Guide to Audi Feastival

Audi Feastival preview party photos were taken by Food Photographer and Influencer, Bari of  @baris_belly

Audi Feastival preview party photos were taken by Food Photographer and Influencer, Bari of @baris_belly

On September 26th, one of Philadelphia’s most talked about arts and culinary focused events returns! Audi Feastival is a Philadelphia-based soiree complete with vibrant entertainers, decadent cocktails, and a score of the city’s hottest restaurants adorning guests with an array of delectable small plates. In it’s 10th year, the arts and culinary focused extravaganza will return to the Delaware River Waterfront commencing at one of the Delaware rivers newest additions Cherry Street Pier. Guests will dine and dance with the Benjamin Franklin Bridge as a backdrop, offering picturesque views of the City of Brotherly Love.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending this event in the past and am looking forward to another year! With each year bringing an abundance of new experiences, great cuisine, and long-lasting memories. For those who are attending Audi Feastival for the first time, and are looking how to make the most out of the evening - I have a few quick tips to keep in your pocket!

Featured dishes from the Feastival Preview Party (L to R): Blue Crab - La Croix Restaurant; Whole Roasted Pig - Townsend; Salmon Poké - Poi Dog | Photos by Bari of @baris_belly .

First-timers Guide to Audi Feastival

  1. Check out the list of restaurants before the event. The restaurants participating have been released, and I’m pleased to say a few heavy hitters and newcomers have made the list. My suggestion: Take a gander before the big night. Is there a restaurant you’ve been dying to try? Or a new place that has been the latest buzz? This is your chance to get a taste of what it has to offer. Giving yourself a little preview lets you plan where to set your sights first before you embark on the night.

  2. Dress like your fun, free and best self. The first time I attended Audi Feastival, I was overly concerned about picking the “right outfit” for the “Cocktail Chic” dress code. Although the guest attire will vary greatly that evening, take this as your opportunity to shine. With many photo ops to be had, dress your best in the way you know how! That means, take a chance and throw on that glittery heel, or break out that velvet dinner jacket you’ve been dying to wear. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

  3. Leverage all of your senses. While many people focus on the epic spread of fine fare, I have found that Feastival is a full sensory experience. From flying acrobats and music to vibrant art, there are so many things to see, to listen to and to touch. One of my favorite moments from “Feastivals past” included a live band singing funky theme songs from my favorite 90s shows. This is what makes this event a one-of-a-kind experience.

  4. Pace yourself. There is a lot to do see, drink, and eat, so make sure to take your time. I suggest making a round to all restaurants before going back for seconds. This gives you an opportunity to determine the cuisine and cocktails you love the most, and will help you make a more well rounded decision, when you tackle round two!

  5. Mingle, mingle, mingle! You will quickly find that Feastival is a gathering of all your local celebrities and influencers. It is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with the executive chefs from your favorites restaurants, snag a shot with a local television personality, or just network and make a new friend!

If you’d like to grab a ticket to this epic event, there’s still time! Visit phillyFeastival.com and use code GEO19 for a 20% off discount!

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Diner en Blanc Philadelphia 2019

Many of the photos featured in this post were captured by the wonderful Joe of  Joe Mac Creative .

Many of the photos featured in this post were captured by the wonderful Joe of Joe Mac Creative.

It’s hard to believe that another year of Diner en Blanc has commenced and this year festivities did not disappoint! The annual all white soirée took place at one of Philadelphia’s most beloved sights Boathouse Row. Yours truly, got to cover this memorable affair, getting the opportunity to witness, first hand, the abundance of sights and sounds with this historic landmark as backdrop! Many of the moments featured here were captured by the amazing photographer Joe of Joe Mac Creative ! Be sure to check him out as he does phenomenal work!

About Diner en Blanc

For those who have not had the opportunity to attend Diner en Blanc in the past - here’s a little bit of history on this annual affair. Launched over 30 years ago in Paris, France, Diner en Blanc is now an international event, hosting tens of thousands attendees each year, in major cities across the world. In the United States alone, nearly 30 cities host this extravagant soirée, with each location following the same general recipe: A secret location which is unannounced until attendees arrive and uninterrupted, elegant white attire. With tables and chairs, white table cloths and champagne in tow - guests are led to a “surprise location” where the festivities take place!

About Boathouse Row

As mentioned before, this year’s secret location was the infamous Boathouse Row. With structures dating back to the 19th century, this historic site is home to a small line of boathouses nestled against Kelly Drive. Outlined with string lights providing quite the evening view, you may have caught a glimpse of these infamous boathouses from I-76 as you make your way into Center City. Today, the boathouses are home to a number of Philadelphia-based rowing clubs ,who are able to take advantage of the landmark’s position alongside the Schuylkill river.

The Food

Leading up to the big night, I offered a few quick tips to attendees via my instagram feed to ensure they were prepared to make the most of the big night. Which is often true of Geo’s Table, the tips regarding food were the most popular. Having some fun engaging my followers, I was able to get some awesome recommendations for pastry shops and bakery. Feast Your Eyes catering provided some delicious catered bites for some attendees, and the pictures below highlight some of my personal faves from the event.

The Sights & Sounds

From bocce to a 360 degree photo booth, this year’s event was packed with festivities to keep guests entertained and spirits high! Performers for this years event included: Originaire, Melissa Dunphy, Etta's Baby Boy - Project Philly and Justin The Magician- followed by the Dewdrop Society Band, DJ Mar, Great on Skates, and DJ Sean Smoove, The Event Poet, Rev Michael Alan Portraits, Dandy Wellington & Gin Minsky and, event favorite, Mad Beatz.

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With a third year of attendance under my belt - I am excited to see what the future has in store for Diner en Blanc in Philadelphia and beyond. A special thanks to the team at Philly PR Girl for having me!

For more information regarding Diner en Blanc Philadelphia and how to snag an invite to next year’s event, please visit: philadelphia.dinerenblanc.com

Buy Black Father’s Day Gift Guide 2019

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Father’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s no surprise that I’m obsessing over the perfect gift. My father has been a monumental force in my life and his unwavering support has contributed to who I am today in a million ways. Through him I have learned the art of patience and tact. Ive learned how to lead with kindness and compassion. And today, even when I’m facing the most difficult of situations - my Dad is one I call to provide me with perspective that calms me and helps me to see a “better but believable” alternative.

I often do a “buy black gift guide” for this holiday - but this year I reflected on the strength and perseverance of black father’s who are heavily invested in their children’s success. For the sacrifices you’ve made and the discrimination you’ve fealty with in your efforts to create a better life, I’m here to let you know that you’re appreciated, you’re supported and you deserve some shine! 

One more thing, as a gay man of color I’ve encountered friends and peers who have not had the easiest time coming out to their fathers or father figures in their lives.  Older and theoretically wiser, I am now extremely thankful that this was not my experience. 

From the time I came out, my father made it abundantly clear that I should never feel ashamed. That I should feel more than comfortable talking to him about my relationships, and my trials and my tribulations as a gay male. The weight of this hit me recently  when I finally processed that not everyone has been afforded this blessing.

To this day, my father remains a guiding force in my life that I could not and would not trade.  And even now, as a Black man navigating difference spaces, my father supplies with perspective I didn’t know I needed. His words of wisdom often easing the weight I feel in this world. 

So here’s to a happy Father’s Day 2019 and many more! In honor of my father and all the strong Black men who have taking part in molding me, Geo’s Table brings you a guide full of gifts imagined and created with love by black entrepreneurs! 

Check out the gift guide below! 

 Buy Black Father’s Day Gift Guide

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Table Talks: Chef Lee of Caribbean Silver Palate Supper Club

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Light, fresh, and island-inspired. Although these three words rolled off her tongue as an expression of her cuisine, they were also well-suited to describe the chef herself. Bright and early on a rainy Saturday morning, Chef Lee and I became quick friends, discussing her Vincentian roots, the heart of her cuisine and how she is a pioneer in Baltimore’s Vegan Caribbean Movement. Chef Lee’s vibrancy is not only evident in her beautiful and meticulously plated dishes, but also in the way she shares her love of cuisine with the world. 

Originally from Kingstown, St. Vincent, Chef Lee got an early start in the food industry shadowing her mother who is a chef and restauranteur. As such, her cooking is heavily influenced by the nostalgic fare of her upbringing.  After leaving home and making a move to the United States, Chef Lee admits she became addicted to the Food Network.She notes fondly, “Cooking in the United States felt more refined. As I familiarized myself with more ingredients, I wanted to try them out.”

“Cooking in the United States felt more refined…”

While visiting Caribbean marketplaces provided her with ingredients akin to her home island, Chef Lee began to branch out, exercising her creative muscle in the kitchen to make Caribbean fare with ingredients more popular here in the states. As cooking became a growing passion, Chef Lee eventually took the big leap and enrolled in Escoffier School of Culinary Arts to become a trained chef. During this period, Chef Lee expressed that these experiences did not only elevate her cooking technique, but also how she talks about and describes food as well as the ways in which it can be presented. This was just the beginning of her journey.

 Awe-inspired by how effortlessly she built her plates, I was initially drawn to Chef Lee through her Instagram gallery on @platedbyleshe. Of her strategies for plating, she has some standard rules: Your vessel (plate, bowl, slate) is everything. The size, shape and color of the vessel can takeaway or add to a dish.  Plate items in odd numbers to draw attention to the dish. Add some color and freshness to create emotion.

“Your vessel is everything.”

Last summer, Chef Lee ventured into a new space alongside her partner, Sherry, launching the Caribbean Silver Palate, a vegan Caribbean Supper Club that features innovative and refined takes on Caribbean cuisine. From intimate three course dinners to small snack buffets featuring Saltfish Fritters, Pumpkin Fritters, and Cheese Sandwiches, Chef Lee’s intent is for each event to be a one of a kind social experience. The Caribbean Silver Palate has a simple recipe, people connect over good food, and get exposed to a different side of Caribbean culture. Each event has grown in popularity, and she looks forward to her next event planned for later this year: Edible Oasis, a culinary tour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

While being a vegan Caribbean chef may seem like a niche, she has been very successful , emphasizing that her personal style, and flavor profiles are what sets her apart. “Seeing how intrigued [my customers] are by the fact that vegan food could taste this good is always a rewarding experience.”

Constantly thinking outside of the box, like using jackfruit as a replacement for cod or creating or refreshing lemon pasta with vegan butter, Chef Lee has one simple tip for those looking to elevate their vegan cooking game or transition to a vegan lifestyle, “NEVER compromise on FLAVOR!” She explains further “Simply massaging your kale with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper can add great flavor! Good flavor is the easiest way to transition to a vegan diet.”

“Good flavor is the easiest way to transition to a vegan diet…”

Chef Lee is very optimistic about the future, and she credits her mother’s success and encouragement as her inspiration to keep going. She admits “Sometimes it’s difficult being a vegan chef, and being new to the culinary industry, in a whole different country. Do I sit on with what everyone is doing, or do I just stick to what it is that I really want to do. Sometimes it’s like that.” It’s evident that staying true to herself has contributed greatly to her accomplishments, and will continue to drive her accomplishments in the future.

For more information on Chef Lee, and the Caribbean Silver Palette Supper Club, visit: leshestyle.com or her instagram account @platedbyleshe.

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Flavorful Curry Mashed Potatoes

Flavorful Curry Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes! A side dish that doesn’t often grace my dinner table, but when it does I like to do it big! Fortunately for me, mashed potatoes are one of those side dishes that can be made in a multitude of ways, and lend themselves well to a variety of seasonings or mix-in.

This particular recipes elevates a simple mashed potato recipe, by utilizing a Trinidadian Curry Spice Blend I found at a local black-owned spice store called The Spice Rack . This spice gave this dish a powerful pack of flavor, and also adding a twinge of heat to each bite. It also gave it an appealing yellow color, that had my dinner guest salivating at first sight.

Although I purchased a premix blend (which I highly recommend and is included in this recipe). I spoke to a few of my West Indian friends (some of which are from Trinidad), and they gave me some insight on what makes the perfect spice blend for this type of dish. They informed me that when it comes to a traditional Trinidadian curry, two of the main ingredients are often cumin and coriander. The bright yellow coloring comes from tumeric (the more yellow the tumeric powder the better). Although there are different variations on this blend, a few also recommended cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper for a little bit of heat.

As a special note I added about two tablespoons of coconut milk to give a hint of the coconut flavor. I also cooked my potatoes in Chicken Broth with some water, for additional flavoring.

I hope you enjoy!

Curry Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Time: 30 Minutes | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 -7 Yukon Gold Potatoes (Peeled and Halved)

  • 4 Cups of Chicken of Chicken Broth

  • 1 Stick Salted Butter

  • 3/4 Cup Evaporated Milk

  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Spice Rack, Trinidadian Curry Spice (or any Curry Powder you can find that you like)

  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot with Chicken Broth and add potatoes. You may add water or additional chicken broth to ensure the potatoes are completely covered with water.

  2. Boil potatoes on medium heat until tender. Approximately 15-20 minutes. (Use a fork to test tenderness)

  3. Drain potatoes, and place in a large bowl. Add butter, evaporated milk, coconut milk and Trinidadian Curry Spice, and salt to bowl.

  4. Using a potato masher or standing mixer, mix ingredients together until thoroughly blended.

  5. Once done you may add additional salt or pepper to taste.

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