Friday, March 18, 2011

Fathom Seafood House // Fishtown Just Got Fishier

Well we YoCoPros finally had the chance to check out Fishtown's newest hot spot: Fathom Seafood House. It has been open for about 3 weeks now, and every time we've gone by during those 3 weeks the place has looked packed! Where is this place? Well you can find it across the street from Johnny Brenda's on the corner of Shackamaxon Street and Girard Ave. Just a short two block walk from the Girard El stop folks, easy peasy. We lived on Shack for a year, and we've seen this space transform a few times, a small gallery space Fishtown Airways, then a short lived consignment shop that was gone with a blink of an eye. Then the space sat vacant and we really wished that something great and more stable would move in. Well our wish has been granted: Fathom Seafood House has moved in and we think is here to stay!

We went to check it out on a Saturday night at about 9pm; hopeful that the wait wouldn't be too long... when we walked in we were told it was about an hour wait and that they could take our cell number and call us when our table was ready. We decided to wait it out at the bar (which was also packed, but we lucked out and got to sit down in about 10 minutes.) The cell phone call back concerns us a bit, for us local Fishtownians we know were to go to wait, but the crowd that seemed to be a Fathom that night (Society Hill/ Main Liners) probably would not.

Mike Stollenwerk of Fish and Little Fish, has done it again. As their slogan states on the front page of their website: "Damn Good Seafood." Not only is there a great menu available that consist of locally sourced dishes and sustainable seafood. There is also a Raw Bar, that has lobster, oysters, clams and shrimp. The menu has some great items, some common and some new alternatives: (This list is just a few items that are available.)

Cod Pierogies
bacon, onion, brown butter

Blue Bay Mussels
coconut, panang curry, lemongrass

Fathom Fries
spiced crab gravy, cheese curd

Lobster Grilled Cheese
sourdough, fontina

Smoked Marlin Tacos
crispy shallot, pickled jalapeƱo

Salmon Burger
maple-mustard, arugula, potato roll

Swordfish Schnitzel
red bliss potato salad

Lets start off by saying that we love mussels and as soon as we saw them on the menu we went for them: Blue Bay Mussels ($9.00), along with that we ordered a side of Old Bay Fries ($3, and a staple of Philly cuisine) and finally we couldn't resist that nights special of Dungess Crab ($8.00). To follow up the food we drank pints of PBC's Walt Wit and Kenzinger, respectably at $4 and $3 a pop. The mussels were fresh, and while they didn't come with a lot of broth like we like, the flavor packed a punch. The dungess crab special, although very messy, was absolutely delicious. So much so that we had to get a second order to indulge ourselves. The fries were a great complement to the meal, but nothing special. We loved not only the food, but the prices. Food was reasonably priced especially when you realize how fresh everything is. The beer menu was vast and affordable, and the day PBR reaches over three dollars in Fishtown is the day we know to move out of the neighborhood.

We have to say there were only two things that disappointed us. First the restaurant is very small, which means there will ALWAYS be a wait if it continues to stay this popular, and secondly the crowd. So lets touch upon the first; upon entering Fathom you will find a long and narrow dining area with laid back modern decor. Seating to your left, consists of simple tables and chairs with every inch maximized for seating. To your right you will find three massive marble topped tables and chairs that are equally as large. These tables seem almost out of place and we saw chairs bumping into each other and waitresses dodging patrons and furniture. Onto the bar, well what can we say other than besides the food the best part of the entire establishment. The bar spans almost the entire length of the restaurant and seats 24 comfortably, we were even impressed by the under counter hooks for coats and purses. Of course the large selection of spirits and the 10 beers on tap did not hurt either.

Our second issue didn't so much disappoint us as it did surprise us. We were first a little confused by the unusual traffic going on outside of the restaurant. At one point we saw several double parked cars, people stopping short in traffic and a Mercedes backing down a full block on Girard. (Good thing there wasn't a Trolly coming.) Upon entering the restaurant we noticed an overwhelming amount of older individuals and couples that clearly were not from the area. We know Mike Stollenwerk most likely has a following and we realize that the first few weeks of business would generate a buzz, especially since the food is great. Once we sat down to eat and enjoy the great food we saw a large man (Eagles offensive line large) posted outside the door wearing all black. After a few minutes, we realized he was the door security which we found to be not only strange, but very much out of place. It had us wondering why he was there? And why would he be dressed as if we were entering a club in Old City? Maybe it was to make the people we mentioned above feel safe in Fishtown, but if that was the case we think it could have been done in a more professional manner. We don't think a security guard outside Fathom would be inviting for anyone, regardless of where your live or where you are from.

As a whole the restaurant was great, good variety, fresh food, decent prices and of course a great location. The bad, the overall size we realize there isn't a whole lot you can do other than make some table changes. The clientele; doesn't bother us unless it creates unnecessary issues or awkwardness as in the case with the crazy traffic and menacing 6'4 350lb security guard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patty's Irish Potato Candy // From Philly?

It's true - those weird kinda gross looking candies that you see around the grocery stores this time of year are a Philly tradition! We've lived in Philly for about 8 years now, and have never tried them!! Irish Potato Candy is a traditional Philly confection that is not Irish and does not contain any potato, but is a cocoa powder and cinnamon covering over a coconut nougat made to look like a potato. Oh Ryan's of Boothwyn, PA makes the largest distribution of Irish Potatoes shipping about 80,000 pounds to major chains and smaller candy stores mostly in the Philly area.

And yes they are tasty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Art For Your Kitchen

We put art everywhere in our house, and we love screenprints and original handmade pieces.

When we decided to freshen our kitchen up with some new paint, we wanted to find artwork that could blend with our contemporary kitchen, and our collection of retro kitchen collections.
Here are some we loved and wanted to share with you!

By Mikey Burton

'In My Kitchen'
By Coverpage

'Time for Coffee'
By Fred DiMeglio

'Grilled Cheez'
By Jill Klienhans

'Tea Stack'
By Peskimo

'Food for Thought'
By Claudia Pearson

'Retro Kitchen'
By AntiGraphic / Patrick Edgeley

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Overpriced Oasis or NoLibs Hotspot

Well, for those of you who are disappointed over the fact that almost all the galleries and restaurants that opened when The Piazza at Schmidts debuted two years ago are either gone, or have relocated within the same area, so are we. Not to mention we are still waiting for the Pathmark to open, but when word about the A&P Bankruptcy came out everyone wondered what that would mean for the project. In an article that was posted by PhillyNow back in December;

"Bart Blatstein, President of Tower Investments, who owns the property returned our call and assures us all plans for the 2nd and Girard Pathmark are on target. In fact, he says, the Pathmark on Girard is the “flagship for the company, at least as the company sees itself as. Work is continuing, it’s almost done and it’ll be open in a couple months.”

Less then a week away from March, and we haven't seen any progress at the site.

So this leads us to the latest news coming to NoLibs: Arrow Swim Club. According to the website, membership for the season which runs from May 1 - September 30 is $1,000.00. In this economy, one has to wonder if your target area really has this kind of $$$$ to just kick around. The application fee alone is $100.00, which if accepted goes towards your membership fee. Over 21 only, no children, no pets, so of course anyone 'undesirable' will be easily weeded out.

List of amenities:
  1. 1,380 square foot, 4 1/2' deep pool
  2. Live DJ & music entertainment
  3. Courtesy flavor ices & refreshing cold towels offered by pool attendants throughout the day
  4. Inside the cabanas, members & their guests are treated to:
    > 32" flat screen television
    > Blu-ray player
    > Mini-fridge
    > iPod dock with speakers
    > Lush modular furniture
    > Ceiling fan
    > Electronic gaming system
    > Laptop safe
    > Wireless internet
    > Moroccan-inspired ottomans & stools
    > Personal waitress service
    > Bottle service
    > Reserved lounge chairs
  5. Valet or Complimentary Self-Parking
  6. Luxurious locker rooms
  7. Spa
  8. Outdoor bar and patio seating
  9. Gift Shop

According to Google maps this club will be located right across the street from the Piazza where some old abandoned buildings once stood.

Just a thought, maybe ole Bart Blat should try filling and finishing his other projects before everything comes crumbling down and takes NoLibs with it. #JustSayin

Monday, February 21, 2011

Idea, Paper, Craft

Time to kick origami up a few notches with PaperCraft? Hell yea, its become fairly popular for those creative minds to design characters and random objects only in 3D form, using only your creativity, paper and a printer. The objective is to design an object, for example a tank, draw it using an adobe product of choice and print it out. Now you can start folding your paper in order to create your 3D look, keep in mind if your doing this from scratch it will take a bit of planning. But here at YoCoPros, we of course will always provide you with some sweet resources. For one, check out this bad ass Mario papercraft project that went above and beyond anything we seen before. Second, for some awesome samples and ideas we highly recommend Cubecraft. In addition to that, there is an online museum of papercraft and of course every enthusiast needs a blog.

So Read, Learn, Make...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fishtown Just Got Fishier

So the word on the street is that Fathom Seafood Bar is opening this Monday 2/21/2011!!! The spot? The corner of Girard Ave. and Shackamaxon Street. - right across the street from Johnny Brenda's. This little joint is the mastermind of Chef-owner Mike Stollenwerk (You might know him from Center City's Fish and Little Fish located in Queen's Village.) We are super stoked to check this place out Monday and report back to all our YoCoPro fans with a review, and pictures!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Taste the Rainbow

Colors have a huge impact on our everyday life, from the minute we wake up our mood is effected by our surroundings and the time of the year. Is it sunny or dark and stormy? These differences have enormous impacts on our attitudes, and decisions we make during the day and throughout our lives. Colors not only effect you as a person but they have an impact on others around us, in nature colors often times are warning signs, for example its a general rule that the most brightly colored frogs are the most deadly to us. In other cases birds fan out colored feathers to attract a mate. How the human responds to color is called Color Psychology, and fields of both business and advertising have become experts at specifically targeting an audience. This is even true with logo design, check out this comparison of major companies and the colors they use. When you get a chance do a little reading about web colors and usability, its amazing how a simple logo or background could change the meaning and mood of a site. In reality color theory is a whole expertise on its own, outside of general design. A great tool that we use for designing or for some inspiration is the Adobe Kuler site, it allows you to play with color sets and create your own color scheme or sample those that others have created. And if your just playing around on your computer and need to find out what a particular color your looking at is try this handy color picker site.

Words of wisdom: When I doubt about a specific color choice, take a step back and taste the rainbow.