
So why should you be excited? Because chicken wings are awesome, and because Baldino really knows how to cook. He’ll be whipping up “Sicilian blood orange agrodolce wings,” which will be for sale starting Monday, March 2 and will be available throughout that entire week (or until they sell out). If you’re a die-hard wing fan (or a die-hard Zeppoli fan) though, you should definitely head over to Sidecar on Tuesday March 3 because that’s when Baldino will be hanging out at the bar to talk about wings, Italian food, or whatever else he feels like doing.
This is exactly what you should do to start your summer weeks off with a bang.
Zeppoli, the Sicilian BYOB in Collingswood, NJ, has a patio with a new grill, and every Monday, until the end of summer (whenever that may be), you’ll be able to feast on Sicilian delights until your heart’s content, cooked in front of you and your guests, by chef Joseph Baldino himself.
We’ve heard the complaints, “Zeppoli is too far.” “It’s in Jersey.” “You can’t get there without a car.” Of course these complaints ignore that Zeppoli is just a 16 minute drive from City Hall or a quick cab ride/pleasant walk from the Collingswood PATCO station. But this week it is even easier to get to and from Zeppoli, as UberX has rolled out in South Jersey. The ride-sharing alternative to cabs is also free this week.
No promo code is necessary and you can get up to five free rides worth up to $25 starting in Camden, Burlington, or Gloucester counties. And legally, the UberX ride could deliver you to Philadelphia from New Jersey.
So if you’ve been meaning to get to Zeppoli, you’ve got through May 7th to do it with a free UberX. And then once you do that, maybe dinner and a movie at Osteria in the Moorestown Mall?
First We Feast interviews several top Philadelphia chefs, including Nick Elmi, Peter Serpico, Eli Kulp and Michael Solomonov among others, about their favorite under-the-radar eating experiences in Philadelphia.
The list is full of great spots including Kim’s Korean charcoal barbecue in Olney.
So last night was our big, Best of Philly 40th Anniversary Open Stove Masters showdown, pitting Joe Cicala from Le Virtu against Joey Baldino from Zeppoli in a five-course, knock-down, drag-out culinary battle to the death. And it was a night that truly had everything–from Cicala showing up with no sous chef and cooking the entire night solo (a first for Open Stove) to Solo himself, Michael Solomonov, showing up out of the blue to hang out, shake hands and check in on the competitors.
Since we had two incredibly talented Italian chefs in the house, we gave them the worst Italian ingredients we could find to work with–dry, grocery store pasta, plastic shaker cans full of generic parmesan cheese, Italian salad dressing and the like. We shocked them with ingredients, we messed with their heads, we forced them to cook on a wickedly short schedule (35 minutes to plate 22 finished entrees). And yet the guys still triumphed–knocking out course after amazing course of Italian grub for the packed house.
In the end, it was Team Zeppoli that brought home the win. But it was a close and hard-fought contest. And for those of you not lucky enough to be in attendance, we had champion shooter and friend of Foobooz, Yoni Nimrod, on hand to snap some gorgeous pictures.
Check ’em out after the jump. Don’t forget to pick up a Best of Philly issue (on the stands right now). And be looking out for our next sneak preview of the new COOK schedule coming later this week.
For all those who think Zeppoli in Collingswood is a bridge too far away. Good news, Zeppoli and Joey Baldino are coming to Alla Spina for Industry Night on Monday, June 3rd. Of course people who complain about going to Collingswood probably also complain about going to north Broad, but whatever, more food for us.
Baldino is serving up a Sicilian feast as Alla Spina also welcomes St. Louis’ Perennial Brewing and Colorado’s Great Divide Brewing to the house for Philly Beer Week. The breweries will be offering discounted drafts and Baldino will be preparing a feast of dishes like pistachio sausage, swordfish spiedini and much more.
As always, the food is free and the drinks are cheap. It all gets started at 10 p.m., a hospitality pay stub is required for admission, or visiting Beer Week peeps can get in with a business card.
Bon Appetit’s Ten Best New Restaurants list will be released on August 14th but today BA is releasing its 50 nominees on bonappetit.com.
Two local restaurants make the nomination list, Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina and Joseph Baldino’s Zeppoli in Collingswood. Of course before Baldino opened Zeppoli, he was Vetri’s chef de cuisine at Vetri.
Top 50 Best New Restaurant Nominees [Bon Appetit]
Photo via Bon Appetit | Jason Varney
The 2012 James Beard Semifinalists have been announced and Philadelphia area chefs and restaurants seem to have a bigger representation than normal. Tashan, The Farm and Fisherman and Zeppoli all make the list for Best New Restaurant. Pierre Calmels, Bibou; David Gilberg, Koo Zee Doo; Konstantinos Pitsillides, Kanella and Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo all make the semifinals for Best Chef Midatlantic (remember, past winners aren’t eligible).
Le Virtu’s Joe Cicala and Fond’s Lee Styer were nominated for Rising Star Chef, while Jessie Prawlucki (Fond/Belle Cakery) made the list for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Not bad East Passyunk, not bad at all.