Weekday Update: Feastival 2011

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of volunteering with Corie Moscow of Gloss PR and her fabulous team at the 2nd Annual Feastival. Co-hosted by the gastronomical trifecta of Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov, + Audrey Claire Taichman, Feastival is a celebration of culinary arts, highlighting the talent of Philadelphia’s top 75 restaurants and their chefs. It also stands as a benefit for Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, but based on the number of times I was asked who the “charity” was, I’m pretty sure no one was really there for that reason. But I digress…

For most of the afternoon set-up, I checked in restaurants with my longtime catering pal, Harry Spivak, making sure everyone unloaded quickly and was situated at their stations. And along with that job, came dealing with your stereotypical chef personality traits – asking where their dedicated freezer space was (in a pier warehouse…), getting cursed out in a mix of English & French (guess who!), and endless inquiries of when the bar would be open. I’m used to it, enjoy it to some sadistic degree, and took it all in stride as the event professional that I am.

Before I knew it, I was speed-changing in a Porto-o-potty and slapping on a crimson-lipped smile as everyone from Rittenhouse “socialites” to CEOs of XYZ Company to the ex-Governor (who remembered who I was!) poured into the open-air Pier 9. The space really transformed as cocktail party met perfomance art – acrobats trapezing over a glass-topped bar, ballerinas floating above the who’s who of our great city, and the three belles of Strange Fruit teetering next to my soon-to-be-new-addiction, Federal Donuts. I soaked up what I could while I checked in press for most of the night, taking an awkward pride in knowing who most of the local food writers were before they could even get their name out. Any of you guys/gals hiring?

As the night wound down, I worked the room with requests to return all Feastival coats along with gift bags for the chefs. The busy bee that I was, I actually enjoyed eating with my eyes as I scurried past the remaining samples at each station. The crowd dwindled, the chefs migrated towards the bar, and I was officially relieved of a great day of helping to make some serious magic happen. So, I migrated to the bar, too… and not only because I needed a drink after a long day, but because 2 of my favorite Philly bartenders were pouring the booze. Colin, the no-longer bearded (sad face!) GM from Franklin Mortgage (the only bar I’d ever drink at if I could afford to), was on hand with the promise of whiskey. He took the edge off with a strong pour of Jim Beam’s Devils Cut in a martini glass, the last of the clean options. And you know I can’t have whiskey up without a beer… or beers. Thanks to my old co-worker and favorite day bartender from the Belgian Cafe, Lisa, I cruised through 2 Yard’s Pale Ales to end a perfect night.

Weekend Update: Labor… er… Memorial Day!

Whoa, summer! Slow your roll! I can’t believe it’s already Labor Day and I’m just now getting around to posting about Memorial Day. Dre + I aren’t up to much this holiday weekend so I’m happy to throwback to one of the best BBQs I attended all summer – Jenny C’s White Trash BBQ! I was sort of in “introvert mode” that day so I just laid back, shot some photos, and enjoyed the delicious food into the suburban Jersey night. Of course, I showed up with some solid BBQ staples and was thrilled they were such crowd pleasers. How can you go wrong with deviled eggs and rice krispie treats? You can’t… and I did them oh-so-right!

Chipotle Deviled Eggs FTW

Now let’s take a hot minute to talk about my rice krispie treats. I discovered a super simple way to make them Snap, Krackle, and mother-effing POP like no other rice krispie treat before it. Melt some butter in a sauce pan, melt it some more w. a few swirls of the pan, melt it until it starts to brown but careful enough that it doesn’t burn… and proceed with your usual back-of-the-cereal-box recipe. Brown butter instills a distinct nuttiness that no one can deny. Extra marshmallows are a no brainer, as well, and a sprinkle of sea salt to finish them like a salted caramel doesn’t hurt either. Steal my secrets. Do it. Everyone will love you!

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats 

See the rest of my Memorial Day photos on my Flickr photostream….
including Gilly Jo’s Grilled Cinnamon Pineapple and the 100ft Slip + Slide!

VDay Din: Crab Cakes + Dill Scalloped Potatoes + Asparagus a la Dre <3

Last Valentine’s Day, Dre outdid himself with delicious fried chicken cordon bleu and asparagus-champagne risotto. This year was even better, as Dre spent the afternoon crafting another impressive dinner. I may let him take the reigns in the kitchen more often!

Crab Cakes + Dill Scalloped Potatoes + Asparagus

VDay Bfast: Pecan Bananas Foster French Toast a la Dre <3

Each Valentine’s Day, Dre takes over the kitchen and cooks up his own food love for me. This year was no different as I waited anxiously for breakfast in bed. Mmmm…

Pecan Bananas Foster French Toast in bed

Summer Update: No Excuse Blogging

66 days of not a single blog post… and I know I owe you an explanation. I guess I owe myself one, too. It’s that point in summer when the reality check hits and it feels like it ended before it even started. This summer has been a whirlwind.

I’ve spent the last 2.5 months getting acquainted with a new company, position(s), coworkers, and work/life balance.  The work part is there. I’m energized with the challenge and excitement of being the new Director of Sales & Marketing (and interim Private Event Planner) at Marathon, though I’m seriously lacking in personal time. It’s an amazing experience seeing what the Borish family has built over the last 26 years and the love & time they still put into its success every single day. The first inspiration for this post.

One July morning, I was cruising the timeline on Marathon’s twitter (Follow me/us @eatmarathon) and came across @jgibbard’s FourSquare check in at the Starbuck‘s across the street from our 1818 Market location. That’s a no go! I sent him a quick @reply suggesting he scoot over to Marathon next time for a $1 cup of our locally-roasted Chestnut Hill Coffee, gratuitous #hashtag included. Jeff thought it was a pretty rad way of inviting someone into our restaurant and started popping in to Marathon for lunch.

Today, we finally got some face-time to share our ideas & experiences with social media. During our lunch, I brought up my food blogging, or lack thereof this summer. Jeff’s natural response – He couldn’t imagine not making the time to work on his blog. It means that much to him. And it reminded me that mine means that much to me, too.

So here goes, on the 66th day:

after Easy Mac for dinner (2 nights in a row)

a new career

a missed 1-year blogiversary

and a scorching hot summer

I’m done with the excuses.

Check out Jeff’s words of  social media wisdom on his blog!
Social Media Philanthropy

Weekend Update: Italian Market Festival

After our Spring Patio Brunch, Kerry came to scoop Tom, Dre, & me to join her at the Italian Market Festival. 9th Street was alive with South Philadelphians, music, arts, &, of course, amazing food! We settled our brunch over a few beers and perused our snack options. Dessert was up first! The Italian Market has always had a battle of the cannoli between Isgro Pasticceria on 10th & Christian and Termini Bros. on 7th & Dickinson. This day, Termini Bros. wins with their fresh “filled to order” cannoli! The cream was a cool, decadent on a hot South Philly day.

Termini Bros. Cannoli - Filled to order with a smile!

Termini Bros. Cannoli

Making our way back down 9th street, we relocated the impressive Trompo of marinated pork for some tasty Tacos al Pastor. Again, “to order” service with a smile!

Trompo of Al Pastor on the Italian Market

The spiced pork was moist & tender and brimmed with flavor & depth. What I was truly impressed by, however, were the tortillas. Each order didn’t just call for hand-shaved pork, but also hand-pressed & fresh grilled corn tortillas. To top them off, literally, were fresh cilantro, mango, and salsas. Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla (9th b/t Ellsworth & Federal Sts.) “officially” wins best tacos in Philly!

Tacos al Pastor

UPDATE: Special thanks to Drew Lazor, of CityPaper’s Mealticket food blog fame, for the shout-out! Without you, dude, we wouldn’t be able to do what we all do so well.

Italian Market + Food Love = Al Pastor Lust

Weekend Update: Spring Patio Brunch

The last few weeks were a whirlwind as I finished up my last few weeks at my job. I was faced with Sunday as my only day off and was gonna make the best of my 50% of a weekend. Sunday morn, Tom popped over for brunch with champagne in hand. I was stoked to host him & Dre on my cleaned up patio. It was a perfect sunny day over orange raspberry-lemonade mimosas, buttery blueberry pancakes, bacon, & sriracha scrambled eggs with my favorite guys!

Buttery Blueberry Pancakes

L'eggo Tom's pancake!

Dre - picture of confidence in his Sunday whites

My Moufullobacon

Spring Patio Brunch