Chef Jose Garces launched plant-based venture, Philly Flower show preview, a Chinatown staple for Burmese food

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Chef Garces is known for his Latin-inspired, meat-forward menus but he's making the leap into plant-based foods at the request of and with the help of his teenage daughter.

Jose Garces launches plant-based food's, inspired by his daughter
Chef Jose Garces is widely known for his Latin-inspired, meat-forward menus but this is his first foray into plant-based foods.

He was 'nudged' by his 18-year-old daughter, Olivia, who has been in the kitchen cooking and baking with her dad she was a little girl.
Olivia went gluten-free a few years ago and then completely vegetarian during the pandemic.

Her father decided to "jump on board" and discovered that "this food is actually really tasty."

So he launched Livy's Plant-based food as a delivery-based ghost kitchen, serving a number of meatless burgers and chick'n sandwiches, with plans to add other items to the menu.

He hasn't left his love of meat behind though. At the same time, he launched Rustika pollo a la Brasa, specializing in rotisserie chicken, prepared in the style of his native Peru.
It's brined 24 hours, dried, marinated and then roasted in a rotisserie. You can order with a variety of traditional Latin sides like empanadas and charred corn.
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Using a ghost kitchen and a robust online presence, Chef Jose Garces is upping his brand to meet the takeout and at-home cooking needs around the region.

Livy's Plant Based Foods | Facebook | Instagram

Rustika Pollo a la Brasa | Facebook | Instagram

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Rangoon has become a Chinatown staple serving Burmese food to the neighborhood since 1993 under the ownership of three women who emigrated from Burma.

Rangoon is a woman-owned business spanning 28 years in Chinatown
Rangoon has become a Chinatown staple serving Burmese food to the neighborhood since 1993.

Owners Christine Gyaw, Chiu Sin Mee and Jenny Louie met after emigrating 30 years ago from Burma (also known as Mynamar) and settling in Philadelphia.

The three women bonded over their love of cooking and decided to introduce Philadelphia to Burmese food. They have used family recipes to grow the menu through the years. During the pandemic they have closed the dining room and focused on take-out and delivery.

Rangoon | Facebook | Instagram
112 North 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
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They traveled far and wide searching for the secrets of delicious rum. Now, this couple is bringing their craft to New Jersey!

Rum-enthusiast couple opens Striped Lion Distilling
While southern New Jersey may not be the most exotic spot, the Kevin and Erin Wright have finally made their rum-making dreams come true with Striped Lion Distilling.

Their liquor-sipping fixation began while vacationing in Bermuda. Since then, they have collected more than 300 kinds in their home. The duo has traveled to various holes-in-the-wall in order to craft their notion of the best-tasting rum.

"We both came to the same conclusion that we had the skills and the know-how and started looking for a place to start our project," said Erin.

The COVID-19 pandemic trapped the couple in a barrel of pending permits, construction, and regulatory compliance. This delayed their grand opening to December 2020.

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Pizza is on the menu as we continue our recipe series with Portofino Tuna and the chefs from Cicala at the Divine Lorraine.

How to make a classic Pesto Tuna Pizza
Throughout the month of March, the chef /owners of Cicala at the Divine Lorraine have been sharing recipes with us. It's a partnership with Portofino Italian-style tuna and this week pizza is on the menu.

In the early days of the pandemic, Chef Joe Cicala built a pizza oven in his backyard and started making and selling pies, speakeasy-style, to support the couple's furloughed staff.
People loved it so much, the couple built a pizza oven at the restaurant too and through the pandemic, they've been hosting monthly pizza pop-ups. Subscribe to the restaurant newsletter to learn about the next popup and to get other recipe demos. Chef Angela Cicala is currently in Tuscany, and you can follow her cooking adventures and see beautiful shots of the countryside and the town of Montepulciano on her Instagram.

You can also get many more recipes from Portofino and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win Portofino products and a $50 gift card to Cicala at the Divine Lorraine. The gift card can be used for those pizza pop-ups.

Portofino Tuna | Facebook | Instagram | Sweepstakes

You can find Portofino in the canned tuna aisle at your Acme, ShopRite or Weis Markets. It's also available online at Amazon.

Cicala at the Divine Lorraine | Instagram | Chef Angela's Instagram
699 N Broad St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19123
Classic Pesto Tuna Pizza | Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 16 - 18 minutes,

  • 1 can (4.5 oz.) Portofino Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. pre-made pizza dough
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. prepared pesto
  • 1 cup pizza or marinara sauce
  • cup sliced black olives
  • cup chopped artichokes
  • 8 oz. sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: Add veggies like roasted or grilled mushrooms

Preheat oven to 425F. Brush cast iron pan (12 inch) lightly with olive oil. Place in oven to warm. Place pizza dough in the cast iron pan and pat it down and partly up the sides of the pan. Place pan in the oven and cook dough for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Place tuna in a small bowl and break into pieces. Toss with pesto. Top dough with pizza sauce and spread out.

Top with mushrooms, olives, artichokes and tuna. Place mozzarella slices evenly on top of the other ingredients. Place back in the oven and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes, until cheese begins to melt.
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We got an exclusive look at how the Habitat: Nature's Masterpiece show will play out at FDR Park in South Philadelphia.

Sneak peek at the 2021 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show
Around June, South Philadelphia's FDR Park will be transformed into a garden oasis, what PHS President Matt Rader describes as, "the perfect answer for a healthy, safe and beautiful Flower Show."

The theme is Habitat: Nature's Masterpiece and this is the first time in its 193-year history that the Flower Show will be held outdoors.
The park's iconic gazebo on the banks of the lake will serve as the show's entrance garden. It will be covered in flowers by celebrity florist Jeff Leatham.

As you stroll over the historic bridge to the Design District, you'll see the huge lawn between the Boathouse and the Swedish Museum filled with 27 gardens and floral sculptures.

You'll find the Plant District on one side of the giant lawn, a place where you can learn all about plants and even buy them for your own garden.

The Garden District will be on the other side where you can get your hands dirty, participating in the Subaru potting parties and taking a new horticulture class this year that will teach you how to beautify 'hell strips,' those short little pieces of lawn between the sidewalk and the curb that nobody knows what to do with.

There will a Gardener's Grove too, an Enchanted Forest kind of place, where you can picnic. PHS is offering picnic baskets, this year, that you can pre-order with your tickets. The bags will be ready for pick-up when you arrive, providing a socially distanced safe way to eat.

2021 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show | Tickets
June 5-13

FDR Park
1500 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19145

American Swedish Historical Museum | Facebook | Instagram
1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19145

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Carmen Aranda's mission is to cultivate a better society through her greeting cards and her philanthropic efforts to give back to the community.

Cultivate Greeting Cards celebrate Mexican culture while giving back to the community
A local artist is hand-painting greeting cards made with 100% recycled material, from the paint to the paper.

Carmen Aranda's watercolor prints celebrate Mexican culture and can come in Spanish or English.

Aranda's mission is to cultivate a better society and has created a monthly give-back program for local community organizations.

This month, she's donating to Vamos Juntos, a South Philly community-based organization that helps immigrants, specifically in the LatinaX community. You can find Cultivate Greeting Cards online or at Pretty Green Terrariums in South Philly.

Cultivate Greeting Cards | Instagram

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Strollable sidewalks, dining, locally brewed beers and shopping; it's all part of the charm in Ambler. We check out some of the fun to keep you fed and entertained for the day.

Things to do, where to eat to enjoy the charm of Ambler
Strollable sidewalks, amazing dining, locally brewed beers and shopping destinations; it's all part of the charm in Ambler.

The Montgomery County town is open for business with a long list of things to keep you entertained for the day.
Gypsy Blu features 11,000 square feet of indoor space to safely distance tables for dining. They also have three outdoor patios where you can enjoy a meal and the views along Ambler's main drag.
Down the street, Forest and Main has been brewing craft beers for nearly a decade. The pandemic has forced them to close the restaurant but they have altered the business, canning and bottling more beers, expanding distribution and producing new flavors. They are open for take-out and delivery.

And if you're looking to relax, Pure Spa has been in Ambler for 15 years offering relaxation and wellness through massage and skincare treatments.
Pure Spa | Facebook | Instagram
79 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA 19002

Forest & Main | Facebook | Instagram
61 North Main Street, Ambler, PA 19002

Gypsy Blu | Facebook | Instagram
34 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA 19002

Valley Forge & Montgomery County | Facebook | Instagram
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The digital production was shot on location in Virginia and explores the friction between traditional values and acceptance of self.

'Fat Ham' puts a puts a contemporary spin on Shakespeare's Hamlet
Fat Ham is the Wilma Theater's very contemporary take on Shakespeare's classic Hamlet; set in the American South

Hamlet, in this production, is named Juicy but, for anyone who's ever seen the Shakespeare version, the plotline is very familiar. Juicy's father is killed by his uncle who then marries his mother. Juicy is haunted by his father's ghost asking for revenge.

The Fat Ham title is a play on the name Hamlet and a nod to the family's livelihood.

The Wilma Theater |Tickets
April 29-May 23, 2021
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Karen Rogers takes you inside the show with stops at Jose Garces and his daughter Olivia's new plant-based venture. Plus, a Chinatown staple and a new couple-owned distillery.

FYI Show Extras
Venu opened in South Philadelphia last May as a takeout-only operation serving elevated American bar food, like burgers, wings, quesadillas, and what general manager Ming FIlkill describes as "fun food!"

Now, as pandemic restrictions are easing, it could indeed become a venue for sports fans and concert-goers at the stadium.
Venu | Facebook
3101 S 13th St, Philadelphia, Pa. 19148

Le Virtu on East Passyunk Avenue is back for outdoor dining as well as takeout and delivery.

The restaurant, inspired by Italy's Abruzzo region, is serving dinner in Il Campo, its spacious patio and garden seven nights a week, doing brunch on weekends and making house-made prepared foods to go. Look for live music on Friday and Saturday nights
Le Virtu | Facebook
1927 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, Pa. 19148
There's a new exhibition at West Chester University that is a stunning showcase of post-consumer waste. It's called Carnival of Ruin and includes costumes, sets and props made from thousands of plastic bags, soda cans, hula hoops, bottle caps and repurposed clothing.

The works were done by associate professors in the Department of Theatre & Dance.

Carnival of Ruin | Facebook
John H. Baker Gallery, E.O Bull Center for the Arts
2 E. Rosedale Ave., West Chester, Pa. 19383
March 22-26, 11am-3pm by appointment only
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