Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 12:13 PM
Guy Fieri's Chophouse

Poor Guy Fieri.

You blast the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives host's spiky peroxided hair, his hyperkinetic finger-pointing, his blathering of catch phrases, and his fulsome raving about any food that gets within two feet of his pie hole.

Of course, while you trash him, he is laughing all the way to the bank - in the driver's seat of his $200,000 Lamborghini.

This month, Fieri opened Guy Fieri's Chophouse at Bally's in Atlantic City. What with Steve Martorano newly open at Harrah's, it looks like Atlantic City - or at least parent company Caesars - is going for bad-boy brash these days.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 4:22 PM
Teen competitors Alexandria Brooks (left), 16, and Dante Foggy, 17, as seen on Food Network's Chopped, Season 21. (David Lang/Food Network)

Two South Jersey teens are competing on Food Network's Chopped Teen Tournament, a five-part stunt that features 16 culinary whiz kids who are given ingredients and are asked to make magic.

Winners from each episode will head to the finale on Aug. 12, where the winner gets $25,000 and a culinary school scholarship.

Alexandria Brooks, 16, of Voorhees, competes on the premiere Tuesday, July 15 (10 p.m.). She's been cooking for seven or eight years, she told me, and got the bug by watching cooking shows. At 8, she was allowed to solo and made a mac and cheese that was "far from traditional." It had heavy cream, penne pasta, chopped ham, parmesan, mozzarella and white cheeses - no cheddar. On this Chopped, the mystery ingredients included lamb loin chops and kale chips in the appetizer round and french fries and cookies in the entrée round. As Brooks enters 11th grade at Eastern Regional, she has a food blog, YouTube channel and is a teen contributor for Miss Moxie online magazine. This summer, she is working at Kingside restaurant in Manhattan doing prep and utility work. Hmm. Its chef, Marc Murphy, was a judge on her episode.

POSTED: Monday, July 14, 2014, 1:53 PM
Chef Peter Woolsey, creating La Peg restaurant on Delaware Avenue for FringeArts, wears his heart on his ... arm. (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)

In a steamy July only a few years ago, I could count a few dozen restaurant projects on the books. Economists told us we were in the throes of a recession.

As we veer into the second half of 2014, I now count 85 in various stages - from "imminent" (Independence Beer Garden, across from Independence Mall) to "targeted to open in 2015" (the Cheesecake Factory at 15th and Walnut Streets, now a hole in the ground).

And there are more than 85 cooking at the moment. Many restaurateurs are not eager to share their plans or their progress. Even with a signed lease, there are unions to duck, permits to pull, community groups to coddle and financing to obtain. Better to do it under the radar.

POSTED: Sunday, July 13, 2014, 11:37 PM
"Angry Ralph’s Lobster Mac and Cheese," by Ralph Mazzocchi of Lancaster, is the Philadelphia episode winner on "Frankenfood." (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)

Bobby Fisher, chef at Molly Malloy's in Reading Terminal Market, was the guest judge on last night's Philly-shot episode of the Spike TV comedy/cooking show Frankenfood.

Not only did he judge hundreds of kooky dishes alongside series hosts Josh Capon and Tony Luke Jr., Fisher now has to cook the winning dish every day for three months.

That would be "Angry Ralph’s Lobster Mac and Cheese," which last night made $10,000 for contestant Ralph Mazzocchi, chef-owner of Ralph's in Lancaster, a takeout shop.

POSTED: Friday, July 11, 2014, 2:11 PM

Snacks like pretzel-crumb-topped mac and cheese, fried clam strips, gravy fries, fried cheese curds, and wings...

Onion rings, shrimp roll, grilled cheese sandwiches...

Chicken tenders, steak and fries, fish and chips...

POSTED: Friday, July 11, 2014, 12:48 PM

The twice-James Beard-nominated Taqueria del Sol is all the rage in its hometown of Atlanta.

But the two franchise locations in the Philly burbs... Ah. Not so much.

Owner Chris Blythe has converted the Willow Grove location (4001 Welsh Rd., in Willow Grove Pointe) into a new concept, The Sweet Taco.

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 11:46 PM
Bobby Fisher (left) and Tony Luke Jr. at Molly Malloy's in Reading Terminal Market on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson/Philly.com)

Philadelphia gets its turn in the Frankenfood spotlight Sunday, July 13 at 10:30 p.m.

The Spike TV series - starring chef Josh Capon and hometowner Tony Luke Jr. - combed the country last winter, asking people to create dishes by merging unlikely ingredients.

In the Philly episode, Capon and Luke get judging assistance from Bobby Fisher, chef of Molly Malloy's restaurant in Reading Terminal Market.

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 1:58 PM
Bar at the Carmel location in Wayne. (MICHAEL KLEIN / Philly.com)

Ten months after opening in Wayne, the Florida-rooted wine bar Carmel Kitchen opens July 14 in Warrington's Valley Square Shopping Center (1613 Main St., which is a fancy way of saying "Street Road and Route 611 near the Wegmans and Eastern Mountain Sports").

Carmel's thing is Mediterranean-inspired food from a something-for-everyone menu, plus wine and cocktails, with dining powered by a slick iPad ordering system. Warrington's location, only the second outside of Florida, has outdoor tables and red-hued umbrellas.

All dining sales from Carmel Kitchen’s July 14 grand opening will be donated to Bucks County’s A Woman’s Place, whose mission is to end intimate and domestic violence and empower local women.

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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