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The Bank Residences Restaurants – The Arts – Travel July, 2013


July, 2013


About Us…

We believe… Philadelphia has to be included in every review of the Top Ten Restaurant Destinations in the U.S. Say what you will, Stephen Starr is a genius (and Jose Garces is not too far behind). We are not sure how it happened, but the Barnes Foundation is a game-changer for Philly Arts (and you have to love The Arts in Philadelphia). Again, we don’t know how it happened, but


according to Food & Wine Magazine, East Passyunk Avenue was included in their “Top 10 Foodie Streets in America.” Something has to happen to save our much maligned Convention Center. The secret word is “HOSPITALITY.” Without it, nothing works. There is a substantial audience for Healthy Food and we are blessed with several outstanding “Healthy Food Spots.” We must admit that there might have been a few too many steakhouses. In a funny way, we miss Neal Stein. With all the negativity, he helped make Center City happen. In terms of the ongoing debate concerning alcohol in Pennsylvania, we are for privatization. We either privatize or we don’t. All the half-way concepts are confusing and possibly unworkable. Privatization would help the restaurants, and there is no point in attempting to please everybody.


The Restaurant Report by Bob Bickell

Stephen Starr’s Buddakan; Sapori; Destino, NYC; Rotisseur; and Philippe.


Mr. Starr

Stephen Starr has some twenty restaurants in Philadelphia, and in terms of longevity and overall success, Buddakan is (in my opinion) the most interesting restaurant concept in the entire City. He placed this intriguing spot at 325 Chestnut Street in Old City in August of 1998. We are talking about fifteen-years of nothing but success, with no end in sight. The only thing more dramatic was his decision in 2006 to place a Buddakan in Manhattan.


By the year 2010, Buddakan was listed as #9 on the list of the one-hundred top grossing restaurants in the United States. Mr. Starr’s restaurant came in with a figure of $20,074,102. Interestingly enough, Buddakan in Philadelphia made the same list at a delightful figure of $10, 399,677. We are talking about Buddakan in two cities that brings in over 30 million-dollars in gross sales. I would suggest that it is safe to call Mr. Starr a genius!


Chef Franco Lombardo – Sapori Trattoria Italiana

The Chef from Palermo, Italy is celebrating ten great years in Collingswood, New Jersey‌


The young chef literally built his restaurant with his own hands, and he takes his rendition of Northern and Southern Italian food very seriously. For Franco, his perfect guests are those who don’t study the menu, but they simply ask Franco to cook for them. Several courses later, they know precisely how great this restaurant has become. Please don’t ask Franco to make you a chicken parmigiana. Again, he takes his food so seriously that the chicken parm is not suitable to his vision of truly genuine Italian cuisine. I remember ordering a meal at Sapori and Franco told me that I really didn’t want that particular selection. “Let me make you something that you will really enjoy.” It was fabulous!

www.sapori.info


Destino – 891 First Ave. NYC


Chef & Owner – Anthony Curko

One of New York’s youngest owners has emerged as one of New York’s best. The “kid” has made things happen at 891 First Avenue in the Big City. It is without a doubt, one of the top Italian Spots in NYC. The look is upscale, yet the vibe is casual. Anthony has the talent and absolutely the passion to succeed in this business. He was born into it as his father (Mario Curko) was the chef of the classic Rao in New York. Anthony learned from the best.


Unlike Franco, Anthony displays a Chicken Parmigiana on his menu. Because I was telling the story of a chef from New Jersey, I ordered the chicken parmigiana. With all due respect, it was one of the best meals I have ever experienced. The man is proud of his rendition of the simple chicken parm. In my mind it was anything but simple. It was amazing. Two chefs (Franco of Sapori and Anthony of Destino) have so much in common. They both love what they do and they both own and operate outstanding Italian restaurants.

www.destinony.com


Rotisseur

Fast Slow Food! It’s as far away from fast food than you can get. Healthy dining has emerged in Philadelphia, and Rotisseur is what it’s all about. Look for more locations as this concept grows. st 102 S. 21 St. www.rotisseur.net


Chef Philippe Chin… He is always interesting!

Perhaps “interesting” is the wrong word, but one thing is for sure…the man can cook. The former Philadelphia chef/owner opened a concept in Somers Point, New Jersey. His “Philippe By the Bay” had some immediate success, but the recent appearance of a storm (Sandy) certainly didn’t help.


It also didn’t help that Philippe was working with an owner of the property who over the years watched some 14 chefs come and go. For the record, I actually warned Philippe about an extremely difficult owner of the property, and Philippe was confident that things would work out. The owner wanted items on the menu that were not in tune with what Chef Chin does, and the rest is history. Philippe is on his way to a new project in Hawaii with a gentleman he worked with in Washington, DC. I side with Philippe on this particular one and I wish him well in Maui. We will have a follow-up in the next few months to check-in with “the always interesting chef.”


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There are more “Prime Spots” than ever! www.PrimePhiladelphia.com


Chef Sal Montezinos

You might remember one of Philadelphia’s classic restaurants in the early 1970’s called Déjà Vu located on Pine Street. It was the home of Chef Sal and his wife Susan (with the addition of his daughter in 1975). The best description of this spot came from a writer from a gourmet magazine… “10 Tables and 5000 Bottles of Wine”! We are talking about a French fine-dining concept that was not exactly healthy, but a significant part of his journey. With many years of a fine-dining lifestyle, the good chef made an amazing shift in his life and adopted a dramatically different way of living.


I met with him on his recent visit to Philadelphia and we had dinner at Vedge per his request. The man is seventy-five and looks at least twenty-five years younger. He works-out on a daily basis and his choice of food is exactly the opposite of “fine dining.” We discussed his transformation to a healthier lifestyle and his desire to help others do the same. He got involved in the subject of raw foods and even published a book on the subject. Sal realizes that most people will never embrace a raw foods way of living, but his message that includes exercise and a more healthy approach to food is critically important. I agree, and a guy like him (who has done it all) can be a big help in improving the way we live. The current picture of health (or the lack thereof) in America needs people like Chef Sal. We will have more on the subject…


Mütter Museum

Philadelphia is blessed with so many interesting places to visit, and that would include America’s finest museum of medical history. Make no mistake, the Mütter Museum is as fascinating as one could possibly imagine. Located at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (19 South 22nd Street) be prepared for perhaps the most unique museum visit of a lifetime.


The museum’s collection includes more than 25,000 amazing objects, and how many times have you seen one or more of the following? Part of Einstein’s brain; the tallest human skeleton on display in North America; Joseph Hyrtl’s collection of 139 skulls, illustrating anatomic variation among ethnic groups of central and eastern Europe; the plaster death cast of the torso of world-famous Siamese twins (Chang and Eng) and their cojoined livers; and Dr. Chevalier Jackson’s collection of more than 2000 swallowed objects removed from patients. The real goal of the museum is to help people understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body while appreciating the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease. There is so much to see and to learn, and visitors can do this at their own pace.

www.muttermuseum.org – “Disturbingly Informative”


Ben - Alive & Well in Philadelphia!

www.BenFranklinToday.com


Prime Spots – The Reading Terminal

Talk about great spots, it doesn’t get better than the classic Reading Terminal. You don’t even have to buy anything to appreciate this incredible concept. Just walk through and feel the amazing vibe of this Philadelphia favorite. The location is perfect and it’s shared by both the visitors and the locals. It’s one of those “spots” that makes Philadelphia so interesting! www.readingterminalmarket.org


The Barnes Foundation

With such an amazing collection of art in one place, the new Barnes Foundation is located in Downtown Philadelphia only steps away from the equally amazing Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. It has to be the most significant tourist attraction for this City in many years.


The wealthy Dr. Albert Barnes established the Foundation in 1922, and the collection includes masterpieces from names such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul CĂŠzanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Chaim Soutine, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Edgar Degas,Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Edouard Manet, and Claude Monet (to name a few).

www.BarnesFoundation.org


Prime Travel‌Miami Beach, The Eden Roc Renaissance

Devoted visitors of the classic Eden Roc see this beautiful hotel as a timeless treasure that became famous for hosting Hollywood greats since 1956.


You might remember that incredible private party honoring Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd for the premiere of the film “Around the World in 80 Days�. If indeed you were there, how can you forget so many of the notable guests that included Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Durante, Groucho Marx, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Gleason, Esther Williams, Liberace, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and of course Ernest Hemingway (just to name a few).


While the Eden Roc still maintains that aura of Hollywood and the “Rat Pack� in Miami Beach, it has been totally renovated to accommodate more modern expectations (a $220 million renovation). The modern version includes the new ELLE Spa with Eighteen luxurious treatment centers and a state of-the-art fitness center. The good news is that the Hotel still sits on the beautiful beach and the views are stunning.


We absolutely must include the food. It is of the Five-Star variety. If you visit Miami Beach, don’t leave until you try 1500 Degrees (at the Eden Roc). Paula DaSilva is the executive chef, and her food is a reason by itself to visit the hotel.

Chef Paula has appeared on Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen, landed spots on “Best Celebrity Chef” and “40 Under 40” lists, and cooked at the renowned James Beard House in New York City. 425 Collins Avenue – Miami Beach, Florida 1-800-319-5354


From the web… Did I read that sign right? TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW In a Laundromat: AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT In a London department store: BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS In an office: WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN Notice in health food shop window: CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS Seen during a conference: FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR Notice in a farmer's field: THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES. Message on a leaflet: IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS On a repair shop door: WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)


Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says Really? Ya think? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers Now that's taking things a bit far! ----------------------------------------------------------Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over What a guy! --------------------------------------------------------------Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant See if that works any better than a fair trial! ---------------------------------------------------------War Dims Hope for Peace I can see where it might have that effect! ---------------------------------------------------------------If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile Ya think?! ----------------------------------------------------------------------Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures Who would have thought! ---------------------------------------------------------------Enfield, (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide They may be on to something! -----------------------------------------------------------------------Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?

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Philadelphia - Restaurants, The Arts, Travel, and People!