Philly’s Own Jazz Age on the Delaware

You don’t have to know much about me to know that I love one thing about most others.

That thing?

Dapper Dames

Dapper Dames

THEME PARTIES.

It’s no wonder that events like Dîner en Blanc light a fire inside of me that used to be reserved for college fêtes like “Paranormal Formal” and “Anything But Clothes”. I love watching folks get creative and costumey. It’s no surprise, then, that when I heard that Philly was bringing Jazz Age on the Delaware, a 1920s-era theme party on the River featuring thematically appropriate tunes, bites, and activities…. I leapt at the opportunity to check it out.

This was the moment that I CRUSHED the game of croquet

This was the moment that I CRUSHED the game of croquet

This incredible event is going to be hosted on Saturday August 1st from 11am-5pm on the beautiful grounds of the Glen Foerd Mansion, Philadelphia’s last remaining Gilded Age mansion along the Delaware River. And while my amateur photos certainly don’t do it justice, if I captured even a fraction of the elegance and beauty, you’ll see you’re in for a treat. We arrived hungry and ready for a little nosh and libations.

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Toasted almond cake served in a martini glass?  Sure.

Toasted almond cake served in a martini glass? Sure.

The Glen Foerd mansion’s exclusive caterer is Jamie Hollander Catering and Events, and he brought his a-game with desserts, appetizing hors d’oeuvres, and a buncha goodies served in mini martini glasses. All paired well with cocktails full of Art in the Age spirits.

These drinks were the Bee's Knees!

These drinks were the Bee’s Knees!

Put on those dancing shoes and cut a rug!

Put on those dancing shoes and cut a rug!

Getting to Glen Foerd is a quick train or bus ride from Center City, and tickets are $45 for an afternoon of play, picnics, dancing, and delicacies. There’s a pie-baking competition for the bakers of the bunch, and children under 12 are free so you can bring the whole family.

Bonus: this event couldn’t be any more Instagram-able.

IMG_1445I unfortunately won’t be on the East Coast for the big day, but if you’re in need of a few strands of pearls… you know how to get a hold of me.

Tickets here!

Summer Suds: BBQ Favorites with DuClaw Brewing

Disclosure: I received promotional consideration by DuClaw Brewing Company.

11537717_10102852820955758_8798687809808561519_n-1In life, sometimes stars align. And, in this case, those stars aligned in the most delicious fashion possible. DuClaw Brewing Company’s got two new summer brews, 4th of July is DAYS AWAY, AND they asked if I’d give them a try and pair these treats with some summer BBQ favorites.  The contenders:

Funk: A traditional American Wheat Ale serves as a solid baseline, but we couldn’t be content until we tore the roof off this sucker! Funk, our Blueberry Citrus Wheat Ale, sets the rhythm with a soulful fusion of American wheat and hops, before unleashing a stunning encore with big notes of blueberry and Meyer lemon. It’s no jive, you’ll just dig it!

And, of course, a wonderfully named blonde ale.

Morgazm: A refreshing, citrusy twist on one of our most popular brews of all time. The medium body, mild hop character, light fruity taste, and smooth drinkability of Bare Ass Blonde Ale is infused with grapefruit zest and dry hopped with Citra hops to add notes of lemon, grapefruit, and an overall tart character to the beer. The result is a highly drinkable, highly refreshing Blonde Ale with big citrus flavors and aromas that will leave your palate in ecstacy… but wanting more.

I thought, and I thought. A blueberry citrus wheat ale. A grapefruit zested blonde ale. And then my mind shifted.

See, the Game of Thrones finale was on that night, and I was a bit distracted. And then it hit me. I didn’t have to choose. I could have my beer, and eat stuff (related to Game of Thrones), too.

My buddies and I… We go hard when it comes to themes. So, when a Game of Thrones feast finale was proposed by some brilliant mind (COUGH me. COUGH), everyone jumped on it. So I won’t share every little bit, because we got nerdy and there’s some eats that would take far too long to understand. But let’s get to the beer pairings, eh.

Bread and Salt: Guest Right!

Bread and Salt: Guest Right!

Once guest right was invoked, we were ready to get to work.

In honor of Arya - Oysters Clams and Cockles (but just clams)

In honor of Arya – Oysters Clams and Cockles (but just clams)

Beer-steamed clams are not anything world-rocking. However, instead of a traditional lager to steam, we added a bottle of the Morgazm. With a beer-to-drink in one hand and about 50 clams on the table, we poured this zesty citrusy blonde over the little clams, thanking them for their contribution for the meal. And while some opt to boil these bad boys in a pot, we went for an oven-steam, since the oven was already on and our initial goals of outdoor grilling were squashed by an unwelcome guest.

Rain, rain, go away!

Rain, rain, go away!

And before we were ready to enjoy our clams, there were a few options to go with the blueberry citrus wheat. FIrst: Sansa’s favorite, lemon cake!

The Funk's on ME!

The Funk’s on ME!

Lemon desserts are ubiquitous in the summer, and this pairing of the tart lemon cake (featuring blueberries in the icing!) was outta this world. The aroma of the blueberries in the Funk was strong, but the taste was subtle, and this beer would pair nicely with any tart, bright flavored dessert.

While my buddy made the cake, some similar recipes are here:

The Funk, a blueberry citrus wheat, would also pair well with some seafood, and I may have enjoyed a few of these “dragon eggs” (sticky rice, avocado, and eel!) with the brewski.

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Khaleesi would be proud.

After a long time (maybe we SHOULD have boiled the clams, but we were in no hurry), our clams were ready!

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All of the sudden, that crusty bread makes a lot more sense, as it was the perfect way to soak up the juices from the lemon, the Morgazm, and all sorts of clammy goodness. For this one, there’s also not really a recipe for this one (add stuff into pot or pan, put over heat, wait for clams to open, gorge!) but if you’re jonesing for one, here ya go.

We also really liked the Morgazm with a marinated grilled chicken AND Theon’s favorite plaything (sorry, promise that’s all the nerding out).

10351393_10102852820766138_4234394620136596503_nThese beers would both make excellent additions to any summer celebration, but if you’ve already got the grill going…. why not just get them for this weekend’s 4th of July festivities?! While they wouldn’t be the FIRST beer I get at the store, they’re definitely beers for the beach, the BBQ, and the summer.

Thanks, DuClaw, for the opportunity.

Thanks, my GoT crew, for throwing down the gauntlet and grilling in the rain.

Thanks, George R.R. Martin, for HURRYING UP ON THE WINDS OF WINTER!

Off to dream of dragons…

Garnet Valley High School: End of an Era

Today’s the day that the last of the five Price children, Kiley​, walks through those hallowed halls of Garnet Valley High School​ as a student.
This geek is off to Wake Forest in the fall!

This geek is off to Wake Forest in the fall!

Along with her and my other siblings, Somers​, Connor​, and Hunter​, we’ve been bastions of the school district since 1998! I can only hope we’ve left a legacy of being top of our respective classes and rockstars on the football fields, ice hockey rinks, volleyball and basketball courts, and halftime shows (HA, Hunter, you nerd).
My brother, Connor, the tallest, and of course arms around his team

My brother, Connor, the tallest, and of course arms around his team

GVHS Volleyball gals go to TEXAS!

GVHS Volleyball gals go to TEXAS!

We were on yearbook committee and student council, Students of the Month; Most School Spirit; Best Sense of Humor.

Hunter, proudly holding up the 2 in a crop top

Hunter, proudly holding up the 2… in a crop top

We went to France and probably terrorized Canada (sorry, Canada).
So Parisian, that Kiley.

So Parisian, that Kiley.

Goodness, Hunter has some great photos of his life.

Goodness, Hunter has some great photos of his life.

We sold overpriced candy to unsuspecting underclassmen and turned mad profit (future finance bro in the making or WHAT?!). We snuck into the teachers lounge and made photocopies of our faces (the original selfie?)
Ghost Girls

Ghost Girls

We snuck ice cream out of other schools’ cafeterias (budding foodie on a budget!). We stole kisses from our peers in dark corners of the school grounds (can’t tell you which of us did that, but I’ll go ahead and let you know it was more than just one). We even dressed up sometimes…
MWA!

MWA!

Look at those studs!

Look at those studs!

We were popular, and not so popular; cool, and not very cool.  But through it all (even if it’s only in my imagination) we crushed our academic, social, and extracurricular careers at GV for the past 16-17 years.
Sunkissed sibs

SunkissedSunburned sibs

And Santa sibs

And Santa sibs

Cheers to Dana​ and Chip “Not on Facebook” Price for the end of fundraisers, Friday nights at another football game, meetings with counselors that didn’t know our gender (“Jordan’s doing so well in all of his classes!”), long talks with administrators about god knows what, working snack bar shifts, traveling to ANOTHER volleyball match/football game/ice hockey arena, and doing it all happily, with smiles on their faces.
That time we barely made the wedding!

That time we barely made the wedding!

It’s been a good run, Garnet Valley. And as much as we’ve joked or complained about it, I couldn’t have asked for a better school for my family to attend.

Congratulations, Kiley (and belated congrats to Hunter, Connor, and Somers!) Whether you’re a Deacon, a Terp, a Lion, a Wildcat or, best of all, a Tar Heel, remember… You were a Jaguar first.

Philly Beer Week 2015: Must Attend Events for Anyone!

Look. I’m no beer expert. I haven’t completed a single day of Cicerone training, I’ve never bar-tended or -backed (only patronized).

They say you never forget your first.... Philly Beer Week

They say you never forget your first…. Philly Beer Week

I’m merely a twenty something lover of all things Philly and all things Beer, and for one week (that boggles the space-time continuum by actually being 10 days!), I get to merge these loves in a manner never explored before I moved.
It’s as if the entire city (and, in some cases, the entire country (of brewers) and some distant, beer brewing pros from around the world) are throwing me a party (that I have to pay for) with all of my friends invited (even if I don’t know they’re my friends yet…) However, with over a thousand events (I don’t even think that’s an exaggeration. I think last year the event number hit over 1k!), it can be tough to parse out which event is best for YOU. Well, forget poring over the extensive Philly Beer Week website. Because I already spent most of last night doing that for you. Instead, sit back, relax, and pore over my (relatively) brief post about the must-attend events this year for every type of beer drinker under the sun!
I’m going to just go ahead and skip the super festive Opening Tap event, mostly because that type of thing isn’t really my bag. A little too much stimulation, too many beer options, and it just gets overwhelming to me. BUT if you wanna start the “week” off with a bang, there’s nowhere else you should be Friday, May 29th than The Armory.
For the Sweaty Beer Runner
Two events come to mind:
  1. The Craft Beer-Venture, 12pm Saturday May 30th – Starting at Varga Bar, this (FREE TO REGISTER) event is a fun-run through the city sponsored by Saucony Creek and Southern Tier Brewing with over 10 bars participating around the city. And loads of prizes. And it’s a Saturday morning.

    Basically: Does anyone wanna do this with me?

  2. Southern Tier Bridge 5k, 6:30pm, Monday, June 1st – Starting in Old City’s own Irish Pol, this event features a 5k across the Ben Franklin Bridge followed by some pretty incredible offerings from Southern Tier. Run 5k > get discounts on beer. Everyone is happy.
  3. Detox / Retox at City Tap House Logan 10:30 am-1pm, Saturday May 30th. $20 for a yoga class AND your first beer afterwards. Nama….stay all day after?

For the Dudes and Dames who Dig Drag

  1. BBQ – Brews, Broads, and Queens, 9pm May 30th
    The Goddess Isis does NOT want you to miss BBQ!

    The Goddess Isis does NOT want you to miss BBQ!

    Smokin’ Betty’s brings one of the ABSOLUTE COOLEST events of the entire year. Ladies in the brewing community, their awesome beers, and the drag queens that really tie the whole experience together. Suggested $10 donation at the door!

  2. German Beer Sparkle Party and Drag Cabaret at Alla Spina, June 2nd, 8pm. Hosted by Martha Graham Cracker, this is guaranteed to be a dazzling evening full of German brews, food specials, and Miss Martha Graham Cracker rocking the mic. $15 in advance, $20 at the door – Get LGBT Pride Month started right!
  3. (Yup there are 3 drag events to choose from) Leading Ladies Drag Night with Left Hand Brewing at Tap Room on 19th, Thursday June 4th, 7pm Their Left Hand rep Ryan Vaughan will be in full drag, as the staff of Tap Room! So pull up a seat, and get ready for a show!

For the Hungry Hop Hunter

  1. Pigs in Space at Percy Street BBQ, June 4th, 5pm-10pm. Y’all. Smoky pork treats (pulled pork, sausage, pig fritters. Oskar Blues brews. Theme attire suggested (i.e. get INTERGALACTIC with your accoutrements).
    A mechanical bull PIG to ride!
    Pigs in Space. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited.  Is that weird?
  2. Dogfish Head and Wells & Young at Local 44, June 1st, noon. I know, this is a Monday event at noon, so it might be hard to pull off. BUT think about this: The opportunity to bump elbows with Jim Robertson (Wells) AND Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head).
    Just show your boss this picture. I think (s)he'll get it.

    Just show your boss this picture. I think (s)he’ll get it.

    More Most importantly, enjoy Twice Fried Chicken from the folks at Resurrection Ale House. It’s worth the long lunch alone.

  3. First Friday Beer & Ice Cream at Little Baby’s! 6pm, Friday June 5th – Try the collaboration Pepper Lavender Ice Cream paired with Liason Saison from Saint Benjamin Brewing, this event is a great excuse to scoot up to Kensington/Port Richmond. Stop by Pizza Brain while you’re up there. Because what goes better with beer (and ice cream) than pizza (and more beer? Yep.)

For the Ladies 

  • Sadie Hawkins Dance with Allagash & New Holland at Varga Bar 10pm, June 2nd – Invite your favorite fellow or lady out for a night on the town and take your Tuesday night to the next level by taking advantage of the swanky suggested attire. PLUS Dr. Joel from New Holland and Suzy from Allagash will keep you dancing all night long. You might even nab a corsage (and then take a picture of it in the bathroom. That’s a cool thing to do.)

    Way better than high school prom

    Way better than high school prom

 For the Gents
  1.  The 5 O’clock Shave with Kimpton Hotels, 2-5pm May 31. Hit up this boutique hotel for $20 straight razor shaves from The Duke Barber Co. and exclusive brews from Barren Hill Brewery and tasty bites from Square 1682. Or if that’s not your style….
  2. Beers & Beards: The Great British Beard-off at The Dandelion 4pm, June 2nd. Because Wells and Young + Philly Beard Society Beard Contest = Joyful Jordy. Happy Hour pricing and prizes for the best bearded bros.

Get Cultured

  1. Future Sensations and Beer Garden at The Oval – All week. I bet this lighting exhibit will be EVEN cooler with a few beers in your belly.
    Just saying.
  2. A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister walk in to a bar again and again. Fergie’s Pub 4pm, Sunday May 31. Check out three men of faith who run beer clubs through their churches and use beer to reach their congregations. Special guest God!

This is just a smattering of the ZILLIONS of options for #PBW2015, and if you’re curious the other top events I’d recommend visiting, I’ve made this outrageously optimistic, physically-impossible-to-visit-all spreadsheet of Philly Beer Week Top Events.

So feel free to check it out, let me know if you’d like to join in any of the fun, and… if you’ve got a good beard and need a cheerleader on June 2nd, you lemme know.

See you Monday, June 8th. I'll be the one sleeping the day away.

See you Monday, June 8th. I’ll be the one sleeping the day away.

Spring Fling with Bing Bing (Dim Sum)

If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Unfortunately, I think Philadelphia has a case of the opposite. We, as a city of foodie folks, expect the very best from our chefs. The new ones. The veterans. The young ones. The oldies (but goodies). And then, if they don’t deliver to every single expectation…. Philly people get ticked. I feel like there’s a general air of disappointment that surrounds eaters in this city when they enter a restaurant that’s been hyped up.

Like those overly aggressive dudes that go into every bar, party, or pub ready for a fight, they, too, are looking for someone (or something) with whom they can take issue. I say this because I finally had a chance to mosey down to Bing Bing Dim Sum, East Passyunk’s new contemporary dim sum spot opened by the fellows that brought you Cheu Noodle Bar. Everyone that I’ve talked to has given this place the typical “Oh yes, it was decent BUT __________.” I’m here to tell you it was delicious.

Pac Man Bun: scrapple, quail egg, and pickles

Pac Man Bun: scrapple, quail egg, and pickles

Admittedly, my last dim sum experience was what I like to call my “brush with death” at Joy Tsin Lau, a mere few days before one of Philly’s biggest food poisoning outbreaks. So maybe all there was to go was up…. but I think it’s more than that. I think it’s perfectly cooked quail eggs and savory scrapple. I think it’s an outdoor seating and happy hour that, though newly launched, brought joy to my tastebuds (and wallet).

$5 bites, $3-5 bevvies

Cumin lamb rolls ON FLEEK. Truly, these were ethereal. Crunchy and filled with a tangy, stringy lamb. Oh, yes.

Sure, it’s not “bargain dim sum”. But I don’t think you’d want it to be. You pay a bit of a premium for something new, something different. And with dumplings like these, you get what you pay for:

Jade dumplings full of shrimp and leeks

Jade dumplings full of shrimp and leeks

My pal from grad school was in town and, though I love her, it’s hard to admit…. she’s gluten free. Yup, one of my best friends…. she can’t enjoy a normal beer, pizza, or bagel with me.

The struggle’s never been more real.

Luckily, Bing Bing gets it. Beyond our Pac-man Buns, scallion pancakes, and the lamb rolls, we enjoyed a variety of gluten free options that tasted anything but.

Green beans with fermented garlic and crunchy fried quinoa

Green beans with fermented garlic and crunchy fried quinoa

Fried cauliflower with shrimp salt, lemon, and scallion

Fried cauliflower with shrimp salt, lemon, and scallion

The vegetables, our first two dishes of the night, were filling and delicious enough to make an affordable, tasty meal for one. But dim sum is all about MORE.

Scallion pancakes with black bean hummus

Scallion pancakes with black bean hummus

Un-pictured: a delightful set of (gluten free) ruby red beet dumplings full of tofu and crispy garlic, and a bowl of (also gluten free) ginger scallion rice, chicken, furikake, long hots, and a pickled egg that had me playing the fun game where you see if you can pluck single grains of rice using your chopsticks.

If your food tastes that good, you’ll find a whole new set of skills.

Rice noodle rolls with garlic sausage, peanuts, and herbs

Rice noodle rolls with garlic sausage, peanuts, and herbs

These rice noodle rolls came out last, after I thought I couldn’t fit any more food in my belly. I was (luckily) mistaken. This nutty sauce, complimented by the hot chili oil Bing Bing has on each table, were full of garlicky sausage that both sated any leftover appetite, and guaranteed I wouldn’t be smooching any vampires that night. Not that I’m into that kinda thing #teamJacob.

Sure, we went during Happy Hour so the prices on some of the items were a little cheaper. But between the four of us, each getting at least one (DELICIOUS) alcoholic beverage, we came out paying $100 before tip. I’m more than cool with that. Throw in a wacky, dumpling themed decor (they’re everywhere. Even in the bathrooms) and you’re in for a unique night, to say the least. And while I rarely encourage anyone to follow the advice of Sylvia Plath (for assorted reasons), I think she’d make a hell of a food critic.

Free Fitness in Philly All Summer Long

Philly is really blossoming lately, isn’t it? And I’m not just talking about the revolting trees that make me feel ill when I get a whiff of them. Nope, Philly has become a social butterfly’s dream, from street festivals to beer gardens to outdoor parties and al fresco dining, it’s clear that we’re all out of our cocoons.

Unfortunately, if I simply enjoyed every single one of these events willy-nilly, I could end up like a chubby butterfly who can’t get too far on her wings. Like our dear friend Heimlich, the star of A Bug’s Life.

Not getting too far on those wings, Heimlich.

Not getting too far on those wings, Heimlich.

Luckily, I’ve been squirreling away some information and compiling it into a list that’s perfect for anyone. ESPECIALLY:

  1. Folks who wanna save their hard earned dollars to spend on those super fun summer parties.
  2. Folks who wanna fit into their sexy summer swimsuits down the shore (or even just at North Shore).

I’ve been working on a Free Summer Fitness in Philly spreadsheet (that is definitely a work-in-progress) listing all the recurring summer workouts that you can join in for free (or, for a low, low, “pay what you can” cost) that hopefully can help all of you stay fit AND ball on a budget in your bitty bikini!!

Sure it’s a little run and yoga heavy…. but don’t we all wanna get sweaty and stretchy in the summer?

Weekday options are plentiful:

Click image for hyperlinked version

Click image for hyperlinked version

And, on the weekends, when you’re not playing dramatic games of beach volleyball in cut-off jorts and dog tags, you can check out a few of these:

Happily welcoming any more suggestions

Happily welcoming any more suggestions

Also, if you’d like to hit up a few workouts in the meantime, I’ve assembled a little pu pu platter of free introductory classes or trials at local gyms to investigate (I’m pretty sure most of them come with air conditioning, a bonus.)

Free Class and Trial Memberships

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That sauna at Weston is so clutch.

I invite y’all to share this list with your friends and family that’s trying to stay fit this summer, and welcome input from anyone that knows of run clubs, bootcamps, free intro classes, or anything of that nature. I’ll update the post if I hear anything from you. So, ya know, if you’d like to shoot me a suggestion or invite me to join your sweaty beach volleyball team, hit me up in the comments or Twitter!

See you on the sand, SUCKAS!

Every Iceman needs his Elsa, right?

Every Iceman needs his Elsa, right?

Philadelphia: City of (M)otherly Love

A fondness for Philadelphia runs in my family. I’ve been lucky enough to have my brother move in across the city and my parents are frequenters, though they maintain suburban roots. I must say, though, no one has embraced this incredible city I’m lucky enough to live in quite as much as my mother.

Our first Diner en Blanc!

Our first Diner en Blanc!

She spent much of her life living within spitting distance of the city, but since my move, she’s been itching to try anything and everything that makes it all so very PHILADELPHIA. And, in case your mom is the same, here are a few of my favorite “Mom Friendly Finds” for the City of BMotherly Love.

  1. Bird’s Eye View at XIX at the Bellevue 

    Find a time, ideally during the day (whether it’s Sunday brunch or lunch any other day, or teatime), get on OpenTable (still reservations for Mother’s Day!!), and grab a reservation for 2 (or 3, or 6. TRIO OF MOM/DAUGHTERS [or sons!]), and request a table by the windows at XIX. And prepare for one of the most picturesque meals of your life.

    Photo yanked from DrinkPhilly

    Photo yanked from DrinkPhilly

    It’s quality food on a very reasonable budget, and the ambiance just kills it. If you grab lunch or tea, splurge and get a glass (or bottle) of bubbly. Your mom is worth it. And so are you.

  2. Na-MOMs-DAY! (Yoga. IN case that wasn’t clear)
    Ok, that was sort of supposed to be Namaste. Whatever.
    Did you know that, during the summer, you can do yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY, overlooking a body of water, for free?!
    Race Street Pier – Morning and Evening M-Thurs, and mornings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!
    Schuylkill River Banks – Tuesdays at 7am and 6:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-12pm

    Photo courtesy of Yoga on the Banks Facebook!

    Photo courtesy of Yoga on the Banks Facebook!

    What mom wouldn’t wanna see you resume your former role as a “Happy Baby” overlooking the Delaware or the Schuylkill? Chase it with a

  3. All the World’s a Stage 

    When I was younger, my mom absolutely loved checking me out in some of my theatrical performances (started as Sneezy from Snow White, then peaked playing Ms. Goose, a psychiatrist for the characters of Grimm Fairy Tales who have gone crazy). While my days on the stage are over, our appreciation of the arts continues.

    Photo snagged from Theatre Exile's Facebook!

    Photo snagged from Theatre Exile’s Facebook!

    We checked out Theatre Exile’s performance of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and it, frankly, blew my mind. I laughed, I was deeply uncomfortable and, bonus, mom and I scored a drink upstairs at the in-house bar during intermission. Win-win-win. But if that kinda thing isn’t your bag, you could check out the Kimmel Center’s programming (dancing! singers! Broadway!) or the Society Hill Playhouse, great location for dinner after the show.

  4. Festivals for the Restival(l of us!) 

    What better way to show your mom a real taste of Philadelphia than to literally let her taste bites and sips of Philadelphia?! While she’s at it, she can scope out retail tents, local artists, and music, all in one place surrounded by the real “salt of the earth” Philadelphians that live and breathe this city daily?!Outdoor festivals, IMHO, are one of the coolest ways to explore the city surrounded by tens of thousands of your closest (potential) friends. They’re also happening ALL summer long!! And while I’ve already spoken about how to survive them, I’ll go ahead and say that I invited my mom to venture out this past weekend to the South Street Spring and Rittenhouse Row Festivals this past weekend, and she had a blast.

    And who knows, after eating and drinking your way through the crowds, you might end up getting matching piercings at South Street’s very own Warrior Piercing.

    Because the mommy daughter duo that pierces together.... is... awesome together?

    Because the mommy daughter duo that pierces together…. is… awesome together?

    Philly REALLY is a city ripe with opportunities to bond with any family member, whether it’s over food, drinks, performances, fitness, or simply shopping your way down Walnut Street. And, if you’re lucky, your mom can be the ultimate plus one/buddy/guest whatever you end up doing.

Wishing your mom, and really ALL moms, caregivers, and ladies out there, an incredibly Happy Mother’s Day full of all the best things.

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What’s your favorite “Mom-Friendly” activity to enjoy with your mama?

My mom proved she can handle just about anything, so I think my next goal is getting her out to Bob and Barbara’s for their Drag Show.

Dream big, right?

Surviving South Street Spring Festival (or any Street Festival in Philly)

South Street’s Spring Festival is this Saturday, May 2nd from 11am-8pm. This, along with last Sunday’s Flavors of the Avenue and I think it’s safe to say that Street Festival season is upon us. Philly really flourishes as the weather gets warmer, and all everyone wants to do is be outside.

The only problem is that EVERYONE wants to be outside. These festivals are packed, and with good reason. Over 35,000 people have already RSVP’d to the 3rd Annual South Street Spring Festival and there are over 30 restaurants participating, musical performances, arts and crafts, and a genuine German Maifest at Brauhaus Schmitz. All the things you’d need for a killer Saturday. That said, festivals like this can be overwhelming, intense, and INSANE. Here are some tips and tricks from a seasoned pro (I seriously can’t get enough of giant outdoor eating parties) who ALSO got a little preview of the event last week.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

DO have a game plan

Like I said, there are a LOT of options. Check the list here. I’m not saying you need an itinerary… but know where you REALLY wanna go, and you won’t have to waste valuable time, money, energy, and stomach space on spots you either visit regularly or you’ve got no interest in.

Redwood Bistro: NO JOKE! Their sliders and Spanish fries are, as the kids say, "on fleek"

Redwood Bistro: NO JOKE! Their sliders and Spanish fries are, as the kids say, “on fleek”

DON’T go it alone

Round up a posse. Divide and conquer. Split up to minimize queuing time and maximize noshing time. You find your foodie friends, split up, and reconvene armed with tacos, cheese curds, popsicles, sliders, and daiquiris. Spread the wealth, and everyone wins!

Don't have to earn these beads, Fat Tuesday's will give them to you!

Don’t have to earn these beads, Fat Tuesday’s will give them to you!

DO pace yourself

There’s plenty of time. Trust me. But if you fill up within the first hour on booze and burgers, you’ll miss out because of your food baby fatiguing you. Consider it a marathon, not a sprint. Too many banana puddings can take out even the strongest contender.

I'll take three. Err... wait.

Sweet Life offers… I’ll take three.
Err… wait.

DON’T limit your experience to the food alone

The downtime between bites can be an excellent opportunity to check out the CONSTANT stream of music on three different stages. And if you’re not ever unsure of who to check out, might I recommend these rockstars in lederhosen?

unnamedDO try new things

Some spots will be offering things that you don’t normally see on the menu. I, personally, am a sucker for something exclusive. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for cocktails made with cream of coconut.

Maybe it’s both.

The Staycation: A Tattooed Moms Festival EXCLUSIVE!

The Staycation: A Tattooed Moms Festival EXCLUSIVE!

DON’T skip dessert

Three words. Cracker Jack Sundae. Bridget Foy’s has the tastiest ice cream treat I can recall in recent history.

Popcorn and peanut butter ice creams/caramel popcorn/caramel peanuts/chantilly

Popcorn and peanut butter ice creams/caramel popcorn/caramel peanuts/chantilly

I seriously can’t speak highly enough about this sweet delight. That said, there’s seemingly endless options to satisfy any sweet tooth, so if Cracker Jacks aren’t your style a) you’re a lunatic b) you’ll be able to find something to enjoy, I promise.

My final tip actually isn’t mine. But I think it’s valid, so I’ll leave you with the wise words of the folks at Sweet Life.

You've got it.

You’ve got it.

Cheers, and I’ll see you on the streets.

Bottoms up!

Bottoms up! Watermelon cooler from Bistro Romano!

I’ll be the tall blond with a drink, and probably a taco, in hand.

Blindfolds and Brown Butter: Cooking with Campbell’s

I love the cooking process. The chop of vegetables, the sear of meat, the sizzle of oil, and the aromas filling the kitchen. Unfortunately, my “kitchen” is actually just a stove in a hallway and bumping into hanging pots and pans when I turn to grab the salt makes the whole experience a lot less pleasurable. When I was presented a chance to try my hand in something a little spacier, I jumped at the chance.

When can I move?

When can I move?

Sure, the folks at Campbell’s aren’t technically in Philadelphia, but just a quick trip over the bridge in Camden, you’ll find the Campbell’s Campus complete with kitchens, cafeterias, and kettlebells (well, I’m not sure about the last one, but they do have a gym for the employees). Their kitchens are where the magic happens, and thanks to a partnership with Camp Campbell’s last year, I was able to visit this cave of wonders with the wizards themselves. Certified Master Chef Tom Griffiths, Executive Chef Maria Gamble, and Chef Carrie Welt brought the heat (get it?! kitchen humor!) teaching us about how and why the chefs at Campbell’s “Own the Flavor”.

The Master at work!

The Master at work!

We started out discussing the importance of the entire sensory experience, and there was even a little sniff-off.

Half of us were blindfolded, and the other half administered “the test”. Guess who didn’t miss one?!

50 Shades of... Smell?

50 Shades of… Smell?

Wanna know my secret? Every single ingredient has been in a cocktail I’ve enjoyed lately. Finally, being a part-time cocktail queen pays off!

Thank you, Volver, Sassafras, and 1 Tippling Place for all the help.

Thank you, Volver, Sassafras, and 1 Tippling Place for all the help. Ginger, lemongrass, limes (“This smells like shots!”) and lemons!

My prize was yet to come, but I did get a hint…

I see you, baby.

I see you, baby.

Before we got too sweet, though, we had to get a little savory. And, for savory, we went to the sea. Namely: Scallops.

My buddy KT making fast work of these little suckers. And there were a lot of them.

My buddy KT making fast work of these little suckers. And there were a lot of them.

We learned how to yank the muscle out of the scallop and we prepared these bad boys for cooking two ways:

  1. Poached in green tea
  2. Sautéed in brown butter

I know.

Poaching is something that I typically only equate with eggs, but Chef Tom let us know that it can create a clean, fresh take on seafood. Green tea poaching was something I’d never considered, and the scallops came out of a brief bath with a hint of earthy lightness (think the suggestion of grass).

So fresh and so clean

So fresh and so clean

We were momentarily sated.

And then the butter came out to play. Sorry, green tea, but you really didn’t stand a chance.

What's that you say? You need to be tastier?

What’s that you say? You need to look tastier?

You got it.

You got it.

I ate more scallops this evening than I may have ever consumed in my life, total. And I thought I couldn’t eat any more. But when Chefs Marie and Carrie let us know things were about to get sweet, I somehow found some room.

After discussing the differences between dark chocolates, and how well they pair with Port (spoiler alert, very well), Chef Marie got to serious business. The business of honey tuile cups and macerated fruit, of homemade ricotta (and the subsequent homemade ricotta ice cream), and of washing it all down with sweet, rich Port.

(I had some trouble telling them apart. I had to try a lot of each one...)

(I had some trouble telling them apart. I had to try a lot of each one…)

Take me to this Dessert Island

Take me to this Dessert Island (notice the Port glass has magically refilled itself)

The trip was, to say the least, incredible. Eye-opening. Decadent. We saw the kitchens where products I’ve eaten my whole life were tested (I practically grew up putting way too much Prego in my pasta!) We met the folks who eat, sleep, and breathe food innovation and creation.

These aren’t the chefs that are touted in magazines for using molecular gastronomy to create the most sublime tasting menu (for a paltry $300 [$450 with wine pairing]). These are the men and women who are striving to make flavorful and nutritious accessible to everyday men and women cooking for their families. Sure, they served us scallops. But they demonstrated how the same techniques could make a piece of cod sing with flavor. Chef Tom proved that cooking time and proper seasoning makes the difference between green beans that taste like they’re from a can and those that are crisp and zippy.

Real food that matters for life’s moments. Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.29.06 AMThanks, Camp Campbell, and here’s to many happy returns.

And brown butter.

Win a Chance to Spartan Up with a Spartan Race GIVEAWAY!

If you know me at all, you probably know I hate a few things.

Mushrooms. Miniature golf. Cookie cakes (OMG DECIDE ARE YOU A CAKE OR A COOKIE YOU CAN’T BE BOTH!!)

Oh, and running.

So many of my best buddies have incredible pictures of them completing races. And I’ve scoured my photo archives. I think this may be the only one of me running:

ya like this face of misery?

ya like this face of misery? Yup, that was in 2012.

But with a spring thaw slowly and surely taking place in Philadelphia, I had a thought.

Maybe I should run a little bit. It’s time for a new challenge.

I just needed the right incentive to train myself. To pound the pavement, if you will….

Be Well Philly’s Underground Growler Run gave me my first chance to get some miles in with a 2.25 run ending in…. BEER!

unnamed-2

Alas, that was just a one time affair… I still needed something to get my butt in sneakers and hit the ground running (literally). And then, like gritty, muddy, hardcore angels, the folks from the Spartan Race reached out with an opportunity. An opportunity to try one of their races. So in a mere 32 weeks (and two days, but who’s counting?) I’m going to head to the Citizen’s Bank Park Sprint to Spartan Up in Philadelphia!! It’s a sprint, which means 3+ miles and 15+ obstacles throughout the course. And for most folks I know, that would be chump change. But for me, it’s something to work for, and I can’t wait to see how it goes. I’ve been rocking out to the Spartan Up podcast to get hyped up. But I think I’d feel even more hype with a buddy.

Less scary with a friend

Less scary with a friend

SO the folks at the Spartan Race ALSO gave me a code for one of my readers! If you’d like a chance to win an entry in ANY Spartan Race’s open heat (non-confirmed start time) in the continental US, enter in the comments belwo. The only mandatory entry is:

Tell me one challenge you’re tackling this year!

For bonus entries, follow Spartan Race on Facebook, follow @foodsweatnbeers on Twitter, or subscribe to the Spartan Up Podcast and leave separate comments for each.

Again, you don’t have to be in Philly to win this. You’ve got a week to enter, and I’ll select a winner April 9th at noon!

Let’s Spartan Up!

(PS: For 10% off any race, enter the code SPARTANBLOGGER in case contests aren’t your bag.)

UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO JANE, COMMENT NUMBER FOUR! She’s training for her second marathon, hopefully this race will help!!

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