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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Philadelphia Bites: A Postmodern Munchfest (Cheesesteaks and Beyond)

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Thursday, January 11, 2024

 The great news is we had an outline of this post already finished.  The not so great news is it somehow didn’t get saved, and has completely disappeared.  Sigh.  So, let’s try this again.  However, this time the post will be in the order I remember things, we’re going for more of a modern art feel. 

Philadelphia Bites: A Postmodern Munchfest (Cheesesteaks and Beyond)


Dalessandro’s: Very tasty, great for takeout.  I may have had two very hot cherry peppers, and may have lost feeling in my face/fingers/part of my arm.  And gotten lightheaded.  All this was fixed by a nice big glass of milk.  The sandwich itself was great, though we didn’t think the cheese (provolone) presence was big enough.  I think it was on the bottom, though, which helped prevent the sandwich from becoming soggy.  Tony preferred his plain, while Louisa added some ketchup to hers.

Pat’s King of Steaks:  The location is a bit tougher to get to from outside the city, though the sandwich itself might have been our favorite.  The steak and cheese were both the best, though we preferred Chubby’s bread.

Chubby’s:  We got this as a “to-go” order to eat in the car.  We enjoyed their cheese steak as well, and think they had the best bread.  There’s is also quite convenient as a “to-go” order, just make sure to help yourself to the hot pepper bar before

Overall all three places we tried were great!  And hey, it’s always more fun to try multiple places and then pick a favorite (or three).

Other Food Stops

Our daily breakfast spot of choice was the Trolley Car Cafe.  The food isn’t greasy spoon priced, but you definitely get what you pay for.  You can’t go wrong with the made to order frittatas, Monte Cristo sandwich or challah French toast; favorite sides include roasted red potatoes and fruit.  The coffee is also good, nice and strong but with low acidity.

There aren’t many fruit carts in the city on the weekend; by “not many” I mean “two.”  But if you happen to find a fruit cart, please do yourself a favor and stop to get some melon/banana/grape/whatever else they toss in fruit salad.

Philadelphia pretzels are pretty amazing.  They’re salted, braided pretzel rods about half a foot long, and are usually slightly warm.  And chewy, and amazing.  You can get them from street vendors, but you can also find them at some area businesses.  We purchased some from a vendor near Independence Hall.

Pretzels and coffee were enjoyed at the ING Direct Cafe.  The pretzels were cheap ($3 for two large, fantastic pretzels) and the coffee/espresso drinks were great as well.  If you’re looking for a bright, cheerful coffee shop with wifi and good snacks, this is the perfect spot.  As long as you’re willing to ignore the guy on the corner preaching about the end of the world, that is.

Asian take out from Shan Chaun proved to be a satisfying dinner, particularly the General Tso’s chicken with broccoli. 

The Couch Tomato Cafe satisfied our craving for some local pizza.  The pizzas are huge and tasty, but be prepared to wait a bit to get your food.  We also ordered garlic knots, and were eagerly anticipating biting into a warm, doughy, garlicky ball of goodness.  Unfortunately, something went wrong with the knots, and they had to remake them.  By this point we were all hungry and, since we were getting the food to go, decided to forgo the knots.  The pizza was a solid lunch choice, with a thin crust, good sauce, and generous toppings.

We also sampled the bubble tea and almond cake from KC’s Pastries in Chinatown.  The green tea with boba was just so-so, but the mango bubble tea with boba was fantastic.  It’s probably the best bubble tea we’ve ever had, and is highly recommended.  The almond cake was the perfect accompaniment.  One caution, they didn’t have an air conditioning, and all treats are bought “to-go.”  We enjoyed ours while wandering back towards the parking garage.

After walking by Penn’s Landing we went looking for food.  We had no plan and decided to wander until we found something that looked good.  Fortunately we found Munchie’s Cafe, where we started with a fresh fruit bowl (watermelon and blueberries) for the table.  Louisa tried the hoagie, partially because “hoagie” is an authentic Philly term, and mostly because the combination of turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and is a sure winner.  We also sampled a panini with prosciutto, cheese and basil.  All the food was very good, though the service was a bit slow.  But that’s what unlimited soft drinks and a fruit salad are for, right? 

A City that Feeds the Soul:

Philadelphia, you're not just a city, you're a smorgasbord of experiences. Your food is a tapestry woven with history, culture, and a whole lot of flavor. I leave with a full belly and a happy heart, forever grateful for the taste of your soul.

So, dear reader, if you ever find yourself in Philly, come hungry. Come curious. And come ready to be swept away by a culinary adventure unlike any other.


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