Beer Money, Cheap(er) Wine, Royal Cakes and Breakfasts, Starbucks, and Where Stormtroopers Go On Their Nights Off

Need statistical proof that Starbucks will soon own every street corner in America? Then check out the report from Technomic which ranked it as the number-three restaurant chain in domestic sales for 2010. McDonald’s and Subway still hold the top two slots, but #3 isn’t bad for a place that isn’t really a restaurant. And the best quote to come out of this surprise re-jiggering of the rankings? It’s from Sandra Stark, vice president of food for Starbucks, who attributes the chain’s success to “a shift in how consumers define ‘healthy.'” Nice…

Speaking of stuff that isn’t food, how’d you like to make a hundred bucks just for drinking beer? Sounds awesome, right? Of course, there’s a catch. You’ve got to be part of a panel testing gluten-free beer. Check out the Gluten Free Philly Facebook page for details.

After the jump: Cheap tickets to the Philadelphia Wine Festival, royal wedding madness, stormtroopers and more…

More booze news: The Philadelphia Wine Festival is hitting the floor at the Marriott Downtown on May 7, bringing 200 of the world’s greatest wineries together in one place to pour out the grape juice for those lucky enough to be in attendance. There’ll be food from some of Philly’s best restaurants, rare vintages, famous bottles and a whole room full of over-excited oenophiles getting weird on tasters from Moet, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Robert Mondavi and Perrier-Jouet, so you know it’ll be fun.

What’s that? You haven’t gotten your tickets yet? Well then man, do I have a killer deal for you. If you go to the ticketing site right now and enter the code “FOOBOOZ,” you’ll get $10 off the ticket price (regularly $125 for general admission). I’d hurry, though. I’m not sure how long this deal will last.

If you are one of those people who (somehow…) are not yet sick of all the royal wedding hysteria, then here’s some news for you…

It ain’t as exciting as Matt Lauer dressed up like Mr. Peanut in a top hat and tails, but if you didn’t get your invite to the royal nuptials you can still pretend like you were there by picking up a replica of the groom’s cake requested by Prince William to be served alongside the fruitcake(!) that Kate Middleton chose as the couple’s official wedding cake. Pastry chef Thomas Heck from Davio’s right here in Philly has re-created William’s cookies-and-chocolate childhood favorite and will be selling the dessert for $10 a plate from the day of the royal wedding (which is tomorrow) on through the end of May.

Oh, and as for the traditional wedding fruitcake? Yeah, that’s been a boon for American fruitcake makers who have seen a sudden spike in their business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But what if fruitcakes and cookies aren’t quite enough to settle your appetite for princesses, empire and the flower of the British monarchy? Well then you need to wake up very early tomorrow and head down to the Rittenhouse Hotel for their Royal Wedding Breakfast. Beginning at 5:30 a.m., guests will be able to watch the entire royal wedding unfold on screen, get play-by-play commentary from Philadelphia’s honorary British consul, Oliver St. Clair Franklin, O.B.E., and a full English breakfast of crumpets, bacon, eggs, sausage, kedgeree, marmalade, marmite and the like. Because one can never really get enough crumpets and marmite, can one?

The price is just $25 per person and reservations for the event can be made by calling 215-790-2533.

Special Note: For those of you who have already made reservations, please note that, due to the overwhelming response, this event has been moved from the dining room at Lacroix to the ballroom at the Rittenhouse Hotel.

And finally, a vision of the (very strange) future involving the cops, one unwise late-night decision, IHOP, a stormtrooper and Boba Fett, all courtesy of

So that’s what stormtroopers do on their nights off. I always wondered…