Though the temps are on the chillier side, and there’s still a possibility of snowfall tonight, the Vernal equinox signaled early this morning the arrival of the spring season. And with it comes the promise of milder weather, longer days, and whole new palette of seasonal ingredients for chefs and restaurants to draw from for menu updates. Since it feels like we still have one foot stuck in winter, we’ve put together this list of signs that spring is indeed on the way. Keep reading to check it out.
Free Water Ice
A no-brainer, really, but just as the Vernal equinox aligns the sun squarely with Earth’s equator each March, Rita’s doles out free water ice to welcome the new season. Participating locations are scooping the slushy sweet stuff up, and serving it in special commemorative “First Day of Spring” cups all day, and all night.
The mother of all hyper-seasonal ingredients causes a tremendous, yet extremely short lived freakout across the foodiesphere when they start popping up each spring. While it’s still a little too early for the wild Appalachian onions to flourish in these parts, tweeters were tweeting about their appearance on the menu Talula’s Table and Talula’s Garden served last week at the James Beard House.
The curious creature that put the “Fish” in Fishtown travels upstream along the Delaware River to spawn each spring. And when the journey begins, the local delicacy begins turning up on plates. Oyster House is serving it two ways — as a pan-crisped filet, and its roe as an appetizer.
Nothing says spring like baby lamb. Marc Vetri tweeted photos last week of his kitchen staff torching coconut shells ahead of slowly roasting lamb over their smoldering embers. This week, Meritage’s Anne Coll is serving a special lamb tasting menu.
Winter Ingredients Going Away
Chef Scott Schroeder announced today that local Brussels sprouts are coming off the menu at American Sardine Bar. Expect to see turnips, parsnips, beets and hearty winter greens to grow increasingly scarce over the coming weeks.
Philly Farm & Food Fest
Fair Food and Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) are again teaming up to give green thumbs a peak at what’s coming up this season with its second annual festival on April 14. With the hundred or so farmers, artisans and sustainable business owners on hand, the fest this year will also feature a “Local Libations Lounge” with drinks provided by Victor Brewing Co., Dad’s Hat Rye, Philadelphia Distilling, and more.