There was a time — long before food blogs existed, long before the rise of cheflebrities — when the world assumed kitchen workers ate like royalty at home — because of course they did. Because chefs are around great ingredients every waking hour of the day, there’s no chance that they go home to peanut butter and jelly.
But when the world got obsessed with food, secrets were spilled. And now we know: the guy who built that 18-course menu with caviar and gold leaf? He probably wen’t home to a lovely spread of instant ramen and Arby’s. And there’s no shame in that. The kitchen is exhausting and junk food is easy. It makes sense.
But that’s where the love affair between chef and junk food begins, and it doesn’t stop there. Here, now, nine junk foods reimagined by some of our city’s best chefs.
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If you’re a lover of animals and beer, then you should hit up ITV, Nick Elmi’s East Passyunk Avenue bar, on April 14th and 15th. I mean, you should go there that weekend because it’s just a fantastic place to eat and drink, but also because they’re hosting some friends from North Carolina, Sanctuary Brewing Company, brewers of some pretty fantastic craft beer.
So what’s a N.C. brewery doing popping up in Philly anyway?
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Philadelphia has become like a strange dreamworld for New Yorkers and those other Big City devotees who read (or write for) the New York Times. It’s a place they come to deliberately have their expectations exceeded, to begrudgingly fall for while they’re here and then pine for while away. We are the Westworld of cities at this moment–the place you come to make all your dreams come true.
And also to murder robots.
So today, the Times ran a piece by Robert Draper titled “A Four-Day Feast In Philadelphia.” And alliteration aside, it did exactly what I mentioned above. First, there was the de riguer mention of those same tired cultural touchstones (gritty neighborhoods, soft pretzels and cheesesteaks). Then the sudden “discovery” that there are things here which are like the restaurants in New York, only, you know, not in New York, which seems to always confuse New Yorkers. The fact that these restaurants are good? That this entire city is not peopled entirely with sweatpants-wearing troglodytes gruntingly double-fisting hoagies while squatting around trash fires in the Italian Market like some lost tribe of East Coast cargo cultists? That’s almost too much to take in at first. The shock too extreme.
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