Philly food is so much more than cheesesteaks. Let us show you.
On Thursday night, in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge, for four hours art and food took over a small section of Race Street for a big cause. The sixth annual Audi FEASTIVAL, which raises money for FringeArts and comes at the tail end of the yearly Fringe Festival, brought together over 70 of Philadelphia’s restaurants and bars for one of the best food and drink events of the year. While the tickets may seem expensive, the money raised benefits a great organization and entrants most certainly get what they pay for.
This year started off with a few drinks. Last year, there was limited bar space and lines for drinks stretched for quite a while. This year, however, the organizers seemed to have solved for this and made it much easier to get a drink—maybe too easy, from the way I felt on Friday morning. A few restaurants were also serving drinks alongside their food offerings, which helped in grabbing quick refreshment while we feasted.
The one we kept coming back to was the Spicy Senorita from Rouge, made up of Sauza Hornitos tequila, Cointreau, blueberry puree and jalapeno simple syrup, which was well-balanced between spicy and sweet. Another favorite was the Bumpin’ Pumpkin from Twisted Tail—2 Ginger’s Irish whiskey, milk-washed espresso, “aromatic fall” simple syrup, and pumpkin spice dust. I don’t seem to mind the pumpkin spice explosion like some people, and this was a welcomed addition.
The food is much harder to pick a favorite from, as there was just so much—and it was all so good. When you have this kind of collection of top-notch chefs (Nick Elmi, Chris Kearse, George Sabatino, Greg Vernick, etc.) it’s hard to find a bad plate of food. And while some of them weren’t as great as others, I can’t think of anything I would have actively avoided if I had the physical capacity for a second round.
Sabatino and Aldine had one of the tastiest bites of the night with a bone marrow and black truffle sausage with pickles, aioli, and puffed beef tendon—basically all of my favorite buzzwords when it comes to food (and the puffed tendon was something I hope to see again, very soon). Other favorites were the broccoli cheddar kugel from Yehuda Sichel and Abe Fisher, the Pastrami Everything Bao (more of my favorite food-words) from Sampan, and Salmon Skin Nachos from CoZara that were like regular nachos except a little more salty and briney in the best way.
We could go on about the food for eight more paragraphs, but the best way to experience it is to buy a ticket. If the last two years have been any indication, the next will be just as good—if not better. The ticket price may seem steep, but there’s a reason such an expensive event completely sells out every year (to 1,000 people, no less!). The quality of the food and the entertainment is unbeatable, and sets Feastival in the very upper echelon of Philadelphia food events, of which we have many.
Check out our pictures below for more of the great food that was on display, and if you attended the event, tell us in the comments what your favorite dishes (or drinks) were!