To quote South Philadelphia Tap Room chef Scott Schroeder, “Sorry spring and summer, fall's the best.” A gorgeous weekend lies ahead, and two autumn specials beckon. Don’t miss South Street West’s best block party, and if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you definitely want to be eating and drinking in Chestnut Hill. Two Philly guys are working to relaunch NYC’s famed Tavern on the Green, and it makes a great story - possibly as great as the fact that Philly now has a (semi-)official restaurant bathroom blogger.
Smoked Salmon Blinis at Serrano
Gina Rodriguez loves creating riffs on classics, and this take on the classic blini swaps buckwheat for cornmeal. The pancakes are covered with herbed cream cheese, crisp cucumber rounds, smoked salmon and paddlefish caviar. The appetizer goes for $11 - “It’s great for sharing,” the chef says - and pairs perfectly with the cans of Sofia Coppola prosecco that are now stocked behind the Old City bar (215-928-0770).
Seared Potato Gnocchi at Boot and Saddle
While we have to wait until Thanksgiving to see what George Sabatino creates for the Waterfront Winterfest, he is still consulting at this South Broad music hall and dining room. One of this weekend’s don’t-miss specials combines seared gnocchi with smoked tomatoes, crispy apples and cider-roasted black garlic for a stick-to-your-ribs autumn warmer. You don’t need a show ticket to dine; the venues are in separate spaces, so head down anytime to try it (267-639-4528).
This neighborhood block party is now in its fifth year (it started on Christian but has since moved up to South Street West), and it’s bigger than ever. More than 40 beers will pour and 18 food trucks will join a dozen South Street restaurants vending pay-as-you-go food along the strip from Broad to 18th. The festival is free to attend, but to drink you need to buy a beer bracelet at the door ($20 includes three drink tickets).
Harry Potter Menu at Iron Hill Brewery
Chestnut Hill’s annual Harry Potter Weekend takes place October 18-19, and the Germantown Avenue brewpub is getting in on the fun with a special menu of both beer and food. Starting at 5 PM on Friday, you’ll be able to order pours of themed beer like Dumbledore’s Dubbel, Weasley Weisse, Potter Porter and Horcrux Hopped IPA. Pair them with plates like Three Broomsticks Soup, Hog’s Head Pizza and a Treacle Tart. Everything on the list is available through end of service on Saturday, and costumes are highly encouraged (215-948-5600).
Remaking Tavern on the Green, One Fork at a Time
Beau Monde’s Jim Caiola and David Salama are taking a break from Philadelphia to reopen Tavern on the Green, the iconic New York Central Park restaurant that has been shuttered for years. It’s quite an endeavor, and Max Chafkin has a very detailed (but amusing) piece about some of the steps involved, including selecting one fork out of seemingly hundreds of choices. Good luck to our Philly ex-pats up north; it’s a tough scene.
Game of Thrones: Blogger Bill Sands Rates Restaurant Bathrooms
We had a lot of fun a few weeks ago collecting pics of the coolest restaurant bathrooms in Philly, but it turns out there’s a blogger who does this sort of thing full time. For the Philadelphia Daily News, Drew Lazor spends a night drinking and chatting with Bill Sands, a restaurant worker who has made it his mission to rate the lavatories in eateries around town. Why? Why not.