On the Town with Hughe Dillon
Last Friday I stopped by Chef Michael Schulson’s restaurant Sampan. I read that he was working on a outdoor garden bar/dining area and, like the rest of the world, I love al fresco dining.
Unlike most restaurants in the city, which design their spaces full of lush greenery, soothing waterfalls and a zen garden, Michael went for something completely different, creating an urban garden with an edgy, modern look and a two-story graffiti wall as a focal point. Today (I eat here at least once a week and highly recommend their $9 and under lunch!) the artists’ work is nearly complete. A Lot, Rune and Distort finished the wall in about three days, and the Michael Ryan Architects design is nearly complete. Look for the opening today for Happy Hour.
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On Monday I attended the City of Hope’s annual cake decorating contest “Let Them Eat Cake.” If you have never attended this event you must go next year to see all the amazing creations pastry chefs around our area have created. Plus, you can sample each of the cakes that were entered into the competition. Last year I went overboard; this year I had three tiny samples, including the winning cake (above), which was a red velvet. The theme this year was “Cakes Through the Eyes of a Child.” Colleen and Terry Laky, from Piece of Cake in Macungie, Pa., captured that essence and went on to win three awards, including “Best of Show.” Their cake has pin wheels and characters from The Simpsons and Sesame Street — everything a child would be fascinated to look at, said Bam Margera‘s mom April (at the far right of the next picture).
April was a judge along with the following ladies: Celebrity event designer and TV personality Samantha Goldberg; author and Emily Post great-great-granddaughter Lizzie Post; Sunny Yi; and Katie Griffin. Katie is a producer for Banyan Productions and is currently working on the TLC show “Fabulous Cakes of Philly.” (Psst: they’re rumored to be Bredenbeck’s, Night Kitchen, Chef Robert Bennett and Classic Cakes. I can vouch for two of them to be fabulous).
In the crowd were Harry Giordano, Thom Cardwell, Rakai Reynolds, Nikki Digennaro, Saige Robb, Scott Lean, Susan Helfrich and her daughter, the new Miss Philadelphia, Andrea Helfrich.
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Black-Tie GayBINGO was held at the Wanamaker’s Crystal Tea Ballroom on Friday, April 9. This year honorees included Dorothy Mann, of the Family Planning Council in Philadelphia, for Favorite Straight Person of 2010; and WXPN’s Michaela Majoun & WMMR’s Pierre Robert, who were given the Founders Award. The event benefits the AIDS Fund, and opening remarks were given by Robb Reichard, executive director of the AIDS Fund.
The evening was hosted by Carlotta (Michael Bryne of Action AIDS) and seen about were longtime photographer of PGN, Scott A. Drake, Donna Mae Stemmer, MANNA’s Rob Saxon, Tavern on Camac owners Stephen Carlino and Dennis Fee, Capriccio’s Cafe Cret’s David Wagamen, and Cari Feiler Bender. Cari tells me that the Franklin Square Gala will be held on May 20. This year will be the very first Governor’s Miniature Golf Cup held prior to the gala. Governor Rendell will kick off the honor.
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Last night I saw Pat Croce at Flemmings Steak House in Radnor. Also out and about last night was Jessica Simpson‘s BFF hairdresser Ken Paves. He was shopping at Norstrom at King of Prussia Mall before an appearance on QVC (plus he told my source that his mom lives in the area). Actress Anna Friel was on the set of Dark Fields last night filming at the Palomar Hotel. Comedian Hal Sparks shopped along 13th Street’s MidTown Village on Sunday stopping into Absolute Abstract. He had performed the night before at Helium.
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Upcoming Events of Interest
Recently I attended a monthly networking event where I met University of Pennsylvania student Robyn Schneider. Robyn is a studying Bio-Ethics and also moonlights as an author. Her newest novel “Knightley Academy” had just been published by Simon & Schuster. It’s a tale of adventure inspired by Harry Potter, as Robyn, who’s from the UK, read them while growing up. This is Robyn‘s third book published, but the first time under a pen name, Violet Haberdasher. Her first two books were somewhat racy, peppered with salty language, and she also delved into a little comedic career earlier in her career and, well, comedy can be a dirty business. In this day and age anything you do can be uncovered in a simple stroke of a key and that is why her agent presented the idea of the pen name. He said, “You must use a pen name because your book is appropriate for an 8 year old, but you are not.”
You can meet Robyn, I mean Violet Haberdasher, at Philadelphia Free Library’s Book Festival Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.. Then at 3 p.m. blondes go head to head as poison pen Kitty Kelly reads from her new book on Oprah in the main auditorium, and one of the “Queens of Comedy”, Chelsea Handler, reads from her new novel Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. The staging has yet to be announced, but it better be a pretty darn large area as Chelsea has a huge following.
Look for an old friend to return to the Parkway this week. On Wednesday, April 21, workers will begin the re-installation of The Restored Bronze Joan of Arc. Then on Thursday, April 22nd, at 4PM Mayor Nutter, City of Public Art Director, Margot Berg and the French Heritage Society Chairman Julia Ward (the organization that paid for the restoration) will unveil and dedicate the newly restored Eugene Fremiet sculpture of Joan of Arc.
Don’t forget that next week is Secretary’ Week. I’m not sure when it graduated from a day to a week, but I do know that maybe the flower shop at 18th & Market needs a secretary to proof read their sign before they put them in the window.
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