Philly Cooks: The Ultimate Philly Eating Experience

From left: Sandy Mullen, Open Table, Nick Elmi, Laurel, Stacey Lyons, GM at  Ela, author/chef Jeremy Nolen, executive chef of Brauhaus Schmitz, Jason Cichonski, Ela and Gaslight.

From left: Sandy Mullen, Open Table, Nick Elmi, Laurel, Stacey Lyons, GM at Ela, author/chef Jeremy Nolen, executive chef of Brauhaus Schmitz, Jason Cichonski, Ela and Gaslight.

Philadelphia magazine and Foobooz hosted another successful Philly Cooks (more photos from the event here) on Wednesday, February 18th. Guests at the annual event enjoyed delicious bites and spirits throughout the night with more than 40 participating restaurants, live music by East Coast Entertainment, beer, wine and a VIP Infiniti Lounge where Luke Palladino served saba-glazed braised beef shanks. As for spirits, imbibing took place at the Crown Royal Corral, where guests enjoyed banjo music by Greg Wright and specialty drinks from the whiskey company, and the Foobooz Speakeasy, which was located in the center of the ballroom at the Marriott Downtown Hotel, where guests enjoyed drinks from Franky Bradley’s, The Olde Bar and The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co.

More photos from Philly Cooks after the jump »

Simon’s Soiree to Benefit Simon’s Fund

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Simon’s Fund was established in 2005 in memory of Simon Sudman, son of Phyllis and Darren Sudman, who died of a heart defect called Long QT Syndrome. Simon was one of thousands of kids — ranging from babies to high school athletes — to die of sudden cardiac arrest in 2005.

In Simon’s memory, the family started an organization that provides free heart screenings to children in the Philadelphia area, sponsors medical research projects, hosts awareness events, works with major medical institutions and promotes legislation.

Nearly 500 people turned out for the 5th Annual Simon’s Soiree at the Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel. The evening began with a cocktail party, and a silent auction. Then the guests entered the ballroom for an awards program, dinner and dancing to The Nerds.

Additional funds were raised in a live auction featuring auctioneer Josh Katz. Emcee for the evening was Michael Barkann. The 2015 Protect Your Heart Award Honorees were Frank Marchilinski MD and Allan Chaney, whose promising basketball career was ended by a heart defect. Melissa Fair, who had attended a Simon’s Fund heart screening for students where it was discovered she had a Partial Anomolous Pulmonary Venous Return and Atrial Septal Defect, was also there. She had open-heart surgery on January 24, 2008, exactly two years after Simon died. The Simon’s Fund screening saved her life. Photos from Simon’s Soiree after the jump »

Opera Philadelphia Debuts Oscar

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Friday night the much-anticipated Opera Philadelphia production of Theodore Morrison and John Cox’s Oscar opened at the Academy of Music. Opera fans were out in force, fashionably dressed, with a few men wearing tuxedos.

The production is a co-commission with the Santa Fe Opera; it opened at the Santa Fe Opera in 2013 under the stage direction of Kevin Newbury and conductor Evan Rogister, who are back for the Philly run. Countertenor David Daniels plays the title role. He does an amazing job conveying the emotions of Oscar Wilde during turbulent times, as well as his love for bad boy Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie), who is played by Australian dancer-actor Reed Lupla. Lupla has been acting for a while, but this is his first opera. Although he didn’t speak, Lupla made a huge impression with movements and dancing. It’s a very emotional, timeless piece about love and the choices we make.

During intermission there was a supporters reception in the ballroom, where champagne and dessert were served. After the show, everyone headed across the street to Varalli Restaurant for a cast party.

The East Coast premiere of Oscar at The Academy of Music runs from February 11th to 15th.  Information at  www.operaphila.org.

Photos after the jump »

“A Carnevale of Philadelphie”

Monica Zack, Saige Robb, Dual Design, Mia Robb and Audrey Wallace.

Art lovers braved the chilly weather Saturday night and celebrated the opening of “A Carnevale of Philadelphie” at  E-Moderne Gallerie in Old City. It was warm and cozy inside as guests celebrated artwork which sometimes reflected the theme of the night: Mardi Gras.

Wine and cheese were served, as the nearly 200 guests perused the art on the wall and chatted with E-Modern owner Edward Fong and artists Inna Race and Vasil Anastasov. Inna Race’s interest in art began as a small child and flourished into a career into adulthood. The exhibition at E-Modern reflects the influence of great artists on her work as she tried to capture their essence in her exhibition, Masterpieces Reborn project” which includes a piece I love: Chagall’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, which Inna then recreated in her own inspired art work. Vasil Anastasov specializes in Japanese-inspired artwork, and hopes his work helps his subjects transport themselves through time and to the places that he captures on his canvas. “A Carnevale of Philadelphie”  runs through March 1 at E-Moderne Gallerie at 116 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Photos from Carnevale of Philadelphie after the jump »

Philadelphia Auto Show Black Tie Tailgate 2015

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Nearly 4,000 people came out to enjoy “A Night to Remember at the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show’s Black Tie Tailgate” on Friday, January 31st. Guests got a first look at nearly 700 vehicles from more than 40 car manufacturers in a 700,000 square-foot space at the Pennsylvania Convention Center while dining on Garces Catering delights and desserts and dancing to the sounds of Jellyroll. Returning again this year was the very popular Camp Jeep where an indoor off-road driving test takes place in a 25,000-square foot exhibit that gives auto show attendees a chance to experience the off-road capabilities of Jeep vehicles without leaving the show floor.

The event raises money for the division of neonatology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia through the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation. Since 1986 the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia and its Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation have donated $5.8 million to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Auto Show opened on Saturday, January 31st, and runs through Sunday, February 8th. On Saturdays and Sundays, the show opens at 9 a.m. and on weekdays, at noon. Chairs for the gala were Mr. and Mrs. Donald Franks, William W. Fox, M.D. and Laurie Kilpatrick, Ph.D.

Photos after the jump »

Garrett Snider Benefit for Marc Vetri Foundation’s Eatiquette

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Last week at the Rittenhouse Hotel Garrett Snider and The Garrett Getlin Snider Foundation hosted a benefit to raise awareness for The Vetri Foundation For Children’s Eatiquette program. On hand to explain how the Eatiquette program works was Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin, co-founders of the Vetri Foundation, who told us that the program is one of its newest methods of bringing healthy choices to the school lunchroom. It’s an effort to make kids lunches less an assembly line and more a relaxed eating atmosphere with healthy choices. The program also teaches kids healthy ways to prepare dishes from locally sourced ingredients. Guests were treated to dishes that you might find at the program, as well as specialty drinks that are not on the menu at the school.

Photos from the Garrett Snider Benefit for Marc Vetri’s Eatiquette after the jump »

Indochino Philadelphia Grand Opening

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Indochino, the pioneer in online custom menswear is now venturing out with brick-and-mortar stores. Headquartered in Vancouver, Indochino opened its third showroom in the USA earlier this month in Philadelphia at 1606 Chestnut Street.

Two years ago they held a very successful pop-up store on Walnut Street, and were excited to return to the Philadelphia market. Last week they held their grand opening party and many of Philly’s stylish men came by to explore beautifully curated collections, hear about custom tuxedos and how to color-coordinate suits and accessories.

Guests enjoyed local craft beer from Saint Benjamin Brewing Company and delectable cuisine from Rachel’s Pantry (vegan catering). The gift bags were fun, too, and included a patriotic pocket square, a handkerchief, a coupon for 20 percent off a first purchase, and a package of beef jerky.

Photos after the jump »

2015 Academy Ball Featuring Al Pacino

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Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala to celebrate the Academy of Music’s birthday — it’s 158th! — took place Saturday night at Academy of Music and the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Nearly 1,400 people attended the grand celebration which raises money to restore and maintain the Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.

The evening began with the chairman’s pre-concert reception held at the Academy of Music. Guests dined on Jose Garces catering of lamb chops and crab and eggplant sliders, and enjoyed an open bar. The MRB Jazz Project entertained guests as they mingled and posed for the society photographers on hand to capture society’s most celebrated and time-honored traditions, where men were dressed in white tails and women in ball gowns, white gloves and a few even wearing tiaras.

The concert began a little past 7:30 p.m., as Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Al Pacino took the stage. Pacino joked throughout his piece that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do on stage; it reflected the audience’s likely thoughts when it was first announced Pacino would be the special guest after decades of musical guests like Sting, Billy Joel, and, last year, Jill Scott.

But Pacino didn’t disappoint, as fans of his movies were excited to hear his dialogue, often punctuated by laughs from the audience. And he did entertain as he did a monologue from Shakespeare’s Richard III while the orchestra played William Walton’s Preludio dalla colonna sonora. Then Pacino recited an e.e. cummings poem as the orchestra performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto in the background. Pacino was a unique choice for a headliner, and was a complete success, delighting the audience.

After the concert, guests took part in the annual promenade up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue for the Ball. Along the way guests were entertained by the Delaware County Christian Academy Choir (2013 More 101 FM Choir competition winners!), The Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble on Broad Street and The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School Choir at the Bellevue. The 158th Anniversary Concert and Ball co-chairmen were Linda Fynes Siegfried and Joseph F. Coradino. The Young Friends co-chairs were Christie Honigman and Brian Lipstein.

Photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »

Hair O’ the Dog 2015

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The 21st Annual Hair O’ the Dog gala took place Saturday night, January 17th, at the Crystal Tea Room in the John Wanamaker Building. Hair O’ the Dog was started in 1995 by friends and business partners Dan Cronin and Robert Molinaro (of Chorus Communications) as a small party of friends and has grown into a must-attend 1,000-strong charitable event.

This year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia chapter of UNICO, which provides clothing to the homeless. Often described as an adult prom, the glamorous event attracts guests who really dress in their gala best, from black tie to gowns, cocktail dresses to your best dark suit.

I’ve gone to about five Hair O’ the Dogs, and this was by far the best: The crowd was beautiful, the event was well-organized, and the space was perfect. I’ve never seen the Crystal Tea Room used so well.

The lounge outside of the ballroom was dubbed Ibiza, and there guests could lounge on sofas, hang at cocktail tables, be entertained by feathered dancers, and dance to the tunes of DJ Montone, all while enjoying gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a light buffet.

The main ballroom was dubbed “Sin City,” a Vegas-inspired area with reserved tables, an extensive silent auction of sports memorabilia, and rotating musical acts — The Rockets, DJ Dan Cronin, Maxim Model, DJ Paola Shea of CBS’s Big Brother and, at midnight, Natalie Guercio of VH1’s Mob Wives debuted her new song, “Throttle” — with a light buffet served all night.

The final room was the super exclusive Miami bottle service room; entertainment included DJ Bizz, Mr. Robot, lighted dancers, and the Jewelz dancers. The standout of the night was definitely the dresses. I’m running a few of my favorites, which ones do you like?

Photos from Hair O’ the Dog after the jump »

Screening of The Maestro at Curtis Institute

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Friends, supporters and patrons of the arts gathered at the Curtis Institute of Music on Saturday night for the screening of Maestro, an intimate, unprecedented glimpse into the life of a renowned conductor and a vibrant, contemporary portrait of the world of classical music. For two years a film crew followed Grammy award-winning conductor and Curtis alum Paavo Jarvi, violinists Joshua Bell and Hilary Hahn, as well as an array of other musicians to show the importance of classical music and music education.

More photos from the Curtis screening of The Maestro after the jump »

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