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Regional Wine and Food at World Cafe Live


Joseph BrandoloIt doesn’t take an earthquake to shake things up at World Café Live. Just looking at the blend of music and dining events on the schedule is enough to get my stomach rumbling. One such event occurred on Tuesday, December 29th and was so enjoyable I’m ready to sign up for the next one.

World Café Live and Joseph Brandolo presented a European Holiday Celebration at the restaurant upstairs at World Café Live. The celebration was a wine tasting paired with a five-course dinner. Each course was themed to a different European country: Austria, Italy, Spain, France and Belgium (in that order). Joseph Brandolo, a wine expert who teaches at The Restaurant School, chose the wine pairings to accompany a menu prepared by new World Café Live chef, Michael Breslin.

Breslin, who started at World Café Live about four months ago, is starting to rethink the venue’s current menu and plans to have it reworked in early 2010. Judging by Tuesday’s dinner, it’s destined to be excellent.

There were two qualities about this event that stood out and gave it distinction from other wine tasting and dining events. First, was that there was absolutely no pretentious atmosphere to it at all. Yes, you were served a gourmet five-course dinner with unique wine pairings. Yes, people used words like exotic, smooth and full-bodied without describing Nacho Figueras. But, there was no pretense of wine connoisseurship to enjoy and belong at this event.  

First CourseSecondly, this is the most affordable wine event and best value for your money. The entire event cost $50 per person, including tax and gratuity. $50 for a five-course meal with five glasses of wine. No contest, if you want an affordable, high-class, yet non-pretentious night out, this monthly occurrence is for you. Plus, it's a great place to meet new people, and listen to live music! 

Now to describe the main event…

The first course, Austria, was a roasted onion and zucchini pumpernickel tart paired with a Sparkling Grüner Veltliner. The tart was heavier than I expected with a rich pumpernickel base and a creamy onion and zucchini top. The Sparking Grüner Veltliner was superb. Produced Methode Traditionelle, it is virtually indistinguishable from Champagne – it’s even made with champagne yeasts and bottled at the same altitude – yet the Veltliner flavor gave the wine a crisp, fruity finish.

For a second course, Breslin served arugula and spinach with mandarin oranges, almonds and shaved asiago with an orange cranberry vinaigrette. This Italian-inspired salad was accompanied by Leone de Castris Five Roses Rosato Salento, which sincerely changed the way I feel about rose wines. Produced from Negroamaro, the property dates back to 1665 and this is the first rose wine to be imported to the US. The robust, berry flavors in this rose wine make it best served just below room temperature; very different than the chilled rose wines I’m used to in the summertime.

When the third course moved on to Spain, a paella-like dish of mussels and shrimp over saffron rice served with Piqueras Castillo de Almansa Reserva DO was a real crowd-pleaser. A Reserva must be aged for three years before it can be released (with at least 16 months in barrel), and this one was certainly aged to perfection. With complex flavors as deep as its rich red color, the Piqueras Castillo de Almansa Reserva DO was a definite favorite, even more so when Brandolo admitted it was the least expensive of the wines served.

Fourth CourseThe fourth course was duck breast over macerate berries and micro greens. The duck breast was a real treat. The tart berries helped cut the gamey poultry and was beautifully enhanced by its French complement, Domaine Catherine Le Goeuil Cotes du Rhone.  Produced from mostly Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, this organic wine possessed an earthy quality with sage and mint herbal highlights.

And, lastly, the dessert was miraculous pairing of flourless chocolate cake so rich it was fudgy, and a Belgian Lambic. A what?! A beer! At a wine tasting! But, oh, the St. Louis Kreik by Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck with its crisp sour cherry finish completed the meal so nicely and accompanied the rich chocolate cake to perfection.

All of these wines would have to be special ordered at our local PA Wine and Spirits Shops. The current menu at World Café Live is available on their website, or by clicking here.



Burns Night Whisky Supper 

Let other poets raise a fracas

'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus,

An' crabbit names an' stories wrack us,

An' grate our lug:

I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,

In glass or jug!

~ Robert Burns, 1759 – 1796


This birthday tribute to Robert Burns, the renowned Scottish poet, celebrates all that is romantic about Scotland – and more importantly, Scotch whisky. From the traditional haggis entrance to the recitation of Burns poems, we will give thanks to the bard who transcended all parts of society, and whose remembrance today is shared by all walks of life. Joe Brandolo, former whisky ambassador, will share with you his selection of Scotches representing the various styles, and will walk you through the process of true whisky appreciation. The smells of smoke, salt air, and juniper, and the rich flavors of honey and molasses all contribute to the nuances of fine Scotch whisky. Executive Chef Mike Breslin, who trained in Ireland, has prepared a tasting menu to complement each Scotch whisky we will be sampling.

Ballantine's Blended Scotch This is the perfect blended Scotch whisky that exhibits complexity and elegance from a group of select single malts and grain whiskys.

Bruichladdich 12 Yr Old Single Malt Both this property and the next exhibit the best of both worlds of a place called Islay, an island off of the Atlantic coast, where wind and sea collide with rich heather and juniper. One is the traditional peat style and other a lighter style. Master distiller Jim McEwan is the distiller of this whisky and he is truly recognized as the best of the best.

Caol Ila 12YR Single Malt This historic property was shut down for a time and has been reopened and produces and an old rustic style that is vigorous on the peat, with notes of cigar box.

Glenfiddich 21 Yr Old Single Malt This granddaddy of single malts will show how age and maturity can mellow the nuances and create delicate and spicy aromatics and deliver a deluge of flavor from chocolate malt to spiced apple. Live musical entertainment will be provided by Trolley Stop.

Saturday, January 23rd | 6:00pm | Upstairs Live

Tickets: $35 per person
Only $30 for those attending this evening's Downstairs performance by Enter the Haggis - click here for info on how to buy a "combo ticket" for both the concert and the Whisky Supper!

*Please note: Ticket purchase is not a guarantee of seating! Some ticketholders may end up standing, depending on the number of tickets sold. To be assured of seating, place a reservation by calling 215-222-1400.


Beats, Brews and BBQ: 6th Annual Beer Festival! 

World Cafe Live's 6th annual beer tasting festival, Beats, Brews & BBQ, will give attendees the opportunity to sample the offerings of about 30 local and regional breweries. 

Escape the weariness of winter for an entire Saturday afternoon, strolling from booth to booth, educating your palate to the nuances of the brewers' art, while dining on well-paired savory offerings including Tommy Gunns American Barbeque. 

All the while, you'll enjoy free live music by the Bob Lowery Band to add to the festive atmosphere. At the end of the evening, bring home as a souvenir the complimentary 6 oz. World Cafe Live logo pilsner glass provided for your sampling pleasure!

Participating brewers and featured beers will be announced as they are confirmed....check this webpage for details as they become available!

For those who prefer other libations, our full-service bar will also be open, selling sodas, wine and spirits.

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 VIP admission begins at 12:00 noon 
General Public admission begins at 1:00pm Event ends at 5:00pm (Last call at 4:45pm)

Tickets (You must be 21 or older to attend this event): $60.00 VIP ticket - Includes admission one hour prior to the general public, during which time you'll have an opportunity for more in-depth and personal discussions with the brewers as well as tastings of limited-edition specialty beers not available to the general public.
$45.00 General Public ticket Above prices include beer, food, entertainment, and complimentary World Cafe Live logo pilsner glass for tastings.

For quickest admission on the day of the Festival: choose the Print@Home option when ordering your tickets, and you'll receive them by email immediately!

Don't drink and drive! World Cafe Live is conveniently located just two blocks from 30th Street Station, and on the route of several SEPTA bus lines, allowing you to enjoy sampling several beers without the worry of driving home afterward!

Some tables and chairs will be available, but seating is not guaranteed. This exhibition is being sold as a non-seated event. Click here to check out more Drinking/Dining Events concerts at World Cafe Live. Click here to send this page to a friend! Be the first to know about upcoming shows & special offers. Click here to sign up for our Live Access newsletter.





3025 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-1400

Train: 30th Street Station


Open Mon-Thu, Sun 10am-10pm;
Sat 10am-11pm