Posts for February 11, 2013

Maker’s Mark Is Watering Down Its Bourbon

What can drinkers expect from the new, 84-proof Maker's?Photo: Courtesy Maker's Mark

There are more bourbon barrels than people in Kentucky at the moment, but the sharp uptick in demand is crushing supply, and now, as a means of staving off a bourbon shortage, the distillery that produces Maker's Mark announced it is taking the seemingly extraordinary measure of lowering the alcohol-by-volume content of its product. As you can imagine, some drinkers are going nuts over this.

The full statement. »

Five Places in Philadelphia Where the Good Times Are Rolling For Mardi Gras

Finally: A Hurricane that we can get behind.

Once again Old City’s Khyber Pass Pub will get the good times rolling for Mardi Gras tomorrow on the early side. Brunch starts at 11 a.m., and they have two happy hours lined up for Fat Tuesday festivities. The brunch will feature the tastes of NOLA, with beignets, crawfish Étouffée, po-boys, Khyber gumbo, and tons more. For drinks, there will Sazeracs, mint juleps, Vieux Carrés, and 22 craft beers on tap. Abitas will be on special all day, and night for $4. Happy hours run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 to 6 p.m.

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Citron and Rose Has Three Bell Potential; ‘Elaborate Accessorizing’ Justifies the Cost of Vernick’s Toasts

• Craig LaBan gave Citron and Rose two bells, but says that owners Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook have “succeeded” in delivering “a great glatt kosher restaurant,” which has the potential to rise to three bells status “by year's end.” Things like the “flaky” poppy-speckled and smoked mushroom stuffed knish and the “object of pure grill-lust” that was the two-pound “mega-rib-eye” for two, turned out well. But a dry escabeche of mackerel, and an “extremely overcooked” were “far less successful.” [Inquirer]

• Adam Erace says the toasts at Vernick “make fabulous finger-foods,” “provide a crunchy, smoky, subtly tangy backdrop to all sorts of ingredients,” and “their considerable size and elaborate accessorizing more than justifies the cost.” Aside from toast, the “ethereal” potato ravioli with the “succulent braised lamb neck lining” are as “fine as any Vetri chef.” “Overcooked” fish in the shellfish roast for two came as “a small blemish on this beautiful meal.” [Courier-Post]

Ruth Reichl Calls the Star System ‘Stupid’

"As a critic, I really hated the star system. It’s stupid and insulting to readers. I’d sometimes give a restaurant a lower rating so people would leave a restaurant saying I wrote a three-star review, but only gave two stars. But as an editor, I would never get rid of it. When you run a four-star review, it gets talked about all over the world." —The former Times restaurant critic and Gourmet editor isn't a fan of New York bagels or Yelp, either. [Daily Front Row]

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Filming In Philly

No Peroxide Porcupine sightings yet!

Keep your eyes peeled today for the Peroxide Porcupine. We’re getting multiple reports today that Guy Fieri, the mayor of Flavortown himself, and his Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives crew are working on location here for the next few days. Though we’ve yet to hear anything as far as actual sightings go, several tipsters have told us that DD&D was grabbing b-roll on Sunday at South Philadelphia Taproom, while Foobooz is saying the show might have paid visits to Sidecar Bar & Grille, and Standard Tap. Sadly, none of these places fit the criteria for diners, drive-ins or dives. Keep us posted if you spot him anywhere. [Foobooz]

Mountain Dew Introduces Kickstart, a Morning Soda

Officially endorsed by fedora-wearing, tattooed men.

For those of you who wake up and chug Red Bull (looking at you, Alex Stupak), PepsiCo's out to get you. The company is launching a new Mountain Dew drink that's intended for breakfast time. Kickstart is made with "real fruit juice" (read: 5 percent juice), "the right amount of kick" (a potentially lethal jolt of caffeine), and artificial sweeteners. Though Kickstart does have far less caffeine than energy drinks like Red Bell, PepsiCo's taken the liberty of labeling the two flavors "energizing orange citrus" and "energizing fruit punch," and has packaged it to look like Monster. Subtle. Maybe Taco Bell inspired this — in May, it introduced an awful "mixology" beverage called MTN DEW A.M., consisting of Mountain Dew and orange juice. Kickstart will be available nationwide starting February 25; it'll appear at college libraries and morning pregame parties on the 26th. [Earlier, Earlier, Earlier, AP]

George Sabatino Leaving Stateside

George Sabatino

While the local dining community was still reeling from the news from last week that Walter Abrams and Le Bec Fin split up, another shocker surfaced over the weekend: George Sabatino is leaving Stateside! The chef opened the East Passyunk hot-spot, and brought it great acclaim in its brief, year-and-a-half run. According to the Insider, he’s given notice, and plans to open his own restaurant in the near future. His last day will be March 11. There’s no word on when or where this nebulous project that he’s woking on with fiancee Jennifer Conley will come together. [Insider]

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