Monday, January 11, 2010

Why I Love Philly, Part 1

I have been asked by many for recommendations for places to eat when they travel. I keep a restaurant diary for every country and town we come across, no matter how small or large a place. We love to travel. It may seem like we NEED to get away. That is not the case, entirely. I love Philadelphia. I am not a native, but I have lived here long enough to consider myself "from Philadelphia". All three of my kids were born here.

I want to share the love. Today I am going to start sharing with you why I love Philly and why you should too! I won't just stick to food, but will touch on all ways to lovelovelove the City of Brotherly Love. BUT, I will start with Food!! Of course, I think that Capo has the quickest best lunch, but a girl can only have so many grilled mozzarella tomato pesto panini before she starts looking around! I will venture out the doors of Capo and introduce you to some other place in my hometown.

Lunch. Yes, lunch. I am stuck on lunch. Philadelphia is a place that has a huge selection of homegrown, delicious, inexpensive lunch options. Believe it or not, big chain fast food joints are not as easy to access and Philadelphians prefer other options. My kids have had fast food, oh..maybe three times. My son, Manny, was coming home from a soccer tournament in NYC with some of his teammates, when they stopped at McDonald's. Manny announced that he never had MickyD's and was...excited. The entire van, parents and all, turned with dropped jaws and collectively gasped. It is easy peasy to ignore fast food when you live in a city. No drive-thrus, no convenience, it is absolutely inconvenient. Yes, I have read all those "books". Honestly, I prefer freshly made, local places that contribute to the local fabric of our neighborhoods. Chains and fast food places constitute blight. On a lighter note, Manny announced that he did not like McDonald's, except for the fries. The burgers were dry and he preferred...

Good Dog. You have to give my 11 year old credit. He prefers a roquefort stuffed, carmelized onioned burger to fast food. He loves the sweet potato fries, which I hate! They are not bad fries, they are delicious. I just happened to think sweet potatoes are evil and do not want them corrupting my fries. Happily, the folks there understand my aversion and give me plain ole fries. The sweet potato fries are delicious if you like evil roots, and this burger is monumental with its brioche bun and core of molten roquefort. I have never had a poorly cooked burger there. A must.

Tampopo! Delicious AND healthy! Once again, a family favorite. Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl, Chicken Katsu, Veggie Soba Noodles, Bim Bim Bap and Spicy Chicken Breast Rice Bowl are my family's choice items. Tampopo is Korean Japanese fast food. Never heavy, always served hot and delicious and they play the greatest music.

Taco Riendo. This place is located in Northern Libeties, bordering Kensington. The peeps here are from Puebla. Philadelphia is also known as Puebladelphia. The food here is amazing. Fresh and delicious. John gets the fish tacos and I get the sopes. The kids love the burritos and the fresh juices in the summer are crisp. Pics courtesy of Foodaphilia.

Sansom Street Kabob House. This is my favorite place. I could eat here everyday (I have). The most lovely family owns this place. Their little girls will be there, doing homework, delivering hummus, and smiling with the most beautiful brown eyes. The husband and wife team cooks, serves and clears tables. I love watching the husband make the bread. It is light and airy and crispy and hot. Absolutely lovely. The chicken kabob flavored with turmeric over rice pilaf is delicious. Lentil soup, hummus and stewed eggplant are a must. I love this place!!

Tierra Colombiana. Columbian and Cuban dishes are both served and done equally well. You sit and they serve you this grilled buttery bread. So delicious. Papas rellanas, from the Cuban side - I could eat 500. Perfectly fried mashed potato spheres filled with spiced ground beef and peas. Served with a chunky sauce that I think is hotter than lava.John prefers the grilled salmon and the avocado citrus salad. I go for the Arroz con Pollo, Columbian style.

Lastly, Meme's fried chicken lunch. Only on Thursdays and not so fast. A leisurely Thursday lunch. Fried chicken, biscuit and a Miller High Life. I love to meet my friend Francine there. The chicken is hot, crisp and perfectly fried, the biscuit flaky and buttery, and the beer is uber cold, stored in a tin bucket stuffed with ice. Francine and I gossip and eat with our hands. What girls like to do.

Those are my quick, inexpensive eats, fast food eats. Please join me and ditch fast food. Damn, I said "delicious" way too much.

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