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The city simplifies rules for farmers' markets

PlanPhilly reports on changes to how the city regulates farmers' markets.

Last week City Council approved changes that eliminate the farmers’ market licensing fee, simplify the rules for operating a market and require a simplified registration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health...

“There’s been a real growth in farmers’ markets in recent years, and so these rules were kind of updated to reflect their popularity, and folks in public health have come to view farmers’ markets as good sources of fruits and vegetables for people, so the code kind of reflects the changing times,” said Nicky Uy, senior associate of the farmers’ market program at The Food Trust, which operates 25 farmers markets in Philadelphia and has plans to open four more this year.

 
Original source: PlanPhilly
Read the complete story here.

Citizens Bank named one of the best ballparks for craft beer

The Phillies' home stadium came in No. 6 in a list of the country's best ballparks for craft beer. (In fact, a local microbrew will run you the same cost as a Miller Lite.)

It comes as no surprise that two Pennsylvania cities (the only two with major league teams) made it into the top five. The state is well represented by a number of great breweries and both stadiums felt it only right to serve that amazing beer. At Citizens Bank, Phillies fans drink beer from Tröegs Brewing, Victory Brewing, Flying Fish (in nearby New Jersey), Sly Fox, Yards Brewery, Prism Brewing, and Philadelphia Brewing. The list continues with several out-of-state breweries, like Goose Island, Long Trail, Otter Creek, Allagash, Anchor, Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, Ommegang, Samuel Adams, 21st Amendment, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada.

Original source: The Daily Meal
Read the complete list here.

Huffington Post lists reasons Philly is 'most underrated city in America'

The Huffington Post has put together a list of the reasons Philadelphia is "the most underrated city in America." Sure, it's click-bait, but it's also kinda great -- soft pretzels, Eastern State, beer! And even a couple of things to snark about -- the Citywide Special is actually $5.

Original source: The Huffington Post
Read the complete list here.

The New York Times visits Midtown Village's Little Nonna's

The New York Times' travel section visited Philadelphia's thriving Midtown Village neighborhood, checking in on Little Nonna's, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran's latest.

The menu is packed with classic dishes as they might be prepared by a modern-day nonna — Italian for grandmother — using ingredients from local farmers: an antipasto board of roasted veggies, parmigiana with Japanese eggplant and Thai-basil pesto, Concord grape water ice.

But on a chilly evening in November, I couldn’t resist the Sunday gravy. A heaping portion of “gravy” (marinara made with San Marzano tomatoes) and paccheri (the macaroni of the day) arrived on one platter, and on another were assorted meats — pork braciole, spicy fennel sausage, meatballs stuffed with fontina. Other memorable dishes deviated from the traditional tried and true, like bruschetta with roasted figs, Gorgonzola dolce, celery hearts and crunchy hazelnuts. And a standout pasta dish featured braised duck, pecorino and turnips atop chestnut ravioli stuffed with roasted heirloom squash.


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

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
Read the entire story here.

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
Read the full story here.

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.

PYT's 'Lasagna Burger' earns international press

PYT's latest burger creation, the Lasagna-Bun Burger, has garnered shock, awe and drool worldwide.

According to the Facebook page description, the burger is comprised of two thick slices of deep-fried mozzarella and ricotta lasagna, which make up the bun. Then inside is a meatball-seasoned juicy beef patty, topped with provolone and home-made marinara. With Italian-Parm fries on the side.

Original source: Huffington Post U.K.
Read the complete story here.

Nomad Pizza featured in New York Times

Nomad Pizza was included in a run-down of Jersey's mobile pizza trucks; they also have a brick-and-mortar space in Bella Vista.

Before Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Goldblatt opened their own business, they worked at the Nomad Pizza Company in Hopewell, a Neapolitan pizza restaurant with a second location in Philadelphia. Nomad opened its first restaurant in Hopewell in 2009 after two years of working out of a converted 1949 REO Speedwagon with a 3,000-pound wood-burning oven shipped from Italy. It continues to cater parties and sell pizza from the truck at street festivals.

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

Zagat lists Philadelphia's hottest cocktail trends

Zagat lists the top trends in cocktails, and tells you where in Philly you can find them. One example: "Farm to Glass."

Bartenders all over the city are taking the now-ubiquitous farm-to-table trend to its logical next step. The Unicorn Egg at Le Bar at Le Bec Fin includes rhubarb from star farmer Tom Culton, and fresh herbs are everywhere, often plucked from on-site gardens. Try the basil muddled with Wild Turkey and Carpano Antica in the Vona at In Riva.

Original source: Zagat
Read the complete story here.
 

Eater names Federal Donuts one of the country's hottest spots

Federal Donuts earned a spot on Eater's list of the top 23 hottest donut shops in America.

Mike Solomonov's Federal Donuts has been inspiring doughnut shops across America for years and just this past fall opened up a second location for its magical combination of fried chicken and doughnuts. (There's also a new stall at the Phillies ballpark.) Doughnut options include strawberry-lavender, Turkish coffee, milk chocolate-peanut butter, and blueberry muffin.

Original source: Eater
Read the complete list here.

Jose Garces' Distrito named one of the best Mexican spots in U.S.

Travel & Leisure names Jose Garces' Distrito, the West Philly taco-and-margarita mecca, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country.

Television celebrity chefs and quality Mexican food aren’t necessarily a match made en el cielo, but in the case of Food Network’s Chicago-born Ecuadorian Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Distrito, the connection pays off. The somewhat gaudy, pink, loud, huge restaurant is dedicated to the cuisine of Mexico City and serves nachos, ceviches,huaraches, tamales, enchiladas, and moles that Philadelphians recognize as not necessarily authentic, but some of the most satisfying versions on the East Coast regardless.

Original source: Travel & Leisure 
Read the complete list here.

AP hypes Reading Terminal's Festival of Forgotten Foods

The Reading Terminal Market's third Festival of Forgotten Foods draws praise for its unusual delights.

"Some of the foods are old-fashioned kinds of foods that are part of Philadelphia’s culinary history," Levitsky said Friday, "and some we sell every day in the market ... like snapper soup and raw milk."

Pepper pot soup — a thick stew of tripe, vegetables, lots of black pepper and other spices — is sometimes called "the soup that won the Revolutionary War." According to legend, it’s credited with restoring the strength and fighting spirit to Gen. George Washington’s troops during the harsh 1777-1778 winter at Valley Forge.


Original source: Associated Press
Read the complete story here at the Washington Post.

Two Philly bars make national "Bucket List"

A compilation of the bars you gotta visit before you die features two local legends: City Tavern and McGillin's Olde Ale House:

Their motto--and we'll admit it's a good one--is that they opened their doors the year Lincoln was elected. If you're not sure of the date it's 1860.

Opened by Irish immigrant William McGillin and originally called the Bell in Hand, this place has a legacy all unto itself. Not only has it survived 150 years, it is still one of the most popular watering holes in Philly.


Original source: Bucket List Bars
Read the complete list here; read the McGillin's entry here.



East Passyunk named one of nation's best foodie streets

Food & Wine magazine has named East Passyunk Avenue one of the country's best streets for foodies. Local writer Joy Manning has praise for Fond, Marra's and Will, among others. We'd add Cantina, Le Virtu and Stateside.

Original source: Food & Wine
Read the full list here.

Momofuku hosts Zahav for pop-up dinner

Middle East meets East as Philly chef Michael Solomonov takes Zahav's modern Israeli cuisine to Momofuku Ssam bar for a late-night dinner.

After teasing us earlier this week, we now have confirmation: Momofuku Ssäm Bar will be hosting Zahav for the first in a quarterly late night dinner series at the East Village hot spot. Tickets are $85 per person for the 11 PM dinner, inclusive of food, drink and gratuity. No word on menu yet, but looks like at least some of the drinks will come from Singapore brewery Tiger Beer. Reservations are available via e-mail only, and the likelihood is they’ll sell out quickly (if they haven’t already).

Eater Philly had more details:

Solomonov said that David Chang & Co. requested an all-Zahav menu, so they're going all out with the "Mesibah" option that includes his legendary lamb shoulder (which is almost as famous as Solomonov himself). As for dessert, the Federal Donuts crew is whipping up a special fancy doughnut created specifically for the event, as well.
 
Original source: Zagat
Read the complete post here.

AP showcases Vetri's 'Eatiquette' school lunch program

Chef Marc Vetri is bringing his 'Eatiquette' school lunch program to the People For People Charter School.

It sounds more like a restaurant order than a school lunch menu: baked ziti with a side of roasted fennel salad and, for dessert, cinnamon apple rice pudding.

But that's one of the meals offered in the cafeteria at People For People Charter School in Philadelphia. And it's served family-style. Students pass serving dishes around circular tables, where they eat off plates, not cafeteria trays, and use silverware instead of plastic utensils.

People For People is one of four schools participating in the "Eatiquette" program, which was designed by local chef Marc Vetri to provide nutritious, low-cost lunches in a setting that reinforces social niceties and communication skills.


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

Mark Bittman looks to Reading Terminal Market for inspiration

The New York Times' Mark Bittman wishes his city could cultivate a large indoor market modeled after Philly landmark Reading Terminal. He's eyeing the former Fulton Fish Market.

There is nothing like a grand urban food market, which can anchor a neighborhood and even a city. Think of the 120-year-old Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia; the Ferry Building in San Francisco, which 10 years ago helped revitalize the Embarcadero; and the ever-popular Pike Place Market in Seattle. Even much-maligned Los Angeles has a permanent mid-city market, in business since 1934.

New York … well, the grandest market “we” have is 80 miles away, in Philadelphia.


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

Philly cracks Saveur's 50 Best Donuts list

These days, if there's a donut list, local favorite Federal Donuts will earn a spot. This Saveur run-down of the country's 50 Best Donuts is no exception.

The donuts at this ambitious newcomer include the Appollonia, served hot and rolled in cocoa and orange blossom powder. The other specialty? Fried chicken.

Original source: Saveur
Read the complete list here.

Philly nabs spot in Travel & Leisure's list of best pizza cities

The City of Brotherly Love (and pie!) claimed the number four spot on Travel & Leisure's list of "America's Best Cities for Pizza." Personally, I think Santucci's and Gennaro's Tomato Pie also deserved a mention.

Pizza may not have been part of the founding fathers’ diet, but it is the voters’ favorite food in present-day Philly, which ranked in the top 5 for its great museumsand cultural attractions. History meets pie at Pizza Brain, the “pizza museum” in Fishtown that serves thin-crust pies and houses more than 500 pizza-related artifacts. Meanwhile, at purist favorite Nomad Pizza, they slice your pie at the table, to prevent sogginess, and show a movie every Sunday night.

Original source: Travel & Leisure
Read the full list here.

Fond named one of the country's most underrated restaurants

Eater put together a list of the country's most underrated dining spots, and Passyunk Square favorite Fond (fresh of its move to a new corner location) made the cut at number 22.

You hear about Marc Vetri's places, you probably hear about Zahav and about Sbraga, but you should give what Lee Styer has been doing at Fond for the past three years a look. It's "sophisticated French-influenced seasonal cooking" and is less expensive than most places in its category. Just last year, local critic Craig LaBan upgraded the restaurant from two to three bells, ranking it among some of the city's best.

Original source: Eater
Check out the full list here.

Granola (with foie gras!) shines at Talula's Table

Granola is having its moment in the sun. Local oats maven Aimee Olexy (of Talula's Garden and Talula's Table) earns special mention in this New York Times trend piece tackling the erstwhile hippy fare.

Granola has traded in the bulky sweater for a little black dress. All over the country, small-batch entrepreneurs see granola as a booming growth sector, while chefs view it as an elegant and wide-open canvas for culinary experimentation... [Aimee] Olexy runs a restaurant in Philadelphia, Talula’s Garden, and Talula’s Table, a country store in Kennett Square, Pa., that morphs into a showcase for an expertly wrought tasting menu in the evenings. At both spots you’ll find "lots of granola," she said. She might make it with coarse black pepper or chunks of bittersweet chocolate; she might marry it with goat cheese or a torchon of foie gras.

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

Peter Serpico and Bon Appetit stir up controversy in interview

A Bon Appetit interview conducted in conjunction with a collab dinner between Philly transplant Peter Serpico and Chris Painter managed to ruffle some feathers. Local blogs and Twitter hummed with complaints about Serpico's characterization of his new city -- he is preparing to open a restaurant on South Street with Stephen Starr. Zagat tackled the controversy, which involved comments about Philadelphians' knowledge of Asian cuisine and the city's dining landscape.

"In Philly, there are those huge, big-box restaurants," one question began. Um, what big-box restaurants? We don't even have a Cheesecake Factory yet (though one is planned). The writer later clarified on Twitter he was referring to Stephen Starr restaurants. He also noted in his article that he'd never eaten in Philadelphia - or even visited Philadelphia - until the one-night collaboration dinner Serpico put on recently at Il Pittore (which happens to be a decidedly non-big-box Starr restaurant, one designed around a chef with seating for just 80).

Original source: Zagat.com
Read the original story here.


Eater's Top 25 Burgers list features Philly favorites

The national food blog Eater -- which also has a local chapter, Eater Philly -- recently released a list of the "25 Hottest Burgers in America Right Now." Hickory Lane and Spot Gourmet (a food truck!) made the cut. This description of Hickory Lane's entry has us drooling.

Former Rouge chef Matt Zagorski is cooking really nice food at this Fairmount Avenue restaurant. But the burger, as critic Craig Laban will tell you, is the way to go: "10 ounces of custom-ground brisket, filet, and deckle, seared to a cast-iron crisp and then snugged in the embrace of a brioche bun between delicate folds of bibb lettuce and a molten lid of tangy Cabot cheddar. It’s hard to imagine a burger this tasty as a burden. Then again, it’s so good that it’s also become clear: No change of scenery or molecular tricks will ever let Zagorski truly escape. The power of his patty is simply the best reason to visit Hickory Lane."

Original source: Eater
Read the full list here.

Washington Post praises Philly dining scene

The Washington Post profiles a wave of transplant chefs invigorating Philadelphia's excellent dining scene.

Wooed by affordable real estate, the city’s neighborhoody vibe and strong ties among fellow chefs, these new boldface names include Josh Lawler, formerly of New York’s acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns, who has gone the BYO route at the Farm and Fisherman in Washington Square West. Greg Vernick, an alumnus of the Jean-Georges Vongerichten empire, has opened the splashier Vernick Food & Drink in Rittenhouse Square.

Original source: The Washington Post
Read the full story here.
 

Sheetz and Wawa go head-to-head in the New York Times

The New York Times tackles the eternal rivalry between Sheetz and Wawa convenience store partisans. Sheetz might have a stronger state-wide prescence in Pennsylvania, by Philly folks know the real deal. Wawa 4 life!

"I think that Sheetz people are probably a little perkier than the Wawa people," said a regular named Doug, who was making his second visit of the day to the Sheetz in Selinsgrove. "It might have to do with we’re up here where people are just a lot friendlier than they are down there."

"Down there" is Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, where Wawa fans can exude a whiff of cosmopolitan disdain. The crowd-sourced Urban Dictionary includes unflattering definitions for "Sheetz," like "a convenience store/gas station where hicks from Lititz, Pa., like to hang out all night, every night."


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

Grub Street New York's best pizza list has Philly flavor

Grub Street's comprehensive list of the best American pizza pies includes a bunch of Philly favorites, including Osteria, Stella and Garces Trading Company. What, no Tacconelli's?!

Why hasn't anyone in Chicago reinvented deep dish the way Jose Garces has? Admittedly, Garces is a Chicago native and this dish is billed as a tribute to his hometown, but maybe it took the distance to Philadelphia to allow him to rethink deep dish from the outside (a thin, delicate crust made with duck fat) to inside (oven-roasted San Marzano tomato confit, a mix of fresh mozzarella and Gruyère, and toppings ranging from boquerones to chorizo).

Original source: Grub Street New York
Read the full list here.

The New York Times spends 36 hours in Philadelphia

A writer from the New York Times spends "36 Hours" in Philadelphia, hitting up the Philadelphia History Museum, Johnny Brenda's, 13th Street and one particularly spicy spot: 

Across the Schuylkill in University City, the newest location of the locally beloved Han Dynasty (3711 Market Street; 215-222-3711; handynasty.net) has a wide-open dining room with modern lines, rough-hewn wood and a kitschy cocktail list. Bucket-size drinks like the Scorpion Bowl and Singapore Sling are $5 during happy hour. But the food is the real attraction. Plates come one after the other in family-style portions — dan dan noodles ($7.95), double-cooked fish ($17.95) and spicy, crispy cucumbers ($6.95), each rated 1 to 10 on Han’s hot-or-not index.

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

New York Times lauds local drop in childhood obesity

The New York Times takes note of urban success stories in the war against childhood obesity. Philadelphia is among the most promising cases, mostly thanks to school-based initiatives. 

Philadelphia has undertaken a broad assault on childhood obesity for years. Sugary drinks like sweetened iced tea, fruit punch and sports drinks started to disappear from school vending machines in 2004. A year later, new snack guidelines set calorie and fat limits, which reduced the size of snack foods like potato chips to single servings. By 2009, deep fryers were gone from cafeterias and whole milk had been replaced by one percent and skim.

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

Foobooz names Philly's top 50 bars

Local food-centric blog Foobooz releases its annual list of the city's best bars. It's no surpise that the top ten are dominated by spots with serious beer programs—top-shelf suds have become Philly's calling card. Pub & Kitchen takes top honors, up from no. 10 last year.

If you want to be number one on the Foobooz Top 50 Bars list you had better bring it every day. And Pub & Kitchen does just that, with excellent food, a well curated beverage program plus excellent and dare we say, attractive service.

Source: Foobooz

Check out the full list here

Monell sensory biologist provides scientific explanation for why food pairings work

The New York Times writes about Paul Breslin, a sensory biologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and an author on a study that finds science at the root of our most savory food pairings.
 
Dr. Breslin and his colleagues asked testers to sample salami and then rinse their mouths with either tea or water. They were asked whether the rinses reduced the sensation of fattiness from the salami. Water did not work well, but the tea seemed to to neutralize the feeling.
 
They also found that even weak astringents like tea can have a strong countering effect to greasy food when sipped over time. 
 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.
 

GQ: Philly is top-5 beer city and home to the perfect pub crawl

GQ makes a pretty decent run at a perfect pub crawl in Philadelphia, which it identified as one of the top five beer cities in the U.S.
 
1. The Beer-Bar Brunch
Memphis Taproom 
 
Wake up with microbrews and delicious bar grub at this Kensington standby. The mellow front dining room is fine if you're a slow starter, but things are much livelier outside by the picnic tables and the former ice cream truck that's now a bar. 
 
Original source: GQ
Read the full story here.
 

Toronto's love song for Philadelphia's art scene

The Toronto Globe & Mail absolutely gushes about Philadelphia and it's proximity, affordability, easy-to-navigate grid and art attractions.

A friend had told us not to miss the massive mural in the Curtis Center building. Luckily, the doors were still open so we stepped into the deserted foyer to soak in Dream Garden – 100,000 pieces of hand-blown glass that were installed in 1916 by by Louis Comfort Tiffany, who based the design on a painting by Philadelphia-born Maxfield Parrish.
 
We were almost back to our hotel on Rittenhouse Square when we found Parc, a French bistro with sidewalk tables, and couldn’t resist stopping for a kir royale and some people-watching before turning in.
 
Original source: Toronto Globe & Mail
Read the full story here.
 

Nutter: Hospitality holds keys to city's challenges, assets

Mayor Michael Nutter writes in Huffington Post about the Philadelphia hospitality sector's ability to transform the city.
 
And so while tourism attracts new people to our city, it is a major source of jobs for the Philadelphians who live here. Construction jobs each time a new hotel or museum is built; executives, managers, customer service staff and maintenance employees operating each new hotel; skilled tradesmen and women setting up and taking down every convention stage and showroom; concierges, tour guides and marketing professionals hired as new attractions come online; chefs, servers and bartenders hired when restaurants open their doors to new customers.

Some 56,000 Philadelphians are employed in the hospitality industry, and so a major priority of our city is to keep that machine running smoothly.

 
Original source: Huffington Post
Read the full story here.

Six things you can get only in Philadelphia

Thankfully, Saveur's story goes beyond the cheesesteak to find six things you can only get in Philadelphia.
 
It was raining buckets when SAVEUR senior editor Gabriella Gershenson and I rolled into Philadelphia for a whirlwind 36-hour, 8-restaurant, million-calorie tour of the East Coast's most exciting emerging food town. This was a good thing: It meant that there was hardly a wait at all at Federal Donuts, the blazingly popular doughnut-and-fried-chicken emporium tucked away on a Pennsport side street where out-the-door lines and midafternoon sellouts are de rigueur. The sun came out for the rest of our trip, and so we criscrossed the city on foot, making our way from farmers' markets filled with jewel-like Amish produce to hushed, leafy terrace restaurants to the riotous 9th Street Italian Market, where century-old, family-run pork stores vie for space with Vietnamese produce stands and Mexican groceries. Through it all there was a continuous thread of something ineffably Philly: bright and optimistic, entirely unpretentious and yet exacting in quality. When it comes to eating, this city is operating miles beyond the cheesesteak. 
 
Original source: Saveur
Read the full story here.

On the farm with Garces

Seedstock, the sustainable agriculture innovation conference, blogs about Jose Garces' organic farm in Ottsville, northern Bucks County.
 
Garces has teamed up with a successful and well-known Bucks County organic farmer, Alex McCracken, who, along with his wife Jenn, owns The Turnip Truck -- an organic kitchen gardening company, also based in Ottsville. A year ago, when McCracken caught wind that Garces had purchased the Luna Farm property, he did something that he had never been bold enough to do in the past: he e-mailed Garces directly to see if he could play a key role at Luna Farm.
 
Original source: Seedstock blog
Read the full story here.
 

Frugal travel: Philadelphia as a midweek deal

The Washington Post writes about a city that "more or less belonged to" its travel section as it went in search of some midweek travel deals.
 
We found ourselves alone in a museum, befriended bartenders and shopkeepers who had nothing better to do than share their life stories with us, stumbled upon some sweet weekday-only deals and happenings, and never waited for a drink or a table. Our only regret: that we hadn’t also been there for Monday and Tuesday.
 
Original source: The Washington Post
Read the full story here.

Esquire declares Philly 'late-night capital'

Good brew and food for hungry fellas in the wee hours puts Philadelphia on Esquire's radar as the late-night capital of the U.S.
 
Once referred to as the "workshop of the world," the great factory city of Philadelphia still has a third-shift appetite: It gets hungry after midnight. And it doesn't hurt that the local love for microbrewing, dating to the late 1600s, shows up on beer lists so intricately compiled they'd be described as curated in more pretentious cities. (Yes, Brooklyn, I mean you.) Epic jukeboxes and random dartboards, roasted meat and melted cheese, super-hard-to-find beers and whiskey neat — all served up without judgment in an American stronghold for going big into the wee hours: Welcome to the dark side.
 
Original source: Esquire
Read the full story here.

Little Baby's Ice Cream's heady video ad draws reactions ranging from creepy to arousing

It takes a lot to creep out Gawker, but chalk another one up for Little Baby's Ice Cream, which launches today on Frankford Ave. in Fishtown. We think Little Baby's Ice Cream's new video ad is pretty genius, plus they're going to be at Second Friday on Lancaster Ave. on Aug. 10.
 
Ripping a page right out of the Big Book of WTF Japan Seriously, Philly-based ice cream company Little Baby's Ice Cream invites screaming enthusiasts everywhere to cry themselves to no sleep with the most horrifying, least appetizing ice cream ad ever produced.

Original source: Gawker
Read the full story here.
 

Pizza Brain's Kickstarter campaign will 'increase the piece' from Fishtown HQ

Fishtown will be home to the world's first pizza history museum when Pizza Brain opens in August, reports Tecca.
 
The brainchild of Brian Dwyer and his friends, Pizza Brain -- with its delicious slogan, "Increase the Piece" -- will open its doors next month thanks to the power of Kickstarter, where Dwyer was able to raise enough dough earlier this year to turn his dream into a reality. The combination museum and restaurant will house hundreds of pieces of pizza memorabilia that Dwyer has amassed over the years -- a collection which got him recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records last July.
 
Original source: Tecca
Read the full story here
 

Percy Street Barbecue No. 1 place in America to get a can of craft beer

Memphis Taproom, BAR Philadelphia and Percy Street Barbecue, which earned the top spot, gave craftcans.com a distinctly Philadelphia flavor on its list of America's 15 top places to enjoy beer in a can.

Over the past couple years Aric Ferrell, Manager at Philadelphia's Percy Street Barbecue, has been on a mission. He has been on a campaign to have Percy Street feature the largest selection of canned craft beers in the country and we are proud to say that he has definitely accomplished his goal. But, its not just the vast array of craft cans available (at last count there are over 100) at this South Street eatery that put it at the top of the list. Nope, Percy Street is also home to some of the most amazing barbecue in the northeast. Two words: Turkey Tails. Everything we've had there was delicious and you can even get cans to go now! If it comes in a can and is available in Pennsylvania than Aric has done everything he can to put it on his can menu. Serving up Texas-style BBQ in a clean, modern environment with a ridicu-list of canned craft beers available as well as a serious whiskey list, Percy Street is our top choice for best place to grab a can of beer in America. They've earned it.
 
Original source: craftcans.com
Read the full story here.
 

Second annual Vendy Awards honor best Philly food trucks on Saturday

Zagat checks in on the Philly food truck scene, including Saturday's second annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards.
 
After sifting through nominations, organizers have determined the 12 contenders for best food truck in Philly, judged by both a panel of food industry pro and festival attendees. The savory options at The Lot in West Philly on that late July Saturday will come from Delicias, The Foo Truck, King of Falafel, Lil Dan’s Gourmet, The Smoke Truck, Tacos Don Memo, Vernalicious and Yumtown. On the sweet side, enjoy desserts from Lil’ Pop Shop, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Sugar Philly and Sweet Box. To eat your fill of all that goodness and make your food truck vote count, snag a ticket for $55 to the 3-7 PM event here (bonus: the price of admission does include beer).
 
Original source: Zagat
Read the full story here.
 

NY specialty coffee shop Joe expands to Philly with locations in Rittenhouse, UCity

The specialty coffee shop Joe, which has nine locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is opening locations on Rittenhouse Square (1845 Walnut) and on Drexel University's campus in University City, reports The New York Times.
 
Jonathan Rubinstein, who founded Joe with his sister, Gabrielle Rubinstein, said they were approached by the developer of the building on the square. “We jumped on a train and saw it, and within 15 minutes we knew we had to do it,” Mr. Rubinstein said, explaining that the 1,200-square-foot cafe, with an additional 400-square-foot outdoor terrace, will be twice as big as any of his New York stores.
 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.
 

Philadelphia leaders take to Toronto to share and 'steal'

Greater Philadelphia Economy League Executive Director Steve Wray talkes to Flying Kite sister publication Yonge Street about his organization's Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange, which visits Toronto this week.
 
One the focuses of the Economy League is what it means to be a world-class region and what it would take for Greater Philadelphia to attain status as a world-class region. As we select places to go, we look for regions that are world class or striving to be world class. Clearly Toronto has attained the status in the global community as a city and region on the rise, as a global financial capital and as an international city. We thought there were a lot of lessons we could bring back to Philadelphia from Toronto that would serve us well.
 
Original source: Yonge Street
Read the full story here.

City's latest restaurant openings in South Philly, Center City

Zagat touches on the recent debut of three Philadelphia restaurants, including Miss Rachel's Pantry, The Industry and Honeygrow.
 
On Fridays and Saturdays, guests can reserve a spot at the dozen-seat farmhouse table in Miss Rachel’s Dining Room, where a $45 prix fixe tasting menu of homestyle veg-friendly fare will be served at 7 PM each weekend night (1732 W. Passyunk Ave.; 215-798-0053).
 
Original source: Zagat
Read the full story here.
 
 

How Philly's efforts to eliminate food deserts could spread nationally

The Washington Post digs into Philadelphia's effort to drive availability and consumption of healthy food, which "could steer the course of American food policy."
 
Philadelphia’s study, distinct in scope and scale, may deliver a breakthrough.
 
The city has, in many ways, been the epicenter of American efforts to improve food access. Of the country’s 10 largest cities, its population is the lowest-income, and it has higher obesity rates than New York City and Baltimore. It’s home to The Food Trust, a nonprofit that has risen to national prominence as an advocate for increasing food access for low-income Americans.
 
Original source: Washington Post
Read the full story here.
 

WSJ gushes over Philly's food, culture and design

The Wall Street Journal's insider's guide to Philadelphia touts "miles of green space," among other assets.
 
All this art wouldn't do much good if it couldn't be accompanied by an excellent meal. Fortunately, Philadelphia is awash with tasty picks, from Mark Vetri's fine-Italian Vetri to the quirky Talula's Garden, which opened just last year and has already earned national acclaim. But don't worry -- the cheesesteaks will always be dripping with juice. Some things never quite get old.
 
Original source: Wall Street Journal
Read the full story here.
 

NYT likes how Philly food trucks roll

The New York Times dives into Philadelphia's rapidly growing food truck culture, which still has plenty of room for growth.
 
In fact, the indie food-truck operators who tweet their location of the day to those in the know in Philadelphia have been retweeted by the likes of Le Meridien, a luxury hotel in Center City across from a plaza where many trucks set up.
 
That a hotel would promote trucks across the street in addition to its own upscale brasserie is an indication that food trucks, as overexposed as they seem, have their merits: they churn out reliably good, affordable food that you wouldn’t find on an average menu. And in Philadelphia, the scene is far from reaching its saturation point.
 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.
 
 

NYT likes how Philly food trucks roll

The New York Times dives into Philadelphia's rapidly growing food truck culture, which still has plenty of room for growth.
 
In fact, the indie food-truck operators who tweet their location of the day to those in the know in Philadelphia have been retweeted by the likes of Le Meridien, a luxury hotel in Center City across from a plaza where many trucks set up.
 
That a hotel would promote trucks across the street in addition to its own upscale brasserie is an indication that food trucks, as overexposed as they seem, have their merits: they churn out reliably good, affordable food that you wouldn’t find on an average menu. And in Philadelphia, the scene is far from reaching its saturation point.
 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.
 
 

Women draft their way to the front of craft brewing

The Washington Post profiles prominent ladies of the craft brew scene, including Rosemarie Certo of Dock Street Brewing Co. iN West Philadelphia.
 
Certo’s interest in beer started when she began making beer at home because she wasn’t happy with what was available domestically at the time. She started Dock Street in 1985 and remembers in the early days going to make a sales pitch to a distributor and being the only woman in a room of more than 50. “I remember not being bothered by it,” she recalls.
 
Original source: Washington Post
Read the full story here.
 

Betty's Speakeasy cupcake shop ditches cash register, card-swipe reader for iPad

PC World writes about Betty's Speakeasy in Philadelphia's Graduate Hospital neighborhood, which is employing the new Square Register app for iPad to replace its traditional card-processing service.
 
“Right now we’re paying $69 a month in merchant services to swipe credit cards,” Snow said. “We won’t pay that with Square. [The new iPad] pays for itself very quickly.”
 
Such stories are behind the growing market for iPhone- and iPad-based card-swiping systems like those offered by Square. PayPal recently announced that it is launching its own card reader and app for iOS; it joins a sector that also includes big players like VeriFone’s Payware and Intuit’s GoPayment. (That list doesn’t even include Google Wallet, which is currently compatible with only the Nexus S 4G Android phone.)
 
Original source: PC World
Read the full story here.
 
 

Notes from the urban landscape in Kensington

Check out Kensington urban farmer Nic Esposito's Notes From the Urban Homestead series in Paradigm Magazine.

For many people, the concept of farming in any city is strange, let alone in this neighborhood. No matter that there’s a family who lives out of their car, or a heroin addict who sleeps in the park all winter, or a woman who prostitutes herself just for a bed to spend the night and maybe a hot shower: I’m the weird one on the block. But that doesn’t bother me. We all have to fit somewhere in this world.

Original source: Paradigm Magazine
Read the full story here.


Chester Springs-based Y + B provides a new kind of boxed wine for N.C. store

The Sip...A Wine Store in Cary, N.C. sells organic, sustainably produced wines and recently did a testing with Chester Springs-based Y + B Wines, which gives new life to boxed varieties.

The organic wine business, although only 3% of all wine sold, is the fastest growing segment, experiencing 35% growth last year. Y+B ‘s business has quadrupled since opening in their base town of Philadelphia.

Original source: Cary Citizen
Read the full story here.

Wrap-Up: Feeling the Flower Show from near and far

The Philadelphia Flower Show, which came to a close on Sunday, went Hawaiian this year, and judging by these reports from WHYY, Forbes and Big Island, Aloha is a five-letter word for breathtaking.

(from Forbes) The central thematic display this year is the "Orchid Wave," a semi-enclosed glass space in the shape of a wave with projections of 3-D fish, sea turtles, surfers, and other images that roll over the heads of visitors. Between the segments of constantly moving 3-D scenery are rows of what Flower Show officials say is the largest display of white orchids and anthuriums ever assembled. It has the feeling of being in an aquarium as it does a wave.

Original sources: WHYY, Forbes and Big Island

Putting a fork in Perrier, Le Bec-Fin, and Philly's fine dining

The New York Times catches up with Georges Perrier's exit at Le Bec-Fin and the changing tastes of fine dining in Philadelphia.

In recent decades, though, that din was starting to get a lot louder elsewhere. Around the same time that David Lee Roth stopped sleeping, diners in cities like Philadelphia -- diners, like me, who were totally psyched to have some ethereal hummus before, say, going to a Van Halen concert --  started waking up to a new way of going out to dinner.

Colman Andrews, the editorial director of The Daily Meal, told me that Le Bec-Fin represented “the last of a dying breed. Every city of any size used to have at least one ‘fancy’ French restaurant, where the food was serious, the atmosphere was a little starchy and the service was correct. But the audience for good restaurants today wants their dining experiences to be casual and comfortable. They may still demand good, complex food, at least some of the time, but they don’t want to have to dress up to enjoy it, or to feel as if they’re dining in a museum.”


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


The buck strolls on Baltimore Ave. in University City

Baltimore Ave.'s Dollar Stroll in University City makes MonkeyDish's list of 50 great ideas among national restaurant innovations.
 
Each Stroll has attracted over a thousand patrons who don’t mind waiting in line to sample the familiar at shops such as Milk & Honey Market, which specializes in local cheese, produce and their own urban honey, and far-away cuisines at Desi Chaat House and Vientiane Cafe.

Original source: MonkeyDish
Read the full story here.


'Grocery store of the future' tests QR codes in Philly

The Atlantic Cities reports on online grocer Peapod's placement of virtual storefronts at select SEPTA stations throughout Philadelphia.

While awaiting a train, users can download the Peapod app, peruse the items in front of them, and scan the barcode of anything they'd like to purchase. The groceries are delivered to their homes later that day.

Philly marks the idea's American debut, but a number of international cities already have similar services.


Original source: The Atlantic Cities
Read the full story here.


Philly in running for New Belgium Brewing's East Coast operation, 120 jobs

It's down to Philadelphia and Asheville, N.C., according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, for Fort Collins, Col.-based New Belgium Brewing's new East Coast site, which would create up to 120 jobs and 500,000 barrels of beer a year.

New Belgium, which is sold in 28 states but has limited availability on the East Coast, started by looking at "dozens" of areas before narrowing the list to 10 and then two, Simpson said. It is looking for a site to build from the ground up.

News reports from North Carolina and Colorado have indicated that a decision was imminent, but Simpson said Monday the decision might not be made before June.


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



Soup's on: PhilaSoup promotes innovative education projects

Philadelphia sisters Claire and Nikka Landau and friend Jason Tucker have established PhilaSoup as a monthly dinner bringing together dynamic educators to fund the most ambitious and innovative projects, reports NPR.

On a recent Sunday night, the trio of friends welcomed about 45 teachers and other members of the local education community to a cozy gathering at the University Barge Club, a 19th-century boathouse on the banks of the Schuylkill River. As folks walked in, they were asked to fill out name tags -- with their names and the names of their favorite children's books.

"Teachers all over Philadelphia are doing terrific projects," Claire said. "It's really exciting to gather and break bread with teachers from across the city doing exciting things."


Original source: NPR
Read the full story here.

Demand for Federal Donuts remains strong; try the new s'mores variety

The doughnuts are still falling fast and furious in Pennsport at Federal Donuts, reports The New York Times.

Some cities have speakeasies where would-be customers step into an antique phone booth to petition for entry. Others have underground supper clubs. At the moment, though, Philadelphia's most dedicated eaters covet no prize more than a red ticket at Federal Donuts, with the possible exception of the morning’s last glazed doughnut.

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

Five from Philly on Draft mag's 100 best beer bars

Eulogy, Memphis Taproom, Monk's, Grey Lodge and Standard Tap made Draft Magazine's list of America's 100 best beer bars. They really love Monk's:

Monk's Café’s place in the upper echelon of watering holes is well-deserved. Its Beer Bible, which covers style guidelines, brewing 101 and an intoxicating list of more than 300 beers, acts as a visitor’s guide for patrons packed into the venue’s two intimate bars. The selection makes ordering tough; have a pint of the house brew Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Red and a pot of award-winning mussels while you sift through the list.

Original source: Draft Magazine
Read the full story here.


Jose Garces looks to Revel in Atlantic City

Jose Garces is expanding into Atlantic City, opening versions of his Amada, Village Whiskey and Distrito at Revel, a casino and hotel slated to open in the spring, reports Eater.

These restaurants come in addition to the 38,000 square foot nightclub, handled by some Vegas operators, two other clubs, two theaters, and plenty of retail shops already planned for the space.

Garces will join restaurateur Steve Hanson (Bill's Bar & Burger, Dos Caminos), Geoffrey Zakarian, and Bobby Flay in taking the South Jersey plunge. After all, it's just a quick hop for his Philadelphia fan base.


Original source: Eater
Read the full story here.


National Geographic says Capogiro is best in the world

Philadelphia's own Capogiro, which has four area locations, was named the No. 1 place in the world to eat ice cream by National Geographic.

Made with the freshest ingredients (such as milk from Amish grass-fed cows), the artisan gelatos and sorbettos handcrafted each day at Capogiro Gelato include flavors not seen anywhere else—Madagascar bourbon vanilla, melograno (pomegranate), nocciola Piemonte (hazelnut), Saigon cinnamon, Thai coconut milk (with a dash of rum), and zucca (long-neck pumpkin).

Original source: National Geographic
Read the full story here.

Stink bug management among two local specialty crop research projects funded by USDA

A Wyndmoor-based project raked in more than $5.7 million from the USDA to research stink bug management, reports American Agriculturist.

Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pa., $322,202: Improve long-term viability of the fresh U.S.-grown mushroom industry by marketing mushrooms as an excellent source of Vitamin D.

USDA Agricultural Research Service, Wyndmoor, Pa., $5,739,966: Develop economically and environmentally sustainable pest management practices for the brown marmorated stink bug.

In making the announcement, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said "Specialty crops producers in the United States – as with all of American agriculture – are seeing sales surge both domestically and abroad as consumers search for high quality, 'Grown in America' fruits, vegetables and tree nuts."


Original source: American Agriculturist
Read the full story here.


Why Restaurant Weeks are good for restaurants, cities

Center City Philadelphia's Restaurant Week is among those examined as successful models in this Forbes blog entry that measures their impact.

Lee Maen, a partner at LA’s Innovative Dining Group, concurs. "We see a lot of new faces and hear from them that they’ve been meaning to come in for a long time, and Restaurant Week gives them a great excuse to venture out of their normal restaurant routine."

Cities love it too. Kristen Linker of the Center City District in downtown Philadelphia says "Since its inception in 2003, Center City District Restaurant Week has generated over $23.9 million in additional revenues for the restaurants and pumped over $90.7 million into Center City Philadelphia’s economy."


Original source: Forbes
Read the full story here.

Philly's finest farm-to-table offerings

Local restaurants are getting a reputation for farm fresh ingredients, according to OffManhattan.

To taste the freshest produce in the region, you can shop one of the city’s many farmers market, haul your selections back home, and crack open a cookbook. Or you can take the effortless route, and settle into one of the top farm-to-table restaurants in Philadelphia.

Uniquely positioned between ‘Jersey Fresh’ territory and Amish Country, Philly offers its chefs an impressive variety of local, seasonal ingredients from which to craft their award-winning menus. And diners will be excited to know that much of this produce makes its way from farm to plate just one day after harvesting. Yes, the peppery radishes and buttery greens in your appetizer salad may have been plucked from the dirt just hours ago.


Source: OffManhattan
Read the full story here.

Barcade's craft beer and video arcade to open in Fishtown

Expanding south, the Brooklyn-born Barcade concept comes to Philadelphia next month, according to Inc. Magazine in this profile of its founders

As a kid, Paul Kermizian was younger than most everyone else at the local arcade. He got pushed aside. He had to wait in line.

Not anymore. Today he can play whenever he wants—and he doesn't even have to keep a pocketful of quarters. Kermizian, now 36, is the owner of Barcade, a hybrid craft beer bar and—yep, you called it—video arcade. With four partners, his longtime friends Jon Miller, Scott Beard, Kevin Beard, and Pete Langway, he launched the bar in two locations: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Jersey City. And their retro empire is growing: a third Barcade is scheduled to open next month in Philadelphia.

Source: Inc. Magazine
Read the full story here.

Beer makes it a happy time to be in Philly

The New York Times taps into Fishtown's rapidly expanding beer scene.

Here is the second installment of our bar-hopping guide. When it comes to beer in Philadelphia, Anders Larson, a bartender at the groundbreaking Northern Liberties pub 700 Club, puts it best: "It's a happy time to be a Philadelphian. You can rarely say that!" This installment takes a look at the Fishtown neighborhood.

Original source: New York Times
Read the full story here.



Gigi and Big R's soul food truck earns Vendy Cup as Philly's top vendor

More than 500 people came to the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties for Saturday's Vendy Awards, reports the Associated Press.

Eight of the city's most popular food carts and trucks competed Saturday at the Vendy Awards, an offshoot of the popular New York City cook-off that started in 2005. Online voters chose the eight finalists and a panel of chefs and foodies at Saturday's sold-out and sweltering event chose the Caribbean and American soul food of Gigi and Big R's as the winner.

The 10-year-old curbside culinary business is operated by Elukene Rene ("Big R"), originally from Haiti, and Thomas Bacon ("Gigi"), from Philadelphia, and operates on the Drexel University campus.

Original source
: Associated Press
Read the full story here.


Zahav chef Solomonov featured on ABC's Nightline

Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav Restaurant in Society Hill says his grandmother's cooking inspires him, according to ABC's Nightline.

Michael Solomonov admits that as a kid he was "a terrible eater. I was like, 'I don't like tomatoes.'… I would eat … toast with sugar on it [all the time]."

The one thing he would never turn down were his grandmother's bourekas, savory puff pastries usually filled with cheese and olives. "She was Bulgarian, and they moved to Israel in '48, right after the War of Independence. She cooked these Balkan things that were foreign to everyone here in the United States, even Jews," he said.

Whenever she made a batch, Solomonov, his father and his brother "would eat bourekas and fall asleep -- kind of like face down on the plate."

Source: Nightline, ABC News

Read the full story here.



Examining Philly as America's best beer-drinking city

Philly Beer Week is viewed through the lens of Philadelphia's long, rich and tasty brewing history in this Washington Times report.

Philadelphia's role in worldly beer, though, is not limited to just German-style beer. Local publican Tom Peters, of the famed Monk's Cafe, is credited with bringing the first kegged Belgian beer to the States to be served on draft. With Philadelphia's well-known affinity for great beer, many of this country's and Belgium's beers make their way in to the Philadelphia beer market.

Therefore, local brewers, importers, and distributors have created more educated consumers who have demanded more experimentation and innovation. The circle of supply and demand remains unbroken in Philadelphia.

Original source: Washington Times
Read the full story here.



NYT picks Philly's top coffee shops

Oliver Strand names six Philly coffee spots he loves as much as our sports, art and culture, according to the New York Times.

Philadelphia has plenty going for it: the best four-man rotation in baseball, art worth fighting over, a ruin so elegant and haunting it feels like Berlin. It also has superb coffee. Recently, I went on a coffee crawl that took me to a handful of shops where the baristas aren't just tremendously skilled, they're disarmingly sweet-natured. I found an energetic scene thriving outside the gravitational pull of the hometown giant La Colombe Torrefaction.

I was in Philadelphia to check out the local Thursday Night Throwdown --TNT to insiders -- a monthly cappuccino-off where 32 baristas compete for glory (the winner gets his or her initials embroidered on a strip of denim) and a decent-sized kitty (from the entrance fees). The evening was three hours of steaming milk in front of a crowd plied with pizza and beer. A news crew taped the throw-down, maybe because one of the judges was Winston Justice, offensive tackle for the Eagles and co-owner of Elixr Coffee, the host of the contest. Later, a good number of the competitors and spectators adjourned to a dive bar with a drag show -- the $7 cover included a can of beer and a shot of Jim Beam. Fun town.

Source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.

NYT goes off beaten path to Germantown for history, trolley and veggie burgers

The New York Times takes a tourist's road less traveled into Northwest Philly, where visitors get a heaping helping of Philly's quirks and charms in Germantown.

The No. 23 city bus running along the cobblestones is still known as the "trolley,"and you can take it to visit the house where a young Benjamin Franklin stopped for advice on books or to other homes where Revolutionary War battles left powder marks and bloodstains. George Washington slept here, a lot, and decades later so did runaway slaves at a well-preserved stop on the Underground Railroad. There's also a homey lunch spot known for its veggie burger.

Historic sites in Philadelphia (and restaurants that serve veggie burgers) may not seem so notable, but visitors don't often make it to Germantown Avenue, where the trolley runs, preferring instead to brave the crowds at Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center in Center City.

Source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.




Philly insider trip tips from a new resident and CNN journo

A Philly newcomer and CNN correspondent writes about where to go and what to see here, including a shout out to Philly Beer Week.

Philly is one of the nation's oldest cities, which means you can walk a lot of places. The majority of the time, walking is the best bet, considering parking can be a nightmare. Pay your meter, otherwise get a ticket or towed. (There's even a reality show about the Parking Authority, and they mean business.) Check out the art on the walls with a walking tour of the Mural Mile to get a distinctive look at the city's charm.

Source: CNN
Read the full story here.


Philly schools battle against bad eating habits, in classroom and at home

The School District of Philadelphia puts new programs in place to help kids eat more healthfully, according to The New York Times.

Tatyana Gray bolted from her house and headed toward her elementary school. But when she reached the corner store where she usually gets her morning snack of chips or a sweet drink, she encountered a protective phalanx of parents with bright-colored safety vests and walkie-talkies.

The scourge the parents were combating was neither the drugs nor the violence that plagues this North Philadelphia neighborhood. It was bad eating habits.

The parents standing guard outside the Oxford Food Shop are foot soldiers in a national battle over the diets of children that has taken on new fervor. With 20 percent of the nation's children obese, the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed new standards for federally subsidized school meals that call for more balanced meals and, for the first time, a limit on calories. The current standard specifies only a minimum calorie count, which some schools meet by adding sweet foods.

Source: The New York Times
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Major renovations planned for Reading Terminal Market

The East Wing of Reading Terminal Market is getting an overhaul, with five new stalls and a demonstration kitchen planned, according to uwishunu.

Established in 1892 at 12th and Arch Streets, beloved local icon Reading Terminal Market is the nation's oldest continuously operating farmers' market. The always-abustle market sells everything from Amish baked goods and deli fare to city specialties like cheesesteaks and Famous Fourth Street cookies, while events and cooking classes showcase Philadelphia's vibrant dining scene. Given its storied history and constant usage, it's no wonder that the market is due for an exciting renovation.

Source: uwishunu
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A ticket out of the food desert from SEPTA, city

The City of Philadelphia and SEPTA join together to address the connection between public health and public transportation, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council and as reported in Flying Kite last week.

Don't see the link between transit and food? Philly does. The City of Philadelphia and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have made it a top goal to target food deserts--neighborhoods where it is difficult to access fresh food--and public transportation is at the core of their effort.

Source: NRDC Smarter Cities
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Rittenhouse Square's Continental Midtown makes list of top 10 rooftop bars

 Philadelphia's Continental Midtown is one of the top ten rooftop bars in the United States, according to USA Today.

Global tapas are on this menu at this stylish lounge a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square. The bar, operated by Stephen Starr, the celebrity chef behind some of the city's top restaurants, has heaters to keep things warm and stays open year-round. "It's one of those places that has incredible views," Gerber says.

Original Source: USA Today
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Philly's a vegan heaven, says WashPost

The Washington Post goes hunting for the best of Philly's abundant crop of vegan treats.

So one Saturday last month, my vegan friends and I hit the streets of Philadelphia - where the Phillies claim the country's top-ranked vegetarian ballpark - intending to do no harm to animals, the environment and presumably our health. (At our first stop, Cafe Mocha, we did, however, sample vegan donuts and cookies, and a quick sugar high reminded me that "vegan" doesn't always equal "nutritious.")

We headed to the South Street district for lunch at Blackbird, a vegan pizzeria with a chalkboard menu, a drab interior and space heaters. Blackbird's owner, Mark Mebus, is a Philly native and former chef at Horizons, the upscale restaurant that put vegan dining on the map here. He opened the pizzeria last fall.

Source: Washington Post
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Baltimore foodie declares Garces' food 'bright, shining, packed with flavor'

The Baltimore Sun food critic takes a day trip north to sample tapas at Jose Garces' flagship Old City restaurant, Amada.

A friend got in his head that we should all pile in a car and take a day-trip up to Philadelphia to eat at Amada, just one of the jewels in the crown of restaurants that Jose Garces (James Beard Award winner, Iron Chef) owns in Philadelphia.

Everything is bright, shining, packed with flavor. Cured meats are shaved to parchment thinness -- you can pick up a piece of serrano and look right through it. Cheese are with one of Garces' home-made condiments -- truffled lavender honey goes with aged manchego; garlic dulce de Leche with Garrotxa and a currant-pistachio "Salbitxada" with La Peral. Pairing this with strong, vinegary Isastegi cider -- just brilliant.

Original source: The Baltimore Sun
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Heads up, bottoms up: New way to pour beer premieres in Philly

Naturally, the Canadian Broadcasting Company loves the new dispensing technology for beer lovers that debuted at the Wells Fargo Center for a Flyers game last Tuesday.

The inventors of the Bottoms Up dispensing system claim that their device, which fills cups from the bottom up, can fill a pint cup up to nine times faster than traditional beer taps.

The system uses cups with holes in the bottom. The holes are covered with a magnet, which is pushed up as the beer spews up from the device. Once full, the cup is pulled up off the tap and the magnet comes back down to cover the hole, allowing the customer to grab the pint and get back to the game.

The system, which is used in about 30 stadiums and arenas across North America, launched at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

Original source: CBC News
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Thomas Jefferson researcher finds best hangover cure is classic combo

According to Professor Michael Oshinsky of Thomas Jefferson University, if you really want help overcoming a hangover--drink a cup of coffee with an aspirin.

Scientists have confirmed what millions have suspected for years if you want to soothe a tired head - simply take some caffeine and a painkiller.

They found the caffeine in coffee and the anti-inflammatory ingredients of aspirin and other painkillers reacted against the chemical compounds of ethanol, or pure alcohol.

Ethanol brings on headaches thanks to a chemical acetate it can produce and even low doses can affect some people more than others, said the study. 

Original source: UK Telegraph
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What Philly Has That Pittsburgh Wants

Pop City takes a look across the state at assets in Philly that Pittsburgh would love to make its own.

Making the most of Philadelphia's identity as the cradle of liberty is a single-subject museum that speaks to the city past and present. The National Constitution Center opened its doors in 2003 and shines a light on the four-page document from every conceivable angle.

In a city fueled by immigrants, food is on everyone's lips. Restaurateur Stephen Starr has leveraged that in recent years, opening a slew of stylish concept eateries in and around Center City. Eating his lunch of late are chef-driven restaurant groups helmed by Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner Jose Garces and fellow Beard award recipient Marc Vetri.

Original source: Pop City
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NY can't get enough of our culinary scene

Choosing wisely and widely, the New York Times Travel section profiles four Philadelphia eateries: Supper, Barbuzzo, JG Domestic and Fish.

Though tourists still mob Philadelphia's famous cheesesteak institutions, these days locals are just as likely to line up elsewhere for house-cured charcuterie, farm-fresh beet salads and delicate foie gras terrine.

Confirmation of the city's evolving palate came on a recent evening in the form of a spellbinding smoked sweet potato soup that a waiter poured tableside at Supper, a restaurant in Center City. As I scraped bits of toasted marshmallow off the side of the oblong bowl and swirled my spoon through the cinnamon-kissed diced apples at the base of the spicy puree, the aromas roused rosy remembrances of Thanksgivings past and swept away my outdated notions about the range of Philadelphia cuisine.


Original source: The New York Times
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Fare organic restaurant coming to Fairmount

You've got to give attorney David Orphanides a lot of credit. He's come up with an alternative to "artisanal," one of the more awkward-sounding terms in the English language. Jettisoning the word, but not the concept, Orphanides uses the more classic "crafted" when describing the four tenets that make up the philosophy of Fairmount's soon-to-open Fare restaurant, which also relies on local, organic and sustainable practices.

Orphanides eats organic and shops sustainably at home, so it makes total sense, he says, that Fare mirrors that lifestyle. "It's second nature for us. We couldn't see doing it any other way." Also on board are Savvas Navrosidis, who owns Fairmount Pizza, and attorney Andy Siegel.

Fare, which opens to the public in "early spring," eschews heavy creams and sauces for "food that's still very satisfying and filling." The projected 85-seat bar and restaurant located at 2028 Fairmount Avenue, across from Eastern State Penitentiary, is fit out with completely green, locally sourced furnishings. The black walnut bar comes from Pennsylvania trees. Wine, beer, and liquor served on that lovely expanse of local wood aims to be "biodynamic and organic, from local vineyards and distilleries," according to Orphanides.

Fare's menu evolved from an original concept of smaller snacks to include dishes for all appetites. Small plates and snacks range in price from $2-$8; salads are $6-$9, and main dishes range from $11-$18. Fare "started out more as a place for people to have a drink and socialize, more of a lounge" for Fairmount locals, but when chef Tim Bellew signed on, the menu expanded. Bellew's previous engagements include Fire in Cherry Hill, Black Eyed Susan in Long Beach Island, and MANNA catering in New York.

Source: David Orphanides, Fare Restaurant
Writer: Sue Spolan

Sixth borough my foot; Philly stands alone

Beauty and style editor Ysolt Usigan goes on a whirlwind tour of our city, dispelling the New York elitist notion that we're its "sixth borough," reports The Huffington Post.

When it came to partying, two speakeasies, and I was had! Once defined as "an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages" in the '20s and '30s, I discovered two venues with that feel nestled in Philadelphia's Penn Center neighborhood. First stop: the sexy Ranstead Room. With entrances through El Rey's kitchen and outside on the street (just look for the door marked with double Rs), I had cocktails with names so complicated I can't even remember them. Even though it was quite dim inside, the naked ladies gracing the walls were hard to miss. The venue is hot, to say the least.

From vintage shops to lux salons, even vast department stores with plenty of preppy and chic options to boot, there's no question--Philly knows style. I picked the best time to visit the city, too, with the Philadelphia Collection 2010 series underway. From September 23 to October 2, the city's many boutiques, stylists, designers and modeling agencies were hosting various independently produced events.

Original source: The Huffington Post
Read the full story here.


Irish travelers: Philadelphia, here we come

The travel section at Ireland's Herald.ie is high on Philadelphia for a variety of reasons, imploring the Irish to visit for our safe downtown, good eats and arts and culture.

It's puzzling why Philly isn't on most Irish people's radar. It's more historic than Boston, as Irish as Chicago, 30pc cheaper to live in than New York and has a food culture to match San Francisco.

The city centre proper, (known as Center City) is thriving, unlike many US urban areas. Sections of 15th Street are hubs of restaurants and nightlife, while the area's aptly titled Avenue of the Arts is the local equivalent of London's West End or New York's Broadway theatre districts. The best bit? It feels perfectly safe to walk around, by day or night (don't try this at home, kids).

Original source: Herald.ie
Read the full story here.


St. Louis loves Philly for what it really is

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch travel section mentions booing Santa Claus but quickly moves on, digging deeper than most national media last week to reveal the insider's view of Philadelphia.

Once you get beyond the fighting façade, Philadelphia is a city of tiny secret gardens, a diverse art and theater scene, a crazy diverse food/pub scene and a thousand walkable historical monuments and museums. Also, it's cheap as can be. You've got to work to spend $15 on a martini.

I moved here six years ago from St. Louis. The things I loved about St. Louis are the same things I love about Philadelphia--people are friendly, the streets have the same names (you copycats!) and there's no need to go to any chain restaurant ever.

Original source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Read the full story here.


Flying Kite among new online operations tackling local news

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on two online news publications that have launched recently, including yours truly.

As the market for news fragments, new models for journalism are emerging. Two of those experiments, Flying Kite and Patch, launched in Philadelphia last month.

"This is a fresh way to get fresh content about all the innovative things happening in our city," said Danielle Cohn, (Philadelphia Convention and Visitors) bureau spokeswoman.

Original source
: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the full story here.


Tuned Pale Ale sounds great after a few beers

Philadelphia design company Tuned has created a beer bottle that doubles as a musical instrument, reports Pitch.

Tuned is a design company that draws its inspiration from sound. The beer bottle (at right) for Tuned Pale Ale can actually be used as an instrument in several different ways. The label features the musical notes that correspond to your level of beer while the grooves along the side (near the drinker's thumb) can be strummed with a bottle cap. The beer's six-pack holder can even be flipped over and turned into a tongue drum.

Tuned has actually been produced and drunk, but it's not currently on the market. If you happen to own a brewery or were looking to get into the bottled-beer business, the designers behind Tuned are looking for a distributor.

Original source: Pitch
Read the full story here.


Philadelphia's urban-farming roots go deep and are spreading wide

Environmental publication Grist takes a look at Philly's urban farming scene, including the historic Manatawna Farm and Glenwood Green Acres.

The city is also host to two multi-acre farms, one at the Schuylkill Center, a nature preserve that operates a farm stand and a CSA in a surprisingly verdant area in the northwest part of the city. The other is managed by the member-owned Weavers Way Co-op grocery stores (more on that below, and full disclosure -- I'm a Weavers Way member, and the co-op hosts my Beyond Green blog).

Mayor Michael Nutter has issued a series of food-focused proposals and initiatives, including creating a food policy council and releasing the Philadelphia Food Charter, which puts ag front and center. Even the city's "Greenworks" initiative, designed to turn Philly into "the greenest city in America," sets the goal of increasing commercial agriculture within city limits.


Original source: Grist
Read the full story here.

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