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what's the best northeast corridor city for food (outside of NY)?

f
fara Mar 15, 2011 06:23 PM

I am looking for jobs. Let's pretend I can choose the city based on the availability of ethnic foods and great grocery shopping. Which is the best city in the mid-Atlantic/Northeast?

  1. r
    rovingfoodie Mar 16, 2011 05:16 PM

    Over the past 15 years, I've lived in Baltimore, Trenton, Philly, Newark, Boston/Cambridge, and now New York, and spent a good bit of time in DC (my screen-name isn't rovingfoodie for nothing), and I also give a big thumbs up to Philly. I especially like how affordable many of the great restaurants in Philly are - the liquor laws are a pain, but the terrific BYOBs and gastropubs make up for it. Philly's also great in that it's an easy place to get around in terms of eating and grocery shopping - parking and traffic are nothing compared to NYC, and while Septa isn't great (their slogan for a while was "Serious about change"), the buses, trains, and trolleys can get you to most of the neighborhoods (including nearby suburbs) pretty easily and cheaply. The thriving South Philly Asian and Mexican grocery and restaurant options, the African stores/restaurants in West Philly (my old neighborhood), the Italian Market, the new-ish farmer's market at Headhouse, the growing food co-op scene, and of course Reading Terminal are all within walking distance or a short trolley/train/bus ride from Center City - can't beat that, in my experience!

    2 Replies
    1. re: rovingfoodie
      viperlush Mar 16, 2011 05:25 PM

      And Philly is just a short train/bus ride to Bmore, DC, and NYC (and Northern NJ). So it is convenient launching point for Mid Atlantic/Northeast.

      1. re: rovingfoodie
        t
        travelmad478 Mar 17, 2011 12:13 AM

        > parking and traffic are nothing compared to NYC

        Wow, I'll have to disagree with that one. I find Philly-area traffic to be as bad or worse than NY (think of the Schuylkill at, well, any hour of the day!!!) and parking in Center City is definitely worse. Parking outside CC is not so hard but it is nightmarish in most of the places where Philly's great restaurants are located...Northern Liberties, Center City, the Italian Market area, etc. I am more or less constitutionally opposed to the concept of valet parking, but in Philly, I do it, which says a lot. The fact that public transit is significantly less useful than in NY just makes the problem worse--people have to drive.

        Still, I do vote for Philly as a great food town. I have lived either in Philly or within 30 miles of it for the last 16 years.

      2. s
        shoes Mar 16, 2011 12:01 PM

        New Haven, Conn. Good food of all kinds, from taco trucks off the highway to fancy Chinese and Indian. Also good ethnic markets, neighborhood joints and a few historic places. Also cheaper than Boston, Philly & NYC.

        1. rockandroller1 Mar 16, 2011 11:57 AM

          Cleveland!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: rockandroller1
            ChefBoyAreMe Mar 16, 2011 12:10 PM

            I think you are in the wrong corridor!

          2. t
            travelmad478 Mar 16, 2011 11:41 AM

            To me it is a tossup between Philly and DC. DC's metro area has a vastly larger and more diverse immigrant community that Philly cannot match, and they really know how to eat. Still, Philly is (IMO) a better restaurant town than DC--the scene is much more vibrant, and the whole concept of BYO is a big plus. PA's insane liquor laws do make buying alcohol there a challenge, though. That said, Total Wine is just over the state line in DE.

            2 Replies
            1. re: travelmad478
              gaffk Mar 16, 2011 03:04 PM

              And Total Wine in NJ as well (DE more convenient for South Philly, NJ for the NE Philly neighborhoods). The odd liquor laws actually often work in the diners' favor as you can bring your own beer\wine\liquor at cost to so many restaurants in the city.

              1. re: gaffk
                Pedr0 Mar 16, 2011 04:52 PM

                Joe Canal's in Marlton NJ too.

                Portland ME is awesome but it's a bit too far north to be considered "Northeast Corridor".

            2. e
              escondido123 Mar 16, 2011 11:27 AM

              Providence, RI. Just named by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the top ten most underated cities in the world! "A renewed waterfront, vibrant arts scene, and sophisticated dining have turned this small college town into New England's most exciting city."

              1 Reply
              1. re: escondido123
                invinotheresverde Mar 16, 2011 05:41 PM

                I was going to say Providence or Philly. Both have uhhhmazing eats.

              2. d
                dpan Mar 16, 2011 11:07 AM

                Washington DC, especially the suburbs. Ethiopian in DC, Chinese in Rockville, MD, Vietnamese in Falls Church, VA, Korean in Annandale and Centreville, VA. Great, HUGE new Asian markets (Lotte, Super H, Grand Mart, Hanaro, etc.), and major expansion of Wegmans supermarkets. It really is heaven.

                1. r
                  rizzo0904 Mar 16, 2011 09:42 AM

                  Here's one that'll surprise you....Portland, Maine!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rizzo0904
                    David11238 Mar 16, 2011 10:52 AM

                    I wanted to say Portland, Maine, but held back. What ethnic groceries and restaurants are there? And I ask this in all sincerity. I know of the sushi place which gets raves, and certainly the seafood and a few hipster places which aren't so bad. Most of all, the few hidden locally sourced places in the interior. However, I've been under the impression that Portland is pretty seasonal and doesn't have a variety of heritage going around except for Mexicans. If I'm wrong, I'd love to know where to go.

                    1. re: David11238
                      r
                      rizzo0904 Mar 17, 2011 09:37 AM

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/644227

                      That's one of many Portland threads. Great city, lots to do nearby, great food.

                  2. David11238 Mar 15, 2011 07:45 PM

                    I second Philly. I'll throw in Boston as well. I'm also going to say the slew of cities in New Jersey. Specifically, Newark to Hoboken. Between the two they run the length of NYC proper, and they certainly have every ethnic food and grocery shopping I can think of. Maybe more so than NYC.

                    1. Pedr0 Mar 15, 2011 06:37 PM

                      Philadelpha. Aside from the alcohol issues with PA, certainly the best food place other than New York IMO. Actually better in some ways (Reading Terminal, Monks Cafe, etc).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pedr0
                        f
                        fara Mar 15, 2011 07:21 PM

                        this at the top of my list. can you tell me more?

                        1. re: fara
                          Pedr0 Mar 15, 2011 07:54 PM

                          http://www.readingterminalmarket.org
                          http://www.phillyitalianmarket.com/ma...

                          ^ Nothing in NYC, Boston or Washington quite like either of those. Philadelphia is a great underrated town aside from the food stuff too.

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