Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2012 11:57am
Subject: Philly Strikes Again
Hey Rach -
On our last trip of 2012 to Philly, I couldn’t help but fit in a few more spots. From the airport, it was straight to Reading Terminal Market for some beef jerky. I know you’ve shot here for your show, and I really enjoy this market as well – there really is something for everyone. On this visit, I discovered a little meat market with beef jerky in all different flavors. So, I picked some up to take back to Chicago and headed to my first stop.
I arrived to The Farm and the Fisherman, which is a simple 30-seat restaurant with some serious talent behind it. There are some Daniel NYC vets, plus Josh Lawler, who was the Chef de Cuisine at Blue Hill Stone Barns. Josh does some pretty serious things at this restaurant that should not be overlooked. Since I had a few places to go, I was told to get one thing and one thing only: the Bloody Beet (no, not beef) Steak. This is a whole roasted beet, skin on, which is then cut in half and smashed on a plancha, capturing all of the juice in the beet. There is a smooth yogurt spread underneath. This dish was insane – one of the better dishes I’ve had in quite some time – and I demolished it. This picture does NOT do it justice. I then had a little flatbread dish, made with a cracker-like barley bread spread with some local ricotta (not much at all) and laid out with beautiful fresh veggies and greens, such as pea shoots and fresh herbs. A full meal at this restaurant is definitely in my future.
From The Farm, I headed to Old City to Fork. While the restaurant is about 15 years old, Chef Eli Kulp, a Torrisi (NYC) veteran, recently arrived on the scene. I kicked things off with a delicious bay scallop crudo dish with pickled beet slices and parsley pesto. Their “bread plate” was an amazing trio of a mini homemade bialy with a grass-infused cream cheese; a raw baby carrot dipped in “soil” (cocoa nib, lemon zest, anchovy and sesame); and a one-biter Philly-style pretzel injected with a beer-cheese sauce. I added a tasty strachiatella crostini with pickled eggplant on top and their homemade chicken nuggets with hot mustard sauce, which were out of control. Not quite ready to be through with the menu, I took a few bites of the charred octopus with fennel agro dolce and crispy potatoes. If you go, you’ll notice Fork, etc. next door, which looks like a cool little spot for breakfast or lunch.
And last, but definitely not least, was Pub & Kitchen and their talented Chef, Jonny Adams. This is a casual corner pub with rock solid food. I met a friend here and picked… and picked… and picked… and picked… I felt like the food did not stop – but I love this place. I’ve written about it once before, but the menu was nearly entirely new; what was the same was that everything was as on point this time as it was last time. We had an escargot dish with flavors of rich red wine; their fantastic burger with Jonny’s special burger blend made by Pat La Frieda in NYC; the duck breast; a spot-on fish dish with grits (pictured above); and the short ribs – one of my favorites on a chilly night. I do still want to get back here for brunch, so you haven’t seen the last of Pub & Kitchen! I do have to tell you that between the time I ate here and the time I wrote this, Jonny has left the restaurant and moved on to another project. Stay tuned for more info on that and check out his other endeavor over at Rival Bros Coffee Roasters, but still don’t miss out on P&K!
And that’s what’s on my plate!
Smucker’s – Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch Streets
The Farm and the Fisherman
1120 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
306 market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Pub & Kitchen
1946 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!