The roller coaster of winter 2014 is on an upswing this weekend with unseasonably high temps, though rain is also part of the polar vortex’s parting kiss. Travel to Italy with a seafood salad or France with a plate of rabbit, then banish the rainy day blues with high-octane beers or go the other direction with a vegan tasting menu. Definitely save time between meals for an up-close-and-personal read about Philly’s most idiosyncratic restaurant owner.
Octopus-Calamari Salad at Roberto Cafe
This salad topped with grilled frutti di mare is a weekend special at brothers Roberto and Fernando Vincenti’s small Italian BYO at the end of South Street West. Designed to be a shared appetizer before your gnocchi or pasta, the salad will brighten your weekend with flavors of the Mediterranean coast ($15.50; 215-545-0793).
Rabbit Roulade at Vintage
For a more wintry dish, hit up Jason Evenchik’s Midtown Village wine bar for this special plate. Rich rounds of rabbit and stuffing come laid over cauliflower purée with sage baby carrots and a brown butter jus. Perfect with a glass of shiraz ($15; 215-922-3095).
Trouble With Trippels at Johnny Brenda’s
Thanks to their relatively high ABV, beers brewed in the style of tripels can be a recipe for trouble. However, mostly they’re delicious, especially if enjoyed in the company of friends. Head to this Fishtown tavern from 11 AM onward to participate in the annual celebration of local versions of the strong Belgian ale, including pours from Dock Street, Free Will, Victory, Yards and Flying Fish (215-739-9684).
Vegan Tasting Menu at Meritage
Chef Anne Coll is helping start the year off healthy with this week’s tasting menu at the Rittenhouse dining room. The all-vegetable tasting menu is available both Friday and Saturday nights and features samosas, quinoa and butternut squash salad and a chickpea stew. Five courses runs you $35 (215-985-1922).
Philadelphia Magazine’s Jason Sheehan writes with a chip on his shoulder. That style might not be the most appropriate for a dashed off blog post about the first U.S. brewery to accept Bitcoin, but it certainly comes in handy when profiling one of Philly’s hottest-tempered and most under-the-radar successful restaurateurs. Click over to get sucked into the close look at Han Dynasty’s Han Chiang and find out what makes the man tick and what his plans for the future hold.
Is Your Refrigerator Running?
For Modern Farmer, Nicola Twilley sets us up with a surprising thesis: the food industry’s huge reliance on refrigeration is dangerous. Since “70 percent of America’s food supply is refrigerated at some point in its journey from farm to table,” if something goes wrong near one of these cold storage plants (hurricane, flood, blackout, tornado), we could be left with nothing to eat except spoiled meat, fish or chicken. Climate change may be coming for our supper.