New York has its Dr. Brown’s and pastrami, Philadelphia enjoys a hoagie with a wishniak, and the south? Well, you haven’t really experienced southern living until you’ve savored an RC and a Moon Pie, that sugary pick-me-up of cola, marshmallow, and graham crackers. RC Cola was born in Georgia, and Moon Pies come from Tennessee, so it’s only natural that this southern duo would be honored with an annual celebration in Bell Buckle, TN. The 22nd edition of the RC & Moon Pie Festival will be Saturday, June 18th. Continue reading
USAToday’s 10Best poll to name Pennsylvania’s best cheesesteak took an unexpected turn, leaving Philly folks crying foul. Everyone knows the best cheesesteaks are found in Philadelphia, but 11 of the 20 cheesesteak candidates were from Philly, while only one came from Pittsburgh. With Philly residents splitting the vote eleven ways, Pittsburgh’s Groove Cheesesteak Co. came out on top. Said Brian Hickey of Philly Voice, “Pittsburgh cheats its way to victory .” Word is that second place finisher Dalessandro’s (of Philadelphia, of course) finished just a handful of votes behind Groove. Dal’s is the quintessential Philly steak joint. But how did Mama’s not make the top ten?
USA Today’s 10Best has got a mess o’ polls going on right now, many focused on regional food specialties across America. In each category, a team of experts has selected 20 candidates, and it’s up to you to choose the winner. For instance, in the category of Best Po’ Boy in Louisiana, one of our favorite spots, Parkway Bakery and Tavern in New Orleans, is currently leading the vote tally, which will continue to accumulate until May 9th. Continue reading
This is not a Philadelphia eating contest to see who can eat the most tacos. That wouldn’t even make any sense in The City of Brotherly Love. No, the contest is as follows: who can eat a single Philly Taco the fastest? What’s a Philly Taco? You begin with a cheesesteak from Jim’s Steaks on South Street. Carry it down the street to Lorenzo’s Pizza, where you order one of their giant, pliable slices. Then you roll the cheesesteak in the pizza slice and begin eating! Obviously, this is not a dish born of straight and sober minds. Continue reading
Gotta admit, when we first started making regular visits to Tony Luke’s in South Philly in the early ’90s, we never imagined it would ever expand to a second Philadelphia outlet much less become franchised up and down the east coast. The roast pork Italian and Uncle Mike sandwiches had us thoroughly seduced, as did the very scruffy, bare-bones location, alongside a barbed wire encircled “parking area” beneath rumbling Interstate 95 next door. Continue reading
A story in the student-run Villanova paper performed a taste test of Philly cheesesteaks. Dalessandro’s was chosen as the best of the four they sampled, which also included Pat’s, Geno’s, and Jim’s (we like all four of these spots but there is stronger competition around the city, guys). They like how Dal’s finely dices the meat, leaves the onions in large pieces, adds a generous smear of Cheez Whiz, and lays it all on the largest roll of the four. (Hopefully, by the time writers Molly and Austin graduate Villanova they’ll have learned the difference between compliment and complement.)
Let the debate begin! Tom Sietsema, food writer for The Washington Post, did some extensive dining across America, with the goal of determining the nation’s top ten eating cities. Some results? The top three cities are all on the Pacific coast! Houston beats Philadelphia, and both beat Chicago and New York! We’re glad to see the recognition for Charleston, SC and New Orleans, two truly fabulous and unique food cities. Gotta hand it to Mr. Sietsema, agree or disagree, it took a lot of research and a passion for eating (and big brass ones) to produce such a list. There is a ton of great info here for future travelers, and a lot of appetizing reading. See for yourself.
The voting in the Philadelphia Business Journal cheesesteak bracket is down to two finalists, as Dalessandro’s and Jim’s (the one on South Street) go head to head. What’s that, you say? No way these are the two best cheesesteaks in Philly? That’s the point of these brackets, silly, to stir up your loyalties and passions. And while we usually head to Steve’s when we’re in the mood for beef, onions, and Whiz on a roll, the crowning of Dalessandro’s or Jim’s would not, as we see it, be a gross miscarriage of justice. They both produce a fine cheesesteak. Let your voice be heard. Vote here.
Gus’s Fried Chicken, which began life in the 1950s in the small town of Mason, Tennessee, northeast of Memphis, will be opening their 13th store early next year in Knoxville, TN. That’s not all for the spicy-crusted bird that many folks put on their top-ten lists. By early 2016 there should also be new stores in Los Angeles, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Kansas City (where it will face especially stiff competition). Future stores are in the works for St. Louis and Philadelphia.
It began in 2009 with Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. When the stadium opened, Shake Shack was there, and it instantly became a huge hit. In 2011, Shake Shack traveled down I-95 to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. where, despite its New York origins, the Shackburger and Nats fans have become fast friends. Latest word is that, when the Atlanta Braves open in the new SunTrust Park in 2017, Shake Shack will be there for the first pitch. At least, that’s what they’re hoping for, as the two parties are still in negotiations. All that’s left in the National League East would be Philadelphia and Miami. There are already Shake Shacks in both cities but our money is on Marlins Park, as Citizens Bank Park just added Wayback Burgers this year.
We’d be the first to admit that barbecue in the Northeast must be graded on a curve. We’ve rarely had barbecue in our home region that compares favorably with the stuff obtainable in the barbecue regions of America’s South, Midwest, or Texas. It’s just a fact of Northeast life. But it doesn’t mean that we and our fellow cold-weather Q-lovers are condemned to a barbecue-less existence. We just have to readjust our sights somewhat (and avoid the local Q for a few months following a barbecue-country trip). Continue reading
This past winter we popped into Frangelli’s Bakery in Philadelphia to try their donnoli — that’s a donut filled with cannoli cream. Alas, they were out, and we returned home with a fine selection of “regular” donuts, which included a dossant (like the trademarked Cronut). Little did we know at the time that their jelly donuts are a force to be reckoned with. Frangelli’s jellies were just named one of America’s top 12 donuts by The Huffington Post (full disclosure: the story’s writers are from Philly). Continue reading
We first became acquainted with the trend in Washington D.C. with the U Street Taco: get yourself a chili-topped half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl, then walk down the block to a pizza joint which sells giant slices. Wrap the dog in the slice and eat! Now comes the Philly Taco (we think South Street Taco is catchier): wrap a cheesesteak from Jim’s on South Street with a big slice of pizza from Lorenzo’s, also on South Street. Ken Silver of Jim’s figures you’ve got about 2,000 calories of Philly eatin’ right there. Continue reading
Maybe you’ve tried those butter-sopped mall pretzels, or the smoky (and too often dry and stale) New York City street cart pretzels, but until you’ve eaten one in Philadelphia you haven’t had soft pretzels at their best. Most people pick them up locally from a convenience store, or in brown paper bags from a street vendor, and they’re quite alright, but if you really want to see how good they can be, head straight for the bakery. Continue reading
From Meniscus Magazine comes this story about cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. From John’s Roast Pork (” they make the sandwiches as if they were going to eat them”) to Mama’s Pizzeria (“the cheesiest cheesesteak of them all”) most of the major players are covered. As a bonus, they teach you how to order like a local, with an explanation of the various cheeses likely to be available and the toppings that might be offered. You want yours wit or witout?
A new Tony Luke’s, popular South Philly purveyor of cheesesteaks and Italian roast pork sandwiches, will be opening on 33rd Street in Ocean City, Maryland in May. The restaurant will remain open year-round, i.e., it’s not a summers-only venture as is the practice of many businesses in Ocean City. Read more in this DelmarvaNow story.
The arrival of a second Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop in Philadelphia has been delayed a few weeks from its planned opening last month, but a date has finally been announced. Next Wednesday, April 1st, Joe’s will open at 1 West Girard Avenue in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The new spot will be run by Joe’s son, Patrick Groh, while Joe Groh will continue to operate the Torresdale original.
Our mini-cheesesteak tour of Philadelphia brought us to American Sardine Bar. Now we understood that the Sardine is by no means a cheesesteak joint – it’s an anti-hipster/hipster pub with a reputation for quirky quality bar food. Nonetheless we’d read that they served a mean cheesesteak done Pittsburgh-style with fries and slaw on the steak, and we felt like a beer, so here we were. And, of course, there was no cheesesteak on the blackboard menu. Continue reading
It’s been an annual tradition for 23 years. On the first day of spring, all of the hundreds of Rita’s locations will distribute free Italian ice (or water ice as it’s known around Philadelphia), from noon until 9 p.m. That day, this year, is Friday, March 20th. Don’t know where your nearest Rita’s is? Check here. If you live anywhere in Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey we can guarantee there is a Rita’s near you. Their coverage in the rest of the country is spotty.
As we take our first bites out of our good cheesesteaks from Campo’s we are reminded once again of one of our basic street food tenets. For hoagies, subs, heroes, or whatever you want to call the torpedo-shaped cold cut sandwiches, we want the best bread available, with good chew and well-developed flavor. For hot torpedo sandwiches like cheesesteaks, veal parm heroes, or roast pork rabe, we prefer the bread to be less assertive. Continue reading