Cinder-eat-a: A Night Out at #PhillyCooks

As far as princesses go, I’ve never identified much with CInderella. Sure, I’m blond and my whistling skills have been known to call woodland critters to my side (though, in Philly, it’s mostly pigeons and Rittenhouse rats. Gross.) But I can’t stand house cleaning, I get along famously with my siblings and mother, and I’m rubbish on heels, glass or otherwise.

Last night, however, I think I had my Cinderella moment. Instead of a fairy godmother, I had the team from Philadelphia Magazine as my benefactor. My pumpkin coach was an UberX, and my gown was a hastily thrown together number sourced from Athleta and Nordstrom. Most importantly, instead of seeking out a dance with the handsome prince, I was here for one reason.

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Philly Cooks.

One of the city’s premier dining and drinking experiences, this soirée is put on every year by Foobooz, my go-to for all Food and Booze news in Philly. Tickets range from $85 for the early birds to $100. This plucky princess managed to win a pair, due to some sort of pixie dust I’m sure. And so I grabbed my date (read: my mom) and headed to the castle Marriott.

Imagine an enormous room with vaulted ceilings, complete with warm lighting and the dull roar of live music, chock full of Philly foodies, sprinkled with some of the top chefs in every genre of edibles from neighborhoods far and wide.

Yup, I was in paradise.

Yup, I was in paradise.

From ceviche and smoked salmon to pork, pizza, and potatoes to more terrine than you could shake a stick at (seriously…. what’s with all the terrine, chefs?) With a gauzy, tent-like speakeasy stationed in the middle of the vast space pouring cocktails from Franky Bradley’s, Olde Bar, and Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co. (my personal favorite was a Reverse Valencia from Olde Bar – Tanqueray, Oloroso Sherry, Manzanilla Sherry, and apple bitters), the party was in full swing by the time we arrived around 7pm.

Cocktail line-up looking so fly

Cocktail line-up looking so fly

After we obtained our beverages of choice, we began to loop around. Laurel’s Nicholas Elmi (who all Top Chef fans know as a winnnnnerrrr and all Philly folks know as proprietor of restaurant you can’t get reservations to) started off my night the right way with duck confit and foam, and the party kept going strong from there.

I’ll shoot you straight, when you’re surrounded by ravenous hoards of hungry folks all queueing up for tiny plates, whipping out your phone for photos becomes low on the priority list. In fact, I kinda forgot about it for some standouts. Like, sure I can’t recall EXACTLY where I consumed the most divine lobster (maybe) grilled cheese and tomato soup, when my mother thrust it in my hands (Maybe… The Hunt Room?). But I guess when I went back for my 2nd 3rd, let’s be honest here, slow roasted boar and foccaccia panino with pickled red onion, I deemed it worth for a photo (SERIOUSLY SOMEONE TAKE ME TO CAPOFITTO POST HASTE!)

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I want to fall asleep on this soft focaccia next to a pile of that boar. Is that an appropriate way to describe food?

Probably.

Weirdly enough, though I rarely have much of a sweet tooth, the dessert area was my dream-come-true last night. Wonder why….

Sweet Box glory

Sweet Box glory

Goat cheese ANGLAISE?

Goat cheese ANGLAISE?

Huge up to The Master’s Baker, who have given a new lease on my concept of goat cheese’s LIFE.

But then, I reached the mecca.

Oh, what's that? JUST A S'MORES BAR!

Oh, what’s that? JUST A S’MORES BAR!

Yup, 10 Arts brought the HEAT quite literally. Because, in case you didn’t know, s’mores are my favorite dessert. Want proof?

YOU GOT YOUR PROOF

YOU GOT YOUR PROOF

That’s unbridled joy at the thought of consuming a s’more consisting of graham cracker, housemade marshmallow, AND A REESES CUP.

The rest of the night was a blur of snacking, sipping, spinning around in awe, and sadly seeing some spots sans sustenance. By 8pm, a TON of vendors were fresh out. Made me wish we’d come early, but no one wants to be THAT Cinderella. Princesses need to make an entrance. And as my stomach swelled happily, and the clock struck midnight (JK it ended at 9pm but all that eating tuckers a gal out), my mother and I raced down the escalators, pausing only for one farewell photo.

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Foobooz and Philly, you know how to feed a gal. And you just let me know if you spot any glass slippers in a women’s size 12. I’m not saying they’re mine or anything…. but you wouldn’t believe the blisters those puppies give ya!

Theme Parties I Should Probably Host

Apparently, my little brothers’ fraternity is far more creative than the fraternities at UNC are (or were 4 years ago). Because, while UNC frats were throwing parties with REAL winning concepts such as:

  • Golf Pros and Tennis Hoes
  • GI Joes and Army Hoes
  • CEOs and Office Hoes
  • Dudes in a kinda themed shirt and street-walking prostitutes (ok, this wouldn’t fit on a flyer, but real talk, I think all of them were basically versions of this)

HIS fraternity is hosting parties with themes such as:

  • Mobsters and Lobsters
  • Mathletes and Athletes

I’ll admit, I’m a huge sucker for theme parties. Almost to a fault. And, in college, my frat did a few solid ones. Personal favorites:

  • Word on Your Arm Party – Real simple concept. Come in with a word on your arm. If you don’t have one, we’re ready with permanent markers and incredible vocabularies. Don’t blame me if you forgot your word and end up with Pudendum on your forearm for the next three days. 
  • Swank and Skank – You choose: Britney Spears-style skanking, strolling through gas stations barefoot and maybe pregnant or bald OR swanky as all get out (any reason to rock a tiara and long black gloves)
  • Paranormal Formal – I just wanted a chance to cover myself in blood a la Carrie. And if I was wearing a tiara…. so be it.

    They're ALL gonna laugh at you.

    They’re ALL gonna laugh at you.

  • Zombie Apocalypse in the 1920s – Ok, this one wasn’t my favorite, but I appreciate specificity. I dressed as a pirate, as I always will when I don’t agree with the theme.

But now, I’m worried that I missed a lot of opportunities for great rhyming themes (AND SLANT RHYMES! YEAH!!)  I’ve decided that if I don’t host at least ONE of these parties in the next year or so, I’ve failed as a human.  These are some ideas thus far. You know, just spit-balling over here….

  • Winos and Albinos – I expect to see some famous winos like the Real Housewives of Anywhere and maybe one or two people dressed as polar bears. Bonus points if someone shows up dressed like this fellow:

    Dress like me, get invited to all future parties.

    Dress like me, get invited to all future parties.

  • Jungle Cats and Spoiled Brats – Lions, Tigers, and Paris Hilton, OH MY!
  • Jeffs, Chefs, and Stephs – Where else might you see Stephanie Meyer, Jeff Probst, and Iron Chef Mario Batali having small talk over jello shots? I also imagine that I’d look great in a Steffi Graf costume. So there’s that.
  • Book Covers and Star Cross’d Lovers – I’m a huge fan of judging things by their covers. Mostly beers by their labels…. However, this party’s theme would be literal interpretations of book titles and pairs arriving as history’s greatest star cross’d lovebugs. Romeo and Juliet, Maria and Tony, Nick and Jessica (Simpson. Shame on you if that wasn’t the obvious first choice.)

    Never saw that coming...

    Never saw that coming…

  • Silicon Valley and Diagon Alley – Computer geeks and Harry Potter freaks UNITE! Actual wizards and tech wizards, one and all. I am still unsure how I’d rock a tiara at this one, but I’m almost certain that someone would rock a badass Bellatrix. Maybe this person might even fall for the pocket-protected lad or lass standing by the punchbowl (note: I don’t have a punchbowl. Do I have to get one to throw these things?)
  • Holy Powers and Whiskey Sours – Dress up as any deity you wish, know that I will only be pouring whiskey sours. Ganesh, don’t give me that, I know you’ll love them if you just give them a chance. Look at Artemis over there, throwing them back!
  • Spice Girls and Zombie Merles – If you decide to dress as a male-identified character for this party, your options are pretty limited, and you’d better be all caught up on your Walking Dead. But how great would it be to see line dancing with Sporty, Scary, and like… 4 Zombie Merles.

    Are we taking shots?

    Are we taking shots?

Oh goodness. I gotta get started. Only a little less than 5 months until my birthday!!

Take your best shot at a solid AND creative theme party. OR give me the best one you’ve ever attended. What did you dress as?! 

Probably a lobster.