Cocktails @ 6 - DesignPhiladelphia

On Saturday October 15th, live out your MAD MEN fantasies and more with Cocktails @ 6, taking place at Olde City's More Than Old store. This DesignPhiladelphia celebration of vintage barware which will include cocktail shakers, decanters and glassware in addition to other essential bar accessories.

The event will take place from 2-8pm with a cocktail tasting taking place from 4-8pm. Why is the event called Cocktails @ 6 you may ask? In classic society, the 6 o'clock cocktail hour was a mainstay in glamourous party traditions. As Beth Gibson of More Than Old explains: "Hollywood stars such as Monroe, Bacall, Taylor, or Crawford in slinky gowns with gorgeous jewelry, their handsome escorts in tailored pinstripes, bartenders in starched tuxedo shirts making decadent drinks."

More Than Old (www.morethanold.com) is a leading Old City source for vintage barware and home pieces, including an interesting selection of decorative accessories. It is located at 144-146 N 3rd St and is also home to a cute kitty-kat! This event is completely free so slap on your fedora or boa and be there!


3 Recent YELP reviews from me: Sampan, Farmer's Cabinet, Gunner's Run

Sampan 5 out of 5 stars~
Category: Asian Fusion
Neighborhood: Market East
Despite a minor hiccup on the initial service (I also did join my party a few minutes after they were seated so I chalk up the delay to the server not realizing I had arrived yet), we really enjoyed Sampan.

We sat inside and it was open, modern and sleek looking. Loved the dark wood and the open kitchen. They have Asahi Super Dry on tap (a personal fave of mine). We shared between 3 of us:
-duck spring roll: flavorful
-crab won tons: good (but Latest Dish STILL has the best crab won tons in the city!)
-pork potstickers: very tasty
-General Tso's soup dumpling: OH. EM. GEE. This was awesome! Kinda like the french onion soup dumplings from Starr's Continentals but I have to say I liked Sampan's soup dumplings better. Such a neat idea and so yummy!

Each dish came with about 3 or 4 pieces, we were all fully satisfied after the meal. I can't wait to come back and try their happy hour deals! The outdoor Graphitti Bar in the back is also on the list to try!

The Farmers' Cabinet - 2 out of 5 stars
Categories: Bars, Gastropubs
Neighborhood: Market East
It really is interesting how people seem to LOVE this place or HATE it. Unfortunately I am on the negative side of spectrum.

I really wanted to like The Farmer's Cabinet as I read so many great twitter reviews prior to our visit. I did quite enjoy the food. We had the spare ribs and the rabbit two ways. Both were really good (except the slates they came out on were just plain silly!).

I hated the communal table we were seated at for dinner. The people that they sat next to us were so close they made the joke "Sorry we're late" to us as they sat down. There was a space 2 seats away that would've put some space between us but of course the hostess didn't put them there. It's just awkward!

I am not really a "beer person." I'm a lager or stella drinker. My boyfriend is a guinness or lager person. Boyfriend asked for lager after they advised they didn't have guinness, was told they didn't carry domestics. He tried to then just order a Jameson and ginger ale to which the reply was they didn't really have Jameson or any Irish whiskey, that they only really carried what was used to make their specialty cocktails. I picked something out for him but it was too hoppy (my fault!) for him and it took quite a while to get to him (I had my drink for quite a few minutes before he got his). The best part was we were joking about how they probably couldn't find the beer b/c they had some many varieties only to glance over at the bar to see 2 bartenders with flashlights looking at bottles. I did partake in the Walnut Street Shuffle cocktail made with St Germain (one of my fave liqueurs) and that was glorious! But I would say overpriced for the size.

So I would say go for the food and hope you get seated at one of the barrel tables!

Gunners Run - 3 out of 5 stars
Category: American (New)
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties
The menu on the Gunner's Run website has a lot more on it than what was available both times I went in this past weekend, but I say they're off to an ok start.

The 1st time we went in was the Friday before their grand opening, we had to wait quite a long time for a server to approach us once we were seated and my man-friend finally stopped someone and asked for a server. It was very busy.

Our lager cans took FOREVER, but the food came out pretty quickly. We had the chicken fried chicken and the Bad Luck Burger. The chicken friend chicken was super crispy and the sriracha mayo it's served with was totally tasty. I absolutely loved the Bad Luck Burger. It was so good, Craig N's suggestion that it is "an upscale version of a Big Mac" is the truth. This is not a bad thing at all. The fries were good but not great. The burger was worth the price of admission, a double cheeseburger for $9 is reasonable to me.

I was hoping to try the kobe corn dogs listed on their website's menu but sadly they didn't have them on the menu yet.

I really liked the HUGE map of Philadelphia they have on the back wall now, it's really interesting.

The 2nd time we went on a slow Sunday and both got Bad Luck Burgers b/c they were that good. I hope they extend their menu soon and continue to improve their service.



I will happily admit that Sean and I are major fanboys when it comes to chefs; both of us are avid Top Chef / No Reservations viewers and pride ourselves in how many Iron Chef restaurants we have visited (for the record, the count is: 5 Bobby Flay, 2 Morimoto and 1 Garces). So when I learned about the 10 ARTS / LE BERNADIN Chef’s dinner happening at 10 ARTS this past Tuesday, I snatched up reservations as soon as I could. We have celebrated Sean’s birthday at 10 ARTS before, and while this dinner would take place exactly 1 week before, the prospect of sampling both Jen Carroll’s AND Eric Ripert’s fare was an opportunity we could not afford to miss!

Here's what we had:

Amuse Bouche – A single oyster with so many flavors packed into it was our Amuse Bouche. I wish I could remember what exactly went into that oyster but I can tell you it was divine and a great start to the meal.

1st Course – The first course was by Ripert and featured insanely thinly pounded layers of tuna (it was basically like a super flat tuna tartare) that featured a toasted baguette in the middle topped with Foie Gras, chives and olive oil. I am a foie gras fanatic and I absolutely loved this dish. The combination of the olive oil, foie and tuna was so rich and satisfying. This course looked huge but the tuna was flattened so much so that I imagine we were really only eating a few ounces. I have to say this was my favorite dish of the evening, certainly not to take away from the amazing courses to come!

2nd Course – Jen Carroll’s 2nd course consisted of roasted asparagus topped with poached egg and herb butter underneath. To me, I could see this as a great breakfast side or a modified Egg’s Benedict for veggie lovers. The egg was cooked to perfection and the butter was SO good. Butter in (good) restaurants never ceases to amaze. We use Kerrygold and while that butter is the best I can find in the grocery store, Jen’s herb butter blows that out of the water!

3rd Course – Ripert prepared the next 2 dishes which I believe he used to his advantage. The 3rd Course was a charred octopus that featured a black bean-pear sauce and ink-miso vinaigrette. I have had squid before but never octopus so I was a little weary that I may find it too chewy. I should never worry when it comes to Ripert; the octopus was light and tasty, the ink-miso vinaigrette really stood out flavor-wise and the purple basil was both a pretty garnish and tasty accompaniment.

4th Course – Ripert really spotlighted his talent with his 4th course which flowed effortlessly from the previous octopus dish. Striped bass was prepared medallion style with a baby carrot-herb salad and miso butter sauce. You would think that having miso in 2 subsequent courses might seem like overkill but quite the contrary: you could tell miso was in both dishes but the ways it was used simply heightened the dishes and allowed them to complement each other in such an amazing and flavorful way. Purple basil was again a garnish but I find these small touches what makes Ripert a world-renowned chef.

5th Course – Carroll’s rack of lamb came with a quinoa and feta tabbouleh and pomegranate jus. The lamb was cooked to perfection and had just the right amount of fat. While I am not a huge fan of feta I found it went well with the quinoa and pomegranate jus as well. The jus was sweet enough to off-set the slight bitterness of the feta.

6th Course – the dessert course featured a plethora of different tastes: peanut brittle, lemon curd and the cardomon sorbet were the definite stars of this course. The desserts were prepared by the resident pastry chef, Monica Glass.

While the food was the crux of the evening, the highlight was the fact that Ripert and Carroll both made the rounds to the guests dining at 10 ARTS that evening; Ripert was sincerely nice albeit a bit soft-spoken while Carroll was very friendly and complimented my hair AND my Flyers arm band (WEET!) We were able to get pictures with both of them which I felt made for a great birthday present for Sean. While 10 ARTS is Ripert’s restaurant, I think this only seals our fate that at some point we will need to go to Le Bernadin in NYC for the full Ripert experience.


Camp Camp Philly

Geekadelphia holds it's first ever camp about camps!

All the info you need is here: http://www.campcampphilly.com

And be sure to check out their awesome sponsors like SPACE BAR: IT'S NOT A TRAP!


PopCultees (+Giveaway!) - Josh Blaylock's T-Shirt Line Launches!!

Josh Blaylock is known in comic book circles (read: people like me and my friends) as the figurehead behind Devil's Due Publishing and has been pretty direct about the woes associated with that business. Blaylock's go-getter attitude has kept him afloat-and dare I say rivaled the success-of DDP and none is more apparent that the launch of his recent T-Shirt line. PopCultees is for the renaissance nerd; pop culture abounds with Blaylock's new company. I got to chat with Josh about PopCultees and other things - read on and learn how to win a FREE POPCULTEE TSHIRT !!!! WOW!!

MARY E BRICKTHROWER: What made you decide to start a T-shirt line?

JOSH BLAYLOCK: I actually have roots in the apparel business. In a very real way without that I would never have brought G.I. Joe back in 2001. I helped launch those 80s cartoon retro shirts back in the late '90s that kicked off the craze in Hot Topic, Gadzooks (remember THAT place?), and a million others. I was only 21 years old and it gave me the experience in licensing to pursue my true passion at the time which was comics. While working for the apparel company I was driving all over the MidWest hustling black and white comics at conventions.

Other than that, though, I wanted a great, simple way to build a business around fun topical stuff that I'd enjoy working on. When Joe Song was down to contribute to the artwork and help run this thing then we were off to the races. It's still extremely small but that's how these things begin. It took us a while to get set up with a local printer, get our terms in place, etc., just like anything else. The hangtags are in now and they look great.

MEB: Does this site relate directly to your PopCult company with Christian Beranek?

JB: PopCult is a creative solutions company (we just did the redesign for iCv2 for example), which CB is a collaborator on, but it's also an incubator for new businesses and ideas. If it has the PopCult brand you know you can expect a certain feel, but each compartment can run independently from one another. If something succeeds, awesome, and if not, it doesn't damage the other businesses. Prior to PopCult I had another rather sizable creative business and I was a graphic designer before publishing or apparel, so it just made sense. I've never been able to keep everything in one little box.

MEB: What would you say is the theme for the t-shirt content?

JB: Topical and pop culture references - so that can be a nerdy sci-fi reference, or it can be a satire on the latest celebrity nonsense. There are a lot of online shirt retailers and each has its own flavor, so I think where we stand out is our treading into political or world news territory. We don't want to get too heavy or anything, but the NeoCon shirt is a good example.

MEB: Are more shirts in the works?

JB: We are stocked and ready with over three months worth of ideas and designs. We're getting ready to upload the next one tomorrow.

MEB: What has motivated your move out of comics and into other avenues of media?

JB: You mean besides the business tanking? Haha. No, I've been more than vocal about our situation there and since then I've even warned of a potential collapse of the whole comic book business in February. With Borders going under right on cue, it's beginning to unfold. So we're just plugging away building up the digital business, which isn't enough to compare to the old business yet but it is growing.
Once I called out Diamond and decided to leave them there wasn't any going back. It's the best thing I ever did.
DDP still has bills to pay and will for quite a few years - So far we've knocked about 60 or 70 parties off the list. Only a million or two to go.

The better PopCult-Tees does the better everyone will do. Or in other words - WINNING!

MEB: THe "WINNING!" shirt is my favorite and I don't even really care for the whole Charlie Sheen hoo-ha!! Haha, tell me about your blog, www.JoshBlaylock.com

JB: As far as the blog, it's where I post frequently on all sorts of things, but mostly on the business of pop culture and comics. The theme is "The Business of Creativity."

MEB: Cool thanks so much chatting with me Josh! Can't wait to see more from you and PopCulTees!

Just RETWEET a link to this story in the next week for a chance to win a FREE t-shirt from PopCultees! Any design of your choice! Make sure to have my Twitter acct (@PhillyGeekMary) mentioned in the post or I won't see the entry. Viva La PopCultees !!
~Till next time Kittlings!


24 Hours of ... THE RETURN

Oh yes, I'm bringing it back. Stay tuned right here for the 2nd installment of 24 Hours of ...

Here's the queue for this Saturday, it's gonna be AWFULLY awesome!

Plus stay tuned NEXT WEEK for my interview with Josh Blaylock about his new T-shirt line!


Some local Philly Events ... 90's Quizzo + Groundhog Day BEER!

It's short notice but I feel I would be remiss in not mentioning 90's Quizzo @ PYT to my Filthadelphia Geeks! Monday nights! Here is info for this week's theme, straight from Tommy Up and PYT's Facebook page:
"Monday night at 8:30, Gunner hosts 90s QUIZZO PART 2: JUDGMENT DAY! Last week's quizzo was the best ever. Let's do it again and win some great prizes as always! You'd better know your N*SYNC from your Backstreet Boys and your "My Heart Will Go On" from your "Kiss from a Rose"! HALF-PRICE PITCHERS as always and a 2 point bonus to any TEAM that has all 4 colors of the ninja turtles on in some sort of team combination."

PYT is located at the Piazza (2nd and Germantown Ave in Northern Liberties).

Gotta love the TMNT shout-out. T-U-R-T-L-E POWER!


I know that if you're like me then Groundhog Day brings flashbacks of Sonny and Cher's "I got you babe" and Bill Murray trying to off himself in multiple ways but at the Grey Lodge Pub it's a entirely different tradition. Think drinking before 8am (doors open at 7!) and hula hooping in Hawaiian shirts! 8 plus beers on tap and contests mark the occasion in addition to the usual viewing of Punxutawney (I almost spelled that right the first time!) Phil.

Here's the flyer:

And you can get more Grey Lodge info here.
The Grey Lodge Pub is located in the NEast on Frankford Ave but is close to public trans.


Yelp Review - The Dandelion

18th and Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 558-2500

The Dandelion Pub

Category: Gastropubs
Neighborhoods: Rittenhouse Square, Penn Center

I'll admit I'm a Stephen Starr junkie so I really couldn't wait to try out The Dandelion. The bottom line: I plan to give this pub another shot but my fist visit there was a bit all over the place.

The outer facade is adorable, it looks like a quaint corner pub was transplanted from England and plopped down in the middle of Center City. I guess aesthetically using the corner door as the main entrance seemed like a good idea, but you are basically causing a draft through one of the dining rooms every few seconds and leaving a hostess to direct new customers through an eating area and up the stairs to the actual host station.
We were seated downstairs b/c that was the only thing available for walk-ins at 6pm but I'm sure that's due the Dandelion being the new kid on the block. The menu is a decent size and offers some traditional British fare such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie as well as some American classics. I ordered the deviled eggs, the foie gras and the lamb shepherd's pie; my friend ordered the root vegetable soup and the chicken entree. I was also sipping on the house-made cocktail called the "Tatanka" which features fresh squeezed apple juice as the manager was quick to tell me. And then the wait began.

I was catching up with my friend so it wasn't like we were sitting there counting the minutes but unfortunately it was beyond noticeable that after we got our soup + foie gras, we were waiting for quite a long time for our entree. The waitress did come over to apologize. I was a bit overwhelmed by the saltiness of the deviled eggs but the foie gras, fried egg + bacon combination was AMAZING.

When our entrees finally did come, I thought my pie was excellent. It was a nice decent size, not too much. Unfortunately my friend seemed to have the heavy-handed salt problem with her chicken.

We had our food cleared and then the manager visited our table again to apologize that the entree took over 30 minutes to arrive to our table and that he was comping them. We told him he didn't have to (and we were taken aback for the fact that while I did say something to my friend, we didn't complain about the wait b/c we were busy chatting) but he insisted. That to me is pure class. And for that reason I will give The Dandelion a second chance; well that and the fact that my boyfriend still wants to try it despite our dodgy visit. I hope to be update this review with some more positive aspects next time!