Aug 8, 2022 - Food and Drink

Chef's Table with Fishtown Pickle Project

Niki Toscani and Mike Sicinski
Niki Toscani and Mike Sicinski. Photo courtesy of Mike Prince

Niki Toscani and Mike Sicinski are a pickle power couple.

State of play: The husband-and-wife team are the owners of Fishtown Pickle Project, where they have been selling small-batch jars of pickles since in 2018.

  • They moved to a larger space in the same Northeast Philadelphia site earlier this year, hired more staff and invested in new equipment.
  • The move, they say, allows them to double — or triple — their pickle output and help grow their retail partnerships.

We asked Niki and Mike a few questions for our culinary advice series, Chef's Table:

Must-have tool in your home kitchen:

Niki: I love the microplane for fruit zest and cheese toppings. Also, a huge fan of blenders.

Mike: A sharp, 8-inch knife!

Go-to grocery store:

N: Riverwards Produce. We go there for quality produce and locally produced goods.

M: We also shop from some of our retail partners for locally produced goods. We often purchase our meat at Triple C Angus Farms and seafood at Fishtown Seafood.

Most overlooked spice:

N: Sumac!

M: I really love cardamom. You can use either in savory or sweet application, and in dry rubs, marinades and more.

Favorite home-cooked meal:

N: Oooh, it kind of depends on my mood. But for nostalgia and comfort, I love Cuban black beans like my abuela used to make. For quick, easy and tasty, give me all the tacos! Corn tortillas or bust.

M: Breaded pork chops, shake and bake style like my mom used to make.

Favorite local restaurant and favorite dish:

N: One of our favorite local spots is Memphis Taproom, which has my favorite wings in the city: pilsner-brined hot wings. Love their kale salad too!

M: Goldie. Gotta go with the combo meal with amba sauce, shwarma fries and a Turkish coffee tehina shake.

Quick tip for at-home cooks:

N: As a dietitian, [this is] one of my favorite tips for getting tasty meals on the table fast.

  • Spend 1-2 hours each week prepping a protein, veggies and a starch (potatoes, rice, etc.).
  • The key is to store everything separately, so you can throw them together quickly during the week into different dishes: tacos, wraps, salads or pasta!
  • That way you'll never get bored of leftovers.

M: I am quite the opposite. I love a good one-pot meal and cooking a lot of that meal.

  • But they say, opposites attract.

How to unplug:

N: I exercise and do yoga often. I love to spend time practicing yoga and meditation at my local sangha Motherheart in Fishtown.

M: The truth is I watch "The Office" or play video games. But both of those require a plug.

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