Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

MOM WOW Summit 2013

On October 6-8th 2013, the first ever Moms Meet WOW Summit took place in Philadelphia at the Sheraton Society Hill. The conference was open to all moms, or moms-to-be, interested in networking and learning more about raising healthy families. Tickets ranged from $149 for a day pass to $249 for a Full Summit Pass. Moms Meet Bloggers qualified for discounted rates and Early Bird discounts were also available. The event kicked off on Sunday night, with a cocktail reception sponsored by Zevia at the hotel’s Taste Restaurant.

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The clever cocktails made with my favorite healthy soda were a big hit with everyone!

The following two days, as a Mom Ambassador for greenmomsmeet.com, I joined fellow moms, moms-to-be, and Green Blogger Moms as we were treated to a variety of seminars, workshops, products reviews, giveaways and even an awards banquet. Guest speakers included: Dr. Lawrence Rosen, Green pediatrician; Jess Kolko, Registered dietitian and educator with Whole Foods Market; Paige Wolf, Mom Blogger and Author living in Philly, and several others. Topics included: natural parenting, healthy eating, holistic remedies, and much more.

Every attendee also received a t-shirt and eco gift bag. The best part, however, visiting the Exhibitors hall and filling up that tote bag! The room was lined with tables of some of our favorite brands, as well as some new ones. The friendly and generous representatives made sure we sampled all the great products and filled our bags with green, natural and organic products to take home with us. (See some of them in the slideshow below.)

In its first year, Moms Meet and KIWI Magazine organized a great event. Can’t wait to see what they bring us next year. For more info and to keep up-to-date with next year’s WOW Summit: Click Here

Enjoy the slide show. 🙂

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Philly Farm & Food Fest 2013

CAM01006Last year I attended the very first Philly Farm & Food Fest, a collaboration between Fair Food and PASA and presented by Whole Foods Market. You can read my original post here: Philly Farm & Food Fest 2012. I was excited to experience the second year. Once again this unique annual event brought together local farmers, organizations, and businesses and other producers of organic, sustainable and eco-friendly products and foods.

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The 2013 Farm & Food Fest took place on Sunday, April 14th from 11am-4pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex. Tickets were only $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door. This gave you access to workshops, cooking demonstrations from acclaimed local farm-to-table chefs, family activities, food and product samples from a variety of exhibitors (for list click here) and more.

You could also pick up lots of  informative and educational material on anything from CSAs to GMOs to tips on conserving energy. Speaking of energy, this year the event was powered by Clean Currents with 100% Pennsylvania wind. What could go better than local food and local wind energy?!

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Activities for the kids

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Yummy Organic Chicken samples

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Famous Wild Flour Bakery in Philly

The Farm & Food Fest proved to be a success once again. Last year brought in a big crowd but this year there were even more exhibitors and guests. There was also a chance to purchase sustainable meats this year. The biggest and best change to the fest, however, was the addition of the Local Libations Lounge. For an additional $15 you could enter the “lounge” where you could experience 5 guided tastings of different local wine, beers and spirits. It was a great time. Looking forward to next year!!!

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Frecon Farm’s new Early Man hard cider

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For more information and to keep up-to-date with the event for next year visit the following links:

Organic Chicken in Philly Restaurants

Last month I posted some of my thoughts on chicken, specifically organic chicken. Coincidentally, the last 2 restaurants I have visited had Organic Chicken on the menu!

It’s as if someone was listening. So, just thought I’d share the two places in case you’re in Philly and in search of some healthier alternatives…

A couple of weeks ago, after a baseball game, the family decided to stop in Northern Liberties for some dinner. A friend recommended a Mexican place called El Camino Real. As we approached the place, I should’ve known to turn back…a full pig was being roasted right outside the front door! Yeah, my daughter wasn’t too thrilled at seeing a pig head on a table either. Hubby, however, was intrigued, so in we went…far away from the pig. To make this short and sweet, the service was slow, the chips and salsa were ok, and the menu was…so-so. Of course, my only ray of light was the Organic Chicken burrito on the menu. The waitress said it came with 2, so the little and I split the dish. It seemed like a deal at $10, but I wouldn’t exactly call these burritos. They were more like little american-style wraps. The burritos had plantains in it, another plus. However, the “wraps” were very skimpy, tasted pretty good, but nothing mind-blowing. Hubby was not happy with his steak burrito at all. The little was disappointed not to get her refried beans, as they only had ones with pork. A lot of their menu items seemed centered around pork, and well, we just don’t really do swine. Like I said before, I should’ve known to turn around upon seeing one being BBQ’d out front.

To learn more about El Camino Real click the image:

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Last week, the bestie and I headed out to the Rittenhouse Square area to Tinto, a Spanish Wine bar and Tapas restaurant. Again, I was surprised and excited to see Organic Chicken on the menu! I regretted not ordering it. The restaurant itself was on the over-priced side and we were not impressed with the food at all. We were surprised as we had high expectations for a Garces Trading Company establishment.  There was lots of pork on this menu as well. I don’t get it. The place was also very small and the seating downstairs was awkward.  Nonetheless, it is nice to see that more places are offering organic dishes, especially chicken! To learn more about Tinto click the image:

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Jenkintown Farmer’s Market and Rhinoceros Toy Store

Last Wednesday marked the Grand re-opening of the Jenkintown Farmer’s Market. Even though it was raining, the “little” and I weren’t going to miss it! Last year she got to help cut the ribbon to commemorate the big day!

Every Wednesday for the season, between 11:30 and 4pm, you will find a fine selection of local cheeses, eggs, raw milk, veggies, meats, nut butters, (raw) honey, plants, bakery items, artisan work and more.  Last week our finds included some yummy Butterscotch Peanut Butter and Apricot Jam and even a unique, cute bracelet for the “little” made by a local author who uses word beads in her jewelry.  The lunch truck is the best…burgers made with free-range meats and other great selections! The market takes place in the town square, on Leedom St. and Greenwood Ave. right behind the West Ave. Grill. If you are in the area, you need to stop by and check it out.

The Farmer’s Market is spear-headed by Jenkintown’s very own Kate Pettit, owner of the local Rhinoceros Gamery and Toy Store which you will find across the street from the Town Square.  Her hard work and dedication show in her successful organization of this great event and that of her toy store (location in Haddonfield, NJ now too!). Aside from a variety of unique and eco-friendly toys, if you are in the area and looking for activities and/or classes for your little one(s) this is a great place. Stop by or take a look at their website. New classes begin May 16th and June 18th: Parent-and-me art class, Mommy-and-me Yoga, Music and Theater classes, amongst others.  We just signed up for their Game Club. For $30 for the entire year we can come in every week and “rent” a new game/gameboard. Great way to be green and REUSE, but most importantly for me…less clutter in the toy room and I keep the little one excited for a “new” toy every week. 🙂
So make it a day tomorrow…stop by the Famer’s Market, visit the Toy Store, have a cupcake at Velvet Sky right next door, or take a stroll through Jenkintown and visit several other local businesses.  If Wednesdays don’t work for you or you are not close enough to make it, there is bound to be some great finds in your community as well.  Support small businesses and farms and shop local.
For more info on Jenkintown’s Farmer’s Market, find them on facebook or visit Rhinoceros Toy Store’s website.
If you live in the city, find a Farmer’s Market here: Farm to City 
For all of PA, find local fresh food at stores, farms, farmer’s markets, restaurants, etc. near you here: Buy Local PA

For all of the USA, another great resource for finding local farms, CSAs, restaurants, etc., near you…or even shop on line for anything from herbs to pet food here: Local Harvest 

Reserve Restaurant, Bar and Lounge….organic steak!

This past weekend, after a rough couple of weeks, the Hubbs wanted to treat me to a nice steak dinner with some good friends. We opted for Reserve Restaurant, Bar and Lounge in Old City, Philadelphia. We were in the mood for a new, upscale steak and seafood place and learned that Reserve had just opened back in February. Imagine my delight at discovering I was about to partake in my first ORGANIC steak experience at a fancy restaurant…life is good. 😉

Upon arriving at the restaurant we were blown away by the high ceiling and beautiful structure of the building. Clocks that feature the time zone of several different countries hang over a cooper top bar. There’s a beautiful staircase in the back which leads to a Cigar Lounge.  They also have a beautiful private events room.  The whole place seemed to encompass a vintage feel with a modern twist. As soon as we sat down in our comfortable and roomy booth, the Jazz music that began to play completed the nice ambience.

The restaurant’s bar menu is centered around Bourbon, with over 100 varieties.  (I’m not a big Whiskey fan, so I tried one of their many speciality drinks called Old City Dude…pinnacle whipped vodka, caramel apple liqueur, Kahlua, cream, and coffee bean garnish…delicious.)  Reserve holds a weekly event on Thursdays entitled Women and Whisky.  The bar also features some local and well-known beers, as well as some California wines. They also host weekly Wine Wednesdays and while I was surprised not to find an organic wine to go with my organic steak, the Syrah accompanied it just fine. Their Sunday Brunch menu looks very good, with a pre-fixed price of $30 per person…very reasonable.  In fact, you will not find many dishes on the entire Reserve menu for more than $30…very reasonable for the fine-dining, sophisticated experience you will encounter.

Back to my steak….the 10oz All Natural Organic Signature Cut was only $26 a la carte. I mistakenly ordered it medium-well, when I normally would have my steak medium-rare so it was a little more cooked than I would have liked.  (I’m not one to fuss, especially if it’s my own fault, so I dealt with it.) However, it was accompanied by a smooth, brown sauce that gave it just the right amount of moisture and added flavor, not too salty, not to sweet. With my steak, I ordered the House Salad, which featured Organic goat cheese. I was in heaven…I almost licked the plate! The red wine dijon vinaigrette blended so well with the cheese, greens and vegetables. On the menu, you can also find an Organic Salmon dish, as well as a Chopped salad made with Organic Turkey! It’s really wonderful to see so many restaurants catching on to the better quality found in local and organic foods.

Aside from the organic selections, we made sure to sample as many of the other dishes from the menu as we could. From their Raw Bar we had the oysters on a half shell, shrimp cocktail and the clams. We also tried the tasty Oysters Rockefeller and the delicious Asparagus Soup.  With our entrees we each ordered a different side, which were perfect for sharing. Parmesan Truffle French Fries, Cauliflower Gratin with Garlic and Parmesan (everyone’s favorite!), Garlic Spinach and a ONE pound baked potato…I would go back to Reserve just to have these side dishes again. The whole table agreed that the side dishes were unbelievable and the stars of the night.

If you are looking for somewhere to spend “date night” that serves good, high quality food with local and organic selections, along with an elegant, yet friendly and warm environment, I highly recommend Reserve Restaurant. I would be wrong not to mention that the staff was fantastic too.

P.S. I was so excited by the food that I never made it around to taking pictures of it!

 
Reserve on Urbanspoon

Derek’s Restaurant in Manayunk, PA

Recently a girl friend and I decided to head over to the Manayunk, PA area for a Friday night dinner and glass of wine. I love this section of Philly. The town has a very young, fresh and fun feel with several dining locations to choose from that serve a variety of locally sourced foods. This time we chose to try out Derek’s Restaurant on Main St. The owner, Derek Davis, has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years and supports locally sourced foods and farms. He is also very passionate about wine and has traveled to various wine regions internationally. This is a man after my own heart. As if I couldn’t love him more, though they have a wonderful selection of wines at Derek’s, they have a BYOB option, as well! You are limited to one bottle, as Derek’s maintains your safety a priority, and there are no corking fees.
So, the besty and I arrived at Derek’s with our bottle. Now, I normally only drink a Malbec or Organic wine, but she was insistent that I try Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend 2010. If you have not sampled this fusion of Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot California grapes, it is a must! Smooth, silky, semi-sweet with dark fruit flavors and a hint of chocolate…heaven in a bottle. It is named after an Apotheca, a place in Europe where they stored and blended wine back in the 13th century. Highly recommend it.
On to the food…
Since we both were starving we proceeded to sample several different dishes. We started with the enticing pumpkin dumplings as an appetizer. Normally, I love ANYTHING pumpkin. While the dumplings were unique and pleasant, I felt the pumpkin filling was a bit on the bland side. Perhaps the pumpkin was overcooked, or lacking some spice, but they were tasty enough that I would try them again to make a fair comparison. We continued with a “small plate/snack” of the Spanish Arbequina olives, which were delicious, and the Crispy Thin Onion Rings, which for a $5 snack plate was a huge dish of fried bliss. (I had to take some home!) We then opted for a salad instead of one of the “large dishes.” The Baked Lancaster County Goat Cheese Salad was to die for. Derek’s menu has something for everyone. I definitely plan to return so I can sample their pizzas, steak and burger.
Once we polished off the bottle of wine with dinner, we each sampled a wine from Derek’s extensive wine list for dessert. I was ecstatic to find both Organic red and white wines on the list I had not yet tried. I had a glass of Shooting Star Blue Franc 2009 from Washington…a little fruity and a bit tart, but velvety too. I enjoyed it very much. My friend had a California Cabernet Sauvignon, Louis Martini 2009 and was very impressed. They had one of my favorite Malbecs on the list, Ruta 22, and several other high quality wine varieties, but my 3 glass max had been reached….next time!
Besides the great food and wine, what made our time at Derek’s Restaurant enjoyable was the ambience. The warm lighting, contemporary décor with touches of red throughout, the friendly hostess and patient waiter, amongst several other factors, all contributed to us feeling welcomed and very satisfied. It was a fine dining experience without too much fuss and a variety of high quality food/beverage at reasonable prices. If you are looking for a place to spend a romantic dinner, ask for the more private tables in the back, or for a more fun and hip vibe, sit at the Vodka Bar where a DJ is featured on Friday and Sat. evenings. Whatever the occasion, I highly recommend Derek’s. I hear their Sunday brunches are very popular and they have special promotions going on every day: Monday Margarita & Mojito Madness, Full Moon Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1/2 price wine, to name a few. There are plenty of nearby parking lots at half the cost compared to Downtown Philly, a couple are even free!
For more information visit: Derek’s Restaurant

Derek's on Urbanspoon