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Weekend must-tries: Hot and cold in Old City; new BYOB in Medford

An Old City oldie has something new, while a few doors down, the neighborhood's newest restaurant debuts this weekend.

Fork rocks a fresh, new look. One of Ellen Yin's waiters, Anthony DeMelas, painted murals of trees. Wayne Aretz, Yin's boyfriend, and his father ventured out in the woods and snagged a tree to stand in the back of the dining room. "Woods to table," quipped chef Eli Kulp, who helped with the installation.

At 312 Market St., the doors soft-open tonight (Friday, Dec. 14) at Fire & Ice, a neon-y restaurant and club that took over for Patou. There's a bar-restaurant with padded walls and table seating in the front, while the two-plus-story back room has plenty of TVs, a gigantic bar, a DJ booth accessible by a spiral staircase, and a VIP section on the rear balcony. I'm told that the chef is under contract elsewhere and will not be announced till Jan. 1.

Medford is coming up. Former pro golfer Ryan Jordan, 28, is soft-opening Top Notch, his American BYOB in the former Scotch Bonnet (20 S. Main St., 609-654-6240). Dave Levecchia, whose resume includes the nearby Scaturros, cooks good ol' faves, like French onion soup, Coca Cola meatloaf, Nonna's sliders, and assorted pizzas.  It's open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Dinner menu is here.

Be advised that Il Rimedio, the BYOB that replaced Rx at 44th and Spruce Streets in West Philly, is back open, but only for weekend brunch. Regular dinner hours will resume in January, says owner Dan Freeman.

Say goodbye to Carman's Country Kitchen. The longtime Passyunk Square bruncherie packs it in after service on Sunday, Dec. 16 as owner Carman Luntzel relocates to South Carolina.

Love chocolate-chip coookie dough? No need to eat it raw. Turn it into a party dip. Recipe is here.

New menu at Route 6. Chef Seth High has tinkered with the menu at Route 6, the Stephen Starr-owned fish house at Broad and Mount Vernon Streets. Besides adding wood-fired entrees with two sides and offering chowder and bisque in two sizes, High has introduced a Maryland-style crab cake sandwich and a fried Jersey flounder sandwich. I'm a fan of the new Point Judith calamari that I've photographed at left. So simple: High dusts the calamari with cornmeal and fries in peppers.