4/12/2013 10:01:00 AM

Eat This, Do This, Read This: Philly Weekend Planner, April 12-14

Thank goodness that 85-degree business was just a drill and it’s not actually summer yet! Spring is in full effect this weekend, and aside from some pollen issues, that’s a good thing. Nibble on bites both delicate and hearty, stroll a South Philly strip or tour beer-rich Central PA, and then read up on two methods of cooking, from the cutting edge (a computer chef?) to old-fashioned goodness.

Eat This

Uni French Toast at Morimoto
Though this delicacy doesn’t appear to be officially on the menu, slide through the swooping Chestnut Street dining room to take up a seat at the sushi bar, and ask for it. Head sushi chef Hiroki Fujiyama soaks small slices of brioche in a sweet uni-egg broth, then has them pan-fried. He tops the toast with bright orange lobes of fresh sea urchin, whipped uni foam, pearls of black caviar and a few flavorful herbs, including baby sorrel and popcorn shoots. Eat it in one bite or savor it in several, either way you’ll come away happy (215-413-9070).

Soft German Pretzels at Triumph Brewing Company
These fluffy, filling fingers of baked dough fall on the total opposite end of the tasty bread spectrum. Just enough salt on top of the four mini loaves balances out their sweetness, and you’ll find yourself wishing for a whole bowl of the cheddar ale fondue, instead of just a ramekin full. Add a daub of housemade ale mustard and you have one of the best, classic accompaniments for any of the house brews ($6; 215-625-0855).

Do This

East Passyunk Second Saturday
The buzzing South Philly avenue is all dolled up for spring, and you can spend the entire afternoon ducking into more than a dozen boutiques, galleries, restaurants and cafes. Peruse the wares and enjoy discounts and complimentary bites and sips - free samples of Strawberrycello from Pollyodd look especially enticing. The event is free to attend, and you can expect live music and a festive atmosphere throughout the day.

Susquehanna Ale Trail
The area around York county holds a surprising number of breweries and brewpubs, and they’ve gotten together to offer a passport so you can tour the trail and enjoy discounts along the way. Your $15 ticket brings access to 13 different brewhouses and one distillery over the course of this weekend, including well-known Troegs and Stoudt’s and smaller outfits like Rumspringa and Saint Boniface. Look forward to guided tours, tastings, a souvenir mug and 10% off all merchandise. Simply drive out and stop at one of the locations to purchase your ticket - you can find maps and more information here.

Read This

Cooking With IBM: The Synthetic Gastronomist
Will computers eventually replace chefs? We’re a far cry from a total robot takeover of our kitchens, but IBM is developing - for research purposes only - a machine that uses an immense database of culinary information to come up with new recipes using what are called “hedonic flavor prediction” modules. The product is just a list of ingredients, for now, requiring a human to figure out how to put it all together, but interesting dishes are being produced. Gary Marcus of the New Yorker dares to taste a couple.

Franklin Fountain's Pastry Chef Changes Up the Old-Timey Spot
Playing opposites again, the techniques pastry chef Sara May uses to create ice creams, syrups and other desserts at Franklin Fountain are decidedly old fashioned. The Old City confectionery is stocked with giant copper kettles and candy stoves from the 1920s, but that doesn’t stop her from innovating. Caroline Russock at the Philadelphia City Paper has a great profile, filled with mentions of delicious sweets that will make you want to run out and get an ice cream soda.

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