The early bird catches the tasty breakfast sandwich, and we’re here with 11 ideas. Also this week: A retired Eagle has a new mission, our restaurant critic is disappointed, and we’ll tell you all about salt water taffy. Stick with me here.
❓ But first, a quiz. Wine writer Marnie Old tells us about Vinho Verde, a Portuguese white. What are the selling points?
A. low price ($7.99)
B. it’s refreshing
C. the label is pretty
D. A and B
E. All of the above
OK. So this is not much of a quiz. See what Marnie has to say about this day-drinker’s fave.
11 delicious breakfast sandwiches
The early bird gets the breakfast sandwich. It’s “one of those foods that you probably don’t think much about — until they become all you can think about,” says contributor and inveterate early bird Neil Bardhan, who shares 11 eggs-quisite favorites. The biscuit sandwiches from Darnel’s Cakes (above) aren’t just for breakfast, either. You can order them up to the 3 p.m. closing time.
Jean-Georges is back for 2022: The review
The seven-course, $198-per-person dinner experience at chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s gorgeous 59th-floor Center City restaurant is back after two years. And so is critic Craig LaBan, who returns to report nearly four hours of “awkward pampering” and two different tasting menus that “brought one disappointment after the next.”
Shore stuff: A fire closes Sack O’ Subs; a new wine shop and grocery
“Salt water taffy” probably was not created after a storm surged over a seaside candy shop’s wares, which was the tale we all heard growing up. The cavity-clinging candy has been part of Jersey Shore lore (say that 10 times fast) for 140 years. It’s no stretch to say that contributor Kae Lani Palmisano and photojournalist Lauren Schneiderman will show you everything you need to know. The nostalgia — which, says the fourth-generation owner of Wildwood’s Douglass Fudge — “is almost as important as the actual piece of candy itself.” Tip: Stop at Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy & Fudge in Ocean City and try a fresh piece right off the line.
Keep an eye on Inquirer.com this week for Part One of Craig’s Shore dining guide, this one featuring the Wildwoods and Cape May. It will be in Sunday’s paper, as well.
The Sack O’ Subs saga took an unfortunate turn. Eight days after the Ventnor location reopened after a sudden ownership change, it was closed by a fire next door.
In much better Ventnor news: Vanessa Wong, who owns the natural wine shop/bar Fishtown Social in Philly’s Fishtown section, has a July 1 opening planned for Wahine Wine Company and Fish & Whistle Market, side by side in a new building at 101 N. Dorset Ave., at the Dorset Avenue Bridge. Wahine will be stocked with natural wines, while also offering craft spirits and beers. Fish & Whistle Market will sell regional and Philly-made brands, including cheese, charcuterie, prepared foods, produce, and groceries. Say it “wah-hee-nee,” and note hours of 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every day but Tuesday.
Former Eagles star wants to help Black and brown farmers
Malcolm Jenkins, who played in all 102 regular-season games in his six years with the Eagles, is clearly a dedicated man. Recently retired from the NFL, he has set up his next chapter by creating businesses with social-justice underpinnings. The latest: He’s investing in Millstone Spirits Group, with a plan to develop the first commercial whiskey made exclusively with corn, barley, wheat, and rye grown by Black and brown farmers. He’s working with Robert Cassell of New Liberty Distilling in Kensington.
The restaurant behind a generation of LGBTQIA social change
Philadelphia has a place in history as a center of the battle for LGBTQIA rights. Contributor Suzanne Cope recounts the two 1965 sit-ins at a Dewey’s restaurant near Rittenhouse Square that followed the denial of service to what was described as “a large number of homosexuals and persons wearing nonconformist clothing.” The Dewey’s site, incidentally, later became the popular Little Pete’s at 17th and Chancellor Streets, which was razed in 2014 to make way for a Hyatt Centric hotel. A historic marker tells the story of this civil rights moment.
Beer news: Drivers’ strike threatens supply; Tired Hands’ owner returns
Light beer? The July 4 suds supply in the Philadelphia area could be affected by a walkout by thousands of workers represented by Teamsters Local 830 at the region’s three largest beer distributors. Colleague Kasturi Pananjady explains the union’s displeasure with proposed work rules, which call for 12-hour shifts for five or six consecutive days.
In beer-industry news: Jean Broillet IV, who presided over Tired Hands Brewing’s “dude-bro culture” before an outcry last year, is back at his popular company.
Paulie Gee’s opens a new retro parlor
The new Paulie Gee’s Soul City Slice Shop shouts 1980 rec room: black-and-white tile floor, orange seats and laminate tables, wood-paneled walls, a bar lined with avocado-upholstered stools, pool table, and Pac-Man game in a vintage TV cabinet. Paulie Gee’s, now open at 412 S. 13th St. in Center City, is a father-son operation out of Brooklyn that boasts a limited menu: New York- and Sicilian-style pizza (regular and vegan), a couple of desserts, and soda, the only gluten-free item. Tip: Get the Hellboy², a sturdy, upside-down Sicilian with a sesame-seed bottom.
Sad news: Rick Olivieri (above, at Rick’s Steaks), a grandson of the inventor of the cheesesteak and a longtime Reading Terminal Market merchant, died after a 10-year struggle with dementia. He was 57.
Curiosity Doughnuts, the highly touted doughnut operation, is hitting the pause button. Saying they’ve “come to a crossroads,” owners Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot say they’re shutting down. Last day at their location at Doylestown’s Native Cafe will be Saturday, June 25. Princeton’s finale will be Sunday, June 26. White Horse Coffee’s will be July 1, and the Whole Foods in Spring House will close after business Sunday, July 3.
Something new is on the way from Tuan Phung and Olivia Lam, the couple behind South Street’s Banh Mi & Bottles and University City’s Nam Vietnamese Kitchen. They’re opening a Mochinut shop (mochi doughnuts and Korean-style hot dogs) just up the block from Banh Mi & Bottles, at 738 South St. It’s six to eight months out.
Our Daily Bagel has rolled out at 308 Fayette St. in Conshohocken, replacing Fayette Street Grill. Former teachers Alysa Yakeley and Marielle Link use Kismet Bagels for dozens and sandwiches, as well as Rival Bros. Coffee, and their “ODB” T-shirts should resonate with Wu-Tang Clan fans.
Indeblue, Rakesh and Heather Ramola’s upscale Indian bistro, has returned to South Jersey and is now open in Barclay Farms Shopping Center on Route 70 in Cherry Hill. Quite a redo from previous occupant Pho Barclay. The Ramolas re-created their peaceful vibes and elegant menu from Center City and Collingswood for their new BYOB. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch, and at 4:30 p.m. daily for dinner.
Barbecue destination The Lucky Well, with locations now at 111 E. Butler Ave. in Ambler and at 990 Spring Garden St. in Philly, has headed to University City to take over Baby Blues BBQ (3432 Sansom St.). Debut is Thursday, June 23 for delivery and takeout only via Toast from 4-9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Inside dining is on the way. Owner Chad Rosenthal says he plans to redecorate and to work with another chef on what will become a campus bar.
Five friends — Davis Lau, Jason Lin, Sonny Wu, Leo Liu, and Benny Liu, all with varied restaurant backgrounds — went into the Main Line build-your-own-bowl biz in 2020, at the start of the pandemic, taking the former Lavi BYOB at Wynnewood and County Line Roads with Sesami (1531 W. Wynnewood Rd., Ardmore).
They’re melding Chinese and Korean flavors for the proteins — barbecue chicken, pork bulgogi, and crispy tofu — which they serve over white rice, brown rice, and spinach. The charm here is the selection of vegetables, and you get five on each bowl, including bean sprouts, broccoli, purple cabbage, grilled zucchini, kimchi, sauteed mushrooms, corn, edamame, and seasoned black beans. Sauces include the “green” (with cilantro and scallion), carrot ginger (similar to the dressing served on Japanese salads), wasabi aioli, and sriracha aioli. Shown above is the “Lunch Munch” bowl ($14.98) with Night Market-style fried chicken.
Don’t miss the Sesami tots (below). “We grew up on tater tots, right?” said Lau. “We wanted to see where we could take them.” Sesami’s are served under corn, edamame, carrots, black beans, Cheddar, and both the green sauce and sriracha aioli.
There’s slick touchpad ordering (as well as web ordering), a small counter for eating, and a few tables on the patio outside. Most trade here is takeout and delivery.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
What you’ve been eating this week
Filled with oyster and shiitake mushrooms, truffle oil, thyme, and Tallegio cheese, the boat-shaped Middle Eastern flatbread known as pide at chef Bobby Saritsoglou’s Stina Pizzeria (1705 Snyder Ave.) was a hit with reader @alexjrlewis. Meanwhile, @stephanieross was reel happy with the ahi tuna poke bowl from Big Catch Poke (1840 E. Passyunk Ave.). Share your food photos! Hit me up on Instagram.