|Enjoy a sunny happy hour at Ela in Queen Village|
Esquire columnist and nationally celebrated food and wine critic John Mariani is in town to promote his newest book, How Italian Food Conquered the World, and appropriately, he’s hosting a special dinner at Northern Italian steakhouse Davio’s. Head to Rittenhouse for a chance to discuss the book, the state of American cuisine and the finer points of dining etiquette over a three-course meal with wine pairings. Also included is a copy of the tome in question, signed by the author. Call for reservations (6:30 PM; $85; 215-563-4810).
Since striking out on his own with Queen Village’s Ela, Jason Cichonski has been anything but restrained, and his headstrong creativity with both food and drink has seen much success. “Happy Hour His Way” launches this week with the promise that bar snacks do not have to be boring. From 5-6:30 PM, Tuesday-Friday and Sundays, guests can stop into the bistro to snap up $3 local drafts, $5 wines and a $6 cocktail along with treats like bacon-preserved sardines, puffed oyster cracklins and a soy bourbon burger - a sirloin and shitake mushroom affair with Cabot cheddar, of which only 10 will be available each day (267-687-2512).
Summer is on our doorstep, and to kick off the season, West Philly’s JG Domestic is throwing a family-style clambake dinner, complete with beer pairings from Allagash. Five of the Maine brewery’s best labels will be poured at the Jose Garces New American, accompanying smoked cod chowder, summer salad, dried pork sausage, and the main pot o’ goods, which will bring little necks, mussels, whelks, shrimp, potatoes and corn to the table. Stoking the hotly contested PA/ME origin debate, dessert will consist of an assorted batch of whoopie pies (6:30 PM; $55; 215-222-2363).
The Food Trust's first Night Market of 2012 will light up Second Street in Northern Liberties from 7-11 PM with a half-mile of food truck fun from Fairmount to George. Look for more than 40 vendors, including the pie-slinging REO Speedwagon from Nomad Pizza, the jazz-blasting Lucky Old Souls burger truck and the bottle-cap-bedecked Guapos Tacos. New this year is the chance to snag a $50 advance ticket and score free booze plus a spot under the special VIP tent.
Coinciding with the grand opening of the world-class Barnes Museum, the adjoining district of Fairmount is launching its own restaurant week. From May 25-June 3, nearly 20 area establishments will offer a three-course prix fixe dinner menu for $25-$35 per person. Participants range from Tim Spinner’s super-hot La Calaca Feliz to longtime neighborhood favorite Rembrandt’s, with plenty of choices in between. Check out the full list on the organization’s website, and make your reservations before the art lovers scoop them all up.
If you’re looking to avoid the first mad rush to the shore, head the opposite direction to the rolling hills of Chester County’s Chaddsford Winery for a Memorial Day picnic. From noon-6 PM, live music will play and on-site Joseph’s Catering will offer a special á la carte menu of grilled beef, chicken and ribs, along with traditional sides and fresh lemonade. Before you grab your grub, stop in to the cellar for a $10 tasting of the vineyard’s best bottles (610-388-6221).
Another alternative to the crowds at the beach is the new weekend market at Wyebrook Farm in Honey Brook. From 11 AM-5 PM, goods from the recently rejuvenated estate will be on offer, including hand-butchered, pasture-raised cuts of T-bone steak, pork tenderloin, house cured bacon and other charcuterie. Samples will flow, live music will play, and tours of the solar-powered stone farmhouses and grounds will be available throughout the day (610-942-7481).