Posts for January 14, 2013

‘Complexity Shines’ at Khmer Kitchen; Ants Pants Serves ‘Ever-Satisfying’ Brussels Sprouts

• Craig LaBan checks out the “authentic Cambodian flavors” at South Philly’s Khmer Kitchen, and reports back that the “vibrant fare” is both legit, and “more elegant” than what’s on offer at many American Thai restaurants. “Complexity shines” in the soups; the pineapple one with rib tips, he writes, “did somersaults on the tongue.” A spicy bowl of phrah-hok katheeth is “simply the most exotic bowl of chili” he’s ever eaten. The grilled beef sak-koe ang “was overcooked,” but a splash of the tuhk prohok sauce, “redeemed all.” [Inquirer]

• Two Eat Philly does dinner at G-Ho’s Ants Pants Cafe, where Thai sweet chili sauce turns sweet potato fries into a “surprise hit,” and the addition of shallots and Pecorino makes sauteed Brussels sprouts an “ever-satisfying vegetable dish.” With the maple component largely missing from a maple bacon and egg sandwich, it was a “little boring.” A pancetta BLT was overwhelmed by the pancetta, making it “not too enjoyable.” [Two Eat Philly]

Steve Wildy Gets Promoted to General Manager of Alla Spina; Interstate Draft House Hires a New Chef

Turns out that “big news” that the folks at Alla Spina teased this morning on Twitter isn’t so big after all. But it’s still pretty cool. Steve Wildy, who serves as Beverage Director for the Vetri family of restaurants is taking over the General Manager duties at the gastro-funhouse. With his new role, he will continue making the beer, wine and booze decisions for the growing restaurant group, while doubling as the head honcho up there on North Broad Street. In a cheeky video (it’s posted below) Wildy says that he will announce beer specials, classes and other fun drinking activities at Alla Spina via his new Weekly Wildy YouTube clips. But that’s not all that’s happening in personnel news.

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Zama Nixes the Rice For Its Latest Sushi Combo

Zama's new rice-less rolls.Photo: Zama

For the sake of those trying to make good on New Year’s pledges to eat better and lose weight, Zama’s chef Hiroyuki Tanaka just rolled out a new sushi combo that holds the rice. The new “rice-less” option presents two pieces of several different new rolls that substitute rice with various vegetables or quinoa chirashi. Zama’s new creations include tuna wrapped in daikon; snapper wrapped in cucumber; salmon wrapped in lettuce; yellowtail wrapped in carrot; blue fin tartar with scallions sandwiched between watermelon radish and served with a quinoa chirashi tossed with shitake mushrooms and pickled ginger topped with tamago; and fresh water eel and shrimp with eel sauce.

Video Feed: Get Ready For the Carnivorous Pleasures of The Hunt

You don't actually see Next chef Dave Beran bag a pheasant in the new video for The Hunt menu, running now, but you see plenty of other things in the latest, beautifully-put together work from resident filmmaker Christian Seel that leave you in no doubt that The Hunt is about the carnal pleasures of carnivorousness. Heads are cut off, bones are sanded down for eating marrow out of, red meat is trimmed and even pureed... all these things happen in fine dining, but this meal isn't about keeping them behind the kitchen door. Check out two minutes and forty-four seconds of red-blooded meat below, and speaking of red, according to Twitter, this is the first Next video shot on their latest toy— a Red Scarlet 4K digital video camera. So be sure to watch it in 1080p as large as you can— and apparently it even comes in a 3D version (we haven't actually tested that out, especially on these vivid images).

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Agiato Closes… Again

Agiato's bar

Agiato, the Manayunk-based restaurant from Belvedere Restaurant Group, who also owns soon-to-be-relaunched Tapestry, is closed. Again. And it’s been out of commission for a almost a week. This is the third time in a year that the place has gone dark. Co-owner Rich Rivera told the Insider this latest closing is due to a bum ventilation system, and that the disruption in service would only be temporary. However the restaurant’s liquor license is in the LCB’s inactive column, and its renewal is still in limbo. Tapestry on the other hand, where Belvedere recently transferred another liquor license it holds, is looking to reopen next month. [Insider]

Tastykakes-Maker Is Buying Hostess Bread Brands: Will Twinkies Be Saved?

It's a miracle!

If you've been living in a nuclear fallout shelter packed with Ho Hos and Ding Dongs since news broke of Hostess filing for bankruptcy, it's time to come out and see the light. Flower Foods Inc., a company in Georgia that produces Tastykakes, Nature's Own, and Cobblestone Mill, is buying six of Hostess's bread brands for $390 million. The deal isn't finalized yet because the bankruptcy court must approve it, but it looks like Wonder Bread will be back in your bodega soon (did it ever really expire, though?). Maybe consider starting a prayer group for Twinkies. [Earlier, AP]

Increasingly Crabby Staff Files Suit Against Chickie’s & Pete’s

Staffers are getting crabbier than the fries.

Looks like that tiff over tip skimming was only the beginning of an ever-widening rift between Chickie’s & Pete’s and its staff, which has grown crabbier than the prized, signature spicy fries they serve. More than 15 employees have signed on to an unfair labor practices suit that claims the local sports bar chain dipped into servers tips, stiffed workers on overtime, and forced them to pay for t-shirts and Shark vacuum cleaners, according to KYW Newsradio. Official word from Chickie’s & Pete’s is, “we’ll do what we have to do to treat our employees fairly,” but the attorney repping the increasingly crabby staffers says he expects more complaints to surface. [KYW Newsradio]

Earlier: Employees Accuse Chickie’s & Pete’s of Skimming Tips

Wahlburgers Reality Show Begins Filming

Mark Wahlberg, reality star.Photo: Getty Images

That reality show we told you about featuring Wahlburgers' chef Paul Wahlberg and his celebrity siblings Mark and Donnie begins taping tomorrow, according to the Boston Globe. The show is all about what it takes to run a successful restaurant — despite recent woes. Wahlburgers has been in the news lately thanks to a lawsuit alleging that ex-manager Ed St. Croix did an "abysmal" job and the arrest of CEO Rick Vanzura for midday drunk-driving. This series could be juicy!

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