The Good, the Bad, the Tasty

This week is buzzing with restaurant openings, closings, and foodie fun for February. PLUS: Make your own marshmallows!

Cantina Feliz's clams and chorizo appetizer, with roasted peppers, cilantro and jalapeños. (Photo by Dana McElroy)Hello, Farewell, Good Buy

There’s a lot of restaurant buzz these days, with openings, closings and a fine “Swine and Cheese” dinner.

Georges Perrier has his sights set on Narberth, where I hear he’ll open a bakery called The Art of Bread by Georges Perrier. I can’t wait for some baguettes straight from the oven!

A brand-new Mexican restaurant has surfaced in the old Alison Two location in Fort Washington. Cantina Feliz is the name of the eatery, owned by two former employees of Jose Garces—so you know it’ll be delicious. The menu is heavy on tacos, seafood and other Mexican favorites, all with a refined twist.

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Look for a New American eatery by Chip Roman of Conshohocken’s Blackfish to open at the old ¡Cuba! site in Chestnut Hill. He’s teaming up with former Lacroix chef Jason Cichonski.

In closing news, Simon Pearce has decided to shut down his West Chester restaurant and retail shop. And the Solaris Grille in Chestnut Hill has also decided to close.

To end this entry on a good note, I suggest chef Michael Falcone‘s Funky Lil’ Kitchen in Pottstown, where he is throwing a Swine and Cheese dinner on Feb. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. The four-course tapas-style meal will include ribollita soup; ‘Nduja (spicy salami) with bread; cheese; salad; pig’s head porchetta with brussels sprouts, potatoes and a mustard cream sauce; plus an apple-and-cheddar tart with local honey. Don’t forget to bring your own wine! $30. Call (610) 326-7400 or visit funkylilkitchen.com.
 

Sweet Love

The Circle of Love gift box.

Heart Day will be here before we know it, so start thinking about gifts for your loved ones. The Flour Pot in Ambler is a favorite for specialty cookies that look like works of art and taste absolutely fantastic, too—they even made it onto Oprah’s “O List.” Owned by a delightful mother-daughter team, this cookie boutique isn’t exactly on the Main Line, but you can order online and have the sweet treats shipped directly to you or that special someone. I love the Circle of Love gift box that comes in batches of six, 12, 16 or 24 cookies, baked to order. There are a variety of Valentine’s Day themes, aside from the traditional heart designs, so visit flourpotcookies.com for more.
 

Marshmallow World

A mug of hot cocoa is a winter staple. I like mine made with skim milk, Godiva’s dark chocolate mix, and a few big marshmallows. My mom recently turned me on to homemade marshmallows, and I haven’t looked back since. They’re easier to make than you’d think, although a little time consuming. The marshmallows here are adapted from the Web blog, Smitten Kitchen. They’re springy, fluffy and absolutely scrumptious.

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Courtesy of Smitten KitchenIngredients (Makes about 96 1-inch cubes)
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tbsps., plus 2 1/2 tsps., unflavored gelatin
• 1 cup cold water, divided
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 2 large egg whites
• 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
• Food coloring like pink for Valentine’s (optional)

Directions
1. Oil the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-by-2-inch metal baking pan, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

2. In the bowl of an electric standing mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water. Let stand to soften.

3. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, the second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate, and boil the mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the sugar mixture over the gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

4. Beat mixture on high speed until white, thick and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes.

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5. In a separate medium bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (and food coloring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and spread evenly. Sift 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar evenly over top.

6. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours or up to one day.

7. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan, and invert the pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of the inverted pan, loosen the marshmallow with fingers and ease it onto the cutting board. With a large knife, trim the edges of marshmallow and cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.

8. Sift the remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallow cubes through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away. The marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature for one week.
 

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!