This savory, fat-filled take on the classic Jewish pastry is just the amuse bouche at Abe Fisher, but it’s a perfect introduction to Chef Michael Solomonov’s unique new restaurant, where he explores inventive takes on foods from throughout the Jewish diaspora. Solomonov offers a tiny, flaky take on the rugelach cookie and fills it with schmaltz (clarified chicken fat, a Jewish traditional ingredient usually used for frying or spreading on bread). It may seem like a gimmick, but it’s one of those gimmick-seeming things that actually work, and makes you wonder why they ever put chocolate in these doughy pastries when pure chicken fat works so much better.
Elsewhere at Abe Fisher, the borscht tartare is a deconstructed beet dish topped with trout roe, hard-boiled egg and onion potato chips (any dish that has both caviar and chips wins my vote). The smoked sable cakes are a crispy, crustacean-less Kosher answer to Maryland crab cakes, bursting with the surprisingly effective combination of Old Bay and dill, while the requisite Kosher-busting piggy dish subs pork belly in for pastrami on a delightfully cheesy rueben. Even the simplest dishes here impress, like a side of warm and juicy carrots amped up with aged gouda, little bits of pumpernickel bread pudding and savory prune butter. Overall, one of the best new restaurants in the country I’ve been too lately. Also, it’s March and still like 10 freaking degrees. Can I get some more chicken schmaltz in here please?
(Photo: Yelp / Melissa P.)
At Rangoon, a Burmese restaurant in Philly’s Chinatown (one of only a few longstanding Burmese spots on the East Coast), there are curries and skewers and tea leaf salads (all delicious), but the star of the show is a not-so-humble slice of bread.
Their thousand-layer bread is similar to an Indian paratha — a buttery, crispy fried pancake of dough — except here the hot and greasy bread achieves such a flaky, pull-apart consistency that it’s only a slight exaggeration to bill it as having a thousand layers. Each time you tear into this thing it comes apart with such soft and gooey satisfaction, offering all the joy of pulling apart those endless Pillsbury biscuits (pretty much one of my favorite things to do as a fat little kid), albeit with a thousand times more flavor. It comes with curry or a thick white “vantana” bean sauce for spreading/dipping, but really nothing else is needed but this hot and heavenly roll of carb-y wonder.
Most tourists only make it to South Philly for the gloopy fake-cheese fest at the intersection of Pat’s and Geno’s, but it’s worth going just a little further south for a taste of the North Sea at Noord Eetcafe. Dutch-born chef Joncarl Lachman pays homage to his home country as well as the foods of Denmark, Norway and the rest of Northern Europe at this homey BYOB spot. Anyone who thinks Sunday brunch is the time for chefs to phone it in should check out the full-fledged flavors on display here, from warm, caraway-studded grilled bread and butter plopped on the table immediately…
….to the pickled cauliflower, onions and green tomatoes that come with nearly everything, including the crispy fried mushroom and chicken kroket:
Noord’s daily-changing take on Scandinavian smorrebrod sandwiches always features an array of smoked fish—salmon, scallops and head-on shrimp when I stopped in—finished with a deliciously creamy, mustard seed-spiked dressing, plus more of those lovely pickled veggies.
A couple years back Endless Simmer took you to Philadelphia for an epic foodie road trip, taste testing everything from soup dumplings to Tastycakes. This week we’re returning to the city of brotherly love to find out what new foods Philly has on offer — and we were quite taken with several of Philadelphia’s newest restaurants.
Our follow-up on Philly’s five best new food items kicks off today with a breakfast sandwich that will make you forget it’s some ungodly low temperature outside.
Served at High Street on Market — a great farm-to-table find in the otherwise chain-y area near Independence Mall — the pastrami and has breakfast sandwich piles everything there is to love on breakfast onto one fresh-baked poppy seed roll: including a thick, extra-crispy square of hash browns (love that carb-on-carb action), a mound cheesy scrambled eggs, grilled red peppers, tender shaved pastrami and just a little Russian dressing, for a little Rueben-y kick to your morning, along with a tart house-made hot sauce on the side.
I know it’s only February, but I’m confident saying this is the breakfast sandwich of the year.
We’re nearing the end of winter, but there are still more cozy cocktails to be sipped! Before the spring sun comes back, snuggle up to an inspired s’mores-ish cocktail, made with sweet potato (yes, sweet potato!) shrub. This recipe comes from Whisler’s, one of Austin’s favorite craft cocktail bars. (And one of my personal favorite places to grab a drink and some spicy Thai food!)
I Yam What I Yam
1.5 oz Butter-Infused Flor de Cana 7yr
.5 oz Milletti Amaro
1 oz Sweet Potato Shrub
2 dashes of Fee Bros Black Walnut bitters & 1 dash of Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters
Shake and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with toasted marshmallow.
Looking for a new way to prepare dinner? Try curing! Yeah, it takes a little bit of planning and patience (like, you need to plan to do this days in advance) but once you get your ingredients it’s just a super simple waiting game. Salmon and miso go so well together in this recipe from Finn & Porter. Paired with a fresh cucumber vinaigrette, this is a light, bright meal that will turn you into a curing convert.
Miso-Cured Salmon with Cucumber Vinaigrette
ABV: 4.4 %
The brewery that brings us the Curious Traveler has unearthed new shandy ground with their Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale. Traveler aims to create a crisp wheat ale brewed with real apple. Contrary to its hard cider counterparts, the Forbidden Traveler looks to bring beer back into apple cider. The suds bring about mixed reviews. But no worries, we’re here to set it straight.
Appearance: Hazy yellow with a bit of an orange hue.
Aroma: Sweet apple cider with wheat malt scents and even a little bit of lemon and spice.
Taste: Apple flavor up front and throughout. A mix between apple cider and apple juice. Wheat malts come through from beginning to end, but are more subtle than the apple. While the apple stands out, the beer flavors are there.
Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean with a smooth finish. Lingering sweet aftertaste.
Overall: If you drink this expecting the flavor of a hard cider, you are going to be disappointed. If you drink it expecting the flavor of a wheat beer, you won’t get it. This is not for the faint-hearted, but for the adventurists out there. While the brew has a low ABV, the sweet apple flavor is in your face with a challenge to open up your mind to a new kind of beer – apple beer!
Endless Rating: 3 out of 5 suds