weekend trip report from a Toronto Hound
Thanks to the Philadelphia board for their indirect advice, though i did not post directly, reading here was terribly helpful in choosing how to spend my restaurant $ and stomach space while in your fair city, for a weekend trip with my girlfriend sandwiched between New Orleans and NYC. Happy to report that your victuals stood up while against both those cities (though obviously my emphasis was different in each case.)
Friday Lunch: Dinic's Roast Pork--Man...these are good sandwiches, my GF and I split a sausage and sweet pepper and a roast pork with provolone and rabe. I don't really have much to say beyond the fact that these provided an introduction to the bread, oil, sauce alchemy that seems to be a secret to much philadelphia deliciousness.
Friday dinner: Dandelion--Beautiful place--this Starr guy must be a real pro---even if it seems very calculated. We had a smoked trout pate, an escarole caesar salad, deviled eggs, shrimp and mayo, and a banoffee pudding for dessert. All pretty good. Nice shrimp. Escarole was a good green for the caesar. Banoffeee pudding was really great. Things seemed like they were lacking a tiny bit in either the finesse category or the love category...but the value was fine and if there were such a pub in my neighbourhood I would be very glad.
Saturday lunch: Nick's old original roast beef--again, tremendous sandwich work. The beef itself kind of an afterthought, but the tastiest (not to say best) gravy I have ever tried, and horseradish that makes your nostrils feel shiny and new.
Saturday dinner: Osteria. Pizza: The mortadella and pistachio pesto was one of the best pies I've ever tasted. Not just the fancy/funky toppings, but a crust that was like Neapolitan but with a little extra crispyness or greasyness or sleeziness (maybe?). My GF and I kept saying it was the crust you would get if you made a Neapolitan pie have a baby with a Pizza Hut pie. Freakin' dirty deliciousness.
Pasta: My chicken liver rigatoni was generous, hearty and one of the best cooked dried pastas I've ever tasted. You want to know what al dente should taste like? It was my rigatoni that night. Oddly, my GF really got cheated by her ravioli with octopus, it was like five tiny pillows. The pasta was well made, but the flavour was anemic (I do realize that other foods are definitionally anemic in comparison to chicken LIVER but you get the idea...) and the octopus wasn't incorporated in a useful way. It was strange that the menu descriptions didn't give you a clue as to the range of styles (from hearty and brawny to delicate and refined---my pasta came in a large brown bowl, hers came precisely arranged right to left on a rectangular white plate) represented. Not actually a complaint, but something to keep in mind when anticipating what you're gonna get.
Sunday Lunch: Paesano's: We split a Liveracce (lots of liver that weekend) and a Bolognese. Both were delicious. I was kind of disappointed in the bolognese, though. The egg seemed like overkill, and the sauce and lasagna were delicious enough on their own that both egg and deep fry seemed like a bit of food-nerd overkill. I think you might get a more coherent sandwich out of just a meatball or something. Next time I will order more conservatively. Still...totally delicious. This was the 9th st. location.
Second Lunch: Pat's Cheesesteaks. Not much of a line at 2ish on a sunday afternoon. I think I am just made to like this stuff. Beef (again an afterthought...this was the place where I thought a decently cooked piece of meat might have made a difference), onions, whiz...good bread...what's not to love? Would like to someday try a better version of it, but I could see eating ANY cheesesteak once in a while--'specially if they are open 24 hours.
I followed that up with a cannoli from isgro. It was good.
Sunday dinner: Standard Tap in Northern Liberties. This was kinda disappointing. Nice place, good beer selection. The food (tuna poke, bratwurst and kraut, chicken pot pie) was all good enough that I would be happy to have it around T.O....but I kind of wished that I had used my remaining stomach space to eat some other kind of sandwich. (But what kind would it have been?) We had a good time afterwards walking to some of the bars along the El tracks (Kung-fu necktie, El bar) where we saw young people who we probably would have been (were we a teensy bit younger) if we lived here. Must return to eat the rest of your food.
Pizza Hut Restaurants
2002 State Route 27, Edison, NJ 08817
Great report! I agree, Philly sandwiches can be something special. Next time at Paesano's, get the Arista (pork) and/or Gustaio (lamb). Those are my two favorites. Also missing from your list is the classic Italian hoagie - can be had all over the city. I like the ones from Salumeria in the Reading Terminal Market and from Sarcones or Chickies in South Philly.
Now I want a sandwich.