This month the Gabby Guy finds the Brandywine Town Center ringing the bell for a very important cause and learns why the 21st Best of Delaware is all grown up now.
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A Bigger, Better Best
This year’s Best of Delaware Party—the 21st—was another epic, a showcase for all the First State’s first-rate stuff, which includes everything from ahi appetizers to zucchini fritters and Zinfandels. Even the parking lot backup—a battle between Besters and Blue Rocks fans bucking for Joe Biden bobbleheads—was the best worst-case scenario. “Just another indicator that you can’t say there’s not enough to do in Delaware,” local playwright Richard Gaw commented as he entered the Chase Center’s cool marble lobby with delawaretoday.com Glam Gal JoJami Tyler. JJ rocked a heat-beating white dress vertically striped with black grosgrain ribbon.
Another head turner were the spinners—not the famous Philadelphia musical group, but the talented twirlers who directed traffic to the Chase using rotating arrow-shaped signs from planner Planning Factory International. Owner Cher Przelomski, with daughter Lindsay Mastromateu, had to explain the 12 gold mannequin derrières that supported a lavish black and gold fantasy dining display. Just so you know, it advertised Decadent Dining, a collaboration between Planning Factory and Perfect Surroundings, that creates custom environments and menus for exclusive dinner parties.
Gabby Guy and his “wife,” Brenda Largent, spoke with general manager Mike Rivera at the Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery booth while sampling Vienna Red lager, a gold medal winner at the annual Great American Beer Festival. Fresh.
Place your Betz. It’s no gamble when we talk with Tina Betz, director of cultural affairs for the City of Wilmington. Lady Tina, always at the center of the action, was revved up about the premiere of Wilmington Fringe last month, a multi-medium, visual and performing arts festival that stretched from Market Street to the Riverfront.
Inside the Chase’s rockin’ Christina Ballroom, best band Jellyroll showed award winners and guests some “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” by jamming crowd-pleasing classics. Our own hit list included hamachi and kajiki Tiradita on wasabi-cucumber seaweed from Harry’s Seafood Grill, El Jefe’s spicy shrimp with Spanish rice and soft quesadilla, Finlandia’s Mango Fusion vodka, and the succulent tomato-roasted corn-lump crab soup from the Hotel du Pont. “You gotta crack some crab backs to get something this good,” joked Dr. Heather Rooks of Synergy Chiropractic Wellness Center.
Nearby, “Doctor Donnie” Don Scalessa, owner of Café Scalessa’s in Wilmington, was dispensing his own feel-good prescription: homemade cheese gnocchi with roast pork gravy, as well as delectable bites of Italian double batter and butter cake, his grandmother Edith Stefano’s closely guarded recipe. Refill requested, doctor.
Double butter? It’s a good thing Hockessin Athletic Club manager John Peoples was demonstrating quick calorie burning exercises, while trainer Kevin McCabe tied a curious Carson Smith to their rope-pull exerciser. (Think automated tug of war.) Carson pulled the 100-foot rope in good time. Next up, biceps-baring Vicky Pettinaro bested Smith’s time—and in heels.
Also having fun were “slightly aging surfers” Teresa and Jim Ford, who wore sun visors with built-in crazycrimped hair. The head gear came from their Kid’s Ketch, a toy and fashion store in Lewes. The visors are available in black, brunette, blonde and gray for the rest of you aging beach lovers.
There was a mini mob scene at the space of talented jewelry designer Olga Ganoudis of Wilmington. A dramatically displayed necklace in silver and rose quartz had enticed and excited nearly 2,000 admirers to relinquish their info in exchange for a chance to win the Olga original. Hopeful winners clustered like blister pearls and suspense swelled as the lovely Olympia (Olga’s mother) did the honors, reading the selected raffle ticket number. And the winner is…you (if you attend next year’s Best of Delaware party). Ciao for now.