Happy Birthday to me…just a little bit early. April 26, Flavors of the Avenue is coming back. Last year’s Flavors of the Avenue was a smashing success – SOLD OUT! This year I had the opportunity to check out a preview tour (Hence the early birthday present since I can’t go April 26), and before we even had that tour, VIP tickets for this year’s event were sold out. Rumor has it they are running low on tickets already this year so you better get your fingers moving and order your tickets. Go on, before you even finish this post, get them ordered. Then come back to finish my preview.
I love trying new foods, and my absolute favorite way to do this are food tours. You get a little this, a little that, and so many new restaurants to try and love. That means Flavors of The Avenue is perfect for me and you. Because I’m assuming you will love them too. There were 4 groups of us and I admit, I am totally jealous of the 2 groups that toured other restaurants. Not because I didn’t love our stops but because I would have loved to try them all.
From fine dining to coffee shop, there’s a “flavor” for every palate. Let’s check out what really matters—the food.
Flavors of The Avenue
- Birra (1700 East Passyunk) – We sampled dry rub pork ribs, and while I am not usually a fan of pork ribs they were delicious. We concluded there is really no way to be refined while eating ribs so don’t be shy, just dig in. They followed the ribs up with a bread pudding. I was told it was delicious but since nuts and bread pudding go hand in hand I passed. I do have to say that Mike’s Hard Smashed Apple Cider is pretty smashing, even for a girl who isn’t into hard cider.
- Stateside (1536), known for whiskey, wine, and small plates, served a Pom Collins. No, not a typo. Truly, a Pom Collins. This I need to try at home. I loved this drink. It was paired with a Pig Head lettuce wrap. Now this is not your grandma’s pork souse. Small squares of pig head, fried and placed in a lettuce leaf—crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I am no connoisseur of pig’s head but I liked it.
- Mama Maria (1637), is authentically Italian. Stepping into her restaurant is like stepping into the past. Old style decor and carpeting set the scene before you even order. We had bruschetta (what Italian meal is complete without?), meatballs, and gnocchi. Hands down the best gnocchi I have ever eaten. I would go back for the gnocchi alone. Oh, and Mama makes Limoncello. She doesn’t pass out the recipe but oh mama, limoncello is good strong stuff. Personally I like to take a shot and mix it with a strawberry lemonade but you can drink it straight if you want.
- Cantina Los Caballitos (1651), is a place I have been dying to try for a year now. I just never got there. Inside, every day is a party. Every time I have gone past it it has been packed out. The margaritas are strong and the tacos are great. Hey, they even have a vegetarian taco. I am all about the beef though. I do love my Mexican food. I’m headed back to sample other things on the menu.
- Plenty (1710) a quick serve gourmet coffee shop, smells divine. Step inside and just take a deep breath. The scent of espresso calls to me like home. I was so ready for a cup of coffee or a latte. But, it was dinner and Skinny Girl wine was visiting the building. We were served a deconstructed Porchetta sandwich. The Porchetta Salad made me want to come back and try the sandwich. The flavors were great individually, and I bet they would taste even better on a sandwich. They kindly made me a nut-free version. (Thank you for that!)
- Stogie Joe’s (1801)—if tavern ambiance is what you want, with sports on TV and a visit with regulars, pull up to the bar and have a drink. They apologized for the noise but isn’t that what is part of the draw? They were serving meatballs but I didn’t have a chance to look at what other food they had to offer.
- Paradiso (1627) served us a sampler plate of a few of my favorite things. Check out their menu. So may things to choose from but I want to try the wild boar.
- Ms. Goody (1838) at the future home of Townsend (1623)— Ms. Goody cupcake shots and a sneak peek at the soon to be Townsend Restaurant. Ms. Goody always delivers when it comes to cupcakes. No matter what, no trip to East Passyunk is complete without a stop for cupcakes. The minis are cute and adult friendly, but don’t share with kids. If you needed an excuse to be selfish about your cupcake, now you have one.
Here is a list of all participating restaurants: Belle Cakery, Birra, Brigantessa, Cantina Los Caballitos, Chiarella’s, El Zarape, Fond, Fuel, Garage, Ippolito’s, Izumi, Laurel, Le Virtu, Lucky 13, Mamma Maria Ristorante, Marra’s, Ms Goody Cupcake, Noir, Noord, Palladino’s, Paradiso, Plenty, POPE, Stateside, Stogie Joe’s, Townsend, Tre Scalini and Will BYOB.
What are you waiting for? If you didn’t click over to order already, I sure hope you are now. Don’t be one of those people from last year who were disappointed they hadn’t ordered in time.