THE FOOD LIFE: Spring Checklist

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

VANILLA KEFIR

foodlife-vanilla-kefir
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WHOLESOME DAIRY

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

PEA SHOOTS

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.

AGUA FRESCA

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.
215.360.5282
southphillybarbacoa.com

2SP DELCO LAGER

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF 2SP BREWING

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,
484.483.7860
2spbrewing.com   

THREE SPRINGS PEACHES

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THREE SPRINGS

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.

SMOKED SALMON AND DILL SPREAD

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.
215.545.6655,
metropolitanbakery.com

FLYING FISH COMES TO BREWERYTOWN

foodlife-flying-fish
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FLYING FISH BREWERY

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.
215.701.4545
ffcrafthouse.com

DISHES OF THE (AFRICAN)
DIASPORA IN PHILADELPHIA

foodlife-dishes-of-africa
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PHILADELPHIA FOLKLORE PROJECT

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 dishesofthediaspora.com.

Open gallery hours are listed at folkloreproject.org; contact the artists at diasporadishes@gmail.com to make a viewing appointment. —K. Rapin

Philadelphia Folklore Project
735 S. 50th St.
215.726.1106
folkloreproject.org

MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT

foodlife-morn-noon-night
PHOTOGRAPH BY KATHERINE RAPIN

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.
267.519.0329
resipsaphilly.com

CATERERS WHO CARE

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LOCAL 215

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.

The Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC, convened by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in 2011) recently released an authoritative Good Food Caterer Guide. The businesses are ranked according to their record of compliance with a set of good-food values.

In the guide, you’ll find caterers like Local 215, started by chef Alex Buckner in 2012. Back then, you might have seen Buckner serving lunch from his truck at parks around the city, but now Local 215 spends a lot more time at weddings and other events. A huge benefit of cooking out of a truck? He can set up in unlikely venues. “Someone wants to get married on Grandma’s farm and we can just roll up and feed 250 [guests],” Buckner says.

Buckner collaborates with farms like Greenflash Farm in Hopewell, NJ, which raises pigs and grows an array of produce specifically for Local 215. Choose from Buckner’s sample dishes (a spring menu might include crostini with peas, pork, and ricotta; radishes with local butter; and chilled asparagus soup), or build a custom menu for your event.

Download the guide at phillyfpac.org for information about other caterers serving up food you’d be proud to have at your party. —K. Rapin

Local215foodtruck.com
215.970.0024

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