Did some research ~ thoughts on selections?
I'll be arriving Friday evening, not sure what time yet, so I'm thinking something easy and casual for dinner ~ and close to the hotel, so I'm thinking Fergies. Open late and their website said there would be music. Love us some Irish music! And besides, I really want to just chill out at a laid back place after working and traveling all day.
For Saturday I'm thinking breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place and then off to do the historical tourist thing ~ Independance Hall, Liberty Bell and Constitution Center. Lunch at Jim's Steaks when we get hungry. Do they serve beer or is it BYOB? (We are from NOLA!!) After that, happy hour at Village Whiskey b/c the snack and cocktail menu look amazing! Any recommendations for what to eat and drink there? Food prices look decent, but I don't think that we'll be ordering much, so I want to get the best stuff and quite frankly, drink prices look outrageous to me, so if I'm gonna pay $12 for a drink, I'd like not to order the one thing that is generally regarded as a bad decision. LOL!! Then off to Ortleib's for music and a late lite dinner.
Since I'll be flying out sometime on Sunday (and Saturday is going to be a long day) I'm thinking Fado's for breakfast/brunch. My beau *loves* Irish breakfast and I'm dying to try the brown bread ice cream! And a couple of cocktails b/f a plane trip is required for me.
Obviously not the most high end foodie trip, but I'm the one that enjoys that stuff and he would probably be perfectly happy to live on pizza, Krystal burgers and the occasional trip to Galatoire's. (SUCH a contradiction!) So, I'm trying to keep it balanced. ;)
All feedback is *much* appreciated!!!
Breakfast at Reading Terminal - Dutch Eating Place
Independance Hall / Constitution Center/ Liberty Bell
Lunch at Jim's Steaks
Happy Hour at Village Whiskey
Dinner and Music at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus
Breakfast/Brunch at Fado's
The Dutch Eating Place is a great place for breakfast (especially the pancakes). I am not a big cheesesteak fan and the one I had at Jim's was just meh (dry and gristly) if you ask me. I am more of a roast pork with provolone and rabe from DiNic's at the Reading Terminal Market person (or to put it in terms you can relate to, a burger from the Camellia Grill or a Ferdi from Mother's are a 100 times better than a cheessteak from Jim's). Admittedly I have not been to the other places on your list (but have heard good things about Village Whiskey).
Enjoy your visit!
Jim's will give you the cheesesteak "experience," but the sandwiches themselves won't be revelatory or anything (like Dinic's as already mentioned). But, on the bright side, they do serve beer and it's probably a fun stop for an out-of-towner especially if you'll be doing the tourist thing anyway that day.
Definitely hit Village Whiskey. Since you're just doing happy hour, I would imagine you aren't going the burger route (which deserves its high praise). They have a great selection of "pickles" which are served with whipped ricotta and bread. I recommend the pickled tomatoes. Can't speak to cocktails as I usually order whatever beer they have pouring out of the cask.
I would skip Fado. It's a big chain, and speaks nothing to Philly. I would guess the Irish breakfast is nothing special though I haven't had it., but any "Irish" food I've had there has been as domesticized as possible (putting Guinness BBQ sauce on a burger does not make it Irish food). You didn't mention where you are staying so tough to give breakfast picks, but you might try Kanella on 10th and Spruce. It's byob, but great, unique food.
If you are going for Irish food, I would suggest either Tir Na Nog, or Fergies. Food is good in both places. If you are down in Old City, you could consider Dark Horse as well.
If you are up by Ortlieb's Jazz House, you might want to consider having dinner in Northern Liberties and then going on to Ortliebs. Choices in Northern Liberties abound, including Standard Tap (GastroPub), Bar Ferdinand (tapas), Koo Zee Doo (Portugese), Cantina Dos Segundos, Cafe Estelle, Modo Mio (Italian).
We have so few meals, that we're thinking DiNic's, rather than cheesesteak.
I'm really excited about the pickled tomatoes at Village Whiskey! LOVE me some 'maters!! Glad to hear that they are recommended.
Fado is off the list. Someone in another thread mentioned Black Sheep for Irish Breakfast. Thoughts?
We're staying at the Doubletree on S. Broad.
I agree you're much better off at DiNic's in the market than any cheesesteak place in town. Make sure you order the roast (as opposed to the pulled) pork and I always order it wet to get extra juice.
Do check out the rest of Reading Terminal, as there are a lot of great places to see and eat there, even for snacks like the cookies at 4th St Cookie Co. or the chocolate peanut butter pretzels at Mueller's Chocolates (but skip the Cajun place since you have the "real" thing in NOLA).
Another place you may want to stick your head in is the Naked Chocolate Cafe, a block or so north from the Doubletree at Walnut and Juniper Sts. They have great aztec hot chocolate that is sinfully rich (granted it is going to 65 on Saturday so maybe not). A block father north and east from the chocolate place on 13th and Sansom is Capogiro. Really good gelato that is worth tasting in any weather. It's probably one of the better desserts in town.
If you want to experience great food, and you have limited fields, I would really suggest you only have drinks at Ortliebs and eat in Northern Liberties. There are great restaurants there, as I outlined above.
And fwiw some people actually prefer Chris's Jazz house for jazz over Ortliebs no matter what Playboy says. Ortileibs is a Philadelphia insitution but definitely not haute cuisine. Eat somewhere else and enjoy the music there!
I stayed there with some friends last summer. The location couldn't have been better for what we wanted to do. Reading Terminal Market is an easy walk and is about halfway between the hotel and the historic sites you mentioned visiting. You can have a big breakfast, then walk it off!
Also relatively close by is a bar/restaurant called Good Dog (200 block of S. 15th). If you're into beer, they have a good selection and great prices (I recommend Troeg's Nugget Nectar for a top-notch regional beer if you like hoppy beers). We went in for drinks, but it looked like they had a nice menu, too, so that might be another option for your Friday dinner.
if you do go to ortleib's and by some odd chance order their gumbo (doubtful if you're coming from NOLA), can you comment on its authenticity? i think it is delicious, but have no idea what gumbo is supposed to taste like. :) ortleib's is a good time and has a great beer selection and all the food i've had there has been tasty. there are a TON of bars and other eateries close to it though, so if the menu leaves you cold, you are not out of options. one of the city's best gastropubs, standard tap, is a block away.
jim's does sell beer, but it is not that nice of a place so don't expect much. there is a seating area upstairs that is pretty decent though. and no, jim's cheesesteaks are not perfect, but i am surprised that blueshensfan described them as gristly. that isn't their downfall. the problem is that because south street is so touristy and that jim's can get v packed v quickly, they can sometimes cook more meat than they should at a time. it can get dry, but it is possible to have a very good cheesesteak there if you get lucky with the timing. i've lived a few blocks away my whole life and it is not a shameful cheesesteak to eat in a pinch, though i usually go with a pizza steak there just in case it is dry. there are two other good cheesesteak spots on south street: olympia and ishkabibbles. olympia is a nothing place and i wouldn't recommend it to a tourist, but ishkabibbles is a little more interesting (and they claim that they invented the chicken cheesesteak).
you can't go wrong at the dutch eating place or a trip around rtm. that tourism loop is a good one and you will see many cool, pretty and historic things. the constitution center is great.
village whiskey is great but definitely pricey. their burger is absolutely outstanding (i've only tried the normal one, not the whiskey king).
fado's irish brekkie is not the best. i prefer the one at the dark horse in head house square (near the end of south street).
if you are staying at a hotel near fergie's, there are many more food options around there. fergie's is a good time though....