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All’s Fare: Hard Rock Cafe hosting breakfast with Santa

By Bill Gelman

The team at Le Virtù, 1927 E. Passyunk Ave., is preparing for a dining experience one does not hear about too often — a La Panarda. The tradition, which is popular in the Abruzzo region of Italy, features more than 40 courses, spread over nine-plus hours. Chef Joseph Voller will have the task of putting together this day-long culinary demonstration taking place on Jan. 28 and limited to 35 guests. Owners Francis Cratil-Cretarola and Cathy Lee pay homage to the region regularly.

The annual event is celebrated in Villavallelonga, the town where the tradition has persisted for the longest time. The first recorded Panarda there was in 1657.

Traditionally, each guest must eat each food that is served, and legend has it that past Panarda meals in Abruzzo included armed guards to enforce this rule. Le Virtù’s version, of course, will be much more relaxed. Attendees will get to enjoy a variety of selections ranging from small bites to antipasti to seafood selections and meats, as well as dolci, or dessert.

Admission is $400 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Attendees will be sent home with a generous gift bag that will include a variety of take-home goodies both imported from Abruzzo and crafted by hand at Le Virtù. Call 215–271–5626 to make a reservation.

This time last year, we checked in with Sean Arsenault as he was busy getting ready for the opening tap at Brewery ARS, a 1,600-square-foot, 31-seat space in West Passyunk that he was opening with his twin brother Andrew. Fast-forward to 2017, and the siblings, who both reside in South Philadelphia, have another milestone to celebrate — their first anniversary. The event, being billed as an “extravaganza,” is taking place on Dec. 16 from noon to 10 p.m. at Brewery ARS, 1927–29 W. Passyunk Ave. Mike’s BBQ will back cooking up his popular items while DJ Jersey Dan will provide musical entertainment. Santa is scheduled to make an appearance, too. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to try the new salted caramel chocolate stout being released that day. There will be 50 cases available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit facebook.com/BreweryARS. …

The Brunch with Santa theme continues in Pennsport this weekend as the Mummers Museum, 1100 S. 2nd St., is hosting a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 9) 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children. Call 215–336–3050. …

For those venturing into Center City to do some holiday shopping or walk through the Christmas Village, the Hard Rock Cafe is holiday Breakfast with Santa over the next two weekends, Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The buffet-style breakfast will be accompanied by holiday music and movies, as well as Santa, who will stop by each table for a photo-op. Children will gather around a Christmas tree where Santa will read “‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” and each child will also be given a party bag filled with holiday goodies to take home. For tickets, visit hrcphillymusic.com. …

For those in the giving spirit, the Whitman Council’s 15th annual Toy Drive is taking place on Dec. 14 from 7 p.m. to close at the Shamrock Pub, 1400 S. 2nd St. The event will benefit neighborhood families. Those who bring a toy or make a donation will receive their first drink for free. Tip money will be used to purchase more toys. Visit facebook.com/whitman.council.

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