Feastival 2012 Draws Foodies and Raises Funds for Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe

(L to R) Stephen Starr, publisher John Colabelli, realtor Allan Domb

This week restaurateurs Audrey Claire Taichman, Stephen Starr and Michael Solomonov hosted FEASTIVAL 2012 at Pier 9 on Philadelphia's riverfront. 950 foodies and $450,000 later, the annual event clearly did what it was supposed to do: raise funds for the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.

Now in its third year, FEASTIVAL 2012 took place on September 12 and showcased over ninety of Philadelphia's finest chefs and restaurants, performers from Brian Sanders' JUNK trampoline act, tall spinning acrobats, and bare lady dancers.

La Calaca Feliz served a sensational "Calaca Dog" with smoked bacon, house made chorizo, refried beans, chipotle cole slaw, avocado, crema and pico de gallo. Where sandwiches were concerned, Percy Street Barbecue's brisket and sauerkraut was tops. Monsu’s chestnut pancake with spicy shrimp, proscuitto and sicialian tomato marmalata was impressive. Tashan served a pan seared diver scallop with a mildly spicy green tomato chutney, and also a Malai Koffa lollipop with cashew-tomato sauce - both were out of this world. Stateside had a vodka-cured Skuma Bay salmon with crispy horseradish curls, pickled shishito pepper and melon that was delicious. The rabbit agnolotti from Le Virtu, and the braised rabbit with white beans from Bar Ferdinand were both wonderful. The lamb and kale meatballs from Talula’s Garden were great, but D’Angelo’s Sicilian meatballs (available fried without gravy, or in chunky tomato sauce) were so much like home I nearly cried with my mouth full.

Chefs from Brauhaus Schmitz
Despite my enthusiasm for the aforementioned items, I mostly found myself returning to Marigold Kitchen’s pork terrine, Melograno's crispy chicken liver, and my favorite item from FEASTIVAL 2012, Brauhaus Schmitz’s fois gras liverwurst with red currants - I ate three of them.

Philly food king Stephen Starr, one of the night’s founders, had the run of one long corridor of restaurants and showed off a handsome list of menu items. Dandelion had a pork rillette with grain mustard, porcini mushrooms and pear-shallot chutney on toasted bread. Butcher & Singer had a truffled steak tartare with squash blossoms and creamy horseradish. Route 66 had tasty, delicately spiced deviled eggs. Morimoto had a poached scallop, sweet corn miso and bonito bacon dish that was heavenly.

Starr also had a secret that rang so loudly throughout the evening that it nearly drowned out the DJ. Philadelphia City Paper readers will recall that I’ve long written of Starr’s interest in adding the corner of the 600 block of South Street to his empire.  Today, Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan revealed that Starr was taking over a space on that very corner - the old Footlocker spot at 604 South Street - for a 52-seat, open-kitchen restaurant with Peter Serpico of Momofuku fame. It is tentatively named Serpico, and will reportedly open in December 2012.

Photos ©Scott Weiner 2012

Posted on Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:14 PM