Like many of us, Craig LaBan has been doing the takeout thing. He shares some of his current favorites, including a couple of barbecue spots that opened this summer. Also this week, we round up pick-your-own farms as well as a crop of new cold desserts. Many are cold; a few are frozen. And read on for a rundown of new restaurants.
Meanwhile, keep watch for word about indoor dining in Philadelphia, as the mayor’s office promises to announce a decision this week about an idea that would crack open the dining rooms on Sept. 1. Right now, Philadelphia’s suburban counties in Pennsylvania may serve food and drinks indoors, but at only 25% capacity. New Jersey does not allow indoor dining at all.
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13 Philadelphia restaurants for great takeout
Critic Craig LaBan says takeout remains the safest, easiest, and most varied way to put a good meal on his family’s table (if he’s not doing the cooking himself). He runs down a baker’s dozen of new spots in the city that reflect the diversity of Philly’s kitchens.
Go far afield and pick your own fruits and vegetables
For Philly-area folks, there is no shortage of farms and orchards offering pick-your-own experiences. We can get everything from succulent blackberries and peaches to gorgeous tomatoes and sweet peppers. You can even travel a bit and make a day trip out of it, and staff writer Nick Vadala has come up with 12, um, picks.
A chef goes home to rework a landmark restaurant
Philly chef Tyler Akin grew up in the Wilmington area, so when he got the call to remake the Green Room at the Hotel Du Pont, he jumped. And he’s fallen hard for the grand room, where power brokers have held court for a century. Le Cavalier at the Green Room opens next month, and we offer you a first look.
Ice cream hoagies and other new frozen treats
One of my coolest colleagues, Grace Dickinson, found some new frozen desserts out there, such as the ice cream hoagie, latte slushie, and a whole ice cream pie, to put your pandemic-driven boredom on ice. Here’s the inside scoop on what treats to try. Get ‘em while it’s hot.
Community is moving in to serve a community
Burg’s Lounge sat for three decades on a Point Breeze corner before it was redeveloped, first into something called a “neo-bistro” and then more of a corner bar. Now, a couple from the neighborhood has taken over with a bar called Community that will serve the community in a different way: It will also offer provisions, such as meats.
What’s new out there
Ardmore gets a vegan cafe on Saturday, Aug. 22 with the debut of Blue Pearl Cafe (44 Rittenhouse Place), the brick-and-mortar version of Juice Dr. Menu includes spaghetti and beetballs, pad Thai, salads, grain bowls, smoothies, baked goods, Rival Bros. coffee, and cold-pressed juices.
Bryn Mawr’s landmark Yang Ming has yielded to Jin Ding (1051 Conestoga Rd.), a dim sum specialist owned by Salina Ko, a partner with her husband, chef Ming Fung, in the critically acclaimed China Gourmet in Northeast Philadelphia. Dining room, which looks the same as before, is not open. It’s offering takeout and delivery (through UberEats and DoorDash). Real deal, with a few dishes that are hard to find outside of Chinatown, including handmade XO sauce fish noodles (the fish is ground with wheat to make them), as well as shumai, dumplings, rice rolls, and buns.
Speaking of the Main Line: Good reports have come in about Davis Lau’s Sesami (1531 W. Wynnewood Rd., Ardmore), a newish fast-casual whose pan-Asian stylings (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese) are available in create-your-own bowls. It’s takeout only.
The new SET NoLibs (1030 N. Second St. in Northern Liberties), which has sidewalk seating as well as a streetery setup, debuts a more complete menu on Friday, Aug. 21. Don’t diss this outpost of a Lower East Side watering hole as a dispensary of sugary cocktails. This is first-class, diet-busting comfort food: juicy bulgogi sliders and tacos; Cajun garlic buttered clams; jalapeño cheesesteak spring rolls; and bowls of loaded tots topped with Sriracha garlic cheese, bulgogi sliced ribeye, bacon bits, scallions, fried shallots, slaw, pickled onions, chipotle mayo, and ketchup. And now, time for a nap.