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Jul 26, 2007 06:48 AM

Philly must-haves

We are going to Philly for 2 days in August. We want to stay in the City Center(?) area...We have never been before. What are the must-have foods to enjoy while we are there? Any suggestion on where to stay? This is a road trip type vacation as opposed to a high-end one.

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  1. We like the Sofitel as far as where to stay but there are plenty of great hotels in City (the Lowe's, Courtyard by Marriott) as well as more pricier options. As far as muct have foods, you really should have a cheesesteak (see many threads for that) and experience some great food at the Reading terminal Market such as pancakes and scrapple at the Dutch Eating Place, a soft pretzel from Fisher's, and a roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe or greens from DiNic's.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

      I agree with the suggestion of RTM above, however, what 2 days will you be here- as that effects the visit. Wed thru Sat are the best days as the PA Dutch are there (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) and you want to go for breakfast/lunch or both as they are not open for dinner.

      for Philly stuff---along with the Fishers pretzel & DiNics roast pork with provolone & broccoli rabe, I'd also add a chocolate chip cookie from Famous 4th Street cookies.
      (While Tony Lukes is great too, since you only have 2 days, I'd suggest RTM since you can walk around & get other goodies there. ) Also go to Capogiro - so yummy!

      1. re: pamd

        Looks like we will be there on a friday and saturday. That reading terminal that just what it sounds like? open market with various vendors and such? Which is better....the RTM or the italian market that someone else mentioned?

        1. re: thatgirl153

          The reading Terminal Market would be very good for Friday or Saturday (but is more crowded on the latter) because you can take advantage of the Amish merchants who are only open part of the week. The market itself is a bunch of food stalls, many which are very good, in a closed market setting (ie it's air conditioned). No food court merchants or chains though, just honest to goodness great food, produce, butchers, florists, bakeries, etc. The Italian Market, on the other hand has cheap produce and good meats, as well as very good cheeses and other provisions but is much more spread out and, in my opinion, not nearly as nice as the market. If your time is limited, I'd try Reading Terminal for breakfast or lunch and do the Italian Market later if you have the time.

          1. re: thatgirl153

            It is in an old train shed and has been in existence for about 125 years. It is an enclosed building. There is a section of Amish vendors with both prepared and fresh foods (butchers, etc.), and an array of non-Amish selling Meats, cheeses, baked goods, spices, dry goods, most ethnicities of prepared food, a "beer garden", a local winery, a "PA General Store" and a few non-food stands such as flowers, cookbooks, tableware, and an ethnic jewelery place.
            The Italian Market is a roughly four block stretch of a combination of outside produce and fish vendors, inside cheese, "condiment" and meat stores and some great places to nosh - mostly Italian or Mexican - vietnamese in the surrounding blocks. Here you would be walking outside.
            Both places are great, just depends on what you are looking for! The Italian Market doesn't have a real web site (RTMs is above), but here is one that gives some info about the market in conjunction with its annual festival (sadly, you have missed the festival) http://www.9thstreetitalianmarketfest...

            1. re: Bigley9

              THey should have the Italian Festival twice a year! I know I would go... Anything for porcetta!

              1. re: bluehensfan

                I'll 2nd that! Must be something about U of D alumni and pork!

      2. Soooo typically Philly....already a slight disagreement! First - Center City (not city center or downtown!), Old City, Rittenhouse Square, South Philly and South Street - good to know for directions. Then, roast pork sandwiches - Tony Luke's, hands down. People disagree constantly about which cheesesteak. I like Jim's. Other What type of food do you like? Philly is, however, a great town for Italian food - from way down home-style to very upscale. If Marc Vetri is open this month, splurge. Choose from any number of terrific BYO's (you will, though, have to navigate a State-run liquor store if you do) - and you know what? Philly is lucky to have a good restaurant critic - check out some of Craig LaBan's columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer online. You'll find some good ideas there, and in Rick Nichols' columns, too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alice Letseat

          how do the BYO restaurants work? Can you bring beer, wine, liquor?

          1. re: thatgirl153

            beer and wine are fine, liquor usually is not unless the restaurant encourages it. Lolita, for example, sells margarita mix, so you can bring tequila. There's no rule against bringing liquor to a BYO, it's just not usually done.

        2. I agree with Bluehensfan's food and hotel suggestions - the Reading Terminal Market is a must, especially if you are trying to stay on the less expensive side. I would like to offer another hotel suggestion, the Alexander Inn is a boutique hotel about a (very walkable) quarter - half mile from the RTM, and Loews and the Marriott. It is less expensive than the chains and well appointed. Here's the link - One note - it is on the edge of the "gayborhood" so don't stay there if that will bother you. You will also be near the 13th street corridor which has capagiro (gelato from the gods), Lolita (byot mexican) and a number of other new places - search the board. Enjoy the trip!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bigley9

            But reserve soon if you want to stay there...they tend to fill up one to two months ahead especially for weekends.

            1. re: Bigley9

              I would second the rec for the Alexander Inn... and now, just across the street is the East of Broad outpost of Tria, the wine, beer, & cheese bar.

            2. Don't foget to eat your way through the Italian Market including fresh-made still warm mozarella from Claudio's cheese factory, fresh hot bread from Sarcone's Bakery, tacos from a selection of the taquerias, and cannolis from Isgro's bakery. Thank you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bride of the Juggler

                Didn't the Juggler post a walking tour of the Italian Market on another thread recently? It was great

              2. This is exactly the kind of info I was hoping for! I doubt we would be up for a high-end meal since we tend to be very on the go, walking, shopping, exploring etc. So the markets etc are perfect for us. What about seafood? Is there an abundance of seafood since Philly is fairly close to the ocean? Also, if we wanted to drive to the coast, is there a place that would embody nature and beach in that area? thanks!

                1 Reply
                1. re: thatgirl153

                  Closest beach would be in Jersey, an hour away or 2 hours to delaware. I don't really think of Philly as an "ocean " influenced town though maybe others woudl think different