Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Monday, July 28, 2014, 9:58 AM
Pastramen, one of the dishes being cooked up for Rooster Soup Co.

Rooster Soup Co.'s Kickstarter campaign wrapped over the weekend, and the philanthropic soup restaurant has pulled in nearly $180,000 of the projected $250,000 cost of opening.

Its next step is finding a location - ideally one with plenty of lunch traffic- and coming up with the remaining $70,000. Organizers would like to open in mid-2015.

Rooster's raison d'etre will be funding Broad Street Ministry's Hospitality Collaborative. The campaign's organizer, the crew from Federal Donuts, will make soup from its previously discarded chicken backs. One hundred percent of profits are earmarked for charity.

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 2:41 PM
Chef Marc Vetri explains the parts of wheat in a January 2014 lecture to his class at Drexel University. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

Few chefs today know more about wheat than Marc Vetri, who has conducted voluminous research for his next book, Mastering Pasta, which comes out next March.

His wheat obsession has become so intense that he has taken to grinding his own because of what he sees as the failings and shortcomings of most commercial product.

Wheat contains the protein deposit called gluten, and Vetri lives and works in an age of heightened awareness of gluten intolerance.

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 11:56 AM
The Screaming Tuna from Hai Street Kitchen.

Hai Steet Kitchen & Co. burst on the Rittenhouse scene in May, wowing crowds with nori-wrapped burritos.

Basically, they're mega-size sushi rolls filled with savory, non-fish ingredients.

This was a departure from HSK's corporate master, which owns sushi giant Genji.

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 10:44 AM

Apparently, it's not too hot to cook.

Friday, July 25 is the debut of the Philadelphia branch of Japanese BBQ bar/restaurant Gyu-Kaku, at 1901 Callowhill St. It's in the Granary, across from stalwart Rose Tattoo Cafe, behind the Free Library and on the same strip of stores as Pizzeria Vetri.

The opening - following several nights of friends-and-family dinners - was pushed up because of demand for the restaurant's 23 BBQ tables, said local owner Abel Maldonado. (The phone did not stop ringing during my visit Thursday afternoon.)

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:46 AM
Beer gardens like this Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Pop Up are the source of concern for four state legislators. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Daily News beer columnist Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell has been under fire in some circles for calling attention to the city's so-called pop-up beer gardens.

The beer gardens - operated by such nonprofits as the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the Fairmount Park Conservancy - are fun and popular. No question about that.  

But because Don wrote that they exploit a loophole so big you could drive a beer truck through it, four legislators approached the Liquor Control Board to quibble with its interpretation of the law.

POSTED: Thursday, July 24, 2014, 2:03 PM

A few updates on restaurant projects:

Estia Taverna is looking at early August for its location off Lancaster Avenue in Radnor. Like the Estia Taverna in Marlton, this is a more casual version of Center City's Greek destination, Estia.

Chef Olivier Desaintmartin says September for Petit Rôti, his French rotisserie/cafe at 248 S. 11th St., next to his Zinc bistro. Menu is up on the web.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 12:30 PM
Barbecue surveyor Johnny Fugitt, in mid-gnaw. He says he found "meat candy" in the form of smoked bacon at Jimmy's in Malvern.

This sounds like a wonderful detour in life:

Johnny Fugitt was a house manager of one of the Ronald McDonald Houses in St. Louis. On his way to a relocation in the Washington, D.C., area, his love of barbecue got the best of him.

More specifically, he wanted to find a resource spelling out the best barbecue in America.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:39 PM
Kevin Sbraga's Sbraga will offer a Jersey shore-theme menu for the debut Culinary Collective. (MICHAEL KLEIN /

If you're bored with the notion of "restaurant weeks" and their fixed-priced offerings, what Rittenhouse Row has planned for four nights in early August sounds truly extraordinary.

The business group, through chef Kevin Sbraga and Starr Restaurants' Danielle DelRe, has signed on 18 restaurants so far to host special dining events Aug. 4-7.

The Culinary Collective, as this new promo is billed, includes a few one-nighters as well as special menus that will run the four nights.

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at

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