East Passyunk Prepares for its Annual 'Flavors of the Avenue' Event in South Philly

Venison Pate at Fond, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Venison paté and sourdough toast at Fond on East Passyunk Avenue

In anticipation of the annual East Passyunk Flavors of the Avenue event in South Philadelphia (Saturday, April 27), members of the media were invited to a preview tasting tour this past Tuesday night. Along with being treated to menu items from Passyunk Ave’s familiar favorites (including Da Vinci, who also showed us their secret garden space), we sampled food from Stateside’s newly appointed Executive Chef, 24-year-old Elijah Milligan (replacing the acclaimed George Sabatino, who left to start his own restaurant), and got an early look at the still-under-construction Noord Restaurant.

Fond (1537 S. 11) fed us our first fine flavor, Venison Paté with crisp sourdough toast and a dollop of grainy Dijon mustard. We had never been to Fond, and based on this one bite, we plan on going back to explore their fare more fully, perhaps with their five or seven-course tasting menu.

Blueprints for Noord Restaurant, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Blueprints for Noord, opening in May
After Fond we made our way across the street to the Noord (1046 Tasker). That’s where we met the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation’s executive director, Sam Sherman Jr., who led us through Noord’s bare-boned rooms, talked up the genius of chef/owner Joncarl Lachman's Northern European cuisine (which you can sample on April 22 at Lachman’s pop-up at The Farm and Fisherman, 1120 Pine, in Center City) and assured us, despite its current appearance, that Noord would be ready to open by the first week of May.

Edamame Soup at Izumi, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Edamame soup at Izumi
Next we headed over to Izumi (1601 E. Passyunk Ave ) for Shrimp Tempura Maki with eel sauce and house-made spicy mayo, and a bowl of Edamame Soup. The soup was exquisite with layers of flavor built on a base of shallots and clam broth, then filled out with cream, pureed edamame and generous chunks of tender crab meat, and then topped with edamame beans and tobiko (flying fish roe). It was and elegant and hearty without being complicated or heavy; it was our favorite offering of the tour.

Nachos at El Zarape, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Nachos at El Zarape
Then we went to El Zarape (1648 E. Passyunk) for nachos (the black bean dip was wonderful) and zesty Al Pastor Tacos (marinated roast pork topped with pineapple). If the lights had gone out, we would have snared the last taco left on the plate, classic movie style.

Rabbit Terrine at Stateside, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Rabbit terrine at Stateside
At Stateside (1536 E. Passyunk) we enjoyed a Rabbit Terrine with grape mustard, carrot gelee, and house-made pickle on crostini. To accompany this small bite, Stateside served a cocktail, named for the late, great Philly guitarist, Jack Rose. The drink packed a punch with Laird’s Applejack whiskey, house-made grenadine and lime juice.

Smoked Salmon and Prosciutto Sandwiches at Da Vinci, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Italian finger sandwiches at Da Vinci
Then we were off to Da Vinci (1533 S. 11) where we had Italian sandwich bites of smoked salmon, prosciutto, mozzarella and eggplant puree. Despite previous outings at Da Vinci’s, we were amazed to discover that they have a secret garden space behind the restaurant – it’s a gorgeous and cozy showplace with Isaiah Zagar mosaics and outdoor seating.

Cookies at Belle Cakery, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Cookies at Belle Cakery
Our final stop was for dessert at the barely-a-year-old Belle Cakery (1437 E. Passyunk), where we rounded out the evening with a selection of freshly baked cookies (including yummy oatmeal cranberry), plates of hand-made chocolates (they were divine), and cups of steaming espresso.

We can’t wait for the full-blown Flavors of the Avenue event, during which twenty-five of the East Passyunk area’s award-winning restaurants (those mentioned above along with Will BYOB, Sophia’s, Stogie Joe's, Birra and more) will offer samplings of their signature dishes and drinks. The food festival will be held under a big top, so the party will go on, rain or shine. There will also be live music and the April Showers craft market hosted by Crafty Balboa at Passyunk Avenue's famous fountain.

For tickets and more info:
Flavors of the Avenue
Saturday, April 27, Noon-4pm
East Passyunk Avenue, between Dickinson and Morris
Philadelphia, PA

Secret Garden at Da Vinci Restaurant, East Passyunk Avenue, Phila PA - Photo by Glamorosi
Secret Garden at Da Vinci Restaurant, East Passyunk Ave
All photos ©Glamorosi 2013

Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 (Happy Birthday, MOM!)