Saturday, December 19, 2009

SNOW EMERGENCY ROUTES IN PHILADELPHIA

PHILADELPHIA SNOW EMERGENCY DECLARED FOR 12/19/09 9:00AM MUST MOVE CARS FROM SNOW EMERGENCY STREETS; LIST www.phila.gov/streets

Managing Director to Declare Snow Emergency 9 A.M. Saturday, December 19, 2009
Streets Department Taking Action in Advance of the Storm

PHILADELPHIA – On Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Managing Director Camille C. Barnett will declare a snow emergency. All vehicles parked on Snow Emergency Routes must be moved to an alternate parking location by 9:00 a.m. Any vehicle remaining on a Snow Emergency Route during the declared Snow Emergency will be ticketed and towed. If your car is towed, call 215-686-SNOW for its location. Do NOT call 911. A list of snow emergency routes can be found at www.phila.gov/streets and is attached to this press release.

“If you must travel, please be careful and patient,” said Director Barnett.

Streets Department Commissioner Clarena I. W. Tolson advises residents of the Streets Department’s plans in anticipation of snowfall this weekend. Current forecasts predict 7 to 14 inches of snow accumulation on Saturday. In preparation for the snow, Streets Department crews have spent Friday applying a brine solution to city Streets. Salt crews and equipment will be deployed throughout the City to respond as the precipitation arrives. Primary and secondary streets will be cleared first, followed by hilly residential streets and other residential streets. Crews will remain on duty through the weekend to monitor roadways and to respond to problem locations and emergencies.

Streets Commissioner Tolson said, “We are urging residents to travel only when necessary. The less traffic on city streets, the more effective our plow efforts will be. SEPTA will be operating and we encourage citizens to use public transportation. We expect heavier than normal traffic this weekend for holiday shopping and the Flyers, Sixers and Eagles games. Everyone is reminded to be careful and patient as they navigate snowy streets and sidewalks,” said Streets Commissioner Tolson.

Streets Commissioner Tolson urges residents to follow these tips:

Make sure you park your car as far away from the corner as possible. Cars parked too close to the corner limit the turning radius of salting vehicles.
Apply any commercial de-icer on steps and sidewalks early to prevent residual moisture from freezing over and creating icy conditions.
Clear a sidewalk path at least 30” wide within 6 hours of the end of the storm as listed in the Philadelphia Code (10-720).
Clear snow from neighborhood sewer drains to allow melting snow to drain.
Be conscious of the environment – use de-icing salts only as much as needed. One pound of de-icer can cover 100 to 200 square feet.
De-icer should be applied as soon as a light accumulation has developed on the surface. This will break the bond between additional accumulations and the pavement surface, and will make it easier to shovel.
A final light application of a de-icer may be required after removal is completed to melt the residual snow.
Check in on elderly and disabled neighbors

In addition, the City has a declared a Code Blue to provide additional support to the homeless. If you see a homeless person in need of assistance, please call the Homeless Outreach Coordination Center at 215-232-1984.

To report a street in need of salting or plowing or for more information on any Streets Department program or service, call 3-1-1. You may also visit us online at www.phila.gov/streets/SNOW.

Friday, December 18, 2009

AVATAR Philadelphia Screenings & A Movie Review A Must See Movie this Year

I went to see an Avatar preview, which opens TODAY in a theater near you. I was invited so I could review the movie for this blog, plus Tweet about it and also right afterwards the movie company has people who ask the viewers questions. Regular folks get to go to these events too. Last night their were a lot of WMMR radio listener's that called in and received tickets. At the event last night they had trivia contests and gave away T-Shirts and Lottery Tickets. (interesting eh?) To get free preview tickets join Allied's Facebook Page here, or follow them on Twitter www.twitter.com/philafreemovies for local movie buzz, contests and screenings!

Some of my Tweets from last night after seeing Avatar:

I'm not one for sci-fi movies, can't stand alien movies, not even star wars..but, Avatar is one of the best movies ever hands down!

Mike's laughing cause I was actually dreading going to a 160 min movie + complained about it as I'm not crazy about scifi stuff. #Avatar

@utobia says Avatar made Batman: Dark Knight look like Tom + Jerry.

I 1st thought Avatar wld b a hard name to sell, but word of mouth will sell movie 2 those who don't know what an Avatar is.

Mike says I must have liked it, he didn't hear one snore from me. (Did I ever tell you about the time I fell asleep next to SJP during her husband's performance in "The Odd Couple" on Broadway?

This movie is geared towards anyone who can appreciate technology, enjoys special effects, humanity and a love story. The audience reation was the same from the 14 yr olds to the 60 yr olds, they enjoyed it.

Avatar the women standing next to me are about 60 yrs old, screaming w/delight. Can't believe how great it was. Ok I'll stop now. WOW

Avatar I if u can see it on the Imax Screen in 3D. The special effects could be a movie on it's own.

Avatar is your must movie this year. It's a
James Cameron movie, the man who brought you Titantic, so you know it's epic. There's a great love story, terrific actors, I mean who ever thought Sigourney Weaver would once again be involved with aliens, and so happy for Michelle Rodriguez. I've met her a couple times and she is very nice. Glad to see her on the big screen and in such a kick ass role. Then there's Sam Worthington and well you'll just have to tune in. Director: James Cameron Starring: Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi

I don't like to give away plot lines, but if you want to know a bit about the movie there are a series of good interviews with the cast on the LA Times website here.

TOY 2009 - Delaware Valley Legacy Fund's Toys For Tots Annual Party

(I was really looking forward to attending, but my sister had passed away the day before and I couldn't make it. So thanks to Karen Cornell, PhillyGayCalendar, Scott Drake & Mike Toub for the following photos.)

On December 4, the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund held it's 3rd annual Toy event/holidayparty to benefit to children in the HIV/AIDS unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. For $30 and one unwrapped toy, guests enjoyed delicious foods and beverages and danced to tracks spun by local DJ Carl Michaels. Matthew Ray, Dan Giacobbe and Evan Urbania were on hand to enjoy the evening. Matt does not believe in embroidered shirts, so don't even think about getting him one for Christmas. In 2001, Evan Urbania Co-Founded The Memoria Project, a commemorative memorial sculpture created to honor the victims and survivors of 9/11/2001.Right off the Bat Let's thank the sponsors Gold Sponsors
AgileCat, Comcast, Mikey’s American Grill & Sports Bar, Thomas Glenn Collection

Silver Sponsors
Matthews Interior Design, Matthew Izzo, The Legal Intelligencer, Diverse Catering, Al Besse, Pepperbox Pictures, ChatterBlast, Curve

Bronze Sponsors
R&R Creative, Pilla Creative Group, Marc Phillips Showroom, Fusion Gym, City of Brotherly Love Softball, Philly2Philly.com, Law office of Lavin Oneil Ricci Cedrone & DiSipio, Stormy Lundy, Coors Light, QUEERtime.net, Philadelphia Gay News, World Shippers and Importers, DJ Carl Michaels, Sony Playstation PS, PECO, Philadelphia Fashion Week, Specialty Productions, Roche Bobois

Sony Playstation gave PS3 and 17 games, Comcast ran their PSA (300 spots over November) AgileCat is our PR firm, Mikey’s is where the after party was held, Diverse Catering is the caterer for the event, Thomas Glenn Collection is giving away free ornaments, Taste of Philadelphia Door Prize (this includes gift cards for several local restaurants totaling $500-750)

DVLF Director Joe Matthews, Matthews Interior Design and Mark Segal, Publisher of PGN
a pioneer in LGBT civil rights as a journalist/publisher/activist. I think Philadelphia is lucky to have him on our side.
Bill Gehrman, President at En Route Consulting and my Mike Toub (my bf for 15 yrs, oh and an IT guy, you should see our home networking system). Good thing he paid his way into TOY cause he failed at taking enuf pixs for PCC. I'd fire him, but he is so cute and so nice to let me be PhillyChitChat and cover all the great charities and events in the City; he's patient. Ettore, of Ettore's Spa, Thom Cardwell and Eddie Mastroddi of Ettore's Spa; Rumors can rest, I spoke to Thom Cardwell today. He is happy and working on 2010's film festival for TLA. Plus they are very busy with their French Film Series too.
Guest, Laura Burkhardt, Where Mag Publisher and Jeff Francis, Jeff just joined TRUE OPERATION CHRISTMAS CARDS FOR US TROOPS on Facebook!. Sounds like a good organization.
Bill Gehrman, Meredith Magoon manager of Fusion Cross Training Fitness, and Mike Foran, CFO at Eureka Growth Capital.The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) strives to increase philanthropy and grantmaking to support the community needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and straight-allied communities. DVLF advances philanthropy for the LGBTI community through endowment building, fundraising, community outreach and education.

Heshie & Joe Matthews among the TOYS donated: Philadelphia Gay News / Scott Drake.
Besides all those fabulous toys, the DVLF donated $21,000; in the back you can see Chris Bartlett. Chris Bartlett launched the Gay History Wiki in 2005 to reclaim the lives of those who died from HIV/AIDS. NY Times wrote a nice piece about it last week. DVLF Announces Challenge Grant

A generous donor to the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund has earmarked $15,000 to match one-for-one every dollar that is contributed to DVLF over the upcoming months. Now's the chance for you to DOUBLE the power of your gift to strengthen our work in the LGBTI communities of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.

You can make your online contribution towards the match or mail a check payable to Delaware Valley Legacy Fund to: DVLF, c/o the Philadelphia Foundation, 1234 Market Street, Suite 1800, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

If you have any questions about the match, or other possible contributions to DVLF, don't hesitate to contact co-Director Chris Bartlett at 215-563-6417, extension 117.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter held its 16th annual Spectrum Awards Breakfast

On November 5, 2009 the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter held its 16th annual Spectrum Awards Breakfast at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue to honor women for their contributions to the Philadelphia community. Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors the overall accomplishments of a community leader. Shelly Yanoff, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), received the Clara Barton Outstanding Humanitarian Award for Community Service. The ceremony also honored Franklin Learning Center senior Stefany Matthews with the Twinkle Star Scholarship Award. Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University, delivered the keynote address, and CBS 3 news anchor Pat Ciarrocchi hosted the program. From left: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Stefany Matthews, Anita Hill, and Shelly Yanoff.


Tom Foley, CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross, shares a laugh with Marie Forish of Philadelphia (left) and Anita Hill during the 16th Annual Spectrum Awards Breakfast at the Park Hyatt Bellevue last month. The event honors women for their contributions to the Philadelphia community. Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors the overall accomplishments of a community leader. Shelly Yanoff, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), received the Clara Barton Outstanding Humanitarian Award for Community Service. The ceremony also honored Franklin Learning Center senior Stefany Matthews with the Twinkle Star Scholarship Award. Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University, delivered the keynote address, and CBS 3 news anchor Pat Ciarrocchi hosted the program.
As u know I don't usually carry other people's photos as I think it's better if I am there to cover the event, but because of my sister's illness and passing away I have missed a lot of events and have the space. Thanks to the Red Cross for providing me the shots above. I will have fresh new Hughe content tomorrow though.

THE PUBLIC HOUSE WELCOMES CHEF AL PARIS AND A MENU CHANGE

Chef Al Paris is now with Public House and has tweaked the menu. I've eater there before having the standard burger and fries, in their dining area. A few weeks ago I was invited to tasting I thought, but with Chef Paris everything is always grand and on done in a big way. (These were cell phone pixs and a tad dark)
We started off with pulled pork sliders as an hors d'oeuvres; they were delicious.
Then moved onto the PHILADELPHIA CHEESESTEAK SPRING SPRINGROLLS, then we had crab, corn & chimay chowder, which was out of this world, but I highly recommend the LOADED NACHOS.
Dinner was this THICK-CUT GRILLED RIBEYE Hot Garlic Butter Baste, Potato-Spinach Toss,
Crumbed Blue Cheese, Fried Onion Rings
. OMG so delicious. You don't have to go to a steakhouse to enjoy a really good steak.
There were an array of desserts including these cheesecake popovers, which were delicious.
I was pleasantly surprised at the various menu changes the Chef Paris created, and it really opened my eyes that one shouldn't assume that a popular bar hangout would only serve bar type foods like the ever popular burger & fries. Also I want to thank Public House for their generous donation to both the Linda Creed Annual Luncheon to Benefit local women with Breast Cancer and the Lisa Reed non-smoking Lung Cancer Silent Auctions. I mentioned it on my blog, and they generously offered.

Public House’s NYE party this year will be a VEGAS theme. Tickets cost $125 per person and include: 8pm-2am top shelf open bar, grand buffet, and champagne toast. There are also group discounts available. For tickets, contact: Shannon Kennedy at skennedy@publichouseusa.com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chef Michael Schulson's Sampan Restaurant Philadelphia's Latest Hot Spot

Thanks to my friend Laura Burkhardt, Publisher of Where Magazine for taking me to the 1st "Dry Run" of the hottest restaurant to open Michael Schulson's Sampan, an Asian-Fusion place, on the hottest street in Philly South 13th Street in Midtown Village. A "Dry Run" is like a "preview" or "Dress rehearsal" and the restaurant owner, investors and publicist invite friends, other business owners (I spotted folks from Capogiro, owners of many of the eateries on the corridor, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, plus Laura Price, QUAKER CITY MERCANTILE and her fiance [who I also broke bread [w/Kate Ryan] at lunch with Tues, that's when I took this shot below of about 3 workers sprucing up Sampan's windows as I left El Vez]) and influencers to come in so that they can try the place out, it helps the servers practice their trade and then the guests can give feedback if the have any suggestions. And it's anything but a "Dry Run" as the Saki was flowing on this night, as well as some really delicious food. (This wall changes 4 different colors that I could tell, and I have a feeling that with each season it changes too, no one said so, but I have a fairly good intuition about these things. Although I love the bare trees. Am I right, anyone?) Also I cannot wait until spring to see the outdoor space, I hear the garden dining is going to be an oasis of visually delight. (Originally this was towards the end, but you need to listen to it while reading/reviewing pixs cause it's so funny)
Did I mention the unique bathrooms, someone like's movie quotes and thought that while we're doing our business it would be fun if we recognized a few of the quotes ourselves. (It was Michael's idea)





Cooked up by Philly's latest celebrity chef Michael Schulson. Celebrity chef and television star Michael Schulson is returning to Philadelphia to open Sampan, a modern Asian restaurant, set to open 12/18/09. Sampan features a variety of small dishes including items such as: Edamame Dumplings, Tuna Tataki Summer Roll, and Skate Wing Sandwich, among others. ... also go to Schulson’s famed Japanese pub Izakaya in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which was named one of the “50 Best New Restaurants, 2009″ by Travel & Leisure magazine (May 2009). With him here is his GM of Sampan Randal Mrazik.
Our servers for the evening were Warren & Faith, who were terrific. Chef Schulson really wanted a relaxed atmosphere, and for the servers to be comfortable, he's achieved that. A comfortable server is a confident, happy server I think. They get to accessorize with belts and their jeans.
First up:
Crab and curry fritters with cucumber raietta (OMG an explosion of tastes, spicy, texture and then the "cool" cucumber raitta is a great balance)
The interior is beautiful. Michael was going for something very simple, unadorned, but thru many discussions with biz partners and the designers, UrbanSpaceDevelopment who co-created it with Sparks Design, they came up with a compromise of what I think is a clean, simple look that was also very stylish and unique.

Yum Edamame dumplings. I was not familiar with Chef Michael Schulson and told Laura how creative I thought it was to have edamame in a dumpling. She told me this was one of his signature dish at his other restaurant, Izakaya at The Borgata. (So we're on the same wave length) The bar is centrally located in the middle of the room, but you really don't notice it as there is no need to walk thru it to get to your table, those spaces are to the left or right as you walk in the door. If you walked thru the bar you would end up looking into the open kitchen.
A few movers and shakers in the City were there enjoying the "Dry Run", including Meal Ticket's Felicia D'Ambrosio , Kar Vinekanathan and Kenneth Espejo
Philly cheesesteak. We braise short ribs, pull the meat and then sauté it with some ginger, jalapeno, scallion and cilantro, then layer it with sharp provolone and pickled spicy shallots. It tastes like a cheesesteak.
As a kid I never like Brussels Sprouts, who really did. As an adult I like them a little more. When you have these Sampan's Brussel Sprouts you're gonna want them everytime you step in the place. Everyone I talked to LOVE them!!
as well as the braise short ribs, with the pulled meat and then sauté it with some ginger, jalapeno, scallion and cilantro, then layer it with sharp provolone and pickled spicy shallots.
hmm salad always a good Hughe choice
After a couple hours of laughter and good times it was time for Laura to go home. As we walked out the door we ran into Jennie Hatton, ProfilePR and Lauren McCutcheon, Philadelphia Magazine. So I stayed and chatted them up for a bit.
They had the prime "VIP Seats" where you could watch on the chefs prepare the meals.
Especially Chef Michael Schulson, who I did not know had a fan following of adoring women and I am sure a few good men. Again I wasn't really familiar with him before as I rarely have time to watch TV, but that was not the case for every single women I ran into this evening.
Earlier Laura & I had the braise short ribs in a bowl, but Jennie & Lauren enjoyed them on these skewers and they were just as delicious.
I don't know what this is, but it looks good doesn't it?
We finished the night off with Soy Chocolate Ice Cream Cones. Chef Michael says most meals will be affordable in the $20 to $40 range. Our bill was $110 total, which included a few drinks.
As I was leaving I ran into yet another super great person, Drew Milstein, who was enjoying the night with real estate giant, entrepreneur & businessman Allan Domb, Tony Rim of Raw (Check out his recently opened Sumo Lounge for private parties. It's so private you have to walk thru the kitchen to get to it) and Tim Shaaban of UrbanSpaceDevelopment who co-created Sampan with Sparks Design (responsible for the color changing wall among other elements.)

What a joy this place is, I felt like I was in a secluded cabin in the woods with a bunch of my friends. What an improvement to the 13th Street Corridor too. Before it's transformation this was considered a "temporary" metal contraption building that housed a clothing store and a greeting card store. The building has now been re enforced and fortified ensuring the longevity of the building, and no doubt Sampan as it will remain one of the hottest restaurants around for a long time. The menu is eclectic, the tastes surprising and the atmosphere lively, but not overwhelming. Enjoy.For further in depth reading you should check out these sites for interviews and tidbits about Sampan. Philadelphia Grub Street; The City Paper's MealTicket and Michael Klein's Inqlings

This is a tad long, but it's a grainy video of Sampan to the tune of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" which was playing in the background.



Thanks to the couple of PhillyChitChat readers for their condolences, well wishes and for reading PCC, that I ran into tonight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

PHILLY CUPCAKE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

These cupcakes are delicious. I always try and coincide my cupcake purchases with a trip to my gym, which is on the opposite end of the block Fusion Cross-Training Fitness Stop in and they will give you a free workout. Last summer I did their Boot Camp and lost 22lbs in 10 weeks. They are great with nutrition help too. Tell Gavin I sent you, but don't tell him you read it on the cupcake page.

Support Gilda's Club Here

Ever since Sex in the City featured the West Village Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes (they sux, too dry) on the little screen, cupcakes have become the hottest item. (I updated this post with pixs from the next day too, like these delicious cupcakes.)

I remember about 6 years ago a popular cupcake franchise out of NYC called Buttercup opened on Walnut Street without much fanfare, it never really caught on and within a few years it closed. But now the popularity of cupcakes has arrived again, and this time with a vengeance. There must be about 3 cupcake places in Center City, in addition to the very popular Buttercream Mobile. Today another one joined the ranks Philly Cupcake at 12th & Chestnut is finally opened today at 8AM;& it's adorable.
It used to house Blue in Green coffee shop where I would sometimes pick up an egg & cheese sandwich in the morning after leaving Fusion Cross Training which is located down the street. Last night I wandered by the place as I was heading out for the night of too much eating and just enough chatting with good friends. So I peeked in
where I saw owners Johnny Columbo and Michael Lewis, along with their friends and a construction crew, readying the place for today's opening.
The guys told me that they would be preparing about 1,000 cupcakes a day. The selection will include chocolate, vanilla, lemon, Red Velvet, pumpkin and carrot. They will also offer La Colombe coffee, and will have a great gift section. They take large orders for events and have professional seasoned staff who can help create around a theme or occasion. La Colombe even made a special blend of coffee for them, Coffee Cake Blend. Cupcakes are $2.75 classic, and $3.75 for specialty flavors. Today's Feature Cupcake is the brownie peanut butter. Each day they will offer a limited custom blended rich dark hot chocolate mix for $2.25 as packaged below.
Did I mention almost everything in the store you can have for a price. Johnny owns Forbidden Planett Women's Vintage Boutique's at 10 N 3rd Street, so look for some of the vintage clothing, knick knacks and other goodies to make an appearance in the store.


This chandelier from Classic Lighting can be yours for $10,000. The boys tell me that Tommy from Classic Lighting did all the work and they are ecstatic at the results. Having been a customer of Blue in Green I can tell you all the work that went into Philly Cupcake is terrific. Blue in Green may have had delicious cheap eats, but it was not a place Felix Unger would have hung his hat.
The hours of Philly Cupcake are Mon - Sat 8AM -7PM; Sunday 12 - 4PM.
They may be closed on Monday, but no doubt will be cooking up something delicious for the following week.
Like this scrumptious looking Jewish Apple Crumb CakeAah it was time for me to leave, but I just couldn't resist taking this shot thru the windows as the boys went over a few more details, and talk about details look at the colorful cupcakes on the window. Not only am I looking forward to trying out one of their wares, but I am excited that a store of this caliber has located in the neighborhood in what will be another chip in the decay of Chestnut Street, especially at 12th & Chestnut Streets.
My only complaint would be the prices are not marked, and some cupcakes are $2.25 & $3.00
Oh BTW that's Isabella and the dress she's wearing, it can be yours for $850; I had the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake it was delicious. Kate Ryan read about it on PhillyChitChat, she told me when I ran into her the next day buying a 1/2 dozen. Tell them PhillyChitChat sent you...