Philly Food & Drink Writer Meet-Up

One of the most special aspects of food and eating is that it brings people together. Family meals, dinner or drinks with friends–sharing food with others is an intimate way to connect and create memories that can last for years. Oftentimes, people ask me why I started this blog. My answer is simply that I like food and found that I was always taking pictures of what I ate. Once I started blogging, I slowly began meeting people in the food community who were just like me. It was liberating to discover that I wasn’t the only weirdo who had to take photos of any and everything food-related before it went into my mouth. I began to gather a consortium of friends who had one prominent, similar interest: food.

One of those friends is Wendy of the fabulous La Phemme Phoodie. A lawyer by day, Wendy has taken to organizing area food bloggers meet-ups. The first was at Supper earlier this year, another was a food photography class and the most recent was a joint effort between Wendy, R2L Restaurant, VisitPhilly.Com and local photographer Eric Mencher.

As we stepped off the elevator at the 37th floor and into R2L for the first time, we were greeted with glasses of bubbly. We sipped and mingled, meeting and greeting friends old and new. As we chatted, we were treated to a variety of passed h’ors d’oeuvres such as steak tartare on a potato chip with beef butter (my first time eating tartare,) skewered tuna au poivre, truffled flatbread, crisp risotto balls with truffle soy (the server told me not to be shy with sopping up the truffle soy. I wasn’t,) and smoked salmon with mustard cream cheese on a pretzel crisp. An unmentioned surprise was this take on the chicken cheesesteak.

The hungry bloggers pounced on these delicious offerings.

Just as we started to get sated, out came the drinks. The R2L-Evation with gin, parfait amour, luxardo, fresh lemon, cherry

and the Sidecar with hennessy vs, pallini limoncello, cointreau, fresh lemon.

I didn’t try the R2L-Evation because my body has had a no gin mandate since high school, but those Sidecars certainly were tasty–and potentially dangerous–cocktails.

After some intial mingling, we made our way to the photography workshop conducted by Eric Mencher, a former Inquirer photographer who spent many years eating with Inky food critic, Craig LaBan. Before the workshop began, Chef Daniel Stern spoke to the crowd of excited bloggers and food enthusiasts, thanking us for “keeping the food conversation going.”

La Phemme Phoodie introduces Chef Dan

We were then greeted by Caroline and Alethia of and Philly Homegrown, co-sponsors of the event, who spoke about local food and gastronomy.

Once Eric began, he regaled us with stories and jokes. Rather than discussing detailed camera function, he spoke more to the art of taking a photo and the eye with which we view our subjects. After his brief, yet informative talk, we were set free to take photos of all the beautifully plated dishes that Chef Dan created for the event. Between my husband and I, we have over one hundred photos which you can view on our Flickr page here and here. We were lucky enough to have two cameras thanks to my co-worker and extremely talented photographer, Doug Herman.

Here’s a snapshot (no pun intended) of our lovely Saturday afternoon.

Sushi sampler

Variations of Chocolate

Variations of Chocolate

Row Home Eats in action

Our stunning view

Blueberry lemon tarts with lavender marshmallows

Donut ice cream sandwich

Steak tartare

Lobster macaroni and cheese

Smoked salmon brunch pizza

Roasted Rabbit, fresh + pickled squash, eggplant, yellow steuben gravy + basil

Everyone wants to get a great shot

Mr. Row Home Eats is pretty handy with the camera too

Blogger buddies (L-R In Search of Beer; Apples and Cheese, Please; Row Home Eats; Bridges, Burgers & Beer)

HUGE thanks go to host R2L and Chef Daniel Stern for hosting the event and providing us with phenomenal food for tasting and shooting (can’t beat the view either,) Caroline and Alethia from Visit Philly and Philly Homegrown for helping promote local food initiatives and for the neat swag bag–including a beer koozie and “Who’s Your Farmer?” apron and Eric Mencher for his sharing his expansive knowledge with a group of crazy food lovers like us. Last, but certainly not least, MAJOR love to La Phemme Phoodie for, as Chef Dan put it, helping us to “keep the food conversation going.”

If you’d like to check out what some of the other attendees had to say, check out La Phemme Phoodie’s blog roll. So far, the list includes:

The Palate Princess

A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis

Zen and Potatoes

My Life On A Plate

Bridges, Burgers & Beer

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Asian In America

I Can Cook That

From Graduate to Gourmet

Pass the Sushi

Feed Me Lee

South Jersey Locavore

Eric spoke about things we can do to make food look more appealing in photographs. One tip he mentioned was the use of a fork or spoon so that the eye follows its curves. After the restaurant let us loose on the gorgeous dessert cart, all that was left was this.

The End

Philly Food Blogger Meet-Up

I’ve been blogging for less than a year and this will be my third mention of Supper. I really, really love the place. What can I say? When my new friend, Wendy, told me that she was organizing a Philly Food Bloggers Meet-Up at Supper, all I could say was yes and YES! The chance to meet other food bloggers AND have a tasty brunch at Supper was exciting on so many levels. The menu looked divine and the fabulous owners, Jen and Mitch Prensky, promised to have a small, passed versions of some of their most popular brunch menu items with a special nod to us bloggers–they had a full sized version of each dish for photography purposes. LOVE these guys!

I walked into the restaurant on the cool Saturday afternoon and headed upstairs to Supper’s private dining room where Wendy and other food bloggers milled about with their mimosas in hand. I grabbed a hot apple beignet and quickly started chatting with Wendy, Helen and Tenaya (no handshakes due to finger-lickin’ greasiness from the beignets) before making my way to the bar.

Somewhere along the way I had my first taste of the morning–Dock Street porter pancakes with candied apples, vanilla suds and homemade cracker jacks.

I loved the strong vanilla flavor in the foam and the “cracker jacks” made for a great crunch amidst the dense chewiness of the pancakes.

While standing at the bar, I got a chance to chat with the fabulous tag team couple behind 22nd & Philly. Ironically, my husband played youth soccer with Mr. 22nd & Philly so it was fun to get to know him and his wife a little better. While we were chatting, we got comfortable with one another pretty quickly. You have to when you’re eating dessert for brunch like Supper’s RENOWNED red velvet waffles with cream cheese mousse and bourbon cherries. Things tend to get a little racy.

Isn’t that just stunning? I will say that I enjoyed the small portion of it and don’t know if my (minimal) sweet tooth could handle an entire serving of this luscious dish.

While our hungry group milled about, Mitch and Jen did more than just organize the event. They were kind enough to chat with us, entertain us with stories (Mitch’s professional background is fascinating) and even pose for pictures. He is pictured below with the folks from 22nd & Philly and my friend, LeeAnne.

I could have eaten about 37 of the Dixie biscuits with scrambled egg, ham and pimento cheese. These little sliders were awesome but the grits that accompanied the full-sized verion were buttery and divine!

On the “lunch” side of brunch, Mitch and Jen served two of their favorite menu items–the Supper burger and Supper dog. I first had the burger at the Hair o’the Dog Brunch on New Year’s Day–there was no better hangover cure than the juicy burger with caramlized onions, roasted tomato, bacon and gruyere. The baby burgers were super cute and a perfect three-bite taste.

The Supper dog was my hands-down favorite (although the Dixie biscuit was a very close second.) You may remember that I don’t really eat pork. Well, folks, the Supper dog ruined that for me (I’m obviously really disappointed about that!) The dog is 100% pork shoulder wrapped in bacon and deep fried (!!!) with sauerkraut, bbq onions and a beer mustard on a split top roll. This is what they looked like in the mini version.

But check out this full-sized monster of a dog.


I love how it’s perched so daintily atop the split top bun. Wow. I just loved everything about this dish. Oh, and once the photos were all taken, those fried pickle chips disappeared in a heartbeat. I could have eaten those guys all day long.

Aside from the afternoon’s food, which was phenomenal, it was great getting to put faces to the names of the folks I know from Twitter and the the blogosphere. Many, many thanks to Mitch and Jen for a mouth-watering spread and great company to boot! If you haven’t been to Supper, you’re definitely missing out.

Check out some of the other attendees (I stole this list from 22nd & Philly.)

1. La Phemme Phoodie
2. Philly Foodie
4. Midtown Lunch Philadelphia
5. Eating in South Jersey
6. Two Eat Philly
7. Jonny Sparks Lounge
8. The Pour Curator
9. NJ Epicurean
10. In Search of Beer
11. Exton Dish
12. Doris and Jilly Cook
13. South Jersey Locavore

14. Zagat Buzz

15. Apples and Cheese Please

And check out these great write-ups of the event:
Apples and Cheese Please
22nd & Philly
In Search of Beer
La Phemme Phoodie (the lovely organizer of this event)

Hello world!

After months and months of swearing to myself that I would start a blog (with the addition of my wonderful husband’s prompting and cajoling,) along with one failed attempt and domain name, I begin anew. Today, August 1st, marks the beginning of my foray into blogging.

True to the blog name, I live in a row home in South Philly, and will be sharing my musings about cooking and eating in Philadelphia. Expect to meet my dog and husband, who both adore my cooking, along with a gaggle of interesting friends, neighbors and family with whom we break bread. I may have tales of the flies attacking my basil plant out back or the mysterious tomato thief (who may or may not be under 1o years old.) I might wax poetic about our beer can chicken that doesn’t *quite* fit on the grill or share my recipe for BLT macaroni and cheese.

When we’re not cooking (yes, my wonderful husband cooks as well!) we have been known to enjoy Philadelphia’s plethora of BYOBs, although we’re just as happy staying home with a movie and delivery–Mexican or sushi, depending on whose turn it is to choose.

My challenge to myself it to stay up to date on the blogging to #1 Give myself something to do #2 Track and organize my online recipes #3 Get to know the amazing local food blogging community!