Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Monday, January 27, 2014, 11:39 AM

The closing earlier this month of Hesh's Eclair Bake Shoppe elicited an outpouring of concern - some for the state of mom-and-pop retail businesses in 2014 America but seemingly more for the fate of the chocolate-chip loaf.

What made Hesh's chocolate-chip loaf special? Could have been the pride of a small-time baker.

It could have been the "secret stuff."

POSTED: Monday, January 27, 2014, 5:00 AM
Mackenzie Hilton is chef at The Tavern in Washington Square West. (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)

One of the kitschy touches of the hipster bar known as Garage (1231 E. Passyunk Ave,) was to be the regulation food truck set up inside.

The idea, as cogitated by owner Jason Evenchik, was to allow underemployed chefs a place to sell their wares, which would be paired with Garage's solid beer selection.

After six months of doing the city regulatory limbo, Evenchik is finally opening the truck. (Helps that it's the dead of winter, when every other food truck operator is dreading coming to work.)

POSTED: Friday, January 24, 2014, 4:22 PM

Northern Liberties' very fine A Full Plate moved to a corner in Fishtown and morphed into Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen.

Now it's Suppa's time in that comfy corner space on Liberties Walk.

Chefs Angelo Polito and Georgeann Leaming - he's from Sussex County, N,J., she's from Woodstown, N.J., somehow North and South Jersey coexist - are tearing it up at the 26-seat BYOB with a wide-ranging menu:

POSTED: Friday, January 24, 2014, 3:40 PM
Dmitri's at 23d and Pine Streets.

The 14-year run of the Dmitri's location on Fitler Square is winding down.

Reason: The building, on the corner of 23d and Pine Streets, is due to be sold next month, and with the sale will come what owner Dmitri Chimes calls "much higher rent" for his Greek seafood specialist. He's on a month-to-month deal now.

Chimes told me that he is not sure what his next move will be, though he wants to open a new restaurant - perhaps even nearby. He owns the liquor license, which is worth north of $85,000.

POSTED: Friday, January 24, 2014, 12:14 PM

In September, Dajuan "Sally" Song and her mother, Shizhou Da, moved their Chinatown restaurant, Dim Sum Garden, from 59 N. 11th St. to 1020 Race St.

This was good news for fans of what many people regard as Chinatown's best soup dumplings - including Jose Garces, who buys them wholesale for his Atlantic City noodle bar. The swankier, spacious storefront is a big step up from the fluorescent-lit shop in a noisy tunnel beneath the Hilton Garden Inn.

But then in December, the "Dim Sum Garden" sign flipped on again at 59 N. 11th St. The kitchen bustled with workers and the doors opened, with newspaper clippings touting the food appearing on the glass. The menus were the same, including the prices.

POSTED: Friday, January 24, 2014, 5:00 AM

"Who knows the parts of whole wheat?" Marc Vetri asks, turning to the blackboard to scribble.

"Germ!" comes one voice.

"Endosperm," calls another.

POSTED: Thursday, January 23, 2014, 10:02 AM
Susan Spungen on the set of "Labor Day" with Josh Brolin. (Paramount)

Being that today is National Pie Day, let's talk about what Huntingdon Valley-bred author/food stytlist Susan Spungen did for a couple of months in the summer of 2012:

She wrangled pies in Massachusetts for Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet as they shot the film adaptation of the Joyce Maynard novel Labor Day, which reaches theaters Jan. 31.

This work not only meant converting "cases and cases" of fresh peaches into hundreds and hundreds of pies, but helping to teach Brolin the technique of pie-making. (There's a scene in which Brolin's bad-boy character, Frank, gets baking, as it were, with Winslet's mom character, Adele, and the heated interplay supposedly ranks up there with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze's pottery-making romp in Ghost.)

POSTED: Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 2:56 PM
Dan dan noodles, as served at Han Dynasty. (DANYA HENNINGER)

In today's New York Times, Pete Wells reviews the always-jammed East Village location of Philly export Han Dynasty (along with SoHo's Hirohisa), and comes away mystified by Han Dynasty's popularity:

"There are far better Sichuan restaurants," Wells writes. "Han Dynasty’s translation of the cuisine has a thick American accent."

Han Dynasty owner Han Chiang said he had no problem with Wells' opinion and his review, which was a "zero star," as in "satisfactory."

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, 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 mklein@philly.com.

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