With so many events happening in this city every year, when one continues to come back around and can still impress, you know it’s a winner. I’ve attended East Passyunk’s standout spring food festival, Flavors of the Avenue, the past two years and loved every minute (and bite). Like last year, I was able to get a sample (or several) of the action before this year’s event, and I’m excited to share with you what you can look forward to later this month.
Our first bites came courtesy of one of my favorites, Ippolito’s Seafood (1300 Dickinson Street). While Ippolito’s is not on the Avenue, they provide a lot of their delicious food to its restaurants. The ceviche and lobster roll did not disappoint.
Next up, we tried a pork and slaw sandwich and falafel from POPE (1501 East Passyunk Avenue). The pulled pork was definitely the winner here, but I also am probably not what you may call a “falafel person.” Here, we also began our adventure in trying essentially every type of alcohol back-to-back, in one night, with the Opus Dei (Monkey Shoulder whiskey, ginger ale, club soda & lemon).
We took a quick stroll over to Brigantessa (1520 East Passyunk Avenue) next. I just tried Brigantessa a few weeks ago, so I was excited to see what they had. The grilled octopus chickpea salad was heaven, and definitely not something I would have tried normally. I also really loved the drink here, called Sballo (white wine, blood orange soda & Solerno blood orange).
Paradiso (1627 East Passyunk Avenue) was next, and while I have never met a pate I have enjoyed, I gave this wild boar pate with plum mostarda a try. Not as bad as I expected, but still (unfortunately) not my thing. Our drink here was a Disco Lemonade (Reyka vodka, cayenne infused lemon juice & rosemary simple syrup) – super sweet and great for warm weather.
We ventured straight into Mamma’s house at Mamma Maria Ristorante (1637 East Passyunk Avenue) for tortellini in a gorgonzola alfredo sauce and some wine. Mamma had some great secret recipe spicy sauce we put on the pasta – perfection. She also offered us some “blueberry cello” shots – explaining that she had meant to make limoncello, but when she got ready to put it all together, she discovered she was out of lemons. It tasted like a milkshake, and I would probably enjoy drinking this daily, if possible.
Cantina los Caballitos (1651 East Passyunk Avenue) is such an EPA staple. We had pitchers of this amazing Cucumber Margarita (with Milagro tequila) to pair with our jackfruit carnitas tacos (spicy guacamole, pickled red onions, barbecue spiced hominy). The tacos were pretty insane, mainly because they were vegetarian, yet truly tasted like meat. I highly recommend.
Are you feeling full yet? (Spolier: I wasn’t) Our last stop took us to Birra (1700 East Passyunk Avenue) for so. much. deliciousness in the form of bowls of mussels and pretty much the best bread pudding I’ve had in recent memory. Our last drink was Evvia (Hendrick’s gin, Lillet, cucumber, rose water, & an edible flower, of course), which I took a few baby sips of, but mainly just to eat that flower.
The preview tour did really impress me. I’d say my favorite three items were Brigantessa’s octopus salad, Birra’s bread pudding, and Cantina’s jackfruit tacos. Flavors of the Avenue takes place Sunday, April 26th between Dickinson and Morris on EPA. VIP tickets sold out quickly, but general admission tickets are still available. I’ve done general admission the past two years – it’s still completely worth it. Your $45 ticket gets you admission from 1-4pm for food and drinks. In adition to the restaurants above, you’ll be able to try Bing Bing, Will, P’unk Burger, Palladino’s, Noord, Le Virtu, and more! Happy eating, ladies! xx