The popularity of Fishtown and Kensington was initially built on gastropubs and beer. But as those neighborhoods north of Girard continue to evolve into one of the city's hottest dining zones, the area has suddenly become the epicenter of Philly's increasingly adventurous thirst for wine.
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: Congrats to all the Philly restaurants that got a shout-out from Bon Appétit's Andrew Knowlton in the magazine's recent best-of-America restaurant issue, including best new restaurant nods to South Philly Barbacoa (No. 5!?), Wm. Mulherin's (T
The growth in local rye has been inspiring for those who see the spicy grain as the pride of Pennsylvania's spirit heritage. Dad's Hat in Bristol and Pittsburgh's Wigle led the charge, followed by Pipersville's Hewn Spirits, Thistle Finch in Lancaster, and the newly revived Kinsey brand in Kensington. And now comes rye from South Jersey.
For the last 26 years, Café Lutecia has thrived by the light of day. Its blue-awning-fringed corner has always been a beacon of toasty baguette morning rituals, homey French lunches sparked by Valérie Blum's secret vinegar, and the ultimate in tomato soup comfort, as well as its enduring draw as a community hub for longtime residents of Fitler Square.
I just drank a bottle of improbably impressive barbera wine from . . . the Jersey Shore?! Yes, I did. And just so we can move on to the important details, let's get the snickering out of the way ASAP, both for the provenance and name of this North Cape May winery - Turdo Vineyards - which landed as a gag mention not once, but twice, by comedian Jay Leno.
Iron Man wants your attention: Chinatown is changing fast! In case you haven't yet noticed the wok-fired pace of new and suddenly stylish restaurants opening in the old neighborhood, the huge red "Hulkbuster" suit set behind glass at the entrance to Yamitsuki, Chinatown's sleek new ramen hall, should do the trick.
The unofficial start of summer - Memorial Day - is not a secret date. And any restaurateur with common sense and a measure of luck will do all they can to open a new restaurant before the gates bust open at the end of May. After that, the beach crowds come fast and hungry, and with none of the patience for early errors they'd afford at a new restaurant back home.
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Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide
4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.