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Author Archives: Bluejeanfoodcritic

3rd Annual South Street Spring Festival

(The following is a special series on written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)


The annual Philadelphia South Street Spring Festival will be held on Saturday, May 2nd, from 11AM to 8 PM.  I was fortunate to recently enjoy a preview of the many different food and drink options that will be available at this year’s event.

Anyone who has been to South St. in the past is well aware of the diversity of the area, and that word certainly applies to the many different samplings that I encountered this spring evening.  Michael Harris, the Executive Director of the South Street Headhouse District, attempted to showcase just how unique it has become by taking us to some spots, new and old, that had food and drink offerings all over the map…

Our evening started at Brauhaus Schmitz, an authentic German brewpub with authentic food to boot. This establishment coincides their own Maifest beer event along with the spring festival each year.  From here we made a pit stop at the Sweet Life Bakeshop, a new dessert establishment right by Brauhaus.  The banana pudding we sampled was excellent, and the display of freshly baked cupcakes appeared out of this world (I will be going back for those!)…

Next we made our way to Fat Tuesday, the well known bar and restaurant that brings a slice of Bourbon Street to Philly…they will have a variety of liquor options come festival time.  Then it was on to Tuk Tuk Real, whom we previously told you about here at Around Town.  The Mexican-Thai spot again hit it out of the park with phenomenal pork tacos for everyone to try…

The next stop was Primo Hoagies.  One of the newer locations in the well established chain, this Primo actually has a full sit down bar, which is a very nice touch that you don’t normally see at your neighborhood sandwich shop.  The chicken cutlet sandwich we sampled was outstanding, as are most offerings from this local favorite.  We then stepped a few addresses down to Redwood, a bistro that has been on South St. for several years now.  The Spanish fries are highly recommended when you go to sample their creations at the festival…

We then made our way down towards Headhouse Square to stop off at Bridget Foy’s, another longtime city staple.  A pub with an old time feel and outdoor seating, it looks like an ideal spot to spend a happy hour (or two) and grab a gourmet burger, which were sampled on this evening. Shifting up to Lombard Street, our next visit was to Bistro Romano, a renowned Italian eatery in a beautiful old building near Penn’s Landing.  With wine cellar and piano bar, this is a fantastic spot to spend an evening with your significant other, or just with some old friends.  As all good things must end, our final stop was the Twisted Tail – a barbecue, beer and bourbon joint that had a great Southern feel with live music on hand.

As we mentioned, variety is a way of life when it comes to this festival, South St., and Philadelphia in general.  In a city that has had many new eateries come to town over the course of the past 20 years, South St. may in fact have the most interesting mix of places within city limits that you will surely want to give a try.  This yearly festival is certainly the place to start if you are new to town, or just want to enjoy good food, drink, music and art.  Mark May 2nd on your calendar, and meet me there!  (And elsewhere, Around Town…)

The Dutch Eating Place (Reading Terminal Market) – Philadelphia, PA

The Dutch Eating Place (Reading Terminal Market) – Philadelphia, PA

In my opinion the two things that immediately come to mind when I think of the The Reading Terminal Market are great food and Amish vendors. The Amish are the longest tenured vendors and a major contributor of its revival and continued success. Strolling the market makes me want to eat almost every time I visit, so I decided to get a bite at The Dutch Eating Place (DEP). I ordered the open-face fresh carved hot turkey sandwich with gravy and fresh cut French fries.


This meal is all about comfort. On a cold day, what better way to warm up then with nice slices of fresh turkey drowned in gravy. DEP is not a dining destination worried about current trends or fades. They serve what people have eaten for hundreds of years and do it in an affordable and efficient manner. Their space is surrounded with booths to sit and eat, but you either have to get there early or wait in line to sit on one as they serve the masses. The meal was delicious as the turkey was fresh, platter was swimming in gravy the way I like it, and the fries were the perfect way to top it all off and have me fat and happy. DEP is not somewhere I could eat every day or very often, but if and when the opportunity presents itself that you just want something good and your belly full, DEP may just have what you are looking for.


Three and Three-Fourths Stars out of Five

Beer Fest Returns to Navy Yard May 30 Philly Beer Week’s Largest Gathering of Brewers

Press Release:

Beer Fest Returns to Navy Yard May 30
Philly Beer Week’s Largest Gathering of Brewers

PHILADELPHIA, PA-April 14, 2015.   Starfish Junction Productions, co-producer of the award-winning Philly Craft Beer Festival, selected as one of the “Top Ten Beer Festivals in America”, returns to Philadelphia for the 7th Annual Great Beer Expo.  The biggest names in brewing will gather on the Parade Grounds at the Philadelphia Navy Yard onSaturday, May 30, 2015 for what promises to be the summer’s best beer fest.  The event will raise funds for the Committee to Benefit the Children (CBC), a local Philadelphia charity.  The Navy Yard Parade Grounds is located at 4747 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19112.  Tickets and info at

“This is going to be our best show yet,” said Andy Calimano, owner of Starfish Junction, producer of the event.  “We can’t think of a better way to kick off Philly Beer Week than with this star-studded lineup of breweries. This will host the largest festival during the week and we’ll have the most brewers at a single event.  For attendees, this will be an amazing experience.”

This beer tasting extravaganza will showcase nearly 100 breweries from across the globe, each providing samples of their country’s proudest brewing achievement. Shoulder to shoulder with Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and more. 

The event will feature beer from top American and international breweries, special guests, and educational seminars led by industry pros and pioneers covering topics as varied as PairingBeer with Chocolate, sponsored by Parfections Handmade Gourmet Chocolates, and How to Age Beer presented by Jery Vietz, brewer, Unibroue (Canada).

Food will be available for sale from select members of the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association (PMFA), presenting the city’s most desirable, delectable, and Vendy award-winning local food trucks.

The event will help raise funds for the Philadelphia Committee to Benefit the Children (CBC), a local charity that provides resources for treatment, care and family support to benefit area children with cancer, leukemia and serious blood disorders.  The CBC will be conducting a toiletry drive for local needy families in their network. Attendees are encouraged to bring soap, deodorant, infant diapers, shampoo and other basic toiletry items.

The Great Beer Expo will have two sessions:  VIP 12:30-5:00 pm and General Admission1:30-5:00 pm.  The VIP session will give VIP ticketholders an additional hour at the festival, more intimate access to brewers, and the ability to try rare and sought-after beers that are only being poured at this VIP session.  VIP tickets are $75 each. General Admission tickets are $46 each.  Designated Driver tickets are $10 each.  All ticket types can be purchased at the event website  A sell-out is expected.

VIP and General Admission tickets include admission, a souvenir tasting glass, and the freedom to enjoy a 2 oz. sample of any of the beers present at the Expo. No one under 21, including designated drivers, will be admitted.  All attendees must show valid photo ID for entry.  A limited number of tickets will be sold.  The event will take place outdoors under tents and will be held rain or shine.  The Expo is produced by Starfish Junction.  For tickets and information about the Great Beer Expo,


Press Release:





MARTLON, NJ (April 2015) – Champps in Marlton is teaming up with The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter to support the ALS patient care and research.  Champps, located at 25 Route 73 South, will host a celebration to benefit The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter on Thursday, April 30, 2015. 


The party will be held from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., where guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary sampling of Champpssignature dishes, including Harvest Chopped Salad, Chipotle BBQ Burger, Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos. Spinach-Artichoke Dip and Calamari Fritti.

Featured signature cocktails include Grand Sangria, Island Rum Punch and Champps Long Island Tea for $4 each; draft beer will be available for $2 each.

Champps will donate 10% of sales for the entire day and night of Thursday, April 30 to The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, which empowers people with ALS and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Champps for their benefit event and are so grateful that they are supporting the fight to end ALS,” said Jim Pinciotti, Executive Director of The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter.  “Champps puts on quality events and this will certainly be a fun, delicious, and positive day for all who participate to support the ALS cause.  We look forward to seeing everybody on April 30!”


Champps in Marlton offers 41 High Definition TVs; nearly 100 kinds of beer, including 54 beers on tap, 40 craft beers and seven local beers; and a deliciously crafted menu for sharing, snacking and dining.


Champps in Marlton is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday – Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday – Saturday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.Sunday.  For more information, reservations or to book a private event, call Champps at (856) 985-9333, or visit us at on Facebookand Twitter.


About The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter

The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.  The Greater Philadelphia Chapter provides support and resources for ALS patients, their families, and caregivers living in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.  Visit their website at and follow on social media @alsphiladelphia.

The Durand Foundation 2nd Annual Gourmet on the Runway at Flying W Airport!!


From Durand Foundation:

If you attended last year, you already know you’re in for a great night! Selected as one of the Best Society Events by the Courier-Post, this is an all exclusive gourmet food truck event like you’ve never experienced before. Get ready to land in a prime position at the Flying W Airport to savor some of the most sought- after food in the region. Following the fastest-growing US dining trend, a variety of gourmet food trucks will offer their -best fare. Live music, complementary cigars, cocktails and fun!


Be sure to join me as this was indeed one of the best event in South Jersey last year. Buy your tickets ASAP before they sell out by CLICKING HERE

Café V – Philadelphia, PA

Café V – Philadelphia, PA

When you are looking for lunch, sometimes you end up in the most unexpected places. Café V fits that bill. One would assume they are just a coffee and tea destination, but they have quite the extensive breakfast and lunch menu as well. The interior is very nice, calm, and modern. I was warmly welcomed upon entering and ordered their version of a cheesesteak.

cafe v

Café V’s cheesesteak consisted of filet mignon, sautéed onions, and mild provolone. The roll had a nice texture and suited the sandwich perfectly. The steak was a little overdone, but the onions were cooked beautifully and plentiful with just the right amount of cheese.

As much as the sandwich stood out and was a decent price for the quality, there were a few bumps. First I was charged more than what the menu stated. I was informed I was accidently charged a delivery fee. Then even though I was the only person in Café V at the time, I waited thirty minutes for the sandwich to be brought out from the kitchen. With time frames like that it almost felt like I was waiting for a delivery. Café V is a nice café and if you have time to relax, sip a coffee or tea, and order food they may just the place you have been looking for.


Three out of Five Stars

The Mac and Beer is HERE!!!! Collingswood, New Jersey benefit for Crossroads Programs Inc.


Press Release:

NJ…When you combine America’s favorite comfort food (Macaroni & Cheese)

with America’s favorite adult beverage (beer), the results are bound to be tasty. That’s what Crossroads

Programs, along with the Collingswood Foundation for the Arts, is counting on in their upcoming Mac &

Beer event on Thursday, April 23 at the Grand Ballroom in Collingswood. The event runs from 5pm –

9pm. This “over 21” event will feature a dozen independent restaurants and breweries from all over

New Jersey for all-you-can-eat tastings of every conceivable kind of Mac & Cheese. Tickets are

$35/person and are available by calling 856 858 1000, ext 210. Only a limited number of tickets will be

available at the door.

“We have Italian mac and cheese, Mexican, Indian, Greek, Middle Eastern and traditional

American,” explains Crossroads CEO Michael Snyder. “You may come to the event hungry and thirsty

but I guarantee you won’t leave that way.” Snyder runs Crossroads Programs, a charity that works with

young people who are abused, abandoned, homeless or at-risk. The Collingswood Foundation for the

Arts is responsible for the operation of the Scottish Rite Auditorium and Grand Ballroom in Collingswood

which holds a variety of social events, concerts and theatrical performances.

Chef Jim Malaby of blueplate in Mullica Hill, and Connie Correia, who runs the Pop Shop in

Collingswood, both past winners, are eager to polish their laurels and show the public how great

homemade Mac & Cheese can be. “This is not your ‘made from a box’ macaroni and cheese,” says

Malaby. “When you make this dish from scratch, with great noodles and aromatic, delicious cheeses,

you have an excellent source of calcium that just happens to taste great. Macaroni and cheese is not

just for kids anymore.”

Chef Mark Smith of The Tortilla Press & Tortilla Press Cantina restaurants agrees. “Each

independent restaurant is adding their own style and flavor to the dish. For instance, we add black

beans and salsa to give it a Mexican flavor. Every style change only makes traditional mac and cheese

that much better and tastier.”

Beer tastings are being given by Flying Fish Brewery of Somerdale as well as other New Jersey

based breweries. “This is a unique South Jersey event,” explains Snyder, “so it’s fitting that two very

worthy South Jersey charities are being honored with the proceeds. It’s a good event where everything

tastes good too…and it will be a lot of fun!”


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