Philadelphia

PHILLYCHITCHATTER: DANDELION, SERAFINA & THE RITZ CARLTON

The Ritz-Carlton’s GM Michael Walsh has left the building, and City for that matter.
The last time I saw Michael Walsh was on December 1, at the 10 Arts Top Chef All Stars party for Chef Jennifer Carroll; before she defended her dish to the death.
Michael Walsh, Kathy Walsh and Kayla Walsh (pictured above at last years Top Chef bash), have loaded up the truck and moved to the Big Apple where he will oversee the Morgans Hotel Group, which includes The Morgan Hotel, Hudson, Royalton and the new Mondrian opening in 2011. I’ve stayed at the Hudson many times and it’s really a unique concept of minimalism, hip, chic and the hotel lobby functions as a night club in the evening. (Look for a similar concept to open in Philly next year, but I can’t say anything more about it even if you pull out my fingernails, ewww.) I spoke with Kerri-Lee Mayland (Halkett) right after the Christmas Tree lighting in Rittenhouse Square, and told her that it was Philly’s loss that she left Fox29. She appreciated the sentiment, is grateful for the support of the viewers and told me she may be reporting in Connecticut now, but will maintain a house in Center City as well as a life here. I guess my follow up should have been “Are you commuting?”
Last week someone asked me what happened to Kerri-Lee, why did she leave. I said I think it was the Jane Pauley/Deborah Norville scenario all over again, where a popular favorite anchorwomen was replaced by a younger popular anchorwomen upsetting the dynamics of a ratings winning show. Last summer someone even started a Facebook page encouraging Fox 29 to bring back Dawn Stensland. Kerri-Lee made her exit shortly after that, which only fueled the rumors of a return. That hasn’t happened, and these days Dawn is enjoying raising her family, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last from her. I wish both women well. (Above Dawn participating in one of my favorite charities fashion show, The Career Wardrobe.) As for Kerri-Lee she’s landed on her feet in the anchor chair at NBC Connecticut.
In this town I always say our “celebrities” are news people, and everything restaurant. This weeks star is Stephen Starr’s new British inspired pub/restaurant Dandelion (Which opens Friday New Year’s Eve). All the foodies have been on this story since it first broke that the building that held Stiletto Shoes was going to be the next genius creation of Stephen Starr (I think he’s a genius, although he’s much more eccentric than I am [ie Philly Mag called me the eccentric paparazzi in an article in their December issue.])

I walked by last night to see what the outside looked like as I had only seen shots of the inside (Meal Ticket) WOW it’s right out of the An American Werewolf in London movie with it’s ivy, shrubs and even mysterious fog,
ok there was no fog but you can imagine it drifting around a country pub with a thatched roof in the countryside. Oh wait what’s that in the distance,
no doubt the next big restaurant to open in Rittenhouse Square, the Philly branch of the highly successful New York eating establishment, Serafina, who must have just installed their signage this week as I didn’t see it up last week.Serefina looks to open in the Spring right across from Danilion. This just extends the 18th Street Rittenhouse Row which now includes other major players Parc (Starr), Rouge, Devon’s Seafood House, Tria, Continental (Starr), and Elephant and Castle (The other English Pub, but not half as stylish as Dandelion). PSS We have a winner for the R2L New Year’s Eve Party. Thank you all for participating