Do not be deceived by the dumpling. It may well be the world's cutest food - a bite-sized wonder of sheer dough handiwork gift-wrapped around an infinite variety of juicy hidden treasures. But a great one can be devilishly complex. And the many mysteries of the dumpling's art - the recipes for perfectly pliant dough, the sleight-of-hand to shape them deftly - are fiercely guarded by its skilled practitioners. In particular, from the prying eyes of Ben Puchowitz.
The signature cocktail names at the Olde Bar are threaded with pearls of wit and obscure references that only a son of the Old Original Bookbinder's family tree could have conjured. The "5th Grandchild," for example, is an Old Grand-Dad-fueled nod ("somewhat bitter, somewhat sweet") to the restaurant childhood of Erich Weiss, the grandson of John M. Taxin who helped concoct this new list.
Luke Palladino has given an East Passyunk building a thoroughly swanky revamp, from the posh interior with padded alcove banquettes and a sleek marble bar, to an exterior trimmed with a handsome portico for al fresco dining, and boldly striped walls wrapped in horizontal black-and-white bands to evoke a Sienese cathedral.
At 10:04 p.m. on a Saturday night, lightning struck the clock tower beneath Billy Penn atop City Hall and a pair of flaming tire tracks ripped a path to Broad and South. As a DeLorean came to a smoking halt and opened its gull-wing doors, "Doc" Emmett Brown emerged wild-haired and frantic on another time-travel mission to fix history.
Like a lot of young chefs, George Sabatino has kept a notebook to sketch his someday plates. He nursed it through his wood-fired-pizza-and-antipasti days at Barbuzzo, where he was chef de cuisine. It grew during his pickle-jar-and-marrow-sausage stage at Stateside, where his solo star first shot to wider notice. It even survived the treadmill trial of deep-fried burgers and compressed melon salads that marked the "elevated picnic" fare of his 1,200-diner summer nights at Morgan's Pier.
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Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide
4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.