Monday, September 23, 2013

Snacking in Philadelphia

In addition to all the great restaurants we dined at during our travels to Philadelphia, PA, we also had a chance to grab snacks along the way.  Check it out these must try Philly eats!

1. Hoagies
Declared the "official sandwich of Philadelphia" by Mayor Ed Rendell in 1992, the hoagie is a built-to-order sandwich on a long Italian roll, typically filled with deli meat and cheese, garnished with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions and finished with a drizzle of oregano-vinegar dressing. Hoagies can also be filled with tuna, chicken cutlets and roasted vegetables, among other fillings. Because of its simplicity, the quality of a hoagie truly depends on the quality of its ingredients.  At the hoagie mecca, Sarcone's Deli, freshly baked seeded rolls are lovingly stuffed in combos like the Italian Market (hot capicola, turkey breast, roasted peppers, sharp provolone) and the Junk Yard Special (turkey, prosciutto, sautéed spinach, roasted peppers, mozzarella, sharp provolone).

2. Cheesesteak
Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz, but American and provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance of flavors, textures and what is often referred to as the "drip" factor. Other toppings may include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup and hot or sweet peppers.  Tony Luke's is a local institution. There's no need for an inside here - you order and pick up your sandwich from the street side windows and feast upon your reward at the outdoor picnic-style tables. When ordering, don't be offended if the staff seems a bit a less than friendly; they take pride in giving a hard time to both regulars and first-timers. It's part of Tony Luke's lure. Their cheesesteak is thick and juicy and sure to impress.

3. Hot Roast Pork Sandwich
Located in Reading Terminal Market, Tommy DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef now holds the honor of being named the Travel Channel’s "Best Sandwich in America".  Here Keith had the Hot Roast Pork Sandwich. Most aficionados agree that a roast pork sandwich with garlicky broccoli rabe and sharp provolone cheese is a holy trinity of Philly flavors.  The bitter greens, rich juicy pork, and addition of hot peppers on Keith's version offer an interesting contrast that make the sandwich unique. 

4. Soft Pretzel
Philly’s soft-pretzels are breakfast for many a commuter on the run, dependable snacks for the late-night munchy crowd, and at around fifty cents a pop if you buy them individually, the big salty twists topped with yellow mustard (or not) even stand in as “hearty” lunch or dinner for the hungry college student strapped for cash. Grab one from the Philadelphia Soft Pretzel Factory at various locations around the city. Vendors sell the popular treat at the local fresh markets, out of plain brown paper bags in the streets during rush hour, and – most visibly – out of the once-shiny metal lunch carts that line the city streets.

5. Water Ice
Characteristically known as "wudder ice" by locals, water ice is a must have treat in Philly.  I got one from the Philadelphia Water Ice vendor at the baseball park.  Also known as Italian ice, the sweetened frozen dessert is made with fruit (often from concentrates, juices or purées) or other natural or artificial food flavorings, similar to sorbet. Italian ice is not shaved ice that is flavored; rather, it is made by the same process by which ice cream is made: freezing the ingredients while mixing them. Italian ice differs from sherbet in that it does not contain dairy or egg ingredients, though it may contain egg white. Common flavors include blue raspberry, cherry, lemon, mango, orange, strawberry, and watermelon, with numerous other flavors available.

6. Cookies
The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company in Reading Terminal makes award winning homemade cookies baked fresh everyday.  We indulged in a Sugar Cookie and a Chocolate Chip Walnut.

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