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PLAN: "Heartland" Gathering (In Philly) 2012


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#1 KatieLoeb

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:29 PM

Just catching up with this thread. I'd be DELIGHTED to have this in Philly next year and I'm sure my PhilleGulleteers would be happy to help too. I'm not sure how a city east of Pittsburgh qualifies as "Heartland", but that's just semantics at this point. Would love to show off our fabulous city, and all the great eats and drinks available here. Commercial kitchen space might be negotiated at any one of a number of locations. Tours of Reading Terminal and Italian Market. Farmer's Markets abound in summertime. What are folks interested in?

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#2 edsel

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:33 PM

Just catching up with this thread. I'd be DELIGHTED to have this in Philly next year and I'm sure my PhilleGulleteers would be happy to help too. I'm not sure how a city east of Pittsburgh qualifies as "Heartland", but that's just semantics at this point. Would love to show off our fabulous city, and all the great eats and drinks available here. Commercial kitchen space might be negotiated at any one of a number of locations. Tours of Reading Terminal and Italian Market. Farmer's Markets abound in summertime. What are folks interested in?


Yes! I say that "Heartland" is a state of mind. :smile:

#3 Chris Hennes

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 02:48 PM

I'm sitting in the airport on my way out from the 2011 gathering, of course already thinking about 2012. I propose ( after some discussion with a few others) that we expand the definition of "heartland" to include the whole continental US :). With that in mind, I also propose Philadelphia as the location for the 2012 event. Thoughts?

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#4 Mjx

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 03:02 PM

Philadelphia sounds good to me (I'd really like to attend one of these events, and for me, the East Coast is by far the most accessible part of the US).

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#5 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:20 PM

Huzzah for Philadelphia!!

Thanks, Katie! :smile:

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#6 rooftop1000

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:25 PM

Nice :laugh:
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#7 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 06:56 PM

I'm not sure how a city east of Pittsburgh qualifies as "Heartland", but that's just semantics at this point.


Given our love of roast pork, cheesesteaks, Tastykakes and so forth (to say nothing of our former status as America's fattest city), I tend to think of Philadelphia as more "heartclog" than "heartland". But whatever works...

#8 jsmeeker

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:05 PM

I am down with Philly for 2012.

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#9 lights19

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:28 PM

I am the epitome of a lurker, but would love a Philly gathering. I've been following them since prior to joining eG, and think our wonderful city needs to be seen and enjoyed. Some burgeoning street carts (despite local ordinances to confound the best of them), a phenomenal craft beer scene(cocktails are a given), as well as the many markets and Greensgrow, the urban farm worth a tour.

Edited by lights19, 07 August 2011 - 07:32 PM.


#10 ChefCrash

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:43 PM

My sister lives in Philly, two birds with one stone! Yes.

#11 Kerry Beal

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 08:00 PM

Perfect! Glad you could be convinced so easily Katie.

I'm up for whatever you want to show us about your area. And can't wait to experience Katie's cocktail craft.

#12 maggiethecat

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 08:33 PM

Well, Philly does not ever make it as "Heartland." Geez, where next, Portland OR? (Sounds good, actually.)But, in homage to all the eG Heartlanders who have arranged this year after year, I'm OK with it, if it's still billed as the Heartland Event. Heartland is an interior space too.

And I'll say it again, why has no other portion of the continent arranged a similar event? Are we Mid-Continent people just too friendly and hospitable and well-organized?

That said, bring on Philly. Heck, Katie's there, an organizational goddess.

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#13 KatieLoeb

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:13 PM

Wow. Seriously afraid of credit before credit is due. However, I will posit the following:

1) There's an awesome sandwich culture here, as well as local "cul-chah" in terms of Old School restaurants that do what they do well for a very long time.

2) There's craft beer here. LOTS of it. Philly takes their beer insanely seriously. Philly Beer Week already draws a national crowd for beer tours, tastings, etc.

3) There's cocktails, of course, of course. I'm certain that my fellow barkeeps and I would be happy to shine a bright light on that aspect of the local culture.

4) We're smack in between the Garden State and Lancaster County's abundance of glorious locavore produce. You can't help but trip over fresh fruit, veggies, local cheeses and meats if you're even paying attention a little bit...

5) There's so much else to see here in terms of being a former Colonial capital. This was the seat of power for a very important slice of history. I drive by Independence Hall at least four times a week. It still awes me. Lots of cool stuff to see and put into context.

Not quite sure exactly what I've committed myself to, but I know I'd love to show everyone the Brotherly Love we're known for. Let me know what the consensus is and we'll take it from there...

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#14 prasantrin

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:35 PM

Well, Philly does not ever make it as "Heartland." Geez, where next, Portland OR? (Sounds good, actually.)But, in homage to all the eG Heartlanders who have arranged this year after year, I'm OK with it, if it's still billed as the Heartland Event. Heartland is an interior space too.


I was one of the people (perhaps even the first) to mention Philadelphia as a possibility. "Heartland" can be defined as "the part of a region considered essential to the viability and survival of the whole," and given that the Philadelphia-area eG contingent is probably the most active regional group still on eG, I think they definitely qualify as being essential to the health of eG, so that makes them Heartland!

Regarding requests, I would love to have a wide range of experiences--in the previous gatherings I attended, there were high-end, mid-range, and cheaper (more local, homely places) events during the weekend, so I felt I got a better feel of nature of the cities we visited. I really missed that this year. So yes, I'd love to do a sandwich crawl, or a Philly cheesesteak tasting, or something like that.

I'd also LOVE to experience Amish culture if there's a community near by that would welcome us. I did some research while I was in Cleveland, and found you could sometimes get private tours including a meal if you arranged it well ahead of time. If something like that were a possibility during the gathering, I'd be there for sure!

#15 prasantrin

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 06:26 PM

Another request--my absolute favourite stop in Cleveland was an off-the-schedule stop (two, actually) at Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop, an old-fashioned soda shop that makes almost everything from scratch (Edsel recommended it to me on another board!). To me, it was pure Americana. I'd love to find a place like that in Philadelphia (if it exists there), and maybe do some kind of tour of it. Sweet Moses was small, but they had a pretty cool operation (they make their candies, ice creams, etc. in a big kitchen in the back, and behind the counter have soda taps, handy whipped cream dispensers, etc.) nad it would have been interesting to learn more about the shop and the inspiration behind it. The owner was very chatty, too, so he probably would have loved to have talked to us about the shop.

#16 KatieLoeb

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:29 PM

How's this for some possible events:

Italian Market tour with a stop at Paesano's for the best sandwiches on earth. Blows even the very best cheesesteak out of the water. Sandwiches that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Seriously...

A day out in Lancaster/Chester County. Tour of a farm, lunch at an Amish restaurant, stop at Birchrun Hills Farm on the way back for a tour of the dairy and a cheese tasting.

Big group Szechuan dinner at Han Dyansty one night. Best spicy food you ever ate.

Tour of Reading Terminal Market. There's the La Cucina cooking class space within the market, but I'm not sure if it's available for use without hiring them out to be the "caterer". We'd definitely need a space for the group Potluck dinner, and having it right at Reading Terminal would be like having the world's best pantry laid out at our feet. However, other spaces could be found that would accommodate us for that.

Beer tour. (I'm looking at you Rich Pawlak) There's plenty of great beer to be had here.

Cocktail crawl. Between myself and my cohorts in the Philly chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, we've got this covered.

A visit to Franklin Fountain. Here's your Old School soda fountain. These guys make their own ice cream and real old fashioned sundaes, floats and phosphates. Authentic right down to their handlebar mustaches and arm garters.

A tour of Greensgrow Farms, an urban farm, nursery and farm market that takes up one entire city block in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. These folks are nationally recognized leaders in urban agriculture and have been doing this for over a decade. Nice folks doing really good work...

A tour of Philadelphia Distilling. Makers of Bluecoat Gin, Penn 1681 vodka, Vieux Carre absinthe and Shine White Whiskey.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head.

Katie M. Loeb
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#17 gfweb

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:54 PM

Nice ideas!

The Amish could be a disappointment though. We live on the edge of their turf and get lots of exposure. The food isn't all that great. Carb/fat overload...minimal seasoning. Eh.

As an alternative perhaps Walter Staib at city tavern could do a colonial meal cooked on the hearth. Dine where the founding fathers ate etc.

#18 kaszeta

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:52 AM

I certainly wouldn't mind Philly. Plenty of good food opportunities there.

#19 Kerry Beal

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:55 AM

How's this for some possible events:

Italian Market tour with a stop at Paesano's for the best sandwiches on earth. Blows even the very best cheesesteak out of the water. Sandwiches that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Seriously...

A day out in Lancaster/Chester County. Tour of a farm, lunch at an Amish restaurant, stop at Birchrun Hills Farm on the way back for a tour of the dairy and a cheese tasting.

Big group Szechuan dinner at Han Dyansty one night. Best spicy food you ever ate.

Tour of Reading Terminal Market. There's the La Cucina cooking class space within the market, but I'm not sure if it's available for use without hiring them out to be the "caterer". We'd definitely need a space for the group Potluck dinner, and having it right at Reading Terminal would be like having the world's best pantry laid out at our feet. However, other spaces could be found that would accommodate us for that.

Beer tour. (I'm looking at you Rich Pawlak) There's plenty of great beer to be had here.

Cocktail crawl. Between myself and my cohorts in the Philly chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, we've got this covered.

A visit to Franklin Fountain. Here's your Old School soda fountain. These guys make their own ice cream and real old fashioned sundaes, floats and phosphates. Authentic right down to their handlebar mustaches and arm garters.

A tour of Greensgrow Farms, an urban farm, nursery and farm market that takes up one entire city block in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. These folks are nationally recognized leaders in urban agriculture and have been doing this for over a decade. Nice folks doing really good work...

A tour of Philadelphia Distilling. Makers of Bluecoat Gin, Penn 1681 vodka, Vieux Carre absinthe and Shine White Whiskey.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head.

That all sounds good - can we come for a week?

#20 chileheadmike

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:09 AM

Nice ideas!


As an alternative perhaps Walter Staib at city tavern could do a colonial meal cooked on the hearth. Dine where the founding fathers ate etc.


I have seen his show on PBS. I would make the trip to Philly just for this.
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#21 Chris Hennes

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:22 AM

The logistics of getting the group out to Amish country may also pose some challenges. I suggest keeping it close to Center City to minimize the need for cars. Plus, Amish stuff is interesting culturally, but not culinarily, IMO.

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#22 Chris Hennes

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:34 AM

Oh, I also meant to add that (at least at the three of these I've been to) the central focus of the event has been on the dining segments, and of course the Saturday meal, more than on tours and the like. I don't know what the group consensus on this is, however.

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#23 prasantrin

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:36 AM

Amish don't have farms, bake their own bread, milk their own cows or have anything else to offer in terms of learning about food?

Anyway, I've been reading that Amish farms in that area of the US are not as interesting as those in the midwest. Whatever.

Regarding tours, I was thinking of something similar to the ethnic provisions tour that LAZ organized in Niles (or somewhere like that). Not dining-focused, but still involved food. But it is definitely clear that the direction of the gatherings is moving in a much different direction from when they started, so I guess most current attendees would rather just focus on dining.

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#24 jsmeeker

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:38 AM

I only have a single Heartland Gathering experience, but I thought the series of events/places in Cleveland were great. As Chris H. mentions, they were really focused entirely on places to eat and the Saturday feast. That said, I think some tours of places that produce food and drink might be interesting. I like gin, so a tour of a local distillery would be neat for me. Even an urban farm could be intersting. Amish country? Eh.... Especially if there is no interesting culinary involved. I'd rather do a cheese steak crawl. Seriously, I've never been to Philly, and I would love to try some cheeseteaks. I'd even go to the major "tourist trap" places so I could pick my own "best"


But I think it's important to not OVER schedule. Nancy H did a great job in Cleveland. It wasn't really over scheduled. we did a lot, and sometimes we went to a few places in one evening, but they were all close together and/or we had enough time to get to the next place without ever feeling rushed.

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#25 gfweb

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:00 AM

We could be occupied for two days with just sandwiches. Roast pork and broccoli rabe, cheesesteaks, hoagies.


Burrrrrp. :wacko:

#26 Holly Moore

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:22 AM

I'd even go to the major "tourist trap" places so I could pick my own "best"


There are no tourist traps in Philadelphia.

What size thundering herd usually shows up for a Gathering? How do handle small places? Do you usually split into groups for such tours or what?

Cool that you may end up here.

Edited by Holly Moore, 09 August 2011 - 11:22 AM.

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#27 jsmeeker

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:30 AM

I'd even go to the major "tourist trap" places so I could pick my own "best"


There are no tourist traps in Philadelphia.

What size thundering herd usually shows up for a Gathering? How do handle small places? Do you usually split into groups for such tours or what?

Cool that you may end up here.



Not even Pat's and Geno's? :unsure: :wink:


At this past Cleveland gathering, we wer about 30 people at each event. We really didn't go to any SMALL places that weren't able to accommodate us either in a private room or a reserved section of a dining room. But you make a good point about really small places that are popular.

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#28 Chris Hennes

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:31 AM

Amish don't have farms, bake their own bread, milk their own cows or have anything else to offer in terms of learning about food?

I guess in my opinion none of that is worth spending a whole day of a three day visit on. If they made food that was notable for tasting good, maybe. But you can learn about Amish farming practices in a book: you can't taste a DiNics roast pork sandwich without showing up at RTM. Obviously if the consensus here is that the Amish visit sounds like a good time, so be it, I'm just stating my personal opinion.

If you look within a six or eight block walking radius of RTM there is a tremendous amount to do and eat: personally I'd love to find a way to swing this trip without a car.

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#29 Holly Moore

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:43 AM

you can't taste a DiNics roast pork sandwich without showing up at RTM.


As luck would have it, one can also taste some representative and good Amish cooking at the Reading Terminal Market either by strolling the Amish section or settling onto a stool at the Dutch Eating Place. Gut it is. And, time it right, there may be an Amish festival at the market such as this weekend's 22nd Annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival

Edited by Holly Moore, 09 August 2011 - 11:44 AM.

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#30 boagman

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 12:45 PM

Philly would be cool, and IIRC, I can get some relatively cheap (at least currently) airfare from Detroit or Lansing to Philly.

I couldn't care less about cheesesteaks (again, it's the complete ruining of perfectly good steak...what'd that poor steak ever do to you to deserve such foul treatment? ;) ), and I, too, am in the "meh" category about the Amish thing.

That being said, several of Katie's "off the top of her head" ideas were pretty compelling. I cherish truly good sandwiches, and would love to give the Philadelphians a crack at the trophy. The cocktail crawl, the Franklin Fountain, and even the distillery tour (I'm not a straight hard liquor guy) all sound quite cool!

The other compelling thing about Philly is that, to me, it's kind of a mystery town in terms of culinary destinations. I mean, seriously: the most I know of the place's food is that they're crazy about those silly cheesesteaks, which I'd loathe. I wonder about mid-to-major cities which kind of "miss" the waves of culinary accolades. Places like Philly, or Des Moines, or Indianapolis...who knows what gems they might hide within their wings?

Philadelphia intrigues.