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KatieLoeb

PLAN: "Heartland" Gathering (In Philly) 2012

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OK. Executive decision made. August 9-12, 2012 it is. Mark it down in your calendars folks. If there's an uproar the following weekend is fine too, August 16-19, but I thought that might be perilously close to Labor Day and schools starting, etc. for most folks. The earlier weekend unfortunately doesn't work for me, so I'm going to plan for the 9th-12th unless I hear otherwise.

Have at it y'all...

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Officially in my calendar.

Now to bug the appropriate people about lodging!

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OK, on my calendar, we'll be there. We'll probably stay at one of the Marriott properties adjacent to Reading Terminal Market: hard to beat that location. The Marriott, Courtyard, and Residence Inn are all within a block. I'm sure there are plenty of others as well.

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This was the only wkend that worked for me, so good decision! Look forward to my first Heartland event.

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OK. Glad everyone is happy with the dates. Now on to planning! I have officially appointed philadining as my co-host. We discussed some details over dinner a few nights ago and we're ready to roll. We've decided to add a stop at Capogiro as part of our Italian Market tour, because you all can't come all the way here and not have some of that! That would just be wrong.

On to contacting vendors, chefs and venues...Wheee!

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We discussed some details over dinner a few nights ago and we're ready to roll. We've decided to add a stop at Capogiro as part of our Italian Market tour, because you all can't come all the way here and not have some of that! That would just be wrong.

good that it is the one in the market and not the original location or I would feel like we had to go to Lolita or El Vez first.

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Happy to be on-board helping Katie with local logistics. We were discussing putting together a guide/map with some other local highlights that folks might want to hit on their own, in-between organized events.

I'm sure there'll be a few informal meet-ups in the margins, but we'll try to get something down on paper, and up on the web, so participants can indulge their personal manias. We might even grudgingly tell you where the good cheesesteaks are.

Be sure to let us know if there's something in particular that you're interested in experiencing. We'll make a list of stuff we think is especially cool, and unique to Philly, but there very well could be things that we take for granted.

I think it's only practical to focus on food and drink, but I'm sure we can drop a few pointers to local historical and cultural attractions. Especially if they have good food nearby.

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And our Szechuan brunch is now on the calendar at Han Dynasty as their manager was my guest at my bar this evening. Han Dynasty staff is so unbelievably psyched to host our brunch. Price point has been set at $25/person and they will be throwing their very best at us and including some delicacies just because they love eGullet. Awesomeness abounds... :smile:

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I know this won't necessarily predict anything about the level of interest in a Heartland Gathering in Philly in 2012, but just to get a vague sense - how many people generally have come to the previous events?

And how did it feel - was the group too large to manage easily, or did you wish more folks had participated?

Obviously, for some of the events held in restaurants, we're going to have to impose some finite capacity, but some of the less-formal things might be more liquid. But leading a tour through a market with 150 people in tow is not going to work too well... And if we're planning to get together and cook together, how many people might we be we talking about?

Again, I know this year's is likely to be different from previous ones due to its location, but anybody care to offer a ballpark guess about numbers based on previous years?

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I know this won't necessarily predict anything about the level of interest in a Heartland Gathering in Philly in 2012, but just to get a vague sense - how many people generally have come to the previous events?

It's a difficult number to pin down because most people don't actually attend every single planned event: I'd guess that in the last few years we've had maybe 20-25 people at the restaurant meals, and around 30 at the Saturday meal. Of course, not everyone cooks at the Saturday meal, so it's been more like 10-15 people in the kitchen with various people wandering through to see what's going on throughout the afternoon, and 30-ish diners. I've never actually done a head-count though: Steven might know best since he is our traditional expediter.

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This looks like a lot of fun; you couldn't ask for better hosts than Katie and Phil!

Obviously very early for this sort of thing, but on the subject of kids- I'll get a babysitter for the restaurant events. But what about the potluck? Do folks bring kids along?

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We don't typically see any really young kids (they probably won't much appreciate the food anyway, it's not your ordinary potluck :smile:) but a few people have brought older children. I believe we had a six year old last year, for example, though he had both parents there to tag-team the effort.

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I'm in for everything and I'll probably come in a few days early for more of Philadelphia's food offerings. I'll be part of the main course team in the kitchen.

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This looks like a lot of fun; you couldn't ask for better hosts than Katie and Phil!

Obviously very early for this sort of thing, but on the subject of kids- I'll get a babysitter for the restaurant events. But what about the potluck? Do folks bring kids along?

I asked this same question last year, though I really, *really* appreciate your attitude.

Myself? I'm unapologetically anti-kid. Don't want 'em, don't need 'em, *certainly* don't want to hear them or be around them when they're bored/tired/misbehaving/squealing/yelling/crying/existing. That being said, my impression of The Gathering was that it's an Adults Only thing, but I was told that my impression was incorrect, that kids were welcome. This caused me to withdraw from The Gathering, as the risk is just not worth it to me...I'm there, I've booked the hotel, I've paid for the events scheduled, and someone brings along their kids, who inevitably get bored (justifiably!) or misbehave in some way, making life generally lousy for everyone, and migrane-inducing for people like me.

I greatly appreciate your willingness to (GASP! Such a novel idea!) get a babysitter. It's practically unheard of in this area, apparently. So do as you like. It's nice to see, even just the idea of it, the idea that kids are not, and should not, be included in everything.

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This looks like a lot of fun; you couldn't ask for better hosts than Katie and Phil!

Obviously very early for this sort of thing, but on the subject of kids- I'll get a babysitter for the restaurant events. But what about the potluck? Do folks bring kids along?

I asked this same question last year, though I really, *really* appreciate your attitude.

Myself? I'm unapologetically anti-kid. Don't want 'em, don't need 'em, *certainly* don't want to hear them or be around them when they're bored/tired/misbehaving/squealing/yelling/crying/existing. That being said, my impression of The Gathering was that it's an Adults Only thing, but I was told that my impression was incorrect, that kids were welcome. This caused me to withdraw from The Gathering, as the risk is just not worth it to me...I'm there, I've booked the hotel, I've paid for the events scheduled, and someone brings along their kids, who inevitably get bored (justifiably!) or misbehave in some way, making life generally lousy for everyone, and migrane-inducing for people like me.

I greatly appreciate your willingness to (GASP! Such a novel idea!) get a babysitter. It's practically unheard of in this area, apparently. So do as you like. It's nice to see, even just the idea of it, the idea that kids are not, and should not, be included in everything.

Well, here we go again. Your anti-kid bias is well known. However, the larger issue, as I see it, is that you don't trust the kind of people who *might* bring a child to such an event (the Saturday meal) to: 1) have sufficient judgment to bring their child only if the child's temperament, etc., suits the venue, and 2) have a management plan in place in case of potentially disruptive behavior. Anti-kid, well, I can accept, and I certainly know that rude parental behavior does occur in restaurants, but in this case I believe your attitude is ultimately anti-eGullet parent. Frankly, I would much rather you not attend the Saturday meal than have a parent not attend because they need (or want (gasp!)) to bring their child.

FWIW, I've been at every Gathering except KC and Cleveland--including the first one in GR, where we had a three-year-old-ish child in attendance. To the best of my recollection, not once was there any child-related disruption, even a minor one.

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This looks like a lot of fun; you couldn't ask for better hosts than Katie and Phil!

Obviously very early for this sort of thing, but on the subject of kids- I'll get a babysitter for the restaurant events. But what about the potluck? Do folks bring kids along?

I asked this same question last year, though I really, *really* appreciate your attitude.

Myself? I'm unapologetically anti-kid. Don't want 'em, don't need 'em, *certainly* don't want to hear them or be around them when they're bored/tired/misbehaving/squealing/yelling/crying/existing. That being said, my impression of The Gathering was that it's an Adults Only thing, but I was told that my impression was incorrect, that kids were welcome. This caused me to withdraw from The Gathering, as the risk is just not worth it to me...I'm there, I've booked the hotel, I've paid for the events scheduled, and someone brings along their kids, who inevitably get bored (justifiably!) or misbehave in some way, making life generally lousy for everyone, and migrane-inducing for people like me.

I greatly appreciate your willingness to (GASP! Such a novel idea!) get a babysitter. It's practically unheard of in this area, apparently. So do as you like. It's nice to see, even just the idea of it, the idea that kids are not, and should not, be included in everything.

Well, here we go again. Your anti-kid bias is well known. However, the larger issue, as I see it, is that you don't trust the kind of people who *might* bring a child to such an event (the Saturday meal) to: 1) have sufficient judgment to bring their child only if the child's temperament, etc., suits the venue, and 2) have a management plan in place in case of potentially disruptive behavior. Anti-kid, well, I can accept, and I certainly know that rude parental behavior does occur in restaurants, but in this case I believe your attitude is ultimately anti-eGullet parent. Frankly, I would much rather you not attend the Saturday meal than have a parent not attend because they need (or want (gasp!)) to bring their child.

FWIW, I've been at every Gathering except KC and Cleveland--including the first one in GR, where we had a three-year-old-ish child in attendance. To the best of my recollection, not once was there any child-related disruption, even a minor one.

Alex,

You touch on what I believe is the key here: history. I've been to most of these gatherings and cannot recall a single child-related problem at any of them (though, I do recall a few grown-up ones :wink:). In fact, I think there would be uniform agreement among the attendees of the previous gatherings about this, but perhaps I'm forgetting something. And even if I am, it's fairly clear that such instances are not deal-breakers for most folks. However, I agree that in this case, the concern over children isn't a genuine concern about children at all. It's actually the concern of one person about the parents who might attend this event -- and it's a concern which completely ignores the well-known history of these gatherings. So, here we are talking about a theoretical problem that has never once surfaced at a Heartland Gathering...again.

I learned long ago that when you jump into an ongoing thing -- any ongoing thing -- it's best to assess it and decide whether you are a good fit for it. You do not impose your will upon it, especially if you have never participated in it before. That seems so simple to me, so fundamental, that I'm shocked when I encounter people who do not share that perspective. In fact, it definitely bothers me far more than naughty children or neglectful parents do.

I don't know for sure yet if we'll be attending this year but if we do, it'll definitely be me, my wife and my 15-year-old son, who's been attending these events since 2007. If that's enough to scare anyone off, I can live with it, especially since my boy is a seasoned, Heartland Gathering veteran who knows full-well how to comport himself . . . in spite of the shoddy parenting he's received. :wink:

=R=

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I have always considered the gatherings to be about camaraderie first, food second. My best and longest lasting memories of the gatherings I've attended have been of interactions I've had with PEOPLE. And because of that, I think children should be allowed at as many of the events as practicable. The Philadelphia board is one of the few regional boards that still has a strong contingent of long-time posters. I feel like I've gotten to know many of them through their posts, and I, personally, would love to meet not only them, but their families.

Of the three (four?) gatherings I've been to, only one had young children (younger than 10) at the Saturday gathering. I barely remember them (except the vomiting incident, but as I understand it, adults have also vomited at eG gatherings), so they couldn't have been very disruptive at all. And the only other events I remember having young children present were the KC Crum Farm brunch and the Zingerman's bacon brunch in AA (was Tammy's son younger than 10 then?). (Lucas was at almost all the events except the last AA gathering, but I think he was older than 10 when I first met him)

But ultimately, it should be up to the organizers to decide whether to allow children. And perhaps the space of the Saturday dinner (or any of the events, for that matter), should be the primary focus when making that decision. I loved the KC space, but it didn't seem very child-friendly--open kitchen which was (to me) a bit small for the number of people who required it, so prep was spread out everywhere. If PHL is set up similarly and young children are present during most of the prep, this could present safety issues. The Ann Arbor location, however, was in a residential area so kids (and adults) could go out to play when they started to get bored.

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Thanks for the insights, folks.

As I said, I don't plan to bring children to any of the restaurant events. I wouldn't enjoy Zahav if I had to be watching my kids. And they like the food at Han Dynasty, but I wouldn't take them there as part of a big event. I can't imagine the potluck being a problem. Honestly, I've been to enough eGullet events to know that my kids are better behaved than some of the grownups they'll meet. If they get bored, the Reading Terminal Market is great to walk around and look at stuff. And if they're tired or grumpy or whatever, it's like an eight block walk for us to get home; we'll just peel out. Should be fine.


Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)

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Greetings, white lotus here from the Pacific NW... I would love to attend but was wondering whether bringing vegetarian/pescitarian, dairy (but not vegan) spouse Dance to would be an easy fit for Philiadephia. We have had wonderful veggie friendly experiences in past HEARTLANDS but a few of the Cleveland venues last year had slim offerings resulting one hefty dinner bill for a portion of salad & cooked greens. Since I have never been to Philadelphia, I was wondering how amenable your fair city would be for someone who was not carnivorous? Please inform... Regardless, I will make every effort to attend but would have a better time if I could bring Dance. cheers wl :rolleyes:

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white lotus:

We're a mighty veggie friendly city. In fact the Chickie's Veggie Hoagie is duly famous, and recently opened Vedge Restaurant have numerous offerings. Reading Terminal Market has plenty of options, and the Friday evening dinner at Zahav should have many vegetarian options as well. We'd be happy to give you guidance on places to go both on and off the planned events. Capogiro gelato is vegetarian, and you definitely don't want to miss that.

Actually, if anyone else has specific dietary restrictions or allergies we need to know about in advance, please feel free to PM myself or philadining so we can make note of it and let the restaurants know in advance.

In other news, rlibkind has spoken with RTM management and they're stoked to have us. Just waiting to speak to the folks in charge of the kitchen space for a final answer. No exact numbers for rental fees yet, but they seem flexible and conducive to being kind to our group. It occurs to me that we might have to cook in shifts and time this out with military precision, and it being the hell fire of a Philly August, we might want to go for more cold and room temperature dishes that don't require burner and/or oven space. I'm sure we'll be able to work out these logistics as the event approaches and we have more information regarding space available, cooking space available, number of attendees, etc. Meanwhile, let's get psyched up!!!


Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

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I've booked a room at the Residence Inn down the block from RTM, so I'll actually have access to a kitchen there: there might be enough room for someone else to do some prep work there, too.

ETA: white lotus, definitely bring Dance along, the event wouldn't be the same without him!

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Many thanks Katie for taking on the reigns of responsibility for this years Heartland as well as those of you who provide valuable input & efforts towards the success of this event past & present. Also,a thank you to Chris for the green light for Dance & I to proceed in making our plans to attend. As usual, we will make sure to hold up our end that the tea world & other non-alcohol friendly beverages are taken care of for Saturday's feast. There is the possibility that our adult daughter Masumi may be free @ that time to attend as well. Looking forwards to meeting new friends, seeing our old ones & eating with you all. cheers, wl :rolleyes:

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