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Jul 28, 2007 09:59 AM

Philly Mag: Best of Philly

What do the hounds think??? what they miss? what was dead on?

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  1. Second guessing magazines selections strikes me as dicey and a matter of opinion but some of the selctions are so egregious that they are essentially absurd.

    Best new BYOB is a place called "Modo-mio" and it's described as Osteria at a lower price point, completely ridiculous, the food at Modo moi is hit or miss at best and the $30 price fixed menu is just to increase revenues. The bread is the worst I have experienced in any restaurant on the planet.

    The best salad in the city is at a boring pan asian restaurant that isnt even in Philly but Radnor and is a themeless assemblage of items with requisite"Asian" ingredients like edamame and tofu. With all the chefs using farm vegetables in the city, just strikes me as ODD.

    Best Cheap Eats.
    Wegmans ?
    Say what, isnt the closest Wegmans To Philadelphia in New Jersey ?
    With all the fantastic Pho places in south philly like cafe diem and the latin restaurants in north philly, they pick some sanitized grocery store selling westernized bullsh*t versions of ethnic foods. I like Wegmans but a grocery store for best cheap eats ?

    Tiffin is Good.
    Zento is good.

    Xochitl has overrated cocktails.

    The best soup in Philadelphia is in haddonfield New jersey, just absurd.
    Again cafe diem makes the best pho in philadelphia.

    Best food classes at Tria.
    Tria does not sell food, they sell retail items from a panini grill.

    Best Sandwich in Philadelphia is in Norristown.

    Grey lodge has good fries.

    Best Chinese in Philadelphia is in Ardmore though there are places like Chung king and sichuan tasty in CHINATOWN....hello.

    To answer your question eastcoastwineman..

    "what did they miss" ?
    They missed the boat.
    I cannnot understand any logical reasons why any of the winners should be outside philadelphia, some are actually in a different state.
    That being said even some of the locals picked show that no thorough research has been done and it is simply a matter of opinions borne out of laziness, you dont have to look that hard to find the actual best places

    9 Replies
    1. re: Chowtalk

      The Best of Philly is such a joke! It is just a marketing tool to get "Winners" to advertise in that rag. Clearly thave run out of material. Once they pick you, they hound you to pay them back for giving you such an honor. I know from personal experience.

      1. re: Chowtalk

        Not saying I disagree with you entirely Chowtalk, but Philadelphaa Magazine, (and probably all other similar publications), has traditionally included the entire Philadelphia metro area (i.e. South Jersey, Wilmington, the Main Line and other suburbs, and all of Philadelphia county, etc) in it Best of Philly poll. And, quite honestly, if they didn't I'm sure lots of readers would get pretty annoyed, since I doubt that "most" of the readers live in "Philadelphia proper," thus meaning hearing about a great place to eat in Radnor, Haddonfield, Ardmore, etc is going to be more appealing to the readers than just hearing about great places in Philadelphia County. That being said, I haven't been to many of the places that you mention above, and haven't yet purchased this years edition of the magazine, so I can't say much about what you've reflected on. However, I can make a comment about Tria--they do have food classes (things like cheese and wine education classes, etc) so while you might not like the fact that they sell "retail items from a panini grill" that shouldn't affect your feelings towards their food classes as those are taught at a completely different location from the restaurant, and, from what I've heard, are quite good. Anyway, I see where you are coming from and don't want to sound argumentative regarding the topic at hand, since, again, I haven't been to many of the places you mention above. But, I really don't see it as unreasonable for a magazine rating a city's best food items to include surrounding areas too. Thanks.

        1. re: Laura D.

          While I agree that it's nice to have a few options from outside of Philly proper, "best of philly" should be "best of PHILLY". You won't ever see a shout out to Chinatown or the RTM in Best of the Mainline or Best of South Jersey. Those areas have their opportunities to shine- let the locals enjoy those opportunities too.

          1. re: jessicheese

            OK. You're running a magazine. Do you limit yourself to Philly proper, or take it outside to include the area? I live in the burbs (Bucks County), grew up in South Jersey, and have always considered myself a "Philly" guy.
            Would you read an article on the Jersey shore in Philly Mag?

        2. re: Chowtalk

          Haven't read it yet...There is a Wegman's in Downingtown and one not far into NJ. Although I have always felt that there is nothing cheap about eating at Wegman's. I suppose it's better than the prepared food you might find in other grocery stores, but it's not that cheap.

          As for winners being in a "different state," don't forget that we are talking about Philadelphia and not Harrisburg. The "different state" is just over a river. Most of NJ is closer to Philly than most of Pennsylvania is!

          Winners not being in Philly-proper? Maybe the people in town are losing their touch, and also most people that live in "Eagles Territory" considers themselves a Philadelphian even if they live in Chester/Bucks/Delaware/Montgomery counties. As Laura D says - the magazine goes beyond the actual city limits.

          Right or wrong, these kind of lists are more about provoking interest, buyers, controversy and conversation. Everyone loves to read the list and pick apart why it's wrong. If you agreed with all the entries, you probably wouldn't bother reading. I'm always looking for something new anyway, so I try to take it for what it's worth.

          1. re: jzerocsk

            You are not a Philadelphian, unless you grew up in Philadelphia county; otherwise, you are an outsider always looking in (you can argue to the cows come home; but if you didn't attend schools or live in the neighborhoods, sorry, it doesn't count nor does simply working in the city and commuting outwards). Having said that, the magazine and "the Best of Philly" has always been geared towards those outside of the county as a means to be part of the city's life.

            1. re: hotteacher1976

              My 91 year old grandmother spent all of her life except for her first two years and this past year (i.e. 88+ years) living in Philadelphia County...the Kensington section as she grew up and Northeast Philly as an adult. However, I can pretty much guarantee you that many people who grew up on the Main Line, in South Jersey, etc. would know a hell of a lot more about the food that the Philadelphia area has to offer than she would (and this has nothing to do with her age or cognitive abilities at this point), if for no other reason than she wasn't inclined to venture out of her neighborhood and experience what the rest of the city (and when I say "city" I mean both within the geographic limits of Philadelphia county and in the surrounding areas) had to offer because she stuck with her section of the city. If nothing else I think that people who live outside of Philadelphia county have the potential to have just as much, if not more knowledge of the city's best dining establishments than those who live within city limits, since the city becomes a destination location. If you live in one specific section of the city it's a lot easier to simply visit local places than venture across the city to other restaurants that could potentially blow your neighborhood joints out of the water, or that could potentially be horrible. Additionally, given that this city has a huge problem with attracting young people here for a great education and then losing them once they hit working age, I think it is a dangerous thing to claim that one is not a true "Philadelphian" nor able to rank the quality of dining establishments in the Philadelphia area simply because they didn't grow up here. My coworker went to Penn and has decided to be one of the few to stick around 10 years later. He knows a lot more about the city, both from a culinary perspective as well as in general, than most life long Philadelphia residents, and I doubt he'd appreciate being told that he isn't a true Philadelphian. I agree that the results of the "Best of Philly" polls are somewhat skewed, but if there is a strong showing from restaurants outside of Philadelphia County than perhaps those are places worth visiting instead of just snubbing due to their geographic location, or due to the fact that they typically cater to non-Philadelphia county residents. Just my opinion...

              1. re: jzerocsk

                I completely agree with you jzersocsk -- these lists are designed to be picking good but not that well known places in order to let people know about them -- the purpose of these things isn't to grant awards for the best work, it's to tell people about good food they might not yet know about. They purposely don't list Cafe Diem because we already know their pho is amazing. Therefore I guess we are finding in multiple ways that "Best of Philly" isn't such an appropriate title -- maybe it should be called "Undiscovered good food in the greater Philadelphia area" ;) But honestly, I do think that is implied, if not stated, by the title.

            2. Everyone knows it's all about marketing. I enjoy Philly mag, but they really should call it "Main Line magazine" because besides the restaurant du jour, they really don't focus on the city that much.

              1. Back to the mag...I've got to think that if we were inviting other hounds from all over the world to Philadelphia, the roast chicken at James is NOT the dish that we would serve as the best our fine city has to offer.
                I was happy to see Crossroads bakery in Doylestown get a mention. I don't know if it's the best bakery, but it's really good. Just had a morning roll this morning...mmm...and their coffee-Small World Roasters I think? from Princeton- is really, really good.