Philadelphia Research Critique Request
I'm coming into Philadelphia for Labor day weekend, and I've been doing some research and have a basic itinerary outlined, but I'd love feedback/suggestions of the type that only those who live there can offer!
One thing missing from this list is scrapple--I have never had it, but love regional random foods, and would love to try. Where should I do that?
We're staying in Mount Airy, without a car, so we'll be on foot/public transport/cabs the whole time
-Dinner on the way back from airport with my Aunt and Uncle in Center city. Undecided where, suggestions welcome--would love maybe old school Italian?
-Drinks: Hop Sing Laundromat (what would lines/wait be like on a fri eve?)
Saturday: The big long Philly Walking tour. We tend to eat some at each place then find a nice local homeless person to donate the rest too, so yes, it seems like a lot of food, but we don't eat it all!
-Reading Terminal Market: DiNic's Roast Pork, Metropolitan Twist pretzel, XLB and shenjiangbao at Dim Sum garden, (I am not normally a sweets person, but Beck's bread pudding and dutch eating place pancakes are noted)
-Visit Liberty Bell
-Italian Market: Paesano's (Which 'which?), Taqueria Veracruzano
-Capogiro Gelato? (depends how hot and sweaty we are)
-San Lucas Pizzeria (I'm fascinated by weird fusions too)
-Dinner reservations at Osteria (maybe home, shower first?)
That might be too much--we can always split some off for Sunday...We'll see
-Headhouse Farmers Market (Taquitos de puebla)
-Ben Franklin touristy Stuff
-Dinner reservations at Zahav
Mon: Have most of the day...maybe Eastern State Pen?
So, would love your commentary, also other suggestions of weird, wacky, or only in Philadelphia--also, we'll probably hit D'alessandro at some point, because it's right by where we're staying.
Your itinerary sounds good. My $0.02:
Scapple - Amis makes a good house-made polenta scrapple. a.kitchen also makes a pretty good duck scrapple. But if you want to try the classic version, you might be better off just going to a local diner.
Old school Italian - I haven't been in a while, but I used to like Dante & Luigi's. Tre Scallini would also be a good choice, but farther from center city.
Hop Sing Laundromat - Love it, but there might be a wait for a group on Friday night, depending on when you go.
Saturday - all good choices, but sounds like a lot to pack in 1 day. Maybe it can be done. I like the Gustaio (lamb wrap) at Paesano's.
Sunday - All good choices. Be aware that Los Taquitos de Puebla is nowhere near Headhouse Square.
Los Taquitos de Puebla is at the Headhouse market but they only have carne al pastor (and maybe chicken?) for tacos, none of the beef head meat (tongue, cheek, "head") tacos that they do so well at the place on 9th. Their tacos al pastor are really good though, as are the quesadillas.
Also I think there are better taquerias than Veracruzana - I'd go to the Taco Loco RV on Washington @4th and eat in the Jefferson Sq. or have Taquitos de Puebla twice, once for cow head and once for al pastor.
The tacos al pastor do seem to be better at the Headhouse market than at the restaurant and it's a good farmers market so it wouldn't be a horrible idea to check it out and have a taco - they come three to an order so sharing is easy.
Also, and not to dissuade you from Capogiro which is great, but on 9th across from Taquitos de Puebla there is El Pueblo for Mexican style popsicles and ice cream (made locally: www.lamichoacanaicecream.com/)
In MOUNT AIRY I would check out Earth Bread + Brewery (7136 Germantown Ave - 215.242.MOON). They make wood fired brick oven flatbread pizzas which are good and really interesting sometimes. For instance they made a kimchi flatbread special a month or so ago. My favorite special flatbread was a prosciutto, fig, caramelized onion w/ sea salt They brew their own beer too but also have a legit wine list of about a dozen bottles. Casual (Mt Airy) atmosphere. Many kids before 9.
As far as SCRAPPLE goes the best I ever had was from an Amish stand at the Farmer's market in Chestnut Hill. You'd have to cook it yourself but there was none of the sometimes lingering preservative taste that you can get from the more popular brands.
x2 on Earth - it's the one thing out here that's kind of a destination restaurant.
that said, it's a restaurant that really only does 2 things - pizza and beer. if you like pizza and beer, definitely go; if you don't like pizza or beer, you're kind of like a vegetarian at a steak house; there are things on the menu you can get, but the place isn't for you.
also, if you're in mt airy w/out a car, Osteria is a hassle to get to. It's doable, but it's neither easy nor pleasant, and certainly not something I'd do with limited time in the city. (other people also like the restaurant more than I do). Oh - but it's not that far from Eastern State Penn, if you do go there too.
the last cheesesteak I had from d'allessandros was dissapointing.
and if it is hot out, you should consider getting yourself a water ice (lemon or cherry) if you have a chance.
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This Scrapple Guide was just published. I can't vouch for anything on the list except that my experiences at both Downhome Diner and Silk City in the past have been poor--but I haven't had the scrapple at either place, and never had breakfast at Silk City.
I'm a fan of the Down Home Diner's scrapple and poached egg.. At one time they used Mr. Moyers. Not sure who they use nowadays, but I'm guessing the scrapple still comes from a Reading Terminal Market vendor.
My favorite scrapple is as old school as it gets - from Brunic's at 17th and McKean in South Philadelphia. Brunic's is a long time luncheonette that is mostly cooking the same as they did fifty years ago. Super thick slabs of scrapple started in the oven and finished on the grill.
Nowadays a few Philadelphia places have been gentrifying scrapple. Not sure that is progress or a good thing.