Philly Weekend Planner, August 16-18
Signs that summer is coming to a close are starting to pop up - the trickle of fall restaurant openings and festivals is ramping up - but we still have two more weeks before Labor Day. Take advantage with seasonal seafood dishes and plain old tasty seafood sandwiches, and get ready to sip on some sour beers. Then read about that villainous molecule - MSG - and take note of a pair of Philly natives going national with a beer business.
Peekytoe Crab Gnocchi at Fitler Dining Room
Gnocchi must be one of Rob Marzinsky’s muses, because for the second time (see previously: chartreuse gnocchi with snails), his take on the pillowy potato nuggets is one of the best dishes on the Fitler Square restaurant’s menu. Perfectly in-season corn and peaches mingle with spiced shellfish butter, chanterelles and sweet chunks of crab meat to make this one of the don’t-miss dishes of August ($15; 215-732-3331).
Po’ Boy at Catahoula
This New Orleans inspired Queen Village tavern has great prices on drinks and beers, but the real reason to head over are the classic Louisiana po’ boys. Whether you go for soft-shell crab, oysters, shrimp or catfish as your filling, the crunchy-crusted seafood is accompanied by a perfect remoulade and finished off with lettuce, tomato and pickles. The sandwiches are big, too, so go with a friend - or sit outside with your pooch and give the leftovers a good home ($10-$13; 215-271-9300).
Supper at Talula’s Daily
The nighttime portion of Aimee Olexy’s new cafe-market on Washington Square is now officially up and running, serving a monthly-changing prix-fixe menu six nights a week (it’s closed Mondays). The current lineup includes crispy Jersey squid, meatballs with tagliatelle and a lavender almond stone fruit crisp. The $50 per person price makes for a relatively reasonable Friday or Saturday dinner out. Make a reservation here.
Pucker Up Sourfest at Devil’s Den
For the fourth year running, the South Philly bar is dedicating a week to the art of the sour beer. Sours from breweries both local and European will take over the taps on Saturday, and eight of them will stay on the lines through Friday, August 23. Match your pour with one of sous chef Matt Daggett’s housemade sausages (get the currywurst if it’s available) and you’ll be puckering up with pleasure (215-339-0855).
The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula for Success
For BuzzFeed, John Mahoney delves into the history of the much-maligned (but also much-loved) “taste molecule.” From David Chang’s recent adventures in creating new umami sources in his Momofuku research lab to the Japanese chemist who first was inspired by the deliciousness of his wife’s dashi to isolate MSG, this is an in-depth look at why and how we eat what we do. Bring on the Ac’cent?
Beer Guys' Canning System Going National
Craft beers in cans are all the rage - canned beer stays fresher than bottled, plus it’s easier to take to the beach or stadium - but canning lines can be prohibitively expensive for microbreweries. A pair of Philly-area natives are part of the growing industry that’s popped up as the solution. Now, Colorado-based Mobile Canning is expanding with affiliates across the country, and Peter Van Allen has the story for Philadelphia Business Journal.