Author Archive | Katherine Rapin




Every year, Edible Communities magazines around the country ask you, our readers, to name Local Heroes in six categories. For 2017’s awards, Edible Philly partnered with the Philly Farm and Food Fest to select nominees—and then you voted. Your picks are celebrated on the following pages.


Beverage Artisan | Food Shop | Non-Profit | Farm/Farmer | Chef/Restaurant | Food Artisan

Dock Street Brewery

Dock Street co-founder Rosemarie Certo

“We started making beers
the way they were made in
the old country, and then we
made them better. We had no
tradition to hold us back.”

Dock Street Brewing is a Philly institution. They helped birth the craft-beer movement in the city in 1985, protested foreign tariffs on American beer in the nineties, and opened their West Philly brewery in 2007. At the beginning of it all, their simple mission was to elevate the status of beer. “We believed that beer didn’t have the respect it deserved,” says Dock Street co-founder Rosemarie Certo.

Back when most Americans were praising beers like Heineken, Dock Street built its first brewery on 18th and Cherry Streets—the first post- Prohibition craft brewpub in Philadelphia. “We started making beers the way they were made in the old country, and then we made them better,” Certo says. “We had no tradition to hold us back.”

That attitude has carried through the years, prompting the creation of oddball beers like the Walker (made with goat brains and cranberries at the peak of Walking Dead hype), or Ain’t Nothing to Funk With (a brew that vibrated to a six-month Wu-Tang playlist). They’re currently making a beer with wild yeast they’ve collected in West Philly, and plan to roll out a prickly-pear gose—which will be gluten-free—this spring. “We’re all alchemists,” says Certo. “Experimenting is all about making something different, something better.”

Dock Street is beloved for its classic beers, too, like the Rye IPA and Bohemian Pilsner, which it distributes across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The brewpub continues to serve as a gathering place for grad students, professors and longtime West Philadelphians. “This is a great local neighborhood hangout,” Certo says. “It really defines what the whole craft culture is about and the roots that it started in”—like making a quality product, supporting a sizeable staff (more than 30, and growing), and creating an environment where people can connect over great food and drink.

Dock Street also supports the community with benefits like Rare Beers for School Supplies. Each month, Certo taps a special beer to give away in exchange for paper, pencils and notebooks, which Dock Street donates to West Philadelphia schools.

With a cannery and second bar in the works next door, Dock Street will continue to be a neighborhood hub. It’ll also keep pushing craft beer to the forefront with the Philly spirit and spunk that makes it a local hero.

Dock Street Brewery
701 S. 50th St.

Dock Street is adding a new bar and cannery to their
brewery on the corner of 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue

Primal Supply Meats

Heather Marold Thomason and Cecilie May

“We’re working with the farmers
to know about their herd size,
their land and how it works for
them to produce animals for us.”

It’s a logistical challenge to get an animal from the small, local farm where it was raised to a slaughterhouse, then to a butcher and finally to a dinner plate. So butchers Heather Marold Thomason and Cecilie May designed a more convenient system that benefits small farmers and customers alike. Their new company, Primal Supply Meats, is both a subscription service for home cooks and a wholesale provider for restaurants.

Joining the Butcher’s Club subscription service is simple: Sign up online, choose your box size, and select your pickup location. You pay as you go and can pause or stop the service any time. Members and nonmembers can also purchase à la carte items like eggs, stock or strip steak. A week’s subscription box might include sausage, a roast, and a couple pounds of quick-cooking cuts like pork chops or top sirloin steak, but specific cuts rotate. “We track what we pack for everybody every week so we can ensure variety,” Thomason says.

The magic of Primal Supply is in the supply chain Thomason and May have set up. They source whole animals from their network of local beef, pork and poultry farmers. The animals are broken down into primal cuts (think loin, brisket, and shank for beef ) at Smucker’s Slaughterhouse in Lancaster, and then delivered to the Primal Supply facility, housed in 1732 Meats’ operation in Lansdowne. In the massive space, they cut and vacuum-seal the meat and pack shares based on each week’s orders.

Through their wholesale program, they deliver larger cuts and extra ground beef to restaurants like Aldine, Vetri, Bar Hygge, Fork and High Street. “We use the two programs to make sure that the whole animal gets used without any waste,” Thomason says.

Their whole animals come from eight farmers who raise beef, pork and poultry in Southeastern Pennsylvania. They create plans for the season based on availability and demand, sometimes as much as a year in advance. “We’re working with the farmers to know about their herd size, their land and how it works for them to produce animals for us,” Thomason says.

It’s the most important part of the supply chain, and it’s the reason Primal Supply started. “We saw how hard it was for farmers raising meat to get it cut and sold,” Thomason says. With tentative plans for a brick-and-mortar location, Thomason and May will continue to increase demand for local, sustainably raised meat and make it easier for us to get our hands on it.

Pennsylvania Cheese Guild

The Fair Food Farmstand stocks a variety of guild members’ cheeses in their all-local case.

“We felt that it was
really important for the
cheesemakers to have
a voice, and to educate
themselves and the
consumers collectively.”

The Pennsylvania Cheese Guild wants you to know that our state’s cheesemakers produce stunning cheeses that rival those of Vermont and Wisconsin. Under the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, the nonprofit supports a growing number of cheesemaker members like Shellbark Hollow Farm, Valley Milkhouse Creamery, and Clover Creek Cheese Cellar—some of our region’s top artisans.

A dedicated group of cheesemakers had formed an organization back in 2007, but it relied on volunteer time without ample support. Several years later, inspired by the crowding landscape of up-and-coming cheesemakers in the community, a group of cheesemakers, business owners and food scientists at Penn State revamped the guild.

“We felt that it was really important for the cheesemakers to have a voice and to educate themselves and the consumers collectively,” says Sue Miller, cheesemaker at Birchrun Hills Farm and one of the founding members of the guild.

Cheesemaker members get opportunities to learn and network at the guild’s educational events. Last year they organized a three-day workshop with Jim Wallace, a world traveler and cheese enthusiast who studied at the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese. Wallace demonstrated the preparation of six different cheeses and how to work with molds and age cheeses while providing historical background on the cheeses from his travels to Europe.… Read More

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THE FOOD LIFE: Spring Checklist

Our lineup takes you from the bakery to the farmers’ market to the bar for this season’s highlights.



Kefir is a yogurt-like drink that’s just a tad bubbly, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as the “champagne of dairy.” Wholesome Dairy in York, PA, starts theirs with whole milk from grass-fed Ayrshire cows, adds a selection of microbial and bacterial cultures and lets the mixture incubate for 18 hours.

Available at Essene Market, Kimberton Whole Foods stores and Whole Foods on Callowhill


These delicate leaves with curly tendrils are packed with sweet pea flavor, and they show up at farmers’ markets much earlier than the mature vegetable. Toss the pea shoots into salads, lightly sauté them in a stir fry, or use them to garnish a spring mushroom soup. Look for them at farmers’ markets as early as March.


Don’t let the drinks fly under the radar at South Philly Barbacoa. The aguas frescas—a blend of fresh fruit, water and sometimes sugar or herbs—rotate seasonally (sometimes daily). Flavors like prickly pear, tamarind and watermelon are especially refreshing alongside a platter of tacos.

South Philly Barbacoa
1703 S. 11th St.



Delco Lager, from local beer makers 2SP, is refreshing and all too easy to drink. Keep it in mind for cookouts and tailgates as the weather warms. You can find it at bottle shops and bars around the city, but head to 2SP’s tasting room in Aston to try exclusives like the sweet-hoppy

Bellcracker Double IPA
120 Concord Rd. in Aston,



Canned peaches may get a bad rap, but these golden halves are just sweet enough to satisfy that fruit craving until summer comes. Three Springs owner Ben Wenk recommends making peach sorbet: Just drain half the syrup and put the whole can in the freezer, buzzing the contents with an immersion blender occasionally as it hardens. (Add a little bourbon for a boozy treat.)

Available at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market and at Green Aisle Grocery locations.


Metropolitan Bakery’s accouterments are just as good as the bread we know (and love) them for. Try the house made salmon dill cream cheese for a bright and herb-y bagel topper. It’s on the menu at the café, and you can pick up a container to take home at the Rittenhouse location.

Metropolitan Bakery
262 S. 19th St.



Flying Fish Brewing, the largest craft brewery in New Jersey, recently opened a spacious restaurant-bar, Flying Fish Crafthouse, in collaboration with Philly chef Brian Duffy. Like true comfort bar food, the portions aren’t modest, and there are plenty of beer-friendly fried items. But the menu has an elevated Philly twist. Housemade pretzels are served with brown butter, beer mustard and lager cheese; 12-hour roast pork with rosemary is topped with sharp provolone, broccoli rabe and long hots on a Cacia’s roll for the Philly Porchetta; the Kennett Square pizza comes piled with roasted wild mushrooms and dabs of truffled goat cheese.

To wash it down, there’s plenty to choose from. A dozen Flying Fish beers are offered on tap, including the Crafthouse-exclusive Duffified Ale—a smooth amber made with five different malts. There are also select bottled beers, a craft cocktail list, and three wines on tap.

The nearly 200-seat Crafthouse has two bars, a beer garden, and a private dining room. It’s open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and serves weekend brunch. —Katherine Rapin

Flying Fish Crafthouse
1363 N. 31st St.



Culinary artist Pascale Boucicaut and photographer Adachi Pimentel are gathering stories of African culinary heritage in home kitchens around Philadelphia. Dishes of the Diaspora, on display at the Folklore Project gallery through April, celebrates the cultural foodways of ten cooks with heritage across the African diaspora, including Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Jamaica.

“Philadelphia has a lot of communities that we tend to overlook— people that are from so many different places and perspectives,” Pimentel says, and the exhibit is “a great opportunity to see that.” Curated photographs, cooking tools and audio from cooking sessions portray the ingredients and traditional cooking methods of dishes that keep these communities connected to their heritage. The artists talked with cooks like Iris Brown, from Puerto Rico, who prepared arepas de maíz in her fogón—a wood-burning stove she built in her backyard in Norris Square, in Northeast Philadelphia. The fogón serves as both a community gathering place and an artifact of her Puerto Rican heritage.

“We’re exploring how these dishes hold a history,” Boucicaut says. “It’s important to me to honor the people who are continuing to practice cooking in a way they were taught, and in a way that is important to how they identify themselves.”

The artists plan to continue documenting stories from home cooks of African heritage, and will be moving next to South Carolina. If you can’t catch the exhibit at the Folklore Project, you can view it online at

Open gallery hours are listed at; contact the artists at to make a viewing appointment. —K. Rapin

Philadelphia Folklore Project
735 S. 50th St.



Wander down Walnut toward the Schuylkill and you’ll be drawn in by the glow of Res Ipsa. By night it’s candlelit, with a sonic background of soft beats and sizzling from the open kitchen; by day, it’s a bright space to meet a friend for lunch or coffee. The owners of ReAnimator Coffee and chef Tyler Akin of Stock opened the all-day café in the west end of Rittenhouse late last year.

Executive chef Michael Ferrari brings his simple Sicilian style (sharpened at Aldine, Zeppoli and Zahav) to Res Ipsa’s dinner menu. “I’m just trying to make what I would make at home,” Ferrari says. Menu items include hand-twisted pasta with mushrooms and pecorino sardo cheese, fried baby fish with chili oil and salsa verde, and sweet olive-oil cake with pistachio cream. (So, probably not dishes we’re likely to throw together at home).

It’s BYOB, and not just for dinner. Ferrari recommends bringing champagne to enjoy with brunch on the weekend. Savor a cup of ReAnimator coffee and choose from rotating savory and sweet hand pies—a pastry pocket with fillings like chickpea curry or strawberry rhubarb. You can also opt for an egg-and-cheese frittata on a housemade English muffin and add fennel sausage, pancetta or sautéed mushroom.

Res Ipsa’s got you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner—we don’t blame you if you’re tempted to stay all day long. —K. Rapin

Res Ipsa
2218 Walnut St.



You’ve got a CSA membership and a sustainable meat source. When you dine out, you seek out the chefs and restaurants who work with local farms. But when it comes planning the menu for special events, local food lovers have been without a definitive resource for finding sustainable eats—until now.… Read More

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Brewer’s Plate 2017 Highlights

Six exceptional tastes from last Sunday’s event

IMG_6269 - Version 2The Brewer’s Plate is Fair Food Philly’s annual benefit event where chefs, brewers and artisans team up to provide their best pairings in the name of good food and beer. This year, nearly 100 of our region’s breweries, restaurants, bakeries and cheese makers assembled in the Kimmel Center, providing 1,500 attendees with a staggering number of samples to choose from.

“Our offerings have expanded as the Philly beverage scene has expanded,” Fair Food founder and director Ann Karlen says. Distillers, cider makers, and kombucha fermenters joined the brewers this year.

Brewer’s Plate provides an opportunity to talk to chefs and brewers in person while scoping out the best new beers and restaurants. The spots below hooked me with a stellar sample, and I’ll be making trips to their brick and mortar locations and looking out for them in bottle shops around the city.


Good Spoon Soupery

The roasted sweet onion soup was one of my first bites of the night, and one of the best. “It’s our take on French onion soup,” says owner Kate Hartman. The familiar, deeply savory flavor is captured in Good Spoon’s silky, pureed version. They add Gruyere and top it with baguette croutons, fresh chives, and balsamic reduction. And unlike most onion soups, it’s vegetarian – they use their house-made veggie stock rather than the beef. This spring, I’ll be taking a trip to their Soupery in Fishtown for Hartman’s favorite – asparagus soup with tarragon.

1400 N. Front St., 267.239.5787,

Ploughman Cider


Ploughman Cider founder Ben Wenk

Three Springs Fruit Farms has a new offshoot – Ploughman Cider – and they brought their already well-loved Stark (German for ‘strong’) and Lupulin Lummox (brewed with citra hops) to the Brewer’s Plate. But the real treat was getting a chance to taste their sour peach/cider experiments, Haterade and Gatorade. They’re still in the R&D phase, but I imagine Philly bars will clamor for the crisp, peachy fizz as soon as it’s released.


Revolution Taco

The chorizo chili tostada with goat cheese and chipotle lime crema won the peoples’ choice award for best dish. (No, there wasn’t an official vote, but “Revolution Taco” was the most popular answer when I polled the crowd for favorites.) Revolution Taco is the fast-casual iteration of Taco Mondo that co-owners Carolyn Nguyen and Michael Sultan opened in Rittenhouse. The restaurant celebrated its one-year anniversary this winter — if you still haven’t been, we think it’s about time.

2015 Walnut St., 267.639.5681,

Naked Brewing Company

This Huntingdon Valley brewery’s tart, seasonal Black Currant Rising caught my attention. It’s a wheat beer, and just a tad sweet – perfectly refreshing for summertime drinking. Co-owner Brian Sucevic recommends getting up to Bucks County and taking a brewery tour – hitting Crooked Eye, Neshaminy Creek, and Broken Goblet as well as Naked Brewing.

51 Buck Rd., Huntingdon Valley, PA, 267.355.9561,

Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse


Chef Ari Miller and Bobolink rep talk cheese

Even though the vast number of samples was entirely overwhelming, Bobolink’s cheese was so good, I ended up circling back for a second plate. The Jean-Louise (after chef Jean-Louise Palladin) was the stinky star of the three cheeses they served. Co-owner Jonathan White hoisted half a wheel from under the table and peeled back the wrapping so I could smell the funk. “It’s named after Chef Jean-Louise Palladin,” he says, who inspired its bold and fruity flavor. The cheese is seasonal – made in the Spring and Fall when Bobolink’s grass-fed cows’ milk is most flavorful. It was particularly divine washed down with their pairing partner Levante’s Double IPA (South Pacific Hop Cartel).

369 Stamets Rd., Milford, NJ,

Troegs Independent Brewing


Wild Elf was paired with hoisin braised short rib from The Industry

At 11% ABV, I wouldn’t again end my night with this beer, but in the moment I just couldn’t resist (and I’m glad I didn’t). Wild Elf is based on the sweet, spiced recipe for Mad Elf, but it goes through a second ferment with wild yeast and Balaton cherries from Peters Orchards in Adams County, PA. Its deep, but tart and refreshing flavor is well suited for warm weather drinking.

200 E. Hersheypark Dr., Hershey, PA, 717.534.1297,


1,500 attendees enjoyed local food and drink at the Kimmel Center Sunday night

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’Tis the season for sweets! Our list includes the best holiday standbys and a few new treats we don’t want you to miss.



Melt this nutty, cave-aged cheese for a crock of Swiss fondue, or keep it simple and serve alongside honeyed walnuts on a holiday cheese board. We recommend the Alpage, a Gruyere made only once a year, from cows milked after grazing on upper-mountain pasture in the summertime. Get it at Di Bruno Bros. and get it quick—most of this cheese will be snatched up by January. (For a local Alpine-style option, try the award-winning St. Malachi from the Farm at Doe Run in Coatesville.) Available at Di Bruno Bros., multiple locations, 215.922.2876,


The cortado’s name comes from the Spanish verb cortar, “to cut.” It’s a shot of espresso cut with an equal amount of hot milk and just a smidgen of creamy foam on top. At Function Coffee Labs, you can choose from a list of carefully selected roasts to customize your cortado. Let the tasting notes—which call out flavors like apricot cream, blackberry pie and dulce de leche—be your guide. Function Coffee Labs, 1001 S. 10th St., 267.606.6734,



Our local tahini company’s under-the-radar flavor kicks chocolate peanut butter to the curb. The Zitelman sisters at Soom spin up sesame tahini, powdered cane sugar and cocoa powder to make this spread. Slather it on waffles, spoon it onto a banana and add chocolate-tahini cookies to your holiday baking list this year. Order online or find it at area co-ops and markets—find the full list of locations at


Claudio’s imports its light, lemony dolce ricotta from Puglia. It’s more like a dessert than a cheese— buffalo-milk ricotta whipped up with sugar and citrus extract, then baked. Slice it up and serve in thin wedges for a simple holiday dessert. Though it’s near perfection all on its own, why not try it with a drizzle of tart currant syrup or bitter chocolate sauce? Available at Claudio Specialty Foods, 924 S. 9th St., 215.627.1873,



Boardroom Spirits uses 16 pounds of beets to distill just one liter of B, the local distiller’s new vegetable brandy. It’s clear and earthy, and at 90 proof, it’ll knock your beet-red socks off. If you’re a die-hard beet lover, sip it straight up; if not, shake it with rosemary simple syrup and add a splash of ginger beer for a holiday cocktail. Pick up a bottle at Boardroom Spirits, 575 W. Third St. in Lansdale, 267.642.9961,


Armando Tapia moved from New York City, where he worked his way up at Francois Payard Bakery, to open his own French bakery in South Philly. The case is full of tarts and tiramisu, meringues and macarons. We especially love the bakery’s namesake, the classic crème brûlée. Break through the caramelized sugar sheen to get to creamy decadence speckled with vanilla bean. Crème Brûlée, 1800 S. 4th St., 215.334.9000.



Mission Taqueria, new in Center City, combines cocktails, foosball and housemade corn tortillas for a modern take on the Mexican restaurant. Mission’s party atmosphere is likely to put even the Grinchiest grump into a festive spirit. Certainly the margaritas help, but the food delivers just as much flavor as it does fun. This is an entirely different experience than the barebones but soulfully authentic taco joints that dot South Philly, and the city’s food scene is better for having both types of places.

Try the fried-fish tacos, made with meaty mahi-mahi and topped with just the right amount of bright pickled cabbage. Of course, you’d expect terrific seafood options here: Sam Mink, who operates the excellent Oyster House just downstairs, also owns Mission. (For more on Oyster House, see page 48.) The land-based items are just as good. We liked the savory-sweet pork al pastor tacos and the crunchy, light chicharrón (fried pig skin) as well. The churros, served with a dark-chocolate dip, are a valid reason to stay for dessert.

Even if you’re just popping in for a couple of happy-hour rounds, order yourself some chips and a trio of flavorful salsas, including a very unusual one made from coconut and hazelnuts. It’s a definite upgrade over the typical margarita joint. —JM

Mission Taqueria
1516 Sansom St., 2nd Floor



Add regional heirloom recipes to your holiday baking lineup with Dutch Treats (St. Lynn’s Press). Food historian William Woys Weaver’s new cookbook will guide you in recreating the traditional pies, cakes, cookies, festive breads and schluppers (bread puddings) of Pennsylvania’s rich food tradition.

Weaver interviewed central Pennsylvania home cooks while studying the Pennsylvania Dutch food culture for his PhD dissertation in food ethnography. “One by one I started getting recipes from these people,” he says. For example, when he tasted a lemon cookie at a roadside stand in Dauphin County, he asked the woman who baked it to write down the recipe on a brown paper bag. After triple-testing the recipe, he added it to the Dutch Treats collection. Weaver says it’s the best lemon cookie he’s ever tasted.

“I’d say about 95 percent of the recipes have never been published before,” he says. “They all came from people directly.” The book includes recipes for Belschnickel Cookies, Railroad Cake, Kissing Buns and Sour Cherry Schlupper, each accompanied by personal stories and folklore.

You can attend Weaver’s workshop on Pennsylvania Dutch cookery at the Philadelphia Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center on November 7 from 6 to 8pm. A copy of the cookbook is included in the class price of $35. —Katherine Rapin



The name La Colombe has been synonymous with great coffee for decades. Now it’s decided to turn its attention to tea. This fall, the company introduced a new tea and tisane menu in its cafes, using top-quality tea leaves and precise preparation techniques to elevate another beverage.

“We wanted to introduce and educate people about the world of tea, beyond what is offered in most [American] cafes,” says tea expert Alexis Siemons, who helped develop La Colombe’s new program along with its supplier, Rishi Tea. The new tea menu includes Hojicha, a charcoal-roasted Japanese green tea that tastes toasty and slightly caramel, as well as loose leaf Pu-erh, a fermented tea specifi c to Yunnan Province in China, with a funky, almost cheese-like fragrance and piney flavor.

“There are nuances within each tea leaf,” says Siemon—flavors that can be drawn out when the tea is steeped in just the right way. Ruby Oolong calls for 195-degree water and a four-minute steep; Yunnan Breakfast Black should get four minutes in 212-degree water. (You’ll get a reminder from the barista when you order a cup.)

La Colombe has also developed two tisanes—a French term for infusions made from herbs, spices and/or dried fruits. Peppermint Cardamom is bright, with warming cloves and basil oil; Golden Turmeric has a licorice sweetness and gingery spice. Both are caffeine-free and settle the stomach, perfect after a rich winter meal.… Read More

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Regional Culinary Traditions Revived

 Our region’s top growers, chefs, and food historians collaborate to benefit Pennsylvania foodways research


Dr. William Woys Weaver and Chef Steve Eckerd arrange a pre-dinner snack-smorgasbord

By Katherine Rapin

If you flipped through cookbooks and restaurant menus from early 20th-century Pennsylvania, you’d find the dishes of a pre-industrialized, pre-globalized food era, evidence of a time when cooks used mostly indigenous ingredients and scant, select imports.

Look beyond scrapple, and you might come across recipes for Pepper Pot Soup, made with tripe, potatoes and chilies by way of early Caribbean trade routes. You’d learn that Chicken and Waffles evolved from the Catfish and Waffles dinners held at Inns and Hotels along the Schuylkill River. You’d debunk the origin story of chow-chow, the sweet and sour pickled vegetable relish thought to be a mainstay on the Pennsylvania Amish table.

The Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Food and Food Tourism, founded by food historian and ethnographer William Woys Weaver, researches and documents dishes like these to understand the food culture of our region.

“We’re here to promote the traditional foods and food plants of Pennsylvania,” Dr. Weaver says. The Center’s work aims to push forward ways of eating that support our local growers and producers; our region’s culinary history can provide an intriguing guide.

A group of celebrated Philly and Baltimore chefs who’s names you might recognize from Le Bec Fin, Fitler Dining Room, Aussie and the Fox, and Woodbury Kitchen, livened up a few traditional dishes last Tuesday. They served a five-course meal to about 40 guests at Wyebrook Farm in Honey Brook, PA – who donated their kitchen and dining space – to raise money for the Keystone Center.


From Left: Steve Eckerd, Opie Crooks, Jonathan Adams, Palmer Marinelli, Rob Marzinsky, and Brent Golding; pre-dinner meeting in the kitchen.

Palmer Marinelli, formerly a cook at Pub and Kitchen and now a member of the Keystone Center’s board, put together the menu based on the Center’s research and Dr. Weaver’s books (As American as Shoofly Pie and Country Scrapple are two of more than a dozen). He worked with ingredients donated by local growers and producers like Green Meadow Farms, Birch Run Hills Farm, and Trickling Springs Creamery.

The seven chefs – who donated their time developing recipes, as well as cooking and serving at the event – each took the lead on a dish.


Jenny Bardwell of Rising Creek Bakery

An hour before guests arrived, Brent Golding, chef at Aussie and the Fox in Lancaster, stood over a five-by-nine grid of pint containers, dropping pickled vegetables – green tomatoes, sour corn, watermelon radishes, saffron cauliflower, snips of green beans – into each container. He was assembling the chow-chow salad, a sweet and sour relish of pickled vegetables with roots in India, adapted in Pennsylvania Dutch kitchens.

Genevieve Bardwell sliced her Salt Rising Bread, which she makes at Rising Creek Bakery in Mt. Morris. It’s an old Appalachian tradition of wild microbe-leavened baking that she’s keeping alive at her bakery. Its dense crumb has a bit of a funky, almost cheesy smell heightened by toasting.

Behind Bardwell, Steve Eckerd dropped pineapple pumpkin dumplings into a steaming pot. They were subtly sweet, sautéed in sage butter – worth trailing out of the kitchen to the snack table.

Early arrivers circled around the spread: Weaver’s pickles – sage lima beans, curled garlic scapes, hot peppers with huacatay (and Andean herb related to marigold) and lime, sweet and sour grapes – soft pink beet pickled eggs, slabs of tomme and bleu, Bardwell’s toasts with a creamy herb spread, tomatoes and dill.


One trip around the table and my tiny plate was a lovely mess.

We were eventually shepherded up to the dining room where Golding’s chow-chow awaited. Rob Marzinsky’s Pepper Pot soup came next – bits of tripe blanched several times and braised in beef broth lurked under potatoes in the subtly spicy broth.keystonedinner8_katherinerapin

“That’s a good pepper pot!” Dr. Weaver exclaimed, before launching into the background of the dish, adapted from Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup into a Philadelphian street food. It was a hangover ‘cure,’ Weaver says, often served to drinkers from giant kettles outside taverns.

“This is what Keystone is all about,” Dr. Weaver says, “The cultural baggage that comes with the food.”

Each chef revealed the background and recipe development behind each dish after it had been served. Not surprisingly, Catfish and Waffles is a dish Spike Gjerde of Woodbury Kitchen says he never would have thought to cook. He seemed to be a bit surprised how good it turned out – the lightly smoked fish with a thin, snappy buttermilk waffle, softened by rich gravy. Fellow Woodbury chef Patrick “Opie” Crooks used Kugler’s old recipe to make the waffle, which he says turned out perfectly on the first try.


“As much as it can be fascinating to have a view into how life was and how food was in the past,” Gjerde says, “For us it can really be a practical users guide to a lot of [region-specific] ingredients.”

This is the work of the Keystone Center – to support Pennsylvania-grown and crafted products, as well as to continue researching and documenting traditional foodways, and drive statewide conversations about better procurement practices.

The money raised from the dinner will be used to revamp the center’s website, which is a step on the way to providing a cache of regional food research. The organization hopes to hold educational event and host food tours in the coming years.


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Some of Philly’s most brag-worthy
meals are served outside restaurant walls

Diners gather around the table at Boku



The woman to my left handed me a bowl of golden dinner rolls. I took one and passed it down the long table, which sat 20 of us. As I broke into the crust and pulled off a corner of the feathery foie gras brioche, the diners around me swooned.

“The butter,” someone gushed. I swiped my bread through a smear of salted chocolate butter and delicately scooped up a bit of juicy apple chutney from my plate. I shared a look of appreciation with the woman next to me. We were dining in a private residence—a high-ceilinged first-floor apartment in Fairmount. The table was set with linen cloths, cork placemats and white lily bouquets.

This seven-course meal wasn’t happening in a restaurant. It was at what’s sometimes called a secret supper club. This is a popup prix-fixe meal served not in a public dining room, but in a private space. Diners are often strangers. A set menu that reflects a chef ’s creative vision discourages substitutions and picky eaters. These semi-legal events operate within the sharing economy, and are often unregulated and unlicensed. They tend to draw adventurous and dedicated food enthusiasts. They like this semi-clandestine world, where the kitchen tweezers of a highend restaurant meet the relaxed vibe of a dinner party.

Supper clubs have recently become more common in Philadelphia. About two years ago, three dinner projects sprung up: Boku, Food Underground and Balboa. They have since given the city’s diners pop-up eating experiences in residential dining rooms and private apartments. Tickets, which average $70 to $80, often sell out within hours. Food-savvy diners find these events by word of mouth or through social media and join mailing lists to make sure they know when the next exclusive meal is announced. Through a food-industry friend, I found my way in to meet the people who gather around the table for dinner under the radar.

Food-savvy diners find these events
by word of mouth or through social media
and join growing mailing lists to make sure they
know when the next exclusive meal is announced.

Sydney Hanick and Ryan Fitzgerald plate a dish at Boku

Sydney Hanick and Ryan Fitzgerald talk with guests in the kitchen at Boku

The Anti-Restaurant

I encountered the golden brioche roll at a dinner hosted by Boku. Held monthly, it’s a communal meal that turns into a rousing dinner party as guest get to know each other over six or seven plated courses. On a Tuesday evening in March, diners in twos and threes—and a few solo, like me—ventured to the imposing wooden door of an apartment in Fairmount. There was no sign to mark the entrance, no hostess waiting in an alcove. I clutched my bottle of wine and knocked hesitantly.

A slight woman in a neat black dress, the server for the night, welcomed guests, confirming we’d arrived at Boku 34. Over the next 15 minutes, the room filled with a mixed crowd: a few early-30s couples, a family of three, two friends who work in the industry, a few fans of the chef. Clusters formed around pop art on the walls as get-toknow- you chatter developed.

“My house is your house,” Ryan Fitzgerald, creator and host of Boku, said, walking through the dining room in cobalt Nikes and a pinstriped apron. This was the 34th dinner he’d hosted since starting the supper-club project two years ago.

Fitzgerald invited guests through an open door into the retrofitted kitchen to meet Sydney Hanick, full-time line cook at Will BYOB, who stood assembling containers of yolk sauce, sunflower microgreens, and nasturtiums in a neat line at the edge of the counter.

Hanick was at the helm for the night; she had written the menu and would execute it with Fitzgerald acting as her sous chef.

Around seven o’clock, we settled in around the table and introduced ourselves to our dining companions. I was seated between a graphic designer who used to work for a boutique cupcake shop in Manhattan and a student in her final semester at the Restaurant School. The patter of conversation steadied over the first course— beef tartare with caper brine and chives on toast.

A few minutes later, Fitzgerald stood at the head of the table and clasped his hands together. “I’ve been sent out here to buy some time,” he says. I imagined Hanick cringing in the kitchen; it’s a restaurant industry rule not to let the guests know anything is amiss. But Fitzgerald’s candid manner adds to the allure of Boku: Guests are a part of an unscripted evening, welcomed behind the curtain to see what’s usually kept backstage in fine dining.

“Diners are stepping out of the comfort of a restaurant where they know what they’re paying for, know there’s some test the place has passed,” Fitzgerald says. He started Boku two years ago, inspired by an article in the New Yorker about Wolvesmouth—an ultra-exclusive supper club held at chef Craig Thorton’s loft apartment in Los Angeles. At its peak, Wolvesmouth whittled down a waiting list of hundreds to select a varied mix of 16 guests who would relish the performance-art quality of his multi-course meal.

Why couldn’t a similar concept thrive in Philly? We too have a growing group of eager eaters on the hunt for the newest brag-worthy dining experience.

Fitzgerald used vacation days from his nine-to-five in venture capital to host dinners, initially filling seats by luring in friends with free food. As word got out through Instagram, Philly food blogs and Fitzgerald’s email list, Boku dinners started to sell out just hours after they were announced.

Laura Silverman, who works for a cultural grant-maker and lives in Mount Airy, had heard of supper clubs in Manhattan and found Boku online. She was drawn in by the element of surprise, the bold menu and the one-time-only aspect. To enjoy this, she says, “what it takes is adventure and flexibility. You have to go out not knowing what you’re going to get; you have to trust a stranger.”

After molasses ice cream melted into almond cake on our spoons at Boku 34, a gathering formed in Fitzgerald’s kitchen. Guest lingered, asking Hanick questions about the menu and talking with the host about his plans for the next dinner. At the end of the evening, we were left flushed from wine and a feeling of camaraderie. “It’s this community that comes together with this chef and this creativity and then it disperses,” Silverman says. “It felt like a piece of art.”

Chef Lumumba Uhuru and helpers garnish bean salad with smoked ricotta at Balboa

Fried shrimp amuse bouche served at Cooks’ Canvas 8

Coffee-roasted beets with caramelized yogurt

“We don’t do a lot of
simple, three-ingredient
dishes,” he says,but high-quality
local products can stand alone.

An Opportunity for Chefs

Supper clubs and pop-ups provide an alternative to the traditional restaurant industry—not only for diners, but for cooks. They’ve been able to thrive as a result of the changing culture among aspiring chefs. The laborious, potato-peeling slow-rise system is dying; these days, young cooks hop around from kitchen to kitchen.… Read More

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Co-founder at Camphill Village
Kimberton Hills



The Camphill Village Kimberton Hills community has been Sherry Wildfeuer’s home since she helped found the center in 1973. It’s the local chapter of the international Camphill movement, a group whose mission revolves around working the land and living as a community. More than 100 residents, including adults with developmental disabilities, live on site and work in the Kimberton campus dairy, café, vineyard and farm. During the 20 years Wildfeuer worked at Camphill, she cooked two meals a day for the farmers and interns there. She’s retired now, but she’s still an exceptionally proficient home cook. One of her favorite cookbooks is Farmer John’s Cookbook by John Peterson (Gibbs Smith, 2006). The book is a collection of recipes and stories designed to help CSA members turn that mysterious, abundant box of produce into delicious meals. She’s especially devoted to one recipe: Farmer’s Cabbage and Mushroom Pie. The dish is unfussy and hearty, just what you’re hungry for after a long day on the farm. Wildfeuer likes to double almost all the ingredients in the original recipe; her super-sized version is printed here. “When my mother was making pies, she always piled them high,” she says.




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We’ve got all your basic food groups represented here, in perhaps more delicious and innovative forms. Stay fueled and cool with a few of our summer-season highlights.


King Tut Restaurant’s avocado spread is owner Amen Soudi’s own recipe. The smooth avocado-sesame puree has a garlicky, citrusy bite. Soudi’s wife, Fatima, makes each order right before it’s served. It comes topped with chopped parsley, alongside warm housemade pita. Available at King Tut Restaurant and Hookah Bar, 401 S. 13th St., 215.735.8111,


foodLifeChipMintPhotograph courtesy of Trickling Springs Creamery

Trickling Springs Creamery, locally famous for its glass-bottled milk, has a new line of organic ice cream. The milk is sourced from the Trickling Springs family of organic dairies and crafted into six classic flavors. Our favorite? Chip ’N Mint. It’s studded with generous chunks of dark chocolate and gets its pale hue from actual mint, not green dye. Pick it up at your area Whole Foods or at Trickling Springs Creamery, 2330 Molly Pitcher Hwy, Chambersburg, PA, 717.385.4610,


Juice bars come and go, but the street-cart smoothie is forever. Fresh fruit, ice and a touch of sugar whirred up into a cool drink—what could be more reviving on a sweltering day in the city? Build your own smoothie from a staggering list of fresh fruit and vegetables— blueberry-banana-mango is a winning combination—at carts all over University City. We recommend the one on the north side of Market St., just east of 36th St., open from 7am to 6pm.


foodLifeNobleRoadPhotograph courtesy of Calkins Creamery

Calkins Creamery’s young Brie has an earthy, mushroom-y flavor that’s softer than the traditional French funk. Pair it with slices of fresh apple or peppery radish. Available at the Fair Food Farmstand, Weaver’s Way Coop, and some Whole Foods Market locations. Stop by the farm—Calkins Creamery, 288 Calkins Rd., Honesdale, PA, 570.729.8103—or order online at


Also called Hakurei turnips, this Japanese member of the Brassica genus is light on the peppery heat and has a juicy crunch. We think it’s best raw, sliced up in a salad or quartered and served with dip. Make use of the bittersweet greens for a simple side: sauté in butter and maple syrup and sprinkle with coarse salt. Pick up a bunch at your favorite farmers’ market.


foodLifeOatmealCookiePhotograph courtesy of Little Bird Bakery & Cafe

Jessica Nolen, owner of the Little Bird Bakery & Cafe, and Tori Ellington, pastry sous chef, have mastered a classic with this chewy, golden cookie. It achieves all the comfort of Grandma’s recipe, elevated by rum-soaked golden raisins. Enjoy one with coffee in the sunny window at the bakery or call ahead and pick up a dozen to take home for the family. Available at Little Bird Bakery, 517 S. 5th St., 267.519.2312,


foodLifeBeachEatsCover Photograph: Courtesy of Quirk Books

There’s a new book out just in time for the annual migration to the beach: The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Summer Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond (Quirk Books). It features many of the best places to eat up and down the Jersey coast, from hole-in-the-wall roadside stops to lavish, grand hotel restaurants.

“The book is half cookbook, half celebration of the Jersey Shore,” says author Deborah Smith, owner and blogger at “I tried to get as many local ‘in the know’ details as I could.” The book covers 50 restaurants, bakeries and markets and includes a recipe for each business’s most iconic dish. Many recipes showcase the season’s best produce, including blueberries, tomatoes, freshly laid eggs, seafood and more. This means that after a quick jaunt to the farmers’ market, you can recreate the dishes at home this summer— whether you’re stuck inland or off at a beach house. —Marisa Procopio



What does a near-fatal car accident have to do with green smoothies? The micro-farmer who might have grown your last wheatgrass shot was inspired by his own tragedy to cultivate what he considers some of the most healing food on the planet. Marco Degli-Espoti, owner of Campi Verdi farm, has been growing wheatgrass and other sprouts in his Malvern, Pennsylvania, barn since 2013.

These greens get some serious TLC from their farmer. Mac DeMarco’s new album spins on the turntable in the greenhouse. “I play records for my sprouts,” says Degli-Espoti. It’s one part of the ideal environment he maintains for his crop, along with keeping the temperature at 73 degrees and rooting the plants in a precisely calculated blend of ProMix, topsoil, peat and sand for proper drainage. He also swears by Ocean Solution, an organic fertilizer he adds to carefully filtered well water for a boost of marine minerals.

Degli-Espoti hopes that the people who eat his greens will feel as revitalized by them as he does. Even six years after his accident, he still enjoys a daily shake of baby kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, sweet pea sprouts and a pinch of sunflower sprouts.

You can purchase Campi Verdi sprouts at Kimberton Whole Foods stores in four-ounce containers (order a fresh-pressed wheatgrass shot from the café while you’re there). Larger quantities can be ordered directly through Campi Verdi at —Katherine Rapin

2140 Kimberton Rd., Phoenixville, PA


foodLifeLivingCollectThe Black Chestnut Bean, part of the Roughwood Seed Collection, is a rare
soybean from Korea. Photograph courtesy of The Roughwood Seed Collection.

Food historian and author William Woys Weaver runs his thumb over a variegated celery leaf. Camouflage-like streaks set off the pink stems shooting from the base of the plant. “This is my Elton John of the celery world,” he says.

Weaver and his garden manager, Owen Taylor, cultivate 4,000 heirloom plant varieties in a small garden outside a 210-yearold farmhouse in Devon, Pennsylvania. Weaver maintains the seed collection his grandfather started in 1932, known as the Roughwood Seed Collection.

Weaver and Taylor preserve seeds that might otherwise be extinct in their trial garden, made up of rectangular woodframed beds that they till by hand each season. “The whole seed collection is really maintained in an artisanal way,” Weaver says, gesturing to a volunteer on her knees planting Syrian peas along a wire trellis. They joke about calculating just how many hands have been on each seed; they’re continually sorting, categorizing, recording, photographing and planting them.

Seeds must be planted and grown, with new batches of seeds collected regularly to preserve each variety. “I think of seeds as food,” Weaver says, “It’s not separate. It’s food waiting to happen.” He’s excited about the Roughwood Green Oxhart Tomato, Fu Zhou Round Eggplant, and White Velvet Okra—which he says is great when pickled— that will be grown out this year.

To support their education and preservation work and expand the Roughwood Collection into your own garden, purchase their seeds at —Katherine Rapin


foodLifeGoingGreenPhotograph courtesy of Herban Quality Eats

Start with a scoop of Himalayan red rice, top with jerk chicken from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and add a side of rosemary-garlic broccoli. Scoot your tray down to the sauce station and consider: herbed tomato, walnut-coriander, or Scotch-bonnet hot sauce?… Read More

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Friz Wit: The New Cheesesteak in Town

fritzPhoto by A Few Fishes

Get Friz Wit’s sandwich at Pizzeria Beddia this Sunday, May 29th, from noon until they’re sold out. Cheesesteaks are $12 (cash only) with complimentary beer tastings by Slyfox.

Whenever out-of-town friends come to visit, I ask them to think of few things they’d like to do while in Philadelphia. Of course, someone always mentions the cheesesteak and I face a dilemma: go along with it, explain the Pat’s/Geno’s rivalry and let them have their pick? Or give them my honest opinion: we’d be better off avoiding the sandwich altogether.

Ari Miller, chef and Philly native, felt similarly about cheesesteaks. “They’re almost an insult to the depth of culinary value that is occurring in Philly right now,” he says, “And for better or worse, we’re stuck together.” Since he doesn’t see our city shaking the sandwich association anytime soon, he thought he’d make a good cheesesteak, like the ones he remembered eating as a kid.

And so began Friz Wit (the name’s a vague nod to frizzled beef): a cheesesteak that catches up with our city’s culinary ambition. The ingredients are quality – which, of course, means local. Miller sources steak from Kensington Quarters and onions from the Fair Food Farmstand. He makes cheese sauce from scratch using Hidden Hills raw Buttercup Gouda and Sly Fox 360 IPA; it’s a tangy, creamy goodness as far from whiz as you can get.

Miller’s sandwich is a true Philly cheesesteak, and it has all the flavor of unprocessed, deftly handled, local ingredients. “It’s still greasy and messy – it’s an actual cheesesteak – you just don’t feel gross afterwards,” Miller laughs, “You feel like you ate real food.”

You can experience Friz Wit at Pizzeria Beddia this Sunday, May 29th, from noon until they’re sold out. Cheesesteaks are $12 (cash only) with complimentary beer tastings by Slyfox.

Miller at Garage Bar

Frizwhit at Garage bar

For now, my demand exceeds supply for these cheesesteaks – they’re hard to come by. Miller takes over the food cart at Garage in South Philly (a Passyunk cheesesteak trivalry!) occasionally, and he posts all Friz Wit-related events here.

There’s a bigger vision for the cheesesteak project, but Miller’s not sure what form it will take just yet. More regular pop-ups? A brick and mortar location? “One of the important things about the sandwich is that it’s not an industrial product,” he says, “So it’s not going to become one.”

For now I’ll continue to follow Friz Wit around the city and eat Miller’s cheesesteak any chance I get.

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Reviving Ancient Ales


Imagine scraping the residue from the base of a thousand-year-old keg, analyzing the compounds, and then teaming up with a brewery to recreate the libation that may well have fueled the building of the pyramids. Did archeology just get a little more interesting?

Dr. Patrick McGovern thinks so. He’s the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania. As a world expert in ancient fermented beverages, he’s identified early libations from Turkey to Scandinavia to Honduras. He’s responsible for tracking down the oldest known booze, which dates back 9,000 years to China’s Yellow River Valley. The 70-year-old scientist and professor has been called the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and ...

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