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Philly: What else besides cheesesteaks?

davisready Oct 18, 2007 12:28 PM

I'll be visiting philly for the weekend and will definitley be eating a few cheesesteaks. I was wondering if there are any local faves besides?

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  1. j
    jessicheese RE: davisready Oct 18, 2007 12:31 PM

    I'll be first to tell you about the roast pork sandwich. Thinly sliced roast pork, sharp provolone, and sauteed greens on a seeded roll. My favorite is DiNics in the Reading Terminal Market.
    Another great Philly treat is scrapple, a breakfast meat consisting of pork, cornmeal, spices, and who knows what else. It's ground and fried into patties. Makes a great sandwich!

    2 Replies
    1. re: jessicheese
      Adamlick RE: jessicheese Oct 18, 2007 12:40 PM

      I concur with the roast pork from Dinic's, but I prefer it with the roasted peppers instead of the greens, but you can't go wrong either way. If you do go to the RTM, which you should, try the pretzels from the Amish stand ( I forget the name ). I would also recommend going to the Italian Market and checking out Claudio's for their fresh mozzarella and their homemade pesto. Then making your way to Sarcone's for a hoagie. If you like wings, check out Moriarty's. They give you the whole wing and it is an irish bar with tons of different beers. Best wings in the city IMHO. If you like Schnitzel, try Ludwig's Garten and get it Jaeger style. They have a bunch of different beers and if you sit at a table you can get a beer tower which is a beer equivalent to a four foot bong.

      1. re: jessicheese
        bluehensfan RE: jessicheese Oct 18, 2007 12:42 PM

        I second the roast pork at DiNics, and add that they also serve great broccoli rabe on their sandwiches too (but have never seen seeds on my roll! from there). Scrapple is great to try at least once...they have a good version (and good pancakes) at the Dutch Eating Place in the market (but not on Sunday). The market is a great place to explore and they also have very good soft pretzels (get them hot out of the oven) at Fisher's.

      2. l
        Love Onion RE: davisready Oct 18, 2007 12:46 PM

        Yeah, go for the roast pork! It's the food I miss most about Philly. San Francisco, my current home, has some good sandwiches, but nothing that competes with the Philly roast pork, IMHO...

        1. rabidog RE: davisready Oct 18, 2007 01:37 PM

          i think the entirety of the reading terminal market is something we should be known for.

          matter of fact, we sort of are... http://www.travelandleisure.com/afc/2...
          we're right up there for farmer's markets, and we should be! (well, food markets in general, i think) in addition to the reading terminal market, you can find misc awesome italian ingredients down in the italian market on 9th street in south philly. and with so many urban farms and community gardens and random corner farm stands, the produce is easily one of my favorite things here!! i was actually thinking about starting a thread on that but thought i would save it for spring of next year. :) anyway, i would say, come visit our markets - especially those two (italian and reading terminal). make it on a saturday if you can.

          also on my latest chow tour, which has been taking me through red-sauce italian places in south philly, i've made some discoveries that are probably unbeatable outside of italy itself! i recommend you do a search here of italian food in south philly. i haven't ventured out to enough places yet.

          we've also got some incredible foodie options down on washington ave, if you poll the board you'll find a lot of praise for that street... besides the italian market, you have a fun mix of vietnamese pho shops and mexican taquerias. all co-existing pleasantly (except geno) and cheaply. you can definitely get some tasty bites for your dollar on washington, stretching from probably 6th to 11th streets. i wish we were more well-known for that entire area - and not just the competing cheesesteak places across the street from one another!

          1. w
            wisteria1 RE: davisready Oct 18, 2007 01:52 PM

            A good soft pretzel (some vendors sell them rock hard and dry as dog kibble, encased in cling wrap; avoid these) and a hoagie. Also possibly Breyer's vanilla ice cream.

            4 Replies
            1. re: wisteria1
              Bride of the Juggler RE: wisteria1 Oct 19, 2007 05:12 AM

              Did you mean Bassett's ice cream? In the Reading Terminal stand, they do a hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream in it that's fantastic when it's cold out. Thank you.

              1. re: Bride of the Juggler
                wisteria1 RE: Bride of the Juggler Nov 9, 2007 06:06 AM

                Nope, meant Breyer's. Also local and, despite the lack of a cutesy stand in the Reading Terminal Market, the best vanilla ice cream.

                1. re: wisteria1
                  cwdonald RE: wisteria1 Nov 21, 2007 03:36 PM

                  Breyers technically is no longer local. After the plant was closed in the area, the product is made in Alabama.

                2. re: Bride of the Juggler
                  lynnlato RE: Bride of the Juggler Nov 9, 2007 07:12 AM

                  YUM! As a kid I had a friend who's mom used to make us hot chocolate w/ a scoop of vanilla ice cream after we'd come in from ice skating. It heaven in a mug! Thanks for the memory. :-)

              2. h
                Hungryin theBurbs RE: davisready Oct 18, 2007 02:23 PM

                If you've got a car, I'd recommend heading to Tony Luke's at Front and Oregon in South Philly. They have great cheesesteaks as well as my favorite roast pork sandwich in the city (Dinic's is good too, but not as good as TL's in my book). Get the roast pork Italian, which comes with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. If you don't like pork, the chicken cutlet Italian is mighty tasty too. If you go with a friend, you can get a couple different things and share.

                1. OlderPhiladelphian RE: davisready Oct 18, 2007 09:35 PM

                  To be honest, there isn't much besides a great cheesteak other then a great roast pork sandwich. Years ago you could get a great roast beef sandwich at Nicks at 20th and Jackson, but folks dont seem to respond to that anymore. If you want to combine the BEST cheesesteaks with the BEST roast pork sandwiches, then the answer is simple: go to John's roast pork. If there are two of you order one of each and share. There are no silly questions like cheeze wit or wit out. There is only a cheese steak sandwich that will fill you up enough for 3 days and then the tastes of the roast pork, provolone and greens that will bring tears to your eyes as you become aware of the tastes all coming together. There has never been another taste sensation quite like that. To compare, go to Barclay Prime and order their strip steak with sauce...eat it slowly and then compare and you will know that John's tastes meld together in magical ways.
                  Finally, for the sake of the sanity of the entire city, I beg, beg, beg you to NOT go to Genos or Pats.....they do not represent the best the city has to offer. If, however, you do decide to go as most tourists do, please do not report back. Trust me, the reports back are never helpful.
                  One more note: Tell me the neighborhood, and I will tell you where to go.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: OlderPhiladelphian
                    spinach RE: OlderPhiladelphian Oct 18, 2007 10:35 PM

                    you might wana get out more. philly has LOTS of great food offerings beyond roast pork and cheesesteaks. what a mistake to miss chinatown, sweet lucys bbq, vietnam, amada and countless other places that do philadelphia proud..

                    1. re: spinach
                      Chinon00 RE: spinach Oct 19, 2007 11:47 AM

                      But what you are describing aren't "unique Philly" foods. They are just really good restaurants in Philadelphia.


                      1. re: Chinon00
                        rabidog RE: Chinon00 Oct 19, 2007 03:35 PM

                        i posted the reply i did because i think it's high time philly GETS known for something other than the stuff we currently have a claim to fame for. when i moved here, i knew about the cheesesteak, pretzels, tastycakes and water ice - and i wasn't terribly thrilled about living in a place known for low-brow snack foods. at the time i didn't know about the excellent markets and the vast selection of BYOs that have come to be the main reason i love philadelphia, and things i'd love to have us known for! oh, and then there's gelato! has anyone EVER found gelato better than capogiro's in any other city?

                        1. re: rabidog
                          Chinon00 RE: rabidog Oct 22, 2007 09:16 AM

                          I understand and agree with what you're saying however that's a whole other argument.

                        2. re: Chinon00
                          idia RE: Chinon00 Nov 9, 2007 06:14 AM

                          Aren't scrapple, hoagies and tastycakes also considered local standards?

                          1. re: idia
                            Chinon00 RE: idia Nov 9, 2007 06:36 AM


                    2. b
                      Boognish RE: davisready Oct 19, 2007 07:42 AM

                      this conversation seems limited to sandwiches. Was that your intention? I mean, sandwiches are good and all, but this city has a LOT more to offer than two sandwiches (both of which are awesome if you go to the right places btw).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Boognish
                        jessicheese RE: Boognish Oct 19, 2007 12:12 PM

                        That's why I had thought to mention scrapple. I also like the mention of the roast beef. I'm always facinated how different regions of the country serve completely different versions of hot roast beef.

                        Shoofly pie might also be considered a local thing. I'd never heard of it before moving to this area.

                        The soft pretzel is also unique in these parts. The shape and texture is a lot different than you'll find in other places.

                        1. re: jessicheese
                          Adamlick RE: jessicheese Oct 20, 2007 10:11 AM

                          Check out La Colombe for coffee. On 19th between Walnut and Sansom. A restaurant Loie is next store and I know this is not unique to Philly, but they have a two-course brunch on Sunday's that is $25 and you get all of the mimosa's and bloody mary's you can drink.

                      2. Emmmily RE: davisready Oct 20, 2007 03:45 PM

                        Check out the food trucks in University City. There's a ton on 38th around Walnut (I especially like the Korean food at Koja) and even more on Spruce around 37th. Generally really good food, dirt cheap. There's a few similar things in NYC, but not nearly to that scale. (I wrote a column for my college paper about them if you want more detail: http://emmmilyeats.blogspot.com/2007/...)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Emmmily
                          Dib RE: Emmmily Oct 20, 2007 07:41 PM

                          While I certainly enjoy the u. city food trucks for cheap hot lunches, I probably wouldn't recommend them to an out of town visitor who isn't necessarily in the area, with the possible exception of my favorites, tacos from Tacos Don Memo and felafel wraps from Rami's.

                          Regarding your column - you shouldn't have skipped Hemo's; their unique sauces set them apart from "standard cheesesteak & sandwich places". And I'm curious about Frite American Crepe at Spruce & 38th, according to your column. Do you remember which corner it was on? I wonder how it compares to Crepe Walk, near Spruce and 36th.

                        2. y
                          yankeefan RE: davisready Oct 22, 2007 09:17 AM

                          Soft pretzels. Best in the land.

                          1. f
                            FrankJBN RE: davisready Nov 9, 2007 06:43 AM

                            It's not Philly city I don't think (though Bookbinder's markets their version nationally) but a Philly-metro Delaware Valley standard is Snapping Turtle soup.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: FrankJBN
                              wisteria1 RE: FrankJBN Nov 21, 2007 09:15 AM

                              Snapper soup with sherry....delicious and very warming.

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