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!

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!

Six Pack Sunday: Living Socially

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

I know a lot of big things happened this week.

Movember/No Shave November ended. I mourned the lost of beardy men all over. I had the best grilled cheese of my life. MTV’s Buckwild trailer premiered. News of Girl Meets World swept the internet. But, for me, there was something even more momentous that went down.

I Lived SO Socially.  In fact, I lived socially TWICE this weekend. Winter Winery Tour followed by a Brewery, Distillery, and Winery tour. Too cool, right?

There were highlights from both.

1. A Match Made in Heaven

Cheese and Chocolate: Wine's best friends!!

Cheese and Chocolate: Wine’s best friends!!

2. Road Wine

Ever think that you’d like wine a lot more if it tasted and smelled like apple pie and Christmas?

Both ALPINEY andddd Spicy!

Both ALPINEY andddd Spicy!

Alpine Spice, from Sand Castle Winery in Bucks County. Serve warm in the winter. Consider yourself educated. Get this wine.

3. New Friends

I made a few, but I don’t wanna start blogging about them without clearing the air. However, I did meet this one stud…. He was the strong, silent type, but I think he liked me.

Cute hat, right?

Cute hat, right?

4. Pasta Salad

Yeah, that doesn’t always sound like a highlight. In fact, at most silly picnics and potlucks, I don’t really get excited over pasta salad at all. But, if it’s oriental pasta salad…. all bets are off.

Feast your eyes on THIS!

Feast your eyes on THIS!

Making this, POST-HASTE!!

5. Whiskey Wednesday (or Sunday. Or every day.)

I don’t even like whiskey. 90% of the time, the sound of the word “whiskey” makes me feel like running away in fear. But what about when the words BEFORE whiskey are “Salted” and “Caramel”?

Yup, taking you home with me.

Yup, taking you home with me.

Here’s hoping there’s a boozy cider night in my VERY near future. Because I brought a bottle of this bad boy home with me. Courtesy of Philadelphia Distilling… CRAFT LIQUOR, Y’ALL!!

6. THE BEARD LIVES ON!!

So, for some fancy beer guys, No Shave November is more than a fundraiser. It’s a lifestyle.

Here’s to one of the best beer beards I’ve seen in Philly, a la Yards Brewery.

Sweet, brah.

Sweet, brah.

Love it.

And, with the end of the semester looming quite menacingly on the horizon, it’s back to reality.

Oh goodness, it was just so nice to not be in a library for a weekend…..

 

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll: Bang for Your Buck

I’m pretty sure that, as I was plugging in my “dinner” to MyFitnessPal last night, the little elves that work inside the website were asking themselves “WTF, where IS this woman, and how is she eating what she’s eating?”

Samosa, spring roll, vegan cookie, mac & cheese, pulled pork, a banana whip, stuffed grape leaves… Nope, I didn’t sneak into a multi-cultural food court and run around grabbing everything in sight. Instead, I hit up the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll to spend the best and most diverse $9 I think I’ve ever dropped.

This particular stroll allows shops and restaurants on Baltimore Avenue from 42nd-50th Street to offer small bites, toys, treats, and trinkets for a buck each, as well as allowing attendees to rock out to some fun live music.

I went to visit an old buddy from college, Kurt, for a trip to West Philadelphia, a virgin area to this Philly newb.  According to Kurt, it’s a lot of Penn alums, hipsters, and cool kids. The Carrboro or Brooklyn of Philly, perhaps?  I don’t know, I’m not an expert, but that’s definitely what it reminded me of, down to the skinny jeans and PBR cans everywhere you looked.

Since I arrived around 6:40ish, the party was already in full swing and the lines were nothing to laugh at…

Hey there, 50 new friends!

Luckily, we had nothing but time and, since Kurt had done a lap already, we began to make the rounds.  Up first?

Better than the Olympic Village?

Fried Foods are Friends

The Samosas from Desi Village were warm and a little spicy, a great first few mouthfuls as we took our initial steps onto Baltimore Avenue.

Aksum, noted for future reference.

Mediterranean melee!

While I didn’t think that the hummus and pita from Aksum were worth shelling one of my precious dollars, the stuffed grape leaves called my name. I answered, greedily grabbing some covered in tzatziki and gobbling them both. I was licking the cucumber yogurt sauce off my fingers as we moved onto the next line. Luckily, it was long enough to allow my tummy to settle. But not for too long…

Not my finest photography… Sorry.

It’s probably the paper thin wraps, or the general off-white coloring, but these spring rolls refused to look good in any pictures.  What they lacked in being photogenic, they more than made up for in being DELICIOUS! These were honestly probably my favorite bite of the evening. Cool, crisp, and surprisingly vegetarian, Vientiane Café’s fresh spring rolls were off the chain. I’ll be back for more of these next time, no doubt about it.

 

Truly the Gold Standard…

…in pulled pork sammies.

Juicy, with soft white buns that soaked up the tangy sauce, these pulled pork sammies were small enough that I wanted more, but large enough that I knew I didn’t need any more if I didn’t wanna be stuffed!  We also got lucky here with no line, which I think is RIDICULOUS considering how delicious they were… Then again, if no one else wants to wait for them next Stroll, that’s A-OK with me.

 

They had Soul, but no chicken.

As I’ve always said, a failure to plan is a plan for a ridiculously long line of hungry, annoyed patrons.  (I’ve never said that, but maybe I should start…) Elena’s Soul was offering dollar portions of yams, peach cobbler, mac & cheese, and fried chicken. Only, after waiting in arguably the longest line of my trip, they were all out of chicken. And it was going to take them at least 15 minutes to make more.

Jojo don’t play that way, so I grabbed a mac & cheese to go. It wasn’t bad, but it was NOT worth that line. Lesson learned: Confirm chicken before subjecting yourself to the never-ending line.

 

Hello, new friend!

That’s right, dollar craft beer!

While the cups were small, the flavor was big in Dock Street Brewery’s offerings, especially their Summer Session.  I’ll be honest, I was double fisting these beers (long line, didn’t wanna wait again) SO I didn’t get a picture of the actual beer itself BUT it was light and summery, with a citrus hint and a lip-smacking lingering that left me wanting another one.  But, my sweet tooth had other ideas…

Whipping those bananas into shape.

Vegan?! For ME(gan?)!

I never thought I’d type this but: This totally vegan dessert was AMAZING! Mariposa Food Co-op was offering vegan chocolate chip cookies and banana whips, so I decided to get creative and go with an open face vegan “ice cream” sandwich topped with coconut shreds.  I was so pleased and never ONCE thought “Ew, this tastes far too vegan for this carnivore.”

I’m not saying a tiger’s gonna change it’s stripes, but maybe this tiger will occasionally head over to nibble on some grass.

I don’t know, that’s a horrible metaphor. I couldn’t help it, I was remembering tasty memories…

I didn’t even break $10 with this meal, and left full as full can be. And, so you know, it’s happening again September 20th…. Anyone wanna join me?

Maybe we could even make this spring roll look pretty:

Don’t mind the hair, just call me Pinky.

If you’re feeling courageous, check out the listing of all the foods they had this time around and share what you’d spend your first $3 buying!

If you’re not, are there any nibbles and bits from a favorite restaurant you wish would only cost a buck for the night?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luchadoras Attack Durham

I know, the title of this post is a bit misleading. I mentioned it in this week’s Six Pack Sunday so, if you read it, you already probably know that there weren’t actually droves of female masked wrestlers attacking innocent strangers on the mean streets of the Dirty D.

There were, however, some gorgeous masked ladies who invaded the ring at Motorco, one of Durham’s most unique and excellent venues. Serving quite a number of yummy beers, craft and otherwise, this music hall hosts everything from aerial performers to local bands to viewings of cult classics like The Big Lebowski. On Saturday, starting at noon, they went in a different route: Durham’s first Luchadoras extravaganza.  For $5, with all of the proceeds going toward grassroots food justice efforts in Durham, NC, how could I say no?

Going wild!

The folks of Durham came out en masse to cheer on these masked misses, and after grabbing two beers, Ryan and I joined the horde.  The first battle paired up two ladies , and the story was that one… maybe poisoned the friend of another…. who wanted to demask the first… for honor and shame?

I’ll be honest, the Legends behind the Luchadoras are complicated, dramatic, and crazy!! There’s so much intrigue and, considering most of the names were in another language, I struggled to keep up.

Baxter, you know I don’t speak Spanish.

After watching the villainess get demasked and shouting SHAAAAAMEEEE with my fellow enthusiasts, it was  time for a little audience participation.  The announcers, who were hype and hilarious (and struggled to not laugh at the whole shebang themselves), called for 4 female volunteers to come up to the stage.  There were a couple of quiet minutes as everyone looked at one another, wondering what it was for and why they needed these ladies?  Body painting? Date auction? Virgin sacrifice?

Of course, I waltzed up to the stage. How could I say no to one of those options?

Advance apologies for bad picture quality...

After placing the four women in the ring on each corner, they announced that we’d be battling it out for a handmade luchadoras mask of our very own!  At this point, the gloves came off. Well, in my case, the glasses did, as I handed them to a friendly stranger on the side for safe keeping.

God as my witness, I was going to get that mask.

Luckily, my three opponents were itty bitty women. I’d say none was taller than 5’6″, weighing no more than 130 lbs soaking wet. Realistically, they didn’t stand a chance.

As the mask dropped on the ring, our bodies hit the floor. I knew I had a quality grasp on the mask right when I touched it, but so did at least two other women. My strategy? Box them out with my body.  This involved (but was not limited to):

  • Rolling around
  • Trying to flip my butt on them
  • Jamming my shoulder into their body
  • Creating a body cocoon around the mask, forcing the women to get too close to me, feel awkward, and let go

I’m not sure which was the straw that broke the lucha’s back, but the last woman finally dropped and I was declared the winner.

WINNAH!! (Pictured with Juicy Booty)

To the victor goes the spoils: A killer luchadoras mask and pride that spans a lifetime.

Battle Scars

Also to the victor go the wounds: scratches on the neck, 3 nail digs on the knuckles, a really sore neck and TWO earrings yanked out.

We weren’t messing around.

I also must not forget the fact that I pretty much mooned the entire crowd. Since I wasn’t planning on battling for honor, I may have mistakenly rocked a pair of super low-rise skinny jeans which did a great job of sneaking below the crack quite a few times.

At least I was wearing cute undies?

Smack that booty!

These women were totally bad@ss. They were exciting, they were dramatic, and I’d be lucky to be in their ranks.  Which is why I gave the “scout” my card, in case he needs La Glamazon to come put some princesses in their places.

At least he knows I can take a beating.

Ever been in a physical fight?

How do you feel about professional wrestling?