East Passyunk’s ITV just turned one year old. And Nick Elmi and his crew are throwing a special celebration on Saturday night.
The women of Machine Shop Boulangerie have made flaky pastries exciting again with their flavorful, perfecltly crafted viennoiserie, available at select cafes around the city.
But bakers Katie Lynch and Emily Riddell have just begun dipping their toes in retail this week.
This past Sunday, they held a flash sale at Bok Bar, on the roof of the building where they bake. And this weekend, they’re popping up on East Passyunk with breads and pastries.
There are only two reasons why we get so giddy when soft-shell season comes around, two reasons why we like eating them at all:
- Eating soft-shell crabs is a no-fuss way of eating crabs (which is an otherwise very fussy experience with the shell on).
- It makes us feel alive.
Digging into them with a fork and knife — really, eating any animal whole like that — is a pretty primal experience in itself.
But let’s take it a step further, shall we? Let’s chomp into them without using any utensils at all. Let’s just stuff them between bread and rip into them like the beasts that we are. We’re at the top of this food chain, so we might as well act like it.
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.
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?
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.
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.
This showed up in my mailbox over the weekend. An email from Nick Elmi at Laurel and ITV, titled “Wild Turkey from a turkey’s ass.” It begins:
I think we have a really great/really stupid idea for Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Since its the “biggest drinking day of the year” and we( I mean us) all need a reason to wind down we figured ITV could do something fun.
What came next was possibly one of the best ideas I’ve heard so far this holiday season.
Nick Elmi’s East Passyunk bar, ITV (or as we prefer to refer to it 👁📺 – oh you thought we were done with restaurant emojis?) is adding happy hour. Beginning this evening, the attractive bar is offering discounted, wine, beer and snacks from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
Wines are available for $7 and beers are $5. ITV is also offering a house-made version of Quina for $5. Quna is the French aperitif that most probably know from this famous poster.
ITV, the bar from Laurel’s Nicholas Elmi officially opens this Saturday, July 2nd at 1615 East Passyunk Avenue. Elmi has been planning the bar next to his restaurant Laurel, for more than a year. The name ITV comes from “In the Valley” which is what the Lenape word Passyunk means.
The dark and attractive marble bar seats around 12 at leather bar stools. The backbar and walls are off-black with gold gold piping. The design, done by Eimer Design also includes floral wallpaper made of thinly rolled wood. Beyond the bar is a banquette with seating for eight plus a lone table for two.