CUISINE, CULTURE & COMMUNITY Presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier International – Philadelphia

So I heard about a wonderful event happening on Saturday that I wanted to share with you all.  It’s called CUISINE, CULTURE & COMMUNITY: A Global Celebration of Women & Food presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia  Chapter is a talented and philanthropic group of chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, bloggers, media personalities, wine and spirits specialists, educators, nutritionists and farmers, hosting a fundraiser benefiting its Educational, Scholarship and Green Tables initiatives.

Attendees of CUISINE, CULTURE & COMMUNITY: A Global Celebration Of Women & Food will have the opportunity to meet renowned cookbook author, TV personality and current Grand Dame, Nathalie Dupree, who will serve as keynote speaker and sign copies of her new book, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.

The Symposium presenters include flavor expert, Marcia Pelchat (Monell Chemical Senses Center), Amy Hoopes, Chief Marketing Officer, EVP, Global Sales of Wente Family Estates Vineyards, Dame Angie Brown hosts a panel featuring Chef Tia McDonald (The Vetri Foundation for Children) and Delilah Winder on Breaking the Color Barrier in the Kitchen; local legend Chef Georges Perrier and Charlotte Calmels (Bibou) are panelists for Women and Their Role in the French Kitchen, led by Chef Michèle Haines of the Spring Mill Café; and Chef Marta Quintana who will teach a hands-on Cuban Cooking class. Gluten free/vegan baking is also on the menu, served up with a special appearance by Jason Roberts from The Chew.  Underwriting sponsors include ShopRitetm, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, Roland Foods, and ESCA Enterprises, Inc.

WHO: LDEI Philadelphia;

WHAT: CUISINE, CULTURE & COMMUNITY: A Global Celebration of Women & Food

WHERE: The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, 4207 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104

WHEN: Saturday, May 4, 2013 • 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., plus an Afternoon Reception

WHY: To raise funds for LDEI Educational, Scholarship and Green Tables initiatives, as well as shine a light on the many talented individuals working in the culinary, hospitality, farming, beverage and education fields with whom the organization has relationships. And of course, to have lots of fun savoring what the Dames enjoy most: thinking about food.

COST: Registration of $105, includes breakfast, lunch, all sessions & afternoon reception but a promotional price of $75.00 will be offered to all of you! Simply register for the event under the “professional member registration” rate on the website.

This looks like it’s going to be a wonderful event! I hope to see you there!

Knob Creek Bourbon Dinner at Meritage

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an invite-only Bourbon Dinner at Meritage (500 South 20th Street, Philadelphia).  As part of Knob Creek’s new “The Standard” Dinner Series, the world’s best small batch bourbon partners with a local city’s best restaurant to raise some glasses (and the standard for good dining).  We got to learn the rich history of this quintessentially American spirit.  We got to savor the bold, signature flavor of Knob Creek through the signature cocktail and custom bourbon-infused dinner pairing created by Chef Anne Coll.

I have a long list of restaurants in Philadelphia that I want to try, and Meritage has been one of them. So I was very excited to hear that this dinner was going to be held there; I’ve heard wonderful things about Chef Anne Coll.

The Distillery Specialist that dined with us was Theo Rutherford and he did a great job at teaching us about Bourbon. I loved hearing some of his stories! He was very personable and you could just tell that he loves his job!

Bourbon is a type of American Whiskey that is a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. Most brands are produced in Kentucky, but it may be produced anywhere in the United States.

Once it goes through the production process the clear spirit is placed in charred-oak barrels (which can only been used once!) for aging, during which it gains color and flavor from the caramelized sugars in the charred wood. Bourbons gain more color and flavor the longer they mature.

Let’s get to the Food and Bourbon Pairings! The food was absolutely amazing and the flavors were right on  point.

First – let me apologize for the photo quality – the lighting wasn’t that great in the restaurant and I only have my iPhone – so the picture quality isn’t that great. My apologies! [Read more...]

Summer Ale Festival at the Philadelphia Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia ZooThe Summer Ale Festival is back! The Philadelphia Zoo and Rolling Barrel Events are delighted to present the fourth annual Summer Ale Festival 2012.  Experience delicious, sustainable food for over 24 popular local restaurants, entertaining music, majestic animals, and tasty craft beers from over 21 breweries with great friends on Saturday, July 21st from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. (taps close at 9:30 p.m.)  This unique fundraising event combines great seasonal ales, local cuisine and animals from all over the world! Tickets are on sale now and are available exclusively here and are not available at the entrance.

 “The Summer Ale Festival is one of the best events held at the Zoo. Where else can guests stroll through a beautiful garden, eat delicious food, drink amazing beers all while seeing majestic animals in their beautiful habitats. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience,” says Amy Shearer, Chief Marketing Officer.

Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia ZooCraft beers will be provided by Boxcar Brewing Company, Dock Street Brewery, Fegley’s Brew Works, Lancaster Brewing Company, Magner’s Irish Cider, McKenzie’s Brewhouse, Narragansett, River Horse Brewing Company, Sly Fox Brewing Company, Straub Brewery, Triumph Brewery, Twin Lakes Brewing Company, Victory Brewing Company, Cabinet Artisanal, Evil Genius Brewing Company, Manayunk Brewing Company, Roy Pitz Brewing Company, Sixpoint Craft Ales, Round Guys Brewing Company, Old Forge Brewing Company and Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company.

Food will be provided by Chipotle, Melt Down Grilled Cheese, Bourbon Blue, Cupcakes Gourmet, The Couch Tomato Café, Raven Lounge, Devil’s Alley/Smokin’ Betty’s, Winnie’s LeBus, Whisk and Spoon, Lucky Strike, Tommy Gunn’s BBQ, Rembrandt’s, Coco’s, Cavanaugh’s Rittenhouse, Mad Mex, Farmer’s Cabinet, Aramark Catering, Marathon Grill, WaterWorks, Philly Pretzel Factory, Copabanana, Qdoba, La Stanza Restaurant & Catering and The Boilermaker.

Summer Ale Festival Philadelphia ZooIn addition, guests will experience the Trail of the Lorax: a 3-dimensional, interactive experience, in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, that shares the true story of an animal in peril — the endangered orangutan.

Guests are encouraged to buy tickets early, as only a limited number of tickets are available. All tickets include a souvenir tasting mug, on-site parking, and shuttle service to and from 30th Street Station.

  • $95 VIP Tickets (limited tickets available): Includes early admission to the Festival beginning at 6:00 p.m., exclusive access to an air conditioned VIP area in PECO Primate Reserve, beer samples from the region’s newest Nano breweries, and bites from Philadelphia’s finest restaurants.
  • $65 General Admission.
  • $35Designated Driver Ticket: Includes (2) tickets for non-alcoholic beverages (lemonade or ice tea) and access to restaurant sampling stations.
  • $330 Six Pack: (6) general admission tickets at a 15% discount.

The Summer Ale Festival at the Philadelphia Zoo is a rain or shine event.

  ** This event is limited to those 21 years of age or older (children are not permitted). ID must be presented with the ticket to enter**

 About The Philadelphia Zoo:

America’s first zoo and one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. The Zoo, fulfilling its mission of conservation, science, education and recreation, supports and engages in conservation efforts to protect endangered species around the world. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at

***The photos above are courtesy of the Philadelphia Zoo***

Dîner en Blanc is coming to Philadelphia!

Dîner en Blanc

From global phenomenon to most sought after ‘secret,’ Dîner en Blanc takes hold in a Philadelphia public space for the first time this summer.   This très chic picnic, imported from Paris, is part mystery tour, part pop-up feast and part je ne sais quoi.  On Thursday, August 23, 2012, culinary and culture enthusiasts dressed in white will converge upon a secret locale for an unforgettable evening of elegance, beauty and magic.

“Philadelphia is a city full of life with a passion and appreciation for food, tradition and culture which makes it a perfect backdrop for Dîner en Blanc,”said Natanya DiBona, Philadelphia Co-Chair. “The goal is to spend an extraordinary night — an unconventional picnic — and gather Philadelphians in a beautiful public space to reconnect friends and create new relationships.”

The waiting list for the Philadelphia edition of this world-wide viral event is now open at   When registration opens in a few weeks, all waiting list members will receive notification to register themselves and a guest, as well as select a meeting location for the day of the event.   Registrants who are too busy to pack their own picnics will also be given the option of pre-ordering a gourmet meal from the event’s caterer, Garces Catering.

Preview on Avenue of the Arts with City Hall in Background

Photo Credit - Sean Corbett Photography

Dressed in white, participants then converge upon their designated meeting spots with tables, chairs, non-disposal supplies, great food and fine wine.  From here, participants are led by their Table Hosts to the secret location the 1,000+ guests have been anticipating for months.

Over the course of the evening, the diners enhance the function and value of a Philadelphia space by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of beauty and good taste. And several hours, when it is time to leave, diners fold up their tables and chairs, pack their crystal and dinnerware, gather all their debris and head into the night, with no sign of their elegant revelry left behind.

 Preview on Avenue of the Arts with City Hall in Background

Photo Credit - Sean Corbett Photography

Organizers take every precaution to ensure that there are no disruptions from car and pedestrian traffic.  Although, it isn’t uncommon for the event to attract looks of astonishment from passersby at the scene unfolding before them.

The number of slots available for this first year are limited. Registration takes place on a first come, first served basis.   Dîner en Blanc is BYOB and therefore all participants must be at least 21 years old.    For more information on Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia, click here.

About Dîner en Blanc
Launched with just a handful of friends by François Pasquier nearly 25 years ago, Paris’ Dîner en Blanc now assembles nearly 15,000 white-clad guests each year in a dozen cities throughout Europe and North America. People simply place their names on an online waiting list and those who attend a Dîner en Blanc can become members, are invited back the following year, and in turn, can invite their friends. Dîner en Blanc is about building a pyramid of friends and a network that links memories.

The French capital’s most recognizable sites have played host to it: the Pont des Arts, the Eiffel Tower site, the Louvre Pyramid, the Trocadéro Esplanade, Place Vendôme, the Château de Versailles, the Esplanade de Notre-Dame, the Esplanade des Invalides, the periphery of the Place de l’Étoile, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre Museum and last year: The Plaza of Notre Dame basilica.

The American premiere was in New York, where over 30,000 people joined a wait list in hopes of securing one of the limited 1,300 spots. For 2012, Dîner en Blanc will be taking hold in outdoor public spaces in 20 cities across 5 continents, from Barcelona to Singapore, from Montreal to Sydney.  In the United States, 9 cities will play host to Diner en Blanc, including Las Vegas, New York, Boston, New Orleans, and Cincinnati.

For more information on Dîner en Blanc International, visit

**All of the information from this post is from the Dîner en Blanc Press Release**


The Doors are Open: Shake Shack {Philadelphia}

Shake Shack
So last night I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Media Preview for the NEW Shake Shack here in Philadelphia! Thanks to Kory at Philly Loves Fun and Aversa PR & Events! Everyone has been waiting for the Grand Opening of the Shake Shack here in Philly and today is finally the day!! The doors open at 11am and I’m sure the line will be down the street!

There was so much food there, it was unbelievable. I wanted to try every single thing but I was getting so full! I tried as many things as I could though. They had trays and trays coming out full of food and it was gone pretty quickly. But they just came out with more! The staff was wonderful and made sure everyone had something to eat. And even though it was PACKED there, they also took special orders for those with food allergies. I thought that was really cool. They went out of their way to make sure that everyone was happy and full! I look forward to going back there on a ‘regular’ day and having a meal there.

Click here to check out their amazing menu.

So here are some of the things I tried. Everything was wonderful and I really liked everything that I tried, even if I normally wouldn’t have ordered it in the restaurant.

The Smoke Stack is a Cheeseburger topped with Niman Ranch all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce. You can get it in either a Single or a Double. This is the single, I’m sure Mr. Curly Fry will get a Double (although not this burger!). I thought it was really good even though I’m not into the cherry peppers. I loved the applewood smoked bacon, and that ShackSauce is to die for!

Now this is the Shack-cago Dog. I’m usually only a ketchup only type of Hot Dog girl, but this was quite tasty. It’s Dragged through the garden with Rick’s Picks Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard. It’s one heavy dog – it went right through my bun! But that’s okay – I just ate it deconstructed! The flavors were right on point. And as you can see in the background, it was served with some fries. I’m a fan of their french fries – I love the crinkle cut fries!

Well hello there Strawberry Shake! This is the Shake part of the Shake Shack! :) They have several flavors – you can choose from Hand-spun vanilla, chocolate, caramel, black & white, strawberry or peanut butter. If I had the choice I would’ve had the peanut butter, but I ended up with the Strawberry. You can make it malted for about 50 cents more. Looks like I’ll need to go back there and try out the Peanut Butter Shake!

Please sit down for this. So this is a Concrete. It’s the same idea as the Blizzard from Dairy Queen. This is dense frozen custard blended at high speed with mix-ins. This one picture above is the Rittenhouse 2 (Square) which is Chocolate custard, La Colombe coffee beans, coffee marshmallow sauce and chocolate truffle cookie dough. Now I have to tell you this chocolate truffle cookie dough was seriously to die for. There were at least 3 huge chunks of it in this little Concrete right there. It was so good. I loved the crunch of the coffee beans – gave it some great flavor. And that chocolate custard is good stuff. I’ll definitely order this one again.

This is another flavor Concrete called the Liberty Shell. How cute! Now this isn’t one that I would have normally ordered in the restaurant, but since it was there to try I figured why not? And I’m SO happy that I did. It was so so good. It was Vanilla custard, Termini Bros. cannoli shell, strawberry purée & lemon ricotta. Holy moly!! I loved it. And you know what? I would order this in the restaurant now. It was packed full of flavor and I loved the crunch of the cannoli shell. Very good.

They have a bunch of different Mix-Ins so that you can create your own Concrete!

• Fudge sauce
• Caramel sauce
• Peanut butter sauce
• Marshmallow sauce
• Strawberry purée
• Chocolate truffle cookie dough
• Chocolate toffee
• Guittard chocolate sprinkles
• Cannoli shells
• Banana
• Featured mix-in

What flavor Concrete would you order?

Shake Shack
20th & Sansom
Hours: 11:00AM – 11:00PM