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Could Philadelphia become a mecca for vertical farming?

This sustainable agriculture model might just bloom in the City of Brotherly Love.

With its muggy summers and freezing winters, Philadelphia isn’t exactly known as an agricultural hotspot. But a resolution passed Thursday by Philadelphia City Council could put the City of Brotherly Love on the map as the next international green hub.

Local lawmakers are aiming to expand vertical and urban farming in the bustling metropolis, Philly.com reported.

“The most noble thing a human being can do is produce food for others,” Councilman Al Taubenberger, who introduced the resolution, said at a news conference held at Metropolis Farms in South Philly. “Vertical farming is something very special indeed, and fits like a glove in Philadelphia.”

As EcoWatch reported, Metropolis Farms is not only the first indoor hydroponic vertical farm in Philadelphia, it’s the first vegan-certified farm in the nation and the only known vertical farm to operate on the second floor of a building. By growing food locally, the farm slashes the distance food needs to travel to get to local kitchens, grocery stores and restaurants.


Original source: Alternet
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Britain's Mirror spends 48 hours in Philadelphia

The British publication sent their travel editor to Philadelphia -- he came back with "eight essential experiences."

If you’ve only got 48 hours in the city with famous links to Monopoly, the first thing you should do is go directly to jail.

Philadelphia was where legend says businessman Charles Darrow dreamed up the iconic board game in 1933 (he didn’t, he patented it – it was invented in 1903 by Elizabeth Magie of Washington DC, but that’s another story).

However, on a short visit to the splendid City of Brotherly Love, I cannot recommend highly enough a trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary. Here are eight unmissable things to see and do on a short break to Philly – much of which is walkable.


Original source: Mirror
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'South Philly, West of Broad' named one of the country's best beer 'hoods

DRAFT Magazine names a segment of Philadelphia one of American's great beer neighborhoods.

This isn’t the name of a ’hood, but more the western quadrant of the city made up of several neighborhoods. They’re culturally diverse, working-class neighborhoods that are experiencing significant gentrification with businesses (and beer) following suit. Overall, there’s not tons of stuff yet, but it’s ready to explode given the recent additions.” –Jared Littman, founder of Philly Tap Finder

The original: South Philadelphia Tap Room has been a beloved mainstay since 2003, featuring 14 taps (including cask and nitro lines) and food until 1 a.m.

The newbie: New arrival Brewery ARS shoots for a spring opening in West Passyunk, brewing American-style saisons (expect dialed-up hops) with a small cafe attached.

Also visit: Taproom on 19th bar, American Sardine BarBrew bottle shop


Original source: DRAFT Magazine
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Philly restaurants invade Washington, D.C.

Watch out Washington, D.C.: Philly restauranteurs are coming to town. The Washington Post looks at this growing trend.

What's next, the Liberty Bell?

Philadelphia may be home to its own excellent food scene, but more and more chefs and restaurateurs from the city are making the 123-mile trek south, bringing both tried-and-true and new concepts to Washington.

There's Pizzeria Vetri, from the acclaimed Vetri Family Italian restaurant group; HipCityVeg, a vegan fast-casual chain; and Honeygrow, a fast-casual stir-fry chain. All three have plans this spring or summer to join a scene that already includes Philadelphia imports such as restaurateur Stephen Starr (Le Diplomate), coffee roaster and cafe La Colombe and chef Jose Garces (Rural Society), whose Village Whiskey bourbon and burger bar is in development here as well. 

"I always felt Washington was a cool market," said Starr, whose runaway success at Le Diplomate, the 14th Street NW brasserie that opened in 2013, sold more than a few Philadelphia chefs on the prospect of opening in the nation's capital. He began scouting the city in the late '90s but only pulled the trigger when he found the perfect location -- an old dry cleaner in a free-standing, one-story building with plenty of sidewalk space. He said he's also "close" to two more deals here.


Original source: The Washington Post
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Beer garden confirmed for Reading Viaduct

As we reported in December, a PHS Pop-Up Beer Garden is coming to Callowhill. The plans have now been confirmed.

This summer, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society plans to open two pop-up beer gardens, a return to 15th and South streets plus a new park at the foot of the Philadelphia Rail Park.

Thanks to a $360,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphians will get their first extended interaction with the planned Rail Park. A pop-up garden is set for 10th and Hamilton streets, at the base of the Reading Viaduct. Today, the area is a tangle of crumbling concrete, overgrown lots and decay, but with the help of PHS and noted landscape architect Walter Hood, the project aims to merge the post-industrial structure with urban green space. The pop-up will raise awareness for the creation of the Rail Park as it blends art, history and horticulture. The location is convenient to live music venues Union Transfer and Underground Arts, as well as the Chinatown and Callowhill neighborhoods. Perhaps even more so than the other PHS pop-ups, this location will challenge the way Philadelphians interact with and envision their urban spaces.


Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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Conde Nast Traveler publishes South Philly-centric list of top local eats

Conde Nast Traveler runs down the "6 Best Places to Eat in Philadelphia Right Now," and it has a decidedly southern (Philly) bent with Bing Bing Dim Sum, Coeur, Restaurant Neuf, Hungry Pigeon and Laurel. Kensington Quarters is the one outlier.

Philadelphia may be known for its cheesesteaks, and with good reason. But for those with a finer palette, or who are simply looking for a bite that's equal parts creative and delicious, head to one of these six new restaurants in the City of Brotherly Love. From a pan-Asian take on matzo ball soup to "Frenchified Algerian" and then some, chefs are bringing the heat—and the cheese, and the wine, and the....pigeon? (yup, pigeon)—turning down-to-earth Philly into a foodie's dream.

Original source: Conde Nast Traveler
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Starr Restaurants hires high-profile new culinary director

Starr Restaurants has hired a new head honcho with a New York pedigree.

When Alex Lee resigned his pressure-cooker position as executive chef atDaniel in 2003 to become the executive chef at Glen Oaks country club in Old Westbury, N.Y., he may as well have gone to Mars. A high-profile star seemed to have left the picture.

Now he is back in the restaurant world as the culinary director of Starr Restaurants, Stephen Starr’s fast-growing group of 34 restaurants, most in Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Lee, who started last week, will oversee all of them and the other corporate chefs in the organization. Mr. Starr said he expected Mr. Lee to concentrate on the company’s new restaurants...

Hiring Mr. Lee is yet another example of Mr. Starr’s ability to attract marquee chefs. His roster already includes Masaharu Morimoto, Douglas Rodriguez, Justin Smillie, Jason Atherton from London and Daniel Rose from Paris.


Original source: The New York Times
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Statewide Spotlight: Pittsburgh's food scene hits the big time

The New York Times continues its love affair with Steel City, this time highlighting the symbiosis between the Pittsburgh food scene and its growing population of young people.

Everybody seems so young. And everybody’s talking about restaurants. If there are scholars who hope to study how a vibrant food culture can help radically transform an American city, the time to do that is right now, in real time, in the place that gave us Heinz ketchup.

In December, Zagat named Pittsburgh the No. 1 food city in America. Vogue just went live with a piece that proclaimed, “Pittsburgh is not just a happening place to visit — increasingly, people, especially New Yorkers, are toying with the idea of moving here.”

For decades, Pittsburgh was hardly seen as a beacon of innovative cuisine or a magnet for the young. It was the once-glorious metropolis that young people fled from after the shuttering of the steel mills in the early 1980s led to a mass exodus and a stark decline.

“We had to reinvent ourselves,” said Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh’s mayor.

And they have. Over the last decade or so, the city has been the beneficiary of several overlapping booms. Cheap rent and a voracious appetite for culture have attracted artists. Cheap rent and Carnegie Mellon University have attracted companies like Google, Facebook and Uber, seeking to tap local tech talent. And cheap rent alone has inspired chefs to pursue deeply personal projects that might have a hard time surviving in the Darwinian real estate microclimates of New York and San Francisco.

No one can pinpoint whether it was the artists or techies or chefs who got the revitalization rolling. But there’s no denying that restaurants play a starring role in the story Pittsburgh now tells about itself. The allure of inhabiting a Hot New Food Town — be it Nashville or Richmond, Va., or Portland (Oregon or Maine) — helps persuade young people to visit, to move in and to stay.


Original source: The New York Times
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Toronto Star asks, Is Philly cooler than New York? (Yes!)

The Canadian paper reassesses the City of Brotherly Love, and likes what they see.
 
When you think of the city of Philadelphia, what pops into your head?

My impression used to be a mishmash of gooey meat-and-cheese sandwiches, Rocky Balboa running up some stone steps, a cracked bronze bell, and the intro song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But then I went to Philly for a few days, and that all changed.

What I discovered is an understated, historically rich city quietly going through a youth-driven cultural revolution that could propel it to the top of hip, urban U.S.-destination lists. Yes, I’m going to say it: Philadelphia might just turn out to be cooler than New York City...

Original source: Toronto Star
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Solomonov doc gets Philly premiere

A documentary detailing Philly chef Michael Solomonov's journey through Israeli cuisine will make its local premiere next month at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival. The film will be shown Monday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gershman Y cultural center. Solomonov will be on hand for a post-film conversation and reception, as well as a book signing for his best-selling Zahav cookbook. From Philly.com:

Directed by Oscar-nominated documentarian Roger Sherman, In Search of Israeli Cuisine follows Solomonov on an adventure through Israel’s vibrant food culture. The result: An intimate, behind-the-scenes look into the culinary heritages that have helped inspire beloved Phildelphia restaurants like Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, and Zahav.

"It’s important for Americans to realize that regardless of what you see on TV, regardless of your political stance, Israeli cuisine reflects humanity at its best," Solomonov said of the doc via a release. "Sometimes the easiest way for people to relate to a country is through its food and culture."


Tickets: $15 film only; $30 film and reception; $60 for film and reception along with a copy of Zahav.

Original source: Philly.com
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Philly photog shares local hidden gems with HuffPo

A partnership between Global Yodel and Huffington Post results in this local guide from photographer Darren Burton.

What is the best thing about Philadelphia? Hands down, the food and the art. Last year Philadelphia was ranked #6 for the best food cities in America by the Washington Post. Most tourists only know of us for our cheesesteaks, which ironically we don't eat often. There are MANY amazing restaurants that will leave your stomach satisfied to say the least. In addition to tons of restaurants, you can also find many murals, museums and art galleries throughout the city...

Describe a perfect day in Philadelphia: If my friend was at the The Logan Philadelphia Hotel for 24 hours, for starters, I would have them get breakfast at the Urban Farmer Restaurant on the 1st floor. (I'd suggest the Honey Biscuit with Country Sausage and Chicken.) After they eat I'd urge them to spend their afternoon on the parkway checking out the Philadelphia Museum of ArtAcademy of Natural Sciences, and The Franklin Institute. Of course, after all the walking they'd be hungry, so, I'd suggest going to Tela's Market on 19th and Fairmount and eating their Softshell Crab Sandwich followed by a Strawberry Banana Gelato from Philly Flavors which is only one block away. By this time, I'm sure they'd be tired so I'd suggest to go to The Logan Spa back at the hotel for a nice massage and then a nap. When they awake during the evening I'd urge them to put on a casual outfit and head over to Silk City in the Northern Liberties neighborhood and grab a bite to eat. (I'd suggest getting the Shrimp & Grits.) After dinner, the grand finale would be to head on over to The Fillmore for a dope concert. When the concert is over, if they still wanted to party, I'd suggest dancing their little hearts out at The Barbary right down the street.


Original source: Huffington Post; Global Yodel
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Travel + Leisure counts down Philly's top spots to watch the Super Bowl

Travel + Leisure picks their top five spots to catch the big game (February 7). You can root for the Panthers or the Broncos will sipping beer and noshing snacks. Here are our two favorites from the list.

2. McGillin's Olde Ale House
Established in the late 19th-century, McGillin's is the oldest continuously operating tavern in town. If you don't believe them, every single liquor license this modern speakeasy has acquired since 1871 hangs on a wall, alongside other signage of the ghosts of the city's past, like Wanamaker's and Woolworth. Shimmy up to the bar and order the SuperMug for $5, which gets you refills of Bud Light throughout the entire game for a buck a pop...

5. Brauhaus Schmitz
While this South Street German beer hall is normally your go-to venue to catch that other brand of football (along with Fado, a few blocks to the west), this year you can join the ranks of like-minded fans who believe that football—even the American kind—is best paired with lederhosen and giant draughts of bier. The game will be broadcast on the big screen in their Brauer Bund Beer Hall. Their $50 Super Bowl special includes pork rinds, roast beef, meatballs, wings, and more, all you can drink beer, and tax and gratuity. Make reservations by visiting their website.


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

Shining a light on Stargazy, South Philly's remarkable new pie and mash shop

Local food writer Drew Lazor goes deep on Stargazy, the British-style pie shop that recently opened on East Passyunk Avenue.

But what really sets Stargazy apart is the pie and mash itself, a simple but incredibly satisfying dish that has yet to have its moment here in the States. Understanding the appeal of this beloved blue-collar meal, Jacobson and others will tell you, is key to understanding the DNA of London’s working class. It’s that city’s original fast food — and if the early reaction to Stargazy is any indication, Americans are picking up on it quick.

Jacobson, who holds dual U.K./U.S. citizenship, originally crossed the pond for work ten years ago and hasn’t left. He’s cooked in a number of restaurants around the country, most notably a string of small, critically acclaimed, chef-driven restaurants in the Philadelphia area. But when it finally came time to go all in on his own place, Jacobson knew it was an opportunity to introduce something completely different. That something: an American approximation of the “proper” pie and mash shops of his childhood.

While not an everyday thing, Jacobson has vivid memories of visiting these tidy canteen-style shops with his father, who himself was raised on the stuff in London’s East End. The single-plate combination of a flaky-cased beef pie, mashed potato, electric-green parsley liquor and a right scoop of eels is the type of comfort food that sticks with you as much as to you.

“It was something I became more nostalgic for after I moved away and couldn’t have it anymore,” says Jacobson, who began poking around to learn how other pie men in the States did it. He quickly came to a realization: “Nationally, I couldn’t find a single shop. I thought, there has to be room for one.” As far as he can tell, Stargazy still holds that distinction a little more than three months in. 


Original source: Food Republic
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Local food writers launch podcast

Food mavens Joy Manning and Marisa McClellan have created Local Mouthful, a podcast focusing on all things local and tasty.

Podcasts can be a home cook’s best friend, teaching and entertaining us while keeping us company -- and they’re especially useful during the holiday season as we log extended hours in the kitchen...

Manning is the editor of Edible Philly magazine, a cookbook author and a former restaurant critic for Philadelphia magazine. McClellan is a canning guru and the author of several books, including the upcoming Naturally Sweet Food in Jars(Running Press, 2016).

The two met in 2002 while working admin jobs at a nonprofit outside of the culinary world. Coincidentally, both went on to pursue careers in food writing. Over the years, Manning and McClellan would take long walks around the city, discussing everything from farmers market finds to recent restaurant meals. 

“I often thought to myself, we should record this and do a podcast,” says Manning. 

Finally, in August they began producing weekly episodes in McClellan’s Rittenhouse apartment. Topics range from the best weeknight crockpot meals to favorite types of oysters. Many of the episodes include an interview with a guest, such as Joe Beddia of the acclaimed Pizzeria Beddia and P.J. Hopkins of Brine Street Picklery.?


Original source: Philly Voice
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Marc Vetri to sell restaurant group to URBN

In a stunning move, local chef and restauranteur Marc Vetri and his partner Jeff Benjamin have sold their empire to Urban Outfitters, Inc. The high-end flagship resto Vetri was not included in the sale.

Restaurant patrons will not notice a thing, Vetri said in an interview. "Nothing is changing. In meetings, everyone from Urban kept saying, ‘It’s more crucial than ever that you guys are at your restaurants.’ " Terms were not immediately disclosed.

With Vetri as president and Benjamin as COO, the Vetri Family will become a subsidiary of Urban Outfitters Inc., known as URBN. It will join a stable of brands that includes hip clothing retailer Urban Outfitters, female-focused lifestyle store Anthropologie, home and garden center Terrain, and apparel enterprise Free People, which operates both retail and wholesale arms.

Vetri Family partners Jeff Michaud and Brad Spence each will assume the title "executive director, culinary," and will continue their roles overseeing menu development and execution at all properties.

No branding or logo modifications are planned, and no employee moves are expected...

All of URBN’s current food and beverage brands will be folded into and managed by the Vetri Family. The restaurant veterans will also be tasked with helping Urban develop food and beverage concepts - a challenge both Vetri and Benjamin say they are very much looking forward to.

"It’s like after 17 years, Jeff and I are renewing our vows instead of getting a divorce," Vetri said, clearly energized by the whole deal.


Original source: Philly.com
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155 Food Articles | Page: | Show All
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