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San Francisco Chowhound's first visit to Philadelphia

Taking some classes @ Wharton in a few weeks. Supposed to be studying. And I am...I'm studying your board! Would like to eat whatever I can't get in Bay Area (so not interested in Asian or Mexican). And probably shouldn't plan on ditching class so prefer restaurants in University City District or accessible by SEPTA, taxis or preferably walking.
Questions:
You've taught me what BYOB restaurants are but still not sure which are BYOB and which aren't.
I gather cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches are not the same but not clear on differences. Sounds like I should have cheesesteaks 'wit' @ Campo's and roast pork @ DiNic's?
Would also like to find an old school Italian restaurant. Enjoyed Jack Flash's May 22 post re Dante and Luigi's so was considering that. Any others?
Should I add to my list: hoagies, Amish food (what is it?), soft pretzels, ice cream?
Melanie Wong mentioned an old Jim Leff post about Carribean(?) trucks in Philadelphia but I've searched all the old posts and couldn't find anything. (Did find a very amusing 7 year old post where Jim was considering changing the title of his post but decided not to because of the limitations of the software. The new and improved Chowhound is remarkable! Congrats to Jim and everyone who made it what it is.)
Thanks to all for any recommendations. I promise to do same for you when you visit my neighborhood!

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  1. A little puzzled about "old school Italian"...

    But, for a BYOB Italian that is wonderful and uniquely Philadelphia: L'Angolo, which is only one block off the C-Bus going South on Broad Street.

    You can find the Amish food, the roast pork sandwiches, and almost everything else at the Reading Terminal Market, easy to get to from Wharton.

    In West Philly, the corner of 40th and Chestnut offers two attractive sites. Nan is upscale Vietnamese/French; two doors down is Pataya Grille--my favorite lunch spot for Vietnamese food that is very good, and quite reasonable--a special 3 course for something like $7.95.

    1. I just remembered another wonderful West PHilly place: Marigold! Wonderful, but not BYOB I don't think. Can't give you the exact address, but it's near 45th and Baltimore. They have a special $30 menu during West Philly Days now, including being open on Monday the 24th of July.

      1. Actually, it is byob. For the menu, you can check:

        marigoldkitchenbyob.com

        1. By "old school Italian", I imagine that chowfish means red sauce, non-Northern Italian style food.

          Here's a link to an ancient thread on lunch trucks.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          Updates on the lunch trucks please?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            My favorite lunch truck in West Philly is Magic Carpet vegetarian truck at 34th and Walnut. Everything is good, particularly the magic meatballs, the vine leaf salad, the spinach pie, and the louisiana BBQ special.

            I also like the falafel truck and the chinese truck behind the Pottruck gym. The orange sauce at the Chinese truck is great. Don't be intimidated by a line, they move very fast.

            There's a great burrito truck (that isn't always there) at 38th and Walnut called Mexi-Cali. There are also a couple other Mexican trucks on Spruce between 36th and 37th.

            Thank you.

            1. re: Bride of the Juggler

              Thank you thank you for this post! I saw something on Food Network about this veggie truck before I lived near Philly, so paid no attention to its location. Now that I'm here and reminded and I know where it's at, I'll be sure to check it out. Kudos!

          2. Amish food abounds at the Reading Terminal Market www.readingterminalmarket.com which is an easy hop on SEPTA green line trolleys from Penn to City Hall, a block away. The market is closed on Sundays and the Amish merchants are only there from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Best bets at the market include airy warm soft pretzels at Fisher's, pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place, and apple fritters and cinnamon rolls from Beiler's Bakery there. DiNic's is at the market too (get the roast pork with provolone and greens), and they have a good Italian bakery for cannoli (Termini's). Bassett's has good ice cream there too.

            A cheesesteak is thinly sliced sirloin, often cheese (usually cheeze wiz but sometimes provolone), sometimes grilled onions or mushrooms, and generally a lot of grease. A roast pork sandwich is thinly sliced pork soakd in juices and is not greasy.

            There are a lot of good dining options near Rittenhouse Square
            and Old City and both are accessible by the #21 and #42 buses on SEPTA.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bluehensfan

              Be sure to get the Sharp Provolone and Greens on the DiNics Roast Pork.

              1. re: bluehensfan

                When I was in Philadelphia briefly last fall I really enjoyed Reading Terminal Market. To use Bay-Area referants, it's a little like Housewives Market, but several times bigger and with a few more upscale/nonfood "stalls."

                BTW, I ended up there in part because it turns out virtually all the historic sites in Philadelphia are closed on Monday -- something to take into consideration when planning your time there.