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KatieLoeb

PLAN: "Heartland" Gathering (In Philly) 2012

306 posts in this topic

Regarding costs, the RTM will charge $100 to $200 for after-hours use of the Nichols Room.

Anna Florio hasn't got back to me on costs ( she's in Italy til Aug 2) for use of La Cucina kitchen facilities. But I think we should be prepared for $200 minimum (just a guess on my part), making it a total of about $400 for pot luck rental costs. That means if we get 20 people cost could be $20 pp.

Historically I think our numbers have been more like 30-35 people in attendance for the Saturday Feast, though of course having the event in Philly may mean that all bets are off in that regard. We'll have to decide on a food budget once we know exactly what the space is going to cost and how many people will be attending: although it gets referred to as a potluck, it's really not one. The organizer typically collects money ahead of time and then distributes it out to the cooks for ingredient costs (this is definitely one area where EventBrite would come in handy, especially if it looks like we are going to approach the space's capacity). For those considering cooking for the event, you might consider a room at the Residence Inn: it's only about a block from RTM, and the rooms have kitchens. That would let some people get a head start so we've got some apps and whatnot ready to go as soon as we get into the space.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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My attendance:

Friday dinner (1)

Saturday RTM day event (1)

Saturday night potluck (1)


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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OK - lots of news on this today. I heard back from Chef Solomonov today. They are very excited to have us and will be putting out a feast for us to share, which will have many vegetarian options. The Mesibah dinner for a group is $48/person with tax, gratuity and beverages not inclusive. I received an email from their events coordinator regarding this. I will reply and ask if they can give us a flat rate that includes tax and gratuity to make this all a bit easier. Drinks can be on a cash and carry basis or we can start our own tabs so the non-drinkers do not have to support the rest of us unfairly. The private dining room seats a maximum of 25 people.

Small hitch. Because it's a Friday night, there is a minimum "spend" of $3000 for use of the private dining room at prime time. Understandable, as this is one of the busiest restaurants in town, with good cause. The food is unique and delicious. Our group would not be able to reach that minimum without a huge bar bill, which doesn't work for our group. However, if we start dinner at 9:15pm there's no minimum. A little late, but since it's family style salads and apps first, we should move along at a comfortable pace. I kind of prefer to eat on the later side so that works for me. I will be happy to put down the deposit on my credit card to guarantee our reservation. But I'd like to firm this up soon as I'll be unavailable for most of next week. I don't know what the cost per person was at past "fancy" dinners during Heartland Gatherings. At $48/person + 8% tax + 20% gratuity that comes out to $61.20/person. If I can speak to the event coordinator and Chef Solomonov and ask for that flat rate of $65 or $70/person and ask them to go above and beyond the "usual" menu this will be truly spectacular. A link to the usual mesibah tasting menu can be found here. According to the info I received today menu includes:

1. Six assorted salads and hummus with fresh laffa bread

2. Approximately six of our favorite appetizers in quantities so that all guests can enjoy

3. Three family style entrees (lamb, chicken and eggplant)

4. Dessert for each guest

Everyone let me know your thoughts on this.

In other news, the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival is the same day as we were planning our Potluck. This means the RTM will be crowded, but it's a really great festival and a lot of fun. If we shift everything a bit later (especially after our later dinner on Friday at Zahav) and start out at say 2PM at RTM, we can have Bob Libkind take us on a guided tour of the market, we'll have the seats in the piano court for a late lunch of PA Dutch treats or whatever vendors strike our fancy (get thee your cheesesteaks and Roast Pork sandwiches now!) and then have the Rick Nichols room and kitchen available to us in the late afternoon to start our preparations. And still have a couple of hours of the market vendors being open for last minute purchases at the best pantry in the city right outside the doors. Folks can take the morning or early afternoon to explore some of the other fine historical or cultural sites in the city like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Constitution Center, Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute or the Rodin Museum. There's so much to see here I don't want to overschedule our eating to the point that our visiting friends don't get to see the city at all.

If we really try to make this as much of a true "potluck" as possible, with advance preparations taking place in hotel kitchens or at the kitchens of our locals, this should work out really well. The inevitable delays of trying to make elaborate meals come out in a timely fashion can be avoided and we can really enjoy each other's company and truly break bread rather than wait for bread to bake! We utilize the kitchen for prep, reheating and plating for the most part. It will be August in Philly and big heavy meals aren't really the best choice anyway. Rather than preparing an elaborate stuffed fish fillet for an entree, perhaps think along the lines of a ceviche that's ready in a couple of hours. We'll have wonderful fresh produce and proteins at our fingertips. It's just a matter of smarter menu planning. And coordinating the logistics. But I think this can be done. And I have every confidence the results will be spectacular. Again, let me know your thoughts on this.

Lastly, the Sunday brunch will be at 11:30am on Sunday at Han Dynasty in Old City. My boss assures me he'll be pulling out all the stops for this. Costs should be in the $25-30/person range. I'll get confirmation as soon as I see my manager this weekend.

So that's the latest. Lots of news! Everybody let me know what you think, but I think this is shaping up to be a fun weekend! Looking forward to seeing you all there!


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I just found the coolest thing online. Anyone ever heard of Strayboots.com?? I think I'm going to check this out when I'm travelling next. But I think it could be a totally fun thing to do during the Heartland Gathering. I've lived in Philly for a really long time. Lived longer here than I haven't, in fact. I'd love to find a new side of my city and I think doing an Amazing Race type trivia tour/treasure hunt would be a really fun activity. We'll have some time Friday morning or late afternoon to perhaps explore this idea. We could do the tour of Old City before our dinner at Zahav perhaps. The beauty of this idea is that it's totally flexible timing wise. Could be a blast. What do you think?


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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So (Katie/Bob, please correct me if I'm wrong here...) cost-wise we are currently looking at:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

evening: TBA

Friday, August 10, 2012

morning/early afternoon: tour of Italian Market and sandwiches for lunch at Paesano's

~$10

evening: Dinner at Zahav

$70

Saturday, August 11, 2012

morning/early afternoon: RTM

~$10

evening: dinner at Reading Terminal Market Rick Nichols Room

$20 + food cost (estimate at $30)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

morning/early afternoon: Szechuan brunch, Han Dynasty

$30

Total for all meals Friday-Sunday is therefore something in the neighborhood of $170 per person plus beverages.

(Also, my plus one and I will be doing tourist/family stuff on our own during downtime between meals, so no interest on other planned tourist stuff)


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris:

Those are good ballpark figures. I'll be as specific as possible as soon as I hear back from everyone else with numbers etched in stone. I sent an email to the event coordinator at Zahav and asked about a flat $65 or $75/person charge inclusive of tax and gratuity and with the kitchen adding a little extra somethin' somethin' to the regular tasting menu. I'm also going to find out the cost for a guided group tour of the Italian Market given by a local author that wrote the Italian Market Cookbook. Maybe we could do that in the early afternoon on Friday, still have sandwiches at Paesano's, have time for a gelato at Capogiro for dessert, do the StrayBoots tour of Old City in the late afternoon and have time still to shower and change for our slightly later dinner. Sound like a plan??


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Have just found out that this is happening in my back yard... count me in for everything. (Why is this planning happening on the midwest board? I never read here, and there's been no mention on the PA board that has caught my attention...)


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Chris:

The thread just got moved here. Makes sense although I'm still a bit confused as to how we qualify as "Heartland". But excited for the events we have lined up. Should be a blast and I'm really looking forward to all of it. Glad you'll be joining us!


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I'll be somewhat incommunicado for the next few days. If anyone has any serious issues, please inbox me with a private message or email me. Otherwise, I'll set up the EventBrite stuff next weekend or early next week and we can start getting some committments for each event.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Just noticed that our get-together weekend coincides with an annual event out in the countryside by me. The http://goschenhoppen...k-festival.html is happening on the 10th and 11th. Folks up for an automotive expedition out into historical PA Dutch country could get a taste of a number of old fashioned PA Dutch foodways... they usually have somebody doing a 18thC and a 19thC butchering of pig/cow, tasty stuff like ground cherry pie, and plenty of other things of interest to food-loving folks.

Our schedule seems to permit some time wandering the world, and those coming in might get a kick out of it. It would be about an hour's drive from Center City.


Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Am sorry, VERY sorry, to say that my best-laid plans to attend and spend real time in Philly for the first time since I moved away have been pre-empted by mini-crisis at work calling all hands back early. Really disappointed not to meeting you all in one of my favorite places.

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That weekend doesn't work for me either. :( Would have loved to see the Philly Folks again. I might just have to plan another trip up there, maybe in the fall.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I'm happy the thread has moved here; since I seldom venture beyond the PA forums, I discovered it only last week.

The not-so-fighting Phillies are home against St. Louis that weekend. Although technically sold out, ample seats and standing room should be available due to my compound adjective in the previous sentence.

Our events should be much more fullfilling, anyway. I expect to participate extensively; I'll post details once I coordinate with several potential co-conspirators.


Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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I'm out of town. Sadly.

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Since I can't edit my old post: a change. It'll just be me at Zahav (too late for my +1). Han Dynasty will be me +1.

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Query on the RTM "potluck" thing. 1) were I to bring homebrew, would the RTM have issues with alcohol of outside provenance, 2) are we getting any preferential loading/unloading areas?... the idea of schlepping kegs/cases on a SEPTA train seems well past the not-worth-it threshold... as does the idea of paying $20 to park and having to schlep cases/kegs around center city...

I'd imagine others have similar logistical concerns if they're bringing more than a bag of groceries.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Now that I found the thread, count me in for Friday night at Zahav

Sunday brunch at Han Dynasty;

don't know about Saturday yet....

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I don't know about the load in information for the RTM. I'll leave that to rlibkind. I have a message to him awaiting a response.

This just in, however. I have made contact with local historian/cookbook author Celeste Morello. She is available to be our tour guide for the Italian Market on Friday afternoon. Cost is $35/person or $350 for a group of 10 or more people with stops along the way for tastes and her impeccable knowledge of the market. Her tours have been featured in many local and national magazines as the best in the city for the Italian Market. You can read more about it HERE. I would be interested in doing this if others feel the same way. But my budget doesn't include travel expenses, so I don't want to presume on behalf of anyone else's wallets. I certainly think a professionally led tour would be really interesting, and I'm certain I'll learn a lot of things I don't know about the Market even though I'm a local. So what say ye? I told Ms. Morello I'd get back to her after the weekend. Let me know if there's interest in this.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Query on the RTM "potluck" thing. 1) were I to bring homebrew, would the RTM have issues with alcohol of outside provenance, 2) are we getting any preferential loading/unloading areas?... the idea of schlepping kegs/cases on a SEPTA train seems well past the not-worth-it threshold... as does the idea of paying $20 to park and having to schlep cases/kegs around center city...

I'd imagine others have similar logistical concerns if they're bringing more than a bag of groceries.

1. Still waiting to hear back from RTM on ouside alcohol.

2. If unloading is required, arrangements can be made for using the RTM loading area .. but for unloading only. Unlike the Atlantic City on the Monopoly board, there is no free parking in Philadelphia! However, a slightly less expensive garage is operated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA), which charges $18 for 3 to 12 hours; it's located at between 9th and 10th Street, along Filbert St., two blocks from the RTM. The private garages adjacent to the RTM would charge $24 for 2 hours, $29 for 2-to-12 hours.

MOST IMPORTANT REGARDING THE POTLUCK

We're getting use of the RTM facilities at cost (i.e., direct security and maintenance costs) because we'll be buying as many ingredients as possible within the Market. (Except perhaps for the rarest of spices or an incredibly esoteric ingredient, there's hardly anything that can't be found at the RTM.)

As Katie said a year ago upthead: "having it right at Reading Terminal would be like having the world's best pantry laid out at our feet."

Chris Hennes, way upthread, had asked if there's space for about a dozen people to simultaneously cook. Contrary to the info I had before the kitchen was constructed, it can't accommoate a dozen cooks simultaneous. It's a demonstration kitchen, not a production kitchen. I've seen three or four professional chefs work on one dish each there, but that's pretty much the limit. In addition, we won't have access to the kitchen until after 3 p.m. when the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival ends.

To quote Katie from upthread again: "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".

Sounds like a fine idea to me. I also recommend that the active kitchen space be devoted to use by those traveling-from-afar rather than locals. I, for one, plan to make a dish from RTM ingredients at home the day before that would, at most, just require plating at the potluck. Say, gapacho, which benefits from an overnight in the fridge anyway.

Of course, I may be worrying a bit unnecessarily about how to accommodate a dozen cooks and three dozen diners. To update Prasantrin's count, at the current time I see only 9 firm attendees Saturday evening:

Chris Hennes + 1

Tokaris

Prasantrin +1

Kerry Beal

Katie

Noinacs

Me

If there are others who plan to attend the Saturday "pot luck", please post post-haste.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Query on the RTM "potluck" thing. 1) were I to bring homebrew, would the RTM have issues with alcohol of outside provenance, 2) are we getting any preferential loading/unloading areas?... the idea of schlepping kegs/cases on a SEPTA train seems well past the not-worth-it threshold... as does the idea of paying $20 to park and having to schlep cases/kegs around center city...

I'd imagine others have similar logistical concerns if they're bringing more than a bag of groceries.

1. Still waiting to hear back from RTM on ouside alcohol.

2. If unloading is required, arrangements can be made for using the RTM loading area .. but for unloading only. Unlike the Atlantic City on the Monopoly board, there is no free parking in Philadelphia! However, a slightly less expensive garage is operated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA), which charges $18 for 3 to 12 hours; it's located at between 9th and 10th Street, along Filbert St., two blocks from the RTM. The private garages adjacent to the RTM would charge $24 for 2 hours, $29 for 2-to-12 hours.

MOST IMPORTANT REGARDING THE POTLUCK

We're getting use of the RTM facilities at cost (i.e., direct security and maintenance costs) because we'll be buying as many ingredients as possible within the Market. (Except perhaps for the rarest of spices or an incredibly esoteric ingredient, there's hardly anything that can't be found at the RTM.)

As Katie said a year ago upthead: "having it right at Reading Terminal would be like having the world's best pantry laid out at our feet."

Chris Hennes, way upthread, had asked if there's space for about a dozen people to simultaneously cook. Contrary to the info I had before the kitchen was constructed, it can't accommoate a dozen cooks simultaneous. It's a demonstration kitchen, not a production kitchen. I've seen three or four professional chefs work on one dish each there, but that's pretty much the limit. In addition, we won't have access to the kitchen until after 3 p.m. when the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival ends.

To quote Katie from upthread again: "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".

Sounds like a fine idea to me. I also recommend that the active kitchen space be devoted to use by those traveling-from-afar rather than locals. I, for one, plan to make a dish from RTM ingredients at home the day before that would, at most, just require plating at the potluck. Say, gapacho, which benefits from an overnight in the fridge anyway.

Of course, I may be worrying a bit unnecessarily about how to accommodate a dozen cooks and three dozen diners. To update Prasantrin's count, at the current time I see only 9 firm attendees Saturday evening:

Chris Hennes + 1

Tokaris

Prasantrin +1

Kerry Beal

Katie

Noinacs

Me

If there are others who plan to attend the Saturday "pot luck", please post post-haste.

Bob - can I buy kimchi at the market?

I can bring an induction burner - that will allow me to cook in any little corner where we can set up a table.

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I don't know about the load in information for the RTM. I'll leave that to rlibkind. I have a message to him awaiting a response.

This just in, however. I have made contact with local historian/cookbook author Celeste Morello. She is available to be our tour guide for the Italian Market on Friday afternoon. Cost is $35/person or $350 for a group of 10 or more people with stops along the way for tastes and her impeccable knowledge of the market. Her tours have been featured in many local and national magazines as the best in the city for the Italian Market. You can read more about it HERE. I would be interested in doing this if others feel the same way. But my budget doesn't include travel expenses, so I don't want to presume on behalf of anyone else's wallets. I certainly think a professionally led tour would be really interesting, and I'm certain I'll learn a lot of things I don't know about the Market even though I'm a local. So what say ye? I told Ms. Morello I'd get back to her after the weekend. Let me know if there's interest in this.

I think we'd attend if others were going, but I'm not a big fan of formal tours. I figured I'd stand in Fante's drooling for an hour or two...


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Sorry for jumping is so late. Almost missed the thread until it was brought to my attention yesterday.

Would love to join everyone for Friday's dinner at Zahav, if it is not too late.

Unfurtunately have prior commitments for Sat

Might be able to join for brunch (maybe +1). Will confirm a little later.

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Of course, I may be worrying a bit unnecessarily about how to accommodate a dozen cooks and three dozen diners. To update Prasantrin's count, at the current time I see only 9 firm attendees Saturday evening:

Chris Hennes + 1

Tokaris

Prasantrin +1

Kerry Beal

Katie

Noinacs

Me

If there are others who plan to attend the Saturday "pot luck", please post post-haste.

Aw, maybe everyone's afraid of my cooking! You don't have to cook to attend, and I won't feel (too) bad if you won't eat whatever it is I decide to make.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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