More Changes at Philly Mag

First our gal J. Manning peaced out to become the editor of Tasting Table. Now comes word food editor Ashley Primis is saying bon voyage to the regional mag for the Director of Special Projects position at the recently James Beard-nom’ed Starr Restaurant Organization. Successors for Manning and Primis have yet to be named. Food writers, start your resumes.


Spring Cocktails at Franklin Mortgage

Photo: Mike Persico for Philadelphia Weekly

Cheers to Al Sotack, head bartender at Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., for dropping us a line with the speakeasy's new 34-drink spring menu. "Containing not only our take on nine classic cocktails, our Spring Menu features twenty-five staff contributions, undoubtedly representing the style and personality of our barkeeps more than either previous." Persephone, named for the Greek queen of the underworld, is looking to gain status as our regular drink this season. According to legend, the kidnapped maiden was permitted an annual springtime furlough from Hades, and upon her return, the earth would flower and fruit for six months. (Lesson courtesy of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.) Made with white rum, fresh grapefruit and lime juices, grapefruit bitters and house-made grenadine, Franklin's refreshing Persephone is exactly the kind of tonic to help shake off half a year of hibernation.


Wanna Make Carla Goncavles's Biscuits?

We've been M.I.A. more than minute, but this post brings us back with a bang. Carla Goncalves, better half of the twosome behind KooZeeDoo, shared with us the secret formula for her heavenly buttermilk biscuits, named "Best Back from the Dead Baked Good" in Philly Weekly's Better Than Best issue. The biscuits pictured above are not hers; you have to go to KooZeeDoo at lunch to get them, or now, just bake up a batch of your own.

Buttermilk Biscuits


3 cups AP flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

6 oz butter

2 cups buttermilk

Method: Mix dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients either by hand or in food processor. Stir in buttermilk until dough holds together. Press dough into a circle on a floured surface. Cut out biscuits. Gather scraps and shape into a circle again, cut out biscuits. Continue until no dough remains. Bake at 425 F until golden.

Photo: MyRecipes


For Brunch, Go Fish

You'll have to wait till next week for our official review of Mike Stollenwerk's sequel to his maddeningly popular Little Fish, but for now we can tell you the restaurant is set to begin brunch on January 31st. Surprisingly--and very unlike the dinner menu at fish--the carte du jour isn't nearly as seafood-dominated. And though we'll say yes please to baked eggs with lobster and uni emulsion, we're even more jazzed about french toast filled with foie gras, pork belly over grits and duck eggs benedict gilded in duck fat hollandaise. Sunday the 31st also marks Stollenwerk's reprisal of Little Fish's famous $28 five-course pre-fixe. Given that fish, while more than double the size of Little Fish, still only seats 47 including the bar, reservations will likely be just as elusive. Godspeed.

Brunch Menu
Smoked Salmon Hash
Fried egg, celery leaf

Prosciutto, fontina, arugula

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

Brown sugar butter

Baked Eggs
Lobster, shitake, sea urchin emulsion

Duck Eggs Benedict
House made Canadian bacon, duck fat hollandaise

Foie Gras Stuffed French Toast
Sherry syrup, orange dust

Simple Eggs
Your style with choice of:
Bacon, Canadian bacon, house made pork roll, breakfast sausage

12 hour Pork Belly
grits, brussel leaves

Crabcake BLT
Pumpernickel, pickled fennel

Cobb Salad

Blue Bay Mussels
Coconut, curry, lemongrass

Classic niscoise, poached egg vinaigrette

Chicken Fried Monkfish
Chorizo gravy

Lobster Grilled Cheese
Tomato soup

Hiramasa Tacos
Avocado, tomatillo, cilantro


Pork roll
Canadian bacon
Breakfast sausage
Smoked salmon
Fingerling hash
Brussel leaves
English muffin
Fresh ricotta
Photo: fish


Deal Alert: Pre-Fixe Proliferation

January is shaping up to be the month of the pre-fixe menu. Consider this dealsky of a dinner menu recently slipped into the check presenter at newish Portuguese kitchen Koo Zee Doo: a “Regional Taste of Portugal” from chef/owner David Gilberg featuring five courses for $75—per couple! Do the math, kids; that’s only $38.50 per person, available every night from January 15th through February 15th.

Acorda a Alentejana
Bread Soup with Cilantro & Poached Egg

Tripas a Moda de Porto
Tripe with White Beans

Lulas a Algarvia
Sauteed Squid in White Wine

Chandana de Coimbra
Goat Stew

Bolo de Mel
Honey Cake

Also just got word of Snackbar’s Restaurant Week counter-programming, a “Three Years, Three Bells, Three Courses, $30” menu that, if you so desired, could culminate with that succulent-looking red snapper glossed with miso beurre blanc pictured above. The whole menu is eligable, right down to the soft pretzel bread pudding with fleur de sel caramel and pretzel praline. Chef John Taus will be running the deal from Sunday, January 24th to Friday, the 29th. And on Tuesdays and Sundays through February at Sonata, chef/owner Mark Tropea is doing a build-your-own tasting that gives diners access to most of the restaurant’s menu. It’s $31 for app, entrée, dessert. Check the website for the full menu.

Photo: Snackbar


New Chef & Menu For The Institute

Heather deRussy, co-owner of the Institute at 12th & Green got in touch to tell us about the pub's new chef and menu. But didn't they already have a chef, Brian Bosch of Parc... And what happened to the Puerto Rican fusion menu? "Frankly, it didn't work," deRussy says. In is chef Kyle Grayson, whose resume includes El Vez and the Witch in Pennsport. Peep the working (read: not spellchecked) menu below, synched to premiere with the Institute's US versus Belgian event on January 16th.

Veggie-peppers,onions, black beans, olives cheddar, cheddar jack
Meat-bacon, chili, pork, cheddar, pepper jack
Curry chicken salad
Shredded chicken, curry mayo almonds and rasians
Stuffed mushrooms
Herb goat cheese and chicken
Fried mozz, basil pesto and tomato jam
Red wine or guiness gravy
French toast sticks
Green salad
Warm bacon Vinaigrette,garden veggies, and mushrooms
Apple salad
goat cheese honey balsamic dressing
Warm potato salad
Bacon,Dijon, relish
Fish tacos
Pico de gillo, chipotle lime aoli and pickled onions
Hangover cure
French Fries, Fried Mozz, Chicken fingers, Chicken cheesesteak
Breakfast Sandwich
Eggs,bacon, cheese W/ french toast sticks
Stuffed chicken sandwich
rosemary mayo
Rosemary mayo or chipotle lime aoli caramelized onions cheddar and red wine gravy.

Pancakes, Bacon,Eggs
Maple braised Pork
rosemary mash
Hanger steak
warm potao salad


Chocolate chip or pumpkin Bread pudding

Port and dark chocolate brownies

Apple Crumble

Sangria shaved ice


From the old menu:
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Mango bbq pork sandwich
Hanger steak sandwich
Pork Fries
Cheese Plate

Photo: FermentNation


Best of 2009... Runners Up

Choosing only 10 dishes for the Best of 2009 story in this week’s PW was about as easy a decision as choosing a movie to watch OnDemand. So without further ado, the runners-up.

Hot Legs, Lucky 13 / Yes, the name is unfortunate name, but these braised chicken legs thawed 2009’s winter frost with green olives, preserved lemon and a Moroccan-inspired marinara suffused with cinnamon and mint. (January)

Jerk Chicken, Irie Caribbean Grill / Never have I had jerk so authentically spicy. That is came from a camo-green food truck (which has since disappeared from 24th & Passyunk) made it that much better. (January)

Burger, Prohibition Taproom / The beef blend for this bad-boy comes from Esposito’s and is top-secret. Just be thankful you’re in on its bacon-sautéed leeks-and-gorgonzola-crowned existence. (February)

Scallops & Angel Hair, Fork / The housemade capellini, not the scallops, were the stars of this delicately balanced appetizer tossed with fierce pickled cherry peppers, toasted pine nuts and anisey tarragon butter. (April)

Chifa Chicken / Thanks to Art Etchells of Foobooz for just reminding is of the bangin’ bird prepared Peking-style at Chifa. (April)

Kebabs, S&H Kebab House / Meat + metal rods + smoking coals. With native Turks doing the cooking, how could it not be amazing? (May)

Ham Steak & Red-Eye Gravy, P.O.P.E. / Credit new-in-’09 chef Pete Miller for giving P.O.P.E. the food it always deserved, including this brawny ham steak and eggs slathered in coffee-spiked gravy inspired by the truck stops of Miller’s native Illinois. (July)

Domingo Arepa, Sazon / The fillings, in this case cuminy black beans and queso, are almost extraneous beings Judy Suzarra-Campbell’s pillowy white-corn pockets are like a trip to Caracas. (July)

Lemon-Braised Short Ribs, Noble / Not a great experience at Noble, but there was no denying the excellence of former chef Steve Cameron’s surprisingly summery short ribs over sweet-and-savory onion rice pudding. (July)

Breakfast Burger, snackbar / Morning on a fine Metropolitan brioche roll: juicy beef, house-smoked bacon, cheddar and a fried egg with the yolk gloriously runny. (November)

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes, Village Whiskey / When dreaming about the Village Burger—officially the city’s best—these wonderfully sweet-and-sour gems served with sourdough toast and cloudlike whipped ricotta are never far behind. (December)

And some non-PW-reviewed bests…

Miso Soup, James / Hear “James”, think “Italian”, but just because chef Jim Burke does some ethereal pastas, doesn’t mean dude can’t rock miso soup. Here, dashi is poured tableside over a bowl swiped with mellow miso paste, yuzu gel and carpaccio of blue prawn.

Nachos Encarnacion, Distrito / We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Garces’s cast-iron skillet-full nachos flecked with charred ends of skirt steak and showered in cilantro sprouts are the best in town.

Butternut Squash Puree, Marigold Kitchen / The banana bubbles could have gone so, so wrong atop this voluptuous soup, but new chef Rob Halpern knows his flavors.

Birch Beer Wings, Supper / Mitch Prensky brines, smokes, braises and fries his wings, which are then thoroughly lacquered in reduced birch beer.

Avgolemono Soup, Kuzina by Sofia / Great Greek in a Cherry Hill strip-mall? Why not. Tender short-grain white rice is like buried treasure at the bottom of this cup, which brims with a simultaneously refreshing and warming chicken broth fortified with beaten egg and lemon.

Foie Gras, MéMé / Floral vanilla salt and peach jam accented a lovely seared liver earlier this fall.

Soft Pretzels, 10 Arts / We suspect the tossing it brown butter elevates homegirl Jen C.’s pretzel bites above the others in town.

Vegan (we think) Coconut Plantain Soup, Royal Tavern / This sweet, velvety, ferociously spicy puree kicked our ass—and we loved every spoonful.

Pork Chop, Modo Mio / Cheese plate met entrée at Modo Mio, where Peter McAndrews paired a perfectly seared pork chop with gooey Taleggio fonduta, almonds and wine-poached apricots.