Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Cantina, you vampy little tease

Empanadas at Cantina Los CaballitosYou empty our pockets time after time and, yet, we love you for it. Go figure.

Cantina Los Caballitos turns one tonight and she’s celebrating with a little surprise party. The surprise? A one-hour open bar for all patrons at some point between 9pm and 1am — she’s just not sayin’ when. (Typical.)

So why not help her celebrate? Enjoy a warm spring evening on the Avenue and have some of Cantina's sweet-ass empanadas (above) while you’re at it.

An hour of margaritas on the house at Los Caballitos [Latest Dish]

[ Photo via PhilaDining at EGullet ]

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Septa to City: Give us a frickin' break man

Septa Headquarters ad wrapWe are in no way advocating making Market East Philadelphia’s version of Times Square, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And, face it people, Septa is effing desperate.
SEPTA's proposed "Plan B" budget would cost current transit riders $182 million a year, drivers $39 million a year, and cost Philadelphia 43,800 jobs, the Economy League reported in a study presented yesterday to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
[ … ]
Without a $100 million increase in state aid, SEPTA proposes to raise fares by an average of 31 percent, cut service by 20 percent, and lay off 300 to 400 employees. SEPTA estimates it would lose 20 percent of its riders, about 40 million passengers a year.
That, dear friends, is some dark shit. And we need to do whatever we can to make sure that does not happen.

Now, we understand that the revenue from this ad would be just a drop in the bucket, but (in keeping with the cliché theme) every little bit helps.

Seriously. Septa needs cash. And they need it bad. Surely, if there were an organization deserving of an exception, it’d be Septa right?

Maybe not. See, the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) calls these exceptions “variances” and they’re notoriously stingy about giving them out. Sike. Actually, they’ll give ‘em to pretty much anyone… and for pretty much anything — especially if the project has a massive parking garage attached to it.

So the way we see it, the ZBA actually owes Septa. Big time. For consistently figging them over the years by granting variance to massive parking garage in Center City after massive parking garage. The Z Board needs to grab a spoon.

Admittedly, a 200+ foot ad is a little big. But fuckin’ a — Septa gets a pass.

It’s called just desserts.

Septa’s giant ad plans [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Study: Dire impact if Septa cuts back [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Septa devalues its own gem [Philadelphia Inquirer]

[ Photo via Flickr user twoeightnine ]

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Eating the Illadelph: Oh Baby, We Like It Raw Edition

Parkway Cafe rendering[ Eating The Illadelph is a semi-regular, digest-like feature on noteworthy developments from the world of food in Philadelphia, typically combining remainders into a consumable whole, not so unlike Scrapple itself. ]

— At last we heard, the Center City District is moving forward with its plans of building a mini-visitor center and café on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 16th Street (not at Love Park’s flying saucer building or rendered above). City Council gave the CCD permission to build a new pavilion on a small triangle of land just south of the new Mexican Post. The CCD wants to have it open by fall, offering “a European-style amenity to the Parkway.” Hopefully it’s more on par with a Shake Shack and less like an Aramark concession. (Incidentally, you should also check out Paul Levy’s recent 100th anniversary presentation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as he and the CCD continue their heroic struggle to keep Philadelphia from sucking.) [ KYW 1060 ]

Don’t look now but there will shortly be some new faces serving raw fish around town.

— Old Original Bookbinder’s has added sushi to their offerings. That’s right, “Bookie’s” is now serving sushi. They’ve even got a sushi bar… complete with a real live sushi chef perched behind it. [ Official Site ]

XIX Raw— Meanwhile, Nineteen at the Bellevue has just announced the addition of XIX Raw, a new selection of seafood dishes featuring raw fish that will go beyond the already extensive offerings of their raw bar. It won’t be sushi, however, but instead new and distinct creations of raw seafood and sweet, sour and spicy flavors that change daily. Think Big Eye Tuna with potato salad, quail egg and caper-anchovy vinaigrette (at right) or Diver Scallop with basil, tomato, avocado and curry oil. Admittedly intrigued.
[ Official Site ]

— Zen Setsu, a new Japanese restaurant, will be taking over the Smoked Joint’s old digs at 15th and Locust this summer. We wish Zen luck but can’t help but feel that the location, up a set of stairs and in the Academy House’s first floor, puts them at an immediate disadvantage. [ Zagat Buzz ]

— Bobby Chez, the crab cake guru from New Jersey, will soon open two locations in Philadelphia. The first is slated to open in a few months in one of the retail spaces in the first floor of The Lofts at 1352 South Street.
OMG INBD. [ Official Site ]

— Two recent Philly hits on the Times’ Frank Bruni Diner’s Journal blog talked about Jose Garces' Amada and John’s Roast Pork, where, at the latter, Frank ran into some classic South Philly hospitality. But more importantly, the posts revealed that Bruni was in town working on an upcoming piece about Philadelphia restaurants for the Times. Should be interesting to see how he rates Philadelphia and her recent progress, especially after the glowing piece in June’s Food & Wine, in which the mag’s Editor in Chief had to reasses her definition of a great food town after taking a closer look at Philadelphia, declaring her love for the abundance of restaurants here that make excellent eating incredibly accessible everday and professing that “there are now more places I want to try in Philadelphia than in New York.” Not too shabby. Mr. Bruni — your move. [ Diner’s Journal ]

— Speaking of John's Roast Pork, they are once again giving Saturday hours a try, which is nothing less than spectacular news for those of us stuck behind a desk during the week. They're now open 9am - 4pm on Saturdays. Frank's slight of the namesake sandwich notwithstanding, we'll be enjoying some John's rather shortly, thank you very much. And our roast pork will surely be a large. [ Official Site ]

— And we'd like to offer a somewhat belated welcome to the new Philadelphia MenuPages Blog, an excellent addition to Philadelphia's set of food-centric blogs. Well done. [ Official Site ]

OK, kids, that's it for now.

Vote Nutter.