Monthly Archives

December 2010


Crocodile Philly Serves, Beer, Pizza & has Pickleback Menu

A couple weeks back I went bar hopping with a few friends, Laura B, Marcie T, Jeremy M and Andrew. We ended up at BAR and the foursome decided to do Pickle Shots, which frankly sounds gross to me, I like my pickles on a side of a club sandwich, but these Pickle Shots seem all the rage lately, and there are YouTube videos and pictures on the internet of people doing the shots so it must be the bomb.
It was such an interesting concept I thought I had to get a shot and write about it on my blog a few weeks back. So this is a repeat photo of the gang at Bar (Which is also the name of a Bar on the Upper West Side in NYC, near where I used to live. I hear Pickle Shots became quite popular for the first time in NYC. I wonder what the origin is, how did someone come up with such a combo.) Now I am here to tell you that Crocodile Bar Philadelphia in Old City has come up with an interesting menu of different pickle back combinations. Some of which are as comical to me as the concept of drinking a shot of whiskey with pickle juice chaser, bottoms up. But there seems to be a real desire for this drink as there are lots of youtube videos on the subject. (disclosure, I don’t drink but I know what pickle juice and whiskey taste like.)
Crocodile Philly Located in Old City at 110 Chestnut Street, the bar is open daily 5 p.m. till 2 a.m. and on weekends 12 p.m. till 2 a.m. For further information, please visit (P.S. Currently their website seems to be down but you can follow them on Twitter: @crocodilephilly )


FUN: Countdown to Noon With The Kids at The Please Touch Museum Tomorrow

Countdown to Noon at the Please Touch Museum! supported by Macy’s (P.S. the light show goes on until tomorrow. So catch it now, or wait another year for the magic.) The little ones can’t quite stay up until midnight to celebrate the New Year? Bring them to Please Touch Museum for the annual countdown party that celebrates the “noon” year before moms and dads go to their grown-up festivities!

This annual celebration helps families celebrate the beginning of a new year together with party activities, music and confetti all in one place.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Countdowns will be at Noon and again at 1 p.m.


Valanni’s Reinvents Itself with a lounge & The City’s First Split Service

Last week I was driving around in the snow and noticed that Valanni’s changed it’s marquee sign – It’s discofied According to the Urban Dictionary Discofied means: To invoke the disco era in a person or thing by using a combination of color, patterns, lighting, grooming, and/or other funkiness in a manner reminiscent of 1977.

“In order to impress the ladies, Juan discofied his wardrobe by adding vertically striped bell-bottom pants and pimp-ass high-rise platform boots.”

That’s not exactly what you are going to find at the “new” Valanni Social, but there is a cool colored swagger lounge vibe going on since they renovated the place shortly after their 10th anniversary in the Fall. (Valanni will still be operating as a restaurant on one side of the building, and serve the full menu in the lounge, as well as have a late night menu as Executive Chef John Strain offers a late-night menu every night after 11:00 pm.)
Reinventing the space by removing the traditional diner tables and replacing them with beautiful WHITE banquette Lounge Chairs and cocktail tables, the ceiling adorn with globe lighting fixtures, the wall lit with a hint of a blue and pink glow. There is seating for 28 in the front room, and 22 in the back. A DJ booth is in the back, and although there is no dance floor who’s to say there’s a law against standing in place and grooving when you feel like it. The DJ will be spinning music Wednesdays through Saturdays, starting at 10:00 PM. Each night of the week there will be a different DJ playing different tunes, from hip-hop to house. Although there is not a live DJ on Sunday and Tuesdays, SOCIAL is every night of the week until 2:00 am.
Valanni’s has always had a nice neighborhood feel, and I think they’re still going for that crowd as well as folks who just want to go to a bar/lounge and hang out with their friends, and not be so disconnected from the outside as most clubs are windowless. In the summer the front windows of Valanni Social will open wide.
SOCIAL is the first place in Philly to serve “Splits.” SOCIAL Split Service offers SOCIAL guests the option of enjoying all the fun of bottle service, but with affordable prices and less of a “commitment” than a full bottle. All “Split” size bottles are 375 ml, or half the size of a typical bottle, and has 9 to 11 pours. (P.S. I love this new lens I bought, the pixs look so much better now. What do you think?)
Owner George Anni is excited about the changes, and shares that “I’ve always envisioned this for Valanni, and I’m thrilled that we’ve made it happen. There’s nothing like this in the neighborhood.” Valanni and SOCIAL complement one another perfectly—Valanni has maintained its cool, sexy atmosphere, and SOCIAL has a new life of its own.

The address and phone number for Valanni Social is 1229 Spruce St,Philadelphia, PA 19107 Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 790-9494



The Ritz-Carlton’s GM Michael Walsh has left the building, and City for that matter.
The last time I saw Michael Walsh was on December 1, at the 10 Arts Top Chef All Stars party for Chef Jennifer Carroll; before she defended her dish to the death.
Michael Walsh, Kathy Walsh and Kayla Walsh (pictured above at last years Top Chef bash), have loaded up the truck and moved to the Big Apple where he will oversee the Morgans Hotel Group, which includes The Morgan Hotel, Hudson, Royalton and the new Mondrian opening in 2011. I’ve stayed at the Hudson many times and it’s really a unique concept of minimalism, hip, chic and the hotel lobby functions as a night club in the evening. (Look for a similar concept to open in Philly next year, but I can’t say anything more about it even if you pull out my fingernails, ewww.) I spoke with Kerri-Lee Mayland (Halkett) right after the Christmas Tree lighting in Rittenhouse Square, and told her that it was Philly’s loss that she left Fox29. She appreciated the sentiment, is grateful for the support of the viewers and told me she may be reporting in Connecticut now, but will maintain a house in Center City as well as a life here. I guess my follow up should have been “Are you commuting?”
Last week someone asked me what happened to Kerri-Lee, why did she leave. I said I think it was the Jane Pauley/Deborah Norville scenario all over again, where a popular favorite anchorwomen was replaced by a younger popular anchorwomen upsetting the dynamics of a ratings winning show. Last summer someone even started a Facebook page encouraging Fox 29 to bring back Dawn Stensland. Kerri-Lee made her exit shortly after that, which only fueled the rumors of a return. That hasn’t happened, and these days Dawn is enjoying raising her family, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last from her. I wish both women well. (Above Dawn participating in one of my favorite charities fashion show, The Career Wardrobe.) As for Kerri-Lee she’s landed on her feet in the anchor chair at NBC Connecticut.
In this town I always say our “celebrities” are news people, and everything restaurant. This weeks star is Stephen Starr’s new British inspired pub/restaurant Dandelion (Which opens Friday New Year’s Eve). All the foodies have been on this story since it first broke that the building that held Stiletto Shoes was going to be the next genius creation of Stephen Starr (I think he’s a genius, although he’s much more eccentric than I am [ie Philly Mag called me the eccentric paparazzi in an article in their December issue.])

I walked by last night to see what the outside looked like as I had only seen shots of the inside (Meal Ticket) WOW it’s right out of the An American Werewolf in London movie with it’s ivy, shrubs and even mysterious fog,
ok there was no fog but you can imagine it drifting around a country pub with a thatched roof in the countryside. Oh wait what’s that in the distance,
no doubt the next big restaurant to open in Rittenhouse Square, the Philly branch of the highly successful New York eating establishment, Serafina, who must have just installed their signage this week as I didn’t see it up last week.Serefina looks to open in the Spring right across from Danilion. This just extends the 18th Street Rittenhouse Row which now includes other major players Parc (Starr), Rouge, Devon’s Seafood House, Tria, Continental (Starr), and Elephant and Castle (The other English Pub, but not half as stylish as Dandelion). PSS We have a winner for the R2L New Year’s Eve Party. Thank you all for participating


R2L NEW YEAR’S EVE & MIDLANTIC CELEBRATIONS: Pig Roast, Juke Box or Flappers & Fireworks

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? If you want to head out to a dinner that not only has a special menu for the evening, but allows you to stay through the evening to enjoy the festivities as well as the fireworks then R2L is the place to be. (R2L is located on the 37th Floor of Liberty Two)

High above the City is where you can celebrate New Year’s Eve at R2L! Prohibition? Not here! Come ring in 2011 at R2L and celebrate the undying wisdom of the folks who brought us Prohibition and then had the vision and common sense to repeal it! Night includes: a four-course dinner; and cocktail party (premium open bar, deejay, dancing, live entertainment, food).

The R2L Menu for New Year’s Eve

Here’s a little video I did with Chef/Owner Daniel Stern yesterday (I trekked through the knee high snow to get this nugget. [ok maybe in Jersey it was knee high, but I bet you weren’t at work yesterday.] Don;t hold it against R2l just because I don’t have my swagger interviewing skills down yet. Soon I’ll have plenty of time to practice.)

Besides the delicious food (Barbra Streisand, Kendra and Jamie Foxx have eaten at R2L in the last 60 days), the flapper fun, I recommend R2L and it’s exciting party because of the views especially of the fireworks. I had a contest for two tickets (over 3 dozen people sent in their entries) to the party and I will be emailing the winner now. Thank you, and thank you for considering R2L. There’s a parking garage in the building too. Check out Marnie Hall’s review of where to party on New Year’s Eve check here
And if low key is the way you want to go, think about MidAlantic the Daniel Stern restaurant in University City (January’s Philly Mag calls that the new Center City and they’re right.) Ring in the New Year at Midatlantic’s first annual New Year’s Eve Roadhouse Pig Roast. Drink specials, vintage jukebox (Stern tells me he’s gonna keep the jukebox. good move I love a good jukebox myself.), pool table, pinball and more! Including: champagne shrub, fire roasted peanuts, farmhouse salad, buckets o’shrimp and mussels, pig roast buffet, house made condiments and chutney, kraut and slaw, fried spuds, herb spaetzle, seasonal veggies, chocolate moon and oatmeal cream pies, and vanilla buttermilk ice cream.