The latest in food news this season.
Courtney Rozas is one of many young restaurateurs bringing diners closer to where their food is grown.
Often, the restaurants most committed to local sourcing are in the city, farthest away from the pastures and farms supplying their kitchens. Restaurateurs like Courtney Rozas, a Drexel University biology grad, are out to change that. Rozas prizes local ingredients at her suburban hot spots, Lotus Farm to Table (112 W. State St., Media, 610-565-5554) and Farmer’s Road Drive Thru (210 A. Painters Crossing Village, Chadds Ford, 610-558-2220). (The latter is really a drive-through, located in a former KFC.) At Wyebrook Farm (150 Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook, 610-942- 7481), banker-turned-farmer Dean Carlson serves meat from animals he raises himself—this season, with help from Russet’s Andrew Wood. Meanwhile, in Harleysville, the Mainland Inn (17 Mainland Road, 484-704-2600) has been reborn under Quarry Hill Farm’s Sloane Six, and Inn chef Ezra Duker, a Bala Cynwd native with French Laundry credentials, is quietly amassing culinary praise.
Cuba Libre empanadas, now available for delivery.
For a long time, ordering delivery prompted one question: Pizza or Chinese? Now, thanks to easy-to-use Web and smartphone startup apps like Postmates and Caviar, that question includes Cuba Libre empanadas, Shake Shack burgers, Terakawa ramen bowls, Federal Donuts North fancies, Fat Ham hot chicken, Brauhaus Schmitz brats, and so much more. Add in groceries-on-demand service Instacart, whose outlets include Fine Wine & Good Spirits, and you can have a chilled bottle of Prosecco delivered to your door to go with your South Philadelphia Tap Room Sewansecott oysters.
Felt + Fat plates at Fork.
Thanks to Nate Mell and Wynn Bauer of Port Richmond’s Felt + Fat studio (4717 Cedar Ave., 484-620-9272), plates are becoming as important as the food served on them. Local spots like Laurel, Good Spoon, High Street on Market—Mell was a server at Fork—and ReAnimator have all tapped the Tyler School of Art glass grad and RISD-trained ceramicist to create custom tableware to highlight their food. Word of their beautiful pieces is spreading, says Mell, so grab your own set at Art in the Age now.
When his café in L’Aquila was destroyed by one of the worst earthquakes in Italian history, World Cup of Gelato champion Stefano Biasini partnered with a local restaurateur to bring his famed ice cream to Philly. Standing at the containers of vivid strawberry, mojito, and hazelnut-fecked Bacio gelati and sorbetti at Gran Caffe L’Aquila (1716 Chestnut St., 215-568-5600), you can glimpse Biasini’s state-of-the-art lab on the second floor above.
Juniper Commons specializes in gin, which means it must specialize in tonic water, too.
The library of 60-plus gins at Kevin Sbraga’s Juniper Commons (521 S. Broad St., 215-735-1913) drove general manager Tom Pittakas to curate an exhaustive list of 20 small-batch tonics as complement. “I’ve had vendors come in to sell me tonics and leave surprised when they’re already on my shelf,” says Pittakas, who also makes six house blends. At Marc Vetri’s Lo Spiedo (4503 S. Broad St., 215-282-3184), beverage Director Steve Wildy and head bartender Stephen Warner craft a cardamom-scented tonic with a gentian root base—“a much cleaner favor,” says Wildy, compared to the typical quinine bark. it’s served in a house G&T, but is so fizzy and flavorful, “we sell a fair amount of the tonic on its own, too.”