philly area food & drink writer meet-up

Last Saturday, Wendy Kirby, of La Phemme Phoodie, and Philly Homegrown organized a Philly food & drink blogger meet-up at R2L.

lobster mac & cheese

Chef Daniel Stern prepared a menu of several small bites for us to try along with two cocktails. Afterwards, Caroline Bean and Alethia Calbeck of Visit Philly spoke about Philly Homegrown and the new Philly Foodspotting guides. To wrap things up, local photographer, Eric Mencher, gave his thoughts and advice on food photography and how to get better. In the end we had the opportunity to shoot the food at our own leisure before sampling some of the desserts.

amy, ryan, vinny & melissa

*Above picture in blogs (from L to R): Apples and Cheese, Please, In Search of Beer, Zen and Potatoes, and Yum Marks the Spot.

I had a lot of fun at the event. The view from R2L was one of the best, if not the best, view I’ve ever had of Philly. The food was tasty, the speakers were informative, and it was great to meet other fellow bloggers in the area! Thanks so much to Wendy, Chef Daniel Stern & the R2L staff, Caroline & Alethia of Philly Homegrown/Visit Philly, and Eric Mencher!

*Top photo is of a chocolate peanut butter cup.

R2L also serves a burger during weekday lunch hours! Definitely going to try that at some point!

Two Liberty Place
37th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Here are a few other photos:

crisp risotto over truffle aioli



jen carroll’s goodbye dinner

Last Wednesday was Chef Jen Carroll’s last day at 10 Arts. It was also the Philly stop on the Celebrity Chef Tour. To celebrate Jen’s last day, there was a reception followed by a seven course dinner.

Local Philly chefs and mixologists contributed to the reception. The chefs who helped out were Marcie Turney (Barbuzzo), Mike Solomonov (Zahav), David Katz (Meme), Akiko Moorman (Hapa Kitchen), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga), and Jeff Michaud (Osteria). These chefs served a variety of canapes consisting of foie gras soup, Wagyu beef, lamb croquettes, and sweetbreads, just to name a few.

A couple local mixologists were present during the reception. Katie Loeb of the Oyster House made an Autumn Fizz consisting of Mango vodka, Laird’s 7 year apple brandy, lime juice, housemade orgeat, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, black walnut bitters, club soda, and nutmeg. Other mixologists in attendance were John Connor (10 Arts), Al Sotack (Franklin Mortgage), Christina Tessaro (London Grill), and Phoebe Esmon (The Farmer’s Cabinet).

Chef Jen Carroll served the first course, a yellow fin tuna with orange, ginger, and white miso. It was paired with The Marquis de Lafayette Cocktail which consisted of Plymouth gin, cilantro shrubs, and prosecco.

The second course was Fermin Iberico pork with California caviar, and Greek yogurt paired with a Segura Viudas Rose. This course was prepared by Chef Victor Albisu of BLT Steak in Washington DC.

Chef Eli Kirshtein, contestant of Top Chef: Las Vegas, prepared the third course of Marvesta shrimp with whipped cauliflower and piment d’espelette. Kirshtein’s dish was paired with a 2009 Domaine Serene Chardonnay.

The fourth course was prepared by Chef Adam Sobel of Bourbon Steak in Washington DC. Sobel served sturgeon poached in duck fat with apples, chanterelles, and baby turnip. The sturgeon was paired with a 2009 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir.

Course five consisted of Lola duck breast, Hudson Valley foie gras, and duck confit crepinette with rhubarb and parsnip mousseline. Chef Michael Ginor of Hudson Valley Foie Gras and New York State Foie Gras prepared this course. It was paired with a 2008 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir.

Chef Scott Drewno of Wolfgang Puck’s The Source in Washington DC prepared the sixth course of Creekstone Farms “szechuan style” filet with kabocha squash puree and caramelized shallot sauce. The filet was paired with a 2007 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon.

The dessert course was prepared by 10 Arts’s own Monica Glass. Glass served a pumpkin budino with brown butter, bourbon, apple, hazelnut, and sour cream sorbet. Dessert was paired with a 2009 Villa Rosa Moscato d’Asti.

jen & monica

It was a fantastic night of fun and delicious eats. I wish Jen the best of luck in the future and look forward to seeing what she has up her sleeve!

If I only had enough in me to make it to the after party. I heard it was crazy…

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2011 meme pig dinner

Last night was the third annual pig dinner at Meme. This year the lineup consisted of chefs David Katz (Meme), John Taus (The Corner), Jen Carroll (10 Arts), Monica Glass (10 Arts), Terence Feury (Fork), Mike Solomonov (Zahav), Matt Levin (Adsum), and Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette) with guest sommelier Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud in NYC. The dinner consisted of five courses plus hors d’oeuvres and wine pairings.

The following were the dishes served:

blt cocktail

pork terrine, carolina pork bbq, and pork crepenette (L to R)

The hors d’oeuvres were a pork terrine with toasted brioche and a fig & peach mostarda, carolina pork bbq, and a pork crepenette with a port apple jam from Jen Carroll, David Katz, and John Taus (not sure who made which). The hors d’oeuvres were served with a BLT cocktail.

poached blue point oyster with pork rillons

The first course was from Terence Feury which was a poached blue point oyster with pork rillons and had choron sauce, braised lettuce, herbed bread crumbs, and oven dried tomatoes. The wine pairing for the first course was a 2009 Domaine Pinson Chablis 1er Cru, Mont-de-Milieu.

city ham terrine

The second course was a city ham terrine with swiss chard, challah, hard boiled egg, and pickled vegetables from Mike Solomonov and was paired with a 2010 La Columbera Rosato.

bbq pig tails

The third course was BBQ pig tails from Matt Levin with ranch dressing and smoked cornbread. His course was paired with a 2009 Pichierri Negroamaro del Salento.

prune stuffed pork loin wrapped in bacon

The fourth course was Peter Woolsey’s prune stuffed pork loin wrapped in bacon with grilled vegetables, french gnocchi, shallot cream vinegar, and pork jus paired with a 2009 Le Roc des Anges Cotes du Roussillon Villages


Lastly, the dessert course was Monica Glass’s melon with candied headcheese, prosciutto consume, and prosciutto gel served with a 2010 Macarini Moscato d’Asti.

The dinner was fantastic and full of porky goodness. Make sure you don’t miss this next year!

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2011 philadelphia vendy awards

2011 philly vendys
This past Saturday was the first annual Vendy Awards for Philadelphia! I remember attending last year’s Vendys in NYC, and they announced that Philly was going to have their first in 2011. Well, I never forgot and was certainly looking forward to this.

2011 philly vendys - gigi and big r
There were a total of 8 trucks nominated. The 8 trucks were: Cucina Zapata (Thai/Mexican), Gigi and Big R (Caribbean/American Soul Food), Guapos Tacos (Garces’s taco truck), King of Falafel (Middle Eastern), La Copine (Brunch), Magic Carpet Foods (Vegetarian), Sugar Philly (Desserts), and Sweet Box (Cupcakes).

the judges' table

Three awards were up for grabs on Saturday, the Vendy Cup, Best Dessert, and People’s Choice. To decide the winners, a large panel of judges included Mayor Michael Nutter, Chef Jen Carroll of 10 Arts, Chef Mike Solomonov of Zahav, Drew Lazor of Philadelphia’s City Paper, Brian McManus of Philadelphia Weekly, Jamie Shanker of Midtown Lunch Philadelphia, and Lindsay Lidge, wife of Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge and The Food Trust partner.

crispy mahi taco from guapos tacos

Lots of great food was served such as a soul food sampler from Gigi and Big R, a mahi taco from Guapos, falafel from Magic Carpet and King of Falafel, tacos from Cucina Zapata, macarons from Sugar Philly, and cupcakes from Sweet Box.

2011 philly vendy cup winners - gigi and big r

The winners were Gigi and Big R for the Vendy Cup, Sweet Box for Best Dessert, and Cucina Zapata for People’s Choice.

At last year’s Vendy’s I didn’t get to try some food since some trucks ran out. It happened again this year! I heard some great things about Sugar Philly’s salted caramel macarons and I had none of it. This just means I’m going to have to get over there on my own and get em!

I’d definitely like to see this event grow next year with more trucks and more food. I had an awesome time and look forward to next year’s!

All the proceeds of the Philadelphia Vendys benefited The Food Trust. The Food Trust is holding another Night Market featuring more Philly food trucks soon, go check it out!

Check out more photos after the jump:

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down the shore 2 – the zahav boat

Last Thursday, Zahav held their 2nd annual Down the Shore party. This year, the theme was The Zahav Boat so the staff were dressed like shipmates and all guests were lei’d upon entry.

my boarding ticket to the zahav boat

Down the Shore 2 featured an all-star chef lineup consisting of Pierre Calmels (Bibou), Jen Carroll (10 Arts), Monica Glass (10 Arts), David Katz (Meme), John Taus (The Corner), Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette), Terence Feury (Fork), and of course, 2011 JBF Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic winner Mike Solomonov (Zahav).

woolsey’s black swan

Starting at 6 pm, guests were served several different small plates during the cocktail hour. In addition to the food, Harpoon beers were being served as was several different cocktails. The dishes the chefs served during the cocktail hour were as follows: Calmels – bouillabaise, poached dorade w/ lemon verbena; Carroll – scallop ceviche w/ toasted coconut; Katz – pork souvlaki; Taus – snapper fish sandwich w/ soda bread & garlic aioli; Woolsey – White Swan (cheese puff w/ beef & mushroom) & Black Swan (crab salad w/ tarragon mayo); Feury – lobster roll w/ pickled cucumbers.

chef moni in the shot room

In the side room, Monica Glass stood her post pouring shots of this delicious mango pina colada through the Zahav Boat ice sculpture. I personally don’t think we should have been limited to shots of this. We should have been getting these by the cupful. I may or may not have.

mike solo’s fried chicken

Once the cocktail hour was over, Mike Solo’s food was placed along the front and everyone formed a line buffet style. The dinner consisted of baked potatoes, salad, ham & pineapple, mac and cheese, eggplant parm sandwiches, and fried chicken. The fried chicken wasn’t a hint to the upcoming Federal Donuts was it??? Hmmmm…. It definitely had to be. It was delicious and had a crunchiness and outside texture that I’ve only experienced eating Korean fried chicken.

key lime pie

After the main course, I was in a food coma. The food was not over though, dessert was being served. Cups of key lime pie and chocolate mousse were being served in addition to cubes of watermelon topped with mint.

#twitterlesspersico & mike solo

It would be an understatement to say that I had an awesome time. The food and drinks were excellent. The chefs and staff were all friendly and were having just as good of a time as the guests were. I also ran into a couple familiar faces and met some new ones. There’s no way you want to miss this party next year. I’m still kind of hating myself for missing last year’s!

Check out the rest of the photos after the jump:

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