On Friday, May 3rd, Preston & Steve from the 93.3 WMMR morning show hosted the reopening of the uber-popular Lorenzo & Sons Pizza on South Street, which closed last June after a fire consumed its interior. A crowd of supporters showed up to celebrate and eat pizza at the South Philly favorite, and Lorenzo’s donated 50 percent of the proceeds from the entire day’s sales to Philabundance.
At roughly the same time this week’s installment of Forking Stupid hit newsstands, it was announced that this fall, The Farm and Fisherman’s Chef Joshua Lawler will be bringing his farm-to-table cuisine and hospitality to the good people of New Jersey, opening a second and much larger restaurant, The Farm and Fisherman Tavern & Market, in Cherry Hill (1442 East Route 70).
The Market will feature the freshest seasonal and local products, ranging from sustainably, humanely raised meats and fish, butchered by hand, to fair trade coffees, craft beers, bountiful produce and painstakingly aged cheeses. Meanwhile, the Tavern will serve similarly honest and artfully prepared small plates, snacks, entrees and family-style meals in a casual, 100-seat dining room.
Now that I’ve filled you in on this exciting piece of breaking news, check out the elaborate spring salad Josh and I crafted as well as the unmentioned masterpiece I used my fingers to create with the salad’s remnants…
Even though he and his team are busy coordinating over 150 restaurants in the Delaware Valley, ActionAIDS’s development director, Michael Byrne, took a few minutes to give us some specifics about Dining Out For Life and how it works. Suffice it to say, on Thursday night, you have options. You can make a simple, philanthropic effort by simpling going out to eat at any number of restaurants, many of which you probably already love. This is the easiest way to give back to a community in need, and to support your local businesses doing good by being a willing participant. Here’s how it works.
PW: Can you give us the breakdown of what Dining Out For Life is all about?
Byrne: Dining Out for Life was created by an ActionAIDS volunteer 23 years ago. Twenty years ago, ActionAIDS sold the trademark for Dining Out for Life to Dining Out for Life International for $1. The event now takes place in over 60 cities across North America.
Money raised in any particular region stays in that region. All funds raised in Delaware Valley are used for HIV/AIDS services. Funds benefit HIV and AIDS services at ActionAIDS, AIDS Delaware, Family and Community Service of Delaware County, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA.
On one special day (the last Thursday in April), restaurants across the region donate 33 percent of their food sales for the day to much-needed services for thousands of men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in the Delaware Valley.
We begin prospecting each year in October, but any restaurant that would like to participate can simply reach out to ActionAIDS at any time of the year, and we will make sure they are contacted and signed on to our great list.
So, ActionAIDS is the driving force behind Dining Out?
ActionAIDS created the event and has one of the larger, more successful Dining Out for Life events. As the founding organization, we have a permanent seat on the Dining Out for Life International Board of Directors.
What’s the financial breakdown? Where does the raised money go?
All funds are contractually obligated to be spent on HIV/AIDS services. Last year, we raised $245,000 in the Delaware Valley and over $4 million across North America, but funds raised in other cities stay in those cities benefiting their citizens living with HIV/AIDS.
Personally, what do you think is cool about the Dining Out campaign?
It would be another 10 years before I started working at ActionAIDS, but it was my favorite fundraiser that very first year 23 years ago. I thought it was a FABULOUS idea. Who doesn’t love to go out to eat? My friends and I jumped at the chance and had a great meal at Judy’s Cafe. It was packed, and you could feel love in the air. That feeling has not changed, in my heart, or in the restaurants that night. Everyone is out to make a difference . It is magical!
PW’s new biweekly column, “Forking Stupid,” sees 25-year-old Nicole Finkbiner persuading professional chefs from Philadelphia’s great restaurants to please teach her, for the love of god, how to cook—one dish at a time. This week, Nicole visits La Calaca Feliz in the Fairmount section of Philly to make guacamole and tortilla soup.
1 cup diced tomato
1 jalapeno, diced
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2-3 limes, juiced
½ tsp Kosher salt
¼ cup each of seasonal fruit, such as diced pomegranate seeds or apples
Remove skin and pit from the avocados. Mash with a fork until creamy. Fold in remaining ingredients and season with salt. For extra spicy guacamole, add 1 tsp diced habañero. To make it extra-extra spicy, add 1 tsp hot sauce as well.
8 plum tomatoes (charred on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet)
3 cloves garlic (charred on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet)
1 Spanish onion (charred on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet)
2 oz tomato paste
3 Pasilla chilies
3 Gaujillo chilies
2 chipotles in Adobo sauce
1 qt fried tortilla chips
1 gallon chicken stock
For the poached chicken:
2 chicken breasts or a whole chicken
In a large stock pot, heat vegetable oil until hot. Add the charred tomatoes, onions and garlic. Cook for five minutes on medium heat. Add tomato paste, Gaujillo chilies, Pasilla chilies and chipotles in Adobo sauce. Cook on low for 10 minutes. Make sure to stir the pot often so the ingredients do not burn. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add tortilla chips and cook for another 10 minutes until tortillas are soft and tender. Puree with an immersion blender on high and strain soup through a China cap. Season with salt.
Meanwhile, poach the chicken, skin removed, in a pot of water seasoned with the onion, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer gently for 20 minutes if using just breasts, 45 minutes for a whole chicken. Pull chicken with a slotted spoon, let rest, and dice or shred as desired. Add chicken to the soup and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Transfer soup to a bowl and garnish with cilantro, diced onion, queso fresco, Mexican crema and tortilla strips or chips.
As hard as I may have tried to convey just how juicy and mind-blowingly flavorful Goat Hollow’s Merguez Sausage was in this week’s installment of Forking Stupid, there really aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to do that sandwich justice.
But as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. So here’s a whole bunch…
PW’s new biweekly column, “Forking Stupid,” sees 25-year-old Nicole Finkbiner persuading professional chefs from Philadelphia’s great restaurants to please teach her, for the love of god, how to cook—one dish at a time. This week, Nicole visits Goat Hollow, the resurrected Mt. Airy bar and brasserie, to make lamb sausage.
Merguez Sausage Sandwich
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 lb ground lamb
2-4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1. In a cast-iron skillet over low heat, toast cumin, coriander seeds and fennel seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer warm spices to a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to pound them until fine. Combine with the paprika and cayenne pepper; set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix together the ground lamb with the spices, cilantro and salt. Pinch off a little of the mixture, form into a patty and brush with olive oil. Fry in a hot skillet to check the seasonings. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
3. Form sausages into patties, brush with olive oil and fry, grill or broil until browned and cooked through.
Note: Patties can be chilled for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
While the majority of the trees and plants around town may still stand depressingly lifeless, our cherry blossoms are officially in full bloom (or at least some).
For those of you who have heard of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, but don’t entirely understand exactly what it entails and why you should care, allow me to break it down. The month-long festival celebrates all things Japanese with a slew citywide events (workshops, performances, screenings, exhibitions, etc.)—DUH—all leading up to the centerpiece event, Sakura Sunday on April 14.
Here are a few of the festivities you can look forward to…
Japanese Culture Week: Now through Thursday, The Shops at Liberty Place are inviting folks of all ages to stop by at lunchtime and discover Japanese culture through and interactive workshop. Today you can make and take an origami folded paper ornament while tomorrow, members of the audience will be selected to experience the intricacies of Kimono dressing. Last but not least, on Thursday, you can learn how to write using Japanese Calligraphy and take home a sample. Daily through Thurs/4, 12-2pm. Free. The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St.
Tamagawa University Taiko Drum and Dance Performance: Tamagawa University, a top-ranking thirty-piece troupe from Japan and the Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance group are joining forces, creating a unique, high-energy performance, equipped with intricate dances, thundering drums and beautiful costumes. Sat/6, 8-10pm $25-$30. The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St.
Madam Saito’s Sushi Making Class: Every sushi lover is dying to learn how to make it themselves and who better to show you than Madame Saito, Philadelphia’s Queen of Sushi. More specifically, she’ll be showing participants how to create rolls that taste as good as they look. So be sure to come hungry and with containers so that you can take home your left-overs. Also, you must call and register in advance. Sun/7 & Wed/10, 6:30pm. $30. The Headhouse, 124 Lombard St. 215.922.2515.
Sakura Sunday: If you’re going to go to any Cherry Blossom event, this should be the one. In addition to Japanese food/product vendors, origami and calligraphy workshops, martial arts demos and drum and dance group performances, there’s the annual Harajuku Fashion Show and Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade. Meanwhile, over at the Horticulture Center’s new Sakura Pavilion you can discover the traditional elements of Sakura Sunday—from the Urasenke tea ceremony and the art of flower arrangement, known as ikebana to the elegant Japanese dance, Ichifujikai. Sun/14, 10:30am-4pm. $0-$5. Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, Montgomery Dr. & Belmont Ave.