Yards Brewing Company Taproom - Chef James BurkeThis November (2017) Yards Brewing Company will open Yards Brewery and Taproom at 500 Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. The highly-anticipated expansion and move from their cozy tasting room on Delaware Avenue further establishes Yards as “Philadelphia’s Brewery” and provides them with a new 70,000-square-foot facility.

The taproom – with Chef James Burke, a James Beard Award semifinalist, as the power behind the stove – will be the first kitchen in the brewery’s 23-year history. Chef Burke’s menu will complement and incorporate the choice hops and grains used in Yards’ award-winning beers, with special attention paid to local purveyors, Philly favorites, and classic pub fare.

The menu will be divided into Snacks, Sandwiches, Entrées, and Desserts; and the kitchen will serve food until one hour before closing time. The bar will feature 20 total taps, including all Yards’ signature beers and a number of limited releases only available in the taproom.

Chef Burke’s offerings will evolve as the taproom evolves, but menu items may include:

Yards Patty Melt, Brawler Onions, and Swiss

Crab Toast with Calabrian Chilies and Chives

Smoked Cheddar Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and House-Made Mustard

Roast Pork, Fermented Broccoli Rabe and Provolone

Beer Can Chicken, Fried Potatoes

Bison Chili, Maple Cornbread

Pork Belly Kebab, Tavern Spruce Glaze

Tavern Porter & Espresso Chocolate Mousse

Yards Taproom and Brewery, designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm DIGSU, will be modern industrial: an expansive, open floor plan with 25-foot ceilings, large hanging metallic lights and long wooden tables designed by local non-profit The Challenge Program, will offer 360 views of the entire brewing operation. The taproom will comfortably accommodate 280 guests. Adjacent to the taproom will be the Brewer’s Lounge, complete with a pool table, TV, dart board, and shuffleboard.

Yards is already accepting reservations for holiday parties. For more information, please contact Yards Brewing Company directly at (215) 634-2600.

Bon Appétit!



Flemings Steakhouse - Radnor, PAOn Friday, October 20, 2017, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 555 Lancaster Avenue, Radnor, Pennsylvania, will host a special four-course dining experience with a menu inspired by the Napa Valley. Several Napa wines will be paired with dishes of Fleming’s signature style cuisine. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to the United Way of the Wine Country to directly help with relief efforts.

First Course: Roasted Golden Beets, Goat Cheese, Toasted Pistachios, Fresh Microgreens, Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette; Wine Pairing: Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs North Coast

Second Course: San Francisco Bay Seafood Cioppino, Chilean Sea Bass, Jumbo Shrimp, Gnocchi, Roasted Tomato Broth; Wine Pairing: Franciscan Oakville Estate, Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Third Course: Vintner’s Filet, Sautéed Mushroom Medley, Napa Herb Hollandaise, Merlot Salt; Wine Pairing: Oberon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Side to Share: Napa Sweet Potato Hash, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Nueske’s Bacon, Sweet Potatoes

Fourth Course: Warm Butter Cake

The cost of the Night Out for Napa Valley menu is $99.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at (610) 688-9463.

Bon Appétit!



Mistral at King of Prussia Mall

160 North Gulph Road

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

(610) 678-1630


Mistral KOP - ExteriorIn the waning days of February (2017), an extraordinary culinary event took place at the King of Prussia Mall… A restaurant called Mistral (pronounced Mee-strall; and named after the famous/infamous cold dry north/northwest wind that blows down through France’s Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean) made its debut. I say “extraordinary” because Mistral just happens to be a non-chain eatery. Something of a rarity in beautiful downtown King of Prussia.

Mistral KOP, owned by Executive Chef Scott Anderson and Stephen Distler, is an offshoot of the Princeton original, which has been packing them in on Witherspoon Street, the Ivy League community’s “restaurant row,” for the past four years. However, the duo’s decision to locate their latest incarnation of sophisticated contemporary international cuisine within the gastronomically deprived precincts of a bustling suburban shopping mall – even one of the largest luxury malls in America – in the hopes of bringing the true culinary Gospel to bear upon the philistine-like dining habits of the shop ‘til you drop crowd, strikes me as a decidedly “iffy” missionary enterprise.

Mistral KOP - Interior 2The restaurant’s entrance is easily overlooked; the sign announcing its presence dwarfed by the huge letters of the (decidedly chain-y) Grand Lux Café just above. Once across the threshold, the interior clearly lacks the subtle straightforward simplicities of the Princeton original. The light and airy décor strikes one as almost too light and airy, bearing an unfortunate resemblance to a dandified tea room.

Still… after collecting three bells from the Inquirer’s Craig LaBan and an equal number of stars from Philadelphia magazine, Mistral KOP appears to have hit the ground running. After all, the proof of the pudding, as the saying goes…

The menu, divided into snacks, small bites, large bites, and salads & sandwiches – all of which are meant to be shared – isn’t quite as esoterically oriented as its elder Ivy League sibling… but it still may present something of a stumbling block for the food court brainwashed palates of your typical mall mavens. On the other hand, this casual grazing concept may very well be Mistral’s major drawing card; affording their diverse clientele the appealing option of stopping by for a quick sandwich or salad or lingering over a full meal.

Mistral’s ability to appeal to the hoi polloi is certainly an important issue. But an equally important question may very well be: Will the fact that the restaurant is actually attached to the mall keep more sophisticated foodies – those who would truly appreciate the restaurant’s concept and cuisine – away in droves? I know many people – this writer among them – who will breach the confines of the KOP Mall only under extreme duress. Would they be willing to brave the traffic, parking issues, general hustle & bustle, etc., etc., just for the privilege of checking out a new eatery. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, on to the food…

Mistral KOP - Rice Puff ChipsYou begin with the complimentary Salt and Vinegar Rice Chips, which are strikingly reminiscent of Styrofoam in both appearance and texture. On one occasion, they were perfectly seasoned and delightfully crisp; on another, however, they were downright soggy, adhering tenaciously to one’s teeth and/or dental work, and suffering from an eye-watering overdose of acetic acid.

Mistral KOP - Grilled Lamb TartareAmong the snacks, the Grilled Lamb Tartare (pictured) pillowed on crispy grains and companioned by ramp oil and pink sumac tahini yogurt was an incomparable coup of colors, tastes and textures. On the other hand, the Zucchini Hummus seasoned with za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice mixture) and garnished with radish slices was thin, watery, and eminently forgettable – although the accompanying pita triangles were perfectly toasted.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The two small bites sampled were palpable hits… Topping my list is the Garganelli Pasta (an egg-based pasta formed by rolling a flat square noodle into a tubular shape; similar in appearance to penne). This is an immensely satisfying presentation spruced up with slightly spicy morsels of Italian sausage, chickpeas, arugula, and oven-dried tomatoes… with a subtle sprinkling of ground red pepper flakes furnishing a tantalizing after burn. Coming in a close second is the not-too-be-missed Pork Riblets (pictured). Lusciously fatty and slathered with an out-of-this-world jerk sauce, these little beauties are downright addictive.

Conversely, large plates were major disappointments. The current list of possibilities includes Roasted Chicken Thighs, Grilled Wagyu Beef Flatiron, Lacquered Pork Belly, and three fish presentations: Organic Salmon, Skate Wing Roulade, and Day-Boat Halibut. Since matters piscatorial predominate, one would naturally assume that fish is something chef de cuisine Craig Polignano does well. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.

Mistral KOP - Skatewing RouladeThe Skate Wine Roulade, for example, was not a true roulade, which refers to an item rolled into a tube, but simply one section of wing placed on top of another – and both were dry and overcooked. On the other hand the accoutrements – seabed of grilled spinach, beech mushrooms, and brown butter sauce – were perfectly prepared and immensely flavorful. As my dining companion somewhat sarcastically noted: “Everything about the skate wing was wonderful… except the skate wing.”

Mistral KOP - HalibutThe Day-Boat Halibut could well be the object of that famous well-told culinary joke: Waiter: “How did you find your steak, sir?”… Diner: “Quite by accident. I just moved a pea and some parsley and there it was.” The halibut arrives at table, nowhere to be seen. You must go searching… It is buried beneath a pile of greens… When these are moved aside, there is yet a smattering of red peppers to deal with. At last! But, when it is finally discovered, and ingested, like the aforementioned skate wing, it is dry and basically tasteless. Not even an excellent clam vinaigrette and phalanx of marvelously tender fingerling potatoes can resuscitate its original pristine properties.

Mistral KOP - Duck SaladAnd as you move on to the salads & sandwiches department the hit-or-miss scenario continues. The Lamb Meatball Pita spruced up with luscious melted feta cheese and garnished with a mountain of greens is absolutely irresistible. The Thai Duck Salad (pictured), on the other hand, suffers from an inordinately chewy duck confit and weak peanut dressing. Interestingly enough, in his review of Mistral – posted June 5, 2017 – Craig LaBan specifically mentioned the “unpleasantly chewy” duck in the Thai salad. Since I must assume that the restaurant’s powers-that-be read the review (they would have been foolish not to), I find it difficult to believe that this “mild disappointment,” as Mr. LaBan referred to it, has still yet to be rectified.

Beverage-wise, Mistral has a great deal to offer. There’s an interesting list of specialty and classic cocktails, as well as some intriguing brews… like the Duclaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, for instance. And the wine list – both bottle and glass – manages to artfully sidestep all the usual oenological clichés. There’s even a certified advanced sommelier, Steven Gullo, on the premises, ready to offer his sage advice with regard to wine and food pairings.

But even these libationary pluses can’t make up for the kitchen’s inconsistencies. According to my calculations, Mistral’s cuisine is batting about .500; which, should you happen to be major league baseball player, is an incredible average… for a restaurant, however, that’s hardly laudable. Based on my several visits, Mistral KOP still has quite a ways to go before it’s in the same class as its distinguished Ivy League sibling.

 Bon Appétit!



Harvest Dinner at Seasons 52

by artfuldiner on October 16, 2017

in Uncategorized

Seasons 52 - ExteriorSeasons 52, 160 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will be serving a special three-course harvest dinner menu through November 22, 2017…

Appetizer (Choice of): Roasted Butternut Squash Soup… Porcini Mushroom Bisque… Spinach Salad with Roasted Bosc Pear… Field Greens Salad with Savory Granola

Entrée (Choice of): Maple-Glazed All-Natural Roasted Half Chicken… Cedar Plant-Roasted Salmon… Wood-Grilled Filet Mignon… Boneless Beef Short Rib… Braised Australian Lamb Shank

Dessert (Choice of): Mini Pumpkin Pie… Mini Carrot Cake

The special three-course menu is priced at $29.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity).

To complement the harvest dinner menu, the restaurant will also be offering a special selection of wines priced at $6.00 per glass…

White Wines: Famille Perrin Réserve White Blend, Côtes du Rhône, France… Yalumba Y Series Vermentino, South Australia… Cono Sur Chardonnay, Chile (Organic)

Red Wines: Symington Altano Red Blend, Douro, Portugal… Tormentoso Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa… Caparzo Red Blend, Tuscany

For more information, or to make reservations, please call Seasons 52 King of Prussia at (610) 992-1152.

Bon Appétit!



Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar - Glen MillsOn Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 6:30 p.m. Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar will be hosting a five-course bourbon dinner at all seven of the restaurant’s locations.

Magret Duck Prosciutto: Wood-Grilled Frisée, Orange-Scented Ricotta, Micro Mustard Greens, Roasted Crepes, Thyme & Brown Buttered Popcorn; Bourbon Pairing: Chai Honey Old Fashioned with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

Cider-Braised Pork Cheeks: Parsnip-Black Pepper Biscuit, Pimento Cheese, House-Made Pickle Chips; Bourbon Pairing: Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour with Buffalo Trace

Cast Iron Pan-Fried Cornmeal Trout: Corn-Chili Remoulade, Fried Green Tomato Relish, Pickled Jalapeño Soup; Bourbon Pairing: Jalapeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep with Koval Organic Rye

Bourbon-Aged Soy-Glazed Short Rib: Soft Bloody Butcher Grits, Fleur del Sel Caramel Butter, Bourbon Ginger Carrots, Tangerine Lace; Bourbon Pairing: Kentucky Mule with Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies: Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream; Bourbon Pairing: Hut Butter Bourbon with Kinsey Bourbon from Philadelphia

The cost of the five-course bourbon dinner is $69.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). To make reservations, please contact the individual restaurant of your choice.

Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bars are located in Radnor, Glen Mills, North Wales, Harrisburg, and Moosic, PA; Moorestown, NJ; and Delray Beach, FL. For more information, phone numbers, etc., please visit http://HarvestSeasonalGrill.com.

Bon Appétit!



Frog and Peach2This coming Friday, October 20, 2017, the Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey, will host a special dinner paired with the “Best Beers of New Jersey.”

Reception: Demented Scarlet Knight

First Course: Romanesco Cauliflower Bisque: Calkins Creamery Aged Cheddar, Brown Butter, Chives; Brew Pairing: Ironbound Cider

Second Course: Pan-Roasted Stuffed Rainbow Trout: Wild Mushrooms, Capers, Citrus, Blood Orange Gastrique; Brew Pairing: Forgotten Boardwalk What The Butler Saw WIT

Main Course: Braised Grain Fed Veal Cheeks: Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta; Brew Pairings: River Horse Triple Horse… Bolero Snort Moountie

Dessert: Pumpkin Pot de Crème: Cinnamon Pâté de Feuille; Brew Pairing: Kane Fall Saints

The cost of the “Best Beers of New Jersey” dinner is $80.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 846-3216.

Bon Appétit!



Best Foodie Cities in America

by artfuldiner on October 13, 2017

in Breaking News, Wining and Dining

Wine Dinner 2With World Food Day, October 16, 2017, being just around the corner, and restaurant prices (always) rising, WalletHub, the personal-finance website, recently released its report on 2017’s Best Foodie Cities in America

To determine the best and most reasonably priced local foodie scenes, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cites across 24 key metrics. The data set ranges from affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants to food festivals per capita to craft breweries and wineries per capita.

Top 20 Foodie Cities in America:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. New York, NY
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Orlando, FL
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Las Vegas, NV
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Seattle, WA
  11. Tampa, FL
  12. Atlanta, GA
  13. Chicago, IL
  14. Philadelphia, PA
  15. Sacramento, CA
  16. Houston, TX
  17. St. Louis, MO
  18. Denver, CO
  19. Washington, DC
  20. Cincinnati, OH

As noted, Philadelphia finished 14th. Pittsburgh, PA, was rated 21st, just below Cincinnati.

Here’s a surprise… Richmond, VA, was rated 27th, Salt Lake City, UT, 33rd and Cleveland, OH, 38th… all ahead of Boston, MA, which was rated 40th.

Other high rankings: Baltimore, MD, 54; New Orleans, LA, 56; and Boise, ID, 61. I understand that Boise has quite the restaurant scene.

Philadelphia & Pittsburgh were the only Pennsylvania cities in the rankings. Also close to home… Wilmington, DE, was ranked 75 and Dover, DE at 132… And two New Jersey cities were quite highly rated: Jersey City, NJ, at 76 and Newark, NJ at 79.

To view the full report and other interesting foodie stats, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-foodie-cities/7522/.

Bon Appétit!



Nicholas - White Truffle DinnerOn Friday, November 10, 2017, Restaurant Nicholas, 160 Route 35 South, Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special five-course white truffle celebration dinner with fresh white truffles flown in from Alba, Italy.

Amuse: White Truffle Potato “Cappuccino”

First Course: Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Shaved White Truffle, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Second Course: Organic Hen Egg, Crispy Pork Belly, Brioche, White Truffle

Third Course: White Truffle “Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Fourth Course: Beef Short Rib Stroganoff, White Truffle, Mushroom Crème

Dessert: White Truffle Crème Brûlée

The cost of the White Truffle Celebration Dinner is $250.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity). This event is one-night-only and sells out every year. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!



Yogi Berra Stadium Food Truck & Craft Beer FestivalOn Saturday, October 21, 2017, Yogi Berra Stadium, 8 Yogi Berra Drive, Little Falls, New Jersey (on the campus of Montclair State University), will host the all-new Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival presented by the New Jersey Jackals professional baseball team. The event will take place right on the stadium field and promises to be one of the biggest fall events in Essex County.

The Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival will feature mouthwatering options from a cornucopia of vendors, including Churroland, Clyde’s Homemade Italian Ice & Ice Cream, Coney Island Wood Fired Pizza, Glazed and Confused Mini Donuts, Jersey Jack’s Kettle Corn, Michele’s Bistro, Rolling Pita, Texas Smoke Barbecue, V-Twins Concessions’ Fried Oreos and Funnel Cakes, and Zoelily Empanadas

The Beer Garden will offer over 50 different craft beer and ciders provided by the Kohler Distributing Companying, including refreshing brews from Angry Orchard, Ballast Point, Cricket Hill, Curious Traveler, Defiant, Doc’s, Evil Genius, Great Lakes, Heavy Seas, Jersey Girl, New Belgium, 1911, Redd’s, Sam Adams, Sly Fox, Sierra Nevada, Shiner, Blue Moon, Terrapin, Newburgh, Yuengling, Schoefferhoffer, and more.

Local cover band Graffiti Cannon will entertain the crowd with a great selection of classic rock songs ranging from Led Zeppelin to Bon Jovi.

The Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival will be open from 12:00 noon – 7:00 p.m. The entry fee is $5.00, free for children 12 and younger, and allows customer access to the food trucks, Beer Garden, Games, and entertainment. Food trucks and vendors will sell food, drinks, and products at an additional cost. All food prices are set by the participating food trucks. Parking, entertainment, and backyard games are free; but there is a nominal charge for the mechanical bull. Beer Garden tokens are $5.00 each for a 12-ounce pour; beer sampling tickets are $10.00 for a souvenir mug and tickets for five-5-ounce pours.

Tickets for the Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival may be purchased online at jackals.com or at the gate at Yogi Berra Stadium.

Bon Appétit!



Alla SpinaOn Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Chef Marc Vetri, will take over the kitchen at Alla Spina, 1410 Mt. Vernon Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to create a seasonal dinner celebrating the tastes of fall.

Harvest Moon Dinner Menu…

First Course: Squash Salad with Cranberries and Candied Nuts

Second Course: Casoncelli Stuffed with Pork, Veal, Beef, Raisins, Amaretti Cookies, and finished with Brown Butter and Sage

Third Course: Roasted Veal Breast with Root Vegetable Purée

Fourth Course: Apples Three Ways

The cost of the Harvest Moon Dinner is $75.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity); $25.00 additional per person with optional beverage pairing.

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (215) 600-0017.

Bon Appétit!