Saturday, March 31, 2012

Site Scoop: Toy Kitchen Chef

You know what's frustrating? Gazing at photographs of mouthwatering meals in the pages of magazines and blogs, losing yourself in the fantasy of cooking that rack of lamb or beef bourguignon in your very own kitchen as the whole room fills with enticing aromas, only to shift your eyes to the actual recipe and discover that it  contains several expensive, hard-to-find ingredients and requires many hours of complicated preparation. We college students, with our limited budgets, busy schedules and miniscule kitchens may often be excluded from the world of decadent, saffron-threaded, fleur de sel-sprinkled fare, but that doesn't mean our homemade creations have to be any less delicious than their fancier counterparts. Enter Toy Kitchen Chef, a fellow Penn Appétit blogger's adorably designed, easy-to-follow site that's chock full of simple recipes and helpful photographs. The blog's writing style is friendly and straightforward, and while the ingredients lists and recipes are refreshingly short and uncomplicated, the end products are interesting, impressive, and (most importantly) tasty! Many of the recipes happen to be vegetarian or vegan, but even serious carnivores will get excited about the hearty-looking vegetable stew or healthy homemade French fries. Check it out!

Friday, March 30, 2012

News Feed

• Check out 34th Street's Spring Dining Guide, featuring reviews of Jar Bar, Alla Spina, and other new Philly eateries

Uwishunu featured Tom McCusker, owner of Honest Tom's Taco Shop, in its Philly 101 Video Series; the shop has also just debuted a new delicious-sounding menu

Foobooz has a rundown of the best non-traditional Philly cheesesteaks offered around the city

• Stephen Starr's SquareBurger reopened in Franklin Square this Thursday - Grub Street Philly

"A food truck oasis in deep South Philly?" Group looking to turn industrial lot into a food truck depot - Meal Ticket

• It was only a matter of time: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is now available featuring 70 recipes from the show - The Salt

Image Credit: Grub Street Philly

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Food Events @ Penn

Zahav's Special Menus in April
What: For Passover, the annual celebration in Jewish culture that commemorates the Hebrew escape from slavery in Egypt, Chef Solomonov has crafted a special menu with Jewish staples and Israeli-inspired dishes, including Handmade Matzah Ball Soup, Salt Cod “Kibbe,” and Brisket “Mina." This menu will run from Friday, April 6, to Friday, April 13, except Thursday, April 21. On that Thursday at 7 pm, Chef Solomonov will host An Evening in South Africa, featuring five-courses of traditional South African dishes paired with exquisite wines from the Badenhorst Family Wines of Swartland. Dishes include Sosatie Skewers (lamb loin), Bobotie (beef and lamb casserole), and Seafood Potjie (mussels, clams, calamari, branzino). To make a reservation, please call (215) 625-8800 or visit their website.
Menus: The Passover Menu will include baked in Zahav’s wood-burning oven; Salatim and Hummus, including braised beef cheeks, haminado and parsley; with smoked cinnamon, pulled chicken and fresh fava beans; with golden beet pickles; Artichoke and Celery Salad with white anchovy and kashkaval; with charouset and coffee; and Coconut Custard with chocolate crisp and red wine sorbet.
Where: Zahav (237 St. James Place)
When: Friday, April 6 through Friday, April 13
Cost: Passover: $45; An Evening in South Africa: $75

Flavors of the Avenue
What: Flavors of the Avenue offers up a true taste of South Philly’s gastronomic stronghold East Passyunk Avenue, with samples of signature dishes and drinks from 21 restaurants under the cover of a big top tent, plus a free street festival with vendors, music and a craft market at the Singing Fountain. Then, head down to Birra for a free outdoor concert featuring Cheers Elephant until 6 p.m. Other new elements this year include four grills cooking on-site; think pork belly anticuchos, chicken skewers, wings and tacos al pastor and freshly-fried arancini. There will also be more booze this year, with VIP ticket holders getting access to at least 5 cocktails. Find more information and buy tickets here.
Where: East Passyunk Avenue, between Dickinson and Morris
When: Saturday, April 28, noon-4 p.m.
Cost: $30 for General Admission and $50 for VIP; order by April 20 and get $5 off

Philly Farm & Food Fest
What: Join Fair Food and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) for the first-ever Philly Farm & Food Fest. The celebration of local food features more than 100 regional farmers, food producers, artisanal food businesses and other providers of sustainable goods and services from across the entire region. Exhibitors will be sampling locally made products including honey, cheeses, cured meats, jams, small batch ice creams, organic flour, baked goods and more. Kid-friendly workshops like “Do Carrots Really Grow in Dirt?” and the “ABC’s of Beekeeping,” plus adult-friendly sessions like “Guided Tasting of Artisan Cheeses,” will supplement the festival’s programming.
Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex Hall G, 1101 Arch Street
When: Sunday, April 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $15 in advance and $20 at the door; Children 12 and under are free

Rice and Beans, Yes Please: The Cuisine of Alternate Spring Break Nicaragua

Penn students are constantly fraught with confusion. Decisions lurk around every corner. A simple act such as buying lunch becomes a dilemma. Healthy or not? Dining hall or real money? Can I bursar this? Do I want to be late for class? How many cups of coffee are advisable at this moment? Why are they out of feta cheese? Is the Sweetgreen fro-yo machine working again?

Over spring break, however, I made none of these decisions. I surrendered control over my meals and headed to Nicaragua for Hillel's Alternate Spring Break. I spent a week in the San Juan del Sur region of Nicaragua, a coastal region in southern Nicaragua, constructing a school and learning about Servicios Medicos Comunales. Penn Hillel organized the eye-opening trip. Kosher meat seems to be nonexistent in Nicaragua so our diet was vegetarian. For seven days, I ate rice and beans at every meal. The beans were black. The rice was white. The plates were plastic. We were the dishwashers. The setting was indoors or outdoors, depending on the time of day. The main source of variety came from the combination. Sometimes the elements were premixed, giving you a set ratio. Other times, the components were separate, able to be combined at will. Little extras added freshness and texture. We often had sides of sliced tomatoes and beets and fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast. The freshness of the vegetables is not to be matched anywhere at Penn. On several occasions, potatoes and pasta made appearances, but rice and beans ran the show.

On my first night in Nicaragua I entered the kitchen to see if the staff needed help preparing dinner. I found myself slicing cucumbers in a tiny kitchen, chattering with Nicaraguan women about national dishes and cooking methods. The women told of national dishes based around pork and corn, including a delicious sounding tamale that I would love to try (removed from the auspices of Hillel, of course). The cultural exchange went both ways, as we celebrated two Jewish holidays during our trip: Purim and Shabbat. For Purim, we made hamantashen, the triangular cookies that commemorate the hat shape of Haman, the holiday’s villain that tried to kill all the Jews. I grew up making fillings of chocolate, apricot and peanut butter chips. In Nicaragua, we used plantain and pineapple, with mixed results. They got a tad bit burnt but the effort was notable. One of the culinary highlights of the trip came on Friday, when we made challah, the braided bread eaten at the Sabbath. With yeast brought all the way from Philadelphia and our leader Debbie’s challah expertise, we managed to knead dough, let it rise and braid six challot. They baked to a golden brown and were rationed to last through the day long Shabbat. To say the challah was well received is an understatement.

Another highlight of the food was the fruit. From my first bite in the country, a slice of a watermelon on the ride from the airport, I realized the fruit was special. Mornings of pushing wheelbarrows up a very steep hill were punctuated with fruit breaks. The sight of a slice of pineapple or watermelon was most anticipated. For the uninitiated, Nicaraguan fruit is really good (and local!). The pineapple is pale and sweet, with only a hint of starch. We had fresh juice at every meal, in flavors from mango to pineapple to passion fruit. The brown bananas at Starbucks hardly look appealing now.

Although we often forget it, food is fuel. Never before have I so keenly felt that food was so crucial to my energy level. I knew I needed the protein from the beans to get through an afternoon of hammering nails. I knew the sugar and vitamins of the fruit would help me haul water up a hill until lunch. I knew that my dinner would help my sore muscles recover as I slept.  An ice cream cone on a trip to town may have been the only food that had no direct purpose, besides a chance to explore the region and spend some Nicaraguan cordobas. I haven’t eaten rice and beans since returning from Nicaragua, and am sometimes overwhelmed by the choices we have at every meal. I need to wait a little while to reintroduce those foods into my diet. The concept, however, of appreciating even the simplest morsel of food and the context and company in which you eat it, will stay with me for meals to come. A week without electronics, meat, hot water, or food produced outside of a narrow region is akin to a jolt. It wakes you up from your funk, sheds you of your collegiate ennui and spits you back into the real world with thoughts racing through your mind, hungrier than ever.

Welcome to Nicaragua. Here's the best watermelon ever.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bloggers' Bites: Best Spring Break Food

Bloggers' Bites is a series of posts chronicling the foodie adventures of Penn Appetit's blog staff. During spring break, our staff traveled back home or ventured on exciting foodie adventures, delighting in both comfort foods and culinary masterpieces.

The question: What was your favorite food experience this spring break?

Leyla Mocan: Over spring break I went to Magnolia Cafe in the small town of St. Francisville, Louisiana. It's about a 45 minute drive from my native Baton Rouge and is fun for a quick day trip. For lunch we had a "Spicy Shrimp Poboy" which was a sandwich with shrimp cooked in garlic butter with peppers and onions. The best part was the gooey pepper jack cheese which gave the sandwich just the right amount of spice and kick. I also really enjoyed having real Louisiana shrimp, I had forgotten what a delicious, intense taste real shrimp had when they're fresh from the gulf. Topped with the classic poboy dressings of lettuce and tomato this was one awesome sandwich.

Laura Sluyter: I love carrot cake, but I’m very particular. While I’ve had delicious desserts at many, many restaurants and bakeries, there are only two carrot cakes that I like: my mom’s carrot cake and the carrot cake at Baker’s Treat in Flemington, New Jersey. As a result, I found myself making a very difficult decision when I went out to dinner with my parents over spring break. Should I take a risk and order carrot cake or go for the safer choice of chocolate chip cake? The best resolution, I decided, was to have both! That night I ordered the chocolate chip cake, and later in the week, my mom and I made carrot cake. As always, it was delicious and perfectly moist. Eating that classic carrot cake was the gustatory highlight of my break (although the chocolate chip cake was pretty delicious as well).

Rachel Marc: Over spring break, I ate dinner with my family at Trattoria L' Incontro, a delicious restaurant in Astoria, Queens. An overall fantastic dining experience, all tables are started off with a brick oven baked flat bread accompanied by a sun-dried tomato dip, followed by a visit from the waiter who recites a memorized special list that contains at least 25 options. All dishes consumed by the table were delectable, and my personal favorite was my mom's nut-encrusted chicken paillard topped with a tomato and avocado salad, slightly beating out my brother's eggplant parmigiana for the top place in my heart...and stomach. We were too full for dessert and sadly had to pass up a chocolate hazelnut pizza served with a chocolate hazelnut ice cream. If looking for a high end meal in a lively atmosphere, L'Incontro is the place to be!

Heejae Lim: During this spring break, I had a wonderful food experience in Boston! Since Boston is famous for its fresh seafood especially lobsters, I searched for restaurants noted for serving lobsters. I went to "Legal Seafood Harborside" at 210 Northern Ave. and tried the Lobster Roll, New England Clam Chowder and Linguini and Clams Pasta. The seafood, especially the lobster, was tasty and fresh. The restaurant was spacious and had a kitchen at the center that was visible and also had a huge bar with wide range of wines and cocktails. I sat at the window side, so I could see the calm harbor while eating, which was a very pleasant experience.

Carissa Gilbert: I enjoyed eating at various frozen yogurt places in California the most! I tried at least 6 different places including Pinkberry, Berrysweet, Yogurtland, and Yogurt Escape. Overall, however, a psychedelic frozen yogurt shop, called Sweet Things, in San Diego was the best. Walking into the yogurt shop, I immediately felt like I had traveled back in time to the 1970s. Not only did the music consist of popular 70s artists but the walls were tie dyed and the chairs were a groovy orange. I ate the flavors banana pudding, cinnamon, and cake batter. I also enjoyed their topping bar which had colored mochi!

Emma Silverman: Me and my Spring Break were filled with amazing meals. I went home to Chicago for the break after visiting New York for the weekend, so I definitely had my fill but I think that my favorite food experience was at my favorite burger restaurant in Chicago. The place is called Urban Burner and my mom and I go there pretty much every time I'm home. It sounds basic, but they do burgers right. I actually love the veggie burger. Veggie burgers can either be disgusting or amazing. You have to treat the patty itself as what it is: veggies and rice. It cannot go around masquerading as meat when it's just not. Their veggie burger is light and flavorful, and is topped off with chipotle mayo, avocado, some fresh arugula, and goat cheese. With a side of sweet potato fries and fried pickles (trust me) there's nothing better.

Katie Behrman: Over spring break, I went to Seed, a modern American restaurant in Marietta, GA, where I tried pork belly for the first time. Paired with pickled organic cucumbers, hoisin, and scallions and enclosed in a slider, the scrumptious pork-belly enlivened my taste buds. The crispiness of the pork-belly contrasted perfectly with the soft, gooey bun; the hoisin sauce spilled over the edges, its sweet flavor enhancing and blending each ingredient together. If you’re ever in Marietta, I highly recommend Seed and its delicious sliders!

Elliott Brooks: I went on a Penn Alternate Spring Break trip to a farm animal rescue shelter and organic farm in Paris, Virginia. Rescued farm animals mean rescued hens and rescued hens mean eggs. I spent each morning delighting in a breakfast of farm fresh eggs, harvested that morning from the barn beneath my feet. They were delicate, creamy and simply delicious without needing any pepper or salt. I tried them hard-boiled, scrambled and fried, but my favorite preparation was when I accidentally soft-boiled them.

Nicole Woon: Spring Break for me meant going home and having access to a real kitchen! At last, I could cook and bake to my heart's content with an actual stovetop, oven, and pots and pans. I had a blast cooking and baking up a storm, making everything from coconut macaroons to unctuous braised pork belly to rich chocolate French macarons. My favorite recipe over break, though, was for challah bread. Last winter, a friend of mine made the most amazing challah bread for dinner and I knew I had to try my hand at it. I had never made bread before, so it was definitely an experience baking it for the first time! I went through multiple trial runs; one time I didn't add enough yeast, another time the dried fruit I studded the bread with burnt to a crisp. Experimentation, however, is the key to discovery. Indeed, I finally arrived at a close rendition to her version by the end of break. I put my own spin on the eggy bread with plenty of plump raisins and fragrant cinnamon. The simple egg wash brushed on before baking added a beautiful glimmer on the crust of the bread; the bread itself was soft and tasted excellent spread with a bit of butter and honey. I can't wait to return home and continue perfecting the recipe in my kitchen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fee Fi Fo Yum: Cake and the Beanstalk

Walking past 1112 Locust Street, I’m stopped in my tracks by the cheery “Fee Fi Fo Yum” wording on the window. A leafy green beanstalk painted on the wall between the two entrances threads its way upwards towards the business’s hanging sign that reads Cake and the Beanstalk. A tantalizing display case filled with sweet treats galore beckons me to further investigate, and I step inside.

The cozy place is composed of two rooms; one houses the display area and “kitchen” (more on that later), while the well-lit sunroom offers plenty of seating and a view of the community garden. The external motifs match the whimsical interior décor. From a “kid’s corner” with crayons and LEGOs galore to stunning hand-painted chairs (designed by owner Daniel Klein’s wife Jenn) that tell a story through their artistry, Cake and the Beanstalk is the perfect spot for people of all ages.

Cake and the Beanstalk just celebrated its one-year anniversary at the beginning of the month and is going stronger than ever. The bakery and café’s menu offers a bevy of tasty treats, including tantalizing baked goods, savory soups, Le Bus-bread paninis, and locally roasted Chestnut Hill coffee. That’s not all, though; the place also hosts diverse events such as Story Time at the Stalk for youth ages 4 through 7, Open Mic at the Stalk for performers of all kinds, and art receptions.

Owner Daniel Klein is no stranger to the restaurant and baking world. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in hospitality management, he sharpened his skills in the pastry departments of Striped Bass, Circa, Morimoto, Le Bec Fin, and Twenty21. On top of that, he gained front-of-house experience working for City Tavern and Moshulu. Thanks to the folks at Lokalty , I had the opportunity to talk with the incredibly personable Klein about his experiences and his blossoming bakery and café.

NW: What’s your first food memory?
DK: I grew up in the Philadelphia area. When I was younger, I used to take road trips with my family; one trip we took when I was about six years old brought us through Chicago and into Wyoming. I remember I had this great shrimp dish in cream sauce at a restaurant there.

NW: How did you get your start in the food business?
DK: I graduated from Penn State in May 2001 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management. Many people I knew went straight into the hotel industry, joining places like Marriott. I wanted a different path; I had always enjoyed baking. I loved making people happy and wanted a career where people could consistently return to a place and enjoy their experiences there. So, I gained hands-on experience: I spent five years working in pastry at Striped Bass, Circa, Morimoto, Le Bec Fin, and Twenty21. A dessert lounge had always been on my mind, and eventually I launched Cake and the Beanstalk.

NW: How did you come up with the name for your bakery?
DK: My father in-law suggested to my wife Jenn and I that we come up with a name that lets people know that we offer both desserts and coffee. Cake is cake, of course, and the bean in beanstalk is the coffee reference. It also fit beautifully with our amazing location overlooking a community garden. In the summer, some of the sunflowers start to grow so high it seems like we have our very own beanstalks. Jenn is also a kindergarten teacher, so that just might have had something to do with it. After we had chosen the name, we designed the shop to match both the name and vibe we wanted to come across. We were lucky enough to inherit walls painted with the perfect colors and designed the chairs and wall art with the "beanstalk" in mind.

NW: What is one of the hardest parts about owning a bakery?
DK: Keeping up with the bakery products. For Cake and the Beanstalk, space certainly poses some limitations. My kitchen is literally what you see behind the display case. My counter has just enough room for my mixer and induction plate, and nearly all of my baking comes out of this microwave-sized convection oven. The sink is tiny as well and the turnover of washing bowls and utensils isn’t high.

NW: How do you do it all in such a small space?
DK: I can’t produce as much as I’d like, which just means I have to be selective with the treats I make for the day: there’s usually about six items available on any given day that change on a rotational basis. Of course, there’s the pace of daily demands and any specialty orders we have to fill, staff management, and other factors that come with running a business. Don’t get me wrong—I love owning Cake and the Beanstalk! It’s been a very rewarding experience so far and I’m looking forward to growing the bakery.

NW: That’s great to hear! On that note, what’s your favorite part about running Cake and the Beanstalk?
DK: It would have to be seeing people’s happy reactions after they bite into one of Cake and the Beanstalk's menu items, whether it's our blondie or our blueberry crumb cake. Knowing that our products make them happy and seeing customers return again and again means a lot to me. For instance, there’s one woman who lives in South Philly that comes out of her way every week just to purchase something. She doesn’t have to, but she makes the effort because she loves our bakery so much.

NW: How did Cake and the Beanstalk evolve into more than just a bakery? It was neat to see you offered everything from children story times to open mic sessions.
DK: I designed the bakery to be a community place. Philadelphia has such a vibrant community and I wanted to cater to the interests of all groups. The neighborhood has everyone from baby boomers to college students to young families, and I wanted to involve all of them.

NW: What is one of the lessons that you’ve learned during your career?
DK: Time management is key. Things can go wrong, but you need to be adept and know how to change and adapt.

NW: Do you have a culinary guilty pleasure?
DK: A big bowl of ice cream and a soft pretzel from Center City Soft Pretzel Co. The pretzels come out hot and fresh at midnight: it’s the perfect midnight snack!

NW: If someone could only pick one thing on your menu to try, what would you recommend?
DK: The banana chocolate walnut cake. It’s studded with chocolate chips and walnuts and is finished with a silky chocolate glaze. It’s my specialty; the recipe has been in my family for years. I tweaked the original recipe, reducing the amount of sugar and adding more bananas to add natural sweetness; I also added the glaze component. It’s a must-try!

NW: What is the most inventive item you’ve created at your bakery?
DK: It’s a tie between the cheesecake and the blondies. The cheesecake is unique because it has a chocolate tree nut cookie base. The idea came from a catering event I did. The cookies, which include pecans and almonds, make a delicious base that is not your standard graham cracker crust. The blondies are also special in that the add-ins rotate throughout the week; we’ve included everything from Oreos to candy bars in them.

NW: What is your cooking/baking philosophy?
DK: You eat food to live, but you eat dessert to live happily. This mantra inspired me to open Cake and the Beanstalk and has been at the heart of everything I do.

NW: What’s on the horizon for Cake and the Beanstalk?
DK: I’d like to increase our wholesale operations. We’re currently working on stocking our brownies and blondies at smaller cafes and delis, but would love to expand into places like Wawa and 7-Eleven. Increasing the number of specialty orders we fulfill is also a goal (see some of their amazing creations on the right!). I’m also hoping to increase the size of our cooking area. For instance, my mixer only has the capacity to make one cheesecake at a time. If I could get a mixer that makes two or four cheesecakes at once, I’d be able to increase output and satisfy more customers!

I had the opportunity to try the cheesecake Klein referred to earlier. The filling was creamy and light, filling my mouth with its cloud-like texture and perfect sweetness. The chocolate tree nut cookie crust was definitely unique as well, grounding the heavenly filling. I highly enjoyed this component as it made it stand out from other cheesecakes in the crowd. On another visit, I indulged myself with their decadent flourless chocolate cake. Its chocolaty richness and satisfying density make this a must-have treat for both omnivores and gluten-free eaters everywhere.

I highly recommend checking out Cake and the Beanstalk; the eats are excellent and the service is stellar! For more information about Cake and the Beanstalk, check out their website at or follow Klein at @Cake__Beanstalk on Twitter.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chow Now: Egg and Beef Bi-bim-bob

When you're craving a light dinner or perhaps a light lunch, and are at a loss for what to eat, this is the dish for you. The Egg and Beef Bi-bim-bob (quite the mouthful, I know) at Tampopo is a light meal with clean flavors that won't leave you feeling like you need to take a nap once you've finished it. So what exactly is a bi-bim-bob? In this case, it's white jasmine rice, topped with cooked shredded carrots, zucchini, spinach, bean sprouts, grilled beef and a sunny side-up egg. Served with a special spicy sauce, the bi-bim-bob is a must-try when you visit the hidden treasure that is Tampopo. The dish can be served vegetarian style or with chicken, and the egg is optional. It's tasty, the perfect portion size, and each component is well seasoned and really adds something to each bite. I like it best when you mix it all together and get a combination of everything with each mouthful. Visit Tampopo (44th between Spruce and Locust) and CHOW NOW!

Food for Thought Interview with Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams, chef and owner of Pub & Kitchen and Rival Bros. Coffee Roasters, also wholeheartedly supports ACHIEVEability, and both Pub & Kitchen and Rival Bros. will be present at the Food for Thought gala event.

Check out our interview with Jonathan Adams below!

How did you get involved in Food for Thought? For how long have you been involved? Why is the Food for Thought fundraiser important to you? Why do you think people should attend?

I have mutual friends from the restaurant, who also worked at Urban Outfitters. When the event came up last year, they asked whether or not the restaurant would be willing to be involved. When I learned about the event I was kind of blown away because I’ve never seen anything like this before. I had never seen people who were so dedicated to charities, never seen people devote so much of their time. They’re changing every aspect of a family’s life. They’re taking care of so many loopholes in society. I then saw the other chefs who were behind this, and they were a lot of my friends.

After I started the coffee company, I reached out to ACHIEVEability and said I’d love to bring the coffee truck, to be even more involved. I wish I had more time to be involved in ACHIEVEability as it is such a great organization.

Can you give us any hints as to what you'll be cooking for the event?

We’re serving two dishes: a savory hors d’oeurve of poached chicken and black truffle terrine served on pretzel chip with cornichon mustard and a sweet coffee cream puff with dried cherry and sea salt.

The food at the event is out of control. There is such a mix of chefs there, who all serve fantastic food. This year we changed our menu after we saw what was offered last year.

Are there any other exciting upcoming events that you or Pub and Kitchen is involved in?

We have done events with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Whenever we have the opportunity to do an event we try to. We also like to host events at the restaurant, we do not have many events like the Food for Thought Benefit on the horizon. I’ll be the Cook Studio on April 7th to do a dinner based on seafood. It will be 5 courses of seafood focused fine dining for $200 a head.

What do you like about the Philadelphia food scene? Why you think Philly a good place to start a gastro-pub?

Philly is manageable and accessible. I love New York, but it’s such an anomaly in culture and society, and the scope is so broad. Philly feels real. I’m from here, and I’ve lived all over the world but I’ve always ended up back in Philly so I decided to root down here. It’s easy to get around, and it’s not too overwhelming. The location is also great; we have mountains, the ocean and plains – everything you could possibly want within 200 miles. You can always find something to cook.

Where do you draw inspiration for your restaurant and menus?

Some of our favorite restaurants are in London, and we created a UK vibe for the restaurant. The general overall vibe is from the dark wood and the classic rock and roll soundtrack targeting good, classic Americana. Everyone in charge of Pub and Kitchen came from fine dining. We know how to make the place shine and an evening stand out, but we did not want to make that kind of space. We opened the kind of place we would want to go to. We want to unify everyone through music, food and drink, and create a “come one come all” atmosphere. We took inspiration from everything. We would go eat out somewhere and would always leave with a good idea. Also from everyday occurrences. We wanted to incorporate all of that.

Want to know more about Jonathan Adams? Check out the Spring 2012 Issue of Penn Appétit on racks all over Penn soon!

Find ACHIEVEability on the web:

Tickets to the Gala can be found via this link:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Conversation with Chef Zayat

You only need to take one bite of Chef Wissam Zayat’s renowned baklava at Manakeesh Café Bakery to know that he’s a great pastry chef. However, few are aware that the pastry he is most proud of isn’t his famous baklava but his madd crème cake, a semolina cake filled with sweet cream and pistachio. Even fewer know that his journey to becoming a master chef began when he was twelve years old, as an apprentice to a pastry chef in Beirut.

Thanks to the folks at Lokalty, I had a chance to chat with Chef Zayat and General Manager Abd Ghazzawi (who served as translator) over a steamy pot of mint tea. We discussed Chef Zayat’s experiences baking and cooking at their fledgling café-bakery Manakeesh. Even though Manakeesh has only been open for a year, it has already become quite a fixture in West Philadelphia, popular with locals, the Philly Muslim community and Penn students alike. It’s this melting-pot atmosphere, evident among both the clientele and the menu, that makes Manakeesh such a unique gem. And of course, there’s the food. Chef Zayat’s really, really good food.

Chef Zayat was recruited by the owner, a friend of his, before the bakery’s opening. Unlike other chefs, he was given free-reign over developing the pastry menu. The final product consists of both traditional Lebanese pastries, like shamiyaat, small date-filled cookies, and ma’moul , stuffed shortbread. However, he also developed his own creative sweets, like his popular powerbar, a honey-glazed cookie.

Most people, however, are only aware of his baklava which is sold not just at Manakeesh but in nearby grocery stores. Baklava, which according to legend originated in the Ottoman Imperial courts, is now found all across the Mediterranean, with specific regional variations. Even though Chef Zayat’s is made in the Lebanese style, it has its own distinctive taste. Ghazzawi told me, “we’ve had lots of customers who’ve gone back to the motherland, so to speak, and they eat sweets there and they eat sweets there and they say it’s still something that’s not comparable.”

Even though Chef Zayat is first and foremost a pastry chef, he says that through his experiences baking he’s learned to cook excellently as well and that this has been “the most pleasant surprise” of his culinary journey. He developed all the toppings for the manakeesh, the Lebanese flatbreads from which the café-bakery takes the name. He is most proud of the chicken tawouk topping, which is coincidentally the bakery's most popular flavor. Although for most of the year you can’t get the chance to try Chef Zayat’s home-style cooking, during the entire month of Ramadan the menu includes his own traditional Lebanese meals that are served after sundown.

Chef Zayat has also figured out how to “Americanize” some of the Lebanese dishes. Ghazzawi explained that “Chef had never cooked with sausage and bacon and turkey and stuff like that. It’s still halal food you know- it’s beef sausage and turkey bacon- but it’s something that we’re not really accustomed to.” Even so, Chef Zayat experimented and has combined these American ingredients into manakeesh toppings, for example his egg and cheese manakeesh.

I got to sample Chef Zayat’s non-Lebanese but still amazingly delicious crème brulée. It was a super thick, incredibly decadent custard with just the right hint of vanilla and a spot-on caramel crust. Delicious, as always. Abd Ghazzawi put it nicely, “we believe if it’s not something you would eat yourself it then it’s not something you should be serving others.” And trust me, Chef Zayat’s food is something you will want to eat yourself.

-Elliott Brooks

Rimedio Prescribes Northern Italian Food with a Twist

Rimedio opened its doors to the public this weekend, with a soft opening on Friday evening and full-service brunch and dinner on Saturday. Its name in Italian means “remedy,” paying homage to the pharmacy that existed there previously and the former Rx.

The kitchen is helmed by chef Dan Freeman, who cooked up a storm in Philadelphia’s Bistro 7 in Olde City and L'Oca in Fairmount. Rimedio’s menu is Northern Italian-inspired with a modern twist: envision Smoked Maldone Sea Salt 3 Day Cured Grass Fed Organic Beef Carpaccio with wild mushroom confit and red wine vinaigrette (now that’s a mouthful) or Risotto Zafferano with butter-poached langoustines (that’s saffron risotto with buttery mini-lobsters).

The meal started with the standard bread and olive oil. While the bread was soft, its temperature (at room temperature) was not up to par. I long for the restaurants serving piping hot bread that emit a puff of steam as you tear into it… where are those places? Despite this, I was interested in how my main dish would turn out.

I elected for one of the house-made pastas: the Linguine, with house-cured pork belly, scallops, wild mushroom, and butter pan sauce. As our waiter described, the kitchen cooks the noodles al dente, then flashes them in a pan with the accompanying ingredients. When he placed the dish before me, the sumptuous aroma enveloped me. He also brought some grated parmesan cheese to accent the dish. The long strands of crimped noodles were at the right texture between hard and soft, absorbing the smooth sauce in terms of texture and flavor. The pork belly was prepared in small dime-sized bits; however, the pasta’s buttery sauce overpowered the belly’s natural unctuousness. The scallops, three to a plate and fork-tender, brought a seaside touch and became my favorite component of the plate. The dish was good, but not utterly outstanding—it seemed a bit one-note to me with the dominating power of the pan sauce.

While dessert sounded mouthwatering, my stomach had no more room; I’ll have to go back to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake embellished with anise brandy chocolate ganache, honey whipped cream, and espresso bean streusel. Their brunch menu also prompts a return visit: the Stuffed Italian bread french toast (“whipped molasses cream cheese filling, black currant maple syrup, honey walnut compound butter, and side of herbed new potato hash”) sounds positively decadent. Perhaps their sweets have more contrasting flavors.

With its attentive service and promising menu, Rimedio has great potential to be a solid neighborhood restaurant and I look forward to seeing how the place evolves in the coming months.

News Feed

• New to campus: Han Dynasty, the Chinese BYOB with another location at Front and Chestnut streets, will be opening in the space left by MidAtlantic at 38th and Market - The Daily Pennsylvanian

• "‘Tis The Season: Meet Spring’s best produce and find out where it's being dished up in the city" - 34th Street

• Travesty: Oprah's favorite mac and cheese eatery Delilah's has closed at both its Reading Terminal Market and 30th Street Station locations - The Insider

Roundeye Noodle Bar has now changed its name to Cheu Noodle Bar after objections to the racially-insensitive "Roundeye"; their next pop-up has been announced for April 1 at Matyson - Foobooz

• Two views on healthy eatery Pure Fare from The Walk and Midtown Lunch, which has a mobile location at 40th and Locust and a permanent location at 119 S 21st Street

Foobooz has compiled a slideshow of the spring restaurant openings they are most excited for

Native American food cart coming to Philly - Eater Philly

• Mmm: Insomnia's cookie sandwiches look like the perfect treat for spring, and now you can get them on campus and downtown at the bakery's new 16th Street store - Foobooz

Image Credit: Foobooz

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Food for Thought Interview with Peter Woolsey

Philly is incredibly lucky to attract chefs who are not only talented, but also socially conscious. ACHIEVEability was able to bring many of these chefs together, in support of its cause of breaking the poverty cycle with the help of education, and gaining self-sufficiency. Peter Woolsey is one of these chefs – he is always making sure to stay active in the Philadelphia community, but never to sacrifice his craft.

After working at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC, Woolsey went to study pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where he ended up mastering not only pastry, but also the art of French cooking. With these skills under his belt, Woolsey moved back to the U.S. and then to Philadelphia with his French wife and created Bistrot La Minette, an authentic bistro serving classic French cuisine.

Read Penn Appétit’s exclusive interview with Peter Woolsey below!

How did you get involved in Food for Thought? For how long have you been involved? Why is the Food for Thought fundraiser important to you? Why do you think people should attend?

The woman who put together the gala last year was my next-door neighbor and good friend. She’s a real foodie, but she was shy about asking the first time because we’re friends and neighbors, and did not want to cross any lines. But when she told me about it, I did my research, and ACHIEVEability is very easy to get behind. When dealing with poverty, so many people just throw money at the problem, without thinking of ideas that are out of the box. ACHIEVEability’s goal is to break the poverty cycle, and it has thought of creative ways to fix the problem. I’m from West Philadelphia, and lived very close to it. It’s amazing how different the city can be a couple of blocks away.

Can you give us any hints as to what you'll be cooking for the event?

I can actually tell you what we’ll be making! Our beouf bourguinon and a millefeuille.

Are there any other exciting upcoming events that you or Bistrot La Minette is involved in?

This month we’re doing Dinner in Périgord, which will feature the typical food of this region of France. It will include, foie gras, duck, walnuts, and black truffles. It’s a lot of rich, delicious, awesome food, all because of the ingredients. It’s a prix fix that is four courses for $35. Also I’m working on planning another collaborative chef dinner for the end of March. I’ve just started planning it so I can’t give you any clues as to who will be there. There’s always something going on at Bistrot.

What do you like about the Philadelphia food scene? Why do you think Philly is a good place to start a French restaurant?

Well I was living in France, I ran out of money and my visa ran out. I knew I had to move somewhere, so I moved back home. I opened a French restaurant because that’s my training. When I opened Bistrot, there weren’t many other French restaurants in Philly. Since I opened it, a few others have come along but none of them are along the lines of what I wanted to do. My goal was to make the most authentic French bistro possible.

Where do you draw inspiration for your restaurant and menus?

The easiest places to find inspiration are people’s homes. I like going to restaurants and seeing other people’s work, but it’s rarely inspiring. My wife is French, and the food that she cooks at home is very inspiring. Simple home cooked meals, eating with my in-laws, and with friends. The only restaurants that I find really inspiring are off the beaten path, mom and pop restaurants that specialize in one or two things. These are the only places to find treasures of great, great food.

Want to know more about Peter Woolsey? Check out the Spring 2012 Issue of Penn Appétit on racks all over Penn soon!

Craving a late night snack? So was Jonathan Adams! Learn all about Adams and his restaurant Pub and Kitchen (open until 2 AM) tomorrow!

Find ACHIEVEability on the web:

Tickets to the Gala can be found via this link:

Site Scoop: Southern Living

When people ask which cities they should visit for an amazing meal, the answers may seem obvious at first: New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco...glitzy, glamorous metropolises filled to the brim with high-profile chefs and renowned restaurants. However, this short list of hotspots only makes up a small slice of what the American culinary scene has to offer. The south, in particular, is experiencing a boom in food culture. As a Brooklyn girl who is soon heading below the Mason-Dixon line for graduate school, I am eternally grateful to Southern Living magazine for the "South's Tastiest Town" awards, a homage to ten drool-worthy dining destinations including Lafayette, Louisiana, Decatur, Georgia, and Raleigh, North Carolina. This list is enough to make anyone want to embark on a road trip and get a taste of what these Southern chefs are cooking, whether it's chic Indian cuisine in Houston, pan-fried Virginia trout in Charlottesville, or twelve-layer coconut cake in Charleston. What are you waiting for? Book a trip to one of these tasty towns ASAP!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: A.Kitchen

I discovered A.Kitchen when I was surfing on the internet, searching for a decently priced restaurant in Center City that had received good ratings. A.Kitchen is a restaurant located near Rittenhouse Square (South 18th Street) that serves contemporary American, European and international food. The modern atmosphere of the restaurant reflected the kind of food they served – very contemporary and international. Although it is a small restaurant, A.Kitchen is known for its wide selection of wines and delicious cocktails, not to mention the elegant dinner menu.

The “kitchen” resembled a Japanese sushi bar. I was seated at that bar, giving me a fascinating view of the chefs cooking and decorating the dishes. I shared “Duck and Corkscrews, Wild Mushrooms, Butternut Squash” with my friend. I hadn't realized it when I ordered, but it turned out to be one of the best dishes served at A.Kitchen, according to many online reviews. The twisted pasta and variety of colors made the dish pleasing to my eyes. The shredded duck was tender and the pasta tasted wonderful.

I also shared “Lamb Bolognese with Tagliatelle”, but it wasn’t as good as I had expected. Initially, the dish had a strong lamb aroma which got me excited, but it tasted like a plain Bolognese pasta or any pasta with meat-based sauce. The elongated, squiggly noodles made this pasta special, but that was all.

When you are visiting A.Kitchen, try some of the lamb dishes (except the Lamb Bolognese I ordered), seasonal special menus or desserts. Since it is famous for its wines and cocktails, try those too, but please take into account that a lot of the reviews available online say that they are overrated and overpriced. One thing to add is that if you are underage but want to be immersed in that modern atmosphere, try their Shirley Temple (which I did!). It is a non-alcoholic drink made out of fresh cherries, sprite and ginger ale. It looks like a cocktail drink and it tastes good, so why not give it a try?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Food for Thought Gala Event

As Penn Appétit works to keep you updated on all foodie events, we wanted to tell you about ACHIEVEability’s annual Food for Thought Gala that is taking place this Saturday! It should be a delicious night filled with yummy food from fantastic chefs, all in support of a great cause.

ACHIEVEability is a West Philadelphia non-profit that works to permanently break the cycle of poverty for low-income, single parent, and homeless families. ACHIEVEability provides housing and services so that parents can pursue higher education and work towards self-sufficiency.

The Food for Thought Gala will feature food prepared by top chefs from the Greater Philadelphia area, including Marc Vetri (Vetri), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga, Top Chef Season 7), Jeff Michaud (Osteria), Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette), Jonathan Adams (Pub & Kitchen) and Marcie Turney (Barbuzzo).

Not only will there be wonderful food, but Food for Thought is also featuring an amazing selection of raffle prizes. I would personally bid on the In-House Dinner Party hosted by Kevin Sbraga, or maybe even the Adventure Week in Belize.

The food, the raffle prizes, and emcee Beasley Reece (sports anchor for CBS-3 and ex-NFL player) – it’s going to be an amazing event!

For more information about ACHIEVEability and Food for Thought, as well as interviews with Peter Woolsey and Jonathan Adams check back tomorrow!

Find ACHIEVEability on the web:

Tickets to the Gala can be found here.

Food Events @ Penn

Empanada Alley
What: Every Friday and Saturday throughout the month of April, Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre wil open the late-night "Empanada Alley". The converted kitchen space, reminiscent of a bodega, a quick-service restaurant, will offer hot crispy empanadas and refreshing non-alcoholic drinks. You can find Pernot's makeshift bodega at the cobble-stoned alley behind Cuba Libre.
Where: 10 South 2nd Street
When: Fridays and Saturdays in April, from midnight to 3am
Cost: Empanadas are $3 each

2nd Annual Fishtown Chili Cookoff
What: Sketch Burger, East Girard Gastropub, The Pickled Heron, Interstate Drafthouse, Frankford Hall, Brindle Cafe, Loco Pez, Murph’s, Barcade & Soup Kitchen Cafe and fifteen amateur contestants will be competing for the title of Philly's best chili! Sample and vote for the best chili. While enjoying beer from Philadelphia Brewing Company and St. Benjamin’s Brewing and bread provided by Fishtown’s own Metropolitan Bakery.
Where: 2424 E York Street
When: March 25, 1-4pm
Cost: $15

Waffle Day
What: Celebrate Annunciation Day like a Swede! Meaning, eat waffles, lots of waffles. The American Swedish Historical Museum for some yummy waffles, with a side of Scandinavian history.
Where: 900 Pattison Avenue
When: Sunday, March 25th, 11am-3pm
Cost: $10 for waffles, drinks and museum admission

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kiwi Frozen Yogurt: New and Nutritional Flavors for Spring

With campus beginning to heat up this spring, Penn students are looking for new ways to cool down. Though many students may indulge in the thick and creamy ice cream or gelato at various sites on campus, others may opt for a more nutritious, yet extremely delectable, sweet treat: Kiwi Frozen Yogurt.

As a froyo-obsessed freshman coming to Penn, I feared that Philadelphia would not offer that tart and refreshingly pungent taste of frozen yogurt I often crave. Kiwi, however, with its many and constantly changing flavors and toppings, has far exceeded my expectations in satisfying my taste buds. Many Penn students have been devouring this tasty treat since the shop opened under the name of Sprinkles. This spring, however, Kiwi offers a batch of new and seasonal flavors that will leave students’ mouths watering. In the spirit of Easter, Kiwi has created a baby-blue colored “Malted Milk Ball” selection that tastes exactly like Hershey’s Whopper Easter Robin Eggs chocolate treat. The Strawberry Daiquiri flavor offers an enticing substitute for those who still crave the relaxing memories of spring break, and Creamy Coconut leaves all who sample it completely refreshed. Other popular flavors have been brought back, including Espresso, Thin Mint Cookies, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate, and Graham Cracker.

In light of the sunny weather, Kiwi has also expanded its variety of toppings to include a greater abundance of ripe fruit. Candy lovers are not to fear, however, as Kiwi has maintained its offerings of cookie dough, cheesecake bits, and many other chocolate and sweet selections. Customers are allowed to create their own yogurt confections based on personal preferences, a far better deal than offered at T-Bowl or Sweetgreen, both of which also suffer from a narrow array of flavors.

The best part about Kiwi is that we can still indulge without that inevitable sense of guilt attached to more fattening sweets. In addition to offering non-fat and low-fat yogurt, Kiwi also offers sugar-free and even gluten-free options! The brand new tart flavor, my personal favorite, is completely organic. All Kiwi frozen yogurt contains beneficial probiotic cultures that enhance digestion and healthy living. Ranging from only 80-140 calories per half cup, Kiwi frozen yogurt is still a great source of calcium and protein. Its convenient location at 3606 Chestnut and its newest, seasonal flavors make Kiwi the optimal place to be this spring. Though we may not be at the beach this semester, with Kiwi, we can still enjoy the taste of pina coladas and perhaps even, considering April’s flippant weather, getting caught in the rain.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baking as Aroma Therapy

Every time I go home, I remember the things that I miss about being there. I’m not trying to sound nostalgic or anything, but we all have those comforts and little things we forget about when we are at school. Now, as much as I love home cooked meals, comfortable beds, and being able to shower barefoot, the one thing that I always realize I miss most is baking.

For me, baking is more than a process. It is not a chore, or even a means to an end. Of course I love snacking along the way on the batter and dough that can potentially give me salmonella. And it is always rewarding to devour the cakes and cookies that I am left with at the end of a sometimes tedious and grueling afternoon in a hot kitchen. I’d also be lying if I told you I did not do it for the sweet perfume that only a working oven can fill a house with. But in truth, all of that is really not the point. Baking is a form of therapy.

I took up baking during my junior year of high school, and soon realized that sometimes it was the only thing that could take my mind off of the stressful things in life. It has the power to completely remove me from whatever has been occupying my mind and transport me outside my own head. Through the beating and stirring, whipping and folding, icing, slicing, and dicing, measuring and chopping, I am temporarily able to focus on nothing more than the stand mixer and sheet tray in front of me.

At the end, covered in flour and feeling a little sick from the handfuls of chocolate chips I’ve consumed, I feel ready to return to the real world one treat richer and worry-free. Well, that might be an overstatement, but it absolutely does clear my mind. I find that those things that had worked themselves into knots in my brain have softened and unraveled, allowing me to face the trials of life a little bit fuller and a lot more relaxed.

So to all of you out there who have a kitchen: use it. The next time that you are feeling like life has thrown you more than you can handle or that you’ve bit off more than you can chew, pull out your whisk and show that oven some lovin’.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Philly Kitchen: Penny Jennewein

Every other week Penn Appétit profiles a student who cooks on a college budget and in a college sized kitchen.

This week we catch up with Penny Jennewein, a proud member and founder of Penn’s first ever co-op. When she’s not engaging in the “science experiment” of vegan baking, Penny is part of a system of shared cooking at the co-op. The members of the co-op put in money for a mutually agreed upon grocery list and then take turns cooking strictly vegan for everyone throughout the week. I got to enjoy a lively discussion about the power of food to bring people together and promote social justice over a delicious plate of homemade green coconut curry (recipe below!). I hope you’ll come away as inspired as I was to grab a group of friends and start cooking together similar to how the co-op does.

Penn Appétit: How did you learn to cook?
Penny Jenewein: My mom was a caterer for a while and a baker, she’s a really good cook. She would always teach us how to bake so me and my sister would make soufflés and things like that, but I didn’t really learn to cook until high school, I just felt like I should learn domestic things.

PA: Why did the co-op decide to make communal meals vegan?
PJ: Not a majority but a lot of members are vegan. Originally when we started out we decided that we all have a shared commitment to social justice and a lot of people, even if they aren’t vegan, agree that food is a source of social justice. I think that veganism is a way to be socially just and functionally the system wouldn’t work well if we were doing communal food and people had to pay for things they wouldn’t be able to eat.

PA: What’s the hardest thing about cooking in a college sized kitchen?
PJ: There’s not enough time for it, I rarely have blocks of time to do anything…I get around this because other people at the co-op cook and I can still have a healthy and good tasting meal but not have to put the time in every night.

PA: What’s the best thing?
PJ: I think it’s a relaxer. I look forward to cooking food and it’s something that I do with other people. Food is such a social justice thing, you know, if you plan your life in a way that you can cook food and enjoy food with other people that can be something that brings people together. I think it really does in the co-op when people sit together, eat and laugh.

(The co-ops cooking schedule, left)

PA: What’s your advice for people who want to start cooking?
PJ: I would say try to cook something that you really like first. But also, it’s not a science; you should just throw things in a pot, see what tastes good and add more or less depending.

PA: What’s your cooking philosophy?
PJ: I usually don’t follow the recipe that much.
PA: Why is that?
PJ: Usually I always do something wrong so I have to make up for that. Especially with cooking vegan I have to shift things so I will try to find a substitute or I wont add things and I’ll just see what happens.

Thai Green Curry – serves 9 people in a co-op
(Adapted from Oh Kitchen, June 20 2011)

• 3 Tbs green curry paste
• 2 14oz can of coconut milk
• 2 large cloves garlic
• 1 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
• 1 full onion
• 4 large red (or other thin-skinned type) potato
• 5-6 carrots
• 1 Tbs brown sugar
• ½ 14 oz package tofu
• 2 cups brown rice

WITHOUT SHAKING, open the can of coconut milk. Take the coconut "cream" layer off the top and put into a sauce pan along with red curry paste. Heat over medium heat and stir to combine.

Let coconut cream and curry paste come together till they thicken up and become more paste-like. Lower heat some and then add garlic, ginger and onion.

When garlic and ginger become fragrant, add rest of coconut milk, along with 1 cup of water. Add diced potatoes carrots, and tofu to the pot.

Turn up the heat till pot boils and then reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on, but leave partially open. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Add brown sugar and squeeze of a lime or a splash of rice vinegar. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Serve with brown rice.

-Leyla Mocan

Do you or someone you know cook in your college sized kitchen? Want to be profiled on our next post? Send an email to and we’ll contact you to be featured!

Sumptuous Spring

As the sun shines on Philadelphia, hot drinks no longer quench thirst as they once did in the winter. Instead they’ve been replaced by cold, refreshing drinks. One of my favorite spring treats, the smoothie, can easily be made in a variety of ways. My favorite version takes away the yogurt, creating a delicately light treat. This recipe is very approximate and very much up to you. So, feel free to substitute the fruit and to add more or less ice/juice as you please!

Serving size: 1 smoothie

1 cup of orange juice
¼ cup ice
4 strawberries cut in slices
½ banana cut in slices
Pinch of sugar

Fill the blender first with ice.
Add strawberries, bananas, and orange juice.
Blend together until desired consistency (smooth without a lot of chunks). Add more ice or juice as needed.
Be sure to taste the smoothie as you go along to see how much sugar you need (really depends on your taste!).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Food Events @ Penn: Food Studies Edition

Penn's Food Studies department has plenty of exciting upcoming events. The first one occurs this coming Tuesday, so be sure to come hear about Sicily's history of sweets!

Sicily and its Sweets
What: Talk presented by acclaimed pastry chef, author & educator Nick Malgieri
When: Tuesday, March 20, 5:30 pm
Where: Class of 55 Conference Room, 2nd floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
More Info: Free and open to the public. RSVPs appreciated but not required. Please email to RSVP.

Sicily has long been renowned for the quality and diversity of its cakes, pastries, and confections. A result of the early Saracen domination of the island and their introduction of refined sugar, Sicily was one of the first places in Europe to develop the art of confectionery. Many of these sweets still survive in the form of cannoli, candied fruits and even vegetables, and sweets based on almonds and pistachios (another Arab introduction). Where Saracen pastry cooks left off, monastic bakeries quickly followed; each had a sweet specialty. During the nineteenth century, Swiss confectioners arrived in Sicily, bringing with them new techniques and chocolate. The pastry shops of contemporary Sicily embrace remnants of all these traditions and still produce an astounding array of sweets unequaled elsewhere.

The Food Studies department is hosting a talk with Nick Malgieri. Malgieri, former Executive Pastry Chef at Windows on the World, is an inductee into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Malgieri is the author of several award-winning books on baking and desserts including BAKE! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking and Great Italian Desserts. Currently, Malgieri directs the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education and frequently serves as a guest teacher at many cooking schools.

American Pie: The Politics of Food in the 21st Century
What: In light of the increasing interest in food studies at Penn, the Muriel Pfaelzer Bodek Fund for Library Public Events will sponsor a series of three lectures focusing on food policy in the 21st century. The speakers, experts in their fields, will address issues relating to global food security, sustainable agriculture, and food waste in America. Series is co-sponsored by the School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Nursing/School of Arts and Sciences Nutrition Minor, Department of History and Sociology of Science, Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative/Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Environmental Education Kitchen at Penn Women's Center, Penn Vegan Society, and Penn Appétit. See more details about the lectures below.

The Food Not Eaten
Jonathan Bloom, journalist and author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) (2010), will speak on how much food we waste, where and why we squander so much, the ethical, environmental, and economic impact of our actions, and, most importantly, how we can minimize waste. Registration requested but not required. Please RSVP here.
When: April 11, 2012, 6 pm
Where: Claudia Cohen Hall G17 Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania, 249 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Global Food Security: A 21st Century Challenge
Dr. Alan M. Kelly, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, will speak on the challenges faced by agriculture as it expands production to meet society's growing needs while conserving the environment, controlling the spread of infectious diseases, and accommodating to the vagaries of climate change. Registration requested but not required. Please RSVP here.
When: April 19, 2012, 6 pm
Where: Hill Pavilion Room 130, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 380 S. University Ave., Philadelphia, PA

The Future of Food: Sustainable Agriculture is not Optional
Dr. John E. Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, and author of Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense and Small Farms are Real Farms: Sustaining People Through Agriculture, will speak on the need for sustainable agriculture, the challenges facing the movement, and the development of a new and better paradigm, one which is economically viable and which meets the needs of the present without diminishing opportunities for the future. Registration requested but not required. Please RSVP here.
When: April 24, 2012, 6 pm
Where: Claudia Cohen Hall G17 Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania, 249 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA

News Feed

Il Rimedio, a new northern Italian restaurant and brunch spot, to replace Rx at 45th and Spruce streets - The Daily Pennsylvanian

• Come to Penn pretty please? Say Cheese food truck is serving nomsy grilled cheeses on the Temple campus - Midtown Lunch

• Trader Joe's is on a roll: the chain is now selling Speculoos Cookie Butter Chocolate Bars and Kettle Corn Cookies - Meal Ticket and A Sweet Score

"Anthony Bourdain Confirms That Philadelphia Is At The Top Of His List For An Upcoming Episode Of No Reservations Or The Layover" - Uwishunu

Serious Eats discusses tackling the salad bar at international falafel chain Maoz Vegetarian

"It's just a BAGEL! A BAGEL!""12-Year-Old Speaks The Truth About Plain Doughnuts" - BuzzFeed

Image Credit: Serious Eats

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