Monday, September 22, 2014
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Congrats to Eli Kulp; Palladino steak

Food & Wine´s Dana Cowin in a celebratory selfie with chef Eli Kulp.
Food & Wine's Dana Cowin in a celebratory selfie with chef Eli Kulp. FOOD & WINE

Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat from April 1, 2014:

Craig LaBan: Big congrats to Eli Kulp of Fork, High St. on Market (and now a. Kitchen), who was just named one of Food & Wine magazine's "Best New Chefs" in America. A major honor, and well-deserved. Congrats also Rich Landau, who 20 years ago this week opened his first Horizons Cafe inside a health food store in a Willow Grove strip mall.  

Reader: Have you ever had a steak at a Palladino place? Asking because of new spot on E Passyunk.

C.L.: Wow, East Passyunk is popping isn't it? This latest bit of info that Jersey Shore Italian star Luke Palladino is coming is exciting. The idea of a steak house is intriguing. He's a great cook with a feel for genuine Italian flavors, and has been one of my Shore favorites. I recall loving the bistec alla Fiorentina, but am curious to see what he brings to South Philly.

Reader: So you were right about Tired Hands beer release event being crazy - did you manage to score a taste? How was it?

C.L.: Yes I did! As predicted, the lines were actually down the street for this. ... Talk about the power of great beer. As good as the persimmon beer was, the previous edition of the Emptiness series, made with "French Policeman" grapes from Tom Culton's farm, was even better. Such a good sour, fruit, bretty beer - it literally transported me back to the tasting room at Cantillon in Brussels.

Reader: On the last chat, you mentioned the improving dining scene at Drexel. Meanwhile, with Yumtown closed and Pitruco no longer stopping, it seems Temple's food truck scene has gone down a bit, while it's never been as strong as Penn or Drexel with restaurants. Given that it's a larger school, with a high percentage of off-campus students who don't eat at dining halls, why hasn't it been able to attract a stronger restaurant scene?

C.L.: Well, Temple's neighborhood is being driven, economically, solely by college students, while West Philly seems a bit farther along from a development point of view. It took a long time for U. City to get to that point - we're only starting to see the development boom now. Sorry to see Yumtown closed, though. It was one of my favorites. Haven't talked to the owners yet, but this food truck business is really hard to do well, and even harder to sustain.

 Reader: They are building an outdoor dining patio with tables and umbrellas on the corner of 13th and Norris, next to Wingo Taco, Busz, and Cloud Coffee, among others. I hear Temple is footing the bill. It will be quite nice to eat without having to find some steps to sit on . . .

C.L.: If you build the amenities, the rest will come. Although it never seemed to me that Temple's campus lacked for food truck customers.

Reader: What's the best place for great bacon? Throwing a fancy brunch and would love tips ...

C.L.: Your best bets are at the Reading Terminal Market: L. Halteman (genuine Pa Dutch-style smoked thick cut bacon, a family favorite here); Salumeria is now carrying the locally made bacon from 1732 Meats (in Lansdowne) ... and Di Bruno's, lots of national favorites like Benton's, which they cut to order from a slab, as well as some good stuff (wine-cured slabs and guanciale) from PorcSalt by Matt Ridgway of the Pass in Rosemont, N.J.

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