I'm guessing I'm not the only Philadelphian out there who's proud of his own town yet feels like Philly tends to get snubbed when it comes to national recognition as a great dining city. A small handful of the area's most ambitious chefs have been out to change that for the last several years. Two of the most widely noted of that set have recently taken a big leap, one step further into the national consciousness, both releasing their first cookbooks over the last couple of weeks.
Marc Vetri, owner of the eponymous Vetri and of Osteria co-wrote Il Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey with David Joachim. It's been ages since I've been to Vetri (heavy hint to anyone who's planning to take me out to dinner...) but you can read reviews of some of my meals at Osteria here. Marc, his partners and their staff are turning out what I think is some of the best Northern Italian fare this side of the Atlantic.
Latin Evolution, by Jose Garces, charts the chef's voyage through the cuisines of Spain and South and Central America, work that's put his Philadelphia restaurants - Amada, Tinto and, most recently, Distrito - on the map.
I've enjoyed some great food at the restaurants of both Marc and Jose, so I'm looking forward to reading their books.
In other goings on about town:
Tria Fermentation School has just announced its October schedule of classes. As usual, many sold out in a flash but there are still seats available for some pretty groovy sessions. It's a great classroom environment, both intimate and fun, so check it out.
The class with Sam Calagione, wild and woolly master brewer at Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery, is already sold-out. Don't entirely despair, though. Sam will be on-hand at Tria's 12th & Spruce location before class, pouring his new ancient recipe brew, Theobroma, along with other Dogfish Head classics. The "Dogfish hour" runs from 5:00 to 6:00 PM next Tuesday, September 30. No reservations necessary. Just show up and enjoy.
Also next Tuesday, Blackbird Dining Establishment in Collingswood, NJ, is kicking off their seasonal dinner series with a four-course menu based around one of nature's greatest wonders: bacon. Tough to go wrong there.... Seatings are available at 6:30 and 8:30 PM. Just follow the link above for contact information.