Monthly Archives: January 2016

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HipCityVeg coming to the former FroZenYo space in Chinatown

Source: PoPville

HipCityVeg coming to the former FroZenYo space in Chinatown
photo courtesy @TonyTGoodman

Tony T Goodman tweets:

“First DC (& non-Philly) location for @HipCityVeg has started construction at 712 7th NW for 100% vegan restaurant.”

You can check out their Philly menu here. Updates when they get closer to opening.

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La Chine Might Not Be the Apotheosis of Chinese Fine Dining, But It Has Its Moments

Source: Grub Street NY

La Chine.

There is an eternal, somewhat doomed sense of hope among the Beijing or Sichuan or Cantonese food snobs I know that one of these days, or even one of these decades, a truly exceptional high-end Chinese restaurant will land unexpectedly in our midst, like some gilded star craft from outer space. This restaurant will not be the clubby, overpriced satellite of some formerly Michelin-praised joint in London or Singapore. The noodles and dumpling skins will be hand rolled in-house, instead of trucked in from some market downtown. The menu will be filled with stately renditions of old and ...

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The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

Late in 2015, Eater NY published The Manhattan Food Court Manual, an analysis of seven key food courts, most of them having arrived in the previous year. We concluded that food courts constituted crucial new dining destinations, providing critical space for both start-ups and for experienced operators fleeing high real estate prices. These institutions bridged the gap between food trucks and traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, with a comfort level somewhere in between and an opportunity for consumers to have an expanded food selection.

But we also noted, more disparagingly, that the new food courts were often overpriced and provided insufficient seating for the crowds they were designed to attract. The article posited that many more would be on the way, and just after the new year arrived, two more appeared: The Pennsy, a massive concrete-swaddled hall at the northeast corner of the Penn Station/Madison Square Garden complex; and Chef Street, in the basement of Macy’s, the world’s largest department store. They are scarcely a block away from each other, proving that food courts are bunching up in Midtown.

Both represent a refinement of the principles established at previous food courts such as Gotham West, Gansevoort Market, and UrbanSpace Vanderbilt. For example, both newcomers have fewer food stalls and consequently more sit-down space. Compare The Pennsy with UrbanSpace Vanderbilt and you’ll see the difference. With 21 vendors, Vanderbilt presents a bewildering array of choices for the prospective diner, who is likely to spend too much time wandering confusedly. By contrast, The Pennsy has only five counters, and deciding what to eat is a speedier process.

The Pennsy also features more seating relative to the number of stalls, meaning you don’t have to stand and eat. Heck, some of the chairs even have backs. There’s also a section with couches and coffee tables, making a relaxed meal seem like an option. Another factor seen at the Pennsy and Chef Street is an increased emphasis on celebrity chefs. Both furnish one for nearly every booth, even when the chefs seem to have little to do with the actual food.

The Pennsy

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

Hate the name? Yeah, me too – it sounds like a lock-up for toddler criminals. Yet there it is, the sign done up in lights like a Broadway smash hit. The layout is genius — no twisting stairway as at City Kitchen. Bam! You’re right in the middle of the action, and the totally unembellished nature of the space, the bare concrete surfaces, makes it seem more like a convention hall than a food court. There’s a plainish bar deep inside that currently lacks its liquor license. It seems calculated to attract Penn Station travelers, who enter via a separate hallway; so far the patrons are mostly foodies, not suitcased sojourners.

The foodies are at least partly attracted by the chef firepower. Celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda has a counter (where, quizzically, no burgers are sold), and so does chef Marc Forgione, whom I saw sitting at the bar on one of my visits, testing his own food. Mario Batali has a counter, too, though it’s uncertain how much he really has to do with it. The other two stalls are descended from a gluten-free fast casual chain and a vegan food truck, but have signage that identifies and personalizes their lesser-known founders. Add tax to all prices.

Pat LaFrieda

This is the largest of the counters, L-shaped and employing 13 in a tight space marshalled with sandwich presses, convection ovens, bubbling pots of meatballs, and refrigerated, portion controlled, pre-sliced meats and cheeses. The set-up is quirky: a pair of young female employees with T-shirts that say “Eat My Meat” (really, Pat?) take your order at a remote station, and then transmit it to the main counter without taking your money. You collect beverages, desserts, and other point-of-purchase items as you wait for your sandwich and then pay.

Unfortunately, much of the food isn’t great. A roast beef sandwich on a seeded and crusty torpedo of modest length seems puny at the price ($12). There isn’t all that much meat and it tastes like cold deli roast beef. An order of Brussels sprouts boasts plenty of bacon and tastes good, even though the green orbs are undercooked. The luxury item here, offered every day as a special on my visits, is beef short rib ($15), which turns out to be six too-soft slices in a sweet sauce with some slaw on the side. Worse was a side dish of potatoes cooked to little wrinkled stumps.

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

[Top: Eggplant sandwich from Mario by Mary. Bottom: Doughnut from Cinnamon Snail, and Pat LaFrieda’s roast beef sandwich]

Little Beet

Little Beet is a mini-chain of gluten-free cafes in New York, Long Island, and Washington, DC, presided over by Franklin Becker, who has appeared on Top Chef Masters. Though vegetable driven, seafood and chicken find their way onto a menu mainly limited to a few bowls and a few outsize maki rolls. The sushi rolls are premade, and thus the nori in our banh mi roll ($10.10) was gummy as all get out. The roll was filled with rice and chicken salad, with no discernible pickle to the shredded vegetables inside. A salad featuring the unusual combo of cauliflower, radishes, avocado, lettuce, and chickpeas in a chickpea dressing was wholesome but ultimately way too bland.

Mario By Mary

The “Mary” of the name is Mary Giuliani (self-described on her website as “caterer to the stars”), who has run a catering outfit since 2005 based partly on recipes developed by Mario Batali. This represents the presence of a celebrity chef by proxy, and makes you wonder: Why didn’t Batali just do the food himself? It also explains why the menu tends to be hit or miss. The pressed eggplant sandwich ($12) featuring ricotta and scamorza was fine, though it needed some sort of flavor kick.

Better was a knock-off New Orleans muffaletta, featuring green olive relish plus the classic cold cuts and cheese. It would have been perfect if the bread hadn’t been so damn crusty. But a stracciatella (a Roman egg-drop soup, $7) substituting kale for spinach displayed lackluster croutons and eggdrops that had deteriorated into tiny dots. Why not add the egg drops at the last minute? Too much effort?

Cinnamon Snail

Descended from a popular vegan food truck famous for its pastries, Cinnamon Snail offers some kick-ass breakfast items and desserts, including cinnamon snails, conventional glazed donuts, and oddball Thai basil-coconut and marshmallow s’mores donuts. Savory fare at Cinnamon Snail proved inferior to these triumphs of the eggless baker’s art, including a pallid spinach-filled pastry and a couple of very strange veggie burgers.

The “beastmode burger deluxe” ($10.95) dribbles painfully sweet barbecue sauce that tastes like it was just poured from a bottle. Heaped on the patty — which might have been fine in a plainer context — was mac and “cheese” that was mainly mac, fake bacon, arugula, and chipotle mayo, proving that vegan food doesn’t need to be even remotely healthy. Full “samiches” and “open face joints” fill out the menu (is the food aimed at stoners?), with gluten-free options available at elevated prices.

Lobster Press

After a first stroll through The Pennsy, you’re likely to notice that a majority of the sandwiches offered are pressed. Why? This accomplishes several objectives for the stall operator. Prime among them is that the bread doesn’t have to be fresh if it’s squished in the sandwich press. Additionally, it’s hard for the consumer to judge the quantity of ingredients in a pressed sandwich.

Thus we have Marc Forgione’s take on the wildly popular lobster roll. Called the lobster press ($9 half/$17 whole), it stuffs small chunks of lobster flecked with pimento and celery into a demi-baguette and then squishes the hell out of it. A bowl of thick pink sauce is served on the side for dipping, but you can’t really treat it as a soup since it’s too salty. The thing is very tasty, but you can’t help but notice the diminished quantity of lobster. A cup of coconut-laced chowder also features the crustacean in insufficient quantity at the price ($9.25), while a more-conventional toasted pimento cheese with bacon sandwich is simply terrific. The stall decoration features a nautical theme.

Chef Street

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

It’s easy to see Chef Street as another in a long list of Macy’s merchandising missteps. Located mid- basement, and hence difficult to access from both Broadway and Seventh Ave, it stands at the end of the sales floor known as One Below, which is apparently directed in style and content at millennials, or maybe it’s tweens. Nevertheless, the food court is at least prepossessing in appearance, with four counters built so they look like shiny Airstream trailers.

The food has been selected specifically for hipness, and all stalls but one are celebrity driven, even to the point of absurdity. The seating area is ample, consisting of benches with wooden seats, counters, and free-standing tables. To say the place has not caught on yet is an understatement. Yet, if you select carefully there are both delicious foods and some bargains to be had here.

The system of ordering is wacky. A clerk at the head of your line enters your order into an iPad and then hands you a chit with a number on it. You are then required to go to the trailer that corresponds to your order and wait for the number to be called. Woe betide the diner who, like me, orders from all four trailers at once, since then you must dash from trailer to trailer to see when your order is done. Cold cases also vend sandwiches, salads, and sodas.

Tabo Noodles

The menu of this trailer represents a classic ramen-ya, with three choices of ramen ($11 to $13), plus gyoza, steamed bao, fried chicken, and soba salad. The chef is Takashi Yagihashi, selected by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef Midwest in 2003, and thereafter a veteran of cooking reality shows. The shoyu tonkotsu broth flaunts a pleasing beige color with droplets of oil dancing on the surface; standard interpolations include a gooey egg, bamboo shoots, kelp, spiraling pink fishcake, and a modest slab of fatty pork. The only problem was the size of the bowl, which was somewhat meager. On another occasion, the tatsuta-age chicken was really awful, reheated and tasting of the fridge.

Taquitoria

You’re no doubt familiar with Taquitoria, a bright spot in the Lower East Side fast-food firmament vending the rolled and fried tacos of San Diego. Well, precisely the same short menu is reproduced here, offering a choice of four fillings and two styles of presentation: “classic” and “cheesy.” At three for $6, they’re delectable and not a horrible deal. What is horrible, though, is that Marc Forgione takes the credit for this snack — he’s the celebrity chef responsible for “presenting” this counter. This is just plain weird. Stick with The Pennsy, Marc!

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

The Pennsy Arrives With a Bang, Chef Street With a Whimper

[Top: Salad by Crumb on Parchment. Bottom: Chicken sandwich by Rollie’s and Taquitos by Taquitoria.]

Crumb on Parchment

Ignore the cryptic name. This stall is the brainchild of Michelle Bernstein, an award-winning Miami chef “of Jewish and Latin descent” as the menu describes here. She is clearly pretty far afield from either tradition in this context, creating a series of faddish bowls and a couple of sandwiches for her Airstream. Of the two bowls sampled on separate visits, the “rustic Greek salad” ($10) was made with scintilattingly fresh ingredients, but there was little discernible dressing. The feta was begrudgingly bestowed, and expected Greek ingredients like olives and stuffed grape leaves were missing entirely. The Middle Eastern chicken bowl ($12) was also underfurnished, underseasoned, and underdressed. Give this stuff some oomph! Bernstein.

Rollie’s

The only counter that lacks a celebrity chef is Rollie’s (perhaps because the fare is mainly hot dogs and burgers), which turns out to be the best of the four stalls, with some real bargains. At $6, the burger is fine, with lots of greenery and a mayo dressing. The patty has been squished, Kansas City-style, to create a great dark sear on either side. There’s a bratwurst and a footlong hot dog we didn’t try. But the best thing we had at Chef Street was a fried chicken sandwich that involved a big piece of mixed dark-and-light chicken with an assertive crunch, which seemed like a knock-off of Fuku’s, but with a blessedly low price tag ($7 price). Simply delicious!

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

Hangover Helper: Corner Charcuterie Bar may not seem like a ‘brunch spot,’ but it’s a good one

Source: Baltimore City Paper - Feedbag

Sometimes, while on the search for that ever-elusive perfect brunch, certain restaurants fall through the cracks because you just don’t think of them as a “brunch place.” So it came as a surprise to discover that Hampden’s Corner Charcuterie Bar (850 W 36th St., [443] 869-5075, cornercharcuteriebar.com

Read full article >>

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Where to eat at Georgia’s best hotels

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

House Grind Burger at Bar Margot. / Sara Hanna Photography

Looking to get away? Lucky for you, the best hotel in the country is in Georgia, according to

We’d like to think that a big part of what makes a hotel so special is its culinary offerings. So what options do you have if you visit The Lodge?

Colt & Alison, a Southern inspired steakhouse, offers its prime cuts of meat next to a fireplace and views of Plantation Course’s ...

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After Cozinha Latina Split, Shanna Pacifico Lands at Extra Fancy

Source: Eater NY

The chef heads about a mile north to Williamsburg.

Last week, opening chef Shanna Pacifico left Cozinha Latina in Greenpoint along with restaurateur Josh Cohen (Anella) and bar manager Brett Helms (previously of Uncle Boons). Shanna and her associates didn’t see eye-to-eye with the owners about the food and overall vibe of the restaurant. Now, Brooklyn Mag reports that Pacifico has landed at Extra Fancy in Williamsburg along with Cohen. Pacifico will make some additions to the menu, including some new bar bites for Extra Fancy’s forthcoming outdoor dining area. Before her stint at Cozinha Latina, Pacifico worked at ...

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Pat’s Steaks Owner Frank Olivieri Fires Back Over Health Inspection Coverage

Source: Philadelphia Magazine » Foobooz

Pat’s Steak owner Frank Olivieri is all whizzed up over recent reports about his restaurant’s cleanliness.

On Thursday night at 5 p.m., 6ABC’s Monica Malpass and Brian Taff put on their most serious news anchor faces possible to introduce the night’s “Big Story,” a report from station veteran Vernon Odom about restaurant health inspections at two iconic Philadelphia institutions: Pat’s Steaks and Di Bruno Bros.

By Friday morning, their coverage as well as coverage from other outlets (the original story seems to have come earlier in the week from Sam Wood at Philly.com) were the No. 1 Facebook trend ...

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6 things to know about the Sovereign, opening next week in Georgetown

Source: Washington Post Going Out Guide

The Sovereign, the latest restaurant and bar from the team behind ChurchKey, the Partisan and Iron Gate, is scheduled to open in Georgetown during the first week of February. This new Belgian-themed endeavor pairs beers selected by Greg Engert with food cooked by Peter Smith, formerly of PS7’s. “This place is something I’ve been dreaming […]
6 things to know about the Sovereign, opening next week in Georgetown

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Why It’s (Finally) Time for Restaurant Workers to Celebrate the Holidays

Source: Grub Street NY

At Dovetail’s holiday party, held in mid-January.

Most nights, the dining room at Manhattan’s Betony is a stately, ornate, double-height temple of haute cuisine, filled with crisply attired servers ferrying delicacies and fine wines to well-heeled customers. But one night earlier this month, the elegant room looked more like a piñata. “We had this giant balloon chandelier, like the squiggly kind,” says the restaurant’s chef, Bryce Shuman. “It looked like a giant Dale Chihuly sculpture with streamers flowing all the way to the floor.” Tables normally used for multi-course menus of artfully composed plates were instead pushed together and heaped ...

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Taqueria Feliz Now Open in Horsham

Photo by Courtney Apple

Chef Tim Spinner and business partner Brian Sirhal have brought Mexican to the ‘burbs with the opening of their fourth contemporary Mexican restaurant, Taqueria Feliz. The restaurant took the place of Pizzeria Felici in Horsham, the Neopolitan-style pizzeria they nixed after deciding to stick with Mexican.

The new restaurant has a much larger kitchen than the original Taqueria Feliz in Manayunk, so the menu is more extensive. The wood-fired oven is perfect for making their spins of classic taqueria dishes like crab and lentil enchiladas, tempura battered fish tacos, tlayudas (Mexican-style pizza) and their signature Feliz carnitas tacos. For the kids, there’s also a “Little Amigos Menu.” Because this is the ‘burbs, after all.

Feliz has a long list of appetizers including their homemade quacamole and a number of other creative guacs like chicharone guacamole with crispy chicken skins, charred scallions, and chili honey glaze. 

Behind the bar are over fifty different tequilas to choose from (as if figuring out what margarita to get isn’t a challenge enough), ten beers on tap, bottled and canned beer, and you can drink these up while watching a game on one of their flat screens.

Just like the other three of Spinner and Sirhal’s Feliz restaurants, the work of South Philadelphia artist Alison Dilworth is featured on the walls—her Dia De Los Muertes mural in the bar and dining room adds color to the rustic, festive restaurant.

For now, Taqueria Feliz starts dinner service at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 4 p.m. on weekends, but lunch will also be offered starting Monday, February 1st. There will be a pretty good lunch special going on too—you can get two courses plus fountain soda or iced tea for $14.94 (the same special applies at Spinner and Sirhal’s fancier Mexican place, Cantina Feliz, in Ft. Washington).

Now that Mexican is on your mind (I know it’s on mine), you can go get your taco on at 303 Horsham Road in the Elements Shopping Center.

Taqueria Feliz [f8b8z]

The post Taqueria Feliz Now Open in Horsham appeared first on Philadelphia Magazine.

Japan Gives the World Sake-Flavored Kit Kats

Nestlé’s candy game goes next-level.

“Sublime Bitter” and “Special Chili” sound like they should definitely not be Kit Kats — of course, in Japan, which has a cottage industry of awesomely flavored Kit Kats that will never make it to America, they’re par for the course. For the latest hit, though, the powers that be at Kit Kat Japan HQ have decided to put out something far simpler, and appealing: sake. Japanese news site NariNari brings the exciting news that the first fermented-rice Kit Kats will arrive in the country on February 1. These bars have a sake powder layered in between the wafers and what looks like white chocolate, promising candy eaters the ability to savor the “smooth aftertaste of sake.”

According to the label, there’s 0.8 percent alcohol inside, which, just in case anybody’s still confused by this point, is made even clearer in nine-pack boxes that look like and appear to be the size of an actual sake bottle:

[Kotaku]

Read more posts by Clint Rainey

Filed Under: candy, japan, kit kat, nestle, sake