Last month, I received an intriguing and well-wrapped parcel in the mail from Deborah Kwan Public Relations (DKPR). A few rips and tears later revealed three cellophane bags filled with petite cookies. With the snip of a pair of scissors, my immediate breathing space was perfumed with the scent of butter, sugar, oats and dried fruits.
The cookies—a sampling of natural, preservative-free cranberry and orange rooibos shortbreads and granola fruit “Krunchis” from Philadelphia-based Khaya (ki-ya, the Xhosa word for home) Cookie Company—were the gift of company founder Alicia Polak, a former investment banker turned social entrepreneur.
The sweet treats were compelling on their own for their earthy-healthy flavor and toothsome texture, but upon reading the enclosed PR information, I learned something pretty cool: Polak founded the company in collaboration with the Wharton Societal Wealth Program to help create sustainable job opportunities and job skills training for people living in the winelands region of South Africa. The cookies feature indigenous ingredients like rooibos extract and grape seed powder blended with locally grown dates and organic apricots, eggs, rolled oats and seeds. For every 150,000 boxes of cookies sold, 100 jobs are created.
In 2007, Food Network Awards named Polak the 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year, and later this year, she will be featured on CNN’s “Small and Global.”
You can sample these cookies yourself by purchasing them online at khayacookies.com or from retailers like Fork: etc. (308 Market St., Philadelphia) and Bacchus Market (Rittenhouse Square, 2300 Spruce St., Philadelphia).
Yummy cookies and making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate is so worth the calories and shipping costs.
As if First Fridays weren’t enough, Savona’s master mixologist, Pablo “Papi” Hurtado, is taking things one step further with Cocktail Week, beginning, well, the first week of November (and returning the first week of each month thereafter).
A newbie of sorts to Savona, Hurtado joined the team last summer after his return from Europe, where he worked at some of London’s top venues. His specialty is Latin spirits, but he’s well seasoned with the classics, as evidenced by the innovative creations below.
Here’s a sampling of the lip-smacking cocktails (4 ounces each) that you can savor the first Monday-Thursday of each month (all you need is an adventurous palate and $15 for a flight of any three):
• Apple Pie Martini Premium vodka, apple liqueur, apricot liqueur, cinnamon and sugar cane infusion, and fresh apples
• Daiquiri Premium rum, sugar cane syrup and fresh-squeezed lime juice
• Espresso Martini Premium vodka, Kahlúa, espresso, Godiva chocolate liqueur and sugar cane syrup
• Golden Drew (in honor of Chef Andrew Masciangelo) Premium vodka, Galliano, fresh-squeezed orange juice, Cointreau and peach liquor
• Mi Passion Premium vodka, passion syrup, fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice, sugar cane syrup, Cointreau and fresh passion fruit
• Mojito White rum, sugar cane syrup, fresh-squeezed lime juice and mint leaves
• Papi’s Margarita Premium tequila, Cointreau, agave syrup and fresh-squeezed lime juice
• Punch Premium rum, fresh-squeezed lime juice, angostura bitters, Maraschino cherry and syrup
• Raspberry Martini Premium vodka, sugar cane syrup, fresh raspberries, raspberry puree, fresh-squeezed lime juice and Chambord
• Ultimate Mai Tai Premium rum, amaretto, fresh-squeezed lime juice, sugar cane syrup and pineapple sorbet
100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills; (610) 520-1200, savonarestaurant.com
Spend a Little in Gas; Save a Lot on Sustenance … with these meal deals at McGillin’s Olde Ale House—the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia. Every lunch comes with a free cup of soup from an old-fashioned self-serve kettle. On Wednesdays, you can down two tacos for $1, and on Saturdays, you can get a 6-ounce sirloin steak for just $5 (add a side salad for 99 cents). You have to drive a bit farther for this one, but since its owners are from Narberth, you’ll still get points for supporting the local economy. 1310 Drury St., Philadelphia; (215) 735-5562, mcgillins.com
Worth the Drive Wining and Dining Downtown: On Friday, Nov. 7, The Oceanaire Seafood Room (1700 Walnut St.) and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates will co-host a decadent five-course wine dinner, featuring intriguing pairings like executive chef David Wiederholt’s Dutch Harbor Red King Crab Salad and Chateau Ste. Michelle Frizzante; Crusted Rhode Island Striped Bass and Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay Ethos; and Roasted Pears and Mascarpone with Chateau Ste. Michelle White Reisling Ice Wine Reserve—all for a fairly reasonable price of $65. Call (215) 625-8862 or visit theoceanaire.com.
The Grapes of Joy: Celebrate the end of the Brandywine Valley’s 2008 harvest (and those negative campaign ads) with wine and song, plus meet the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail members, at the annual Vintners’ Dinner Celebration. This not-to-be-missed event takes place in Longwood Gardens’ eye-catching East Conservatory and Ballroom (Route 1, Kennett Square). The night features a wine reception with hors d’oeuvres and a pianist, guest speaker and winemaker Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery, an elegant dinner paired with BVWT wines, dancing to the Brass Ensemble of the Kennett Symphony of Chester County, and a silent auction benefiting The Little Rock Foundation. 6:30 p.m.-midnight. $135/person. Black-tie optional. Seating is limited, and tickets may not still be available. (However, in this economy, you just might get a break.) Call (866) 390-4367 or (610) 444-3842, or use this online form.
Get Your Game On: On Friday, Nov. 14, join the staff of the General Warren Inne for an Autumn Game and Wine Dinner featuring a wonderful cold-weather menu (below) and wine selection to get you ready for the season of hunkering down with hearty fare and blazing fires. 7 p.m. $95/person (plus 6-percent sales tax and 18-percent gratuity). Old Lancaster Highway, Malvern; (610) 296-3637, generalwarren.com.
• Grilled Game Sausage Plate, pickled cabbage, apple-smoked bacon, whole grain mustard and aged sherry vinegar; Merryvale “Starmont” Chardonnay
• Smoked Venison Soup, gruyere cheese crouton; Merryvale “Starmont” Chardonnay
• Pan-roasted herb-marinated quail, grilled romaine, pancetta, sage, toasted pine nuts and honey broken cornbread; Churton Pinot Noir
• Grilled Buffalo Wellington, wild mushroom chestnut puree, celery root puree, asparagus red currant rosemary jus; Kunde Syrah
• Warm Apple Strudel, with caramel apple sauce, spiced apples and currents in phyllo; Santa Julia Tardio “Late Harvest”
At Teikoku, Green Is the Color of Money—and Organic Wine: The staff at Teikoku says, put down that wheat grass juice, kick off your Birkenstocks, and join us on Nov. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for an organic wine mixer hosted by wine educator and consultant Erika Gottron of Capitol Wine and Spirits. Executive chef Takao Iinuma will pair the evening’s wines with a sampling of small plates:
• Sushi: tuna, white fish, salmon, Saba and California roll
Recommended pairing: True Earth Chardonnay, Mendocino, California
• Thai flavored crab cake: jumbo lump crabmeat in a galangal coconut cream
Recommended pairing: Bonterra Viognier, Mendocino, California
• House roasted chicken salad: mixed greens, French fries in a truffle vinaigrette
Recommended pairing: True Earth Red, Mendocino, California
• Sautéed diver scallop: with sauce a la Americaine over a cheese risotto
Recommended pairing: Bonterra Zinfandel, Mendocino, California
$35/person (all-inclusive). 5492 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; (610) 644-8270, teikokurestaurant.com.