Food and Drink

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Chef’s Special

Angela Rampula gets depressed at this time of year. You could call it a seasonal disorder: It’s because her two sons, ages 15 and 17, don’t go trick-or-treating anymore. And she misses the challenge of creating new costumes and making the boys look oh-so-cute.

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Tir na nOg Bar & Grill

Within the past few years, a number of old Center City office buildings or manufacturing centers have been completely gutted and turned into luxury apartments. Among these are the former Bell Atlantic Building at 19th and Arch, the Daroff Building at 23rd and Walnut and several buildings in Old City. Plans are under way to turn the After Six Building at 22nd and Market into apartments, with Trader Joe’s, the California-based gourmet grocery chain, slated to move into the ground floor.

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Friday Saturday Sunday

In 1976, Phyllis Richman, restaurant critic and food writer for the Washington Post, wrote an article that had a huge impact on the Philadelphia restaurant scene. She said there were four great cuisines in the world: “French, Italian, Chinese and Philadelphia.”

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Chef’s Special

You think monsters and ghosts and goblins are scary? Well for some of us, baking a cake is even more frightening.

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Chef’s Special

Monica Exum admits there’s never a dull moment in her life. With a husband and two daughters, ages 12 and 15, and a career as an educational coordinator at Southwest Community Services, she’s always running somewhere.

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Dmitri’s

Sometimes a movie opens to lukewarm reviews but somehow becomes a box-office hit. This is exactly what happened when My Big Fat Greek Wedding opened six months ago, and it’s still playing strong in theaters across the country. My friend Effie, a first-generation Greek American, was incredulous when she discovered I hadn’t seen the film.

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Full plate

Although all kinds of stores have been doing business in South Philly for many years, the area is truly famous for its restaurants.

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Rembrandt’s

When I moved to Logan Square 23 years ago, neighboring Fairmount was a sleepy residential neighborhood. There were no restaurants to speak of, no grocery stores or drug stores. The great bulk of Eastern State Penitentiary loomed at the end of North 22nd Street and was shut tight. The only store was a 7-Eleven in The Philadelphian.

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Chef’s Special

For Kelly McEntire, life is a bowl of pumpkins — carving pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin salsa, pumpkin seeds and, of course, her all-time favorite, pumpkin pie. She likes fall, basically, because she likes pumpkin everything.

Except store-bought pies. Though she admits she’s not a baker herself, McEntire prefers the homemade variety. But this teacher by day and waitress by night is rarely home, and often has to go pie-less for weeks at a time.

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Marra’s

In 1927, Salvatore and Chiarina Marra opened an Italian-American restaurant in South Philadelphia and christened it Marra’s. For 75 years, this well-known trattoria, famous for its luscious brick-oven-baked pizza, has been owned and operated by four generations of the Marra and D’Adamo families.

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