Food and Drink

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Indonesia Restaurant

It is somewhat comforting to partake of a meal whose roots date back more than 300 years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Dutch conquered and populated Indonesia, a group of 13,000 islands in the Indian Ocean. Although the Chinese, Portuguese, Indians and British also ruled these islands from time to time, the Dutch created the “rijsttafel” (pronounced RIHS-tah-fuhl), which is Dutch for “rice table.”

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Chef’s Special

Tom Kovich and his wife Ellen have a deal — she cooks Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for 20 people each year and he is in charge of meals for the next week. It’s not a bad arrangement, except that Kovich isn’t allowed to just order in every night. He has to actually cook, and find creative things to do with all those leftover “trimmings.”

Kovich usually winds up cheating and making lots of turkey sandwiches, sometimes with disastrous results. Like the time he tried to make turkey melts by substituting mashed potatoes for cheese and heating them in the toaster oven. (Not even the family dog would eat that one.)

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Jones

Jones. A funny name for a restaurant, no? Jones is a common Welsh surname. But there is nothing common about Jones, Stephen Starr’s newest dining spot at 700 Chestnut St. I was clueless as to why he selected this name; why not Smith, for example?

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Mixto

Whenever my husband Edward and I visit our cousins in Miami Beach, we always head over to Little Havana for honest-to-goodness Cuban food. South Florida is filled with marvelous, inexpensive South American and Cuban restaurants. The flavors of Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Brazil can be found in any number of grocery stores, shops and places to eat.

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Chef’s Special

Alice Fagley is well-liked around the neighborhood. And while we’re sure it’s because she’s the block captain and a generally nice person, it probably doesn’t hurt that she gives out sweet treats fresh from her oven.

Fagley, of Newkirk Street, says she often prepares “goodies” for her neighbors and friends during the holiday season, and her favorite recipe is also one of her oldest concoctions — Uncle Ed’s carrot cake.

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Show your better sides

Last week, I wrote about how to roast the perfect turkey and offered recipes for cranberry sauce and the all-American pecan pie. A reader recently asked me how to prepare candied sweet potatoes. Sure, we can open a can or microwave frozen candied sweets. But since I am giving you recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we will cook everything from scratch.

Sweet potatoes and yams are different. Sweet potatoes have a yellow flesh, while yams are deep orange. Garnet yams have a red skin and a luscious flavor. Sweetening agents run the gamut from brown sugar to honey to molasses and real maple syrup. With apologies to Log Cabin and Mrs. Butterworth, neither are pure maple syrup. There is some maple syrup in the bottle or some maple flavoring, but these products are loaded with water, sugar, artificial color and flavor and high-fructose corn syrup.

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Il Villaggio

Il Villaggio
782 S. Second St.
215-627-7701
Credit cards accepted
Wheelchair-accessible

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Chef’s Special

Cooking is only a hobby for Frank Lacey, but make no mistake: He doesn’t mess around in the kitchen.

The Manton Street resident says he doesn’t get to hover over his stove nearly as much as he’d like. When he does, though, he stirs up a fiery family favorite he likes to call “Pennsport comfort food” — a spicy chili that warms even the coldest of bodies and hearts.

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Chef’s Special

Now that it’s officially cold-weather season, most parents instinctively start to serve up warm, nourishing dishes to keep the kids cozy.

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Taste of Thai

Taste of Thai
101 N. 11th St.
215-629-9939
Credit cards accepted
Wheelchair-accessible
Classic Thai cuisine

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