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Zagat catalogues Philly's top Indian restaurants

With a couple exciting new openings, Philadelphia's indian restaurant scene is blossoming. Zagat's blog runs down their top five picks. A bunch of their choices are outside Center City, including Saffron Indian Kitchen in Bala Cynwyd:

"Traditional" Indian fare comes "as mild or spicy as you like" and served by an "enthusiastic" staff at this "popular" local BYO duo that's "a cut above" generic curry houses; it "won't hurt your wallet, but may hurt your ears" when packed with boisterous diners, though the "soft-colored" decor is a "nice departure" from the typical Indian dining room.

Original source: Zagat
Read the complete list here.

Philly named top bacon city in the United States

Estately has named Philadelphia the country's best place for bacon-lovers. Rejoice!

Like an overstuffed piñata, Philadelphia is postively bursting with bacon. They slip it in cheesesteaks, create restaurant color schemes based on it, heck, the city even raised actor KEVIN BACON up to be six degrees of celebrity he is today. Philly wraps its meat loaf in bacon, it crumble it on sticky buns, and it even chicken fries bacon because Philly’s chefs outrank the city’s cardiologists.

Via Foobooz.

Original source: Estately
Read the complete list here.

Franklin Fountain brothers featured in Sweet Paul mag

The team behind the Franklin Fountain has transformed Shane Confectionery.

For the Berley brothers, it’s not just the candies that are nostalgic–it’s the experience, too. A look around the pristine storefront shows an antique cash register and pay phone, walls lined with memorabilia and ephemera of eras gone by, and apothecary jars stocked with penny candy (think Abba Zabba and Bit-o-Honey). The duo, along with head confectioner Davina Soondrum, use period tools and equipment like hand-fused copper kettles and bowls heated over a manually-fired gas stove, to keep the production experience as authentic as possible.

Via The New York Times.

Original source: Sweet Paul 
Read the complete story here.




New York Times can't let Philly live down Santa/Snowball-gate

A Salon writer catalogs the New York Times' obsession with Philadelphia fans pelting Santa with snowballs in 1968. They just can't let it go. 

Whether it stems from resentment over New York not having invented the cheesesteak or just good old-fashioned hackery, the Grey Lady has consistently referred to Philly as “the city that booed Santa Claus” — and we’re talking twice in the last week. Occasionally, the reference will come up completely out of context, even when the Times isn’t writing about Philadelphia at all. And sometimes, the writer even admits being unable to resist the cliche.

Original source: Salon
Read the complete story here.

New York Times examines Philly public school budget cuts

It's going to be a tough fall in the Philly public school system where budget woes are forcing cuts to the bone.

When a second grader came to the Andrew Jackson School too agitated to eat breakfast on Friday, an aide alerted the school counselor, who engaged him in an art project in her office. When he was still overwrought at 11, a secretary called the boy’s family, and soon a monitor at the front door buzzed in an older brother to take him home.

Under a draconian budget passed by the Philadelphia School District last month, none of these supporting players — aide, counselor, secretary, security monitor — will remain at the school by September, nor will there be money for books, paper, a nurse or the school’s locally celebrated rock band.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Building collapse shines a light on demolition issues

The horrific building collapse on Market Street has led to a lot of questions and soul-searching, and a look at demolition practices.

At a morning news conference held by Mr. Nutter and other city officials, attention focused on whether the demolition contractor, Griffin Campbell Construction, had the necessary expertise to safely demolish a building next to one still being used, and whether officials from the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections had carried out a required inspection of the demolition site before work began.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.

Komen cancels races; Philadelphia event remains

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been forced to cancel half of its three-day races, still reeling from last year's Planned Parenthood defunding disaster. The Philadelphia race will go on as planned.

Citing the economy and concerns about meeting fund-raising and volunteer participation goals in seven cities, Komen, the nation’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization, canceled its 2014 races in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington.

It will continue to hold races in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, San Diego and Seattle.

After Komen announced its Planned Parenthood decision last year, many longtime supporters took their anger to social media platforms, leading Komen to restore the funds. The foundation, based in Dallas, has struggled to regain those supporters.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here

AP covers Eastern State Penitentiary's prison food event

Eastern State Penitentiary offers a look at traditional prison foods. Delish!

This weekend, the defunct Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia will serve visitors sample inmate meals from the 1830s, 1940s and today: broiled salted beef with “Indian mush”; hamburger with brown gravy and beets; and Nutraloaf — an unappetizing concoction currently served as punishment in prisons across the country.

Event organizers say the not-so-haute cuisine is a way to stimulate both the taste buds and the mind. The meals reflect the changing nature of food service at penal institutions and, in some ways, attitudes toward inmates, said Sean Kelley, the prison’s director of public programming.


Original source: The Associated Press
Read the complete story here.

PYT's 'Lasagna Burger' earns international press

PYT's latest burger creation, the Lasagna-Bun Burger, has garnered shock, awe and drool worldwide.

According to the Facebook page description, the burger is comprised of two thick slices of deep-fried mozzarella and ricotta lasagna, which make up the bun. Then inside is a meatball-seasoned juicy beef patty, topped with provolone and home-made marinara. With Italian-Parm fries on the side.

Original source: Huffington Post U.K.
Read the complete story here.

Local scientists assist major genetic breakthrough

Penn scientists were instrumental in the recent discovery of the gene that causes fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare condition that causes the growth of a second skeleton. It's a fascinating and inspiring story.

The group’s members gave [Frederick Kaplan] more than their stories and DNA: they began raising money. Nick Bogard, whose son Jud had been diagnosed with the disease at age 3, organized a golf tournament in Massachusetts that raised $30,000. That money allowed Kaplan to host the first scientific conference about FOP, in 1991. Other families hosted barbecues, ice-fishing tournaments, swim-a-thons, bingo nights. In 2012 alone, Peeper’s organization raised $520,000 for research. That’s not much compared with, say, the $1 billion that the NIH distributes each year for diabetes research. But these funds were crucial for Kaplan, who sought to escape the rare-disease trap. IFOPA’s money—as well as gifts from other private donors and an endowment accompanying Kaplan’s professorship at Penn—made it possible for him to work single-mindedly on FOP for more than two decades.

Original source: The Atlantic
Read the complete story here.


Nomad Pizza featured in New York Times

Nomad Pizza was included in a run-down of Jersey's mobile pizza trucks; they also have a brick-and-mortar space in Bella Vista.

Before Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Goldblatt opened their own business, they worked at the Nomad Pizza Company in Hopewell, a Neapolitan pizza restaurant with a second location in Philadelphia. Nomad opened its first restaurant in Hopewell in 2009 after two years of working out of a converted 1949 REO Speedwagon with a 3,000-pound wood-burning oven shipped from Italy. It continues to cater parties and sell pizza from the truck at street festivals.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Philly still can't let go of Smarty Jones

Smarty Jones, the star racehorse, has become a blue-collar icon in Philadelphia, according to the New York Times' horse racing blog, The Rail.

In 2004, blue-and-white Smarty Jones posters bedecked nearly every inch of the standing-room-only Belmont Park, with 120,000-plus fans rooting their hearts out for the little horse that could to complete the first Triple Crown in 26 years. Smarty Jones, a Pennsylvania homebred owned by Pat and Roy Chapman, had become a Philadelphia icon, a blue-collar overachiever from Philadelphia Park ready to take his place alongside the 1974 Stanley Cup-winning Flyers and Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia lore. A ticker-tape parade down Broad Street for Smarty Jones had already been planned.

As for the rest of us, Smarty Jones had seized the collective imagination of a country still reeling from the events of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war, a nation desperately needing something to root for. It had been 26 long years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. In the interim, the nation, especially New York City, had been battered and bruised. We needed something to celebrate, which is how the 2004 Belmont had been dubbed the Smarty Party.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

LGBT senior housing rises in the Gayborhood

The John C. Anderson Apartments are under construction in the Gayborhood. Housing developments for LGBT seniors were pioneered in Los Angeles and Chicago, now Philadelphia is onboard.

With LGBT seniors facing increased risks of poverty and poor health as well as a higher likelihood of living alone, the need for housing designed to their needs is dire. Cities including Los Angeles and Chicago are responding by building developments specifically geared to LGBT seniors, and now Philadelphia is joining the party, reaching out to several different entities to get its project built.

The six-story, 56-unit John C. Anderson Apartments is now rising in the heart of Philly’s gay village, with hopes of opening at the end of the year. Mayor Michael Nutter, along with Mark Segal — the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News and founder of Gay Youth, one of the nation’s first organizations for LGBT teens — championed the $19.5 million project.


Original source: The Advocate
Read the complete story here.


Philly named fourth best biking city in the country

In celebration of a Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month, Walk Score has named Philadelphia the number four biking city in the country. Only Portland, San Francisco and Denver topped the City of Brotherly Love.

Via The Philly Post.

Original source: Walk Score
Read the complete list here.

Philadelphia Orchestra's young conductor part of national trend

The New York Times profiles a crop of young conductors leading major ensembles, including the Philadelphia Orchestra's 37-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

As the Philadelphia Orchestra emerged from bankruptcy protection, it was no surprise that the ensemble wanted the grinning, charismatic Mr. Nézet-Séguin to be the face of its new era, as potent a symbol as following Mr. Levine with Mr. Nelsons. (A once-favored candidate for the Boston position, Riccardo Chailly, now 60, fell out of the running after heart problems caused him to cancel performances.)

But youth and youthfulness are two different things, and they shouldn’t be confused. Orchestras should not think that hiring a dynamic 20- or 30-something conductor can take the place of planning dynamic contemporary programs. That’s just old wine in new bottles.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.
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