Philly w/a Pain in the A$$
Howdy, Philly 'Hounds. My husband and I are visiting your city for the first time at the end of August. He's a difficult diner and I'm a booze bag. We're basically looking for:
~BYOB- We don't have this option at home, so we're pumped!
~Offers a few vegetarian choices.
~Can be ethnic, but not sushi (he's not a fan) or Italian, since we're spoiled on that in Boston/Providence.
~Price not an issue, since we'll save tons on byo wine.
~Near Citizens Bank Park would be great, but not absolutely necessary, as I assume it's pretty touristy.
We'll be there Friday- Sunday, which I know is tough as far as reservations/wait times go, but we're patient, so no big deal. Haven't booked a hotel yet, so if there's a great foodie area to recommend we're all ears! Thanks in advance for all your help!
Oh Philly, how we loved you! We had some seriously great chow this weekend!
We started out with a fun dinner at Lolita. They're willing to swap most proteins on the menu for tofu, which was great for us. We ended up ordering the same thing (boo!), but it was so tasty we'd do it again. We started with the guac with mango, followed with crispy tofu, grilled sweet potatoes and a corn relish of sorts. Everything had a fresh, clean flavor, and the sweets potatoes had a bit of smokiness. The dish worked really well, and we both loved it. We finished with a fairly dry, bland tres leche cake and killer coffee. We followed the meal with a bottle of petite sirah at Vintage that didn't blow us away (really wish they had a Reserve List). Pre-dinner was a few rounds at Eulogy. We sampled some amazing stouts, including one from Italy with a vegetable/carob base. Our bartender (what was his name?) went above and beyond, helping us pick out funky, hard to find beers.
The next day we began at Reading Terminal Market. I don't know if I can remember everything that we ate, but we started out with a "meh" falafel and a creamy, sweet mango-pineapple smoothie. Note to self: don't let DH order the 32 oz. size in the future-that thing was huge...and filling! We moved on to the egg and cheese baked in a pretzel crust. This was awesome! The salty pretzel made an excellent backdrop for the smooth egg and cheese mixture. I could eat these every day for breakfast and not tire of them. Since I was in PA, I had to get my shoo-fly pie fix, and I wasn't let down. Hot, sweet, crumbly goodness all topped off with fresh whipped cream. Is there a better taste in the world?
We made it down to Citizen's Bank Park and were immediately greeted by a Rib Festival of sorts. Oh, the smells...made us wish we ate meat again. The smells were truly divine. We found our seats (about 20 rows off the field!) and let the eating commence. We were on a hunt for veggie cheesesteaks, which I'd read about. We couldn't believe you could get them inside a ballpark, but it turns out a) you can and b) they're delicious. I loaded up on "fake meat", onions, peppers, mushrooms, provolone (I forgot to get Whiz!) and gobs of hot sauce. Man, what a great sandwich for vegetarians! As a sidenote, I have much respect for Philly. Everytime I tried an establishment's hot sauce, it brought it! We tried the crab fries, which seemed to be regular fries with Old Bay added. They were good, not great, although the cheese on the side was much more than the average orange stuff from a can. Also, as an aside, I love how the stadiums are all together, just outside the city, and how you can take the train (which we did) OR drive. Parking was $11. No joke. Last season at Gillette (MA) it was $50. Philly really has the right idea!
We were tired from the sun and all that food, so we went light on dinner and grabbed some fast Indian. It was nothing special, but it was all vegetarian, which was nice.
All in all, we had a blast and can't say enough good things about your city! Thank goodness for all the walking we did or I'd be ten pounds heavier.
P.S. Could the City Hall building BE any more magnificent and gorgeous?!
There is actually nothing to speak of near Citizen's Bank Park, the city's stadiums are kind of off by themselves, way south of the rest of the city. If I were you I'd try to get a hotel somewhere in center city. The majority of the city's good BYOs are there or close enough to there that you can walk to them. You can also take the Broad St. subway right to the stadium.
My favorite BYO in the city right now is Cochon, but as the name implies, it's not vegetarian friendly. Another great BYO that recently opened is Kanella, it's Greek so there are many more vegetarian options. It's in center city. Matyson is also very good and also in center city.
My personal favorite restaurant area in the city is probably Bainbridge St. between 2nd and 7th St. and the few blocks surrounding it, but most of the places there aren't BYO.