Eat ThisRib and Chicken Combo at Bomb Bomb BBQ Grill
Nestled in the old-school Italian neighborhood that sprawls across deep South Philly, this no-frills corner bar is home to some of the best ‘cue in the city (just in time). Give a nod to the kids playing in the wading pool on the sidewalk next door, then say hi to patriarch Frank Sr. - a fixture at the Bomb Bomb bar - before you pull up a chair at one of a dozen tables in the small, air-conditioned dining room. When Frank Barbuto Jr. decided to reinvent the tavern his pop had owned since 1951, he tossed barbecue into the mix to differentiate it from the ubiquitous Italian restaurants nearby. The gamble was a winning one, and the bacon- and bourbon-laced sauce that’s continuously brushed on the meat as it grills has led to numerous awards. The chicken is every bit as good as the babybacks, so opt for the combo platter ($16.95 including two sides) to get the best of both worlds (closed Sundays; 215-463-1311).
Mezze Brunch Platter at Aksum Cafe
On a sunny morning, with the large front windows thrown open, this West Philly Mediterranean takes on the atmosphere of a Middle Eastern cafe, filled with warm breezes and the lively sounds of the Baltimore Avenue community. The Aksum Cafe brunch menu by chef Wayne Whiteside is full of tempting choices, from delicate mission fig crêpes to rich, tomato-y shakshuka. If you’re having trouble deciding, the mezze platter will let you sample several tastes at once. Pierce the perfectly cooked eggs and let the yolks mingle with tangy housemade hummus, and then scoop up the mix with a triangle of warm pita or atop a forkful of fresh avocado. Change flavor direction with a bite of stuffed grape leaf, minty and almost sweet, but enlivened by onion-dotted tzatziki sauce. At $12, the platter is one of the highest priced items in the house, so it’s hard to go wrong (267-275-8195).
Do ThisHammer of Glory Relay
If you aren’t a fan of brew, you might as well leave town for the next several days, because Philly Beer Week is taking over. It all begins on Friday, June 1, as the Hammer of Glory (affectionately known as the HOG) winds its way through Philadelphia on a journey toward the hands of Mayor Michael Nutter, who will use it to kick off the 10-day celebration at Opening Tap. Starting at 7 AM at Devil’s Den in South Philly, the HOG will be transported to no less than 22 different locations, always by creative and unusual means (watch for Standard Tap’s William Reed on his Pogo stick). Followers can hop on a free bus provided by Sugar House Casino to trace the HOG’s path, or wait to catch its appearance at one of the designated stops, helpfully listed on the event website. Noble HOG carriers, we salute you.
Mikkeller Art Show at The Farmers’ Cabinet
Throughout the day on Saturday, the 25 taps at The Farmers’ Cabinet will be dedicated to the brews of Copenhagen’s Mikkeller, an upstart Danish brewery that has gained international acclaim. Each of the unique brews - which carry names like “Tiger Baby” and “Spontancranberry” - gets a custom label designed by illustrator Keith Shore, and a selection of signed prints will be on display. Head to the Walnut Street speakeasy/taphouse to sip uncommon beer while participating in raffles to win the noteworthy art (215-923-1113).
Read ThisThe Resurrection of Bartram's Bitters
Semi-retired food scribe Rick Nichols (whom we interviewed last year) is a history buff with a fascination for the culinary leanings of colonial Pennsylvanians. Appropriate, then, that he returns to the Philadelphia Inquirer for a column on Bartram’s Bitters. Released this month by Philadelphia Distilling, makers of Bluecoat Gin, the tincture is based on a discovered recipe that is likely from Philadelphia botanist John Bartram. The new cocktail additive is made with flora from the garden he founded and will also benefit the organization that maintains his former homestead as a public Fairmount Park space.
In the Clouds With Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana
John Sconzo - better known in the culinary community as “Docsconz” - is on a first-name basis with several of the world’s top toques (Grant Achatz, David Chang, José Andrés, Ferran Adria, to name a few). But he is not a professional chef, nor a restaurateur - instead, this doctor of anesthesiology is a seriously devoted lover of food, with a knack for blogging about it. His recaps of visits to restaurants throughout the U.S. are always engaging, and he recently took his younger son to Italy. Among other adventures, the pair enjoyed a 15-course feast from Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana. Click to relive the special tasting menu though elegant photos and concise but descriptive text. Will you take us with you next time, Doc?