The Philadelphia Science Festival: A Foodie’s Guide


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If it weren’t for the Franklin Institute, and probably Bill Nye the Science Guy, science, to me, would be a bore. But crawling around that giant, beating heart in the museum, scared that I may not escape the same artery I knew I went through already two times before—that instilled something in me. Fear. And as a kid, that kind of danger is cool. Science was cool in the Franklin Institute.

That is, until standing in a line of children for a turn at the Sky Bike, when I myself was not a child—that got a bit awkward.

The Franklin Institute, from now until the 28th, will be taking their playground of a museum out into the city, and they’re teaming up with restaurants and bars in the area to make this festival both educational and delicious. For example, tomorrow, April 20th, starting at 11 am, the Carnival hosted on the Ben Franklin Parkway will be delving into “All Things Fermented”: 8 beers paired with 4 cheeses and some bread. During the tasting, they’ll teach those that are interested about the fermentation process for each item, and you’ll even see some “active fermentation,” which to my knowledge, is a little cooler than watching paint dry.

Want more cheese? On April 25th at 6 pm, join Madame Fromage (Tenaya Darlington) and Amanda Feifer (Phickle) at Di Bruno’s Rittenhouse for a cheese and local kimchi tasting event.

Want more beer? On April 26th, Yards will be hosting a $55 event at their facility, and it sounds freakin’ awesome. They’ll teach you about the different fermentation processes that occur between their different beers, and all the while, you’ll be making your way to five different stations that have paired some Yards beers with local eats (Fette Sau, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Han Dynasty, and more!).

Science with Starr

Frankford Hall:

On Sunday the 21st, Frankford Hall will be hosting speakers from 1-5:30 pm, and there will be happy hour specials available the whole time. Here’s a list of who’s speaking about what:

  • Cold Plasma: Improving TV Picture Quality and Saving Lives, 1pm
    Speakers: Dr. Greg Fridman and Buddy Muhler of the Franklin Institute

  • The Information Revolution, 2:30pm
    Speakers: Aashna Sinha of University of Pennsylvania and Pramod Abichandani of Drexel University

  • Hallucinogenic Health, 4pm
    Speakers: Adam Piazza of the Franklin Institute and Matthew Young of Drexel University

Then on Wednesday the 24th, at 7:30 pm starts Nerd Nite Crime Scene Investigation. With a $5 entrance fee plus happy hour specials, you’ll be able to interactively learn about forensic sciences during the Prohibition Era.

On the 25th at 6 pm, iHealth: Can Your Smart Phone Replace Your Smart Doctors will allow doctors from the University of Pennsylvania to speak about medical and health-based phone apps, their recent boom, and their effect on the population. Of course, with happy hour specials.

Lastly, on the 28th, at 6 pm, during the Science for Sinners event, you can listen to seven speakers talk about the seven deadly sins, and as is tradition, with happy hour specials.

Continental Old City:

There will be a 5-Senses Crawl ($35) starting at the Betsy Ross House, and the best of the five will be spent at Continental Old City, where you’ll experience the legendary “Miracle Berry.” Don’t know what that is? Well go and find out, because it’s crazy that something like that exists in nature.

The next day at 6 pm, Monday the 22nd, at the very same place, Continental Old City, the Beekeepers Guild of Philadelphia will be hosting an event called SWEET AND SAVORY: HIVES AND HONEY, where you’ll go from station to station, learning about those scary-but-necessary  insects, their local honeys, and all the things you can do with them—like this.

Starting at 6 pm on the 23rd, Shola Olunloyo will be cooking something special for those who get reservations. Rarely sighted by the public eye, chef Olunloyo will be preparing a $40 four-course dinner, aptly named The Perceptions of Flavor, that will give you a little insight into why and how we perceive what we taste, as well as what the future of the culinary world might look like.

Can’t get a resy? Not too far away, also starting at 6 pm, National Mechanics will be hosting a PSF Science on Tap Quizzo.

Now this is where it gets saucy.

Tuesday, the 23rd, Han Dynasty University City will be hosting HOT, HOT, HOT: THE SCIENCE OF SPICY FOOD, where you’ll get to try some of the spiciest foods in the city, and then find out why they’re effing up your mouth all the time.

All of this is for the good of science—a celebration for what makes us what we are, where we are, who we are, and how we are. It’s fun, you can eat and drink, and you can geek out.

Let’s go.

 Philadelphia Science Festival [Official]