On the Town with Hughe Dillon

VH1's Steve and JoAnn Ward kick off their new season at Del Frisco's; Janet Zappala celebrates her new book; plus, the latest dish from 10 Arts and Union Trust

This past week I spent a lot of time in restaurants with a bit of noshing going on, as well as listening.  As always there are a lot of interesting, fun things happening in Philly — as well as interesting news.

VH1 Tough Love Couples Screening with Joanne and Steven Ward

Last night I went to Del Frisco’s steakhouse to attend a party and screening of VH1’s popular Tough Love, with Philly’s matchmaking mother-and-son team Steve and JoAnn Ward. But this season there’s a twist —  this time around, Steve and JoAnn Ward welcome six couples who are all on the brink of deciding whether to get engaged or break up. The party was packed and Del Frisco’s supplied delicious food, including the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen in my life and beef sliders. There were also special drinks cleverly named “The Break-Up” (a lemonade vodka martini) and “The Marriage” (a glass of champagne). [SIGNUP]

Spoiler Alert: I can tell you that at least two of the couples end up getting married, since one slipped and told me and another had a wedding ring on. I saw the first episode, which airs tonight on VH1, and it was funny.  Someone said it was a cross between Tough Love and Jersey Shore.

In The Crowd: Dana Spain, who is participating in Sunday’s “Dancing with the Philadelphia Stars” at the Hyatt Penns Landing; with her was beau Michael Piszek, Aly Green and  Andi Pesacov. Ran into Philadelphia lawyer Craig Robinson, who tells me he will be on ABC’s Bachelorette 6 show, which airs beginning May 24.

Janet Zappala and husband Steve Brody

Last Thursday, April 8th, I attended a book party upstairs at Di Bruno Bros. for six-time Emmy Award-winning journalist (now certified nutritional consultant) Janet Zappala. Zappala’s book, My Italian Kitchen: Home-Style Recipes Made Lighter and Healthier, is her first cookbook. The book is dedicated to her mother, Mary, as she inspired Janet with her love not only of great cooking, but for life.  During the remarks to the crowd her husband Steve Brody said that he enjoyed being the guinea pig for Janet as the meals were delicious, and he lost some weight, too.  Christina Pirello, who wrote the introduction to the book, co-hosted the party for her friend.

Also seen at the party were Paige Wolf, Sheryl Raskin, Jennifer Lea Cohan, Ursula Augustine, Arthur Fennell, Mindie Barnett, and filmmaker Tigre Hill, who says look for a summer premiere of his latest film, Barrel of a Gun, a documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal and Officer Danny Faulkner. With Tigre was filmmaker Violet Mendoza, whose film, No Boundaries, starring Mark McGraw (Tug’s son, Tim’s brother), was just released on DVD.

Also in attendance was entertainment and sports attorney Chris Cabott.  Chris tells me that client Jimmy Rollins has exciting news. The debut album from Jimmy’s recording artist, Chanel Nicole, is almost finished. Expect to hear her music at Citizen’s Bank Park a lot this season.

10 Arts Bistro - Chef Jennifer Carroll's Rabbit Dish - Yum!!

Restaurant News: Friday, I had dinner at Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts Bistro in the Ritz-Carlton. A new menu is coming out, and starting next week their al fresco dining on the steps opens for the season. The new happy hour will be called cleverly “Wine Down.” I hear they are thinking of dropping bistro from their name. One reason: a bistro by definition is  “a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting.” Makes sense, because 10 Arts does not serve “simple meals.” I always find that their meals are an experience on a grand scale, especially since they are prepared by Top Chef contestant Jennifer Carroll. Modest is also not a term I would use for the historic Girard Bank building, which houses the restaurant.

Speaking of bistro’s, I hear Union Trust, 717 Chestnut Street, is going to recreate their mezzanine bar into a bistro called “The Mezz,” opening April 22nd. The cocktails and small plates are unbelievable and unique, says Lindsay Furman of Nouveau Image. My personal fave is a “Jale’ Berry,” which is Bombay Sapphire, blackberries, jalapeno, and fresh lemon!

Saturday night I  had dinner at Del Friscos, and it was delicious. GM Rich Furino tells me that starting today, in honor of the Phillies’ new season, they are starting a special menu called Pre-Phills. It’s a $35 price fixed meal and includes a super salad, a choice of five different entrees, and instead of dessert a token for the subway to get you to the game on time. They do have a substitution for people who don’t want the token. Plus, the restaurant will open at 4 p.m. on game days. On my way out of Del Frisco’s on Saturday, Tony Danza was on his way in.

Thanks for reading me today, and for more about what’s going on around town and who was where check out my blog at www.PhillyChitChat.com or follow me on Twitter @iPhillyChitChat I’ll be back Thursday with more On The Town with Hughe Dillon

Last Thursday I went to six-time Emmy Award-winning journalist now certified nutritional consultant Janet Zappala‘s book party upstairs at Di Bruno Bros. Zappala’s book “My Italian Kitchen: Home-Style Recipes Made Lighter and Healthier,” is her first cookbook. The book is dedicated to her mother, Mary, as she inspired Janet with her love not only of great cooking but for life. All the recipes use organic and natural ingredients to keep it healthy. During the remarks to the crowd her husband Steve Brody remarked that he enjoyed being the guinea pig for Janet, and he lost some weight too. Also seen at the party was Paige Wolf, Sheryl Raskin, Jennifer Lea Cohan, Ursula Augustine, Arthur Fennell, Mindie Barnett, filmmaker Tigre Hill who says look for a summer premiere of his latest film “Barrel of a Gun”, with him was Filmmaker Violet Mendoza whose film “No Boundaries” starring Mark McGraw (Tug’s son, Tim’s brother), tells me that the film was just released on DVD back in February. Also in attendance was entertainment attorney Chris Cabello, Law Office of Lloyd Z Remick. Chris tells me that client Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Jimmy Rollins Entertainment Group, LLC recording artist Chanel Nicole‘s new album will drop soon so don’t be surprised if you hear it played inside Citizen Bank Park during the Phillies season especially when Rollins takes the field.

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