the whole-y grail

the whole-y grail

the whole-y grail

Official blog of the warden ettinger group, a full-service, Phila., PA-based PR firm serving a diverse consumer, lifestyle + nonprofit clientele. Our culinary division, The Whole Enchilada PR, caters to restaurateurs, chefs + other food-related businesses, while "the word exchange" is aimed at clients seeking à la carte copywriting services.

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Secrets of A Philly Foodie

April 9, 2014

With winter finally retreating and spring settling in to stay, get ready to leisurely peruse the local indulgences that Philadelphia has to offer. While the crown jewel of fresh fixings, Reading Terminal Market, is indoors, you can compose a picturesque picnic using the gorgeous produce and proteins you find there.

We have some secretly sourced insider tips about hidden gems in Reading Terminal:

  •  Mosey over to Wan’s Seafood for the most succulent wild shrimp in the city. We’re not joking when we say they’re the size of lobster tails. Every. Day.
  • Taking jumbo to the next level at Wan's Seafood

    Taking jumbo to the next level at Wan’s Seafood

  • A modern twist on an Easter favorite, Border Spring’s Farm Lamb serves up juicy lamb, primarily in the form lamb was always supposed to take: kebabs. Get there before 11:30am, and you can treat your tastebuds to lamb hash — fried potatoes, lamb sausage, sautéed peppers and onions, topped off with a gooey sunny side up egg.
  • Border Spring's offering up more than good eats -- good swag, too!

    Border Spring’s offering up more than good eats — good swag, too!

  • As if the novelty of choosing between cow, goat, or sheep milk cheese and sinful suggestions like having your grilled cheese cooked in duck fat wasn’t enough to pique our attention, Meltkraft is now offering private mozzarella pulling classes.
Melting cheese and Lent resolutions everyday.

Melting cheese and Lent resolutions everyday.

Bust out your favorite Tartan blanket, nab a prime patch of grass in Rittenhouse, and enjoy your treats al fresco!



now serving in valley forge

October 25, 2013

If you’re a Philadelphia area restaurant follower, you may have already  gotten wind of Valley Forge’s new addition, Black Powder Tavern.

Opening Day was October 19, and one week later, we are happy to report that initial  reaction is positive. We certainly don’t expect a flawless launch phase, but on behalf of Black Powder’s team, we’ll take the kudos. This was a  relationship long in the making, so on all sides of the table, seeing the doors open last week was exciting.

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We’ve been posting press coverage on Pinterest, and also wanted  to share this Q+A with two of the team members that matter most. We’ll  also get this posted on TWE’s (new-ish) Slideshare page, but for now this was the fastest route based on browser memory.

Stay tuned as we dish more details about the craft beer list, the Franklin Fountain milkshakes (adult versions too!) and the crazy good veal and chicken burgers.

If you go, let us know what you think. Management is ready to field your comments, and open for constructive criticism.

hoppy Friday

October 18, 2013

One thing the Enchiladas have in common (but not nearly enough time to explore) is a love for tasty brews. So, when Gary Monterosso posts updates on social media about new sud-related products, local events, etc., we’re all beers, er, ears.

You may recognize Gary’s name because not only is he an award-winning writer, he also appears regularly on the History Channel Special, “The Epic History of Everyday Things,” PHL 17’s “Eye Opener Philly,” and has been a guest on many other TV shows and radio programs throughout the country. (You can learn more about Gary—and well, beer—here.)

About a week ago, Gary posted about a Pumpkin Ale craft beer ice cream. Besides the fact that this sounds absolutely divine (can you imagine how delicious 2 scoops would be on top of a piping-hot apple-cranberry crisp?), since writing this post about Pizza Beer, I’ve been on the lookout for something to cleanse my proverbial palate. Just reading about this new (3.2% ABV) flavor by Frozen Pint did the trick.


Feeling the beer theme, I decided to click one more of Gary’s recent posts that I’d saved about America’s best beer festivals. According to this Yahoo article, now more than 2,000 major beer events take place annually in the U.S.—many of which are this month (thanks for the inspiration, Oktoberfest!). Beer events on tap: Austin Beer Week (10/25-11/3); San Diego Beer Week (11/1-11/10).

Curious about what’s going on locally, I caught up with Gary today, who just so happened to be en route to the Philly Food & Wine Festival, where he’s hosting eight tasting seminars.

Says Gary, “This time of year, there are several fine events, but one that excites me most is the Valley Forge Beer Festival which will take place in about six weeks. The promoter is Starfish Junction, and I love their events because they offer food, a wide array of beverages and educational seminars.”

Looking for smaller events on a regular basis? The schedule on Philly Beer Week’s website is always loaded. And if you’re thirsty to start putting down pints ASAP, Bloktoberfest, the four-block, eight-hour blockbuster street festival is tomorrow on South Street. (Talk about good timing.)

Now, I know the main question you all want to know… “What is Gary drinking most these days?” Lucky for you, I asked.

Turns out Gary owns close to 200 different beers and has a cellar with bottles dating back to 1983. That said, he’s currently enjoying brews from Prism, Unibroue, Dupont, Boston Beer and Weyerbracher (to name a few).

What’s your go-to beer this fall?


eat, twEAT + read: Philly events this week

September 15, 2013

heritage-flyer →If you’re heading to the Vampire Weekend concert this Thursday (9/19), you should have time to pop over  to Belmont Mansion for pre-show sustenance—locavore style. The happening: Heritage Farm Fare, a  collaborative fundraiser between Heritage Farm (tucked away on the campus of former orphanage,  Methodist Home for Children) and a number of farmer-friendly chefs, restaurants, and food and libations  purveyors. The tasty event benefits the community in enabling Heritage to cover costs of operating this  year-round, organic farm. More details here


Sept. 16 is twEAT out for No Kid Hungry, a 24-hour push to promote hunger advocacy among diners, chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and anyone else who is willing and able to tweet and eat. The big picture campaign is Share our Strength’s Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, a month-long, national fundraising event. On top of its already active messaging, No Kid Hungry has been educating the public about SNAP cuts, the need to improve the quality and accessibility of school lunches, and the importance of starting each day with a hearty, healthy breakfast—which unfortunately, too many young students do not. Participating in the twEAT out is easy, and presents a great excuse to try out that new restaurant on your list. Want some suggestions on tweets, follow @eatDEWwrite and @TWEgroup all day long.

→Writers in all genres should consider blocking time out for the Chestnut Hill Book FestivalSept. 22. The event is being hosted at a few different locations, and gives those outside the ink well, a chance to support Philadelphia’s talented pool of writers and authors. We were especially excited to hear that one of TWE’s most respected media allies and food writers, Michael Klein (Editor/producer of; Philadelphia editor, Zagat Survey), is moderating “Stories from the Kitchen”, a chef-driven conversation about life behind the line. (We’re working on getting the names of the participating chefs, so stay tuned.)

Old-school and new media journalists might appreciate joining Daily News columnist John Baer and former music industry reporter, also for the Daily News, Al Hunter, Jr. as they discuss the transition from news writing to book writing and other elements of the writing world. Pete Mazzaccaro, editor of the Chestnut Hill Local, moderates.

With the holidays in sight, this is also a good opportunity to load up on new books for the winter. One for them, two for you… Being food obsessed, we’re certainly intrigued by this title: Kinky Gazpacho (Lori Tharps). Attendees will also be privy to a little locally-flavored live mic time with Philadelphia Stories (they’ll hold kids’ writing workshops too) and a performance by Chestnut Hill Improv.

Among the local authors you’ll have the opportunity to chat up (and hopefully score autographed books from), are those pictured in the event’s promotional brochure, shared on the Festival’s Facebook page here and here. Information is a little light otherwise, so for more in-depth questions, contact organizers at

Coffee Talk: Liquid eXcellence

September 4, 2013

→Doing a little cross-promotion here, as we have much enthusiasm for local micro-roaster and wholesale coffee company, Café eXcellence.

During mid-August, @eatDEWwrite had an opportunity to sneak away from the computer and tour the facility, located in Audubon. If you’re into quality caffeine consumption, and interested in the art of cupping—and sipping—perhaps this post will prove interesting. We always appreciate you sharing your valuable reading time with us.

IMG_9351A few weeks ago, I followed up on an invitation to visit micro coffee roaster Café eXcellence in Audubon, PA. For those living in and around Philadelphia, the name of this boutique coffee company may sound familiar. Though it might be “micro” in size and capacity, the java coming out of Cafe eXcellence is macro in flavor.

Currently, the company offers just under two dozen blends from 25-plus countries, as well as a recently introduced line of herbal teas.


The “factory  store” as it’s  billed, is  open  Monday-  Friday, from  8:30AM-4PM.  You don’t  need an  appointment to pop in and stock up, but because cuppings are a bit labor intensive, procedure calls for advance outreach.

We had the opportunity to meet with Anthony Valerio, the family-owned company’s president, at the end of our visit. Humble, yet passionate, he certainly gave off the impression of a guy who works hard, appreciates the…

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i’m a pizza in a bottle, baby

August 27, 2013 1 Comment

→What do you get when you have a surplus of tomatoes, a bag of garlic and a garden full of herbs? 99.9% of people’s first thought would be sauce (or salsa), but Tom and Athena Seefurth said beer (our kind of couple).

Turns out Mama Mia! Pizza Beer isn’t exactly new, but thanks to a Thrillist Facebook post, it’s new to us.


The production of Pizza Beer—developed on Labor Day of 2006 by the Seefurths in their Campton Township, IL home—starts with mashing and steeping a Margherita pizza (whole wheat crust, tomato, oregano, basil and garlic). Add some hops and spices, boil (and boil, and boil), filter into a fermentation vessel and…voilà!

After reading a bunch of fairly complimentary reviews on the Pizza Beer online, I stumbled upon this fun YouTube video, which will show you one guy’s live reaction to the brew. He says, “It’s a little bit of a novelty but it’s still fun. Just sayin’.” Seems about right. (The best part of the video for this Wisconsin Badger alumn, is the fact that he’s drinking the PIzza Beer out of a Spotted Cow pint glass.)

Want to follow in the Seefurths footsteps by putting your own creative twist on some suds this coming Labor Day? Here’s Forbes’ list of America’s Wackiest Beers for some inspiration.

Hoppy, er happy concocting…


(Above photo by “Nick” at

ketchup on tomorrow’s tomato events

August 16, 2013

→If you’ve been waiting all summer for tomatoes that will make the perfect batch of gazpacho or a vat of your favorite sauce to freeze for the fall months ahead, clear tomorrow’s schedule.

Starting at 8AM, Linvilla Orchards will be hosting its annual Tomato Festival, which means you’ll have the opportunity to fill as many cardboard boxes with colorful, juicy tomatoes—of all shapes and sizes—as your heart, er belly desires. (Warning: As your arms start to throb during the picking process, keep in mind you’ll be paying by the pound.)

The day will also be studded with various forms entertainment (adult and kid-friendly), information sessions and tomato tastings.

Coincidentally (or not), Terrain at Styer’s in Glen Mills is also putting the spotlight on tomatoes—heirlooms, to be specific.

Enjoy live music, get your tomato education on, watch a salsa contest and more. Or, if we already sold you on Linvilla, wait until 6PM to head to Terrain. That’s when the five-course heirloom tomato tasting dinner starts ($55/per person). Oh, and be sure to leave room for dessert: tomato & peach cobbler with basil ice cream.

If you attend either event and take photos, we’d love to see them (we’re @TWEgroup on Instagram).

And now, we’ll leave you with some Friday tomato fun…

Q. How do you get rid of unproductive tomatoes?
A. Can them.

Q: How do you fix a sliced tomato?
A: Use tomato paste.

Q: Why did Mrs. Tomato turn red?
A: She saw Mr. Green Pea over the back fence.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Screen shot 2013-08-16 at 4.49.59 PM

Photo credit: Peter Breslow


family-friendly grilled pizza five ways

July 3, 2013 20 Comments

This “special feature” post is part of a unique blog collaboration celebrating a passion for breaking bread &, uh, Internet speed (affectionately dubbed, a “perfectly progressive virtual dinner party”). Ready, set, go… start your appetites for family-friendly grilled pizza—five ways. (Photo courtesy of

Looking for something simple to prepare the next time you’re entertaining your tots to teens-toting friends or family? Grilled pizzas are the way to go. Relatively inexpensive (well, unless you’re into artisan or organic ingredients, which if you’re a Philly foodie is very likely), healthy and easy to prepare (we won’t tell if you use store-bought dough!), it’s a safe bet everyone in the house—or backyard—will be fighting over that last slice.


Making the dough is the toughest part of the prep, but it is a worthy endeavor. Plus, the whole family can get involved. (Just don’t forget to make two days ahead.) There are a lot of good recipes available online and on bookshelves, but one of my favorites is from Martha Stewart, whose flaky, buttery, thin, crispy pie crusts have repeatedly made me a kitchen hero over the years. Whether savory or sweet, her technique has my vote.

As you’ll see via the link, this recipe yields four mid-sized pizza crusts (much easier logistically, trust me) and doesn’t rely on you being a master dough thrower. Which in my case, is a great asset: Getting a uniform, hole-free ROUND canvas is always a challenge; even my 14-year-old puts me to shame. However, when it comes to toppings—in this case five different family-friendly pies—I’ve got the upper hand. To stay within the What Would Martha Do Theme?, here’s a link to her asparagus and ricotta grilled pizza that spells out the actual techniques for stretching, shaping and grilling the dough. It also makes a fine companion to a hefty slab of grilled salmon.

The best part about this recipe is that it works well in the oven on the grill or in an oversized cast iron pan. (Too bad I can’t find mine!)

First, the basics (aka, things you should always have on hand for pizza entertaining):

  • good quality part-skim shredded mozzarella
  • fresh buffalo mozzarella (large ball or log, or petite boccincini that can be cut in half)
  • good quality marinara sauce (I find that for kids, less “chunks,” the better)
  • fresh basil leaves (whole and cut into a chiffonade with your kitchen scissors)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • grated parmesan, romano or locatelli cheese
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • roasted garlic (for a milder, sweeter flavor)
  • part-skim ricotta (essential for white pies)
  • roasted garlic cloves (store-bought or homemade)
  • good quality olive oil (to flavor the dough)
  • wooden pizza peel (to transport pre- and post-cooked pie)
  • pizza wheel or good pair of kitchen scissors

Now the combos:

  • Spaghetti & Meatballs (made with quartered meatballs and leftover pasta of any kind)
  • Margherita (fresh tomato slices, shredded mozzarella cheese and chunks of buffalo mozz, fresh basil and garlic)
  • Chicken Parmesan (lightly breaded chicken, shredded mozz, tomato sauce, fresh parsley, parm, romano or locatelli)
  • Bacon, Corn & Arugula (ricotta, crispy chunks of bacon, sweet corn, parsley, a handful of arugula, cherry tomato halves)
  • Cheeseburger & Fries (ground beef, mozzarella, jack and cheddar cheeses, potatoes seasoned with sea salt and olive oil)

Since you’ll be entertaining a crowd of families and the yard or house will be loud and frenetic, the last thing you need to do is worry about precision. Once you’ve nailed the dough prep, everything else should be a downhill ride. Which means, for those of you who like exact measurements, give it up. For the larger ingredients, like meatballs, pasta, chicken, arugula, ground beef, grated cheeses, eyeball about 1 1/2 cups of each topping, per pie, and you’ll have plenty. Then with anything you have leftover, you can build a “kitchen sink” pie. Figure about six to eight ounces of grated cheeses (mozz, jack and cheddar) for the combos listed above, but again don’t sweat it if you have too much. Pizza making is a great segue into frittata making the next morning. Just add eggs.

For the actual grilling, I also like Alton Brown‘s (Good Eats) explanation. Easy to follow and ensures that the toppings get warmed up a bit. Ideally, you want another work surface next to the grill and a large cutting board to place pizza on during transitions, that also fits your ingredients for whichever pie you’re creating.

  • Oil the grill grates and decrease the heat to medium.
  • Brush the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil and flip onto the hot grill.
  • Close the lid and cook until the bottom of crust is golden brown, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Brush the raw side of the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, then immediately flip using the peel.
  • Brush with remaining 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and add toppings
  • Close the lid and cook until the bottom of crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Using the peel, remove the pizza to a cooling rack and rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

Mange bene!

And now… for the rest of our party throwers… lots o’ links!

To get the full Progressively Perfect Virtual Dinner Party blog hop experience, click the links below in order:





Coffee, Tea & Dessert

Late Night

Decorations, Outfits and Music

Hope you have as much fun reading through the party as we did planning it!

feeling egg-cellent in philly

June 29, 2013

PD-WEB-LandingPage-ALL BRAND→ I love that I can Google anything related to food and the top hits always include drool-worthy photos and recipes from @HuffFood. Currently, I am fast-forwarding to tomorrow morning, when I will have a kid-free house, and nowhere to race off to. THIS is awesome.

And, since last Sunday, my one-year wedding anniversary, was kid- and exhaustion-filled due to a late-night return from a family road trip, I have my sights set on spoiling the husband with a decadent breakfast and Bloody Marys made with a freshly-procured bottle of The Bay vodka—courtesy of my good friend (on Instagram @mackmerry77) aka Gina Tonic, sales superforce for Philadelphia Distilling, which also makes the familiar blue bottle of Bluecoat Gin you see adorning the shelves at local haunts.

Now hopefully, this won’t get me in trouble, but I am personally donating a bottle of The Bay to the person who can come up with a non-Bloody Mary drink in which to pour said “Bay” vodka. You may leave a comment here, then post your recipe and photo on our Facebook page. We’ll run this through the 4th of July holiday, so you’ve got time to experiment. @mackmerry77 will be judging, and you don’t want to mess with her, because she kicked butt at Thursday’s Philly on the Rocks competition. The Judges’ Choice winning cocktail was Bluecoat Gin with aloe juice, basil and lime, made bubbly with a touch of Sprite—a refreshing summertime libation. Since The Bay seasoned vodka tastes pretty much how you’d expect it to, you can always experiment by mixing real Old Bay into your vodka concoction. Taste-testing is half the fun. Write your recipe down, and take a photo. Post on Instagram with @mackmerry77 and @TWEgroup, or on our Facebook page between now and July 8th. Once we get the word from Miss Gina Tonic, we’ll post a winner.

Now, back to the eggs to go with tomorrow’s Bloody Marys… If you can’t find something you like out of these 40 suggestions, then there’s no pleasing you. I’m still deciding between Slide No. 6, No. 16, No. 24 or No.35 (except with kale). Let us know which recipes turn your taste buds on. —@eatDEWwrite

complementary ingredients: restaurant owners + pr pros

April 22, 2013

→Public Relations isn’t the same old game it used to be. This is especially true in industries such as hospitality, where user review sites, social media pages and bloggers have pushed the mainstream media out by talking more frequently, and in many cases louder. And let’s face it; these days, everybody’s a critic.

Restaurants, in particular, have an increasingly great challenge to stand out in a crowded market. Infinite dining options and information related to procuring, cooking and serving food—recipe websites and mobile apps, chef-driven culinary shows, Pinterest and Instagram—have elevated expectations on taste, presentation and nutrition worldwide. Very little is “unique” anymore.

Even casual dining restaurants have been forced to elevate their gastronomic virtue, with once low-key neighborhood haunts being pushed to step up their offerings to retain customers with increasingly sophisticated palates. Today’s comfort food is yesterday’s Le Bec Fin. Who hasn’t been to a local joint lately where a beer and a burger has transformed into a high-end, boutique brew with an “intense flavor profile,” and grassfed, fried-egg and organically grown, caramelized shallot version, served with truffle fries and exotic sea salt. And the worst part, is that everyone else is serving this stuff too, so no matter how far you, and your culinary staff go, you’re never really too far ahead on the wow factor.

This creates a challenge for both restaurant owners and their supporting marketing and PR teams. It also provides an opportunity to build a lasting relationship and  an equal partnership. Because we all know, in this day of hopped up marketing, restaurateurs can’t do it alone, and neither can PR pros. If you want your publicist to do his/her job—to help share your vision with potential customers—then YOU have to really nail down what that vision is.

Your rep can do that with you by asking the right questions and helping you define what is newsworthy and what will get lost in the noise, assisting with ad creation and placement, social media strategy and overall branding to help propel you higher and higher.

The right questions should include: What promotions work with your demographics and budget, what types of events match your marketing and time budget, what ad placements  have worked in the past; which haven’t? Who is in charge of social media during service? During the day when the kitchen is prepping? Is there an in-house camera? Who has smart phones and apps that can jump in and post? What servers get the most love from customers? What’s the craziest dish ever experimented on in the kitchen? What does the staff think about the menu? Are they in sync with concept? Do they know the menu in and out? Can they be story sources for bloggers, vloggers and reporters? And, to you the restaurateur and perhaps chef, what do you love about the restaurant and what do you want your patrons to experience when they are in here. Is that happening? If not, why?

If you are in tune with all of the above, the answers should flow easily. Otherwise, you need to have your manager step in, because if you don’t know what’s up, there is no way your PR team can do its job. You need to demonstrate responsibility for conveying your vision, strengths and weaknesses. Then, working with your PR team, you can set a strategy and start getting your hands dirty with promotions, media outreach, events, chef, sommelier and even server profiles/Q+As that show a different side of the restaurant.

Again though, YOU need to take responsibility, and stay in-tune with how every aspect of your restaurant matches the original concept and excitement that you’ve had since opening night.

Everyone gets that you are dealing with myriad other issues/responsibilities, but even down to social media, it’s up to you to connect with your staff on what is share-worth throughout the day.  You, and they, have an inside view with ongoing opportunities to upload photos and show off the exciting things happening behind-the-scenes, whether it’s the delivery truck rolling in with an assortment of fresh-off-the-farm or just plucked out of the sea ingredients; gorgeous flowers for table arrangements, fresh-baked pies or other “just in” items; cool tableware, a new coat of paint, a hip coffee vendor that you’re tasting that week for possible menu inclusion, a staff meal creation that turned out to be so good, it was voted on as the next night’s special… the opportunities are never-ending.  WE will find a way to take these shareable moments to your customers, but it is up to you to make them happen.

Remember, you are the brand. WE are the messenger. Together, the chances of your vision being transmitted accurately, go up exponentially.


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