There aren’t too many ways to better spend a sunny June Saturday afternoon in Philly than outside at a park overlooking the Delaware River while sampling dishes from the best food trucks in town. Such was the case this past Saturday at Penn Treaty Park at the third annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards.
The Vendy Awards are the “Oscars of Street Food.” They were originated in New York City by the Street Vendor Project and expanded to Philly in 2011. The Vendys allow the best of food trucks to be recognized, all while raising money for The Food Trust. Attendees buy one ticket for the event and have all-you-can-eat access to all the food trucks as well as good beer and water. Fifteen trucks competed for the coveted Vendy Cup, the Best Dessert, the People’s Choice and the Tide Stain Eraser’s Messy yet Tasty Awards.
Folks who arrived by the 2 p.m. start had their choice of trucks to hit up before the lines started forming. It wasn’t long before the Vendys were a sea of people snapping photos of their food, devouring them and going back for more samples.
It’s not a restaurant, per se, though you will likely end up having some amazing dishes. Nor is it, despite the suggestive name, a cooking class, though you do receive many of the recipes for the meal.
So what exactly is COOK, the small, window-filled, yet blinds-drawn space at the corner of 20th and South Rittenhouse? Essentially, it’s a kitchen-classroom featuring demonstrations by some of the city’s best chefs. Instead of having to serve full restaurants, the chefs are cooking private meals for 16-20 “students”. For attendees, one of the biggest draws is to be able to interact with the chefs, as they tell the stories and reasoning behind the dishes.
Curiosity (and rave reviews from friends who’ve been) finally convinced me to give COOK a try. What better way to experience COOK than to pay homage to my Filipino heritage with “A Filipino Feast With Lou Boquila of Audrey Claire, Hosted by Drew Lazor?” The night was certainly one to remember. Here’s the recap of exactly what goes on at COOK.
Check out most of the neighborhoods in town, and you’ll find a solid brunch spot. Put aside restaurants and bars that happen to have brunch, but focus instead on brunch-specicialized places. In the Italian Market, there’s Sabrina’s Cafe. Northern Liberties has a Green Eggs Cafe and Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat. In South Philly, east of Broad, there are a multitude of choices from Beau Monde to Morning Glory to Green Eggs Cafe. Spring Garden features Cafe Lift.
In Center City, west of Broad, specialized brunch options have been limited. Thankfully, this past week, Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat opened up right on the southern border of Center City, at 21st and South. It’s been a long wait, with renovation of the space taking a couple of years. The result is well worth the wait.