In a city with no shortage of culinary events, it would be easy to make the mistake of overlooking the Audi Feastival as just another in the sea of small plates, unlimited drinks, and fancy (wealthy) people. Corporate sponsorship attached to the event name can have that effect.
Feastival, however, continues to be a much more lively and relaxed experience than many of its ilk — this year's atmospheric new setting at Penn's Landing, beautiful fall weather, and extensive cocktail options all probably helped contribute to this judgment. And, of course, the event carries some serious culinary cred.
Hosts Mike Solomonov, Audrey Claire Taichman, and Stephen Starr pose for pictures after kicking off the event.
Benefiting Fringe Arts, Feastival combined food and drink from some of the cities best restaurants and bars — name a place, they were there — and Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic performances throughout the crowd. Sponsor Audi also had several cars parked among the tables, creating great photo opportunities (and brand placement, of course).
Top Chef bros Travis Masar and Jason Cichonski pose for the cameras.
These fried pig ear lettuce wraps are pretty much a classic by now, and can be had at Alla Spina.
A few favorite dishes from the evening included Bing Bing's pastrami bao buns, carnitas tacos from El Vez, Mamou's NOLA BBQ shrimp, pork belly from Bar Ferdinand, fried pig ear lettuce wraps from Alla Spina, and Zama's yuzu miso salmon. Unfortunately, you'd have to have the stomach capacity of Joey Chestnut to sample from every single table; for the inquisitive, a full menu can be found here.
L to R: DJ Emil; Farmer's Road Drive Thru serving up PB&J cotton candy; Mike Solo's expression should not be taken as an accurate representation of ambient fun levels.
On the beverage front, Philly's favorite bartenders hustled to serve up wine and signature cocktails to a thirsty audience. Amongst others, great drinks came from Vintage, Society Hill Society, Emmanuelle, and 1 Tippling Place. South Street's Twisted Tail provided a nice visual flair with their dry-ice-shaken Fig Tree Bramble.
With drink service continuing after most tables had closed up shop (or ran out of food) for the night, the bar area became the central hub for the party.
It is worth mentioning that events like this are never cheap — with a $250 ticket equaling a fairly extravagant night out (for two) at most of the city's top restaurants. But a benefit's end goal is to raise money for a great cause - previous years Feastival's have generated $1.5 million for the FringeArts – and Feastival continues to be a great way to help keep Philly's arts vibrant.
Pictured: PALPABLE FUN.
The Poi Dog cart provided crucial bibingka rations.
— Dan McKay
· All Feastival Coverage [-EPHI-]