[Attendee] Restaurant Recommendations for Philly

Michael Sinatra ms at es.net
Tue Oct 4 12:53:35 CDT 2011

On 10/3/11 8:23 AM, Livingood, Jason wrote:
>> Cheesesteak? Go to Jim's and skip the Pat's/Geno's silliness (IMO)
> +1 on Jim's at http://www.jimssteaks.com/SouthStreet.html

Yes, but Jim's can get just as crowded and touristy as Pat's and Geno's 
(arguably more so, since it's right on South St.).  Of course, I'll be 
staying out in the 'burbs, where I have my own favorite 
hoagie/cheesesteak places.

+1 on provolone--to me, that's a real steak.

Pat's, at least, has turned into a big production operation.  The steak 
you get there has been sitting in a steam tray and is barely warm, which 
is why people get it with Wiz.  (Provolone wouldn't melt.)  Go someplace 
where you can get a steak cooked to order.  I think Jim's still does 
that, if you're willing to wait.

With all of the hype around the cheesesteak, people often miss the other 
great foods of Philly.  Here are some of my favorites (and ones that I 
especially miss now that I live on the West Coast).  Note that most of 
these are available at the Reading Terminal Market (including 
cheesesteaks at Carmen's, which aren't bad given the close proximity to 

o Corned Beef Special: Corned beef piled high on hard rye bread with 
coleslaw and Russian dressing on the sandwich.  It's a cold sandwich. 
And don't even THINK of replying to this message and saying "isn't that 
the same as a Reuben?"  NO IT'S NOT.  Google for both and learn.

o Italian hoagie: Better than cheesesteaks IMO.  Get one at the 
Salumeria in the Reading Terminal or anywhere they make hoagies. 
(Recommendations for Italian hoagies from current residents welcome.)

o Snapper Soup: It's a brown fish soup that you can't get anywhere else. 
  Served with dry sherry (which you put in the soup).  Originated at 
Bookbinder's, but other places serve it now.

o Scrapple:  Yes, I really do like scrapple.  My grandfather (from 
Pittsburgh actually) used to make it.  It's more of a PA Dutch dish than 
a Philly-specific dish.  You really don't want to know what's in it or 
how it's made.

o Soft pretzels: Someone already mentioned the traditional ones at the 
Reading Terminal and they are quite good; those from street vendors are 
usually very dry and chewy.

o Hard pretzels: This is PA Dutch country.  Pick up a box of "Splits" 
from the Unique Pretzel Co. of Reading (Reading proper, not reading 
Terminal, but you should be able to get them anywhere in Philly, 
including the Terminal, and possibly the market at Comcast Center).  You 
can also have them shipped directly (I do).

o Provolone cheese: Already mentioned this on a steak, but in general, 
the sharp provolone you get in Philly is just better than anywhere else. 
  Here on the West Coast, what we get is something flavorless that just 
has the texture of provolone.

o Tastykakes: Nuff said.

o Mayonnaise--not!: It's really nice to go someplace where people 
realize that Mayonnaise (or its frou-frou brother, Aioli) does NOT 
belong on everything under the sun!  There was a Philly-themed 
restaurant in Phoenix (!) which claimed that in Philly, you would be 
fined and put in jail for 48 hours for putting mayo on a hoagie.  Asking 
for mayo on a cheesesteak or Italian hoagie would be like going into 
Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco and asking for a vodka and Red Bull. 
Don't do it.


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