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April Fool - or not

Is the Philadelphia Union partnering with Philly Beer Week? Is a pastry chef leaving her husband back home in Philly to travel through Italy? Is Jose Garces opening his test kitchen to the public? Will Finnigan's Wake be converted into a small bistro?


The Internet is rife with lies, half-truths and falsehoods 365 days of the year.

Today is no different, even though our "detectors" are on high alert. (FreshDirect's Five-Day Cheese Cleanse! )

I asked you earlier to identify the bogus food-news story among a list of four blurbs.

And guess what?

All are true. No foolin' here.

1. Jose Garces will open his test kitchen to the public.

That is absolutely true. Last year, the Iron Chef moved his corporate office to 24th and Walnut Streets. Even for a growing company, the building has room to spare. A cafe will be set up sometime this year with a regular menu as well as specials that may be dishes that the chefs are working on.

2. The pastry chef at Le Virtu and Brigantessa, who is married to the chef, has quit to travel through Italy.

This is also true (though perhaps crassly worded). Angela Ranalli-Cicala, whose husband, Joe, is chef and an owner of the well-regarded Italian restaurants on East Passyunk Avenue, wanted to do something else, career-wise. First up, she plans to travel and study in Italy. And he and partners Francis Cratil-Cretarola and Cathy Lee have brought in as pastry chef Dominique Pisciatelli, formerly of Osteria and Osteria Moorestown.

3. The shuttered Finnigan's Wake in Northern Liberties will reopen as a small bistro.

This is true, as well. New owners of the building at Third and Spring Garden Streets went before the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association with a plan to turn most of the building into offices while allowing for a smaller restaurant pretty much at the same spot as the first-floor bar. The owners also want to add two stories to the building and fix up the front facade to make it more inviting.

4. Philly Beer Week and the Philadelphia Union are partnering on innovative new athletic training program featuring the Hammer of Glory.

Yes, this is also true. Philly's Major League Soccer team will incorporate the HOG into its workouts and practices by using it in different ways, including strength training, weight lifting, agility drills and intra-squad scrimmages at PPL Park.  Beer Week head Kristine Kennedy says PBW brought it to the Union's attention. "We were skeptical, to say the least, when we saw The HOG first show up at training," Union coach Jim Curtin said in a statement. "However, the players have learned to embrace it, and it really has helped increase their athleticism." The HOG is on loan to the Union for the duration of the regular season, which ends with a home match at PPL Park against Orlando City SC on Oct. 25 at 5 p.m. (See a video here.)