Category Archives: Food

Upcoming: 40th Annual Odunde Festival – Sunday June 14th

40th Annual Odunde Festival

When: Sunday, June 14, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: 23rd & South Streets
Cost: FREE
For info: Click here for full festival details.

::::: via Philly360 ::::::::

Philly, It’s time to celebrate the African New Year and our city’s rich culture and heritage with the 40th Annual Odunde Festival.  Meaning “ Happy New Year” in Yoruba, Odunde was created in the likeness of African celebrations of the Yoruba people in Nigeria.

Held every second Sunday in June since 1975, this massive event brings South Street West to life, drawing thousands of visitors from around the country to shop its African marketplace, take in lively performances, and enjoy all of the other Odunde festivities.

Each year, the festival begins with a group procession from South 23rd and South Streets to the Schuylkill River to make offerings to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river. Then the crowd returns to 23rd and South for the official start of the festival, which stretches over twelve city blocks. In the African marketplace, vendors from around the globe offer great food, art, clothing, jewelry, and other black and African-influenced wares.

In addition to great shopping and eats, Odunde features two stages that will explode with some of Philly and the country’s most entertaining performers. Be on the look out for great R&B, soul and gospel music, African dancing and Odunde’s signature drum circle.

This year’s performance highlights include Philadanco, Rennie Harris, Philly Youth Poetry Movement and a special throwback hip-hop concert feaeturing Kurt Blow, Special Ed, Chubb Rock and Kwame.

Click here to get the full deets on this year’s Odunde festival.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Odunde

Counter Culture Coffee Pro Dev Roundtable

Wednesday July 30th is this month’s roundtable for local coffee professionals — Counter Culture Coffee Pro Dev Day. RSVP here and stop by next week at 3pm-4pm where you’ll explore how Counter Culture’s roasting team determines roast levels and profiles, using one coffee (Finca Pashapa from La Labor, Honduras) as a case study.

You’ll review the history of Counter Culture’s purchasing relationship with producer Roberto Salazar and Finca Pashapa, provide a general overview of the roasting process and the tools used to assure quality control for production roasts—namely, the Agtron Scale—and then taste examples of Finca Pashapa prepared at different roast levels and profiles.

About the Training Center:
Counter Culture Coffee regional training centers are three-dimensional spaces dedicated to cutting-edge coffee education and community engagement. Each training center serves not only as a regional focal point for professional coffee education and industry innovation, but also as a hub of taste exploration and cultural exchange.

Furnished with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed by world-class coffee educators, the training centers make up a closely connected network of classrooms for the Counter Intelligence coffee education curriculum, which consists of a variety of focused labs, classes, and seminars. CCC training centers also provide the perfect environments for our ongoing series of public Friday Coffee Cuppings and community events.

2149 Unit B Catharine St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19146
Google Map

30th Annual Ball on the Square 2014 Recap

Last Thursday the Friends of Rittenhouse gathered once again to host their 30th annual “Ball on the Square” in Rittenhouse Square.

Bringing to a close Philadelphia’s spring social scene, the Ball is without question the most elegant outdoor event in town. With proceeds going to maintaining the health and beauty of the square, more than 300 people dropped $550 per ticket to show their support.

While the main event was happening under the tented square, younger ‘friends of the square’ enjoyed cocktails, dancing and hors d’oeuvres across the way at the Rittenhouse Hotel. For a more moderately priced $150 a ticket, the “Young Friends Ball on The Square” attracted roughly 200 of Philadelphia’s up and coming socialites.

All photos courtesy of Amy King (Follow her on Instagram @theminielephant)

9th Annual Great Chefs Event Recap

Gathering once again at the sprawling Urban Outfitters campus at the Navy Yard, more than 1,200 of Philadelphia’s dedicated foodies gathered in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for the 9th annual Great Chefs Event. Joining a surplus of more than 40 celebrity chefs from around the world, the momentary downpour eventually cleared to fantastic weather and even better food.

“I really have a lot of fun doing this,”  Drew Nieporent tells me as he is serving a veal based soup to several guests. “I have done it a couple years now, and it certainly won’t be my last.”

The lineup of participating chefs reads like a who’s who of culinary all stars. From Jose Garces, to Philly’s own Jennifer Carroll and Kevin Spraga, the attendees were afforded the opportunity to sample some of the world’s most sought after fair. “These lamb ribs are awesome,” I overhear a gentleman remark as he gestures toward the table set up by Andrew Carmellini and Damon Wise of Lafayette Restaurant in NYC.

A little more than half way through the evening, the crowd gathered for a live auction. The high energy bidding war was highlighted by one particular item: a 4 night food-tour of Italy accompanied by Marc Vetri which sold for an amazing $24,000. In total, the live auction brought in roughly $80,000.

When the main event ended at 9pm, the lucky few that purchased the limited amount of after-party tickets made their way over to Marc Vetri’s restaurant Alla Spina. With music provided by Philly’s premier DJ (and Roots drummer) Quest Love, the after party managed to continue the high culinary expectation set from earlier that evening.

With all funds (including the tips the bartenders received) going to charity, all in attendance could be certain that their next day hangovers were well worth it.

All photos courtesy of Ananias Jean-Louis

2014 Great Chefs Event: Tickets Still Available

The city of Philadelphia is once again preparing to kick off the summer with a culinary bang. Returning for its 9th run, the Great Chefs Event will once again host more than 40 of the best chefs from around the globe to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Vetri Foundation for Children.

Continuing last years trend of granting general access to the highly exclusive after-party, the Vetri Foundation is making tickets available to (considered by many) the best after party in Philadelphia.

Immediately following the main event, the after party kicks off at Alla Spina  (9:30pm-2:00am) and features food & drink crafted by a talented array of chefs. It also doesn’t hurt that Quest Love will be returning to DJ.

Traditionally only open to the celebrity chefs who cook at the event, industry insiders who help make the event happen and top sponsors, the opportunity is now available to be one of the lucky 100 attendees to get access!

With tomorrow night being the big night, act fast for the few remaining tickets available!

And to wet your appetite, here is 215 Mag’s recap from last year.



2 Days Left on Yachtsman Kickstarter

Now is the time to support Philly local commerces! Since 2009, Tommy Up and Sarah Brown have brought us so much joy and happiness when they opened up PYT located in Northern Liberties. And after a few years later, in 2013, they opened Emmanuelle, a Parisian jawn serving the most delicious cocktails.

Their latest endeavor is a opening us a kickass tiki bar: Yachtsman Bar that’s pretty much ready to open in June; however, they ran into some unforeseen “snags.” According to their Kickstarter page, “Instead of bringing in some corporate money, and losing the singleness of vision we feel is important, we want to keep The Yachtsman weird.” Weird is good. So they’re asking for help from friends, family and Kickstarter.

As an incentive, Yachtsman have different levels of backers. Donation rewards range from Fishtown Yacht Club t-shirts ($35) and Officers Club Membership ($75, includes preferred entry and a key for the Officer’s Only restroom) to your very own name-plated bar stool ($950, and you get to claim the stool whenever you show up) and a framed portrait of developer Bart Blatstein ($2,750). But of course all donations are welcome.

With 2 days left, the crew managed to raise over $26K, only $10K away from their $36K. Keep it weird and keep Philly happening. Click here to support the Yachtsman Bar!

2014 Night Market Dates Announced

The Food Trust has announced its 2014 Night Market dates and locations.  The first night market for 2014 will be on Thursday, May 15th, in Old City. Subsequent Night Markets will be held in June, August and October.

  • Old City- May 15th, 2014
  • West Oak Lane – June 19th, 2014
  • Lancaster Ave @ 35th St – August 21st, 2014
  • Chinatown- October 2nd, 2014

Night Market Philadelphia is the city’s premier street food festival, a roving food event spotlighting Philly’s best ethnic and regional restaurants and food trucks. Inspired by Asia’s lively outdoor markets, our events celebrate up-and-coming neighborhoods and showcase Philadelphia’s diverse food and drinks and vibrant arts and culture scene.

The first Night Market took place in East Passyunk in 2010. Since its debut, The Food Trust has hosted twelve Night Markets, attracting over 200,000 attendees and more than 300 food vendors to neighborhoods across the city, including University City, Northern Liberties, West Oak Lane, Washington Avenue, Mt. Airy, Fairmount, South Street, and Chinatown, and attracting local and national attention to Philadelphia’s food scene.

New York Times: “Best way to experience Philadelphia’s still surging street food scene”

Details: “Top 5 Nighttime Markets in the Nation”

Budget Travel : “The Five Hottest New Foodie Trends in the US: Night Markets”

The Food Trust works with community partners throughout the city – including East Passyunk Business Improvement District, University City District, Mt. Airy USA, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation, Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, Bella Vista United Civic Association, South Street Headhouse District, and the South 9th Street Business Men’s Association – to host the roving festival.

Source: Night Market


Film Review: The Lunchbox

Dir. Ritesh Batra
Score: 6.7

The problem with food movies is almost exactly the same as with teen sex comedies: The filmmakers tend to allow the film’s thematic product placement (duck l’orange, let’s say, or the breasts of Amy Smart) to take precedence over any other element, including acting, narrative drive, or mise en scene. Food-porn then, becomes the point, and everything else is regulated to the shadows.

But if this film is considered food-porn, it’s of a considerably more soft-core variety. In writer/director Ritesh Batra’s hands, the shimmeringly delicious looking lunches being packed lovingly by a lonely, bored housewife into the hands of an unwitting widower in a completely different building from her distant husband, is very much a means to an end. It might well make us hungry to look at, but there’s plenty enough else here to chew on.

The housewife, Ila (Nimrat Kaur), spends her days trying to appease her hard-driving and humorless husband (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), cleaning the house, taking care of their young daughter, and cooking what appears to be fabulous meals for his lunch consumption. In what must be an Indian tradition — at least in Mumbai, where the film takes place — the white-collar workers who populate the many, many offices and cubicles of the city don’t bring their lunches with them, but rather, have them hand-delivered by a series of deft handlers, who take each lunch from the apartments of their families (and/or participating restaurants), and somehow magically distribute them to their intended beneficiaries. It’s an extremely complex system (one that begs the question, wouldn’t it be easier just to brown-bag it yourself?), but one that seems to work with almost preternatural precision. That is, except for Saajan (Irrfan Khan).

Somehow, there is a mistake made with his lunch, so rather than receive the bland cauliflower from the middling take-out place near his apartment high-rise, he instead gets Ila’s carefully and lovingly made food. The first time this happens, Saajan, somewhat perplexed, takes out a single gorgeously bright looking spiced string bean and bites into it thoughtfully, surprise and delight flashing across his face for only a brief moment before returning to stern resignation.

After a couple days of this, Ila realizes what’s been happening, and writes a simple note to Saajan, explaining the mix-up and thanking him for giving her a brief, happy few days where she thought her abrasively detached husband was actually enjoying something she had prepared for him. Thus begins a peculiar sort of pen-pal exchange, with Saajan and Ila revealing ever more of themselves and their lonely lives to one another, even as she conjures up recipe after fabulous recipe.

But this is no Fried Green Tomatoes fantasy where the magic of food, like love, restores all things. Both Saajan and Ila are too entrenched in their ways to really let go of their lives, and Ila’s food, though seemingly wonderful, by itself doesn’t move Saajan to see things differently. It’s her unflinching honesty, and desire for something better, that eventually draws him in.

Batra’s film has a pleasing sort of pace, matching the grind-it-out Mumbai workday against the more thoughtful and considered measure of its main protagonists. There’s a reason they seem like such a good match, because Batra has them stand apart from the crowded din of the millions of other dedicated workers to find each other. Repeatedly, the film hammers home its aphorism: Sometimes the wrong train can take you to the right station. When these two lonely souls finally find one another, spectacular looking food is truly just the starting point.

Coffee Culture Series: Part I

More than ever, and sure to remain true moving forward, building a successful business has become increasingly tied to thinking sustainably. Though it can seem to just be a word or label placed on a product these days, there is no denying that this business model makes a difference on the bottom line; both for the business and for the planet.

The food and beverage industries are often on this cutting edge looking for ways to bring their market the best quality product using sustainable methods.

In Part 1 of our Coffee Culture Series focusing on coffee culture and sustainability, we look at Counter Culture Coffee’s “Sustainable Spring” initiative, which is free and open to the public. This month-long series of events is designed to educate, explore and raise awareness about sustainability and green living and will take place every Friday throughout March at 11:30am (following Counter Culture Coffee’s free, weekly public coffee cuppings at 10am).

During the month of March the following topics will be covered at Counter Culture’s Philadelphia Training Center (2149 Unit B Catharine St):

  • March 21 – CSA: what is it, why is it important? Casey Spacht of Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. Casey is an organic farmer and member of LFFC. He will be talking about the perks of Community Supported Agriculture.
  • March 28 – Pollinators: Not Just Bee Business. Paul Dangel. Beekeeper and insect expert Paul Dangel will introduce other key insects (and animals) which are important contributors to pollination and why they are important to our food system.

Founded in 1995, Counter Culture Coffee is the much-loved coffee roaster dedicated to finding and bringing to market the most exciting and delicious coffees in the world. The company’s vision is to pursue coffee perfection by creating partnerships dedicated to environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability throughout the coffee chain, improving the natural environment and operating efficiently to minimize environmental impact. Counter Culture has eight training centers across the country including locations in New York; Chicago; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Asheville, N.C.; Atlanta; and Durham, N.C., with a new training center and roastery set to open in Emeryville, CA, later this year. Served in some of the country’s top restaurants, Counter Culture Coffee is available in coffee shops, specialty grocers and online at

Stay tuned coming up we will be talking to industry innovators, experts on sustainability, and visiting coffee shops for events like Latte Art Throwdowns happening in and around Philly.