Philly foodstuffs

Last week I spent four nights in Philadelphia, which is known for a few food items, none of them highbrow. Above is a cheesesteak from Pat’s King of Steaks. Pat’s is across an (angled) intersection from its equally famous competitor, Geno’s. I got mine with onions and with provolone rather than the other option, Cheez Wiz. Some things are just too much.

Water ice is a redundantly named dessert, finely ground ice with flavoring. You eat it with a spoon. I went to John’s, the recommended spot. Cool and refreshing. I also had one that was half ice cream, half water ice, from Rita’s, a Philly-based chain that briefly had a Chino Hills location and still has one in Glendora last I checked.

The hoagie, also known as a submarine sandwich (and hero sandwich, and grinder), is another Philly specialty. The Italian, above, is from Campo’s, a local favorite.

Roasted pork is another local item. The one above is from DiNic’s, a longtime stand in Reading Terminal Market. The recommended garnish was broccoli rabe — that was different — plus sharp provolone.

I expect to write Sunday about Philadelphia, but this is the food portion!

My Restaurant of the Week feature will return next week, I hope; it’s a short week, what with a holiday in the middle, which will complicate getting three columns written, much less a restaurant piece (and, perhaps, a Reading Log). But I have notes and photos on four local restaurants, just awaiting my attention as soon as time permits.

Have you been to Philadelphia and had any of these items, or others?

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  • Eric S.

    I have been to Pat’s (I was very much intimidated by the ordering process with the threat of being kicked out of line for goofing it up) about 10 years ago, and have enjoyed Rita’s for about 17 years. I liked Pat’s, and believe I nervously ordered a “whiz, witout” and didn’t mind the cheese wiz as it is unlike the product in the can. A near carbon copy can be found much closer at Philly’s Best locations.

    • davidallen909

      Candidly, I was underwhelmed by Pat’s, thinking Philly’s Best is equally good, and maybe less dry. I wondered if the fake cheese might have been moister than provolone. But, c’est la whiz.

  • Richard_Pietrasz

    It is fine to consider a Philly cheese steak a Philly item, but your other three choices are standard items elsewhere without the Philly label. What you apparently missed was the real eastern PA deal, scrapple.

    I know I had a cheese steak around the corner roughly a decade ago. I think I tried scrapple in the suburbs about 1970.

    • davidallen909

      Oh yeah, scrapple. That was a choice at breakfast one morning and I passed, and I never saw it again (whatever it is).