Your Feastival Wrap-Up: Rendell Puts Possible Jinx On Phils In A Cavern Of Mini-Basil Ice Cream Cones And Empire Daiquiris

Last night, while Restaurant Week raged on through Center City, the 2010 Live Arts & Philly Fringe Festival box office, located in a long-empty warehouse Northern Liberties, became the home of the 2010 Feastival. Organized by restaurateurs Audrey Claire Taichman, Michael Solomonov and Stephen Starr, the event included more than 50 participating restaurants and bars, auctions and live performances by multiple Fringe acts. It was a gathering of the have nots and have lots, of artists and the foodies who love them.

Michael Solomonov, Audrey Claire Taichman, and Stephen Starr get their just desserts

The event was organized to provide financial help to an arts community that’s seen more than its share of budget cuts and dwindling grants. Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Ed Rendell were among the patrons who lent their support – Rendell even added an unannounced auction item of his own: Dinner for two and tickets to join the Governor for a World Series game. That is, if the Phillies make it to the World Series. There’s no refund if they don’t. The auction went for a pretty steep five-figure bet. Come October, if the Phils don’t make it to the game, we’ll remember this public jinx, and we’ll be coming for you, Eddie.
Speaking of the Phillies, their personal chef, Katie Cavuto Boyle of Healthy Bites Delivery, was on hand to pass out bruschetta that tasted too good to be healthy. Starr Restaurants demonstrated their local domination (and generosity) by appropriating the entire north wall. Buddakan added their own theatrics to the evening by serving Dragon Cookies, which, when eaten, result in billowy cold “smoke” falling out the mouths of diners.

Arancini, fried risotto balls covered in parm and breadcrumbs, from Pizzeria Stella

Other standout dishes of the night include sliced roasted lamb over a tuft of pulled lamb shoulder from Tweed; simple cheese ravioli in a bright red sauce from Ristorante Panorama; mini basil ice cream cones from Pizzeria Stella; and the cold pleasingly chewy tuna rice cracker from Michael Schulson‘s Sampan. Schulson himself was unable to attend the event, since he was manning the homefront for the Restaurant Week crowds.
Colin Shearn of Franklin Mortgage poured Empire Daiquiris, a drink that may or may not appear on the Franklin’s fall drink menu – though it should. This was not a beach bum’s frothy frozen daiquiri.  The brass-colored drink calls for Cruzan white rum, Pimms No. 1, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and crème de pêche. Unencumbered by the Franklin’s signature big-block ice cubes, the booze packed a punch. 

One of several acrobatic performers, dangling above the concrete floor.

Tickets were $200 ($300 for VIP access), and several of the auctions climbed into five-digit bids. The money will go a long way in helping to fund the Fringe, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

– Jen Oliver

  • Beth

    This event really delivered top notch food, performances, and a great group of guests who knew how to appreciate it all! One rarely attends an event with this type of energy and laughter. What was more inspiring was that the chefs, performers and staff were having as much fun as the guests! Great parties begin with great people! This was one great party!

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