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Philadelphia named one of American's best food cities

The Washington Post names Philadelphia one of the best cities in American, and takes a deep dive into what makes us unique. 

In modern Philadelphia, small is big. Unlike in other major markets, rents here are moderate, making it easy for chefs to open personal expressions. With $100,000 and a decent piece of real estate, says chef Rich Landau of the innovative vegan restaurants Vedge and V Street, “you can snap your fingers and open in two months.” Craig LaBan, the authoritative restaurant critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer, says that a hallmark of the city he covers, rich with museums and historical sites, is its “accessible sophistication.”?

Original source: The Washington Post
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La Colombe acquires influential investor, continues to expand

The founder of Chobani yogurt looks to coffee, La Colombe.

Having shaken up the yogurt world, Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani, now has his sights on a much tougher target — coffee.

Mr. Ulukaya has taken a stake in La Colombe Coffee Roasters, one of the many coffee brands that have sprung up over the last 10 years to cater to the tastes of coffee drinkers who consider themselves connoisseurs...

“We’re in what I call the third generation of coffee,” said Todd Carmichael, the co-founder and chief executive of La Colombe Coffee Roasters. “For your grandfather, coffee was basically a commodity, roasted dark, quick, hot, hard to differentiate. For you and me, it was discovery of lattes, milk-based coffee drinks. And for this generation, it’s about different beans and how a coffee grown in Ethiopia tastes different from one grown in Costa Rica.”

Mr. Carmichael once set a record for an American crossing Antarctica on foot without assistance. “The reason I did that is really just because I told people I would,” he said, explaining how he plans to grow La Colombe into a coffee empire with 150 stores, a thriving online store and robust sales into restaurants.

Original source: The New York Times
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Philly choreographer brings ballet into the modern era

Choreographer Matthew Neenan stuns with "Sunset, o639 Hours" -- the show is headed to a New York festival.

A few weeks back, the lobby of the Wilma Theater here took on the aspect of a cheap Hawaiian resort. Polynesian music twanged from speakers. Everyone who entered was offered a paper-flower lei. This was not a visit from a hula troupe. This was a gala performance of the Wilma’s resident contemporary ballet company, BalletX. And yet the atmosphere made complete sense, if only in combination with a more incongruous fact: The ballet on the program was about a signal incident in the history of airmail.

That work, “Sunset, o639 Hours,” debuted at the Wilma last year to rave reviews. BalletX reprised it here this July, brought it to the Vail International Dance Festival this month and will perform it in Manhattan on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the Joyce Theater’s late-summer Ballet Festival...

Mr. Neenan, 41, has found some fame of his own — not cover-of-Time level but impressive for an American ballet choreographer, especially one who doesn’t live in New York City. In addition to making dances for BalletX, which he founded with Christine Cox in 2005, Mr. Neenan has been the resident choreographer of Pennsylvania Ballet since 2007. Ballet troupes around the country perform his works, and in the past two years — busy ones for Mr. Neenan — Alastair Macaulay has praised him in The New York Times as “one of the strange originals of American ballet” and “one of the most appealing and singular choreographic voices in ballet today.”

Original source: The New York Times
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Philly team wins International Youth Poetry Slam

A local team triumphed at the International Youth Poetry Slam.

Philly Youth Poetry Movement (PYPM) won the finals of the Brave New Voices (BVN) competition in Atlanta, last week.
It’s the third time the group has brought the title to Philadelphia since it started in 2006.

“I started it because there were no safe spaces for young people to create and write and produce and advocate for themselves,” says executive director Greg Corbin. “When a young person finds the value of their voice, they find the value of themselves. They understand that their story actually means something.”

From a modest poetry night, the program now how twice-weekly writing workshops, monthly slams, an annual city-wide high school slam– and three national titles.

Original source: CBS News
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Philadelphia Magazine lists 2015's 'Best Philadelphians'

Philadelphia Magazine picks 35 locals worth noticing including Mayor Nutter, Mo'Ne Davis, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and the Ludemans of Postgreen Homes.

This group of Best Philadelphians should have so many more people on it — several million more — because every Philadelphian is a Best Philadelphian. Every single one of us should get a gold star, dammit, especially when it’s snowing outside and the buses aren’t running and the ramp to 95 is closed. But all yearbooks must have superlatives, so we do want to highlight some people who have made this a banner year — starting with the guy who kind of runs things in this town.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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Looking for housing for the Pope's visit? The floor might be your best bet

Housing all the anticipated visitors coming to town for the Pope's visit in September continues to be a favorite topic of discussion.

There aren't enough beds for the more than 1 million visitors expected to flood Philadelphia when Pope Francis visits in September, particularly for those trying to be frugal. So Belinda Lewis Held had to be creative when it came to sheltering the more than 1,000 young people she's guiding that weekend: They'll be bunking down in museums, classrooms and churches.

"They're young and they don't mind the floors. They'll bring sleeping bags or yoga mats and pillows," said Lewis Held, director of group travel for APilgrimsJourney.com, a Pittsburgh company that organizes worldwide Catholic tours. "They're willing to rough it for Pope Francis."

With the papal visit imminent and the city's 11,500 hotel rooms filling up quickly, wannabe visitors are thinking outside the box(spring) when it comes to lodgings, particularly when they want to keep costs down.

Philadelphia officials may permit camping in some public parks, and untraditional offerings have appeared online. On Airbnb, a Delaware River houseboat was booked but a converted dance studio was still available late this week. Craigslist had a listing for an empty warehouse and multiple couch surfing options.

Original source: The Associated Press via The New York Times
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American Idol to hold auditions for final season in Philadelphia

As the reality TV juggernaut nears retirement, it's coming to Philadelphia to search for singers.

If you’ve been waiting to audition for the hit Fox-TV show “American Idol, “ your last chance may be upon you – and luckily an audition opportunity is coming nearby for the show’s final season.

“American Idol” 15 auditions will be held Aug. 2 at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.

The stop is among  five scheduled stops auditions that started July 10 at Denver Coliseum in Colorado. The next is scheduled for Wednesday at Martin Luther King, Jr. Arena in Savannah, Ga. Other scheduled stops are Aug. 8 at Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark., and Sept. 15 at Cow Palace in San Francisco, Calif.

Those who wish to audition will line up the morning of Aug. 2 at The Liacouras Center to register. If you wait until late in the day on audition day to register, the auditions may run out of space and time.

Original source: Allentown Morning Call
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The Inquirer checks in with Oxford Mills, the teacher-targeted development

We told you about Oxford Mills back in 2013. This teacher-centric development in Kensington draws a community of like-minded young people.
Oxford Mills is the first development of its kind in the city, billing itself as an "urban oasis for teachers and nonprofits." It features 114 apartments, most of which are rented to teachers at a discount, and just under 40,000 square feet of office space, most of which is leased by education-related companies.

The project originated when Philadelphia developers Greg Hill and Gabe Canuso joined with Baltimore-based Seawall Development, the outfit that in 2009 pioneered teacher housing complexes in that city. Hill and Canuso, who turned their attention from luxury projects to more socially conscious work, loved the idea of a space for educators, they said.

"We've heard so many stories about newer teachers, younger teachers that really struggle," Hill said. "Landing in tough schools without a lot of resources - it's a challenge. But to come home and have colleagues to communicate and share ideas with, they're more energized and supported."

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Putting the city's youth to work over the summer

Fewer American teenagers are holding down summer jobs. Some organizations are working hard to combat the problem.

The absence of work means more than having no money for a mobile phone or a night out with friends. A summer job can provide essential experience that is crucial to snagging better jobs later, experts say. Research shows that for every year teenagers work while in high school, income rises an average of 15 percent when they are in their 20s.

If that’s true for Nasir Mack, he may be wealthy by the time he turns 30. The 16-year-old is starting his third summer in the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program. In the past, he was employed by an engineering company and a community college. This summer, he will work at the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

When Nasir first heard about the program through friends, he jumped at the chance, given the alternative. “I’m not going to be doing anything but sitting in the house,” he said. “Why would I want to do that when there are so many things out there you can be doing?”

Original source: The New York Times
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Philly rapper has number one album in the country

Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill has the number one album in the country.

Meek Mill is the new top musical act in the U.S., vaulting to No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 (dated July 18), as the arrival of his new album fuels his vault to the top. The rapper dethrones Taylor Swift, who drops to No. 2 after spending a record 31st nonconsecutive week at No. 1.

Original source: Billboard
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The New York Times highlights SoNo development, office space for millenials

This ambitious project between Chinatown and Northern Liberties looks to attract young workers.

The 250,000-square-foot building, now occupied by a distributor of maternity clothing, will be remade into a center for media, advertising and technology companies, under plans recently announced by the developer, Alliance Partners HSP.

The building, in an industrial zone between Philadelphia’s Chinatown and the rapidly developing Northern Liberties neighborhood, will be reconfigured at a cost of about $50 million into space expected to accommodate up to eight tenants employing a total of 1,000 to 1,500 workers in an open-plan arrangement, the developer said...

The project aims to tap into an influx of millennials — those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s — who are being drawn to Philadelphia by growing job opportunities and housing that, for now, is more affordable than that in Washington or New York.

The city is also retaining more local university students who are staying after graduation in response to the growing job market, greater availability of housing, improved amenities such as public parks, and a vibrant downtown restaurant scene.

By creating the new space on the southern edge of the already millennial-rich Northern Liberties and within a 20-minute walk of City Hall, Alliance believes it will be well positioned to attract tenants that employ the targeted work force...

Mr. Previdi said the new space — named SoNo, for south of Northern Liberties — will be designed to encourage the collaboration that is highly valued by tenants like software companies. “They want everybody talking; they want everybody sharing ideas,” he said.

The redesign will minimize the amount of individual employee space while allowing more for common areas like a cafeteria, a gym and parking space for 70 bicycles. Alliance plans to begin construction by the end of this year, and to complete the project within 24 months.

Original source: The New York Times
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Philly could become U.S.'s first UNESCO World Heritage City

The City of Brotherly Love is set to become the country's first city to earn this prestigious designation.

Philadelphia is on track to receive a World Heritage City designation this year, which would make it the only U.S. city to have such a distinction.

There are about 270 cities on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Cities program, but none are in the United States...

"Some have said it's almost like a Sister Cities program on steroids," said Zabeth Teelucksingh, executive director of the Global Philadelphia Association, who added it appears likely Philly will make the list.

"We're told that it's 95 percent," said Teelucksingh, who explained more sites are added each year during the annual meeting...

The designation would be a boon for Philadelphia, likely increasing travel and business in the city, Teelucksingh said.
"It's a global thing; it's automatically international," she said. "It's like being part of a brand that's automatically global."

Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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Is the country's best pizza made in Philadelphia?

Bon Appetit thinks so, shining a light on Pizzeria Beddia in Philly's Fishtown neighborhood.

When I visited Pizzeria Beddia a few months after its March 2013 opening, I didn’t know what to expect. Solid neighborhood pizza made by an owner who cared? I figured I’d order a pie, congratulate Beddia on realizing his dream, and head to my next meal—the real reason I was in town. Beddia’s food would likely be a solid addition to the Philly scene, perhaps even the East Coast. As it turned out, Pizzeria Beddia was one of those beautiful eating experiences that still haunts me. I wasn’t on vacation, and there wasn’t some well-designed setting distorting my senses. It was just me and that pizza in a forgettable space. But it changed everything.

Original source: Bon Appetit
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Financial Times spotlights Elixr Coffee Roasters in Center City

Financial Times shows some love for Elixr Coffee Roasters in its Business Travel section.

Stumbling in by accident is practically impossible, as the café is located on a side street with little foot traffic and has just a nondescript sign on the front door.

The lucky few who find the place are rewarded with a lively ambience and decor, premium low-roast coffee sourced from Central and South America and vegan doughnuts baked fresh each morning.

Despite the minimal branding, Elixr has become a popular haunt in the Center City district -- for business people, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to collaborate or share ideas. Private and communal seating is plentiful, with two-seater tables as well as a lounge area and community tables.

Original source: Financial Times
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Fette Sau's chef pens barbecue cookbook

Joe Carroll, the man behind Fette Sau -- the one in Brooklyn and the one in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood -- has some tips on 'cue.

You just want to grill a better steak than the one you grilled last summer, or smoke a better brisket, or fire up a basket of vegetables that will leave your guests swooning. You don’t want to feel as if doing any of that is going to be a campaign. You’re not looking to go pro.

If so, Joe Carroll’s “Feeding the Fire” (Artisan, $29.95), written with Nick Fauchald, may be the most useful book of the current season. A collection of strategies and lessons as much as one of recipes and pronouncements, the book offers a helpful primer to those seeking guidance on an elementary question that bedevils many: how to use a grill or a smoker to their best effect under varying circumstances, all summer long.

Mr. Carroll is hardly barbecue royalty. He’s a home cook from New Jersey with no formal culinary training who runs a small kingdom of bars and restaurants in Brooklyn and Philadelphia devoted to the pleasures of live-fire cooking, most notably Fette Sau and St. Anselm. His kitchens celebrate no native barbecue tradition beyond Brooklyn’s own, which is to say: Mr. Carroll puts char on the food, and accompanies it with flavors that are of interest to his palate, wherever they come from.

Original source: The New York Times
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269 Media Articles | Page: | Show All
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