4/18/2013 09:06:00 AM

Eat This, Do This, Read This: Philly Weekend Planner, April 19-21

“I lived in Florida my whole life, and this is my first spring in Philadelphia,” a complete stranger said to us the other day. “I’m delirious - it’s beautiful. I love everyone!” Enjoy the main reason to live in the Northeast with a weekend of savory dishes (one meaty, one vegan), a world-recording making outdoor video game and the reopening of a beer garden. Then read a defense of homemade pizza and learn that Margaret Thatcher was not, in fact, responsible for introducing soft-serve ice cream to the world.

Eat This

Oxtails and Grits at Varga Bar
We ran into chef Evan Turney at Cheu Noodle Bar while attacking a plate of pig tails, and he mentioned he’s running a special of different kind of tail. His slow-braised oxtail will be offered at Saturday and Sunday brunch this weekend, served over cheesy house grits with a fried egg, candied applewood-smoked bacon and a Jamaican-style sauce. This will get your day going. If you stop into the Wash West bar for dinner instead, you can order the oxtail with crispy sprouts and coconut-ginger rice. Mmm, tail ($17; 215-627-5200).

Vegan Pho at South Philadelphia Tap Room
Sous chef Mark Regan is rolling out spring additions to the menu at the Newbold pub, and his all-veggie pho uses mushrooms in the broth to achieve its signature richness. Instead of oxtail and meat, in this case, the bowl is loaded with tofu, watercress and onions next to the noodles, and is served with traditional pho accompaniments of basil, sprouts and lime (215-271-7787).

Do This

Pong on the Cira Centre
To kick off Philly Tech Week, folks will gather on the steps of the Art Museum to watch and play the world’s largest game of Pong - the “screen” for the live game will be the side of the Cira Centre. The players have already been selected by lottery, but head over to watch gaming history be made while you grab bites and drinks from assembled food trucks. Mayor Nutter will be there, will you?

Memphis Taproom Fifth Anniversary Bash
Before they open their newest beer bar, Strangelove’s, in Center City, Leigh Maida and Brendan Hartranft are spending the weekend celebrating an anniversary at their Kensington pub. On Saturday at noon the beer garden will officially open for a fifth year, and a special draft and can beer list will be on offer all day, along with a new lineup of hot dogs at the stationary dog cart outside. The party will continue all day long (215-425-4460).

Read This

The Joy and Economics of Cooking Pizza At Home
Slate economist Matt Yglesias recently took Slice editor Kenji Alt to task for suggesting people should give up ordering pizza and just make it at home, calling the undertaking a serious folly. Alt strikes back with a hilarious and well-thought-out diatribe defending at-home pie making from both a financial and flavor perspective. If you like pizza of any kind, this is a must-read.

The Margaret Thatcher Soft-Serve Myth
Turns out the Iron Lady wasn’t really responsible for the creation of soft-serve ice cream, though the company she worked as a food chemist for did have a part in popularizing it. Soft serve was actually invented several years earlier, in America, not in Great Britain, as you’d expect. Check out more about this myth that propagated in the wake of the former Prime Minister’s passing at the New Yorker.

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