By now, we’ve all done the restaurant week thing somewhere. And though it’s a creative and community-building concept, some of us have gotten over it. So it’s refreshing to see a new take on a what’s now an old idea.
Enter SJ Hot Chefs Farm to Fork week July 20-26. Yes, 45 South Jersey restaurants will offer discounted prix-fixe meals for $25 or $35. Yes, chef/owners and their PR people will brag about how fresh and local their produce is–which truth be told, is a foundational mission of the Hot Chefs consortium anyway. But this year, the public won’t just get to see and taste the freshness, they’ll get to be a driving force behind it.
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Forgotten Boardwalk – the old-fashioned arcade-themed brewery that’s taking over the old Flying Fish space in Cherry Hill – is still waiting for the state to give it the green light to start producing beer. But co-owners Jamie Queli and Seth Dolled are tired of sitting around and want to throw a party NOW. So tomorrow, they’re hosting their first public event. Although there won’t be beer, there will be charity and games.
From 5-8 pm, they’re asking people to stop by for a little camaraderie and fun with food trucks while contributing to a canned food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Southern New Jersey. Head brewer David Bronstein has brewed a non-alcoholic lemonade for the occasion, with proceeds going to Sustainable New Jersey. And because the company’s logo is a feral cat, attendees are also encouraged to bring canned cat food for the Animal Adoption Center, a no-kill shelter in Lindenwald. If you plan to bring human food, the biggest need is for non-perishables like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, tuna, breakfast cereal, canned vegetables, canned fruit and pasta.
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You may remember a post I wrote a few months ago about Broken Goblet–a brewery that was getting ready to open in Bristol. More to the point, you may remember commenting on it, as several of you did. Well here’s hoping that you all show as much support for them in person as you did in the comments section because Broken Goblet is launching to the public with a party July 12. And though I haven’t met them personally, they do seem like a nice bunch of guys.
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Isn’t it great when you can drink beer while supporting a good cause? Well, tomorrow at the Garden State Brewers Festival, you can support two good causes: the organization that works to promote and improve business conditions for New Jersey’s craft brewers AND preservation of the most decorated battleship in U.S. history.
The annual Garden State Craft Brewers Guild festival takes place tomorrow on the Battleship NJ in Camden, and more than 20 of the state’s breweries will be pouring. If you haven’t been to this festival, it’s a definite must. You get a free self-guided tour of the battleship then you get to hang out on one of the decks feeling the breeze and admiring the view of the city. A lot has been happening this year in Jersey beer so it’s also a good time to meet some of the new brewers (Paul Simmons from Glasstown and Jacqui from Rinn Duin among them) and sample their stuff.
Festival runs from 1-5pm; VIP session starts at noon.
Garden State Brewers Festival [Tickets here]
It’s about f-ing time.
After waiting for more than a year to receive a blessing from the City of Camden, Philadelphia homebrewer and Kentucky native James Yoakum is finally opening his distillery to the public tonight. Cooper River Distillers, located in an industrial building in (safe) downtown Camden, is the second distillery to open in New Jersey since before Prohibition.
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Think you can run Reading Terminal Market’s demo kitchen? Then management wants to hear from you.
Seeking to change operators after a six-year stint by Anna Maria Florio and her culinary education company, La Cucina, RTM’s head honchos are asking the public for proposals for Kitchen @ The Market. They’re not sure if they want to stick with the current model under which the operator leases the space and independently runs its classes and private parties or if they want to bring the operation in-house to be run by a staffer or a consultant. So they’re asking qualified individuals and companies to submit proposals by May 16.
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Look, we know it’s fashionable to be a geek these days. But do you know something else we know? Though geeks may be a primary target audience for the Philadelphia Science Festival, you totally don’t have to be a geek to geek out on it. And even though we needed a tutor to pass high school Physics (we’re writers, after al), we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every previous Science Fest event we’ve attended.
Fine, you’re right–we’ve only ever attended the beer and food events, but whatever. That’s not the point.
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If you’re still thinking of sherry and vermouth as drinks for your grandmother or Niles and Frasier Crane, get your head out of your bubblegum vodka. Fortified wine cocktails are fully en vogue, with some bars hosting special events around the ingredient or devoting a page or more to them on their beverage lists.
Square 1682 has led the trend in Philly, slotting these cocktails into their seasonal rotation. Head bartender Chauncey Scates says fortified wines – defined as those with (usually grape-based) distillate added to boost the alcohol content and shelf life – are gaining in popularity in part because they pair so well with food.
“It’s like pairing with wine but with all of those additional ingredients in the cocktail,” she says. “And our chef does a lot of lighter fare like fish and veggies, so I wanted to bring in fortified wines as a big part of our program because they’re not as heavy as some other spirits.”
And yes, we have recipes…
In her quest to raise awareness of German wines and beers among Philadelphians, local celebrity sommelier Marnie Old is bringing the Fatherland to Wine Week through a series of German-focused events. Tonight, the author of the newly released (and quite colorful – both in tone and hue) text Wine: A Tasting Course is hosting “A Tasting Tour of Rheinland Riesling” at the German Society of Pennsylvania from 6:30-8:30. For $38, guests will learn, among other things, that not all Riesling is sweet and not all German wine labels are horrifically confusing, once you know how to read them.
But wait, there’s more!
If you live at the intersection between history buff and beer geek, this upcoming event hosted by the Philadelphia chapter of The Society of Architectural Historians will hit you right in your sweet spot. On Thursday, March 27, the chapter will be meeting at the not-quite-open-yet Saint Benjamin Brewing in Kensington to hear beer historian Rich Wagner talk about the famed 19th century brewery architect Otto Wolf, who designed the St. Benjamin’s brewhouse as a stable for the Finkenauer brewery in 1895.
Wolf was a Philly native and Penn grad who made a national name for himself designing industrial buildings and well-known breweries like Schmidt’s. The rest of the Finkenauer site was demolished in the ‘50s, but in 2012 brewer Tim Patton bought the stable for his 3-barrel nano, which he hopes to open later this year. In the meantime, the 6 p.m. event will be a good time to get a sneak peek at his space and a sneak sip of his Foul Weather Jack English Mild.
Tickets are $20 for non-society members, and space is limited. RSVP to email@example.com.