FeastivalWelcome to Feastival – 2nd Annual Fundraiser benefiting Philly Fringe and the Arts Programs, proceeds support local independent live arts performers.  The red carpet was laid out for celebrities from theatre, music and….food!  It brought together Philly’s Great Chefs, entertainers and foodies alike for an outstanding evening.   I arrived and walked the red carpet, an hour before the doors opened to the public.  What a great time….the smoke machine created a mysterious atmosphere.

During the VIP hour peach Bellini were served, loved having my champagne poured by Lisa, while she dangled upside down from a metal circle suspended from the ceiling.  While I sat sipping my bubbly, Tariq (waiter) made sure I did not go hungry.  He popped up out of nowhere with fantastic nibbles prepared by Steven Starr Catering:  buffalo shrimp tempura had just the right kick, smoked mozzarella arrancini served in mini paper gelato cones, crispy and delectable, the crabmeat and fennel salad with Tomato concasse was chilled and refreshing.

At the main event I spoke with chefs from our City and ate the most fantastic food made for this special occasion.  My friends at Amis Restaurant offered meatballs with potato and tomato ragout.  Revolution House served individual sized “lasagna cupcakes,” beautiful and tasty, with a choice of flavored ricottas:  roasted red pepper, beet or carrot & sweet potato.  Le Castagne offered spinach ravioli stuffed with shrimp and a roasted tomato sauce.  Supper offered gouger (savory cream puff) called Lil’ Dixie stuffed with ham and pimento cheese and the girls from Fair Food Farmstand had the best cheese plate selection; creamy, pungent and served with sliced baguettes.

My personal favorites of the night were:  Chef John Morken of Cooperage who offered a 24-hour slow roasted pork with bourbon coffee sauce and cilantro crème; Barclay Prime had Kobe beef steak tartar served with crispy shallots, micro beet and arugula greens.  Marigold Kitchen’s gets my vote for best looking; fois gras cherry with pistachio crumbs….uncanny how it was shaped like a cherry it even had a cherry stem.  They used a cherry gel to encapsulate the fois gras, ingenious!  Tallulah’s Garden offered a roasted fig stuffed with Bleu Cheese and crispy bacon, just the right mixture of sweet/savory.  Panorama Ristorante had a great idea, truffle porcini risotto lollipops, and perfect sized hors d’oeuvres.  Our last stop was a visit to Chef Joe Cicala, the James Beard 2011 nominee from Le Virtu Ristorante, his offerings were two pasta dishes: agnelotti with braised pork and truffle and tagliatelle smothered in lamb Ragu, both delectable.  If you want to try some of Chef Joe’s delights, join us for a culinary tour.

After all this food I was in desperate need of a beverage.  I approached the sleek looking bar and ordered a bottle of water; I needed to cleanse my palate for dessert!  When I tried to tip the bartender she stated, “Not necessary, not accepting tips this evening”…wow, touching, Joan, you are Aces in my book!

Finally dessert, Le Bec Fin, the restaurant which offers the never ending dessert cart, did not disappoint.  Chef George Perrier provided individual sized mini fruit tarts, pecan tarts and tiramisu, enough for seconds, scrumptious!  As I was leaving Feastival, Chef Michael Solomonov, winner of the James Beard Mid-Atlantic Chef Award and Co-Founder/Co-Host of Feastival, offered me a piping hot doughnut, dunked in coffee, cinnamon and sugar – comfort food!  Thanks to everyone for a great night, I had lots of fun and am full to the brim!

Click here to see our Feastival photos, under Community Service Gallery.