Philly Weekend Planner, August 9-11
Summer is on the wane, so take advantage of this August weekend to hit up a seafood bake or two. Don’t miss a special empanada so rich you probably won’t be able to finish it, and then follow it up with a salad so good you won’t notice it has vegetables. There’s a fun new food-centric party game to check out, and an homage to the inventor of the tortilla chip, who just passed away.
Braised Oxtail Empanada at Bar Ferdinand
The wood-fired oven behind the bar at this sultry Northern Liberties restaurant has been turning out coca (Spanish flatbread), but this weekend, some of the toothy, housemade wheat dough is being appropriated for this special. Cut the baked empanada open and beneath the steam that escapes the pocket you’ll find ultrarich slow-braised oxtail surrounded by drips of fontina cheese. Caramelized pearl onions and pine nuts contribute to the flavor of each earthy bite ($9; 215-923-1313).
Spinach Salad at Rustica
A bit further down Second Street is this neighborhood pizzeria, which delivers to nearly all of Center City. The pies are okay, but an even better bet are the salads. All the special toppings hail from Claudio’s in the Italian Market, and this combo is a favorite. Fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, crumbled bacon and mushrooms make it hard to stop eating; the spinach and tomatoes will sneak in without you even noticing ($10; 215-627-1393).
Lobster Bake at Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House
If you haven’t yet gotten your fill of lobster (is that even possible?), you’ll want to spend Saturday afternoon at this University City seafood house. A $40 ticket (here) will get you in from 1-5 PM, where you can feast on whole lobsters, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, surf ‘n’ turf sliders and lobster ravioli while sipping on samples of beer from Stoudt’s, Ithaca Brewing and others. Live music will play and proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project (215-382-3474)
Kenzinger Clambake at Johnny Brenda's
Closer to Fishtown than West Philly? Get your seafood in at this Frankford Avenue tavern instead, where steamed clams and all the fixings will be served along with plenty of Philadelphia Brewing Company Kenzinger, one of the best session beers around. From 4-8 PM, look for a DJ spinning beach songs and jump blues as the backdrop for limbo contests with Kenzinger prizes (215-739-9684).
A Trivia Game for the Most Serious Food Nerds
For the Philadelphia City Paper, Caroline Russock takes the new game “Dish It Out Foodie” for a trial run. Like a Trivial Pursuit for the food-obsessed, the board game (which comes in a pizza box) was made by a Media, PA couple. This might be just the thing to add pizzazz to your next dinner party.
Rebecca Webb Carranza, 98; Pioneered Creation, Manufacture of Tortilla Chip
We don’t often recommend reading obituaries, but this one in the Los Angeles Times contains great gems of food history. The now-ubiquitous tortilla chip, it turns out, was invented by this California woman some time around the 1950s, as she tried to make use of the malformed tortillas coming off the automated line at her family factory. We’ll take this moment to say: thank you for the tortilla chip, Rebecca!