Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cheap Eats at Cuba Libre - 50% off Tonight!

In the restaurant business, making it past three years usually signifies success, but making it to 10 years, in Old City Philadelphia can basically qualify you as the granddaddy of neighborhood eateries.

After 10 years in business, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar has revitalized itself with a new look and a new menu. In celebration of its new self, Cuba Libre is letting the good times roll with preview days until the end of the month.

Toady, Thursday, May 26, enjoy 50% of dinner and happy hour. They are even extending the holiday weekend with deals until Tuesday. From Friday, May 27, to Tuesday, May 31 get 25% off brunch, lunch, dinner and happy hour.

Try some new dishes and check out the newly renovated ambiance both inspired by Chef Guillermo Pernot’s recent travels to Cuba.

Cuba Libre 10 S. 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA 19106

Cheesy Collabo at Village Belle Tonight

Peanut butter & jelly, unicorns & glitter, wine & cheese. Some things just go perfectly together and tonight, Village Belle is hosting its first installment of their new “Behind Belle’s Bar” series with legendary cheese monger Emilio Migucci of DiBruno Brothers.

From 6p.m. to 8p.m. tonight, Thursday, May 26, stop by Bella Vista’s go-to Italian restaurant for happy hour and chat it up with 9th Street’s go-to cheese man.

Drinks from Village Belle and cheese from DiBruno’s: it’s a win-win.

Village Belle 757 S. Front St. Philadelphia, PA 19147

Philly Beer Week - More than Just Beer...

With all that’s about to happen during Philly Beer Week 2011, it’s hard to know where to start. Coverage of the event has been going on for weeks now. Oh, who am I kidding. Press releases started flying months ago. Pretty much every bar that serves beer in this city will be, in some way, shape or form, celebrating next week.

So. I’ve decided to begin my coverage with the fringe - Beer Week events that have more than just beer. Why? Because I like a little entertainment with my beer…not just bar snacks. And some of these venues have gone out of their way to “one-up” the competition with everything from carnival inspired fun to the best cult-quizzo I have yet to come across.

Opening Tap is Friday, but the first of the fringe begins on Saturday, June 4, with a Beer-Lebrity Boxing Match at Kite & Key on 18th and Callowhill at 2pm. Local brewers geared up in oversized gloves will go head to head and their brews will all be featured on tap. The undercard bouts are “Brothers in Brewing” with Yards vs. Iron Hill refereed by Flying Fish and “The Ladies of Craft beer” with Dogfish Head vs. Sly Fox refereed by Ommegang. Look out for the Main Event where Tom Kehoe of Yards will go up against Jim Kirk, owner of Kite & Key.

On Sunday, June 5 the P.O.P.E. brings cult quizzo to a whole new level, with “The Wire” Quizzo, hosted by Johnny Goodtimes. Pay your respects to a legendary HBO series and be there at 9pm.

On Monday, June 6, Philadelphia Brewing Company is sponsoring a Gong Show at Standard Tap. Signups begin at 7:30pm and the event starts at 8pm. Don’t forget to bring your talent.

On Tuesday, June 7, there are two chances to win…not really but there are two really fun things to do…one for the daytime and one at night. At London Grill on Fairmount Avenue beginning at 4pm, stop by to Dunk a Beer-lebrity. Dunktank proceeds will go to benefit PAWS.

After that, head to South Street and ride Percy, the Mechanical Bull at Percy Street Barbeque from 7pm – 11pm. Rides are pay as you go, brews will be provided by Victory Brewing and food – Pit Mistress Erin O’Shea has that covered.

And for those who are obviously too adventurous to just sit and enjoy their beer, there are a couple of “overachiever” activities just for them.

On Wednesday, June 8, meet up at Race Street Café for a 7pm “Bike the Ben” event. Before crossing, bikers will stop off for tastes of special bridge-themed beers. FYI – helmets, locks and lights are REQUIRED.

Finally, finish up the week with the Dock Street to Dock Street Run on Sunday, June 12. Run for beer and prizes from Old City’s Dock Street to the Dock Street Brewery for an outdoor music festival and beers.

Berwyn Chef Goes Green in a Big Way

These days, everyone is under tremendous pressure to conform to the new green standards of living and business. And for local chefs the spotlight is shining brightly. Not only do sustainable practices make for good buzz, increasingly, diners and patrons are calling for local and plentiful food sources.

In Berwyn, Chef Patrick Feury and his partner Henry Chu of Nectar are blazing a trail when it comes their dedication to renewable, sustainable and local resources. The Nectar team is in the process of installing the largest solar panel system in the county, made up of 238 panels, at a cost of roughly $300,000. A government subsidy will ease about 30% of the cost for the restaurant’s investors.

The system should be up and running by June and will generate enough electricity to cover 30% of the restaurants total energy bill.

Adding another layer to the locally sourced produce used to compliment the sustainable seafood Feury continues to offer, a new patio garden will also be added to the property featuring vegetables and herbs used frequently in Nectar’s menu. Feury will also be launching a composting program in order to fertilize the new garden.

Nectar 1901 Lancaster Ave. Berwyn, PA 19312

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where Were You in 2002?

Can’t remember? Doesn’t matter. Relive it this weekend, while awaiting the apocalypse. This Saturday, May 21, upstairs at Johnny Brenda’s DJ's Emynd & Bo Bliz will be spinning all that was 2002 from 9pm – 2pm. Entry is $7, but for the memories, I’m sure it will be worth it.

And with that, here are some videos from 2002.

Trenton Ave Arts Festival & Kinetic Kensington Derby Saturday!

Speaking of the underdogs, the Trenton Ave Arts Festival is also going on this weekend, Saturday, May 21, from 12p.m. – 5p.m. The 6th annual arts fest will feature crafters, vendors, food and the most interesting event of the year – the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby.

This bicycle powered soap-box race on artistic steroids is one of the most anticipated events of the weekend. The derby starts at 12:30p.m. The human powered design competition is as much about crossing the finish line as it is about how teams look doing it, so come out and support a great neighborhood tradidion.

I’ll be there, hunting down Gritty City for their amazing soy candles. I have to admit, I’m addicted!

(Pictured here is the 2009 winner for Best Art by the Phialdelhpia Brewing Co.
Photo from the Kenetic Kensington Website.)

Join the Crowds During the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

This Saturday, May 21, friends and families will converge on Center City for the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. From 12pm – 5pm, rain or shine, the city’s most prestigious addresses will head to the curb enticing wanderers with their wears, snacks and entertainment.

There will be wine tastings, beer samplings, a fashion show and even a craft pavilion for the kids. This is always a highly attended event and don’t forget to bring your patience and good attitude, or it’s sure to be a very long afternoon.

While wandering the tents, tables and attractions this Saturday, try to remember what goes into an event such as this. As with other Center City associations, it’s all about how much you put in to be a part. Active neighborhoods don’t come cheap and being allowed to participate in outdoor events like the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival comes at a cost for to the bars, restaurants and stores involved.

So when standing shoulder to shoulder trying to get close to the liquor sponsored tents, take a step back and look for the little guy; the smaller proprietor who tries hard to compete – not the one who’s a hair away from being its own franchise.

I know – the shiny, sparkly lure of starr-light is nearly unavoidable in the city of Philadelphia, but it’s possible. Really try to consider what it takes to run with the big boys in the urban jungle of Rittenhouse and patronize the underdog.

uwishunu about the Punk Rock Flea Market Spring Fever Edition

Finding new places to write is a challenge but worth every sent email. Here's my first piece on GPTMC's blog, about this Sunday's Punk ROck Flea Market!

May 19, 2011
The Punk Rock Flea Market Returns To Northern Liberties This Sunday, May 22: Food Trucks, Giveaways And More Than 250 Vendors
Posted by Marilyn D'Angelo

The “Spring Fever” edition of the Punk Rock Flea Market returns to Northern Liberties this Sunday, May 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Punk Rock Flea Market Dome will house more than 250 tables with vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry and crafts, to records, furniture, electronics, instruments, art and even junk.

R5 Productions, the indie music promoter behind the event, has dedicated more than 40 tables to selling exclusively punk items like old punk records, old band shirts and instruments.

There will also be nearly 20 different food vendor tables with snacks for everyone from carnivores to vegans. Little Baby’s Ice Cream, launching this weekend, will be on site selling ice cream from its tricycle freezer and Miss Rachel’s Pantry will be there, specializing in vegan sandwiches.


Dinner in Berwyn? Sure, why not.

The first of my food reviews for Reviewing restaurants in the burbs is like an exercise in restraint...I'm practicing to take Philis' job at the South Philly Review!

Don't Look for the Sign Out Front, You Might Miss La Petite Maiso

At nearly 5p.m. on a sunny mid-May afternoon, just as Berwyn’s Royal Tea Café is closing down for the day, its counterpart, La Petite Maison, is just getting started. The recently opened Berwyn byob (in the former Berwyn Coffee Co. space) is the latest addition to Chef Maurice de Ramus’ restaurant portfolio including Ardmore’s A la Maison, Philadelphia’s Zen and Cherry Hill’s Onasis.

My friend and I arrived early for our 5:30p.m. reservation. The word “earlybird” doesn’t even cover it, but with traffic being what it is, it’s always better safe then sorry. We pulled up to a wisteria covered fence parked in the building’s rear parking lot.

Without previous knowledge of its existence and nothing to alert a hungry commuter (such as myself) to its presence, locals passing the Lancaster Avenue eatery might not even know it was there. The only signage is for its tea-toting other half.

We entered through the rear of the building, passing the aforementioned tea shop’s counter and were directed to the restaurant’s half of the shared space; La Petite Maison, a quaint sun-lit eatery that seems to be a sort of a satellite location to its better known elder, A la Maison.

We were greeted by our server, Alexander. Between his charming French accent and the subtle smells coming from the kitchen I was instantly overcome with a sense of positive enthusiasm. This would be the perfect setting for a romantic dinner, a quick after-work bite or even to take over with a larger private party.

Being the only guests of the evening, we were allowed to choose whichever seat we liked and chose a table for two perched in the windows, allowing for a view of Lancaster Avenue.

Alexander opened our wine.

“La fat bas-tard,” he read with a smile.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Join the 2011 Cannabis March on South Street

These days, everyone’s going green – its uber trendy. Out in front of the pro-green movement is PhillyNORML, the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and on Saturday, May 21, at 5 p.m. chapter members and local supporters will meet to march on South Street in order to protest the current prohibition policies and demand change.

There are over 300 cities world-wide that will also be marching for the cause. Those who want to participate are encouraged to wear costumes, be artistic, make signs and get into the spirit of things. Those interested in making signs can join in the festivities Thursday, May 19 at the A-Space, 4722 Baltimore Ave, at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, activists will meet at Broad & South Sts. at 5 p.m. The March will begin at 6 p.m., moving down South Street, heading to Headhouse Square at 2nd & Lombard where, according to the PhillyNORML website, activists will say a few words.

After the march, there will be an all-ages Freedom Festival at the TLA, from 7:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. Proceeds help PhillyNORML pass the SB1003 Medical Marijuana Bill, in Pennsylvania.

Now, if I can opine for just a moment.

Marching on South Street for marijuana reform seems a bit to me like preaching to the choir. Wouldn’t marching up Broad Street and rallying at City Hall be more impactful? I personally do believe that changes are needed in the current marijuana laws, but a pot parade on South Street just seems a little…college hippie for me.

Go for the gold PhillyNORML – march on City Hall!

Escape Beer Week – Take a Winery Trip with Jet!

Though the beer week coverage has yet to hit its stride, the events have already begun to stack up and local beer lovers are looking forward to the abundance of celebrations. But for the hop-haters out there, there will be a reprieve - Jet Wine Bar is planning a winery tour and day-long tasting event, right at the height of all the sudsy hub-bub, Saturday, June 4.

The day will begin with a sparkling wine “bon voyage” at Jet Wine Bar on 15th and South Sts. at 10:45 a.m. A motor coach (not a school bus) will depart for Penns Woods Winery for the first tasting of the day. The trip will continue on to the Stargazers Winery for another tasting and a picnic lunch, wrapping up around 4:30 p.m. when the bus will make its final departure and head back to Jet Wine Bar for its 6 p.m. arrival.

This is an intimate trip, with space for only 28 wine lovers and there ARE tickets still available. For $79 per person this trip to the burbs could feel like an afternoon on a guided tasting through wine country!

Three different lunch options are available, and need to be specified upon reserving a seat. I say, make it a day, bring some snacks, some drinks and enjoy the afternoon out of the city!

Call 215-735-1116 and ask for Kevin or Jill for a reservation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pauly Shore’s Stand-Up Show One Night Only at The Troc!

Though it may seem like Pauly Shore was a name of the 90’s this comedian / writer / actor / producer has kept himself in the limelight for over 20 years and now, Shore brings his comedic frenzy to Philly, for a one night only stand up comedy show, this Thursday, May 19, at the Trocadero!

Shore is touring to promote his upcoming special, Vegas is My Oyster, which will debut in August on Showtime. Lucky for us, he took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to your local know-it-all about his new show.

“Wait until you see Vegas is My Oyster,” said Shore. “People are going to die. It’s a throwback to the old variety shows – everyone’s in tuxedos and dresses.”

The star-studded variety show was shot at the Palm over Porno Weekend.

“I’m the host of a motley crew of crazies,” said Shore. “It’s scripted, so it’s not all over the place,“ he promises.

The show features Andy Dick, Tom Green, Dave Navarro, Michelle “Bombshell” McGee and Carrot Top, among others including house band Electrolightz and even a special performance by Semi Precious Weapons.

Though this isn’t Pauly’s first time in Philly, he’s still unsure about where he will be hanging out over the couple days he’s in town. I selflessly offered my services to take him out for drinks – lets hope he takes me up on it!

Tickets are still available, online or at the box office for $25, to see Shore live on stage, so don’t miss out!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

4th Annual Old City Sidewalk Sale & Stroll

Penns Landing doesn’t get to have all the fun this weekend. The rest of Old City wants in on the action too and this weekend some of Philadelphia’s chicest boutiques and shops will hit the pavement during the Old City Sidewalk Sale & Stroll this Saturday and Sunday, May 14 – 15, from 12pm – 5pm.

More than 50 different boutiques, spas, restaurants and galleries will showcase their spring selections. Many will be offering complimentary beverages, cocktails and snacks throughout the afternoons.

Keep an eye out for Wild Bohemians a Philadelphia Mardi Gras band, that will be strolling the neighborhood and performing during the event.

A little due diligence and you could come out of this weekend with some steals! Click here for a full list of participants. Check out the event map too.

Get Crafty this Weekend at Penns Landing

In recent years, crafting has taken on a whole new spirit. Gone are the days of macaroni necklaces. Crafters have carved out a niche for their work, somewhere between sustainability and art and the love of all things hand made has been fully embraced by Philadelphians, young and old.

Why buy mega-mart when you can buy a hand-crafted, custom made piece for about the same price? Clothes made of organic materials, jewelry where no two pieces are identical, and home goods, so cleverly designed, you can’t help but have to have one.

This Saturday and Sunday, May 14 – 15, from 11am – 6pm, over 100 local and national artists, crafters and vendors will descend on Penns Landing for the Art Star Craft Bazaar.

There will be housewares, paper goods, dolls, prints, ceramics, clothing, accessories, paintings/drawings, sculpture and many other one-of-a-kind items. Everything is handmade from a variety of mediums that include fabric, clay, glass, wood, paper and more.

There will be music, interactive demonstrations, raffles, food and of course, crafts. And, the first 250 people through the gates will receive a coupon book and magnet! This is a family friendly event and is sure to be a great time.

Check out the complete list of vendors here!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nerd Nite Philly: May Edition!

Like the pied piper of nerds, this series has Philly’s intellectuals flocking to its monthly events. The May 2011 Edition of Philly Nerd Nite is upon us and on Thursday, May 12, MarBar will again host the drink and lecture series.

As usual, doors open at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm. This month’s topics and speakers include bits about investigative reporting, the photography interests of Central Asian hipsters, Muslim elephants, music and comedy.

Here’s the full line-up:

“Investigative Science Reporting,” by Kerry Grens
“Real Lomos, Fake Lomos, and the Politics and Practice of Analouge Photography Among Central Asian Hipsters,” by Erica Pelta Feldman
“The Strange Case of Charlemagne’s Muslim Elephant,” by Paul M. Cobb.
Music by Kassie Richardson c
Comedy by Aaron Hertzog

MarBar 40th & Walnut 200 S. 40th St., Philadelphia, PA 215-222-0100

SaVa’s 2nd Annual Spring Fashion Show & Street Fair

Sa Va, the Philadelphia based clothing and accessories brand located on 17th and Sansom will be hosting a free community fashion show and street fair, this evening, Wednesday, May 11, from 6pm – 8pm.

The theme of the event is Sa Va nature WORSHIP, and it will showcase the fair trade, eco-friendly textiles and hand-made products that have come to embody the local brand, including lots of hand dyed garments and dresses.

“We design and manufacture 90% of all of our clothing on the fourth floor of our retail store,” said Marketing Manager, Katie Cohen.

Many of Sa Va’s neighbors will be participating in the street fair with tables and booths to represent their businesses. Look for Slice Pizza, Richard Nicolas Salon, GRID Magazine, the Sustainable Business Network , Vitamin Water, Raven Lounge and others to be out in full force for the 500 – 1000 people expected to stop by tonight’s street fair.

Keep an eye out for the raffle items that will be up for grabs this evening. The event benefits the Career Wardrobe, a Philadelphia based non-profit that is dedicated to assisting women transition into the workforce by providing professional work attire, educational programs and networking tools. All proceeds from the raffle will go to support organization.

Donated raffle prizes include dinner for two at the Sofitel, gift cards to Tequilas and Ruth’s Chris, a one-year supply of Vitamin Water and a two-night stay at the Hotel Palomar.

Sa Va 1700 Sansom St. Philadelphia, PA 19103

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Everyone’s Italian at the Italian Market Festival

Generations of supporters and patrons will fill the streets in celebration of the nation’s oldest outdoor market and one of Philadelphia’s most notable attractions (thanks Rocky) during The Italian Market Festival this Saturday and Sunday, May 14 – 15. From 10am – 5pm, rain or shine, come out to celebrate and appreciate the history and impact that the Italian Market has made over the past 100 years. There will be food, drinks, music and most importantly, families.

As a kid who grew up in South Philly, there’s something very special about the Italian Market, aka 9th Street. Wandering the crowded market on the weekends with my grandparents – the smells, the sights, and the sounds will be forever branded into my memory. As will trying to choke down a hunk of cheese without a drink at the tender age of nine.

Some things never change; they just become appreciated. And for those who grew up shopping for cleaning supplies and produce with their families, choking down cheeses and pointing at dead fish, this weekend is for you.

This year, there will be three stages set up along 9th street with music for all ages. The festival’s Main Stage will be set up at 9th & Washington where WMGK will be pumping out classic rock. On 9th & Christian, DJs will be spinning 9th Street dance and party favorites – a little Sinatra and Dean Martin are probably a solid bet. And on 9th & Federal, expect a mix of music and entertainment.

A new addition to the festivities this year will be the Half Ball Tournament to benefit The Mummer’s Fancy Brigades. Three-man teams will compete in elimination rounds at the Christopher Columbus Charter School at 9th and Christian.

And this year, the party doesn’t end at 5pm; keep the party going at South Philly Bar & Grill on 9th and Passyunk. SPB&G will be featuring an Italian tasting menu as well as Italian drink specials including $3 anisette shots, $4 Peronis, $4 sambuca shots, $4 Limoni Di Sicilia shots, $5 Sangrias. There will be Italian music, entertainment, prizes and give-aways.

Check out the Italian Market Festival website for more information.

An Evening at the Ball Park to Benefit Camp Erin

The Moyer Foundation is set to host another of its high-end charity events to benefit Camp Erin. On Tuesday, May 11, at 6pm, join Philadelphia’s elite at Citizens Bank Park’s Diamond Club for a night of dining and entertainment as well as silent and live auctions.

Tickets to the event are limited and must be reserved. Seats are $250 per person, and all proceeds go to benefit the Moyer Foundation and Camp Erin.

Pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen founded The Moyer Foundation in 2000. It creates and funds programs to benefit children including its largest benefactor, Camp Erin, a free bereavement camp for grieving children and teens, helps over 2,500 kids each year.

Battle of the Bands at The Legendary Dobbs: Week 2

The Legendary Dobbs continues its Music-a-Live! Band Competition tonight, May 10, on South Street. Doors open at 6:30 and tickets are just $10 at the door. Proceeds from the event will be donated to music programs in Philadelphia's public schools.

Fourteen different original bands will compete for over $10,000 in prizes, over the course of four weeks. Each week, a panel of celebrity judges and audience members will decide the winners.

Money raised for this series will go to purchase musical instruments for the struggling public schools in the city. Dobbs is asking for musical instrument donations at the events, particularly string, wind and low brass instruments, especially violin, cello, bass, flutes clarinets, trumpets and saxophones. They are also accepting cash donations.

The series continues tonight and runs for the next two weeks, Tuesdays May 17 and May 24.

For more info or to donate, email or call 215-956-5151.

The Legendary Dobbs
304 South St.
Philadelphia, PA

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Bottom Line

As jobs go, having one is by far better than not having one. But when life gives you lemons, you turn to your own blog and continue to do what you do.

Today, I continue to update my readers about what's happening in the city of Philadelphia, without the former audience and content boundaries to which I was confined. I hope to bring my audience a more diverse resource, while staying true to myself and doing what I do best: spread information.