Friday, April 20, 2018

Bank and Bourbon: 4th Annual Bourbon Bash

Regular readers know I'm a huge fan of Bank and Bourbon's annual Bourbon Bash. In fact, I've made sure to stop by every year. Now in their fourth year celebrating great food and bourbon, they're continuing to support Donors Choosewith proceeds from this event benefiting education. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Making of a Manhattan | Charcuterie & Cheese | Steak Tartare | Manhattan

Bourbon sponsors abounded at this event, with Jim Beam small-batch bourbons on full display and on offer. Knob Creek single barrel and Basil Hayden were enjoyed neat, on the rocks, and in craft-made Manhattans or Mint Juleps. For those that opted to skip the whiskey, there was plenty of champagne and wine as well. Hors d'ouerves were passed around and included crabcakes and a stunning steak tartare on crispy potato skins. I could eat a whole tray of those! And of course, the charcuterie and cheese station was an eye-opening array of Benton's and Creminelli ham, local cheeses (including Birchrun Hills blue!), grilled bread, and fresh fruit.

Clockwise from Top Right: Ahi Tuna | East Coast Oysters | Hamachi Poke | Knob Creek all around! 

And from there, revelers were able to enjoy plenty of fresh seafood including ahi crudo, East Coast oysters, and a wonderful hamachi poke.

Clockwise from Top Right: Knob Creek Single Barrel | Duroc Pork & Seasonal Greens | Pastrami Short Rib | Salmon & Morels

For the more voracious eaters, Executive Chef Tom Harkins pulled out all the stops. Fresh whole-plank salmon and whole-roasted rock fish were plated to order with morels. A juicy Duroc pork chop was enjoyed along with fresh asparagus and spring peas. There were plenty of Cowboy ribeyes being carved, along with a gorgeous pastrami short rib that had horseradish and whole grain mustard to provide balance to the heft of the meat.

Clockwise from Top Right: Coconut Macaroons | Bourbon Glazed Donuts | Blueberry Trifle | Chef Amanda's Dessert Spread

Pastry Chef Amanda was not to be outdone and offered up an incredible display of sweet treats. The donuts are always a standout - crisp on the exterior and perfectly fluffy within. Adorned with a bourbon glaze and popcorn (!), the salty and sweet elements were easily enjoyed. Blueberry trifles, banana s'mores, and coconut macaroons were also enjoyed by the belly of this pig.

And I couldn't leave the event without enjoying the goat cheese cheesecake. Tart, tangy, and wonderfully smooth, this had better be on the regular menu at Bank & Bourbon! If you missed out on this year's Bourbon Bash, be sure to be on the look out for tix next year. You won't be sorry! And in the meantime, be sure to stop by the restaurant for great food and drink. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Pizzeria Vetri: Spring 2018 Menu Review

This is part of a series of posts related to Pizzeria Vetri: [1], [2], [3]

I've always been a fan of Pizzeria Vetri. And there's no shame in my eating game - it's part of the reason why we decided to move to the apartment complex that houses PV Callowhill on its ground level. You likely know about the shift in ownership, but under the clearly capable hands of Head Chef John Sidoti (previously Chef de Cuisine at Osteria), the tastes and tenets that started with Chefs Vetri, Michaud, and Spence remain in place. We stopped by to check out the new spring additions to the menu and judging by the crowds on an early Thursday evening, Pizzeria Vetri remains as popular as ever!

Italian Derby [$12]
Bulleit rye whiskey, Fernet Branca, lemon, mint

Regular readers know I'm a fan of rye and Fernet respectively, so the Italian Derby seemed like a match made perfectly for me. Fernet acted as the bitters, with the bright citrus from the lemon coming on through, along with the freshness of the mint. Easy spring drinking. 

Strawberry Fennel Salad [$12]
Strawberries, shaved fennel, sunflower seed granola, watercress, banyuls vinaigrette

Strawberry fennel salad had fresh flavors coming through from the sweet strawberries and the crisp fennel. I enjoyed the bitterness from the watercress, which was nicely balanced by the texture of the sweet sunflower seed granola and the acid from the oak barrel-aged banyuls vinaigrette. 

Roasted Beets [$8]
Beets, robiolina, pistachios, parsley

Chef Sidoti was killing it with the execution on something as simple as the beet salad. Salt-compressed for 6 hours, the beets had an intensely sweet earthiness from having the moisture pulled out. Paired with the nutty texture of the pistachios, the creaminess of the super-smooth robiolina, olive oil, and parsley, this is a must-order, especially at $8! 

Wood Oven Salad [$12]
Asparagus, snap peas, spring onions, baby carrots, radishes, pecorino, lemon butter dressing

The wood-oven salad was seasonally spring - a cornucopia of roasted asparagus, spring onion, and sweet snap peas, along with sweet baby carrots and a nice bite from the radish. I enjoyed the salty funk from the pecorino, with the lemon-butter dressing tying everything together. 

Asparago [$16]
Shaved asparagus, fried egg yolk, Meyer lemon, mozzarella, parmigiana 

At the Callowhill location, the asparagus pie is a welcome spring addition to the pizza menu. Chef Sidoti is killing it with a fried egg yolk, designed to be picked up and drizzled all of your pie. Talk about yolk porn! The shaved asparagus provides some heft to each bite, with the Meyer lemon providing a punch of bright acidity. 

Funghi Calzone [$14]
Roasted mushrooms, garlic, scallions, ricotta, mozzarella, parsley

The calzones are always a winner at PV. Perfect leoparding on the crust, with a substantial glut of roasted mushrooms, garlic, and scallions, interspersed with creamy ricotta and fresh mozzarella within. 

Agnello [$18]
Roasted lamb, English peas, pickled red onion, young pecorino, parmigiana, mint, oregano

If you're at the Chancellor Street location in Rittenhouse, look out for the Agnello. Beautifully marbled lamb shoulder is roasted and pulled apart all over your pie. English peas and mint are the natural complement to the sweet grassy lamb, with the pickled red onion really making each bite. 

Here's hoping the wonderful weather continues and we're truly done with winter. There's no better way to enjoy it than stopping by for a drink and some good eats at your nearby Pizzeria Vetri. And even if the chill returns, you can certainly enjoy the tastes of spring. 

FTC Disclaimer: Thanks to Pizzeria Vetri and Urbn Food & Beverage for inviting me in. Regardless, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased.

Pizzeria Vetri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, March 23, 2018

Philly Wine Week: Opening Corks 2018

With the 2018 Opening Corks event, Philly Wine Week is finally upon us! From March 22nd - 29th, enjoy wine specials at some of your favorite restaurants in the city. During these eight days of events, oenophiles and novices alike are able to indulge. And there's no better place to wet your beak than with the inaugural event. This year, participants gathered at Vie on 600 N. Broad to sample hundreds of wines and tasty bites - all for $48 pp.

With your take-home PWW glass, attendees sampled New and Old World wines. Not to be outdone, American Sardine Bar had a stellar fava bean toast and Maison 208 provided a knock out with their always-delicious pork belly piklis dish. A gorgeous beet-cured salmon from The Good King Tavern provided fresh earthy notes, while Jamonera's crispy rice dish wowed with a surprising punch of acid. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Maison 208's Pork Belly Piklis | Jamonera's Crispy Rice | The Good King Tavern's Beet cured Salmon | American Sardine Bar's Fava Bean Toast

Townsend Wentz's roast pork was succulent and studded with stuffing. Tria Taproom offered baba ghanoush on grilled pita while Plenty Cafe's rillette was an ethereal cloud of pork. Would not expect any less than the King Salmon dish from Lacroix - nicely cured and firm, with great balance from the mango and sorrel. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Townsend Wentz's Pork | Tria Taproom's Baba Ghanoush | Plenty Cafe's Pork Rillette | Lacroix Restaurant's King Salmon

If you missed out on Opening Corks, no fear. Be sure to check out the list of PWW participating restaurants for great deals throughout next week!