As we entered the 2015 Audi FEASTIVAL, performers from Melbourne-based performance arts company, Strange Fruit, swayed high in the air as they drifted across the picture portrait image of the Ben Franklin Bridge in the background.
Dancers, some topless, coated in gold and silver body paint sashayed through the crowd, stopping to provocatively pose in random intervals. Music from cover band Red 40 and the Last Groovement wafted through the air.
And this was all before we even got to the food and drinks.
What is FEASTIVAL?
Not a new event, the 2015 FEASTIVAL was the sixth annual benefit to raise money for Philadelphia’s FringeArts festival. Overseen by local Philadelphia restauranteurs Stephen Starr, Michael Solomonov, and Audrey Claire Taichman, the event celebrates artists of all types – dancers, musicians and chefs.
The juxtaposition of the live arts and culinary arts is both jarring and exhilarating. But, at the end of the day, FEASTIVAL is all about eating Philadelphia food favorites.
Food at FEASTIVAL
To us, the food is always the main event at FEASTIVAL, and this year was no exception. Over 70 popular Philadelphia restaurants and bars set up tables where they served tastes, bites and sips of their choosing.
Dishes ran the gamut from vegan snacks to steak tartare. Perhaps the tides are turning, as we favored many of the meatless dishes this year.
Here’s a photo perspective of some of the most memorable dishes we enjoyed:
Despite the abundance of savory dishes, there were enough desserts to satisfy the pickiest of sweet tooths. We passed on the doughnuts, cupcakes and macarons, but we couldn’t resist the artisan chocolates from local chocolatier Chris Curtin’s Éclat.
Various crafted cocktails completed the food-packed evening. We especially enjoyed the refreshing, Mojito-like Old Cuban served by The Good King Tavern. All of the usual components were there including slow-age rum, lime, mint and sugar, but the Good King added sparkling wine to the mix.
The party was mostly outside, but there was also a VIP bar inside Le Peg Brasserie. The bar proved to be a welcome respite from the late summer weather, plus it was a thrill to look up at the performance artists flying and gyrating above.
As we departed the party after more than our fair share of eating, drinking and mingling, we couldn’t help but turn around for one last glance at the urban spectacle that was FEASTIVAL.
With all of the glorious excess, perhaps it’s a good thing that this event occurs only once a year. This interval of time gives us just enough time to recover from the modern-day bacchanalia and anticipate the next one.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.