I made a mental note not to eat breakfast or lunch on Thursday, September 18.
That was the day I had been waiting for, as that night was the cultural event of the year: Audi Feastival, or as locals call it, Philly Feastival. The fresh fall air was as crisp as cider, and the closer I got to Penn's Landing, the more I began to smell pork, and lots of it.
A benefit for FringeArts, Feastival was a sold-out event filled with executive chefs presenting their best dishes and bars serving their highest-caliber cocktails. Now in its fifth year, it showcased Philadelphia’s most influential business leaders and culinary minds while highlighting cutting-edge artistic performances and world-class restaurants. Tickets were $250, and all proceeds were donated towards FringeArts, which commissions, develops, and presents a range of high-quality contemporary arts throughout the city.
Daniel Comly, marketing director of FringeArts, welcomed guests as they checked into Feastival, which he described as “the best bites from the best restaurants. It is what makes this event the best.”
A layout that resembled a tapas-style buffet was filled with dishes from 80 of the best restaurants in Philadelphia, which included miniature burgers from Charlie Was A Sinner and Tela’s Market & Kitchen, and spoon bites from Sampan and Volvér. My favorite dish was Noord’s braised pork bitterballen, a fried pork meatball that was an explosion of flavor. The seasoning was balanced and the consistency was everything that I wanted in the bite. Of the astounding number of pork dishes presented, Noord’s beat them all in my book.
The selection of plates was varied and voluminous; from Middle Eastern fare, to Mainland Chinese, to European, to American soul food dishes, co-hosts Mike Solomonov, Stephen Starr, and Audrey Claire Taichman did a solid job selecting the participating restaurants. As Solomonov, chef and co-owner of Zahav and the sweet and savory Federal Donuts, said, “The representation of Philly is eclectic. We want a diverse group of restaurants and chefs that support the live arts.”
This event showed how the crème de la crème of Philly chefs work together to give back to the community, and in a way, showed their modesty along with their talents. Thanks to Feastival, I now have a notepad filled with prospective future dinner adventures.