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Philly Food

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Sofitel Philadelphia: Art Exhibit Returns, as does Pride

Last week Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square and J. Nunez Gallery present a special happy hour, art reception and influencer mixer on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. After a pause during the pandemic, Sofitel is excited to bring back its monthly, quarterly and annual signature events – including new art installations in the Sofitel lobby. It was a beautiful event, fun to see everyone out and about, enjoying themselves and the highlights on Liberté’s new spring menu. It’s good to see the folks at the Sofitel, Anthony Geistwite, (r) and the team at Sofitel Philadelphia. There’s a lot of plans in the works, as Philly and events bounce back, especially at the Sofitel, not only is it a hotel with a restaurant but it serves Philly as a community advocate. The exhibit is Travel by Colors by artist Dana Salzone (c)

Angela Bauer, the hotel’s general manager “Sofitel Philadelphia is passionate about supporting our local community,” said Angela Bauer, the hotel’s general manager. “We are prouder than ever to celebrate June as Philly Pride Month and fly a giant Philadelphia Pride rainbow flag outside the hotel to publicly show our commitment to inclusiveness.”

No hotel in Philly celebrates Pride with gusto as the Sofitel. The Sofitel in Rittenhouse Square is preparing to expand its annual observance of Pride Month with a lineup of special events. The hotel is also bringing back its Drag Afternoon Tea series each Saturday in June from 2 to 4 p.m. at its restaurant Chez Colette Brasserie. I will definitely be there the first Saturday June 4th, with my pearls on.

Proceeds from the drag series are being donated to the William Way LGBTQ Community Center to support its ongoing programming and services.

On June 4, Brittany Lynn is hosting one of three afternoon teas. Lynn runs Philly Drag Mafia, a drag performance collective featuring nearly 20 artists and performers. Lynn is the creator of Drag Queen Story Time at Philly’s schools, parks, libraries and museums. 

On June 4, Brittany Lynn is hosting one of three afternoon teas. Lynn runs Philly Drag Mafia, a drag performance collective featuring nearly 20 artists and performers. Lynn is the creator of Drag Queen Story Time at Philly’s schools, parks, libraries and museums.  (Then we can head to the Roots Picnic)

Through June and the rest of the year, Sofitel will donate $1 per each banquet menu item sold that features the William Way Community Center logo to the LGBTQ organization. 

Additionally, for every Liberté cocktail sold in the Liberté Lounge during June, Sofitel will donate $1 to William Way. Proceeds raised from the drink special will go toward William Way’s programs for LGBTQ elders, as well as its Trans Resource Center. 

Around Town With HughE

Positano Coast in Old City, Philadelphia Reveal

Photo: Adriano Martino

Aldo Lamberti and family are proud to introduce and unveil the new Positano Coast in Old City, Philadelphia. The award-winning Italian and seafood restaurant, bar, lounge, event space and outdoor dining destination has been renovated inside from top to bottom.

I had a chance to go the other day, which was not a twist your arm kinda thing as it is one of my favorite restaurants, and the Lamberti family is like family. They make everyone feel that way. I love all their places, but the new space, the new menu wow so good. It’s like a new restaurant opening. I had never had the veal chop, it was delicious. Yes I ate this whole thing. Yes I know, I am mostly plant based, but as my friends will testify not out, usually. There were good vegetarian options as well but when I saw someone nearby order this beauty, it was all over.

Danielle Avarez, Sip on What and Toi Storr, Toi Time

Congrats to Danielle who recently got engaged. She met her beau at one of these Kory Aversa media/influencer events I’ve been told.

Nothing says spring like Lilly and a nice yellow sweater.
Chelsea Logan and Penny Gsell, Penny in Philly

I thought I’d have fun tonight while covering this event. I asked guests “Do you sleep with your phone?” I am guilty. I know, radiation. No good reason except I’m too lazy to put it on the end table, plus I wake up and I am always curious of the time. Not much else. I also go to sleep with my ear pods in either listening to the news, Luther Vandross, or some scary podcast. Yes I have interesting dreams. Chelsea tells me she does not sleep with her phone in HER BED EVER!!! She stressed!! Penny sleeps with it right her head, in bed, to my relief. I see Penny and I have other things in common too. Love that Veal girl.

GNOCCHI 24
potato dumplings, cream of zucchini, lemon zest was Chelsea’s dish. A new menu item.

George Bank ,Laura Swartz, Kelly Meerbott and Ernest Owens

George, and Laura both sleep with their phones. Leadership and Team Development Coach Kelly doesn’t, and she probably recommends that to her clients I imagine. Congratulations to Ernest Owens who revealed his book cover “The Case for Cancel Culturethe other day, he says when he is asleep, the phone is in the other room. Now that is disconnecting.

Rachel Viggiano, @rach_ontheradio sleeps with her phone under her pillow. Mario LoVerde, @mano__loverde on the bedside, Dhruvi Shah @dhruvii__S under her pillow and Vybar Hiraesave @why_be_10 on the nightstand.

Davida Janae @vidafashionista is an under the pillow gal as her phone also acts as a baby monitor and she wants to know Cora is alright at all times.

Compatible: PHL Date Night Francesca Geonnotti with friend Anastasia Geomotti are definite no’s on sleeping with their phones.

Ray only lets Miguel sleep in the bed, but the phone is nearby to keep abreast of news on his Rebuild Philly projects. Happy Birthday Sunday to Alex Holley, who jetted off with friends to a tropical location for non-stop celebrations with the gals.

Josh Moore @josheatsphilly, Rebecca Neckritz @phillyfoodladies and Kaitlyn McLaughlin @phlmyplate

For more about the new menu and the history, visit https://www.positanocoast.net/. For reservations visit Open Table or call 215-238-0499.

Around Town With HughE

Chef Jezabel Careaga as Chef in Residency at Volvér

Chef Jezabel Careaga Date of Residency: January 26 to March 13, 2022

This season, Latin American Chef Jose Garces hosts emerging, minority chefs from around the Philadelphia region for six-week residencies. Chef Jezabel Careaga is an entrepreneur, chef, woodworker, designer, and community leader from Palpalá, Jujuy, NW Argentina. In addition to her degree in Tourism & Hotel Management focusing on international languages and business, she received a progressive education encompassing climate change, sustainability, and mental health – issues that she cares about deeply today.

Chef Jezabel Careaga and Nate Johnson, Culinary Director at Garces

Chef Careaga’s menu includes Picada, Escabeche de Berejena Toast, Empanadas, Tamales Saltenos, Vacio con Papas Estrelladas, Estofado, Locro, Queso y Membrillo and Panqueque Con Dulce De Leche.

According to Metro Philly: Careaga is well known throughout the city. Hailing as an entrepreneur, chef, woodworker, designer and community leader from Palpalá, Jujuy, in northwestern Argentina, her impact is shown in Philly’s culinary community and beyond.

Panqueque con dulce de leche Crepes, Caramelized Milk, Sweet Cream Flan

When at Volvér under Careaga’s residency, patrons can indulge in her picada (featuring mortadella, giardineira, goats milk feta, iberico chorizo and toasted sourdough), empanadas (made with braised beef, chimichurri and salsa criolla), estofada (a wild mushroom ragu with creamy polenta, parmesan and toasted pine nuts), vacio con papas estrelladas (a butcher’s steak with crispy salted potatoes, celery aioli and chimichurri), panqueque con dulce de leche (crepes with caramelized milk and sweet cream flan), and more.

Marcello Giordano, Owner, Giordano Garden Groceries, Chef Jennifer Carroll, and Marisa Magnatta, WMMR
Heidi Hogan, Aramark, Ann Marie Solomon, Aramark and Scott Campanella, COO Garces Group ·
Luis Rodriguez
Afea Tucker and Rhonda Willingham
Jennifer Rodriguez, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Adam Ali
Bill Gehrman, Enroute Congratulations to Bill, and Enroute Marketing on their 15th Anniversary!!, Laura Burkhardt, Executive Director of Avenue of the Arts, and Michael Newmuis, COS Visit Philly

About Chefs in Residency
This season, Latin American Chef Jose Garces hosts emerging, minority chefs from around the Philadelphia region for six-week residencies.

Throughout each residency, we will raise funds to support the inaugural line-up of chefs and their current and/or future projects. Donations can be made, similar to tipping a server, when the dinner check is presented. The Garces Foundation will match up to the first $5,000. The matching grant will be donated by the Garces Foundation which offers medical and educational resources to the hospitality community.

Learn more at The Garces Foundation.

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Mardi Gras Pop-Up Bar in Center City

The joint was jumping this past week as Craftsman Row Saloon, at 112 S. 8th Street, debuted their Mardi Gras theme bar/eatery on Thursday. It had all the feels of a great New Orleans party. As with their pop up Christmas themed bar, decorations got you in the mood for some delicious southern delights.

Wednesday night they hosted a media/influencer dinner.

Craftsman Row Saloon is owned by brother-and-sister restaurateurs George and Vasiliki Tsiouris, co-owners of Midtown Village’s popular Drury Beer Garden that currently features their beloved Greek cuisine with the Opa Pop-Up.

Guests enjoyed Dirty Rice with Shrimp, Ground Beef, Peppers and Onions, which was delicious. Diners were delighted with King Cake Sweet Potato Fries, which really tasted like pancakes at dinner. Sweet was an understatement. Regular menu items are also available like the Dorito coated mozzarella sticks, award-winning burgers, and fiery buffalo mac-n-cheese.

Martin Alfaro , Al Dia News and friends . I’m excited to quietly announce that I will be having a new
photo column at Al Dia. I had one about 5 years ago with Liberty City Press, which was an insert in Al Dia, but the editor I worked with left the field. I’m so grateful for Martin to reach out to me as I love delivering great content to the Latino community, and all those who read Al Dia. They have great content, and a beautifully organized website.

Craftsman’s Row Over-theTop Theme Milkshakes were transformed for the season: King of Bourbon Street – Bassetts vanilla ice cream, king cake, white chocolate, cinnamon, powdered donut, caramel drizzle, beads, festive sprinkles (boozy option also available) Bourbon Street Inspired Cocktails Cereal Milk Punch – bourbon, cereal-milk, nutmeg Masquerade Hurricane – light and dark rum, orange, pineapple, lemon Smudge Kit Margarita – tequila, sage, triple sec, lime

Michael Newmuis, Chief of Staff at Visit Philadelphia at Craftsman Row Saloon. Of course I tried to get him to move his head ever so slightly to the left without him knowing… hehehe
It was an enjoyable night trying all the new dishes and shakes.

NBC10 co workers Sheila Watko and Lucy Bustamante celebrate the evening, and were still sporting smiles hours later despite Lucy’s car being towed and the dynamic duo had to bail her out of the PPA impoundment. I want these two at my next party. They knew the assignment.

Also in on the assignment sisters Alyse Scaffidi and Lexi Scaffidi with Alyse ‘s husband 𝐊𝐲𝐥𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐲 (c)

Around Town With HughE

Main Line Restaurants Which Remind Me Of Spring

Terrain Cafe, Devon, Pa.

If it wasn’t exciting enough that Main Line Today and Today Media announced the 2022 Main Line Today Restaurant Week running February 21st through March 6th, 2022. The 14-day culinary celebration will bring together and showcase the talents of top chefs, restaurants and purveyors in Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties, I found a few spots which will remind you of summer while we ride out the winter weather.

Over 30 restaurants are lined up for this 14-culinary festival that was designed to support the restaurants during these challenging times, raise up the suburban dining scene in the Philadelphia region, and bring attention to the culinary riches from BYOs to full service restaurants – and everything in between.

The 14-day culinary celebration will bring together and showcase the talents of top chefs, restaurants and purveyors in Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties. Participating restaurants will offer special three-course prix fixe menus for lunch ($26.95, plus tax, beverage and gratuity) and dinner ($39.95, plus tax, beverage and gratuity). Restaurants can choose what works best for them, offering lunch, dinner, or both—dine-in or takeout. Foodies from across the tri-state area are invited to save the date, make their reservations, and come hungry for the tastiest weeks of the spring. 

Rosalie 139 East Lancaster Avenue – Just last week Rupert Grint was spotted eating here. He’s in town filming M Night Shyamalan’s Servant Season 4

Main Line Today Restaurant Week is a 14-day celebration of our region’s top chefs, restaurants and purveyors,” said Main Line Today Associate Publisher Marie Edwards.  “We couldn’t be happier with the final list of restaurants that really showcase the amazing culinary talent in every pocket and corner of the Main Line and Western Suburbs. We want to make a real and genuine difference to the smaller and independent mom-and-pop restaurants that have been profoundly affected by the pandemic.

Pizzeria Vetri KOP – Opens Tomorrow

For its second year, the Main Line restaurant community joins forces with local media and businesses to showcase the culinary talent that makes the Main Line and western suburbs such a diverse and rich dining destination. Efforts are designed to rally diners and foodies from around the region to support the most notable restaurants, bars, eateries, BYOBs and takeout spots. While all restaurants in Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties are invited to participate, there is a special focus on independent and locally operated restaurants.

Amis Trattoria 138 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 140, Devon, PA 19333

Main Line Today Restaurant Week is supported by sponsors Firstrust Bank, Comcast Business, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and others. Save the dates and follow @mainlinetoday #MLTrestaurantweek on social media for updates and previews. For more information and registration forms, visit www.MainLineToday.com/Restaurant-Week or call (610) 325-4630.

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Coney Island Comes to Philly

Popular New York City Coney Shack has expanded to Philadelphia, bringing the taste of Coney Island to our area – in the company’s first expansion out of that market – with more Philly locations to come!

Chef, partner and founder Lawrence Mach (r) started as a small food cart in Coney Island, graduated to a food truck, then opened a brick and mortar, then opened a pod kitchen in partnership with Times Square Foundation. Then the pandemic set in, slashing his business, and several of his locations paused due to the pandemic, but he moved forward with the plans to open in Philadelphia. He’s partnered on this project with SET NoLibs’ owner Michael Tang to open his largest brick and mortar to date; his NYC business are slowly coming back on line.

Coney Shack is represented by Kory Aversa, Aversa Pr, who never seemed to pause during the pandemic.

Earlier this month Coney Shack held at media night tasting.

Coney Shack combines Mexican and American street food favorites, with a Southeast Asian twist.

One must-try dish is the Mach Dog, with Vietnamese caramelized pork, crispy onion strings, Mexican cheese melt, sweet chili spicy mayo, scallion and toasted sesame. The cheese is melted using a blow torch at the front of the open-air kitchen.

Coney Shack 3818 Chestnut St. opens 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Delivery currently is available through Grubhub, and will be available through Uber Eats, Postmates, Caviar and Doordash starting next week.

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Grand Re-Opening: Bridget Foy’s. It was delicious!!

Society Hill Photos

Bridget Foy and husband Paul Rodriguez, along with parents John and Bernadette Foy, announces the grand opening of the brand new Bridget Foy’s at 200 South Street this Friday, February 12th at 4:00pm. Bridget Foy’s is one of Philadelphia and South Streets most beloved restaurants that has served the community for decades since the 1970s. The entire restaurant was lost in 2017 during a devastating fire. After three years of demolition, construction, design, pandemic delays, two COVID shut-downs, a giant snow storm, a East Philly Café Pop-up and limited dining capacity, Bridget Foy’s is finally ready to return and make its grand debut overlooking one of Philadelphia’s most picturesque corners.

Society Hill Photos

The new dining room and bar features a show-stopping gold tin ceiling, striking wood and tiled floors, socially distanced seating, 16 oversized windows and doors opening to the sidewalk, advanced ventilation, artwork by Bernadette and Paul, and other touches of nostalgia and Americana with a light, modern and airy twist.

Outside, look for more outdoor seating than ever before with a patio cafe featuring their first-ever outside bar and service window, state-of-the-art outdoor covered heating space, plus sidewalk seating on the front of the building, with room for more along 2nd Street in nice weather.

For the kitchen team, the Foy’s have tapped the culinary talent of Chefs David Gilberg and Carla Goncalves of Cry Baby Pasta and formerly of Koo Zee Doo. Look for the return of updated Foy’s classics and favorites, plus Gilberg’s spin on American comfort cuisine. Goncalves will present her scratch pastries and desserts.

At the bar, look for cocktails that play a riff on the classics, plus a robust, accessible and affordable selection of wines. On tap, look for craft beers, wine by the glass, sparkling wine, and batched cocktails. New, look for the first-ever Bridget Foy and Cry Baby Pasta canned cocktails that are perfect to go and for take-out. Starting services include indoor and outdoor dining, dinner, weekend brunch and midday weekend menus, cocktails, beer, wine, cocktails to go, take-out, pick-up and delivery.

The Foy’s Bridget, John and Bernadette Foy,

Hours will be Wednesday to Sunday, from 4:00pm to 9:00pm for dinner, and on weekends Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11:00am to 3:00pm, mid-day menu 3:00pm to 4:00pm, and dinner 4:00pm to 9:00pm. For more info and reservations, visit bridgetfoys.com or call 215-922-1813. Connect on Instagram @BridgetFoys.

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Save The Date: Christmas Belle Brunch at the Igloos in Northern Liberties

InBox: Be our guest, be our guest! You and your family are invited to be the belle of the ball at the first-ever Christmas Belle Brunch: The Beauty Princess at the Igloos. This socially-distanced dining experience is perfect for kids of all ages who love Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Northern Liberties’ based A Dash of Magic Events partners with Germantown Garden Grill (1029 Germantown Ave) and Glu Hospitality after the success of the Enchanted in Northern Liberties: Snow Queen Brunch series.

This socially-distanced positive and magical dining experience will include 90 minutes at a private, exclusive and heated igloo just for you and your immediate family members. Get ready to enjoy a safe and socially-distanced photo opportunity, songs from the princesses story and a grand entrance. Each reservation will also receive a private The Beauty Princess visit per each Igloo, a souvenir, and princess themed activity sheets – and a special holiday dessert that would make even Chef Bouche hungry! Leave room for brunch and lunch, plus hot beverages for kids and adults. Food and drink is pay-as-you-go.Tickets are $15.00 per person for Igloo seating and $10.00 per person for outdoor seating without the Igloo. A portion of each ticket will go to charity, and provide a free princess appearance for children in need through the Salvation Army.

This event is open to a very limited number of tickets to make this dining experience very safe and intimate. Capacity for this event will be at less 10% of the entire capacity for the venue, to ensure safety and health protocols. All children and adults above the age of two must wear a mask to and from their dining table. The Beauty Princess already has her special princess themed matching mask. She can’t wait to see your costumes and masks too! Costumes for the little ones are encouraged but not required. All families attending must follow the local and health guidelines at the time of the event. If the event is postponed due to weather, all parties will be able to transfer their ticket to a new date and time. Tickets are on sale now at www.germantowngarden.com

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LaScala’s in CC Reopens renovated and with a new name

One of the perks of my job is meeting so many people, really nice people, and one of them is definitely Alicia DiMichele. You may remember Alicia from her popular VH1 show Mob Wives, but I only really know her from afterwards as a business women, a single mom, a popular social media star, who later married her best friend Rob LaScala, a successful restaurateur.

I attended their wedding 2 years ago at City Hall officiated by former Gov Ed Rendell. It was so beautiful.

And now their new venture, definitely a collaborative effort as Alicia helped with the interior design (the dining floor is the same one they have in their very white walled house) of the newly reopened formerly known as LaScala, now LaScala’s Fire 615 Chestnut St serving delicious, simple dishes created with recipes from Rob’s mom Rosemary LaScala, as well as Alicia, Rob told me.

Chicken wings, Salmon, and the Ricotta Board. Mike loved his Chicken Parm, it was so big he’s having it for lunch today.

Rob told me he wanted to serve good Italian food, at decent prices, where people could pop in and out on their way to someplace exciting. He recommends people reserve a table via Open Table during these times. There’s indoor and outdoor dining. They have heat lamps. I felt safe, there’s hand sanitizer through out the place, and the staff was wearing their masks properly.

Alicia and Rob with their family on the left is my other BFF is my head Maureen Vecere, with her husband and Vince Vecere. Follow Alicia on Instagram and get to know her family. I just adore them, and her authenticity connecting with her followers. Also she shares her recipes with us as she prepares dinner, as well as what it’s like to live in a house with 5 men.

The LaScala Restaurant Group has several eateries in our area, in South Jersey and a newly opened LaScala’s Fire in Villanova.

LaScala’s Fire was a great experience. I loved the new bright look, the big windows looking out on Chestnut Street, great scene watching. The food was so good, each dish made with a little love and it tastes it. Mike wants to go back already, you know happy husband makes me happy.

The homemade Tiramisu was the best Mike’s ever had and that is his go to dessert. ( I snuck a bite and I concur.) Best of all LaScala’s Fire is easy on your wallet with most dishes under $20. HEAD ON OVER TO CBSPHILLY to see who was there last night at the Friends & Family fete, including her mom who I immediately recognized from Alicia’s InstaStories (2nd to last photo). What a doll!!

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The Coventry Deli Closes Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

Before there was Corner Bakery, Naf Naf Grill, Nooks Bakery, Mama’s Vegetarian, Wawa, or any number of eateries on Market above Broad Street there was The Coventry Deli. Located at 2000 Market Street. David Rovner said the pandemic killed his business. I was lunching there today with my friend Michael, and we were reminiscing about all the times we had eaten there especially while working at our first jobs in Philly,

David Rovner says they are closing on Friday after 26 years in business. I asked him what happened and he said they just couldn’t make it work because everyone is working from home these days. When a customer heard Dave and I talk about the closing she ask was it true, would it be forever. Dave said it might be, but he doesn’t want to rule out anything in the future; right now he plans to be back in 2021. Hopefully in January but it depends on on the virus and restrictions; would people come back to the office or would they work from home permanently? Let’s cross our fingers that this will happen. Here’s what is special about the iconic deli.

The Coventry Deli has been the premiere Mom & Pop Deli in the city for 26 years! Open Monday thru Friday from 6 am – 3 pm, The Coventry Deli is a center city staple for breakfast or lunch, as well as take out and catering. Their slogan of “If we don’t have it, you shouldn’t eat it.”
All of their food is made from scratch onsite, using the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Every order is made to order, and is made fresh before your eyes. The lines were long, but the wait was worth it.

Everyone went to The Coventry Deli from executives, to secretaries to people who worked in the file room like I did at my first job. I have so many memories going there, I always got the tuna salad with tomato’s or the BLT, which I had today.

Besides a great place to dine, The Conventry Deli catered many of the business meetings and lunches for the tenants in nearby buildings. No doubt the missing office workers hurt his business. Have you had their pickles?

If you’re downtown in the next two days, stop by The Conventry Deli and thank Dave for all the years of delicious breakfasts and lunches. Cross your fingers that next year people will return, and maybe he will too.