Monday, January 18, 2010

13th Street, 19107...A Love Story

This weekend rang in sweet and warm, reminiscent of cooler summer nights and lines out the door. "Melee" might be one of my favorite words, and occasionally comes to mind when I'm standing at the case offering samples to twenty or thirty adults jostling one another, occasionally in drunken stupors, grabbing to be the first to taste Cioccolato Scuro, or those newfangled flavors we've been offering up lately - Molasses, Arroz con Leche, Croccante al rhum...The thing is, speaking for myself anyway, I absolutely love the chaos of a beautiful night on 13th Street. Granted, it might not always be pretty, but it's always interesting and at very least keeps you on your toes.

One of my favorite things about working here is when we have a family visiting Philadelphia for the first time stop by and inquire about where they should head, what restaurants they should check out, is the Italian Market reallyreallyreally far away and scary, what exactly is the Rheeeding Market" they've been hearing all about?? This exact thing happened on Saturday night - a family from the Midwest greatly excited about getting gelato (Dad fell in love with Basil...), and knowing what the insiders know, came in with a flurry of questions.

What did I try to impress upon them the most? Philadelphia and its FOOD! As La Regina has begun to iterate, Philadelphia is a food loving metropolis. I'm from Delaware, and before I moved here would make weekly (ok ok sometimes biweekly...) trips to Philly for groceries. Always hitting 9th Street for super cheap produce and an occasional stop at Fante's, and just as often hauling myself to restaurants all over the city to appreciate the deep and lasting pride Philadelphia's chefs and restaurateurs take in their work.
Now that I've been here for a few years (3, but who's counting?) and have immersed myself into the unique stride that is the City of Brotherly Whiz Wit', I can say with all truth that very little has changed, except I am now among those inflated with the pride a city can bring. Yes, we have our ups and downs, and like I said it's not always pretty, but the one thing I know that I can say to tourists and mean it with every fiber of my being is that there is good food to be found here, and chances are good you don't have to look hard at all. But I promise, it's always worth it, even if you have to walk a few blocks.

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