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May 26, 2013 01:24 PM

The Foods of the city

I will be traveling to Philadelphia soon, I would like to stay true to the city with my food choices. I am staying real close to the RT, so the foods that are offered at the RT are a no brainer for at least one meal a day. I can almost just eat at the RT and cover all the bases. I would like to get over to the Italian mkt, I would love to have some good fresh made Mozzarella cheese and all the other fine Italian foods that are available. IYHO, what other foods in Philly should I not Miss while we are walking around seeing the sights. I'm a Chef, I don't need fancy foods to be happy, I enjoy any type of food that is made with pride and caring.............thx for the help........Bill

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  1. - Roast pork sandwich w/ sharp provolone and broccoli rabe.
    - Anything sandwich from Paesano's in 9th street.
    - Maryland blue crabs.
    - Victory Brewing Co. Summer Love beer
    - Victory Brewing Co. Helios beer.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Chinon00

      Also down in the Italian market, George's tripe and tongue sandwich is a little different.

      Claudio's in the Italian market makes nice fresh mozz. DiBruon's is a great cheese shop as well.

      Termanis and Isgros in the Italian market for italian pastries.

      Other local foods to try .. snapper soup, chicken salad and fried oysters (both served at Snockeys and Oyster House)

      1. re: cwdonald

        Wow, tripe and tongue, that would change my life.....I'll make a note of those places .............Thx

        1. re: Oregonguy

          George's is just a sliding glass window on the sidewalk, you have to stand somewhere and eat it but it's worth it. They're tripe sandwhich is one of the best things you'll ever put in your mouth.

          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

            George's actually has a a few seats at the counter inside...

        2. re: cwdonald

          Another place for fresh Mozarella and Ricotta is Mancuso's (M. Mancuso and son I believe). It is on East Passyunk about a half mile south of the Italian Market - great little neighborhood there too - old Italian, Mexican holes in the wall and great new places

        3. re: Chinon00

          I'm thinking John's Roast pork..I also need to do either a Blue crab boil or fried shoft shell crab sandwich.....I'll be in Washington DC so I can have them there also.............thx

          1. re: Oregonguy

            And I meant "any" sandwich from Paesano's;]

            1. re: Chinon00

              I'm thinking you like everything Paesano's.....

              1. re: Oregonguy

                My fave sandwich at Paesano's is the lamb sausage. Very unique (and tasty!!).

                  1. re: BuildingMyBento

                    When I said unique, I was referring to the sandwich itself. It is topped with a sun-dried cherry spread, gorgonzola cheese, roasted fennel, and arugula and served in a pita-like wrap.

                1. re: Oregonguy

                  Liveracce is a favorite: crispy chicken livers, salami, sauteed onions, iceberg, roasted tomatoes, garlic mayo, sweet orange marmalade, gorgonzola spread, hot sauce

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    I haven't seen Fried Chicken liver on a menu in yrs. My wife likes them, I also eat them with fried potatoes, sauteed onions with the Chicken lives dredged in flour and fried in olive oil. Oh ya, have to have ketchup............Liveracce is a meal ????????? you guys are really hitting the old time Philly favorites..................thx..............Bill

                2. re: Chinon00

                  Do you think the Roast pig sandwich is one of the best in town ?????

                  1. re: Oregonguy

                    To be honest, I prefer John's or DiNic's roast pork sandwich over Paesano's pork sandwich.

                    1. re: Oregonguy

                      It is very different from the others. The pork at Paesano's tastes like it was a confit - very soft texture - vs. the sliced roast pork in juice elsewhere (and wonderful from DiNic's or John's.) They are both excellent but I don't think they are the same kind of sandwich despite having all the same ingredients. The Liveracce is a sandwich!

                  2. re: Oregonguy

                    Anastazi's at the Italian Market does really good fried softshell crab sandwiches. And the ones I downed at the Oyster House over the weekend were delicious.

                  1. re: DirtyJerzey

                    I have to try Scrapple..........We raise our own pigs, chickens for meat and eggs and goats for cheese and a steer or two every yr. We make our own sausage link and breakfast sausage, it will be interesting on how scrapple fits into the mix....Thanks for the help, I'm in a life changing mode......

                    1. re: Oregonguy

                      You, with your sausage link production, should find Scrapple interesting. I do happen to like it perhaps even more than most other offal based food item. Anyone who eats sausage of any type should not be repulsed by this item. Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name pon haus, is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. You may or may not like it, depending on your tastes and the quality and preparation of the scrapple but as you note it should be interesting to you. I enjoy it with sunny side up eggs. This is truly a regional food.

                      1. re: Bacchus101

                        Great post Bacchus. I think it is critical how the scrapple is cooked. I prefer it pan fried where it is crisp on the outside and still soft inside. I do not like it when it is deep fried, which a lot of diners do because they are lazy and its quicker. The closest food I can compare scrapple to is haggis as both area mixture of grain (cormeal versus oats) and offal.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Tks, yes I could not agree more with your comment regarding how scrapple is cooked being important. I do always ask that question; deep fried for me also is a non starter.

                        2. re: Bacchus101

                          Bacchus101 and cwdonald..thx for the heads up on the snapple. I'm looking forward to the the crispy crusted scrapple, with over easy eggs, home fried potatoes, how could that be bad. When I started making sausage, I made the sausage the way others made it,now I make it the way I like it...........Isn't there a Penn Dutch breakfast place in the RT ???????.............I could just as soon eat eggs for breakfast as I can a Meatball sub, after having to work early mornings, the lunch feeling comes early......thx for the are some breakfast country sausage I made out of some of the scrap meat from one of our pigs. The beef link sausage is from our steer, I made these out of short rib meat and fat...........these were great next time I add a bit more heat with some Jalapenos

                          1. re: Oregonguy

                            Dutch Eating Place (Amish) is a counter but it is not open every day. Down Home Diner is probably the other easy breakfast place in the RTM, not as big a fan of it. At Dutch Eating place chicken and waffles are very good, as are the pancakes, creamed chipped beef, apple dumpling and shoe fly pie.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              CWD, where would be a good place for Scrapple ????? older small place in town maybe a mom and pop kind a place, lunch counter maybe ?????? home fried potatoes cooking on the grill ????? any of these places left ...thx..Bill

                              1. re: cwdonald

                                The Dutch eating place is closed Sun and Mon they will be open from 8 to 5 while I'm there. Thye have scrapple, the food looks good from pics on Yelp, looks like a winner.......gggeezzzzz could they make the Apple Dumpling any bigger...........where the hell do you put the ice cream

                      2. You need to try the Philly "Surf and Turf" sandwich which is comprised of a hot dog and a cod fish cake together on one roll. Additional toppings that you can add are mustard, chopped onion, or pepper hash.

                        I think the closest places to your hotel where you can find one are Underdogs on 17th and Sansom St. or Hot Diggity on 6th and South St.

                        Also, I think there is a place in the RT that makes fresh mozz, but it is a worthwhile trip to head down to the Italian Market for that and many other things. While you are down there, try some water ice from John's on 7th and Christian Sts. Puts Rita's to shame.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Philly Ray

                          Water ice, like Italian ice ???????? is Rita's the place with the soft serve frozen custard ????????? also, is the cod cake/ hot dog combo a Philly thing ????? I;m not sure what the hell to put on that tartar or Mustard and relish........thx

                          1. re: Oregonguy

                            Yes, in Philly we call "Italian Ice" water ice. Rita's does have soft serve also and that's the only thing I get there when my daughter wants to go. I think their water ice sucks.

                            As far as I know, the combo sandwich is a Philly original.

                            1. re: Oregonguy

                              I love, love, love water ice (wudderyce). but, we're not talking about haute cuisine here. you have to be willing to embrace the artificiality.
                              people will tell you that you need to go down to John's, but, while I generally avoid Rita's, water ice isn't a destination food.
                              Also, you should get lemon or cherry. or perhaps both. but don't mess around with reading the flavor menu. lemon and cherry are the basics.

                              cod cake/hot dog combo sounds good, but, having lived in Philly for 30 of my 43 years, I've never heard of it before. i do like underdog's, though.

                              1. re: Bob Loblaw

                                Water ice is not a destination food, but the OP mentioned he would be in the Italian Market, hence my recommendation. And John's typically offers only four flavors (cherry, lemon, pineapple, and chocolate).

                                As for the combo, I have lived in Philly for all of my 45 years and it is quite common, mainly attributed to the former Levis' Hot Dogs on 6th & South.

                                1. re: Philly Ray

                                  "the OP mentioned he would be in the Italian Market, hence my recommendation."
                                  True that. Actually, one thing I do like about John's is that it feels like a neighborhood place.

                                  1. re: Philly Ray

                                    From Newsworks today: "Philadelphia is a city of sandwiches, and we've always married lots of things between bread — not the least of which is our hot dog and fish cakes. And, while not as prevalent as it once was, the combination predates the current meat and fish pairing by at least five or six decades."
                                    not sure how i missed it all these years...

                                      1. re: Philly Ray

                                        I liked, but did not love, the Underdog's version. Hope to try other ones soon.

                                  2. re: Bob Loblaw

                                    Bob, I grew up in Connecticut, then Hawaii and now Pacific Northwest. When I was a kid, there was only one flavor in my mind, Lemon ice. My little girl will like cherry, or whatever other flavors they have now. I was thinking Rita's for the Frozen custard soft serve...... I'll wait for the Italian mkt for the water ice...................Thx again.............Bill

                              2. My usual throwin, Nick's roast beef at 20th and Jackson as a combo overboard. Vastly different than beef on weck or Chicago beef, my fav sandwich in city and has been for decades, in addition Tacconelli's pizza, different than many and one of my world favs.

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  Deluca would you have a recommendation for a place making fresh Mozz?

                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                    Doesn't diBruno's make their own fresh mozza? One of my favorite stops when I'm in the city. I always stock up on their pickles, maple-bacon and housemade sausages.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      Lingua which location are you referring to?

                                      1. re: cwdonald

                                        The one on Chestnut (Walnut?) near 18th.

                                        I *think* they make their own mozza, I know they make their own burrata.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          I think they do. But Claudio's is the best IMO.

                                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Nick's looks great, I don't know how this place got over looked. It looks like a bit of a walk from the RT, I may have to throw in a dessert place for the way back. is Tacconelli's pizza by the slice, or whole pies ???...........

                                    1. re: Oregonguy

                                      Tacconelli's is whole pie only and you have to order your dough a day in advance, as they make only a certain amount of dough each day. Its the best of the old school pizza places in Philadelphia. If you are looking for Neopolitan style offerings, you have a new wave of pizza places to consider including Zavino (very close to RTM), Barbuzzo (right next door to Zavino), Nomad (off of South Street), Pizzeria Stella (on South Street), Bufad (in Northern Liberties) and then the high end restaurant from Marc Vetri, Osteria.

                                      1. re: cwdonald

                                        For a great non-Neopolitan pie, Pizzeria Beddia beats the pants off Taconelli's. Definitely my favorite pizza in the city right now. They have some BS--whole pie only, no phone, cash only, only two tables and no chairs--but no dough reservation nonsense and easier to get to from Center City -- one block off the El or a quick drive. Pizza Brain is a also very good pie and they sell by the slice. I know many many people disagree but while I like some aspects of Tac's crust, the topping quality is bottom of the barrel and the crust at Beddia has way more character.

                                        1. re: barryg

                                          'For a great non-Neopolitan pie, Pizzeria Beddia beats the pants off Taconelli's-

                                          l will try Beddia but thems fighting words!
                                          OTOH gladly will go with you.

                                          1. re: barryg

                                            Went to Beddia on your rec yesterday. Good pie but really a take-outplace not eat in. Still put Tacco above it, l like the white with chunk tomato and spinach better that the assorted toppings at Beddia.

                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                              Thoughts on the crust? You can get spinach and diced tomatoes almost anywhere.

                                              1. re: barryg

                                                Beddia's crust is very edible, a rarity for me to find crust l like,. Good chew, great product. Will try the red pie next, had the white this time.

                                        2. re: Oregonguy

                                          Nick's is awesome, highly recommended. The walk, depending on which way you go, can get kind of sketchy, especially south of Washington Ave. Actually I would put 20th St between Washington and Synder off limits. If you do want to walk what I would recommend doing is taking 15th St... this way you will walk right by the city's best coffeeshop, Ultimo Coffee at 15th & Mifflin (also the best coffeeshop in the country according to The Daily Meal). You could also take the Broad Street Line subway to Snyder or Tasker-Morris (if you are hitting Ultimo first) to cut out a lof of the walking. And if you're making the trip, there are a handful of little old school Italian shops on Ritner St. Cacia's is a great bread bakery (with good bakery-style tomato pie, something hard to get outside of Philly I think) and Potito's is a good Italian pastry shop (though they just opened a location in Center City). You could also combine a Nick's excursion with a walk down East Passyunk Ave, maybe take 13th down to Passyunk than over to Nick's or Ultimo.

                                          1. re: barryg

                                            Also in the area is Calbria imports at 15th and Jackson. Still has suprasata hanging from basement ceiling.

                                            1. re: barryg

                                              With all these places, I'll need to spend a month in Philly. I have crops in the field and hungry chickens, pigs, cows and goats to get back to. OK, not really but it sounded good, But, I do have a shit load of corn coming up...........anyway......Thx for the heads up on walking to Nicks, I hate walking through the Hood, my 12 yr old can't run that fast, I hate to loose here I have a lot invested.
                                              Whats nice about Nicks is, the sandwiches aren't that big, it's a nice looking sandwich on a roll, more of something my wife could handle on her own, rather than saying homey give me a bite, then if she likes it I loose it..............anyone know if the Dutch breakfast place in the RT deep fries the Scrapple or grills it ????????????????thx........Bill

                                              1. re: Oregonguy

                                                The Dutch Eating Place at Reading Terminal Market fries their scrapple. It's a bit greasy sometimes but it's good! And the pancakes soak up the grease quite nicely I might add...

                                        3. I haven't scheduled my train to Washington DC yet, I wanted to see how much there was to do in philly and what the foods of the city looked liked.............You have all given me some many choices, it's going to be hard to find time for all of them.........Thanks so much for taking the time to make this visit to Philadelphia a special memory for me and my family. The food choices you have told me about, shows how truly unique your city really is. I am looking forward to this visit..................thx to all of you.....Bill