8/16/2012 10:59:00 AM

Drink This, Do This, Read This: Philly Weekend Planner, August 17-19

We’re closing in on Labor Day, so there’s only one viable option for this weekend, as we see it: enjoy great summer drinks while you still can! We found a couple of sips worth seeking, an urban beach bash and a few good reads to make the most of your coming days of rest.

Drink This

Prosecco Cocktails at Il Pittore
Chris Painter’s food is certainly the primary draw to this Steven Starr Italian, but the wine list is large and carefully considered, and the bar is stocked with some of the best liquors in the land. A selection of prosecco cocktails, new on the drink menu, combines these two, creating a beverage that ends up being more than the sum of its parts. Choose one of eight spirits, from bracing aperitif Aperol to perfumy St. Germain, and the bartender will mix up 1½-oz. of it with some good prosecco. Thanks to the depth of flavor provided by the liquor, the flute of bubbly is no longer relegated to pairing with crudo or dessert - it will suit even rich meats and pastas. Instead of deciding between wine and spirits, you get the best of both worlds ($13; 215-391-4900).

Victory Via Weisse at Alla Spina
The North Broad birreria is now serving its second signature beer produced in collaboration with Downingtown’s Victory Brewing Co. A refreshing wheat beer with a session-friendly ABV of 4.1%, Via Weisse was made at the request of and with input from Vetri Family partner and Osteria chef Jeff Michaud. We had a chance to taste the new brew, and found it bright and lemony, tamed by a light malt flavor with very little hops. “It’s very much an introductory sour beer,” Michaud noted, “Even people who might think they don’t like sours will enjoy it.” Via Weisse is exclusive to Alla Spina, and is on tap now for $5 per pour (215-600-0017).

Do This

Food Truck Beach Bonanza
Haven’t made it to the shore as much as you wanted this summer? Food trucks to the rescue. The Philly Mobile Food Association is hosting an urban beach party at The Piazza in on Saturday. Get your suntan lotion out and head to NoLibs from 3-10 PM to enjoy eats from more than 10 of the city’s best food trucks, along with kiddie pools, balloon artists and DJs. There will also be beach-themed cocktails available for purchase, thanks to mobile drinks purveyor Gypsy Bar. Don’t let a little concrete stop you from having fun in the sun.

Backyard Brew-B-Q at Barcade
On Sunday, the beer experts from Barry’s Homebrew will be taking over the backyard at Fishtown’s Barcade, to do what they do best - brew some beer. Starting at noon, Barcade will be firiing up the grill and selling smoky eats, to give brewers and fans sustenance as they create liquid gold. Everyone is welcome, from seasoned homebrewers to interested enthusiasts, and the whole process will be explained along the way as the brewmasters go (215-634-4400).

Read This

Gin and Tonic: A Short History of a Stiff Drink
While we’re focusing on liquid pleasures, this extensive look at the gin and tonic has more info than you might have ever wanted to know about the classic drink. From the evolution of English gin from Dutch genever to the first use of the medicinal qualities of quinine, Canadian website Active History tells the story of how the tasty summer cocktail came to be.

Big Med
When you go to the hospital, you aren’t presented with a menu of pre-set prices and a slate to choose from - things can get extremely expensive, and fast. Quality is the primary concern of doctors, after all, but the same is true in fine dining restaurants, and Atul Gawande wonders whether the techniques used as successful high-end chains like Cheesecake Factory can be translated to the medical profession. The New Yorker piece is a fascinating look behind the scenes of both the food service and health care industries.

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