Imagine if the French Revolution had never occurred. French chefs would haven’t broken free of the guilds that restricted their work to specific products and Marie-Antoine Carême might never have developed his famous mother sauces that form the basis of haute cuisine. Happily for gastronomes everywhere, the people of France did revolt, and the achievement is commemorated every year on July 14, French Independence Day.
Why let Paris have all the fun? Here’s how and where to celebrate Bastille Day in Philadelphia.
For the 20th year, London Grill's Terry Berch McNalley will dress as Marie Antoinette for this huge fete outside the very castle-like Eastern State Penitentiary. From 4:30-6:30 PM on Saturday, July 12, watch the reenactment, catch a free snack when she shouts “Let them eat Tastykakes!”, listen to live music and buy food and drink from stands on the street, then head back to the bar for the after party.
Al Paris is offering a special four-course prix fixe menu throughout the July 11-13 weekend at this Chestnut Hill lounge and jazz cafe. For $37.50, diners can look forward to oyster tartare, scallops, duck confit and rose-poached pear, or add wine pairings for a total of $59.50.
On Saturday, July 12, make a reservation at Patrice Rames’ dining room overlooking the Schuylkill to enjoy a special three-course meal for $38 per person. Chose from classics like escargot, pâté and coq au vin, served after complimentary hors d’oevures.
Chef Peter Woolsey is offering what he calls his “favorite meal of the year” on Sunday and Monday, July 13 and 14. It starts with a chilled pea soup, continues with a second-course buffet, follows with a chosen entree and finishes with dessert. The entirety will run you just $40, and there are several Parisian drink specials to go along.
The Le Virtu pastry chef is dolling up her sweets in pink and lace and taking them on the road to Paris Wine Bar in Fairmount for a special afternoon cake and cocktails session from 1-4 PM on Sunday, July 13. Ticket are $35 (here) or $20 for kids, who are more than welcome.
When we checked, there were just one or two open seats for this special dinner that sees Lee Styer hosting his mentor for a special five-course feast, but there will definitely be a waiting list. If you’re so inclined, call to have your name put in the running to get a place at the event, which takes place at 7 PM on Monday, July 14.
Visit the lounge inside the Hotel Sofitel on Monday, July 14, to sip on three special cocktails prepared just for the occasion. There’s a St. Germain Spritz, a "Parisian" mojito made with Bacardi Gold and the Marie Antoinette with Grey Goose Le Citron.