6/13/2012 02:49:00 PM

Eat This, Do This, Read This: Philly Weekend Planner June 15-17

Don't miss the crispy calamari at Fish
What’s in store for this weekend, other than (we hope) gorgeously sunny days? If it’s up to us, the answer is seafood snacks, sweet frozen refreshment, brunch with your furry friend and a few alfresco tunes. Check out our picks for what to eat, do and read on your forthcoming days of rest.

Eat This

Crispy Calamari at Fish
This Friday evening, Midtown Village seafooder Fish reopens for regular service, with a revamped menu featuring more small plates and a friendlier price point. One item sure to survive the changeover is the fried calamari, which is one of the best renditions we’ve ever had the pleasure of scarfing. Mike Stollenwerk coats the rounds of squid with an extremely light batter that crisps to a shatter-ready golden hue, then places them atop an earthy swirl of black olive aioli, providing a welcome contrast in both color and flavor. Gilding the water lily, as it were, are shards of fried artichoke nestled among the seafood.

Weekend Special Flavor at John’s Water Ice
John’s Water Ice is a true Philadelphia institution. This third-generation Italian Market quick-serve offers just a few options at its Seventh and Christian walk-up storefront, but the quality is enough to bring refreshment seekers back in flocks each summer (even President Obama made the trip when he was in town). Each weekend, a special flavor joins the standbys of cherry, chocolate, lemon and pineapple, depending on what fresh fruit the owners run into during the week prior. Recent specials have included mango and strawberry, both flavors that elevate water ice from a simple frozen snack into a tropical escape in a cup.

Do This

BYOD Brunch at Square 1682
Square 1682 chef Guillermo Tellez is a serious animal lover, and his dog Milee (a Maltese/Yorkie mix) is somewhat of an epicurean - she doesn’t like meat, so he cooks up custom veggies for her. He’s doing the same for your furry pal at the BYOD brunch, launching this weekend for the second year in a row. Bring your dog and take a seat at one of the Sansom Street tables under a shady umbrella to enjoy an extensive menu of selections for both canines and humans. Dog dishes like beef tartare with raw egg, rice and carrots or chicken with steel-cut oats and white beans run $5, with $1 from each going to local rescue nonprofit Operation Ava, whose reps will be onsite throughout the day. While Fido’s getting his fill, satiate your own hunger with huckleberry pain perdu, a grand frittata or shrimp and grits. Everyone will leave happy (11 AM-3 PM, Saturday-Sunday; 215-563-5008).

Heart & Soul: University City Public Piano Project
Ever have the urge to tickle the ivories while out for an afternoon stroll? This is the last weekend for the 10-day University City District project that placed eight artist-decorated pianos all over the West Philly neighborhood, left in public for anyone to play. From a yarn-bombed instrument to one built out like a car, these interactive displays are a treat for the eyes and - assuming you went to all your music lessons - for the ears. Start at the Clark Park Saturday Farmer’s Market (10 AM-2 PM) and pick up some bites and sips, then walk back towards 30th Street Station, stopping to play some tunes along the way.

Read This

Smart Hand Pumps Promise Cleaner Water in Africa
Throughout much of Africa, access to potable water is harder to come by than mobile phone service. A new project developed by researchers at Oxford University aims to put that disparity to good use by equipping hand pumps - the water delivery method at most rural villages - with “smart” sensors. The transmitters will monitor the pumps and as soon as they break down, will send text messages to the nearest repair center, allowing a fix to occur as fast as possible, hopefully within 24 hours. Challenges with for the project include the threat of theft or vandalism, as well as sustainable power, but the idea is a promising step forward in harnessing new technology to solve real third-world problems.

Nine-Year-Old’s Lunch Blog Shames School Into Making Changes
Scottish nine-year-old Martha Payne was not happy with the meals her school was offering up daily in the lunchroom, where stray hairs were more common than fresh veggies. The blog she started to chronicle the daily trainwrecks went viral - thanks to healthy eating champion Jamie Oliver - and the school administration took notice. Slowly, more well-rounded options made their way onto the menu, including unlimited vegetables for each kid. The blog is still up and going strong, and Payne now features lunch photos not only from her own school but from kids across the world, who send them to her for review.


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