Whirlwind tour – Eating in Philly

In case you were wondering why there have been no recent posts, I just returned from a trip to Philadelphia for a librarian conference. While there, of course I ate whatever I could get my hands on! I’ll share a photo montage with you below, starting with the Italian-related items on my monthly theme. There was so much other great food around the convention center however, that I just couldn’t stop with Italian!

My friend Joy recommended Pietro’s Pizza as a good spot, so I ordered the Pietro’s Classic pizza. Of course, the crust was amazing, and it was topped with smoked mozzarella, proscuitto, and fresh arugula. Simple, but a great combination!

The Italian market was a wealth of yumminess. I had the requisite Philly cheesesteak for lunch, then stopped at Di Bruno’s cheese shop where I bought a chunk of aged Vantia provolone that I nibbled on all week.  The limoncello gelato shown to the left was very refreshing after walking around for a while. I asked the gelato vendor if there was a good pastry shop around, and she pointed me around the corner to Isgro Italian pastries, where I got both an almond horn and my favorite Italian pastry on the right, Sfogliatella. This delightful item which I first tasted in St. Petersburg FL, is a bunch of crispy layers of pastry, filled with citrus-flavored ricotta. In my opinion, this pastry is superior to the similarly-filled cannoli that is much more well-known among the masses. I imagine if it had a name that was easier to remember or pronounce, it might be able to compete!  Or maybe if it had been featured in The Godfather….

That’s pretty much it for the Italian food, though there was so much more I could have explored. But the area around the convention center “Center City” is so rich with other international cuisines, that I couldn’t resist branching out a bit. My uncle Scott and his wife Marti came into town to have brunch with me on Sunday, and we went to a wonderful new Greek/Cyprian restaurant called Kanella. I had a dish recommended by the waiter called Kedgeree.

This dish is of Indian origin, and was imported to the UK by British colonizers of that country.  At Kanella, the dish was made with rice, veggies and smoked salmon, and flavored with Indian spices. Still not sure how it came to be served in a Greek restaurant, but it was delicious! And they did serve a dollop of Greek yogurt on the side. We also had a trio of Greek dips with pita as an appetizer and a dessert called Galatopoureko, I forgot to take pictures of those because we were hungry and talking!

During the conference one evening, I headed over to a Korean restaurant called Miga, where I had this bowl of sizzling Bibimbob (also bibimbop). Rice on the bottom, topped with a lot of different vegetables (kale, zucchini, peppers, bean sprouts, etc.) and sliced beef. It is served with a fried egg which you place on the top of the dish so that the egg yolk becomes a sort of sauce, along with a hot pepper sauce, added to your taste. Since this bibimbob was served in a sizzling hot pot, the rice on the bottom got crispy/crunchy. As you can see in the picture, the bibimbob was also served with 9 different small plates – everything from pickled chayote squash to seasoned fish cake, tofu, and lotus root slices marinated in a sweet soy sauce mixture of some kind (shown at the right). It has a similar texture to water chestnut only slightly firmer and not as crunchy. I’m pretty comfortable eating with chopsticks, since my parents taught me at a young age, thanks Mom and Dad!  But eating this meal was a bit challenging with the combination of slippery silver chopsticks (the first time I’ve seen those) and the slippery fried egg. I made it work though!

Finally, I’ll share with you a couple of the dishes I ate from the Reading Terminal Market, which is attached to the convention center and convenient for lunches and snacks throughout the day. 

Potato-filled pierogies for lunch, with mac & cheese and onion rings, the sides weren’t remarkable, but the pierogies were tasty. To show you the mix of cultures in Philly, this dish was served up by a few lovely Asian women!  For another lunch, I had a pork souvlaki sandwich from a gyro shop. Apparently I was too hungry to get a picture of that one too :)

This cherry pound cake was my dessert one day. I also had to sample some of the “famous” 4th St. cookies. As with most self-proclaimed “famous” entities, I wasn’t ultra-impressed with them. But then again, I’m probably a bit more snooty about baked goods than most people :)

For the most part, the Pennsylvania Dutch treats at the market are things with which I am very familiar due to my Mennonite heritage. I did have to go get a scrapple and egg breakfast platter one morning though, yum!

Well, that’s not everything I ate during the week, but it covers the highlights. I brought back some of the afore-mentioned cheese, dark chocolate Wilbur buds for my co-workers, and this ginger pepper jelly shown at the left. I’m thinking that will go really well with pork, and I’m sure there are other ways to use the flavor combination. All in all, a great trip for my foodie self, and the conference wasn’t half bad either!

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2 responses to “Whirlwind tour – Eating in Philly

  1. oh…my…gosh! you clearly had better food than me in Philly!

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