Palate Pleasers

Food and wine events to top off your week and weekend.
PLUS: Organic cocktails and a world selection of champagne.

An organic cocktail from Positano CoastGo Ahead, Burst My Bubble

Tonight, Nov. 13, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the Ballroom at the Ben will be bubbling over with a vibrant selection of champagnes—many of which the general public wouldn’t normally have access to. Dubbed Phiz Fest, this public tasting is the first-ever event of its kind in the Philadelphia area, created to highlight the world’s finest champagnes and educate both novices and aficionados about this effervescent beverage’s versatility with a variety of meals and occasions.

Participants will also nibble on champagne-friendly appetizers, cheeses and foods prepared by area restaurants, while listening to Marnie Old, wine and spirits gal about town, demystify and expound on the virtues of this elegant beverage.

Consider it “Bubblenomics 101.”

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Tickets are $85 in advance, $95 at the door. Net proceeds benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. For more, visit

Eco-friendly Vines and Spirits

On Friday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m., the wine enthusiasts at Cosimo will host Montinore Estate’s owner, Rudy Marchesi, who will be in the house for a special food and wine pairing. The dinner includes five courses, thoughtfully designed by Cosimo’s culinary team (chef Stephen Delaney, sous chef Donald Dzierzak and pastry chef Andrea Schwob), paired with the flavors and textures of Montinore’s five featured wines.

Marchesi is renowned for his organic approach to the wine-making process, taking special care of his vineyards in order to produce wines that are not only delicious but also good for the environment and the community that surrounds the 230-acre estate. Earlier this year, the estate earned Demeter Biodynamic Certification and is now one of only seven Demeter-certified wineries in Oregon. (For more on Demeter, the only certification agent for Biodynamic farms, processors and products in the U.S., visit

$100/person, plus tax and gratuity. R.S.V.P. thru Nov. 14. Call (610) 647-1233 or e-mail Cosimo Restaurant & Wine Bar, 209 Lancaster Ave., Malvern. For more, visit

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La Vie en RoseAlso on the Organic Bandwagon

Old City’s Positano Coast began offering an organic cocktail menu earlier this month. Created by mixologists Andres Sanchez and Israel Nocelo, the menu features eight innovative cocktails made with unique liquors and organic purees and garnishes.

I’m salivating just from the descriptions:

Winter Spice made with Highland Harvest organic scotch whiskey, pumpkin spice liquor, Monin organic pumpkin spice syrup, lime juice and essence of Solerno; La Vie en Rose, which features G vine, a gin made only in France, lime, pine, cucumber and Juniper Berries; and the Go Green made with Papagayo organic rum, organic kiwi puree, St. Germaine elderflower liquor, agave nectar, fresh lime juice and tarragon.

In addition to using natural and organically grown cocktail ingredients, Positano Coast is also working toward serving only sustainable seafood. Currently, about 80 percent of its fish—including clams, crabs, mussels, octopus, oysters, Pacific black cod, prawns, rock lobster, shrimp, squid, striped bass and uni—comes from sustainable sources.

Hard not to like a chef (Pippo Lamberti) with an eye on eco-preservation.

212 Walnut St., second floor, Philadelphia. For more, call (215) 238-0499 or visit

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Remarkable Women of Wine and Food

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts honors 10 remarkable women of wine and food to mark its 10th annual Bacchanal! wine gala and auction. The Academy’s flagship wine affair raises up to $400,000 annually to support student scholarships and education programs.

Among the pioneering women to be honored are Margrit Mondavi of Robert Mondavi Wineries, Christina Mariani-May of Banfi Vintners and Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards. One of the evening’s highlights is an exquisite pairing of wines from the honorees and dinner by celebrity chef Lynn Crawford of the Four Seasons in New York.

More than 300 art and wine enthusiasts will attend Bacchanal! 2008 to enjoy the museum’s galleries, participate in exclusive tastings, and bid for fine wines and luxury auction items.

6 p.m. Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, 128 N. Broad St., Philadelphia. For more, call (215) 972-2037, visit or e-mail director of wine events Judite Morais at

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

On Sunday, Nov. 16, from 2-6 p.m., Saint Peter’s Village invites you to come enjoy an afternoon of arts, eats and wine—food from the Inn, wines from around the world and works from local artisans. Begin the festival by checking in at the inn for your bracelet and sampling some hors d’oeuvres paired with wines. Continue your journey through the Village, stopping by the Bakery to sample desserts and dessert wines, and then by the Art Gallery for wine and cheese.

$60 (tax and service included). For more, call (610) 469-2600 or visit

Cuba Libre's lobster paellaYouTube Isn’t Just for Teens, You Know

Cuba Libre’s chef, Guillermo Pernot, has upped his visibility—and viewers’ cooking skills—with a YouTube seafood and lobster paella demonstration. In addition, Pernot is offering a complete paella kit ($25) for sale at the restaurant so you can follow along. Both Cuba Libre locations (Philadelphia and Atlantic City) have been hosting Paella on Mondays since mid-September.

If you don’t like paella, a) you’re crazy, and b) don’t go—or go, but plan to get drunk—because it’s all the kitchen is serving on Mondays from now through the end of the year.

Pernot’s flavorful Valenciana-style paella includes a mouth-watering variety of ingredients, such as shrimp, chorizo, monkfish, mussels, clams and Maine lobster. The meal also features a watercress salad, a half-pitcher of red or white sangria house-made with Cuba Libre premium spiced rum, South American and Spanish wines, and fresh seasonal fruits.

$60 for two. Check out the menu at For more, call (215) 627-0666 (Philadelphia) or (609) 348-6700 (A.C.).

Let Them Eat Lobster

Just in case you happened to receive a check from the Tax Man this week and feel like stepping out, Nectar‘s Patrick Feury is at the ready with a decadent lobster menu and daily deliveries of fresh Nova Scotia lobster. So what if it’s a recession? You got a refund; get out there and celebrate. Lobster sliders? Can you take my order, please?

To start:
• Lobster spring roll, pickled green tomato salad ($11)
• Lobster sliders (3), Nova Scotia lobster, house smoked bacon, tomato ($12)

• Butter poached lobster pad Thai ($29)
• Wok lobster, asparagus, black truffle potato tart ($29)
• Wok lobster, beef tenderloin, asparagus, chive blossom ($29)

1091 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn. For more, call (610) 725-9000 or visit

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!