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Grub Street examines the NYC-to-Philly trend

Why do New York chefs come to Philly? And what makes this town different? Grub Street tackled the issue.

It's easy to think that people who leave New York couldn't hack it in the city's cutthroat restaurant environment. But recently, chefs are relocating just as they're poised to make it big here, opting for the comfort of Philly overpotential celebrity in New York. Peter Serpico left his justly celebrated role within the Momofuku empire to open Serpico on South Street in June. Meanwhile, after two years working at Torrisi Italian Specialties, Eli Kulp was poised to become the executive chef and partner of a little restaurant called Carbone (perhaps you've heard of it?). Instead, Kulp teamed up with Ellen Yin’s sixteen-year-old Philly restaurant, Fork, launched a spinoff called High Street on Market, and, most recently, got named the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Chef of the Year." So, what's the draw?

Original source: Grub Street
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Philly chefs share favorite 'under the radar' spots

We Feast asked top local chefs about their favorite places to eat when they're not working -- we agree with quite a few of them. Joe Cicala of Le Virtu repped Los Gallos, a killer Mexican spot in South Philly.

“I do a lot of takeout due to my grueling work schedule, and Los Gallos satisfies my Mexican craving. It’s always good—I like the cemitas poblanos and tacos a la plancha—affordable, and it’s right around the corner.” 

Original source: We Feast
Check out the complete list here.


Keeping a brewery small can reap dividends

Small-production breweries can create demand for their products -- it might be a good lesson for future craft brewers.

Hill Farmstead, in the hamlet of Greensboro, produces just 60,000 gallons of beer annually. The beer is available for purchase only at the brewery and in roughly 20 Vermont bars. In addition, Mr. Hill sends 12 kegs to distributors in New York City and Philadelphia a few times a year...

From the start, his philosophy has been to make the best beer possible without pursuing what he calls “infinite, boundless growth.” He operates under the belief that beer is a perishable item, “just like lettuce or broccoli,” he says, and should be consumed locally, not shipped long distances.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.
 
 

GQ's Alan Richman weighs in on the cheesesteak wars

The renowned food critic drafted his list of the 10 best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. (Ed note: the presence of Pat's and Geno's on the list is a disgrace; the omission of Dalessandro's is even worse.) 

So many cheesesteaks, so much to learn, even for a Philadelphia native, which I am. Who makes the best, a debate that has consumed the city for decades? Which is the best cheese, sliced provolone or Cheez Whiz, the legendary goop invented by Kraft in the early fifties? (American cheese, a third option, is too feeble to be a viable choice.) Which establishment chops, caramelizes, and adds the correct quantity of onions, which is my particular passion, given that the grilled beef in these sandwiches tends to be bland?  And, finally, just how good is the bread, a judgment we tended to leave to Maria Gallagher, a former restaurant critic for Philadelphia magazine?

Original source: GQ
Read the complete list here.

Hot Stuff: Sriracha plant coming to Philadelphia?

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, what once sounded like a joke -- the beleaguered Sriracha factory moving to Philadelphia -- is gaining some traction. Now that's some spicy news.

Philadelphia Councilman at-Large Jim Kenney is hoping to entice the company to move its plant to Philadelphia. When he heard that Huy Fong Foods was facing backlash from its Irwindale, Calif. neighborhood, Kenney made some headlines by saying the plant would be welcomed with open arms here in Philadelphia.

But now his invitation seems (at least a little bit) more serious. A judge ordered a partial shutdown of the Huy Fong Foods plant because of the stinky odors it emits into the neighborhood. In response, Kenney said he's looking for potential sites in the area where they can make sriracha sauce without the smell bothering neighbors.


Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
Read the complete story here.

GQ's latest city guide takes an in-depth look at Philadelphia

GQ details "Philly's awakening," describing the city as a hotbed of killer food, top-flight beers and accessible culture. Highlights include The Foodery, Modo Mio and Johnny Brenda's.

Philly has a rep as the capital of eighth-grade field trips and binge-drinking b-school bros doing their best Situation impressions, but this place has bigger ambitions if you know where to look. You'll find all the buzzy trappings of Brooklyn --pitch-perfect menswear shops in Old City, straight-shooting restaurants and microbrew-soaked nightlife in Northern Liberties --without all the Brooklyn smugness. Here's how to navigate the new Philly revolution.

Original source: GQ
Read the complete story here.

Adam Erace reps Philly's restaurant renaissance in the Guardian

Local food critic Adam Erace wrote about Philadelphia's ascendent food scene in The Guardian -- and gave some credit to the latest wave of non-native chefs.

Formerly the chef of the trendsetting Torrisi Italian Specialties in Manhattan, [Eli] Kulp is part of a recent wave of acclaimed chefs who've moved from New York to start a new life in the city that has long lived in the Big Apple's shadow. His fellow expats can be found captaining Philly's hottest restaurantsSerpico, former Momofuku chief Peter Serpico's solo smash, and Vernick Food + Drink, a two-storey dining room in ritzy Rittenhouse Square from Gregory Vernick, a veteran of Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

The new cooks on the block are discovering what homegrown chefs such as Marc Vetri, authority on Italian cooking and owner of five restaurants, including Pizzeria Vetri have known for a long time: Philly's easy-going pace, small-town vibe and affordability make it a great place to live – and eat. Immigrants, whether from New York or much further afield, have always been the reason for this.


Original source: The Guardian
Read the complete story here.

Globe & Mail details Philly food scene

Canada's top paper took a trip to Philadelphia and had great things to say about our local eats. (Though if we never hear the phrase "more than cheesesteaks" again it will be too soon.)

But it’s at Reading Terminal Market, a city institution since 1892, that I find perhaps the finest innovation of all. I’ve been told there’s a vegetarian cheesesteak to be found, and while my low expectations feature some sort of faux meat product (or maybe cheese on bread if I’m lucky), I’m game to seek it out. An inquiry at the front desk leads nowhere, so I follow my companion to "regular" cheesesteak seller By George. There, a small sign promotes a "veggie steak": roasted peppers, mushrooms, broccoli rabe, onions, tomato, spinach and cheese on a sesame-seed bun. After a hunt for a table – it’s lunchtime on a weekday – I open the foil wrapper and take a bite. This sandwich is no half-hearted concession to the meatless crowd: The vegetables are flavourful and warm, the provolone perfectly melted, the bread chewy yet yielding. Turns out, even the humble cheesesteak is up for improvements. I think the founding fathers would be proud.

Original Source: The Globe & Mail
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Stogie Joe's pies earn national praise

Passyunk Square's Stogie Joe's Tavern was included on Thrillist's list of the nation's 33 best pizzas. The sauce-on-top square pies have a loyal following. 

"Red-sauced bakery pies are as much a South Philly staple as being ejected from a Phillies game, and, just like Phillies fans, Stogie Joe's takes it to the next level, serving their square pies upside-down with their signature spicy-sweet tomato sauce floating above the cheese blanketing a Sicilian-style crust."

Original source: Thrillist
Read the complete list here.

The Times' Frank Bruni visits Vetri, temporarily reborn as Le Bec-Fin

Marc Vetri honored the recently shuttered Le Bec-Fin by transforming his flagship restaurant into a three-nights-only homage. Former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni made the pilgrimage.

Mr. Perrier opened Le Bec-Fin in 1970 and presided over it for more than four heady decades, a titan of the Philadelphia dining scene and a legend well beyond it. He was classic French cuisine personified, at least in America. The gold standard. The grand homme.

And for Le Bec-Fin’s first 13 years, before he moved it to larger, more regal digs just six or so blocks away, it occupied the brick town house that is now Vetri. That’s what gave Mr. Vetri the idea of briefly recreating Le Bec-Fin in its childhood and arguably its prime, so that food lovers who hadn’t been quite ready to bid adieu to it, himself included, could revel in its onetime glory as a way of saying a fitting farewell.

This took planning. This took preparation. In addition to the formal wear for the staff and the harp player for the vestibule, there was the matter of the sign: Mr. Vetri wanted to hang Le Bec-Fin’s original wood one out front. No one could find it. So he had a replica made...


Waiters practiced not only balletic movements and gestures but correct pronunciation.

"We've been sitting around repeating 'oeuf au caviar,' 'oeuf au caviar'," said Bobby Domenick, a sommelier and captain at Vetri, referring to one of the three amuse-bouches, an egg with caviar. He added that Mr. Perrier had linguistically tutored them, a Henry Higgins of haute cuisine.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.


Zagat catalogues Philly's top Indian restaurants

With a couple exciting new openings, Philadelphia's indian restaurant scene is blossoming. Zagat's blog runs down their top five picks. A bunch of their choices are outside Center City, including Saffron Indian Kitchen in Bala Cynwyd:

"Traditional" Indian fare comes "as mild or spicy as you like" and served by an "enthusiastic" staff at this "popular" local BYO duo that's "a cut above" generic curry houses; it "won't hurt your wallet, but may hurt your ears" when packed with boisterous diners, though the "soft-colored" decor is a "nice departure" from the typical Indian dining room.

Original source: Zagat
Read the complete list here.

Philly named top bacon city in the United States

Estately has named Philadelphia the country's best place for bacon-lovers. Rejoice!

Like an overstuffed piñata, Philadelphia is postively bursting with bacon. They slip it in cheesesteaks, create restaurant color schemes based on it, heck, the city even raised actor KEVIN BACON up to be six degrees of celebrity he is today. Philly wraps its meat loaf in bacon, it crumble it on sticky buns, and it even chicken fries bacon because Philly’s chefs outrank the city’s cardiologists.

Via Foobooz.

Original source: Estately
Read the complete list here.

Franklin Fountain brothers featured in Sweet Paul mag

The team behind the Franklin Fountain has transformed Shane Confectionery.

For the Berley brothers, it’s not just the candies that are nostalgic–it’s the experience, too. A look around the pristine storefront shows an antique cash register and pay phone, walls lined with memorabilia and ephemera of eras gone by, and apothecary jars stocked with penny candy (think Abba Zabba and Bit-o-Honey). The duo, along with head confectioner Davina Soondrum, use period tools and equipment like hand-fused copper kettles and bowls heated over a manually-fired gas stove, to keep the production experience as authentic as possible.

Via The New York Times.

Original source: Sweet Paul 
Read the complete story here.




AP covers Eastern State Penitentiary's prison food event

Eastern State Penitentiary offers a look at traditional prison foods. Delish!

This weekend, the defunct Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia will serve visitors sample inmate meals from the 1830s, 1940s and today: broiled salted beef with “Indian mush”; hamburger with brown gravy and beets; and Nutraloaf — an unappetizing concoction currently served as punishment in prisons across the country.

Event organizers say the not-so-haute cuisine is a way to stimulate both the taste buds and the mind. The meals reflect the changing nature of food service at penal institutions and, in some ways, attitudes toward inmates, said Sean Kelley, the prison’s director of public programming.


Original source: The Associated Press
Read the complete story here.
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