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Going to Philly [Philadelphia, PA ]

Going to Philly [Philadelphia, PA ]
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  • Post #61 - May 3rd, 2011, 12:47 pm
    Post #61 - May 3rd, 2011, 12:47 pm Post #61 - May 3rd, 2011, 12:47 pm
    Jeff -- I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tony Luke's made at some point a very conscious choice to 'dumb down' the bread and go with a squishy, non-challenging to tooth or palate form of dough-delivery-unit for the simple reason that most people in this country prefer their bread that way. From talking to old timers around here, it's clear to me that the choice of bread in this area's beef-joints and Italian sandwich shops developed as it has for that very reason...

    I've never been to Tony Luke's, so my comments above were wholly intended as a (ribbing) reaction to VI's (ribbing) comment about East Coast bread-snobs...

    That said, I do think North Jersey/NYC has a particularly outstanding 'bread culture'... I don't know to what degree Philly particpates in or can be included in that Kulturgebiet...

    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #62 - October 26th, 2011, 6:17 pm
    Post #62 - October 26th, 2011, 6:17 pm Post #62 - October 26th, 2011, 6:17 pm
    Sandwich City, USA

    Hey folks, I got another. Busy October. I got to make my inaugural visit to Philly and came away loving it. My good friend was getting married in Atlantic City and with Philadelphia being the closest major airport I actually went out there a few days before the wedding. I got to spend 2.5 days with three different friends of mine who live there and showed me well. But even still, I took them to a few places they had never been. As the title suggests Philly is the "Don of all Dons" when it comes to good sammys. The Iggles most certainly seem overrated (BIG game with Da Bears coming up after the bye) but the sandwich shops in Philly are not. Sick as I am, I planned my whole trip around sandwich stops. So I never made it to the Liberty Bell, other historical notes of interest or any of the museums, no running the stairs with Rocky just lots of food and beverage stops and nonetheless I now think Philly is one of the more underrated cities in America.

    Center City Philadelphia

    Day One I got in early and before leaving had plugged some address' into google maps to see which spots were near and others that were close to each other. None of my friends were off until the early eve so I planned a taste tour of my own. First stop was John's Roast Pork. About 3 miles from the Comfort Inn Historic District where I was staying so it was a easy bus ride getting there.

    A Must Stop Philly Sandwich Shop

    John's has been discussed in other Philly related threads and all of the talk about the place is praise. Well let me further glorify the sandwiches sold here. Located in what looks like it could be most suburbs in America it's tucked away between a bunch of newly developed strip malls holding the usual suspects. Nonetheless it's a James Beard award winner and the famous sandwiches are why.

    The sliced pork and beef

    Sandwich being made

    The roast pork is Philly's lesser known signature sandwich but also it's more valuable. The weather was perfect on my visit which was right around Noon so there was a line out the door to eat. No tables inside but they got a few benches out back otherwise its the hood of your car or the sidewalk. The Philly pork sandwich is thinly sliced roasted pork which is stuffed into an amazing seeded roll. Topping options include sharp provolone and sauteed spinach as well as assorted peppers. Unlike most other Philly sandwich shops you do have the option for a smaller sized portion here but you don't want to do that as they are served on round buns and not the signature seeded loafs. Lets take a look.

    John's Roast Pork

    Excellent sandwich, one of the best as has been said by others on this board. John's is also supposed to have one of the cities better cheesesteaks but no way I could do both in one visit with what I still had coming. On top of that their roast beef sandwich is also supposed to be fantastic. Philly was alot of fun so I know for sure there will be a next time. If you can in addition to a roast pork, try a Steak Milano (w/Grilled Tomato & Provolone) or roast beef sandwich too.

    A Popular South Philly Sandwich Shop

    After about a mile or so walk into South Philly I arrived at Chickie's. This was on my list but not for their famous veggie hoagie but another one of their must try subs. It seems like theres 100's of these corner store/deli's around Philadelphia. It's a small space inside but people were still shuffling in and out for sandwiches, drinks, snacks and such.

    Fried Tomato Hoagie

    I was here for the Fried tomato hoagie. Basically a BLT on HGH, it's fried tomatoes with lettuce, lots of bacon, roasted red peppers and the option of turkey too. Just like every sandwich I ate in the city this was huge. It was a beautiful day out so I was able to sit at one of the tables outside along the shop. I threw down half and saved the other for my buddy who I was meeting up with too watch the Phillie's game later.

    The insides

    Then there's the Philly cheesesteaks, the most well known food item the city is famous for. Most people from the threads I read on LTH seem down on it as a super sandwich as do many others from here and there who are unimpressed. It seems to me that most of those who didn't like their cheesesteak experiences had them at Pat's and or Geno's. Neither nor of them for me on this trip. But even still during the times I was in the area of them I had other tourists asking me where they were...

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    The Tourists spots

    I did stop in at the South Philly Sports Bar (across the street from both) for a few mid afternoon brews but I had two other spots both within a mile range of Pat's and Geno's for my cheesesteaks on day one. In South Philly theres steaks offered everywhere, its the center for them. In fact just walking around Center City you'll get whiffs of cheesesteak from every crevice and corner. I don't see how those that live and work in the area cant and wouldn't get a craving for one now and then. The whole city smells like Union ave in Chicago where the dueling Maxwell Polish Sausage stands reside. On my first day in town I walked over to Cosmi's Deli after some mid afternoon Yuengling's at the South Philly Sports Bar. This would be my first cheeseteak experience ever in Philadelphia.

    South Philly locals favorite

    Cosmi's came rec'd from a trustful source who knows his Philly sandwich shops. I was all over it, ready to try them when I was also told its the cities best example of a cheesesteak hoagie. The difference being as a hoagie it comes topped with lettuce, tomatoes, both raw and fried onions, mayo and oil. Actually my preferred way to eat a cheesesteak, at least from Ken & Betty's in WI and the now gone Hoagie Hut from Highland Park and Lincoln Park. I was offered a regular roll or seeded and chose the seeded one and it made the sandwich. The bread along with the finely chopped steak that was loaded into the middle and packed some real meat taste up in it. I would eat this sandwich again and again.

    Cheesesteak Hoagie from Cosmi's Deli

    After those first three sammy's I was a lil woozy and headed back to my spot to freshen up before heading out for the evening. We watched the Phil's blow game 4 to the Cards at Cavanaugh's Sports Bar right on the Rittenhouse Square. Philly sports fans much like Chicago are very passionate so it was fun watching a big game with them, even if we were in the trendy part of town. One of the few non sandwich items I ate were the house blended wings which were excellent. No idea what their special sauce used is but these were great. Sweet and spicy the perfect balance of each.

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    Wings from Cavanaugh's Sports Bar

    So no win for the Phil's meant a little less happiness in the air but we still went out and my buddy brought us to a place straight from the Prohibition era. Located in an old house that sits among many on the block was this place where you had to use the special knock and then if they were open, show your membership card at the door. Only then would they lead you upstairs to a really nice lounge with some stiff drinks and great live music. No name since it was members only but after a few there it was off to Philip's for another cheesesteak.

    Phililp's Steaks on West Passyunk in South Philly

    I did a little websearch on locally loved cheesesteak spots and a few factors put Philip's on my list. I was with two buddies from Philly who had just met thru me, one of them never heard of Philip's, the other was shocked that I knew about it and insisted we go as it was his late nite steak stop. Not far from Pat's and Geno's they also got a walk up ordering system, you either eat outside or take them to go but no attitude given, they were nice and knew I was a tourist after my friends told them so. The onions flood the streets and there were a few people pulling up for their steak fix every few minutes. No whiz for me, my regular steak order is American cheese with (onions).

    Cheesesteak from Philip's

    Although this was my 2nd cheesesteak in Philly it was my first late nite after hours one and maybe that played a part in why I inhaled the whole thing in less than four minutes. But I wasn't Mike Ditka at the White House, I was actually tired. What made it so good was what got me in when I read a rec. Philip's uses ribeye and slices it there in house (I saw the batch, it was beautiful bright red) and does so a little thicker than most places do. Cheeseteaks biggest difference from one another is the steak itself and what cut of beef is used, how it's cut, cooked etc...and the ribeye sliced a little thicker made this taste like, well a ribeye steak sandwich. The onions as always are great and the bread was fresh too. If you do find yourself inebriated at Philip's one late Philly nite, don't run your mouth off to anyone. It's mobbed up. But that doesn't keep the cops from stopping by for one 8).

    A cheesesteak that might make you switch your mind about them

    It was time to call it a night Wednesday. As one of my friends walked home from Philip's the other gave me a ride back to the Historic District but was still hungry and wanted to get another. I was stuffed but couldn't pass it up as I wanted to try as many as I could. So we stopped in at Jim's Steaks on South Street after he determined Steve's Prince of Steaks was too far North.

    The famous Jim's Steak's on South Street

    Jim's however was also on my list. It's one of the popular spots and has a few locations. Not the original but the most frequented is this location on South Street which is basically Philly's version of Belmont and Lincoln ave smushed into one. A lively street and neighborhood especially when the sun goes down and the freaks and college kids come out. This was my only visit to South Street but I had hoped to get back. Jim's usually has lines out the door up until bars close but with the Phillie's loss it was kind of dead around 1a.

    Waiting in line

    Jim's has been around for almost 70 years. One of the more appealing cheeseteak shops to your eyes it's got a beautiful art deco design to it and a fun experience as well. As you enter you go into the line which takes you past the grill as the steaks are made so you get to see and smell them. It was the usual order for me, American cheese wit (onions). No more secret menu at Jim's so I didn't get the chance to stock up on any Lady Gaga, Ecstasy, Greenery or any of Rush's favorite Prescription Pills, as the bust took place before my arrival :D. They do still serve beer and have seating upstairs and down. We ate at the counter inside downstairs.

    Half of a Cheesesteak from Jim's

    Jim's is another one of the places that chooses to chop the steak finely as seen in the pic. Another good sandwich but not my favorite. It tasted more like a roast beef sandwich, which might of been due to the cut they use, not that that's a bad thing I just preferred the first two to Jim's. What a great first day in Philly I thought to myself as I then proceeded to pass out within a minute of hitting the bed.

    Sunrise on the Delaware River

    Day Two my buddies both had work again so I had a eating/seeing itinerary all planned out. I walked from the hotel over to Center City and stopped in at the Reading Terminal Market, one of the countries oldest and largest public markets. I really wasn't that hungry and that was a shame because this place is fantastic. I wish we had something like it in Chicago, they have everything to do with food in there. Books, ingredients, prepared meals, cooked to order lunch, they got it all.

    A Philly Destination for everyone

    As the past discussions on Philly have directed I was there for Dinic's. The famous sandwich shop that almost always has a line and everyone who's been and knows is happy to wait. Dinic's serves sandwiches, pork butt and brisket. With sharp provolone and or broccoli rabe as your topping options. I arrived right around 11a and just beat the line which was around the corner by the time I sat down. The hunks of pork and beef sit there as the sandwich makers roll thru them with breeze so the line does move fast which is good because your mouth will drool.

    Inside the Reading Terminal Market

    If you go after 11a they also offer the Pulled Pork Italiano sandwich which is the same pork used for the sliced sandwiches except it's cooked until 11a and then shredded. The combination of all that goodness together easily makes it a favorite at the books in Vegas for "best regional sandwich in the states". Incredible, the only thing that could of been a little better was the bread but with Philly being one of the better bread producing places I've ever been too, even the alright stuff is superior to most other places.

    Dinic's Pulled Pork Italiano

    I already got the sense that Philly was thee spot for sandwiches on day one and then my first sandwich on day two made that even clearer. We also stopped at Dinic's and the Market before leaving for the airport on the way out of town and I tried half of a sliced roast pork which is equally good. If your with someone else get one of each. I know the brisket is supposed to be phenomenal as well so that's what I'll get next time. I just didn't have the room after trying some other treats from the many other merchants. All these sandwiches you see in this post are pretty much foot longs and none of them offer half options. No surprise the only place not packed at lunch time in the Market was the salad bar shop. There's not much of anything that's small in Philly :D.

    Dinic's Sliced Pork Sandwich

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    Frank's Famous Baked Wings


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    Pastrami and Corned Beef Sandwich from Eastside Deli

    After taking in the Market I headed out and walked over to 9th street and took that into the Italian Market. Again another spectacular place. The walk from Center City was beautiful passing thru the neighborhoods and then entering the blocks of butcher shops, produce vendors as well as seafood and most everything else you need. It's a fantastic stretch of many different cultures with Italian being the forefront but you can find everything you need no matter what type of cuisine your planning on cooking. I came thru here both Thursday and again on Friday and loved my visits. There's a nice bar called the Wishing Well which I stopped in at and liked. Also a really cool seafood distributor/store/bar/restaurant called Anastasi's that has great oysters and a fun bar with fantastic food. Their fish sandwiches are supposed to be really good as are the Italian seafood pasta dishes. Let's take a little pic-trip thru the Italian Market.


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    Philly's Italian Market neighborhood

    Of course I also stopped for a sandwich while walking thru the magnificent mile of meats, cheese and other eats at the Market. George's Sandwich Shop has been heavily endorsed by regulars from around here I trust just like many of my previous stops were and they delivered too so there was no reason to think that George's wouldn't and it didn't.

    Italian Market Sandwich Shop

    George's was praised on LTH for their tripe sandwich and I really wanted to try that and hoped to on the rebound but never got the chance. You can walk in and sit down at the counter or order from the walk up window. The menu has nothing that's not supposed to be anything short of fantastic. The tripe, veal and sausage looked great sitting in the window and the cheesesteak has won cities best a few times. But I had heard that the meatball was the best in Philly and they take their balls of meat in bread serious there. I was tempted by the Charlie Sheen which was "a little bit of everything" but went with a meatball with sweet and hot peppers. I came to Philly expecting to have the best cheesesteak and roast pork sandwiches I ever had and that was accomplished but so was eating the best meatball and best Italian sub (read on) I've ever had too. It's no surprise though since this is Sandwich City, USA and they love the old Italian-American favorites.

    George's Meatball Sandwich

    The sandwich had perfect not too big golfball sized meatballs. An old family recipe that's sits in their special gravy which is ladled on top. After a few beers and then the sandwich I was ready for a late afternoon nap before having to do it all over again. I walked from the Market back to the hotel on the river. Unfortunately Water Ice (think Italian ice) season was over with so I never got to try John's which is famous for it's six flavors. As I walked home along the river I passed by another stop on my list. Shank's Original has been a famous Philly sandwich shop since they first opened up in the Italian Market in 1962 and became the spot for locals of the area. They closed down there but weren't gone long as they opened up shop at Pier 40 along the river.

    Shank's Original on Columbus ave along Delaware River

    Now called Shank's Original its the same as it ever was just newer location. They have a few spots to stand inside as well as tables overlooking the water outside but most people take it to go. Again just like everywhere else they offer an array of sandwiches. Also, so it seems, like everyone else they won best of Philly Cheesesteak too. In fairness they've been doing the award since the early 80's. But they also won "best chicken cutlet in town" and that was another Philly signature sandwich I wanted to try. I went with the Cutlet Italiano which comes with sharp provolone and rabe.

    Chicken Cut Italiano from Shank's original

    The cutlet was big and juicy as was the sandwich as a whole and again the pairing of that sharp provolone and rabe is an instant winner. I was happy to have checked another one off my list but equally as happy to be getting a nap and not have to eat for a few hours or so. I was starting to feel the heat and could only finish half.

    Looking across the river into Camden

    A funny thing happened as I walked the Italian Market earlier in the day. I heard my name being called out and when I looked back it was my old friend who I had thought moved from Philly to San Fran since I last saw him this summer at our annual Sisters Lakes Michigan gathering. Small world he was working at his uncles shop so we made plans to stop in at an old favorite of his which we had chatted about over the summer. He used to work at Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies in his college days and had told me it was the best and thus I had it on my list. Unsure if I'd make it since it was a little bit away and I didn't have a car it all worked out as he borrowed one and we planned to meet around 8p to head over there. But not before I stopped in at Nick's Original in South Philly which was near his place while I waited for him to get ready.

    a South Philly Locals Favorite

    Nick's was the shit. One of the more authentic bars I've drank at, it was a great time inside. The Flyers were kicking off the NHL season and all the regulars were at the bar "shooting the shit". Philly and South Philly in particular is very diverse and so was Nick's. They had the group of regular Italians sitting along the small bar inside, with a group of young black men sitting at a table dead focused on the hockey game and both Asian and Mexican folks dining in the room in back and taking orders to go with their families. I visited twice, came back the next day before leaving for AC, and both times regulars walked in and announced their presence with a big HEY! and told the bartender what they wanted to drink and to "add a round on for everyone at the bar too".

    The view inside

    What a great place, people I didn't know buying me drinks on separate visits. Of course it wasn't long until they wanted to know who I was, where I was from, how I found Nick's etc...They loved that I was from Chicago and there to try there famous roast beef sandwich. Nick's has been around since 1938 and they have a limited but plentiful menu. They do sandwiches and offer their namesake roast beef as well as a pork and turkey. Everything is roasted on site and sliced to order. The guys making the sandwiches are pros as they yell across the bar to the patrons about the Eagles woes and whether or not the Phillie's got a shot (I guess not).

    The roasted meats bar

    It wasn't until I returned to Chicago that I read the pork might be better than the roast beef at Nick's but I had to have a roast beef my first go. I love a real roast beef sandwich served hot with gravy on top. Plus on top of that I'm pretty sure it's all good-pork, beef and turkey at Nick's. I'll get thru all three, I would go on a Philly vaca just to hang out here. Yuengling bottles are the preferred drink of choice and go great with your sandwich.

    Nick's Original roast beef sandwich

    If that looks mighty good to you it sure was. Cooked to a perfect consistency as to where they slice it off but it doesn't crumble apart like a real roast beef sandwich should. The gravy is made from the juices of each roast and the bun is great. Get it with sharp provolone for that extra kick. The only other menu option at Nick's is fries which can come with or without gravy. I had to stop in Friday to try these and was loving it when I did. Perfect bar food, it's just some average fries taken to another level when they add beef gravy with all the fallen pieces from the roast mixed in. Anywhere in Chicago that makes their own beef (rare these days I know) should have gravy fries on the menu.

    Gravy Fries from Nick's

    My buddy scooped me up from Nick's and we headed North to Dalessandro's. This was fun as I got to see an entire different part of Philly and it was really nice. Some sweet homes in this 'hood where the famous steak shop has been located since 1960.

    Another winner in the Best of Philly cheesesteak category

    It was a Thursday night and as mentioned the Flyers were playing so people were out and Dal's was packed. We waited a few minutes for some seats and eventually got them. They serve beer and have a nice bottled pop selection as well and you can eat there and watch whatevers showing on the TV.

    The view inside

    My buddy who was a former employee told me the story of how it was sold out of the family a while back and everything changed for the worse but since then it was bought by another family, friends with the original owners and from the neighborhood and everything is back to normal which is great. The cheesesteaks are sliced ribeye and chopped here soyou can hear the steakmasters chopping away as you sit and eat yours.

    Dal's cheesesteak with onions and green peppers

    The overall winner of cheesesteaks on this trip I loved this sandwich. Similar to Al's Italian Beef in not just that the meat was shredded but the seasoning was unique too. My buddy told me to get it with their peppers which they cook in beef juice all day and those were full of flavor too. I think green peppers on top of onions and no whiz (American) are the best ways for a cheesesteak. Located opposite corner to Dal's is Chubby's. My buddie wanted to do a taste off so we split one from there but it was no contest finishing in dead last in the October 2011 cheesesteak race. Only a little bit better than Philly's Best in Chicago so no need to ever try that.

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    Chubby's Cheesesteak

    After that we rode over to the Manayunk neighborhood (nice vibes) and bar hopped around to a few spots before heading back to South Philly to do the same as we watched the Yankees get knocked out of the playoffs. After that it was back to bed. The next morning I had that and the early afternoon to stroll around and knock down whatever other places I wanted to before leaving for Atlantic City. I took an early morning walk along the river, past the casino over to Johnny's Hot's for a breakfast sandwich.

    Old Philly Favorite

    Now in a new location near the casino they originally got started in 1950 near an old Philly scrapyard. Just walk up windows no inside dining, its still in an industrial undeveloped part of town so its got the old school charm despite the new location. Also famous for their hot dogs and cheesesteaks (YES! they too won best of Philly one year) I had to have the namesake hot sausage which comes on a great bun with their signature pepper hash. If its before 10a you can add an egg and I did do that.

    Johnny's Hot Sausage with a fried egg and pepper hash

    The split sausage was really full of spice and the pepper hash cooled that down, great combo with the two of them eaten together. Nice way to start the beautiful day as I then made my way back to South Philly thru Center City to check out a few more spots.

    a Popular South Philly Hot Dog Shop

    I'm a sucker for the locally loved Coney shops around America. Although not called Coney's in these parts where they call them Texas Weiners (how they spell it) but they're still hot dogs with chili sauce. Weiners in the window except they split them here just like they do the sausage at Johnny's and then put them into what could best be described as the offspring of a hamburger and hot dog bun.

    a Texas Weiner found in South Philadelphia

    I was rounding down completing the list of Philly style sandwiches when I saw a Philly combo on the menu at Texas Weiners. Whats that you ask? It's a split hot dog with a fish cake on top. I wanted to try one at Johnny's but passed but couldn't do so here. It sounds weird but tasted better than I was expecting. The fish cake was crispy outside and mushy inside but it worked well with the hot dog which had some snap to it.

    a Philly Combo

    As I was rounding out my day I took a stroll around another part of South Philly and passed by what I believe to be the original Dinic's Tvaern. I hear the sandwiches here are even better than the one at Reading Terminal and cheaper too. The truth is there weren't many places I didn't want to stop in at. South Philly is like one big ass Taylor Street without any redeveloped lofts or Starbucks and Potbelly's. Every corner had a store or bar that looked like they'd been there forever.

    On Snyder ave in South Philly

    I wish I had the time to stop in here and drink or knew about it before the last couple hours I had but I keep mentioning it on here, I'll be back. I was en route to a hoagie shop, the other Philly style sandwich I hadn't had yet. P&S Ravioli Co. has a few locations throughout the city but only a couple of them have delis too.

    On West Oregon in South Philly

    The view from inside

    I was told about P&S thru Hawk Krall a Serious Eats contributor in Philly and hot dog aficionado. Hawk told me his favorite hoagie shop was here so that's where I went. I ordered an Italian with hot peppers which are banana rings there. Made to order it was ready after about 10 minutes and I took it to go and unwrapped and ate it at a cemetery in the middle of the neighborhood. Nothing spooky here.

    P&S Italian Hoagie

    A hoagie if you were wondering, now you can see is just what people in Philadelphia call a sub. A grinder is when its baked. Well I mentioned it upthread this was the best sub sandwich I ever had from anywhere. Simplicity at its finest with it being just a regular Italian sub taken to new levels by the bomb ass bread and high quality meats and the overpowering addictive oil they soak them with. Amazing sandwich you cant ask for any better. I had to shower later that evening in AC just to get the oil smell off of me. Nonetheless it was well worth it. I'll be back and that's saying something because there were tons of spots on my list that I missed including JeffB's beloved Tony Luke's (my bad). On top of that I missed Paesano's, Sarcone's, El Cafeito, Chinks Steaks, Steve's Prince of Steaks, Greenman's Deli, McNallys Tavern, Carlino Specialty Foods, Pastificio Deli, J&G Lunchmeat Villa, Koch's Deli and a few others I'm forgetting and then theres the ones I don't even know about. I'll for sure be back, Philly knows Italian style sandwiches like none other.

    America the Tasty

    The art of expertly prepared sandwiches spreads out around Philly too. I hear Delaware has some great spots and there's also a famous one in Atlantic City which is just a hour and half train ride from Philadelphia. I met my buddy at 30th street station (their Union station) and we caught a train to AC Friday early evening. Easy trip and even better we stayed at the Sheraton which was nicer than most places in AC and just steps away from the train station there. Friday was a blur and Saturday we had the wedding and needed to get alot of food in us for what was coming. The Famous White House Sub Shop did the trick.

    An old AC favorite

    White House has been around since the 40's and they've served everyone and everybody who was ever anything that came thru Atlantic City. Famous for their subs which are bigger than any jackpot your likely to hit in the slots.

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    The view as you enter (L) A peak at the walls which are covered in photos

    The large sandwiches are two feet long, basically a whole loafs worth. Half of a large is what a large is at most other places, Philly included. These gotta be some of the biggest sandwiches anywhere. But are they any good? Yes and No. The Italian was really satisfying. We ordered it with everything including the pepper relish and along with the raw onions, fried ones as well.

    Half of half of an Italian Sub from

    We also got a half of a cheesesteak hoagie and that wasn't all that. I still ate the whole thing but had much better cheesesteaks in Philly. Still White House is worth a visit for lunch especially considering the other options around like McDonald's and Chili's.

    Lunch at the White House

    Overall I thought AC was much nicer than I was expecting. A few of the casinos were old and nothing special but they have a huge outlet mall with every last store you can think of right in the middle of it. So shopping is a very popular activity there since they also got high end shops at the Borgata and Ceasers too. The boardwalk was nice during the day as the weather that weekend was perfect, I didn't get to do much else since we only had Friday evening and a wedding most of Saturday but I'd like to get back to Philly in the summer and take a trip to AC while out there. Only other place aside from the wedding dinner I ate at were Johnny Rocket's (late Fri only spot open) and Harry's Oyster bar inside Bally's which was serving oysters after midnight that Saturday as they hosted the after wedding party-party. I couldn't help but order a few rounds of both slurpers and shots for me and the brides and mines friends :wink:.

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    Harry's Oyster Bar inside Bally's

    The beaches were nice and if you go right before the high season the gelled up roided out fist hump each others are all gone. My buddies wife whom he met at Boston College is from a community a few beaches down from AC and the drive there on the wedding bus was gorgeous. There's some really pretty houses and country club resorts to let the day fade away. I could happily spend summers out there like many from that region do.

    Boardwalk Empire

    John's Roast Pork
    14 Snyder Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19148
    (215) 463-1951

    Chickie's Italian Deli
    1014 Federal Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19147-5041
    (215) 462-8040

    Cosmi's Deli
    1501 S 8th St
    Philadelphia, PA 19147
    (215) 468-6093

    Philips Steaks
    2234 West Passyunk Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19145
    (215) 755-4820

    Jim's Steaks
    400 South Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    (215) 928-1911

    Dinic's at Reading Terminal
    51 North 12th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    (215) 922-2317

    George's Sandwich Shop
    900 South 9th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19147
    (215) 592-8363

    Shanks Original
    901 South Christopher Columbus Blvd
    Philadelphia, PA 19147-4307
    (215) 218-4000

    Old Original Nicks Roast Beef
    2149 South 20th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19145
    (215) 463-4114

    600 Wendover Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19128
    (215) 482-5407

    Johnny's Hots
    1234 North Delaware Ave
    Philadelphia, PA 19125
    (215) 423-2280

    Texas Weiners
    1426 Snyder Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA
    (215) 465-8635

    P&S Hoagies
    1722 West Oregon Ave
    Philadelphia, PA 19145
    (215) 339-9929

    *Edited because I confused Newt Gingrich's love for woman other than his own with Rush Limbaugh's affection for pill popping
    Last edited by Da Beef on October 26th, 2011, 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #63 - October 26th, 2011, 7:18 pm
    Post #63 - October 26th, 2011, 7:18 pm Post #63 - October 26th, 2011, 7:18 pm
    Wow ...this is the most amazing post! Thank you so much Da Beef!
  • Post #64 - October 26th, 2011, 7:49 pm
    Post #64 - October 26th, 2011, 7:49 pm Post #64 - October 26th, 2011, 7:49 pm
    razbry wrote:Wow ...this is the most amazing post! Thank you so much Da Beef!

    Couldn't agree more ... fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
  • Post #65 - October 27th, 2011, 8:42 am
    Post #65 - October 27th, 2011, 8:42 am Post #65 - October 27th, 2011, 8:42 am
    Very nice, Da Beef, very nice. I love your sense of adventure and that you share your travels with us.
  • Post #66 - October 27th, 2011, 9:17 am
    Post #66 - October 27th, 2011, 9:17 am Post #66 - October 27th, 2011, 9:17 am
    Christ, Beef. That's impressive. Having been born in Philly and visited many times over the years, I haven't even scratched the surface compared to your weekend trip. Philly is tailor-made for your tastes (and mine). Anone who loves taverns, pro sports, the old neighborhood, and serious, orthodox, unhealthy sandwiches loves Philly. A few times a year I see a good friend and Philly native who returned there after working in Chicago for years. I usually see him at a Notre Dame tailgate (his alma mater, not mine), where he always brings party-size hoagies from White House or one of the Italian Market places. A day-old hoagie from Philly or AC is better than anything you can get fresh around ND. Anyway, good observations all around. If any city beats Chicago out in terms of playing up purpoted "lack of respect," underrated and underdog qualities, it's Philly. Chicago can only be a distant second in that regard.
  • Post #67 - October 28th, 2011, 3:13 pm
    Post #67 - October 28th, 2011, 3:13 pm Post #67 - October 28th, 2011, 3:13 pm
    Terrific post. It's in my reference file (and yes, the DeNic's brisket is indeed quite good).

    But you didn't even get a chance to try any of the Jewish delis! Admittedly, a dying breed, even in Philly, but there's still Famous--here, not too far from where you were exploring:
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #68 - November 7th, 2011, 12:16 pm
    Post #68 - November 7th, 2011, 12:16 pm Post #68 - November 7th, 2011, 12:16 pm
    Someone get this man a television show.

    Great stuff as usual; thanks for adding to my list of places to hit next I get back to Philadelphia.
  • Post #69 - November 8th, 2011, 4:12 pm
    Post #69 - November 8th, 2011, 4:12 pm Post #69 - November 8th, 2011, 4:12 pm
    Da Beef, as a former Philadelphian I have to say your report is not only beautiful and well-written it is also tremendously thorough. You even found places I hadn't even heard of for the decades I lived there. I will go back and read your report again it gives me such a warm feeling about my past. Thank you so uch for posting (though I'm sure it was your pleasure).

    One place I will add for "next time". Steve's Prince of Steaks, though admittedly out of the way, is a must do for the best example of the cheesesteak in the city, not to mention their spicy fries with American cheese sauce. It will not disappoint.
  • Post #70 - April 14th, 2012, 5:26 pm
    Post #70 - April 14th, 2012, 5:26 pm Post #70 - April 14th, 2012, 5:26 pm
    How did I ever survive before finding you guys? Thank you, LTH Forum, for a ridiculous food week during a business trip to Philly. After a lousy room service dinner on the first night, I had some great dinners and a fantastic lunch at Dim Sum Garden to close out the week.

    Monday night was Morimoto. Honestly, I was a little disappointed; it was a nice meal, but not the kind of place I would go out of my way to find. I had a seared salmon with wasabi foam - it was good, and perfectly cooked, but not especially exciting. Of course, the consensus best dish of the night was the Rock Shrimp Tempura appetizer which I actually couldn't eat due to allergies.


    Tuesday night was dinner at Alma de Cuba. Unfortunately, I was defeated by the lighting when I attempted to snap a picture of my roast pork. It was every bit as good as described - with a beautifully crisped skin and an overabundance of delicious fat underneath it. Served with a kind of dirty rice, I could not come close to finishing my portion. Desserts were out of the question. The table shared three outstanding appetizers: charred octopus (which would be a recurring theme this week), spinach & artichoke empanadas, and bacon-wrapped dates. All were excellent, but the octopus deserves special mention because I'm not normally a fan. It was deliciously tender underneath that crisp, charred crust. I've had bad experiences with rubbery octopus in some very nice restaurants, so this was a bit of a revelation to me.

    Wednesday night's dinner was at 10 Arts, Eric Ripert's outpost in the Ritz Carlton. I actually threw that suggestion out there as a joke - knowing Le Bernardin, I was expecting something in the same price range, so I was ecstatic when I discovered that it was a very reasonably priced bistro. Our appetizers were an incredibly rich, yet light, fried ricotta gnocchi carbonara, and (once again) charred octopus. This was the best octopus I've ever tasted, but even so, I can't even say that was the best dish of the night. The gnocchi was absurdly good; it disappeared off the dishes, and within seconds, everyone started wiping up the last bits of sauce with bread. The table also shared a side of the best mashed potatoes I've ever had. I believe it was done in Robuchon's style, strained fine and incorporated with massive quantities of butter and cream, and managed to be delicate and rich at the same time. My entree was a perfectly prepared seared trout with brown butter sauce and brussels sprouts. It was a wonderful dish, but looking back on that night, it was the appetizers and the potatoes that stood out for me.

    On Thursday night, with only three people left, and we went to Osteria. We had some excellent antipasti: fluke crudo, charred octopus again (and delicious again), and a salumi plate. We had some amazing pastas, whose names I cannot even recall. But the dish of the night - of the entire trip, really, was the entree.

    Allow me to pause and start over from the beginning. When we arrived at our table, the three of us immediately started debating the menu. The Tuscan fish stew sounded great; I'm always a sucker for duck; the braised pork sounded like a can't miss. Then our server arrived, told us the specials for the night. She chanted the magic words, and the room immediately hushed into silence. We three diners glanced at each other, eyes meeting for the briefest moment, and promptly set down our menus.

    The magic words were "Suckling Pig":


    I can't even describe how good this was. This was the best suckling pig I've ever had, and every suckling pig I've had has been phenomenal.

    It's almost anticlimax, but the last meal I had in Philly was the xiao long bao from Dim Sum Garden. It was as good as any place in NYC, and far better than the ones at Lao Shanghai.

    "I've always thought pastrami was the most sensuous of the salted cured meats."
  • Post #71 - April 16th, 2012, 6:56 am
    Post #71 - April 16th, 2012, 6:56 am Post #71 - April 16th, 2012, 6:56 am
    Matt wrote:Someone get this man a television show.
    Agreed, Da Beef TV!
    Great post, somehow missed this first time around, makes me want to head back to Philly pronto.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #72 - April 16th, 2012, 4:49 pm
    Post #72 - April 16th, 2012, 4:49 pm Post #72 - April 16th, 2012, 4:49 pm
    3 cheers for the da beef :mrgreen: outstanding job
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #73 - April 27th, 2012, 4:42 pm
    Post #73 - April 27th, 2012, 4:42 pm Post #73 - April 27th, 2012, 4:42 pm
    Da Beef, I'm a native Philadelphian and I think your post is insanely impressive. It makes me homesick!

    I would like to throw out one more name. If anyone wanders to the Manayunk/Roxborough side of Philly, I urge you to check out Lenny's on Ridge Ave. It's the size of a shoebox (although I believe they may have actually expanded sometime recently) and easy to miss, but it's a gem. I've had a lot of good hoagies in Philly, but whenever I visit home I had straight to Lenny's. They have authentic Italian meats and cheeses, seeded rolls, and a great selection of sandwiches. Just make sure you go hungry, because the hoagies are huge!
  • Post #74 - March 12th, 2015, 6:00 pm
    Post #74 - March 12th, 2015, 6:00 pm Post #74 - March 12th, 2015, 6:00 pm
    Apropos of recent breakfast sandwich discussions, I thougt I'd note here that Tony Luke's now features a massive breakfast menu. So if the idea of a huge hoagie with eggs, peppers, rabe and Taylor pork roll or scrapple gets you going, this is your spot. Convenient to the airport and stadia. I got the pork italian, of course. Possibly better than ever due to a more substantial, better-baked roll. Nearby John's, which has bankers hours for a philly sandwich shop, was closed. I saved my scrapple eating for the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, DE. I guess I was expecting a gourmet spin. What I got was a very utilitarian greasy scrapple. Bonus points to this ancient inn for having creamed chipped beef on the menu.
  • Post #75 - March 14th, 2015, 2:39 pm
    Post #75 - March 14th, 2015, 2:39 pm Post #75 - March 14th, 2015, 2:39 pm

    I'm really surprised that the scrapple in Wilmington DE was sub-par. This is especially so, since DE's connection with Mother of All Scrapple is well-known, and obvious to anyone driving by their plant: world's largest piece of scrapple art, right out front. :)

    *Love* that RAPA Scrapple!

    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #76 - March 14th, 2015, 4:14 pm
    Post #76 - March 14th, 2015, 4:14 pm Post #76 - March 14th, 2015, 4:14 pm
    I'd say it was right down the middle with a two put like the club pro. I was hoping for something more "artisanal" I guess. What I got was the breakfast meat version of a Tom Tom tamale. Which *is* par for the course and fine.
  • Post #77 - March 15th, 2015, 7:20 pm
    Post #77 - March 15th, 2015, 7:20 pm Post #77 - March 15th, 2015, 7:20 pm
    Note that Dim Sum Garden has moved to new and larger (and fancier) digs not far away from their old location. They're now at 1020 Race Street. Make sure you know this because their old location still has the Dim Sum Garden sign out in front and the location appears to be open (but not quite sure what's going on inside).

    Also know that despite the increased seating capacity, we left Dim Sum Garden at 8:30 or so Friday night and there were probably 30-40 waiting for a table. As for the food, if anything, better than my first couple of visits.

    Xiao long bao are probably as good as any I've had in the US, rivaling the ones I've had at Nan Xiang in Queens and better than the ones I had on my lone visit to Din Tai Fung in the SGV. Here are a couple of pics of them being made:



    This was also the first time I tried Dim Sum Garden's sheng jian bao and I thought they were terrific. This was only the second time I tried them but the first time (in Vegas) the soup and filling were bland. These had plenty of soup and as good a filling as their xiao long bao. I still prefer xiao long bao, but these were still excellent.

    Sheng Jian Bao at Dim Sum Garden

    No pictures of the rest of the food, but everything else was terrific. I though the scallion pancakes were an exemplary version. Sauteed bok choy was also terrific. Even the hot and sour soup impressed, maybe the best I've had given that it was both spicy and sour and not at all gloppy from corn starch like most versions. Ma pa tofu was also very good (though not as good as you'd find at Szechuan restaurants) and we also enjoyed the chewy noodles in scallion sauce.

    Another reminder how much I love Dim Sum Garden. Sadly, I'm never in Philly long enough to experience more of its Chinatown (this visit was for a bit of a family reunion and a Bat Mitzvah), but if you get a chance, Dim Sum Garden should definitely be on your go-to list, particularly if you're a fan of XLB.
  • Post #78 - March 30th, 2015, 9:58 am
    Post #78 - March 30th, 2015, 9:58 am Post #78 - March 30th, 2015, 9:58 am
    Went to Philadelphia a few weeks ago for a business trip. Like most LTHers, I created an itinerary in order to hit the restaurants I wanted.

    After a few canceled flights, I finally arrived in Phily and was able to make my reservation at Amada for lunch. I'm a big fan of Mercat a la planxa, so I was quite excited for this meal.

    Due to the storm, the restaurant was completely empty (Pff, Philadelphians are wusses).

    My lunch tasting menu consisted of the following:
    AGED MANCHEGO Truffled Lavender, Honey

    TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA Spanish Tortilla, Saffron Aïoli

    ESCALIVADA Roasted Peppers & Eggplant, Cipollini Onions, Confit Tomatoes

    ENSALADA VERDE Green Salad, Asparagus, Favas, Avocado, Green Beans
    This salad was a meal in itself. Though delicious, it was a bit misplaced. I could easily see myself having a lunch at Amada and just ordering this dish.

    PIQUILLOS RELLENOS Crab-Stuffed Peppers



    HABAS A L A CATALANA Warm Fava & Lima Bean Salad
    Another weird addition. Not sure if this was meant to be mixed with a previous dish or to be eaten on its own.

    Though I was pretty happy with this meal, Amada would prove to be one of the lesser dining destinations of my trip.

    For dinner later that night, I hit Vernick Food & Drink. This restaurant spoke to me.

    Meal began with 2 Amuse Bouches:

    Eggplant Soup

    Yellowfin Tuna

    At this moment, I knew this would be my favorite restaurant of my trip.

    chicken liver red onion chutney

    I ordered two sides
    brussels sprouts ancho caramel
    I have to say...Though addicted to brussels sprouts, this may have been the poorest rendition I've ever had. Cloyingly sweet.

    crispy potatoes & shishito peppers
    I loved this dish. I wrote a note saying this reminded me of Christmas(?).

    grilled octopus pickled fennel & black olive tapenade

    Realized I had some extra time and was able to fit in another restaurant. A coworker recommended The Dandelion Pub, and I'm happy to report this was a solid meal.

    shallot pear chutney / whole grain mustard & cheddar on buttermilk toast

    DUCK BOLOGNESE sunny side duck egg, strozzapreti pasta

    As I said earlier, I'm a huge brussels sprouts whore. Anytime it's on the menu, I have to order it.
    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries

    CRISPY HAMPSHIRE PORK BELLY braised red cabbage, mustard jus
    I honestly thought this was a joke when it came out. This was the biggest serving of pork belly I had ever seen, though it did not disappoint it the slightest. I would happily order this again and again.

    After leaving The Dandelion, we hit a cocktail bar down the block named The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

    Great cocktails that didn't break the bank in a small, intimate space.

    On my last day in Philadelphia, I went big again. For lunch, I had Morimoto's Omakase menu with pairings.

    toro tartar


    bluefin tuna & kanpachi salad

    scallop in scallop congee with bonito and quail egg

    black cod pickled red pepper


    Ginger Cheesecake

    And then for dinner, I had the prix fixe menu at Sbraga



    CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE pickled papaya . peanuts . poached citrus fruit

    DUCK BOLOGNESE rye creste di gallo . jalapeno condiment . smoked ricotta

    SURF & TURF grilled octopus . braised lamb . eggplant . piri piri

    CHOCOLATE TART pistachio ice cream . ganache . gold leaf

    Great trip.

    217-219 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
    (215) 625-2450

    Vernick Food & Drink
    2031 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (267) 639-6644

    The Dandelion Pub
    124 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 558-2500

    The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
    112 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (267) 467-3277

    723 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
    (215) 413-9070

    440 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
    (215) 735-1913
  • Post #79 - March 30th, 2015, 10:02 am
    Post #79 - March 30th, 2015, 10:02 am Post #79 - March 30th, 2015, 10:02 am
    Gorgeous, incite!
  • Post #80 - February 19th, 2016, 8:44 pm
    Post #80 - February 19th, 2016, 8:44 pm Post #80 - February 19th, 2016, 8:44 pm
    I was in Philadelphia for the day (got in at 7:30am and had to leave 12 hours later) and met up with a colleague for dinner at DanDan. Due to a snowstorm, many of our other coworkers cancelled. She doesn't do spicy food so we stuck only to Taiwanese food - not always easy to find. The gua bao were fluffy, tasty and really hit the spot (she'd never tried them), as did the Taiwanese sausage fried rice (probably my favorite dish of the three we tried). The three cup chicken was pretty good (but my mom's is better :).

    126 S 16th St

    Stopped at the Franklin Bar as well for a quick cocktail at the bar before hand. The "...With a Baseball Bat" was awesome. Like a salty, nutty, not-super-boozy old fashioned. Bourbon Infused with Peanut Butter, Genever, Blackberry, Raspberry, Brown Sugar, Aromatic Bitters.