Wednesday, April 9, 2014

3rd annual Philly Farm and Food Fest this weekend

The Philly Farm and Food Fest is back for its third year, boasting two-times the sustainable flavor this Sunday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex at Broad and Race streets in Philadelphia.

With 150 exhibitors on the roster, PF&FF is twice the size of its inaugural event back in 2012. The exhibitors list is literally a fair-foods who's who of farmers, bakers, fisherman, chefs and proprietors offering locally grown and produced foods.

I just got really excited... I bet there'll be all sorts of special honeys and jellies there!

So yeah, there's sure to be tons of bites and lots of swag. Browse the tables of sustainable service providers, health and beauty products, and a Marketplace of local restaurants that support local farmers. It's kind of refreshing to see some new faces at the table, and not just Philly's resto-event usual suspects.

Ticket prices are still way affordable -- $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Kids are free.

This year, organizers are offering some add-ons to the gen-pop tickets. For an additional $15 in advance, check out the Philly Distilling Libations Lounge or the Shellfish Salon, where Oyster House's Sam Mink will be doing shellfish demos.

The annual event is a joint project of Fair Food Philly and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture designed to connect shoppers with food artisans, producers, and local farmers.

Here's a couple shots from last year's event, courtesy of Food Shelter:

Monday, March 31, 2014

Party Politic

By the way, have you visited my new blog? I launched it earlier this month.

It's called Party Politic.

It's a good place for the politically inspired events and information I tend to come across. Be sure to check it out.

Beer, chocolate and prix-fix eats for Easter and Passover in Philly

Alright peeps, I got some Easter eats (and drink) for ya.

Here are some of this year's Passover and Easter offerings that have come across my radar.

1. Victory Brewing and Asher's Chocolates have teamed on a chocolate covered pretzel and beer pairing. Victory brings its oak barrel aged triple, White Monkey. Asher's limited edition dark chocolate and mini pretzel was developed exclusively for the flavors in the White Monkey.

Here in the city you can pick this duo up at "select neighborhood Fooderies." Otherwise, Victory has um, Asher''s got um, The Greeks Next Door in Narberth have them, and Link Beverage in Coopersburg -- where is Coopersburg? Anyway, they have them too. The price point is less than $20 for the pair and could be a good buy for a special someone's Easter basket.

2. Chef Tim Spinner has concocted a Mexican Passover menu at Cantina Feliz in Fort Washington: Feliz Passover. While the four course prix-fix menu isn't really for the super religious (it's not kosher), it does "meet most Passover requirements" as the tostadas are made of root vegetables and the taco shells are being subbed out with bibb lettuce. $27 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Here's the menu:

Wild King Salmon Tostada, Mango, Jicama, Pineapple, Malanga Chip

Matzo Ball Soup, Red Chile, Avocado, Chicken

Braised Short Rib Taco - Morita Chile Barbeque Sauce, Chipotle Coleslaw, Boston Bibb Lettuce

Flourless Chocolate Cake - Sweet Potato Caramel, Rhubarb Mousse 

3. The Radisson Blu Hotel Warwick is offering a prix-fix Easter Brunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Easter Sunday, April 20, at Tavern 17 on the first floor of the hotel.

They're offering three courses for $32 per person, $17 for kids 12 and under. Reservations are recommended. Check the menu below. The focaccia and dijon crusted rack of lamb sounds like a win, but the menu, in full sounds solid.

Here's the menu:

First course:
  Carrot ginger soup topped with crème fraîche and toasted sunflower seeds
Arugula, watercress and strawberries, spiced walnuts, goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette
 Focaccia and Dijon crusted rack of lamb, roasted fingerling and artichokes, oven roasted asparagus
Tangerine glazed ham, celeriac whipped Yukons and baby carrots
Grilled organic salmon with sweet chili glaze, sugar snap peas and wasabi mash potatoes
Lemon tart berry coulis and fresh raspberries
Triple chocolate mousse, salted caramel in a chocolate tulip
Four layer carrot cake filled with raisins, walnuts, and pineapples, finished with cream cheese icing

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brewer's Plate marks 10 years of Fair Foods Philly fundraising, Sunday at Kimmel

The Brewer's Plate returns for its 10th year this weekend bringing together a whole heap of local foods, brews, and businesses, all for a good cause.

Ten years of anything is nothing to scoff at... 

- 10 years of marriage...
- sobriety...
- time served...
- aged meats...
- fine wine...

The bottom line? Ten years is a big deal. And on Sunday, Mar. 9, 2014, The Brewer's Plate kicks off its 10th annual event to benefit Fair Foods Philly.

Some of the city's top local purveyors, brewers, chefs, cheese makers, chocolatiers, mixologists and foodies will converge at the Kimmel Center for a night of tastings beginning at 6:30 p.m. (5:30 for VIPs). Tickets are still available, just in case you're enticed.

A quick background on the roots of this locavore feast: Ann Karlen, founding director of Fair Foods, has spent the past decade connecting local growers to area restaurants, originating with Judy Wicks (Fair Foods founder) and White Dog Cafe. Out of White Dog came the Victory Brewing connection with Bill Covaleski.

"Bill approached Fair Foods over 10 years ago with an idea for an event that would match micro brews with fine foods," said Karlen. "In the beginning it was much smaller, but it's still based on this idea of pairing beer with something awesome to eat."

For the first few years it was held at the Reading Terminal Market where Fair Foods Philly has its farm stand to this day (open all year and offering the largest selection of locally made cheeses in the city).

This year, having The Brewer's Plate at the Kimmel allows for more offerings then ever as well as some friendly competition including a "Best of the Wurst" sausage contest between chefs from each of Jose Garces' seven restaurants and catering company, as well as an Angry Orchard Cider cocktail competition, thanks to new sponsor, Sam Adams.

Plus, a special collaborative brew, the Brewer's Plate Stout, from Victory Brewing and Sam Adams will be unveiled on Sunday. The word is that it won't be available in stores. And what ever doesn't get tapped will be finished off at the brewer's pubs: Victory in Downingtown or Sam Adams in Boston.

As for the menu, there's an increased emphasis on vegetarian options this year, as well as a "Locavore Lounge" highlighting a few of the brighter stars who work exclusively in small batch format.

A few pairings on the menu to look out for:    

El Camino Real – Drunken maple bacon shake & pork belly slider paired with Weyerbacher Brewing Co.’s Last Chance IPA and Heresy Russian Imperial Stout

Varga Bar – Braised short rib and root vegetable stew and breakfast cereal ice cream paired with Saucony Creek Brewing Co.’s Kutztown Lagerbier

·       Victory Brewpub’s – Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad with garlic oil, fried shallots, fresh mint and roasted peanuts paired with Victory Brewing Co.’s Swing Session Saison, Mad King’s Weiss, DirtWolf and 1337

·       Southwark Restaurant – Banger terrine with curried egg gribiche and rye flatbread paired with Nodding Head Brewery’s Rufus Ale and  ‘Secret Bonus Beer’

·       Fette Sau – Smoked burnt ends with spicy slaw paired with Sly Fox Brewing Co.’s Fat Pig Ale

·       Alla Spina – Beef tongue involtini paired with Yard’s Brewing Co.’s Schwarzbier

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Top Chef at Sea offers vacationers Bravo dining and Celebrity cruising

Finding famous food destinations is a growing travel to-do. I mean, when's the last time you went on a trip that didn't include searching out at least one fun food spot? 

Unfortunately, package deals, like on cruises and resorts, sometimes have the tendency to be a bit of a let-down when it comes to culinary prowess.

The solution seems to be to travel for food or travel for ambiance... Two very different experiences.

Vacationers can now get the best of both worlds - a top culinary experience and a destination.

Top Chef and Celebrity Cruises have teamed up to offer a new cruise option -- Top Chef at Sea

Destinations include Bermuda (July), Alaska (August), Europe (December) and the Caribbean (November) and will feature former "Top Chef" contestants. The trip can include private cooking classes and events hosted by former chef’testants (at an additional cost as part of their vacation experience).

In addition to the four exclusive cruises with “Top Chef” alums, Celebrity will also introduce Quickfire Challenges and “Top Chef”-inspired menu evenings to its luxury vacations onboard 10 ships for all sailings departing July 2014 – June 2015.