3-day Philly Visit: A few questions
Been to Philly a few times, but want to get a bit more into the food this trip. Arriving on Thursday, departing on Sunday, weekend before Christmas. Staying at 18th/Market, but probably hanging out a bit more east of Broad. No car, but not adverse to cabbing it to a worthwhile destination. Two guys, both foodies, but not food snobs - enjoy places that are both fun as well as having memorable/special food. OK, so a few questions:
1. It seems like there are quite a few BYOB's, which is certainly appealing. Are there any unique rules of the road when it comes to this type of place? Is the food as good as at places that serve alcohol? Are there some recommended wine shops in this neck of the woods?
2. The roast pork with rabe sandwich sounds like a great lunch. Tony Luke's appears a bit far. Is DiNic's a good option for this?
3. I love a good greasy spoon breakfast place, either early in the morning or very late at night. Any suggestions?
4. For good, but not super high-priced Italian, Melograno is closer to where we will be, but Modo Mio also sounds great. Thoughts on these (or others)?\
Thanks for any advice you can offer!!
1. look at the menu. Sometimes they're kinda...plain/ casual. THat's the point sometimes, that it's easy-going neighborhood anytime kinda food. But you might be let down. Just look at the menu. ANd yes, bring wine or beer. I like to bring beer and they'll usually give you an ice bucket.
2. DiNics is great. Delicious. But Paesano's....well that may be worth your trip. I hate to say that anything in the world is better than DiNics Roast Pork with greens and provolone, but the Arista may do it.
3. err..Petes and MidTown will be around, but don't expect anything great!
4. Modo Mio just started a new tasting menu that I've heard excellent things about! Just sayin'.
1. No special rules except to remember to bring your own beverage! Feel free to bring beer instead of wine if you want (most places will keep it cold for you) and some places will make mixed drinks if you bring the alcohol. Eg, Lolita (Mexican) will mix up a margarita if you bring the tequila. The wine shop situation is poor; only state operated stores sell wine. There are a few around Center City, just Google for "Wine and Spirits:" http://maps.google.com/maps?q=wine%20...
The food is usually very good at BYOBs because it has to be--they have no bar scene to pad revenue and the owner (which is usually the chef) can focus entirely on the food.
2. I like DiNic's better, and the Reading Terminal Market is well worth a visit regardless.
3. I used to live in Cleveland, so I understand the greasy spoon thing. I used to hit Chuck's on Lee Road and Bill's on Mayfield all the time (I think both are closed now?). When my friends from Cle. visit they love the corned beef hash at Famous 4th St (a great Jewish deli, two locations), but they aren't open late. Corned beef hash is good in Cleveland, but this is better.
There a couple diners that are open 24 hours in Center City--Little Pete's and South Street Diner. There are a few other iconic diners--Melrose, Oregon, and Pennrose--but those are farther away. None will blow you away with food but definitely fit the bill for greasy spoon. The latter three have a real New Jersey diner atmosphere, which is a kind of place I never found in Cleveland.
The Philly version of places like Chuck's, Bill's, and Slyman's, in my mind, is the South Philly lunch counter, which is a similar concept but with a lot of Italian-American cooking. A great one just moved to Center City, Shank's. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but it's worth checking out. Breakfast is good but their chicken cutlet sandwich for lunch is great.
For late night grub, a lot of gastropubs will serve very good pub food until 1am. Good ones are Pub & Kitchen, Good Dog, Varga Bar, Royal Tavern, and Standard Tap.
4. Haven't been to Melograno,but Modo Mio is great and worth the trip--make reservations. Do the Turista menu.
If you are a beer drinker, you might be interested in knowing that Great Lakes Brewery just started distributing here a month or two ago and has been very well received. It's now on tap at a lot of places. This is very good news for me--I think Great Lakes is the thing I missed the most when I left Cleveland.
Barryg - Thanks for the detailed response and suggestions! You do know your Cleveland dives -- I have had some great food at Chuck's. Not sure if either Chuck's or Bill's are open since I now live on the west side (and we have an awesome collection of diners over here). Glad to hear Great Lakes has made it there - it's time for Christmas Ale! And thank you too, HollyD!