Why can’t we also save money on weekends? Read on for our roundup of weekend happy hours. Also this week: Stephen Starr has something new on the way; Craig LaBan reviews a Ukrainian-owned BYOB on the Main Line; and his dog Buttercup gives us some scoop.
❓ Lettuce start off with a quiz. The topic is salad greens: Curly endive is closely related to which of these?
D) Moe and Larry
❗ Click here for the answer. And if you’re planning to grow your own crops, we won’t leaf you hanging. We’ve put together our picks for the best garden centers and nurseries in the Philadelphia region.
The best weekend happy hours
Happy hour used to be a weeknight thing, a promotion to mark the end of the traditional workday. Now, we work all the time, so why not host happy hour on weekends? Contributor Afea Tucker offers a lucky 13, including Mixto in Washington Square West, which discounts all bar bites and drinks (including mojitos, caipirinhas, and margaritas) to $7 — a great deal.
Sharing Ramadan recipes
Ramadan is a time of religious intent and restraint, a time to empathize with those who have less, to be grateful for our blessings, to focus on the spiritual world instead of the material one, to pray, donate to charity, and above all, to spend time with loved ones, writes contributor Reem Kassis. It’s also one of the most social times of the year, and she shares recipes to revive memories of her youth.
Craig LaBan’s review: The Choice in Bryn Mawr
Chef Volodymyr “Vlad” Hyvel says he would cook eight days a week if he could. He and his wife and another Ukrainian family own The Choice, a lovely, thoroughly international BYOB in Bryn Mawr, where thoughts are never far from their homeland. As Hyvel told critic Craig LaBan: “I enjoy what I’m doing so much it’s like living in a dream.” Want to try Hyvel’s borscht at home? He shares his taste of Odessa with us.
Buttercup LaBan, doggie food critic, weighs in on Salty Paws
That tap-tap-tapping coming from the LaBan house? That’s Buttercup, the critic’s rescued Great Dane mix, knocking out a review of Salty Paws, the new doggie ice-cream parlor near Rittenhouse Square. How many bells? Buttercup bestows bones.
How the pandemic has changed Philly’s restaurants
In part one of a two-part series, colleague Jenn Ladd spoke with restaurant workers and business owners about the indelible marks COVID-19 has left on the industry. Last month, Philadelphia’s restaurant industry marked two years since the city ground to a halt, kicking off a series of transformations that changed so much, from how menus are designed to how customers interact with staff. Jenn shared some key takeaways.
Starr is said to be opening a cafe at the Comcast Center
Stephen Starr is supposedly fixing to take over the seasonal cafe on the plaza outside of the Comcast Center at 1701 JFK Blvd. No name has been floated yet. I asked on Instagram for some ideas, and threw out two ideas: LeBeXFinity and Kabletown.
Among my favorite submissions:
“Let Me Transfer You to Retention” (@jeserf)
BuddaKomcast and Comcastinental (@gone_gefitilefishin)
Hmm, how about Xpod? Or Triple Play? Or Slowsky’s, featuring turtle soup as an appetizer and a Slowsky Gin Fizz on the drink menu? The future is awesome!
“Shut Up and Eat” might not be the most polite name for a restaurant deal, but it’s one of the best in town.
Show up at the quietly snazzy Modo Mio Tavern in Queen Village between 9 and 10 pm. Wednesday to Saturday. Ask for the special, advising your waiter of any dietary restrictions.
Then chef Peter McAndrews will send out a mystery dish — not necessarily something off his homespun Italian menu — and it’s 10 bucks. Could be duck confit, or a big ol’ plate of bucatini, or a whole fish. Just shut up and enjoy. (That’s the polpetto, meatball with artichoke and sweet pea crema stuffed into a crispelle.) There’s also an Italian wine list and a well-priced drink menu featuring a 5th & Jebip, a lager with an Aperol float (”feel free to judge us”).
Modo Mio Taverna, 705 S. Fifth St. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Sunday.
Love City Brewing Co.’s outdoor space opens Tuesday, April 19, its fourth anniversary. It’s just steps from the taproom entrance on Hamilton Street, under the elevated Rail Line.
Catch Chad Rosenthal, chef/owner of The Lucky Well, on Beat Bobby Flay (9 p.m. Thursday, April 14, Food Network).
Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream’s Rittenhouse shop has opened at 115 S. 18th St. A Fishtown location, at 1601 Frankford Ave., will be next.
Napa wines are the focus of a wine auction/tasting to benefit CureDuchenne, a nonprofit focused on finding and funding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). It’s the evening of April 23 at the Bellevue.
Rival Bros Coffee will flip its cafe on the ground floor of The Touraine (1528 Spruce St.) into an all-day cafe called Enswell, which will start the day with coffee and an expanded menu of breakfast items, and then — building on a partnership with New Liberty Distillery — the beverages will head into cocktails. Stokes Architecture + Design will build a new bar, an expanded kitchen, additional seating indoors and outdoors, and retail displays for the bottle shop.
Love an obscure movie reference: Chris Rock fans can groove on an item on the menu of 1911 Smokehouse BBQ, a taproom in downtown Trenton. There’s a memorable scene in the 1988 comedy I’m Gonna Git You Sucka in which a young, pre-Saturday Night Live Rock, playing an unnamed bar customer, approaches a rib-joint owner (Isaac Hayes) to inquire about the price of ribs. Told an order costs $2.50, Rock’s character asks: “How much for one rib?” and calculates the cost at 50 cents. He also longs for a soda. Told it’s a dollar, Rock asks for a sip for 15 cents. When a highly irritated Hayes says his cups cost more than 15 cents, Rock responds: “Pour it in my hands for a dime.” Then he asks if Hayes can break a hundred.
Yes, a long setup, but there’s a tasty payoff: 1911 offers a single rib and a sip of Coke (served in a tiny plastic cup) for $2.15. Terrific gimmick, tender rib, but also stay for a brisket platter or a fried chicken sandwich. And lest you think owners are capitalizing on the headlines, know that they put it on the menu seven years ago when they opened.
1911 Smokehouse BBQ, 11 W. Front St., Trenton: Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 1-10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Kitchen closes an hour before bar.
What you’ve been eating this week
Fish? We’re hooked this week. The hamachi jalapeño from Kinme (1117 Locust St.), above, rang the chimes of @rakelley, who insists that this BYOB is overlooked. Below, @ceciliafrancesbonner found the ahi tuna crudo at Hook & Master (Second and Master Streets), with its black olive aioli, orange, crispy shallot, and chives, to be a fine starter. For more on Hook & Master, I’ll refer you to Craig’s recent review.