What’s New in and Around Philadelphia for Food, Desserts & Entertainment – January 8 Show for FYI Philly
Want to try new flavors in 2022? We’ve rounded up a few new spots featuring a wide range of flavor profiles.
Primary Plant Based is the first restaurant of longtime Philadelphia chef Mark McKinney. The menu is 100 percent vegan. McKinney has lived a vegan lifestyle for over three decades and, during the pandemic, pursued his passion for bringing the lifestyle into his own space.
The menu features items like a Sloppy Joe made from banana blossoms, a kimchi pancake with celeriac sushi, and masa ball soup. McKinney hopes to share his passion for healthy eating and make his mark on the Philadelphia food scene.
Farina Pasta and Noodle serves compliments of Daniel Lee’s fresh pasta. The idea originated while Lee was studying cooking at Drexel University, came to life in a ghost kitchen during the pandemic, and has now become a brick and mortar in the Rittenhouse neighborhood.
Imagine Chipotle with fresh pasta. Customers choose their pasta, sauce, and toppings, and each dish is made with homemade pasta that day in a quick and relaxed setting.
Abiha Kitchen is getting a makeover on Chestnut Street. Hasan Ahammad has created a menu based on his Bangladeshi roots. Featuring favorites like Chicken Curry, Tikka Masala, and Lamb Biryani. It also offers a variety of naan freshly prepared in the restaurant’s tandoori oven.
Townsend, Vernick and Sazon Highlight COVID Restaurant Returns
When the Center City office district closed in March 2020, the Vernick Coffee Bar, inside the Comcast Technology Center, had no choice but to close as well.
But the place reopened to the public in early December. It’s a take-out cafe that starts at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, then a more formal lunch area opens at 11 a.m.
Celebrity chef Greg Vernick says the goal is to “wrap a chef’s brain over coffee,” and he does it with hearty dishes like the bowl of mushrooms and farro and the grilled romaine heart that has the flavor of the grill but is still crispy like a salad. Although it’s a vegetarian dish, Chef Vernick says some customers have compared it to a cheeseburger.
He takes care of the savory dishes while Four Seasons pastry chef Ryan Schmitt takes care of the sweets. It makes buttery croissants, scones, muffins, pies, coffee cakes and a chocolate and pretzel cookie. But his favorite is carrot pie, a hybrid dessert suggested by Chef Vernick and executed by Chef Schmitt. It has a cheesecake-style graham cracker crust with a baked carrot cake batter on top.
When Townsend Wentz closed his signature restaurant on East Passyunk Avenue in 2019, it was only supposed to last a few months, while he and his team opened a second location in Rittenhouse Square. But then the pandemic struck and the place remained closed for more than two years. He planned to reopen with a bar-focused comfort food concept, but instead sticks to the classic French fine dining the restaurant has always been known for.
For now, he’s offering a six-course chef’s tasting menu with dishes like Atlantic Skateboard with Caviar and a Filet Mignon with Winter Fruits and Vegetables.
There is now a “For Rent” sign on the Sazon Restaurant on Spring Garden Street. After 17 years at this location, husband and wife Robert Campbell and Judith Suzarra-Campbell now cook their Venezuelan cuisine at home in a ghost kitchen dubbed Sazon 2 Go.
They always cook all of their customers’ favorite dishes: empanadas, tequenos, soups, tostadas and Asado Negro. Legend has it that it was created by accident by a grandmother in Caracas who accidentally burned the meat dish she was preparing. She decided to continue, creating the salty / sour-sour caramelized dish that is now a Venezuelan tradition.
Robert, aka the alchemist of chocolate, still makes his artisanal chocolate bar bean.
Customers now order through delivery apps, but the couple maintain a close bond with their longtime devotees, who show up in their DMs and pick up for this face-to-face interaction.
(Reopening scheduled for January 12)
1523 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Jeni’s Ice Creams opens 2 new stores in Fishtown, Rittenhouse Square
Who said ice cream was just a summer treat?
Beloved brand Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened scoop shops in Fishtown and Rittenhouse Square in November.
Ice cream is made with pasture milk. Waffle cones and bowls are made with fresh produce, and flavors like white chocolate, peppermint, gooey butter cake, and rum and brittle almond butter are designed to flood your brain with happy memories.
Founder Jeni Britton Bauer originally dreamed of being an artist, but says she left art school in 1996 to start her ice cream at an Ohio farmer’s market. Her first flavor was a spicy Mexican hot chocolate which remains on the menu today, and she now has about 60 ball stores nationwide.
You’ll always see this artist’s creativity in every flavor and even on the scoop shop napkins, which include a tutorial on how to eat ice cream right for the full multisensory experience.
Can you survive this spicy noodle challenge?
This Philadelphia restaurant claims to have the spiciest cuisine in Sichuan.
EMei Restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown challenges its patrons to manage the heat with their spicy noodle challenge.
You have the choice between 3 heat levels. After completing the first level, they will be encouraged to move on to the next. Customers can start at level 3, the hottest, but this is not recommended.
Brave souls who complete Level 3 will be invited to return on Chinese New Year’s Day to participate in the final challenge.
Fun Finds for a Full Day and Night in South Jersey
All over South Jersey there are things to do every moment of your day.
Cramer Hill Waterfront Park is Camden’s new crown jewel, where you can have outdoor fun, as well as take in the area’s best views of the Philly skyline.
Nuanced coffee is the perfect place during the day to connect with people and have a homemade coffee or tea. Owner Rose Hicks wishes to bring black culture to all of her guests, providing events, opportunities and inspiration for all.
The husband and wife team behind Wilson’s Restaurant & Live Music Lounge has just opened a vibrant new location in Hi-Nella. Mark and Mame Wilson set the stage for an upscale nightlife experience that features live music, New Orleans-style cuisine, and a full bar.
Painted Mug shines a light on the LGBTQ + community
The Painted Mug in South Philadelphia is a new cafe and performance space that focuses on empowering the LGBTQIA community.
Co-founder Taylor Plunkett-Clements says the new space fills an unmet need and will highlight sober activities that decentralize drugs and alcohol while serving as an inviting place for young people.
Owner Vinnie Scarfo says they have a busy schedule for January, with everything from drag, burlesque, board games, knitters and yarn craftsmen, and understated karaoke.
Their goal is to uplift the community and share the joy. They are doing crowdfunding to complete renovations to the space.
Night Forms: Klip Collective’s dreamloop transforms the landscape of Grounds for Sculpture
For 30 years, Grounds for Sculpture has impressed visitors to Hamilton, New Jersey, with approximately 300 outdoor sculptures.
Now you can experience the park in a whole new way.
A special exhibit titled Night Forms: dreamloop by Klip Collective transforms the 42-acre landscape of Grounds for Sculpture.
âThrough a dozen site-specific installations using light, sound and video projection,â says Faith McClellan, director of collections and exhibitions at Grounds for Sculpture.
It is an immersive multisensory exhibition.
The visuals are all choreographed to original sounds and music.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, New Jersey 08619
On display until February 27, 2022 | from thursday to sunday
The Fin Restaurant and Bar aims to bring fish back to Fishtown. It is a cocktail and seafood lover’s paradise where you can choose your seafood, choose your sauce and choose your level of spice.
Le Fin Restaurant & Bar | Facebook | Instagram
1000 Frankford Ave, # 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125
The new Brooklyn Bowl, right next to the Filmore and in the same complex as The Fin, is a place where you can rock and roll. It’s 40,000 square feet with live music and 24 bowling lanes over two floors
The menu is comfort food with entrees like pizza bread and fried chicken, and there’s colorful, carnival-style decor, what founder Peter Shapiro calls, âa lot of visual feast for the eyesâ.
Wilmington, Delaware has a new dining and entertainment destination. Wilma’s in downtown North Market Street offers bowling and Creole cuisine.
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