An Evening at COOK in Rittenhouse Square

Food menu

It’s not a restaurant, per se, though you will likely end up having some amazing dishes.  Nor is it, despite the suggestive name, a cooking class, though you do receive many of the recipes for the meal.

So what exactly is COOK, the small, window-filled, yet blinds-drawn space at the corner of 20th and South Rittenhouse?  Essentially, it’s a kitchen-classroom featuring demonstrations by some of the city’s best chefs.  Instead of having to serve full restaurants, the chefs are cooking private meals for 16-20 “students”.  For attendees, one of the biggest draws is to be able to interact with the chefs, as they tell the stories and reasoning behind the dishes.

Drink menuCuriosity (and rave reviews from friends who’ve been) finally convinced me to give COOK a try.  What better way to experience COOK than to pay homage to my Filipino heritage with “A Filipino Feast With Lou Boquila of Audrey Claire, Hosted by Drew Lazor?” The night was certainly one to remember.  Here’s the recap of exactly what goes on at COOK.

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Erin Express vs. Craft Beer Express: A Comparison

I was a long-time veteran of Erin Express, the Irish bar-themed pub crawl that annually takes place the two Saturdays prior to St. Patrick’s Day, and I was proud of it.  It was a lot like the Ron Burgundy quote from Anchorman: “We’ve been coming to the same party for twelve years.  And in no way is that depressing.”  Of course, at some point, you realize there may be better things in life than long lines to bars, loud music and questionable commercial beer (isn’t there?).  Over the last couple of years, I have made it to the Craft Beer Express, the quality craft beer alternative to Erin Express.  Which bus bar crawl is better?  Well, let’s look at the tale of the tape.

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Getting Started in Home Brewing in Philly

Brewing your own beer is not as daunting as one may think.  Sure, there may be confusion and frustration during the initial steps as well as some impatience during waiting periods.  Still, when you are fortunate enough to make a good batch of beer, the end result, as well as the whole process to get there, can be quite rewarding.

The first step, of course, is to obtain the right equipment and basic ingredients for brewing.  Fortunately, Philadelphia has a couple of great spots specialing in home brewing: Home Sweet Homebrew in Center City and Barry’s Homebrew Outlet in Olde Kensington.  Home Sweet Homebrew’s owner, George Hummel, is extremely helpful in ensuring you purchase the right equipment, suggesting ingredients based on your personal taste preferences.  There are beginner’s beer kits, which contain all the ingredients you need for a set recipe, or you can buy individual ingredients for your own personalized mix.

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