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August 2015

A Taste of Tel Aviv with Ari Miller of Food Underground

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Once you get Ari Miller started on stories about his time in Israel, there’s no end to the craziness he can recount. Last Saturday, as he and his partner, Gary Burner, prepared  six modern and delicious takes on classic Israeli food, he passed the time with stories while we enjoyed our fill of creations from Food Underground.

Our evening began with Marc de Galilee, a three-year oak barrel aged brandy that won a silver medal in the 2015 Berlin International Spirits Competition. According to Ari, consider it the Israeli version of grappa. A quick cheers, and we were ready to dig in.

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Restaurant Neuf Preview with Joncarl Lachman of Noord

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Chef Joncarl Lachman’s got a lot going on. With installations currently happening in his newest spot, Restaurant Neuf, it’s only about a month before opening for dinner service. Yet, he’s also cooking nonstop at Noord. Lucky for us and our guests, he joined us at COOK to preview Neuf’s North African fare.

We started with a roasted fennel and frisée salad, tossed with grapefruit, toasted cashews, and fennel pureed with olive oil as well as roasted in the salad.

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Next, Joncarl cooked prawns “en papillote” with fennel, heirloom tomatoes, and batonnet of mirepoix (carrots, onions, and celery). These were seasoned with Ras el Hanout, which Joncarl explained was a North African spice mix that is different depending on who blends the spices (it translates to “head of the shop” and is traditionally simply the blend of the best spices a store had to offer at the time). Subtle, slightly sweet, and warming, it was the perfect flavor profile for these prawns.

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After the prawns (which barely lasted long enough to photograph before everyone had all but licked their plates) we were served Stuffed Pepper Quail over Harira with house-made bread fresh from Noord. We know your next question– what’s harira? A traditional North African soup, often spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or turmeric. Joncarl’s version had prunes, lemon, chickpeas, and caraway as well.

IMG_4983 IMG_4982 IMG_4984 IMG_4987Stuffed, we just barely managed to find room Joncarl’s perfect after-dinner dish: Moroccan spiced dark chocolate bark with caraway as well as other spices, and dried fruits. On the side went fresh figs and honey, all of which we shared with final sips of wine and hearty thanks to Joncarl.

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As usual, another beautiful meal with new flavors and combinations that leave us ready to try even more. All our best to Joncarl– make sure to save us a table at Neuf!

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Sneak Peek of September at COOK

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Above: Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle Bar and Bing Bing.

This time, we’re trying something a little different… Rather than our traditional 2pm launch, our September classes go on sale TODAY at 6pm (that’s right 6pm). With that in mind, take a look at the schedule preview below, share with friends and family and then go here promptly at 6pm to purchase your seats!

In the meantime, you may purchase your seats NOW for the party of the year: Audi FEASTIVAL. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, Philadelphia’s top chefs come together to benefit FringeArts. Now in its sixth year, this annual event will sell out, so purchase your tickets today. An added incentive to purchase early: through August 17, you can save 25% on tickets with promo code EARLYBIRD. Visit the FEASTIVAL website for full details and online ticketing.

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