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In just over two years, craft distilling has boomed in the Philadelphia region, helping to restore Pennsylvania to its once-prominent place in the national distilling conversation. Until Prohibition wiped out the state’s distilling industry, Pennsylvania housed the country’s densest cluster of homespun and commercial whiskey producers, beginning with some of the country’s earliest settlers.
In 2011, Pennsylvania’s government passed reforms that allowed distillers to offer tours, samples and sales on-site. These new laws opened up the craft to would-be distillers who now proudly produce and sell small-batch spirits from Philadelphia. Here’s a look at the region’s distilling pioneers:
One of the most delicious exhibitions ever to hit Philadelphia is tempting taste buds all around town. Chocolate: The Exhibition, on view at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University through January 24, 2015, uses interactive displays, special programs and tasting events to trace chocolate beginning with its rainforest origins. After learning the backstory on chocolate, visitors can sample the many ways that Philadelphia chocolatiers, mixologists, pâtissiers and others have transformed the cocoa bean into a delight for the senses.
- Those who share chocolatier Gail Warren’s philosophy that chocolate is a “necessary luxury” frequent Bridge Street
New Beer Trail Highlights The Craft Brewing Tradition In Philadelphia, America’s Best Beer-Drinking City
One hundred years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation,” according to food critic Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. In fact, it was in Philadelphia taverns that the American Revolution took hold.
In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, more than 90 breweries operated in Philadelphia proper, and another 100 operated in the city’s environs. One area northwest of Philly, located on the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Girard Avenue Bridge, became known as Brewerytown. As Brewerytown grew, area producers of German-style...
A pizza museum; a heart-shaped pie; Sicilian water-moistened dough—and that’s just the tip of the crust, as it were. There’s a world of pizza secrets to explore in the Philadelphia region, from a suburban “speakeasy” to some rightfully picky pizza makers to dough-throwing classes in chefs’ open kitchens. Here are just a few ways to take passion for the pie even deeper:
Quirky Spots & Slices:
- Neapolitan pizza is more than a hobby in Italy—it’s the law. Chef-Owner Joe Cicala of Le Virtù hopes to bring true, certified pies to Philadelphia at his new Brigantessa. He even went to
A richly textured, wonderfully layered dining scene combines history and growth, innovation and tradition, local and global influences. Philadelphia has all of these attributes and more: homegrown bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spots redrafting the rules of elegant eating; a distinctly local sensibility informed by a fertile food shed; a wildly diverse array of ethnic eats; a nationally lauded vegetarian and vegan culture; and much more. Here are 17 reasons why Philly food scene rocks:
- Just Bring It: The BYOB Phenomenon
Though the bring-your-own-bottle restaurant first emerged in Philly more than a decade ago, a steady stream of brilliant chefs with a do-it-yourself...
With geography, climate and growing conditions that mirror those of the Bordeaux Region in France, southeastern Pennsylvania continues to emerge as a major force in America’s wine industry. In fact, Pennsylvania wines as a whole are making steady gains in quality, quantity and recognition. The Commonwealth ranks seventh in the nation for number of wineries; more than 150 wineries operate within its borders, marking more than a 500% increase over 30 years ago. In 2013 alone, Pennsylvania vintners won awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, International Women’s Wine Competition, San Diego International Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition,...
The Sonesta Philadelphia’s Art Bar opened in July 2014, joining the ranks of cool hotel bars in a city that knows its cool bars. With a stylish interior and an art program courtesy of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Art Bar welcomes guests with craft cocktails, beers and wines that complement its modern décor.
The Sonesta isn’t the only property raising the bar. It seems Philadelphia’s hotels are vying for the top bar scene, which means locals and out-of-towners win. On the menu: craft beers, fantastic wines, inventive drinks and delicious bites, plus distinguishing features (skyline views, outdoor dining,...
The wave of coffee enthusiasm is clearly here to stay in Greater Philadelphia. La Colombe plans to open a 15,000-square-foot outpost in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. Housed in a former distillery, the new spot will produce rum—yes rum—infused with coffee, in addition to serving food and its signature coffee, of course. The second annual Coffee & Tea Festival, to be held November 8-9 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, will celebrate local love for the mighty bean with exhibitions, tastings, classes and more.
The region’s java scene has been percolating for years now: Cafes roast their own signature beans, baristas specialize...
The growing popularity of culinary and travel shows have inspired Americans to explore the countries of their ancestral heritage and the cultural traditions of their neighbors. Philadelphia and The Countryside™ adds to this global sense of community with a number of pan-African restaurants, enabling epicureans to use their plate as a passport to dine across the Diaspora. Here’s a look:
- A local institution, Abyssinia is a hit with vegetarians and the meat-eaters in their lives. Authentic Eritrean/Ethiopian preparations of lentils, beans, chicken, beef and lamb dishes wonderfully mix and match with the bar’s assortment of beers.
Say it five times fast: Philly’s fallen for food trucks. From Temple University’s campus to South Philly, the beyond-fun dining craze has truly boomed. If a diner craves something, chances are he or she can find it on wheels: brick-oven soppressata pizza, green-tea macaroons, gourmet mac and cheese, Spam musubi, sweet-cream ice cream, pour-over coffee, along with staples such as soul food, cheesesteaks, crepes and falafel. Lunch seekers can find trucks all over the city, especially near universities, but they know to check Twitter before they make a trip. These trucks have wheels and often use them to feed new...
Situated amidst richly fertile farmland and home to innovative urban growing projects, Philadelphia is a market-goer’s dream. The open-air stalls dotting the city and countryside—from the bustling energy of the indoor Reading Terminal Market to the gingham-clothed tables of the Phoenixville Market—collectively connect consumers to freshly grown and produced food every day of the week. With many now accepting electronic payments, Philly’s growing roster of markets has made eating fresh, local food a way of life for its residents. Here are just some of the places to find seasonal goodies and support area farms:
- The only
There’s only one place for beer lovers to be this summer, and that’s Philadelphia, where beer gardens abound and where craft beers are king. The two newest additions to the city’s beer garden scene: Spruce Street Harbor Park, a beautiful oases along the Delaware River waterfront; and the Independence Beer Garden, a 20,000-square-foot space located across the street from the Liberty Bell.
To capitalize on the city’s growing beer-garden craze, VISIT PHILADELPHIA™ is launching the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series, a new Friday happy hour taking place over the course of 12 weeks at one of six beer gardens...
Over the past decade, the number of vegetarians in the U.S. has increased from about one in 100 to nearly one in 30, according to polls from the Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian Times. Veg-loving visitors to Philly have plenty of options from which to choose—upscale white tablecloth restaurants dishing out inventive vegetable creations to casual spots serving up raw foods and gluten-free dishes. Here are some spots worth checking out:
- Vegetable lovers head to Bucks County, where Mike Jackson’s Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no meat substitutes) in a cozy,
Craft beer is big business these days, particularly in Philadelphia, a serious beer town gaining accolades for its suds scene from notable publications like GQ, Draft magazine, Forbes, CNN Travel and others. So what makes the Philadelphia region’s beer scene so great? The bottle shops, for starters. These shops offer hundreds if not thousands of specialty beers to try individually and in “mix-a-six” format (that’s a six-pack of beer with six beers of the drinker’s choosing). What’s more, many of these shops fill growlers of draught beer to go and offer food to accompany the bountiful beer offerings.
Weekends were made for brunching—chatting with friends, digging into a stack of syrupy pancakes, lingering over a cup of a coffee and/or a Bloody Mary. No one knows this better than Philadelphians, who have a wide array of fantastic brunch options to choose from every Saturday and Sunday. Whether the craving is for a five-star buffet with caviar, a Latin feast of plantains and agua fresca cocktails or fresh granola and locally grown berries, Philadelphia foodies have plenty of go-to spots for a late-morning or early-afternoon meal. Here’s a look at some of the region’s best brunch options:
As home to the world’s original and biggest craft beer week (Philly Beer Week), Philadelphia sets a high bar for beer events. In the city and suburbs, beerific happenings take place all year long that draw hundreds, if not thousands, of beer lovers. Here’s a selection of some of the oldest, largest, quirkiest and most popular celebrations of the artisanal sud:
- With the season of Christmas beers passed, roasty stouts and porters—especially those aged in bourbon barrels—warm up beer drinkers in February. The inaugural Winterfest 2014, The Great Philadelphia Winter Craft Beer Festival emphasizes these malty brews by
The freshest new flavors in Philly’s restaurant scene in 2014? Market culture, replete with artisan goods, eat-in cafes and exclusive dinners at communal tables, for starters. In a town that owns Italian cooking, French cuisine resurges with more chefs turning to classic techniques and traditions. Jewish food in all of its international variations continues to be reinvented in exciting new ways. Meanwhile, the juice bar may well be the new coffee bar, and home-style desserts trump cupcakes. Here’s a look at some trends to watch in 2014:
Philadelphians love high-quality, high-end ingredients, and an emerging crop of
The United States now has more breweries than at any time in its history, and Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs are helping to lead the way by opening even more breweries at a rapid pace. According to the Brewers Association, a craft beer industry trade group, the U.S. was home to only eight craft breweries in 1980, 537 in 1994 and more than 2,500 today. Regionally, craft brewers are opening locations in every county—from Victory Brewing in Kennett Square to Broken Goblet Brewery in Bristol—and more are working hard to secure licenses and locations before 2015. Here’s a look at more than a...
Little by little, Philly’s turned into a bona fide taco town. Between the mom-and-pop taquerias of South Philly, tried-and-true tequila bars, a roving pack of lunch trucks and the newest crop of gringo-owned joints, there’s truly a taco for everyone and their hermano. Here’s where the hungry masses can get their tacos on:
- Fishtown’s divey Loco Pez found its inspiration in L.A.’s fusion-y taco trucks, and the result is a mix-and-match menu of fun and sometimes unexpected flavors. There’s the Gabacho (ground beef in a crispy shell), for instance, or a seitan-and-spinach combo for the vegan crowd.
Used to be, the culinary phenomenon synonymous with Philadelphia was a certain cheese-laden sandwich. And while cheesesteaks are as popular as ever, there’s a slightly higher brow—but similarly homegrown—dining tradition that is quintessentially Philadelphian: It’s the bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) restaurant. The region’s BYOBs are typically cozy, family-run, laid-back and all about the food. Hungry diners can find them on dozens of corners in Center City, along avenues of renewed urban neighborhoods and tucked down rural roads. At last count, Philly and its surrounding countryside had more than 300 BYOBs—and the scene continues to expand.
What Is A BYOB?: