Chef Christina Wilson joins the Mercato team now headed up by Varga Bar’s Chef Evan Turney

Philadelphia Restaurant Week Restaurant in the Spotlight:

Christina Wilson joined the Mercato team as the Chef de Cuisine in the fall of 2011. Christina joined the kitchen from Mercato’s neighbor, Lolita, where she served as the Chef de Cuisine for over two years.

Evan Turney is now serving as Executive Chef in both Mercato and Varga Bar, where he is partial owner. Evan served as Exec. Chef when the restaurant opened in 2005, and now he is back again. Some of the dishes are still on the menu due to their popularity, like the lobster and shrimp pyramid pasta. Christina and Evan are tweaking a couple dishes, including adding a little bit of spice as you will see.
The restaurant’s space, formerly a dilapidated local market, where I bought my newspaper ever day when I lived at 13th & Spruce, was transformed in the early 2000s when owner George Anni had a vision for a fresh market Italian BYOB. It became Mercato in 2005.

Mercato doesn’t take reservations, so get there early and expect lines on the weekend. My friends usually put their names in then head over to Valanni for a cocktail. Mercato is a BYOB & takes cash only, but that’s not a deterrent as the food is well worth it.

This week, Mercato will debut its new Winter menu as well as participate in Restaurant Week —grab a bottle of wine and come in to try the items yourself! Look I found Ryan from 10 Arts there too. Lot’s of fun stuff going on in the kitchen at Mercato.

On 2/5/11 watch Super Bowl XLVI at Varga Bar (941 Spruce St.), which will again host a chicken wing competition lovingly dubbed Super Fowl Sunday II.



Catch Me on Fox 29 Good Day Philly this morning at 9:30AM to see who else rode this bike on stage last night. Front row right: Carl Buchholz, Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Linda and Ian Swain, First Lady Lisa Nutter check out Fox 29’s morning co-hosts Mike Jerrick and Sheinelle Jones MC the event at the Bellevue last night.
Fox 29’s morning co-hosts Mike Jerrick and Sheinelle Jones get sandwiched by, who the heck are these Flyers. I really have to watch me some sports. Tomorrow or Monday I will put up a few of the non-Flyer folks and chat a little about them. But for now check out my column at Philly Mag’s Philly Post HERE. (again it should be live about 1030AM)I spotted some of my advertisers at the event: Little Black Dress Wine’s was served, and CTO provided the music and Teuscher’s Chocolate was in the house.


BusyBee Interior Design making a Difference with their Gift of Life save a life Event

Blood cancer kills more children in the US than any other disease, and is the second leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States. Many blood cancer patients might be cured with a bone marrow transplant if they can find a matching donor. South Street’s BusyBee Interior Design is partnering with DKMS Americas for their “Give the Gift of Life” swab event. Nearly 300,000 people, 20,000 of them small children are affected by leukemia every year. BusyBee Founder Anna Powers is among those who successfully beat the disease and has committed 25% of the shop’s net proceeds on January 28 to DKMS to help support its efforts to register donors. The fee for registering each donor is $65 to the group’s Be The Match Registry, a cost that DKMS absorbs completely. The registry is the world’s largest with 2.9 million registered donors, yet only 40% of patients will find a match. Minorities are least likely to get a diagnosis, but are more likely to die from leukemia due to the lack of donors. To date, more than 27,000 DKMS donors have helped save lives by donating their bone marrow.

Head over to BusyBee on January 28 from noon to 6pm to get swabbed yourself.


FACEBOOK FRIDAY: Happy Birthday Wishes To Sabrina, DJ Johnny Looch and DJ Royale

Friday’s, I thought I would do something fun on today, sometimes I’ll do fashion Friday, and sometimes I will scour Facebook of my FB friends, and do FB Fridays. Since Thursday’s has become the new Saturday night, more times than not I’ll have a column on the PhillyMag site under The Philly Post under The Scene section, ok will you able to follow that. Plus there will be a link at the bottom of this entry to that column. (I’ve seen some cute pictures of cat’s lately, could you send me pictures of yours, or how about some pet’s and I’ll put them up sometime this month. Thanks.)
Happy Birthday Sabrina Tamburino-Thorne. If you’re looking at this photo it means I didn’t make it to your bday party last night. I couldn’t re-arrange my schedule, but I know it was fabulous as you are. Happy Birthday to another PCC girl, Erin Elmore who’s birthday is at the end of the month. Erin’s been jet setting all over the country with her new hot beau (Craig Spitzer), and won’t be having a party this year. Completing this pix is Megan Heaton and Jason.

Carmena Ayo-Davies – Get Foxy Brown revisited
Happy Birthday DJ Johnny Looch. Hope it was great. Sorry I couldn’t make it to Table 31 last nite to help you celebrate.
Sabrina T S bday cake, Fabulous!!
Happy Birthday DJ Royale, Whisper, Official After Party for Hair O Dog tomorrow nite. I’ll be there, smile for my camera.
Congrats to Luke and Kayce Thomas
Congrats to Tony Luke. He looks fabulous with all his weight loss, and he has a new product coming on the line.
hmm I don’t know what I think of this
17 Days of Fashion is having a gala March 3. Check out today’s Philly Mag column here. You’ll see one of the places I was at last night…. http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/01/13/hughe-dillon-keith-leapharts-replica-celebrates-launch/


2012 Mummers Moments in Pixs & Broad and Shunk

Oh my another beautiful New Year’s Day. The weather was perfect for some mumming. Even the mummy looking statues in front of Moore College of Art were in the spirit. (I have no idea why this line is under these words.)
Even the mummy looking statues in front of Moore College of Art were in the spirit. I can never understand why someone boo-hoos about the Mummer’s parade, and how they don’t like it. Who doesn’t like a huge street party, with lots of people greeting you with Happy New Year, and appreciate the men, women and children who put so much time and effort into performing musical numbers and skits for your entertainment. Not to mention all the parties, or happenings in the restaurants and bars along the route. While most Cities, I’m looking at you NYC (I lived there I can talk), return to normalcy or pack the movie theaters, Philly extends the fun the next day. And BTW Sugarhouse Casino (and the peeps who lost their monies there), thanks for those fireworks too. They were awesome. (I appreciate it so much I’m giving you a live link which I normally reserve for advertisers and charities.)

crazy love
Bubbles are welcomed, I saw less silly string this yearDuring the Mummer’s parade it’s 5 O’clock all day long
The Froggers decorated, then posed in front of the patron saint of South Philly, Frank Rizzo
but the cops would have nothing to do with Rizzo being defiled like that and ordered the
adornment off
happy kids along the parade
happy mummers
These poor girls just wanted directions to the bathroom, but this Lyndon LaRouche guy hadn’t gotten one person to listen to his diatribe so he tortured the girls before he said “They’re right behind you.” (BTW “Hair” the musical is at the Academy of Music. this week.)
posing for a pix like only a mummer would know how to
a fixture at City Hall. Remember the church lady in the early 00’s, who would scream we would all be going to hell. She died of carbon monoxide. You should get a carbon monoxide detector for your house.these two were defiant in wearing their full faced crochet masks on this New Year’s Day when it was nearly 60F out.
just because
Then we headed to the first of the 3 parties we were invited to. First up

Tania and Marc Schade (PLUG of thanks: Long and Foster realtors 215- 409-6900) hosted a most fabulous party at the Ritz-Carlton Residences
The food was delicious and provided by Catering by Miles
I ran into a fan from Virginia, on the left. But she’s a big government agency spy or something and wanted to refrain from using her name. But I appreciate all her nice comments, especially when she saw Mike and said, “You’re Mike I recognize you from PhillyChitChat.”
Evan Solomon and Eric Cahill were there. (Lynsi was attending to guests in the other room as they had a little shindig going on too.)
I hung on the balcony for a bit as I was trying to catch my friends Jim Werner and David Persica in their perspective Mummers organization, but then conversation drew me away and I missed them both. Darn, next year. Then we went up a few floors to another party…
At the home of Noelle and Josh Burg, with Dana and Ron Donatucci, Jr.
The view was fabulous
we stayed her a bit, then did a recap and had a few munchies at Lynsi and Evan’s and never made it to any of the other parties. Sorry. Next year though I will have to make it to the annual Broad and Shunk party. Looks like so much fun

Carol Tamburino dancing to DJ Eddie Tully who’s played Broad and Shunk in South Philly for the Mummers Parade for the past 9 years. (Carol brought Isgro treats for everyone.)

crazy fun. So I ask you, how could anyone not like the Mummer’s Parade. Parties, people and fun all day long along Broad Street. Everyone is your friend, and u can make new ones, meet old ones.

Happy New Year!! Thanks so much for reading PhillyChitChat.com over the years. In 2012, you’ll notice a few more things.
1) Several readers have told me they missed me talking to them, so I’ll be returning to the style of writing where I talk to you more.
2) Highlighting more of the behind the scenes activities like I used to do in the beginning. I forgot that just because something is a given with me, that you my reader might not realize how something, or who someone is.
3) More best of lists, but this time pulling pictures from the last 5 years. 7/7/12 will be my 5th Anniversary.
This year I’m having a big blowout party in the Spring, which will benefit Gilda’s Club of SJ. It will be in Philly, with lots of fun people, as well as a big thank you to you.



Christmas Village in Philadelphia is an outdoor Holiday market event at Love Park across from City Hall from Thanksgiving till Christmas Eve.
There’s a board there where you can make holiday wishes. The $3 bucks goes to the rent of Christmas Village, who wish to return next year.
That would be my wish too. It’s a great place to shop for unique items
Santa is going to have wheels on his sleigh this year cause there’s no snow on the ground
For something more appetizing, stop by Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse right down the street for a delicious treat.
I love the secret Santa’s that are paying off folks lay-a-ways at the local department stores
Drop a dollar or two in the Salvation Army red bucket
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir is coming to Philadelphia Dec. 23 to perform in “Holiday Dreams on Ice,” an Olympic ice show featuring Weir and fellow skating stars Ashley Wagner, Armin Mahbanoozadeh, Samantha Cesario, Brandon Mroz and Tamar Katz. Also stopping by the Phila Gay Men’s Chorus singing a medley of Village People songs that Johnny will skate too.
Congrats on your marriage!!
Check out my Philly Mag Column today: I cover the Pavarotti Room Dedication at the Rittenhouse, but look who’s pix I got. Sure looks like the sale of the hotel is going through.
Thanks to our soldiers. Send them notes all year long here.



LAST NIGHT it was a jungle out there as it was obviously OfficeHolidaypalooza, and by that I mean the co-workers were struggling to stand up as they wandered the streets of Philly at 10PM as their office parties let out. First I headed to the Christmas Tree Lighting at Christmas Village in Love Park. You know I love my City officials, but the stage was set in the Fountain (there was no stage really), which is about 10 feet deep from where the LOVE statue stands, so there was no view for anyone that wasn’t in the first row of viewers, which was good for the shops cause they were poppin. Get down there, great buys, unique items, food and it will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. Then it was over to Table 31 to party with pals of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) at the Comcast Center (Which by the way has daily Holiday Light shows in the lobby at the top of the hour, don’t miss it. Plus check out Omega Optical in the Comcast Shops, that’s where I’m getting my glasses. You know how blind I am, I can’t even recognize some of you.)
Dana Spain, Leeza Garber, Erin Elmore, and Britney Harter
Steve Olitsky and Tamar Olitsky, Scarduzio & Table 31 co-owners. Which reminds me I tweeted earlier ladies please don’t wear white, purple or yellow bras under black shirts or sweaters, I get tired of Photoshopping boobies. (Tamar didn’t have this problem)
The PAWS Happy Hour was a screaming success. Screaming cause I had my toes stepped on so much as I maneuvered the crowd. Hope lots of puppy awareness and doggie dough was raised.
I mentioned yesterday that my childhood friend Sarah had passed away. I love that her mom wrote in the letter to me: “Her dogs were taken to a foster home and will not be euthanized.”
Joan and Bernie Spain, with Chef Scarduzzio, Table 31
Dana Spain and Eric Cahill. (They’re not fuzzy in real life, I just screwed the pix up. I usually take two shots, but someone stepped on my toes. See above.)
Congratulations to Menaka Sampath-Hughes on her recent marriage, here she arrived shot gun with Heather Heo. I see a new fashionable line of purses in the works. Tag line: Build your wardrobe and bicep with these helmet bags.
Stephanie Rybczyk, Wally and Jill Jacobson
Dana Farrell, Harvest, Sophia Stogiannis, Waterworks Restaurant, Kaci Metz, Lindsay Kravitz and Donna Coghlin, Advance StagingThanks to

Kevin von Seldeneck


it was a pleasure finally taking a moment to Meet you tonight. Keep up the great work.
shot. I was running out and didn’t have a moment to properly say hi to Christie Honigman who just walked in the door with Sabrina Tamburino. Dana is greeting Sabs, as I’m greeting Crhistie

Then I walked myself over to a hired gig (Addison Realty Holiday Party held at Twenty-Two Gallery 236 S. 22nd St., which is having their monthly 2nd Friday Opening House Tonight. You should go, laid back, maybe you’ll meet someone. Don’t keep doing the same thing and expect to meet someone new. Get out of your comfort zone.) in Fitler Square that you will read about next week. After that I went to the Rittenhouse Row Young Friends Party held at Whisper Nightclub.
Only $25 and a toy to get in to the open bar and Krispy Kreme doughnutsJustin Drew, Tammy Cumming and Lisa Mittelman (I think Justin and Lisa make a cute couple, not only because they read PCC, but they seemed to have a lot to chat about.)
no one is more friendly then Eric Giuliano (Hey Eric I found this nugget on the internet. Glad you got another license, you showed me it last nite, but did you ever wonder what happened to yours. I found this on the ‘net )
Matty G, Randyl Case and Alexander Hankins
Antonio Atacan, The Atacan Group and Georgine Atacan, Director of Team Development for The Atacan Group. with Anthony Masapollo, Le Castagne
Chris Kammerer and Lauren Steuls. Lauren will be at the Shops of Liberty Place today for Philadelphia magazine’s Great Holiday Cookie Bake-Off from 12PM – 2PM. Free COOKIES.
alot of peeps were hitting me up last night to fix them up with peeps. If you’re under 40, these Young Friend parties are chock full of single guys, it’s up to you to figure out the prince and the toads, just sayin’ Oh and then I last night someones told me about something called Grindr where gay guys meet other gay guys for friendship or fun. I was wondering if they had one for straight peeps. They do it’s called Blendr, these names so funny.
Jt Christensen, Studio: Christensen Joanna Barbarakos and Arturo Vafela, Senior Reporter at ponte AL DÍA
All in all it was a successful night for two great charities. PAWS and Toys For Tots. You can still participate in the toy giving by dropping off an unwrapped new toy in any of the boxes located in a Center City office building. And think about giving $$ to PAWS, it’s tax deductible and it is the end of the year. (OMG it’s the end of the year, I have to get a years worth of receipts in order.)
This chick is obviously a partying professional, cause she’s doing just fine navigating Walnut St. See you this weekend, somewhere. Just tell me you are a PhillyChitChat fan and you’ll see your mug, and hopefully fun story on these pages. Be safe and as my advertiser KORBEL California Champagne says drink responsibly