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Grab some friends and head out for this season’s culinary events.

By Beth Lesko
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 24, 2009

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Spirited away: Superstar chef Jose Garces will open Village Whiskey in May.

Photo by jeff fusco

After recently participating in Philly Beer Week events and following it up with copious amounts of goose liver terrine during Philly’s Foie Gras Week (thank you, Bistrot La Minette), I’m looking forward to lightening up by running around to the events and specials on this spring’s food calendar.

If your idea of lightening up is switching from beer and liver to wine and cheese, grab a bottle of vino and head to the garden at the Old City Cheese Shop. On Wednesday nights OCCS sets up a screen and invites guests to build their own cheese plates from the shop’s abundant case; pop open a bottle of wine; and enjoy a screening of classic films. Throughout the week the shop offers a daily selection of quiches, tarts, paninis and sweets. Try the toasted croissant with Nutella. It’ll change your life.

The social wine drinking scene in this city just keeps getting better. The Wine School and its new brother the Beer School are offering a spring semester of tastings, wine pairing classes and tutorials on beer drinking. One highlight on the roster is a champagne tasting at the Four Seasons on Fri., April 24. In the posh Fountain Restaurant, you can settle in and pop open eight great vintage Nicolas Feuillatte champagnes and dine on specially paired hors d’oeuvres.

For more bubbly delights, stop into Caribou Café to sample its new private-label champagne, and throughout April, try its $29 prix-fixe champagne-inspired menu. To find out which wines go best with burgers and ribs, head to Chaddsford Winery in the Brandywine Valley on Thurs., April 30, for a BBQ and Burger Wines class. The event is one of Chaddsford’s many tastings, tours and parties it’ll offer throughout the spring and summer.

Philly native and healthy-living guru Christina Pirello is going to teach us that “vegan” is not a dirty word. She just released her fifth book, This Crazy Vegan Life, and will be making appearances around town to talk about her philosophies on healthy eating and happy living. Her energy is so inspirational, you can’t even hate her for suggesting a bacon-free diet.

For a cookbook that will show you how Ben Franklin liked his steak, put in your order for The City Tavern Cookbook: Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine. Available in May 2009, the book will offer a glimpse of culinary life in colonial days and recipes of period dishes, many of which are served at the historical tavern.

There are several notable openings this season. Noble American Cookery, in the culinary quarter at 20th and Sansom streets, is putting the finishing touches on the chef’s rooftop garden and seasonal menu from Chef Steven Cameron for a May opening. In the same block, Jose Garces plans to open his upscale whiskey bar, Village Whiskey, in May. Blockley Pourhouse in West Philly is planning an April opening. It’ll offer beer, pub grub and music served up with “old-timey charm.”

Some events aren’t season-specific, but still deserve a mention for foodies in Philly. Il Bar at Panorama in Old City gives you its latest wine picks at Friday Night Flights, a fun wine happy hour hosted by winemakers and frequented by cute wine geeks. Foster’s Homeware continues free Saturday cooking demos with local star chefs like Delilah Winder from Delilah’s Southern Cuisine, Terence Feury from Fork (his new home) and Gianluca Demontis from Melograno.

May is National Hamburger Month and area restaurants will be putting their best beef forward. To celebrate, organize your own burger crawl with stops at Rouge for its famous burger topped with aged Gruyere and caramelized onions, at Good Dog for a draft beer and its stuffed blue cheese burger, and at Barclay Prime for Kobe beef sliders. You will not be judged if you go back for more pommes frites at Rouge. Bon appetit!

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