A veteran of notable Philadelphia restaurants such as the Commissary, La Terrasse, Roller’s and Jamey’s, Valerie Erwin had long thought about opening a restaurant, especially in her own neighborhood. But 10 years ago, when a restaurant became available near her Germantown home, she was at a loss as to what cuisine to offer.
A friend suggested a noodle theme, but noodles didn’t inspire her. Then Erwin’s sister came to the rescue. “Alethia said to me, ‘What about rice?’”
Just because it’s not tomato season doesn’t mean your seasonal table is doomed to be beige and blah. Winter produce means jewel colors and big, concentrated flavors: the velvety sweetness of winter squash, earthy root vegetables and sweet, tart citrus are in season. Pantry staples such as local flour, dried beans and storage crops such as carrots and onions can form a foundation for countless dishes. Pomegranates and cranberries lend rosy hues and bright acidity. Farmers using passively heated hoop houses and greenhouses are extending the growing season so that even in the coldest months we can enjoy robust winter greens.
Winter is also a great time of year to be inspired by locally produced animal products. These tender scones make use of Seven Stars Farm’s amazing heavy cream and sweet local butter from Trickling Springs. Clover Creek’s mature cheddar adds richness to kale salad, and this weeknight chili takes the bulk of its spice from Country Time Farm’s delicious, subtly spiced chorizo.
Unhappy with the options for providing wholesome, nutritious meals to her growing vegetarian family, Lancaster resident Laura Lapp decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I was reading the label of a popular meat replacement one day when I realized, ‘This isn’t even real food!’” she says. “It was then that I decided to start experimenting with ingredients in my kitchen.”
Meeting up at a neighborhood pub for eats and drinks doesn’t mean wings and burgers are your only option. Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida are the duo behind four of our favorite beer drinkeries, each boasting bar menus beyond the expected. In addition to Memphis Taproom in Kensington, Local 44 in West Philly and the recently opened Strangelove’s in Center City, the pair owns Resurrection Ale House, a charming pub in Grays Ferry, where they strive to keep the menu innovative yet approachable. “The rule,” Maida says, “is that Brendan’s dad has to be able to walk in and order comfortably off the menu.”
At the end of October, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) broke ground on the next phase of Washington Avenue Green, the waterfront park at the former Pier 53. The park enhancements will combine public green space with river views and access, as well as educational opportunities, ecological improvements and public art acknowledging the pier’s history.
From 1873 to 1915, Pier 53 was the city’s main immigration station, a history that will be acknowledged by the “Land Buoy,” a beacon and spiral staircase designed by local artist Jody Pinto.
If you’ve ever felt the earth shake from a crashing wave or come up a bit green after being tossed around on a boat, you have an idea of how powerful ocean waves and currents can be.
The founders of Pennington, N.J.-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) have developed technology to harness and convert wave energy into a clean, renewable power source.