Best of Philly Snapshot: Nicholas Elmi, Best Celeb Chef

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400There was this moment, shortly after the finale of Top Chef: New Orleans had aired, shortly after Nick Elmi had been named the winner, when another chef walked up to him at one of the big food events in town, shook his hand, congratulated him, and asked him what the hell he was thinking, opening a 22-seat restaurant.

Because, seriously? When you win Top Chef, you suddenly become one of the most famous chefs in America. At least temporarily. Shoot, even losing on the show can be enough to raise you up out of obscurity and turn you into a brand — a known name who can draw down the dollars just by having been featured on the jumping box for a few hours. Cookbook deals, product endorsements, cruise-ship gigs — it all comes to you. And a big-ass restaurant with high-volume turnover on the floor? Of course. That’s just a given.

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Get Your Tickets to the Best of Philly Bash

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Celebrate Best of Philly and summer with the Best of Philly Bash set for Tuesday, August 12th. The event is being held at Citizens Bank Park and will feature past Best of Philly winners serving up their summer favorites. There will also be summer-inspired cocktails, live music and outdoor games.

Tickets are $90 for general admission, $150 for VIP tickets which get you in an hour-and-a-half early.

Get your tickets now.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Arts and Culture

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Best Art Gallery: Fleisher/Ollman

This unassuming gallery near Chinatown is a gem for connoisseurs and nascent collectors alike, with a fantastically diverse selection that ranges from contemporary mixed-media pieces to the 20th-century masterworks that put the place on the map. Plus, prices are reasonable. 1216 Arch Street, Center City, 215-545-7562.

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Best of Philly Snapshot: Janet Monge, Best Museum Curator

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400You’ve caught Janet Monge at a rare moment when her purple reading glasses are down. They’re dangling from a lanyard right now, a telltale sign she’s on break from the clay and dust, which doesn’t prevent a colleague from interrupting her at the cafe of the Penn Museum:

“I was just asked a question on Twitter about a fellow who might be in the Morton Collection — a man by the name of Alexander Pearce?”

Like a human Rolodex, Monge mentally cycles through the 10,000 people she works with under the roof of the museum, all ranging in age, ethnicity and general put-togetherness. Some have spines; others don’t. The vast majority are dead. Pearce is one of those, and super-famous. “Oh yes, we have Pearce,” Monge says. “He was executed. He was a cannibal.”

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Best of Philly 2014: Behind the Scenes

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400One recent afternoon, associate editor Joel Mathis — who covers media, politics and other Important Stuff for our website, Phillymag.com — had an experience most investigative reporters would undoubtedly relate to: He met a confidential source at a restaurant in town for a secret exchange of materials. The handoff went well — the package Joel received led to a nice scoop for us — but there was one part of the encounter that was maybe not so All the President’s Men.

Joel arrived at the clandestine meeting having just gotten a chest wax.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Health and Fitness

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Best Gym: Haverford YMCA

This isn’t your grandma’s YMCA. The gorgeous 75,000-square-foot Haverford Y, on the old Swell Bubble Gum Factory campus, includes three indoor swimming pools (hello, water slides), an indoor track, palatial cardio and weight-training facilities, and more than 100 fitness classes a week. No wonder that in less than a year, it’s attracted 21,000 members and counting. 891 North Eagle Road, Havertown, 610-649-0700.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Shopping and Style

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Best Casual Clothing for the Fashion-Forward Guy: Armour

Subtly futuristic button-ups and vests, delightfully odd wooden bow ties and lapel pins, ­custom-made patchwork tote bags by Philly designer Hamid Holloman the collection here is unexpected in the best way possible, and solidifies what we knew all along: Fashion in Philly isn’t just for the girls. 704 South 4th Street, Queen Village, 267-928-2002.

More sneak peeks ahead!

Best of Philly 2014 Preview: LGBT Winners

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Gay Bar: U Bar

There isn’t a dance floor in the whole place, and drag-queen sightings are rare. But that’s exactly what’s so great about the bar formerly known as Uncles. (Well, that and the studly bartenders.) U Bar stands apart from other Gayborhood watering holes as a no-fuss, no-’tude, unpretentious spot to grab a strong drink or two and gab with friends. 1220 Locust Street, Midtown Village, 215-546-6660.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Home Decor

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Best Furniture: Studio 882

Wander through his airy showroom, and you’ll feel like you’re in an Architectural Digest spread: Impeccably styled vignettes featuring top brands like Baker, Kindel and Julian Chicester rotate often, so the space is flush with inspiration. And the owners — expert interior designers in their own right — have the know-how to make it work in your non-­showroom house. 882 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-314-8820.

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