Courtesy of Yelp and Philly Magazine, I was provided with two tickets to this year's Best of Philly Bash. Complimentary drinks and tastes from some of the city's best restaurants? Set at Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Phillies? You know I'll be there!
General Admission - $90 pp [6:30 - 9PM]
VIP - $150 pp [5 to 9PM]
Needless to say, there were a variety of sponsors on hand for an event of this magnitude. This included Mercedes-Benz, which offered comfortable lounge seating for VIPs who tired of alcohol and food. So anyone not me.
Despite the rain, you couldn't help but admire the fact that the stands weren't filled with fans - and not just because the Phillies did so poorly this season.
The Philly Phanatic was still on hand, dancing with guests and Ciroc girls alike, to the cover-band tunes of Speaker City.
Yellowtail was offering their wines, but there was also plenty of open bars throughout the stadium, offering Crown Royal, Ciroc-spiced snow cones, and fresh lemonade mixers.
Firefly Moonshine was a big hit as well, offering several cocktails and shots to sample.
Best City Brunch, 2014
Jerry's bar offered a standard, yet effective take on the Bloody Mary, complete with cocktail shrimp and cornichons.
Alma de Cuba
Best Girls Night Out, 2010
But really, it's all about the food for me. And while I'm a fan of Alma de Cuba, the tuna cornettes were a bit limp, though had decent seasoning. A sad nod to Thomas Keller's cornettes perhaps?
Ahi Tartare on Endive / Salmon with Yuzu
CoZara / Zama
Best Replacement for the Wall at the Palm, 2011
The sister restaurants offered light fare, with the salmon being one of the GF's favorites.
Tuna with Black Sesame Cracker
Best General Manager, 2014
The most refined dish was definitely from Sbraga - tuna was fresh and well seasoned, and the black sesame cracker offered nice texture.
Mortadella, Cornichon, Frisee
Best Potato Pancakes, 2014
While Brahaus Schmitz won for best potato pancakes, they brought forth a mortadella salad, which had mustard seeds to make each bite pop. Still - I love me some latkes ... womp womp.
Panzanella Salad with Summer Vegetables
Best Late-Night Happy Hour, 2013
Alla Spina offered a refreshing take on this classic Italian salad, replete with summer veggies and crisp house-made croutons.
Cheu Noodle Bar
Best Wings, 2014
Cheu Noodle Bar offered up what seemed to be a take on Korean neng myun - refreshing and light, with bits of tame kimchi to offer up some spice.
Thai Lettuce Wrap
Hip City Veg
Best Salad, 2012
Hip City Veg brought forth an even lighter bite, that was still substantial - wouldn't expect anything less.
Garces Trading Company
Best Deep Dish Pizza, 2013
GTC's corn sformatto was almost flan-like in consistency, with the sweet flavors of corn accented by the acidity of the tomato - really nice.
Ratatouille Soup, Goat's Milk Panna Cotta
Pub and Kitchen
Best Gourmet Burger, 2014
Pub and Kitchen's ratatouille soup offered deep flavors, lightened up by the milk panna cotta beneath.
Ceviche de Camarones
Best Mod Mexican Restaurant, 2010
Distrito's take on shrimp ceviche was fresh and had some bite to it.
Pan-Seared Pierogies, Brown Butter, Creme Fraiche
Aramark Pierogie Station
Surprisingly, Aramark was on hand and while they seemed to be missing the bacon lardons, the brown butter pierogie was on point - creamy and delicious.
Best Liquid Breakfast, 1997
Despite not being a coffee drinker, La Colombe served as a great pick-me-up.
Pretzels and Dips
Philly Pretzel Factory
Best Soft Pretzel, 2008
Philly Pretzel factory was on hand to provide you with all your carbo-loading needs, replete with an abundance of different dips, including my favorite spicy - oh so spicy - mustard!
Best Pizza, 2007
The weakest offering of the night (if you can call it that) was from Slice - the pizza was cold and inedible - tasted like it was from 2007 - sorry, had to go there.
On the other hand, Santucci's tomato pie was divine. Despite being delivered from their restaurant, the pizza was hot and crusty, with the tang of the tomatoes providing a great foil for the thin layer of mozzarella beneath. I'm not going to lie - I might have had 3 of these.
Gennaro's Tomato Pie
Best New York Style Pizza, 2013
Gernnaro's offered a moist meatball, topped with pecorino.
Samosa, Chickpeas, Tamarind Chutney & Drums of Heaven
Best New Indian Restaurant, 2009
IndeBlue was definitely a favorite, offering a duo of their drums of heaven specialty and samosas. Well-spiced!
Best Seafood on the Cheap, 2013
Luke's Lobster was a crowd favorite as well - the shrimp rolls were so buttery and the servers were machines, churning them out quickly, despite having one of the longest lines of the event.
Tasso, Granny Smith, Cheese, Crostini
Best Ham Sandwich, 2014
Who can say no to tasso? The apple provided a nice balance for the cured ham.
Brisket Sausage Taco
Citron + Rose
Best Cocktail Suburbs, 2013
Citron + Rose's brisket sausage taco was creamy and rich.
Truffle Chicken Boudin, English Pea Puree, Sherry Vinegar
Best French Restaurant, 2014
Le Cheri showcased some technique with their offering - clean and light.
Stone Fruit Parfait, Mascarpone, Almond
Best Tasting Menu, 2014
Moving on to the desserts of the night, Matyson had a stone fruit parfait, which was light, creamy, and sweet.
Fromage Blanc Raspberry Swirl
Best Milkshake, 2013
Shake Shack was on hand to offer up their rapsberry swirl custard - not overly sweet.
Ciroc was dishing out shades. Perhaps for the night's finale?
Bellies full and drinks imbibed, fireworks lit up the night as the event came to a close. So for 2015, if you're looking to get a taste of Philly's restaurant scene, what better way than to attend Philly Mag's Best of Philly Bash.
2014 Best of Philly Bash
Citizen's Bank Park
1 Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148