fresh hoja santa---found!!!
I've found the holy grail! The butcher at the corner of 9th and Ellsworth has a huge box of fresh hoja santa leaves. This is the first time I've seen them in Philadelphia. He says he got them from the New York area and plans to stock them whenever he can get them. (In case you've never had them, they impart a flavor to stews, soups, moles, etc. like that of root beer, except much more subtle.)
He also sells freshly made pipian made with the hoja santa plus tomatillos, scallion greens, ground pepitas, etc. His wife(?) brought out a taste (wonderful herbal flavor) and then told me exactly how to make it, which I did today and it's delicious. This is a wonderfully friendly shop (I mentioned it in a previous post) with good meats and other Mexican ingredients. What a great addition to the Philadelphia chow scene!