As I’m writing this, it’s 6° outside. It’s hard to believe that spring will ever actually be here, even though it’s only weeks away.
And with the new season will come a series of events that now seems impossible: Ramps will sprout up, favas will arrive, and just a little while after that we’ll all be treated to the first tender green spears of asparagus. All these ingredients give us the thrilling taste of a fresh start.
This issue marks our second annual celebration of our reader-selected Local Heroes, page 15. Honoring exceptional chefs, nonprofits, and food craftspeople is a tradition throughout Edible Communities’ family of publications, and this year’s crop of heroes really made me stand back and appreciate how spectacular local food here is. There is so much talent in our region. Some of our local heroes are relatively new to the business of food, but the subject of Sarah Grey’s first feature for us has been around a very long time. On page 22 she tells the story of Sulimay’s, a diner that has been changing with the times in Fishtown for generations.
Danya Henninger explores a different corner of the city with her roundup of West African options in West Philadelphia on page 44. If your culinary curiosity is as stirred as mine was, you’ll be inspired to jump on a trolley with your appetite primed to discover this lesser-known cuisine.
Since the German beerhall Brauhaus Schmitz first debuted on South Street, Jeremy Nolen has been one of my favorite chefs. Robert DiGiacomo’s profile on page 34 dives into the subjects of Nolen’s new cookbook and his next restaurant, Whetstone, which is slated to open this season.
Finally, talking with South Philly Review’s longtime restaurant critic, Phyllis Stein-Novack, about her best-loved books for this issue’s Cookshelf column, page 38, was the cherry on top of this great issue for me. I hope you’ll make her favorite recipe for roast chicken and serve it with some of the ramps, favas or morels that make this season so delicious.