Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Part 2 of Philly Hub: Vermont Brewskies Edition

(April 26, 2011 - Vermont) Although Vermont may be known for Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and its enormous population of somehow growing Grateful Dead and Phish followers, the most overlooked attribute has to be the diverse selection of local craft brews. During my stay last weekend, I was lucky enough to indulge in possibly the best luxury craft beer has to offer: Switchback. 

What makes Switchback so unique is that the Burlington-brewed nectar can only be found on tap in Vermont restaurants (or of course by the keg form the brewery, open only on Saturdays). The company has brewed only enough styles to count on your thumbs but all are award-winning recipes. The taste isn't overly hoppy for a pale ale but the malts provide a very full-bodied taste reminiscent of caramel. The intoxicating flavor (pun intended) distracts from  an ABV north of 5%. As an up-and-coming beer enthusiast, this is one of my favorite beers.  I may endure a few sleepless nights wondering why I can't find it in bottles. 
Although I was sure no brew could touch the spot that Switchback has reserved in my liver, while at The Hub I decided to try a Rock Art Blackmoon IPA, which is brewed less than 10 miles away. I'm not normally a fan of heavier beers and my sinuses just weren't made for IPA's but combining the two? No sir. The coffee porter had some rich flavors - if my pallet were more seasoned, and possibly if I hadn't just consumed an entire pizza, I might've enjoyed the Blackmoon IPA. If you're in the area, I recommend trying  it, as well as any other brews that husband-and-wife owned Rock Art Brewery has to offer. (Did you know they beat Energy drink giant Monster in a law suit over a beer called the Vermonster?) 

- Contributing Editor: Quin Turner (Vermont Local, Aspiring Musician & Once-Magic Hat Tour Guide)

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Monday, April 25, 2011

If You Missed National Empanada Day...Cuba Libre still has them

On April 8th, otherwise known as Empanada Day in American commercialism, Cuba Libre graced Philadelphia with some Latin American treasures: cheap, yet amazing empanadas. It brought me back to my peso-per-panada days from studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Highly recommend you visit there, the mullets and American pop icons will keep you entertained for days) The Mama Amelia's empanadas at Cuba Libre were only a $1 for those sitting - more likely standing - at the crowded bar. My favorite was the pollo (chicken) but I didn't want to discriminate between the seasoned beef, shrimp and pork because they were all delicious. Now that you're extremely sad April 8th has come and gone, here comes the kicker: Cuba Libre has declared April Empanada Month!
Don't get too excited, because Cuba Libre's empanadas are now going to run you a pretty penny - $11 for two, $15 for three, and $19 for four (since I had 10, I don't want to think about the implications) However, I would still recommend going - it's worth it just to step inside the place. It looks like Havana invaded Little Cuba invaded Old City - and treat yourself to the Empanada with Dulce de Leche. Life isn't the same unless you try it. Bypass the mojitos and go for some rum on the rocks - You'll be channelling Fidel Castro and saving yourself a sugar rush worthy of Charlie Sheen.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Philly Hub Reviews...the Hub? Part 1 of Philly Hub: Vermont Edition

Johnson, VT (April 23, 2011) - Last night, I dined at a lovely pizzeria in Johnson. While pondering the source of the tiny town's name, I discovered that to my delight, the joint was called "The Hub" - how fitting. While far from being a destination spot of Vermont, Johnson does have some famous neighbors - Stowe, Burlington and Killington to name a few - so I tried not to be judgemental. Lucky for me, the Hub was surprisingly charming on its own with a fresh but rustic interior. When my party rolled in 18 strong, we literally took up all but one table (and a bar stool) in the place. Our waiter probably shivered from his Grateful Dead t-shirt to his Grateful Dead leg tats, but he did an excellent job of taking care of our unruly table. His "Dead-Head" tat even matched The Hub's decor, where a giant metal version adorned the walls.

The pizza list had an impressive selection of off-the-map pizza combos, from staff picks to regular's favorites. Being from Philly, we obviously went with the Italian Stallion, a sumptuous symphony of Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto and pesto, perched atop some very fresh dough and all for about $9 of the green kind.

Along with the pizza-pies, the Hub was serving up some very tasty local brews - but you're going to have to check out Part 2: Vermont Edition if you want to know details. What I will tell you is the two featured local drafts: Switchback (my favorite - and a Vermont exclusive) and Rock Art Brewery, which happens to be right down the road. Rock Art offered an IPA for all the hops fans out there with an alcohol content of 10% and a special ale they make just for The Hub. For more about brews, check back in here in a day for the VT beer review.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Continuing Saga of Restaurant Week: West Chester Edition

(West Chester, PA - April 19, 2011) If you didn't make it to Center City Restaurant Week In Philly for its twelve-day run during January, there was the newly established Main Line Restaurant Week in April. For all those slackers out there who couldn't muster the energy to make it to either, here's your last chance: West Chester Restaurant Week. Also, for all you Philly foodies who just want some burbs cuisine, here's the website's description:

West Chester Restaurant Week is a seven-day celebration of the culinary scene in West Chester, PA from Monday, April 25 through Sunday, May 1. Each participating restaurant offers a special multi-course, fixed-price menu for lunch and dinner. The event gives diners a chance to discover new eateries or get reacquainted with old favorites at a great value.

Fortunately for West Chester Restaurant Week, that unoriginal paragraph is accompanied by NBC Philadelphia's video:

Diners at WC's Restaurant Week will also need to be open to the element of surprise: there is no complete list of particpating restaurants, so the best shot is calling ahead or taking a walk on the wild side by just showing up and seeing if your favorite eatery is in on the prix-fix menu action.

My recommendation? Bypass the college-special joints and go straight to Limoncello Ristorante - amazing Italian fare, and a complimentary shot of homemade limoncello to wash it down. And if you must relive your college drinking days (or you happen to still be in them) then Más Mexicali's rooftop section is perfect for their potent Margs and tasty TexMex.

More information (well, a little more) about the event and parking is online at http://www.westchesterbid.com/dining.php -

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cinefest Philadelphia 2011 Closing Party - With special guest Morgan Spurlock

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 14, 2011) - After the last question of a stirring Q&A with Morgan Spurlock about his documentary "POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," Philadelphia Cinfest 2011 pulled the curtains closed on a successful one-week run last Thursday night. The closing night crowd applauded Spurlock's latest addition to American cinema and flooded out the doors of Ritz East into the night - or across Walnut Street to Positano Coast for the closing night party. There, Spurlock waited to greet the partygoers as they arrived, shaking hands and smiling for photos like the cat who ate the (product placement) canary. He even stopped for a photo with me and boyfriend Quin Turner - aspiring musician - and then stayed well into the night mingling with Philadelphia filmsters. (Note on his Q & A - ask a question about it and all will be revealed.)

As the location for Cinefest Philly's closing night party, Positano Coast was the perfect venue for what can only be described as a networking event. With an outdoor balcony and wind softly blowing through the open second floor on Chestnut Street, the atmosphere was upstaged only by the fantastic nibbles that the Positano staff were continually circulating with. With hipsters and artists in every corner sipping on Cinefest-influenced cocktails, I made some interesting connections with Delco reporter Nathan Lerner and art institute mogul Hayden Craddolph. Look forward to hearing about some developments or events coming about in the wake of Cinefest - and if you're in withdraw from indie flicks or documentaries, check out the upcoming West Chester Film Festival - http://www.westchesterfilmfestival.com . Check the blog for tomorrow's entry about another Philly area restaurant week, in case you missed the other 100 recent ones.

Friday, April 15, 2011

POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold - Followed by a Q & A with Morgan Spurlock Himself

Last night I was privileged to be at the Cinefest Philadelphia 2011’s screening of “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” – and the surprise Q & A afterward with the genius himself, Morgan Spurlock. Perhaps you are already acquainted with Mr. Spurlock through his last hit documentary – the controversially so-disgusted-I-can’t-look-away “Super Size Me.” Or possibly you’ve read about how he commandeered a Pennsylvania town name (Altoona) for 60 days – (if you haven’t, read here).

First, from a marketer’s standpoint I was mildly disturbed by the movie’s accuracy in lifting the veil from certain marketing mysteries, which obviously we use to spin our devilish webs. That being said, it was a fantastic and comedic exposé on the product placement process in movies and television. How can one sell out if there is complete and total transparency about the entire transaction?

Some highlights without spoilers: Every 30-second commercial, Spurlock’s original spots for POM Wonderful and “Mane N’ Tail did not pay to be in this movie. Morgan is contractually obligated to tell you this.” Sidenote: The companies that sponsored the film were brave, out-of-the-box thinkers who were highlights in and of themselves - especially the first brand to join.

On the screen and off, Morgan Spurlock is larger than life (and not because of the effects of his last documentary.) While one unnamed potential sponsor (GUESS) called Spurlock the Average Joe, when he walked down to the front of Ritz East Theater yesterday for the Q & A, his race-car-esque blazer with POM emblazoned across it said otherwise. His dynamic personality was as real off camera as on, leading me to believe that he has far from sold out.

An unexpected angle to the film (and Q&A)? Corporate sponsorships stepping into the sacred realm of education. CineFest Closing Party - PART DEUX.

Welcome to the Philly Hub!

Not to be confused with the Hub, the conference venue management service in Philadelphia....I just want to say starting out that I have zero followers and I haven't really told anyone about this blogging endeavor, so we are just going to have to see how it works out. What I can tell you is that I will do my best to entertain, educate and enlighten you about Philly and Philly-area events, venues, eats and anything to do with marketing. Here's my line up for delivering the goods to you on that:

A weekly story about "The Greatest City Never Sold"
A weekly story about where you can get the most bang for your Philly eats buck
A monthly travel outside of the city feature
Periodical Updates about events & going ons in the city

I like to be in the know about my city, but I'm not a celeb geek and I don't care about most of the local gossip - but I'm not against juicy tid-bits here and there - so submit tips, story ideas, or questions to me at lindsayleigh22@gmail.com

Thanks and enjoy!

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