Posts for May 31, 2012

Two Takes on Nomad Pizza; Rebel Rock Bar & Bites ‘Doesn’t Rock’

• In a promising two-dinger review, Craig LaBan notes that Philly’s influx of new pizza places “are not the same.” But the pies from Nomad Pizza, one of the latest pizzerias to enter the scene, “are as close to perfection as [he’s] tasted this side of Napoli.” The crust’s “complex malty sweetness,” the “elegant constellation of char-spots,” and the “profoundly roasted flavor that lingers for hours after the meal is over” combined with the “sunbeam of vivid tomato” that the uncooked sauce puts forth makes the pies winners. [Inquirer]

• Adam Erace also checks out Nomad, where he endured an acute case of “Malcolm McDowell-induced indigestion” while A Clockwork Orange played on the pizzeria’s projection screen for movie night. He too gives it up for Nomad’s “winning” pies, noting the crust’s “dynamic, chewy/crispy texture and yeasty, subtly sour flavor.” [Citypaper]

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Finnegan’s Wake Gets Bodine Street, But Not Its Proposed Balconies

Maybe they will finally remove the dumpster.

It looks like politically well-connected Finnegan Wake’s is going to get at least part of the deal its owner proposed earlier this month to take over the stretch of underused North Bodine Street between Spring Garden and Green streets. PlanPhilly reports that the Philadelphia City Planning Commission gave its approval for Finnegan's Wake to take over part of the street to build out an outdoor patio for guests to dine al fresco. What wasn’t given the go-ahead was the plan to build enormous two-story balconies that would extend 14 feet over Spring Garden Street. Northern Liberties Neighbors Association Matt Ruben reportedly told the commissioners that the proposed balconies were out of the question, since many in the neighborhood have already had enough of the rowdy bar’s drunken patrons making noise, throwing up on the sidewalks, and making a general nuisances of themselves when exiting. [PlanPhilly]

Earlier: Finnegan’s Wake Taking a Second Crack at Its Bodine Street Takeover

Backyard Chickens and Farming Blamed for Sickening Hundreds With Salmonella

Live chickens are essentailly raw chickens, and should be treated as such.

Backyard farming may be a means of survival for some, and a neighborhood status symbol for others, but now the trendy practice is being blamed for sickening hundreds with salmonella. Washington Post reports that the Center for Disease Control has determined that more than 80 percent of salmonella cases reported can be traced back to hatcheries that sell chicks directly to consumers for their kids' Easter baskets and/or their experiments in suburban coop-keeping.

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Todd English on Returning to Boston and Reopening His Flagship

Todd English, pausing to reflect.Photo: 451

Todd English has gotten a drubbing in the national press, and, yes, Grub Street has happily chronicled the fallout. The lawsuits! The rent woes! That wacky Groupon deal! Back home in Boston, he was derided for failing to quickly refurbish Olives after a fire shuttered his 23-year-old flagship two years ago. But Teflon Todd is back, people: Olives is open once more, with a bigger bar and more small plates. And English is in the kitchen, promising to make it a priority. Grub Street caught him in a fleeting quiet moment, primed for a comeback and happy to chat.

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Marc Summers Hosts ‘Dunkel Dare’ at Frankford Hall For Philly Beer Week

Take the beer challenge.Photo: Courtesy Marc Summers

Even though Marc Summers isn’t much of a beer guy, the Food Network personality and producer is still being a good sport about resuming his role as a game show host for “Dunkel Dare,” a special Beer Week program that’s going live for three nights (June 5 through 7) at Frankford Hall. It will pit breweries like Yards, Victory, and Sly Fox against each other in a sudsy homage to the Nickelodeon cult program Double Dare that launched Summers’s career into orbit. Teams from each brewery will answer questions and compete in potentially messy physical challenges to win. And you’d better believe there’s going to be green slime! “I know so little bit about beer, I’m sort of stupid about it,” Summers readily admitted when Grub caught up with him on the phone while he was on location in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’m more of a wine drinker. An Amstel Light is a big night out for me.”

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Drive-Thru Dining: Eleven Videos of Cars Crashing Into Restaurants

This week, an Ohio man used his truck as a battering ram after a Taco Bell forgot one of his 99-cent tacos. Not long before that, an Indiana Chipotle took a major hit from a collision between two cars. Which got us thinking: This kind of thing happens a lot, right? Cars seem to always be slamming into fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, and diners. While it's hard to explain exactly why they make such a vulnerable targets for errant autos, we recommend everyone stay on their toes, no matter how much attention that burger requires. Need proof? Here now, eleven glass-shattering, metal-twisting car crashes caught on video at restaurants through the years.

Hell's Kitchen Proves Hellish For Former Mercato Chef

Christina WilsonPhoto: Christina Wilson

Christina Wilson, the former chef de cuisine at the popular WashWest BYOB Mercato is latest from the Philly fooderati to take a star turn on TV. She’s one of the chefs who will suffer the wrath of Gordon Ramsay as a contestant on the 10th season of Hell's Kitchen, which premiers on Fox Monday, June 4 at 8 p.m. Wilson, who began her culinary career at Conshohocken’s Stella Blu and Gypsy Saloon while studying at Temple University, before heading up kitchens at Lolita and eventually Mercato, told the Daily News’ Dan Gross that she cried herself to sleep several nights while shooting the show. She’s now working as a private chef here in Philly as well as at the Shore, and hopes her role on the show will help boost her career. [Philly Gossip]

Around the World in 80 Plates Recap: David Rees Is the Only Person Watching This Show

Can you name even one of these contestants?Photo: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

In solidarity with the spirit of adventure that drives Around the World in 80 Plates, I’m recapping this week’s episode from my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, one of the most famous boroughs in all of New York. I'm a long way from home! And at the risk of blowing your mind even wider open: By the time you read this recap, I will be on an airplane flying to yet ANOTHER distant city — the city of Los Angeles, currently located all the way over there on the other side of the continent in the sun-dappled, doomed social experiment known as California. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a bit of a jet-setter. My only home is the open road; my only love is the smell of airplanes in flight; my only allegiance is to the next vista on my horizon. Basically, what I’m saying is: I might literally be the only person in America who appreciates what our friends are going through as they compete on Around the World in 80 Plates. As far as I can tell, I am definitely the only person in America who is watching the show.

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Pressing Matters: Are Juice Bars Putting the Squeeze on Customers?

Photo: Danny Kim for New York Magazine/Food styling: Suzette Kaminski

Anyone who has walked by a juice bar over the last couple of years — in other words, almost everyone — has noticed the strikingly high prices, often $9 or $10 per nutrient-laden beverage. How can this be? Have juice-bar owners figured out a way to swindle the kale-enraptured masses?

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