Sunday, December 28, 2014

POSTED: Friday, December 26, 2014, 4:00 AM

You have to be one hungry caterpillar to be a restaurant critic.

By conservative calculations, I ate 300 meals out this year for Sunday reviews, "Good Taste" features, Crumb Tracker clue-hunting missions, and other stories.

That means I tasted somewhere around 2,200 different dishes over the last 365 days, so imagine trying whittle all those great (and some not-so-great) food memories down to the 15 best bites.

POSTED: Thursday, December 25, 2014, 1:15 AM

Happy new year, Pennsylvania beer drinkers: Getting your hands on a six pack or two will become as easy as ordering a pizza.   

And this new convenience for consumers came about through a simple letter to the Liquor Control Board this fall.

Chris Fetfatzes asked the LCB what it would take to be able to deliver beer from Hawthornes in South Philadelphia, one of two bars he owns with his wife, Heather Annechiarico.

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2014, 11:33 AM
My Xao Gion Mem, stir fried crisp noodles with shrimp, scallops and calamari, as served at Le Viet. ( David M Warren / Staff Photographer )

Philly-bred Maria Yagoda - whose blog bio on snaxandsexinthecity IDs her as "a former Yale sex columnist, enthusiastic eater, philosophizer, and sandwich maker" - is out with a guide to South Philadelphia Vietnamese dining.

It's a Baedeker to the uninitiated, and by no means all-inclusive.

Yagoda details four mainstays - Le Viet, Nam Phuong, Pho 75, and Ba Le - and touches on Pho Ha, Pho Ta and Cafe Diem.

POSTED: Sunday, December 14, 2014, 9:51 PM
Owner Epiphany “Pip” De Luca at Villa Di Roma. (DANYA HENNINGER)

We always hear about the shiny, new restaurants. This is one in a series about the Philadelphia area's more established dining establishments and the people behind them.

As a kid growing up in South Philadelphia, Epiphany “Pip” De Luca spent his afternoons and weekends working at his father’s four Italian Market fruit stands. He helped unload and load the produce, and dealt with the customers who came to buy vegetables. It wasn’t easy work, and during the winter of 1969, the elements got to him — he got frostbite in both his fingers and toes.

Luckily, his father had expanded the family’s holdings a few years prior. In 1963, De Luca had partnered with a friend to buy a neighborhood bar at 934 S. Ninth St. and an eatery called Villa di Roma at 936 S. Ninth St. He combined the two into one business, which has been around for more than 50 years.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:08 PM
Market at Maglio's, 3632 S. Third St.

This Sunday, Dec. 14, fans with tickets to the day’s Eagles game are invited to the new Market at Maglio’s to pick up a free one-pound package of Maglio sausage.

The first 500 Eagles ticket-holders to show up at the market (3632 S. Third St.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will get a voucher for sausage, redeemable that day. Fans can choose hot or mild varieties.

Here is more on the market, which is just off Third Street and Pattison Avenue, near the sports complex.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 11:03 AM
The Yachtsman. (Michael Klein/

Select bar locations across Philadelphia are buzzing with holiday cheer.

"Buzzing?" you ask.

Now through Saturday, Dec. 20, the following bars are getting into the Christmas spirit during Shots for Tots. The name doesn’t mean there will be alcohol shots for children. But if you donate an unwrapped toy in its original packaging, you will get a complimentary shot.

POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 11:35 AM
Bar at Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse, 7500 State Rd.

The all-you-can-eat Monday night buffet at Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse (7500 State Rd., 215-333-9663) just got a little juicier. After nine years as a BYOB, the Holmesburg barbecue joint has nabbed a liquor license.

“Beer goes so well with barbecue, so we’ve been thinking about doing this for a while,” says Jim Higgins, who, with wife and chef Brooke Higgins, launched the Northeast counter-service spot in 2005.

Opening beer list includes 20 or so bottles, in styles that range from regular domestics (Miller Lite, etc) for $3.50 to local crafts for $5 or $6. A few bottled ciders are also on the menu, along with a handful smoke-friendly wines, priced from $4.50-$7 by the glass.  Six-packs are available for takeout.

POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 11:10 AM

We always hear about the shiny, new restaurants. This is one in a series about the Philadelphia area's more established dining establishments and the people behind them.


In 1976, when chef Carlo Sena and his family opened La Famiglia, they had to lay down a piece of plywood so customers could get to the door. Front Street between Market and Chestnut was a mess of dirt and construction, down to the on-ramp to a still-incomplete I-95.

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Food news, tips and other food-centric dispatches!

Drew Lazor
Michael Klein
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