Friday, October 19, 2018

A Humble LA Food Blogger's Guide to Philly.

Philly is a very different city than Los Angeles. In fact the similarities are so rare I was surprised they had 7-11 locations the first time I saw one!

Philadelphia really did grow on me. As a city it's a tiny fraction of what I'm used to in LA population wise. The racial makeup is radically different and the food culture even more so.

Thanks to Visit Philadelphia I got to see a lot of this gorgeous historic city. But you are reading this because of food…

So yeah Philly has some serious eats. Obviously there's the cheese steak. But it runs deeper than that. Philadelphia has street accessible Italian food that LA can't touch. The Amish influences on food from the farming to preparation is something we have nothing of in LA.

So where to go? What to do? Ok here's my humble opinions.

First off let me endorse Big Bus Tours Philly. They are educational, take you around almost everywhere in DT Philly worth going and they will even pick you up and drop you at your hotel for no additional charge. It's really a great way to explore the city without trying to find parking.

Oh. BTW. Gino's and Pat's suck. Don't do it to yourself.

Miller’s Twist- I hate using the words the best I have ever had. It's a cop out usually. The person saying that probably says it all the time and hasn't had a lot of what they are trying. Miller’s Twist really is the best I have ever had though. Honestly I had no idea I actually liked pretzels this much. Amish women actually are making pretzels by hand the entire time this place is open. Doing it the right way with lye (it's toxic but only before it's cooked) the RIGHT WAY. The end product is a shiny mahogany brown pretzel with a light chew. This place may ruin bulk frozen pretzels for you forever.

Lynn's - Yes this is a random recommendation but... I'm still doing it. Lynn's may be the best example of street cart food in Philly. This is probably the most popular breakfast spot for University of Penn students in the know. Lynn's serves made to order breakfast sandwiches for around 3 dollars. Best food deal in Philly? Possibly. The most popular sandwiches are usually the freshly cracked egg sandwiches but I really enjoyed their eggplant spinach parm Sammie. This spot is a little off the beaten path.

Federal Donuts - LA has a shitton of donuts. In fact we have the biggest amount of independent donut shops in the country. I have had my fair share of donuts and am picky as hell. I put FD in my top ten. What makes FD work? Half their donuts menu is made to order. Which means yes you have to get a made to order donut and you can't even look at anything else on the menu. I suggest the brown sugar donut. It's like a churro and a donut from a upper class family had a beautiful donut baby. The made to order donuts are cake donuts so expect a butter crumb experience.

Shane Confectionery -This is the oldest operating candy store in the United States from the 1860’s. Expect a upscale, old fashioned candy experience. Most of the candy here is actually made in house! Are you a person who loves chocolate? Like a LOT? Like wants to watch someone grind cacao nibs by hand and then make you Aztec hot chocolate with them? Well they do that. It's kinda impressive. Oh and make sure to grab some house made caramels.

John's Roast Pork/ DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market -So for some people the sandwich of Philly isn't a cheese steak it's a roast pork roll. Those people probably need to do PR for their sandwich because outside of Philly I don't think anyone has even heard of this sandwich (cue emails and messages telling me about how they know about this outside of Philly.) The two spots you can get a pork roll (that matter) are John's Roast Pork ( started in the 1930s)  and DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market . John's Roast Pork is as blue collar Italian worker as it can get. When I was there I asked if the fries were hand cut and they obviously have never been asked that before (they actually said they might have to do it ) John's Roast Pork is a James Beard recognized restaurant due to its pork roll. It's the quintessential South Philly experience. That being said i prefer DiNic’s. DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market is definitely more the “new school” option for pork sandwiches. Its stool seating at a stand at Reading. The sandwiches are hefty and I suggest trying them with all the toppings they offer your first time (sharp provolone is amazing)  DiNic’s won Travel Channel's "Best Sandwich in America" title.


Reading Market. This is a spot I am going to miss so much. If you are a foodie and don't come here you might as well stay at home. Reading had over 40 vendors ranging from a 120 year old ice cream shop, to amazing Amish food, to Philly's most popular donut shop. You could spend your whole day here. Luckily it's a stop for the Big Bus Tour and is right next to the train station so it's super easy to get to. But seriously eat all the Amish stuff you can!

I came to Philly expecting to eat a cheese steak, complain about the cold, and see some American landmarks. But the city surprised me. There's a pretty good food scene if you are looking for it. Special thanks to Tiny Luke for spending a little time explaining his city to me (look him up if you don't know him.)

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