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The Sofitel Hotel hosted a scotch whiskey tasting on Thursday, April 4th in their swanky bar, La Bourse. Several liquor companies were there, each with five to eight different kinds of scotch from different areas of the land of the kilt. Midway through, a bagpipe player piped his way through the bar, prompting the pourers to add an extra splash to our glasses. The Old Boys club was present, but so too, were some new inductees to the 80-proof club – a few young women made the scene lively and even chomped down on cigars at the bar with the old guard. Catch the next tastings every thursday in April - the 11th, 18th, and 25th.
 
This year's Book and The Cook, now in it's 18th year, started with an advance preview party on February 20th at the Ballroom in Loew's Hotel, where the participating restaurants came together to prepare enticing dishes. The week officially started March 15th and ran until the 24th with around 100 different dinners, luncheons, brunches and cooking demonstrations from area restaurants such as, the Sansom St. Oyster House, Jake's, Dilworthtown Inn, Django, Zocalo, Avenue B, and Philadelphia Fish and Co. Here are some highlights from a couple dinners we attended at Davio's and Opus 251.
 
Each year, the Girl Scouts of Southeastern PA honors area women who have achieved notability in their chosen field in the Take the Lead Awards. This year, at the Four Seasons on March 18th, honorees were Philly's District Attorney Lynne Abraham, Kathryn Kolbert of the the Annenberg Public Policy Center and NPR, Liz Murphy, COO of the Delaware River Port Authority, Charisse Lillie, Partner at Ballard, Spahr law firm, John Street's Chief of Staff Joyce Wilkerson, and UPenn's VP of Public Safety. After the awards were given and the girl presenters saluted the recipients, the girls sang to the crowd, showing everyone that their auction bids and support have a direct impact.
 
At the ninth annual ChefAid to benefit MANNA (Metropolitan AIDS Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) on Sunday, March 10th, this year held at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing, over 300 people came to support and recognize the group. MANNA delivers three meals a day to area victims of AIDS, and/or their dependents. It was a colorful and lively gathering in many ways. The shimmering rainbow tablecloths and abundant rose arrangements reflected the bouyant and celebratory nature of the night and it's straight (but not narrow) and gay guests. A bittersweet note was sounded between sets by the always amazing Eddie Bruce band though as the evening's host, KYW's Pat Ciarrocchi rememebered her late friend and former co-worker, Siani Lee, previous years' host.
 
The American Heart Association held one of Phildelphia's largest charity balls at the Convention Center Marriott on Saturday, March 9th. More than one thousand people attended, and along with generous corporate sponsors, managed to raise more than $500,000 for the AHA. Enchantment Under the Sea was the theme, as evidenced by the sighting of mermaids weaving in and out of the crowd. The live auction featured hot-and-heavy bidding and the auctioneer's spotters had a hard time keeping their eyes on all bidders. One item, a luxury cruise aboard a Silverseas ship contributed a sizable amount to the AHA's fund.
 
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