Month: August 2014

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That Happened: First Annual Dîner en Noir


I think my interest in Dîner en Blanc lasted about 45 seconds. The first year it came to Philadelphia I remember when I came across the initial press and my intrigue quickly became confusion. I was on board at first since a huge outdoor picnic with a color theme sounded kind of lovely, but with the barriers to entry and the price, I was quickly over it. Quite simply, paying to lug a table, chairs, an entire meal, plates, flatware, and wine to an undisclosed location while dressed to the nines just to flaunt my disposable income grossed me out.

And then Dîner en Noir came along.

My biggest problem with Dîner en Blanc was, of course, the problem of what the ticket price represented. Sure, it costs money to get permits for events, but when you’re bringing in over $100k and all your workers are volunteers, the remainder is going into someone’s pocket. I also have no desire own an all-white cocktail dress, much less purchasing one for a single evening.

Dîner en Noir basically took the best parts of the Dîner en Blanc concept and ran with it. No nepotism, incredible music, and as you drag that table to your meeting place you can take comfort in the fact that the proceeds go to charity—Philabundance and Friends of Penn Treaty Park to be exact. And who doesn’t feel sexy in all black? Oh, and did I mention that they actually drove us to the final picnic location? Very classy touch.

I had originally planned to prepare our picnic dinner, but when we learned Chef Ritter was catering, we knew we had to go with his menu. As with all of his food, it was fantastic. The charcuterie plate was the stand-out, featuring pork belly rillettes and chicken liver pâté served with toasted bread. It also included an assortment of pickles including cornichons, green beans, and absolutely incredible herb-pickled mushrooms. The walnut-tarragon pistou and truffled honey was a perfect accompaniment.

The meal also included a fresh salad with dijon dressing, and two excellent French sandwiches. The pan bagnat included tuna in olive going, capers, artichoke, shallots, and egg–totally decadent. The jambon buerre was a perfect contrast to the brine of the pan bagnat, with a simple combination of proscuitto, radish, and good European butter.

Dessert was wonderfully light—thankfully, because we were stuffed—with chocolate cover strawberries and chai/lemon/pistachio madelines

We were having too much fun to snap more than a few photos, but check out this gorgeous album of photos taken by Gregg Sims over on Flickr.

Merci beaucoup, Dîner en Noir. We’ll see you in 2015.

That Happened: Drink Philly Boat Party 2014

Photo Jul 30, 7 21 34 PM

Last Wednesday was the first Drink Philly Boat Party and it was pretty much everything I dreamed it would be. Beautiful weather, wonderful people, and unlimited food and drink as we sailed between bridges on the Delaware River. It also gave me a chance to rock my giant lobster bling cuff. Always a good thing.

Upon arriving myself and my lovely friends Amanda, Dylan, and Mike, began to climb the levels seeking a table. Luckily we didn’t mange to find one until we reached the very top deck. Our seats put us in the prime spot to be serenaded by live jazz all night while we admired the Philadelphia skyline and double fisted beer. It was really the perfect night. Below us people danced and did shots and watched Sharknado, while the highest tier took a lower key approach to the evening. They somehow managed to create an event that accommodated everyone’s preference in atmosphere.

Yet another hit event from the fabulous folks at Drink Philly. Keep on killing it, guys. <3



Classic Cocktail of the Month: Negroni


Gin was the first hard liquor I fell in love with. I started slow with gimlets and G&Ts as I worked my way up to dry martinis and, of course, Negronis. I don’t know how my infatuation with gin started, but it happened fast and as early as 21 I was saving up for bottles of Hendrick’s and Blue Coat so I could have something to savor for months. Top shelf gin was my designer shoes. I even enjoy it on the rocks–cannot get enough juniper.

So it seemed only fitting that the first cocktail of the month be gin-based. And being that I’ve recently begun a love affair with bitters (more on that later), the Negroni was the clear choice.

Negronis are a perfect before or after dinner cocktail because they act as a digestif. The bitterness of the Campari stimulates digestion and either kickstarts your appetite or settles your stomach after a large meal. They’re also boozy, delicious, and incredibly simple to make.


You’ll need:

1 oz Campari
1 oz of your favorite gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
A fresh orange peel

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and top with equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth.


Stir until chilled through, then strain into a rocks glass over a large rock. Ice spheres and oversized cubes are perfect for negronis.



Express an orange peel by gently bending it length-wise by the lip of the glass and spritzing the essential oils over brim.



Give the brim a quick swipe with the peel, coax it into a twist, and garnish.

Ta-da! Negroni.


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