Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

eG Foodblog: MarketStEl - My Excellent Sub/Urban Adventure

Foodblog

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
167 replies to this topic

#1 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 04:06 AM

Good morning, everyone!

I'm in a bit of a rush, as I spent most of the morning cleaning up the kitchen after Easter dinner. Now I've got to shower and get outta the house in time to catch the 7:47 R3 to Swarthmore.

I'll catch up with all of you once I'm settled in the office.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#2 Swisskaese

Swisskaese
  • legacy participant
  • 1,951 posts
  • Location:Hod HaSharon, Israel

Posted 17 April 2006 - 04:51 AM

Cool! A Philly blog.

#3 christine007

christine007
  • participating member
  • 442 posts
  • Location:Suburbs of Cleveland, OH

Posted 17 April 2006 - 06:12 AM

Oh, Yum! Cheesesteaks coming up?
---------------------------------------

#4 mrbigjas

mrbigjas
  • participating member
  • 3,573 posts

Posted 17 April 2006 - 06:30 AM

nice! do us proud, sandy!

Edited by mrbigjas, 17 April 2006 - 06:30 AM.


#5 KatieLoeb

KatieLoeb
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,155 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 06:33 AM

Excellent! Show everyone what we've got Sandy! This is going to be fun.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#6 I_call_the_duck

I_call_the_duck
  • participating member
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:Philadelphia via New York

Posted 17 April 2006 - 06:36 AM

Allright! Can't wait!
Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

#7 Chufi

Chufi
  • participating member
  • 3,117 posts
  • Location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Posted 17 April 2006 - 07:30 AM

looking forward to seeing the inside of your fridge! :laugh:

#8 lancastermike

lancastermike
  • legacy participant
  • 1,354 posts

Posted 17 April 2006 - 07:39 AM

A Pennsylvania blogger. Really looking forward to this, Sandy

#9 FabulousFoodBabe

FabulousFoodBabe
  • participating member
  • 1,461 posts
  • Location:Westchester, NY

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:10 AM

Hey -- Any green bean casserole on the menu for this week?
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#10 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:11 AM

Okay, I'm all settled in and have most of the trivial stuff out of the way, so I can now do a proper introduction.

First, before I go further, to my fellow Pennsylvanians: I hope I do you all proud. We are truly blessed to have wonderful foodstuffs close at hand--thanks in no small part to Lancaster County's bounty, may it never be paved over--and I hope to clue the larger world in on some of them in the course of this blog.

I had originally intended to call this effort "A Mess of Good Eatin': A (City of Brotherly) Love Letter," and while you will all note that the title has changed, I hope that I can still share some of the love I have for this greatly underrated city and some of its culinary traditions.

But I'm a working stiff with two jobs (one of them as a freelance contractor), a significant activity (which you will see a little of on Wednesday) and a lot of balls/bills to juggle. So I suspect that what is more likely to come out of this effort is A Week In The Life of a Slapdash Food Lover, with some extras thrown in.

By virtue of where I work, you will now find out more than you ever cared to know about dining in Chester, a largely derelict little industrial city of some 38,000 souls about 15 miles southwest of Center City Philadelphia, where I live. I've already talked two of my co-workers into coming along with me for the ride at lunchtime. One of the places we all want to visit is a restaurant in the city's West End that was launched by displaced New Orleanians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The opening of this place made the local TV news, and the owners serve up authentic NO fare. I anticipate that my meal will be even more enjoyable than those served at the fancier New Orleans-style establishments in town, if for no other reason than that it will be prepared by people who really know the cuisine.

You will also get a glimpse at institutional dining, for while my employer is located in the nice part of Chester, the dining options around the Widener campus are limited. As compensation, though, you will share with me lunch served by tomorrow's restaurateurs, chefs and hoteliers--students in Widener's School of Hospitality Management, who serve lunch every Tuesday in the school's fully-equipped dining room (with liquor license).

You will also learn something about shopping for food in Philadelphia. Rocky Balboa didn't stop to inspect the tomatoes on his run through the Italian Market, but if I get down there when it's open, I will. And I will definitely take you to "The Greatest Public Market in America," a treasure all good Philadelphians cherish.

And my schedule willing, you will also join me and some of the other eGulleteers from this region as we embark on the first leg of a major undertaking: Revisiting all of the past winners in the pizza category of Philadelphia magazine's "Best of Philly" awards that are still in business.

But since this is my life and week, I will also throw in some of my other passions. One of them, as you might have gathered from one of the teasers, is trains and trolleys. I rely on SEPTA to take me everywhere I want to go around town, and whenever possible, I will include directions by public transit to the places I visit.

Another is trivia. I thought it might be fun to have you all test your knowledge of Philly food trivia and history (with a few more general questions thrown in). To encourage you to do your homework on the daily questions--the first of which will appear at the end of this post--I've arranged for a prize to the non-Philadelphian (sorry, fellow PhillieGulleteers: I figure you all will have a leg up on the competition) who gets the most answers right: A gift basket from the Pennsylvania General Store in the Reading Terminal Market. If you want to compete, please PM your answers to me--do not post them to this thread. I'll post answers and stats for each day's question the following day. (In the event of a tie, the prize will be awarded based on a random drawing from all eligible players.)

So here's the first question, which comes from the earlier teaser for this blog. It has to do with this currently empty building in the 800 block of Chestnut Street in Center City:

Posted Image

The question is: What is the significance of this structure in the history of American restaurants?

Next up: My morning routine.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#11 tejon

tejon
  • participating member
  • 1,385 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:33 AM

I can't wait to see this blog unfold! I have many happy memories of living and eating on the outskirts of Philadelphia :wub:.
Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

#12 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:38 AM

So here's what my typical weekday morning looks like. Replay these images in your head for the next four days, for like daytime television, little changes from day to day except the soap-opera storylines.

I usually arise at 6 a.m., go into the kitchen of my apartment and unload last night's load from the dishwasher. This usually takes about 15 minutes. However, today, I also had to finish cleaning up the leftover pots and pans from the dinner I fixed on Easter Sunday--most of which is now sitting in the fridge*, because just about everyone we invited ended up as no-shows--so I barely had time to prep lunch for my partner (a tossed salad and leftover "Pasta Jambalaya") and fix my own quick breakfast.

Here is the basic morning mise en place:
Posted Image

The mixed salad in the spinner will last all week. The other stuff that's out will go into my own breakfast sandwich: Pork roll and cheese on a toasted English muffin.

Posted Image

I consume this with a mug of green tea with honey.

This morning I wolfed everything down while getting ready to shower, showered, got dressed, and left my apartment at 7:35 a.m., in enough time to take a few pictures of my commute to work, which starts here:

Posted Image

We will return to this structure over the weekend, for besides being a convention center, hotel and commuter train station, it is also home to the Reading Terminal Market, the city's finest fresh food emporium and the direct descendant of the public market stalls that gave Market Street its name.

Posted Image
Sign design ® Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

But right now my destination is Market East Station, one of the two underground hubs of Greater Philadelphia's regional rail network.

Posted Image

That's my train--the 7:47 R3 to Elwyn, 2 minutes late--pulling into the station.

About a half hour later, I arrive in Swarthmore, a lovely, affluent Delaware County suburb that is home to the prestigious liberal-arts college of the same name:

Posted Image

and walk about a block south, where I catch the bus:

Posted Image

that takes me to where I work:

Posted Image

My office is in the oldest building on campus, Old Main, the original classroom and barracks building of the Pennsylvania Military College:

Posted Image

Once inside, after I drop my stuff in my office, the first stop is the coffee machine:

Posted Image

...and with mug in hand, I'm ready to face the new day.

Posted Image[

*To those of you who asked in advance: Yes, the fridge shot is coming. Real Soon Now.

Edited to post higher-quality images.

Edited by MarketStEl, 17 April 2006 - 11:42 AM.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#13 dockhl

dockhl
  • participating member
  • 1,729 posts
  • Location:Paso Robles......Central Coast Wine Country

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:39 AM

I can't wait to see this blog unfold! I have many happy memories of living and eating on the outskirts of Philadelphia  :wub:.

View Post


Me, too, Kathy.......although it has been 25 years !

#14 Rebecca263

Rebecca263
  • participating member
  • 1,420 posts
  • Location:Frozen state of NJ

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:43 AM

Sandy! Philly! We LOVE Philly, and you! I second Chufi's post, show us your fridge, dearie. You've seen your share, it's your turn! For eGullet blogs, there ought'a be a law. :wink:
More Than Salt
Visit Our Cape Coop Blog
Cure Cutaneous Lymphoma
Join the DarkSide---------------------------> DarkSide Member #006-03-09-06

#15 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 09:35 AM

Sandy! Philly! We LOVE Philly, and you!  I second Chufi's post, show us your fridge, dearie. You've seen your share, it's your turn! For eGullet blogs, there ought'a be a law. :wink:

View Post


See the last line in Post 12.

I've not forgotten and will not shirk my duty.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#16 Fresser

Fresser
  • participating member
  • 1,296 posts

Posted 17 April 2006 - 09:50 AM

Hey -- Any green bean casserole on the menu for this week?

View Post

:laugh: :laugh:

If you need any help with the GBC recipe, I'll hook a brotha' up. :raz:
There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

#17 Pontormo

Pontormo
  • participating member
  • 2,589 posts

Posted 17 April 2006 - 10:14 AM

Sandy: You promised I could ask the Big Question, but Chufi beat me to it!

Here's my wish list:

1) A special trip to the Italian grocers and merchants that you mention every so often. Lots of pictures and information, please, if so inclined. :smile:

2) You wrote about a former haunt of LWL. If there's anything there to show us, that would be nice, too.

3) A trip to the Swathmore cafeteria(s) or places students eat. Maybe snapshots of what they're buying to eat on the run or a few Man on the Street/Quad candid interviews about eating habits. Of course, the latter may not be a good idea given the nature of your job. However, in 2005 the NYT published an article about some college dining services and moves toward purchases from local farmers, promoting more healtful diets and/or responding to student demands for meals that fit their dietary preferences. etc. It would be interesting to see how your school relates to this trend.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#18 Susan in FL

Susan in FL
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,838 posts
  • Location:Daytona Beach

Posted 17 April 2006 - 10:59 AM

This Philly foodblog is great already. Philadelphia is one of my all-time favorite cities to visit, which I did much more often when I lived in Delaware. And, my father was born and raised in Chester, a city beloved by many (9th Street, Kerlin Street . . . what do they look like now?). My aunt lived in Swarthmore.
Any chance you might buy a big fat, good, real Italian sub (or hoagie or whatever you call it), and show a picture of it? I'm more interested in seeing that than a cheesesteak.
Blog on!
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#19 tejon

tejon
  • participating member
  • 1,385 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:20 AM

So many memories! I used to take the R3 from Swarthmore into the city. Many a quick meal over at The Village Restaurant - loved their macaroni and cheese. Ate at the Ingleneuk more times than I can remember as well. There was a really good casual sandwich/ice cream place close by that had a tuba hanging from the ceiling, but I just can't remember the name of it. Any idea what I'm talking about?

Edited by tejon, 17 April 2006 - 11:35 AM.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

#20 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 01:37 PM

Sandy:  You promised I could ask the Big Question, but Chufi beat me to it!

Here's my wish list:

1) A special trip to the Italian grocers and merchants that you mention every so often. Lots of pictures and information, please, if so inclined. :smile:

2) You wrote about a former haunt of LWL.  If there's anything there to show us, that would be nice, too.

3) A trip to the Swathmore cafeteria(s) or places students eat.  Maybe snapshots of what they're buying to eat on the run or a few Man on the Street/Quad candid interviews about eating habits.  Of course, the latter may not be a good idea given the nature of your job.  However, in 2005 the NYT published an article about some college dining services and moves toward purchases from local farmers, promoting more healtful diets and/or responding to student demands for meals that fit their dietary preferences. etc.  It would be interesting to see how your school relates to this trend.

View Post


1) Definitely doable, though knowing me, it'll fall through the cracks of the weekend. :raz:

2) The Crystal Tea Room on the 9th floor of the Wanamaker Building is intact and used as a function hall. I don't know how easy it is to get up there after 6 or on weekends, but I'll nose around.

3) That's going to be a much taller order, as I work at Widener University, 10 minutes south of Swarthmore on Chester Road/Providence Avenue. I did take a stroll around Swarthmore's beautiful campus (which is also an arboretum) while killing time one afternoon waiting for the 5:55 R3 into Center City, and got a glimpse of their dining hall, which is a fabulous-looking facility dating (it appears) to the late 1970s. Our dining hall is nowhere near as stunning architecturally, nor has there been a groundswell of demand for fresher, healthier food among our students, at least none that I can detect. I do count two current students who I met off-campus in one of the gayborhood clubs among my acquaintances, and they have both complained about the quality of what Aramark dishes out on occasion.

But--and this is not meant as a knock on Widener students, who so far have impressed me as a decent bunch--this school, with its military-academy heritage and mainly regional reputation, doesn't draw the sort of high-minded, socially conscious students who gravitate to Swarthmore from all over the country. The two schools now share more in common than they once did--both now make civic engagement a centerpiece of their academic mission--but at Swarthmore, that represents the continuation of a tradition, while at Widener it represents something of a completely new direction. Maybe as the service-learning ethos gets more firmly implanted here, we will attract more of the sort of students who would agitate for better dining hall fare instead of just gripe about it. We'll see.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#21 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 01:46 PM

This Philly foodblog is great already.  Philadelphia is one of my all-time favorite cities to visit, which I did much more often when I lived in Delaware.  And, my father was born and raised in Chester, a city beloved by many (9th Street, Kerlin Street . . . what do they look like now?).  My aunt lived in Swarthmore.


"What Chester Makes, Makes Chester": I'm awestruck by the level of affection oldtime Chesterites show for their onetime hometown. One of them is a co-worker, and one of the first things she did after my arrival is direct me to a great historical/nostalgia site, OldChesterPA.com, which is full of reminiscences of the Chester that is no longer.

I've been on two car tours of the city, and while there are some still-solid neighborhoods (mostly north of I-95) and hopeful signs for the future, the years have not been kind to most of the city. My trip home ordinarily takes me right down the former main shopping street, Avenue of the States (your dad may have known it as Edgmont Avenue), and I spent one Friday walking around the downtown (where I stumbled across a great soul food place that I hope to share with you this week). It's really sad to see this once-bustling district with just about all the life sucked out of it.

Any chance you might buy a big fat, good, real Italian sub (or hoagie or whatever you call it), and show a picture of it?  I'm more interested in seeing that than a cheesesteak.
Blog on!

View Post


I'll add that to my to-do list for the week.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#22 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 02:01 PM

I'm usually a brown-bagger at lunchtime, but since I'm taking all of you on a tour this week, I'm partially suspending my usual routine here.

Since I know everybody except Susan expects to see a cheesesteak pop up here, I figured I should work on that for lunch today. I had hoped to go to the place where I got a bison burger last month (see the "Lunch" thread), but alas, Don's has gone out of business, so it's time for the fallback strategy:

Posted Image

(Edited to add: Don's is visible in the far distance, on the left side of Providence Avenue.)

This little store on Providence Avenue at 17th is a clean, well-lighted place:

Posted Image

operated by a Chinese family, as are so many convenience stores in less affluent communities, it seems.

Posted Image

Unfortunately, as I had only $5 in my pocket, I couldn't go for the full-size cheesesteak, so I got the 6-inch small size instead. Coupled with a tossed salad, it made a decent meal:

Posted Image

or would have, if the salad hadn't gone limp from sitting in the fridge too long. (I had forgotten to eat it on Friday.)

I usually pack a salad for lunch every day. It's a token step towards a little more balance in my cheese-laden diet. Someday soon, I will bring gym clothes to work with me and spend some lunch hours in our brand-spanking-new fitness center, which staff can use free of charge.

Edited by MarketStEl, 17 April 2006 - 02:02 PM.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#23 Pan

Pan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 15,541 posts
  • Location:East Village, Manhattan

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:23 PM

I've been looking forward to this blog for some time, ever since the teaser in another blog a while back. It's amazing to me that you're able to take photos of your train and bus when they're pulling in and you're about to get on. I suspect most of us would be too busy gathering up our stuff and rushing off. And to think, when I blogged, I waited until I was on summer vacation.

#24 rjwong

rjwong
  • participating member
  • 1,511 posts
  • Location:Glendale, CA

Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:50 PM

But since this is my life and week, I will also throw in some of my other passions.  One of them, as you might have gathered from one of the teasers, is trains and trolleys.  I rely on SEPTA to take me everywhere I want to go around town, and whenever possible, I will include directions by public transit to the places I visit.

View Post



Right on, right on, right on! (or is it ride on?) Is SEPTA more of a commuter rail service and are you allowed to eat on board? I take the Metrolink system in Southern California and passengers are allowed to eat on those trains.

You'll probably touch on this later, but why is Philadelphia not mentioned enough as a culinary destination? (Sorry if I'm stealing your thunder)

Hey -- Any green bean casserole on the menu for this week?

View Post

:laugh: :laugh:

If you need any help with the GBC recipe, I'll hook a brotha' up. :raz:

View Post


NO! :angry: :angry: :hmmm:
Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

#25 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 17 April 2006 - 09:22 PM

Right on, right on, right on! (or is it ride on?) Is SEPTA more of a commuter rail service and are you allowed to eat on board? I take the Metrolink system in Southern California and passengers are allowed to eat on those trains.


The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority runs the whole show when it comes to mass transit on the Pennsylvania side of the Philadelphia metropolitan area--buses, subways, trolleys, commuter trains, you name it.

You aren't supposed to eat or drink on any SEPTA vehicle--not even the Regional Rail trains. This prohibition is honored in the breach often enough on all of them.

You'll probably touch on this later, but why is Philadelphia not mentioned enough as a culinary destination? (Sorry if I'm stealing your thunder)

View Post


That's an excellent question, one which I could spend some time answering.

As it's getting late here, and I'm getting up early in the morning, please forgive me if I hold off on answering it until later.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#26 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 17 April 2006 - 11:28 PM

Dude! Sorry to be arriving to the party so late. Rock on! :biggrin:

#27 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:08 AM

Good morning!

And thank God for leftovers.

Last night was pretty rough, what with income taxes and all (yes, I'm a horrible procrastinator; I had actually done the dry run of my partner's taxes Sunday, and this was the evening when I sat down and explained it all to him. Me? I filed Form 4868 at 11:45 pm last night).

It started with a missed connection that I guess is fortuitous in this context. If I'm not out the door of my office at the stroke of 5, I run the risk of missing the southbound bus I must catch to make it back into town by 6.

I saw both the northbound and southbound buses whiz through the intersection of 15th and Providence as I was a block away.

So I waited until 5:30 for the next northbound 109:

Posted Image

and while waiting, read an interesting item about another local food institution--Wawa, about which more eventually--that I hope to get around to posting to Food Media & News later today.

Then I got off in Swarthmore to wait for the 5:55 inbound R3.

tejon, you will no doubt be pleased to know that the Village Restaurant is still in business:

Posted Image

and that down the street from it, the local grocery store has nice new digs. It should come as no surprise that in this highly educated, progressive community, the local supermarket is a co-op:

Posted Image

But it bears little resemblance to the bins-of-whole-grains-beans-and-nuts places that are often associated with the term. The store is about the size of a 1950s city supermarket but much brighter. I didn't scope out the deli or prepared foods sections while I was there, but let's just say that in the regular grocery aisles, this place was hard to distinguish from an ordinary supermarket. Here, for instance, is the soft drink section:

Posted Image

Many of the streets in Swarthmore are named for well-known colleges and universities. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth and Rutgers are all represented, as are Mt. Holyoke and several others. The Borough of Swarthmore just built a new street running past the co-op, and decided to correct a historical oversight in naming it, I guess:

Posted Image

(Lincoln University, in Chester County, began life in the 1840s in Philadelphia as the Institute for Colored Youth. It is the oldest historically black university in the United States.)

Not needing anything, I made my way over to the platform for the train into town:

Posted Image

and got off at 30th Street Station in order to mail a certified letter at the main post office.

30th Street Station is the last of the grand passenger stations built by the Pennsylvania Railroad, opened in 1932 and lovingly restored about five years ago:

Posted Image

As part of the reconstruction, a food court was installed in the station's south concourses.

Posted Image

It attracts decent crowds, but there's been a fair bit of turnover among the merchants. Bucks County Coffee Co. and Delilah's soul food place are the two oldest occupants, and may well be the only original tenants still there.

There are also a couple of Caribbean food trucks that regularly park in front of the post office:

Posted Image

Denise's--the pink one in the rear--is the older of the two. I ate there on occasion when I did a temp assignment at Drexel University, which is just west of here, and their food is pretty decent. I can't tell you anything about René's, the white truck in the foreground. In Philly's college precincts, food trucks are quite popular and fill a real need for good, cheap fare.

From there I headed home, where I served my partner and my friend Bernard a reprise of yesterday's dinner:

Posted Image

Baked ham, macaroni and cheese, and--oops! Roommate and partner's boyfriend must have polished off most of the collard greens, so I steamed some Brussels sprouts for Bernard and myself.

After that, it was tax time and time to attempt to catch up with some résumé work I'm behind on (I didn't succeed).

Next: Today's Trivia Question and the Fridge Shot.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#28 fou de Bassan

fou de Bassan
  • participating member
  • 419 posts
  • Location:Melbourne, Australia

Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:48 AM

Sandy,
I enjoy your writing and am looking forward to this blog.
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#29 MarketStEl

MarketStEl
  • participating member
  • 3,722 posts
  • Location:Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:29 AM

Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone!

Before moving on, a few followup notes on my previous post:

More on Swarthmore:
--I will recommend the Village Restaurant for a reason besides their food. One evening, when I got to Swarthmore, I needed to go to the bathroom badly. SEPTA trains are not equipped with toilets :angry: , and most of their outlying stations are open only in the morning and early afternoon--and lack restrooms as well. I walked over to the Village Restaurant and explained my predicament to the hostess, who let me use their facilities. Small-town friendliness lives in the 'burbs!

--The borough's Web site, linked above, includes this description of the town:

Since 1893, Swarthmore has been a tree-lined residential community of distinctive homes and quiet neighborhoods, anchored by the campus of Swarthmore College. At the center of the Borough is a downtown core of unique, independent shops and services.


And sure enough, there is not a chain establishment to be found anywhere in the borough's tidy, roughly two-block-long business district. Not even a Starbucks.

That is about to change, as the banner draped over the door of the most prominent building in downtown Swarthmore makes clear:

Posted Image

Given the chains' relative images, I would have thought the Swarthmoreans would have preferred a Starbucks over a Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin-Robbins combo if they were going to get a coffee chain. If we're just going on the taste of the coffee, however, I think they made the right choice. But couldn't they have gone after Bucks County Coffee instead?

A further comment on food trucks: Not everyone is enamored of them--my former employer (the University of Pennsylvania) took some heat when it cleared a bunch of trucks from a prime, centrally located campus block to make way for a retail-and-hotel complex. But trucks remain a part of the Penn scene too: Craig LaBan, the restaurant critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, reviewed Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen, a long-established Chinese food truck on the Penn campus, a year ago and gave it two bells (a "Very Good" rating), urging readers to order off the menu if they could figure out how to.

Now, on to today's business.

First, the answer to yesterday's Trivia Question: The building in question is the location of Horn & Hardart's first Automat restaurant. That's right--the icon of New York modernity originated in Philadelphia. Congratulations to the three eGulleteers who PMed me the correct answer: *Deborah*, Nina C. and BeeZee.

For Today's Trivia Question, we will look inside my haphazardly organized refrigerator.

Posted Image

As you can see, there are lots of leftover goodies inside, about half of which were from Sunday's dinner, including the foil-wrapped ham on the second shelf. (Yes, I used Velveeta for the macaroni and cheese--a pound and a half, augmented by another half pound of New York State Cheddar and a quarter pound of baby Swiss. The recipe on the package produces a wonderfully gloppy sauce that sticks to everything [and congeals into something between paste and cement once it cools], and everyone I serve it to likes it, every bit as much as they do the all-real-cheese sauce I make.)

We're also big juice drinkers, as the door shelf further illustrates:

Posted Image

But the source of Today's Trivia Question isn't on the door shelf.

It's right on top of the Velveeta:

Posted Image

Philadelphia Brand cream cheese is one of a handful of truly global food brands, spreading the name of its namesake city to the four corners of the world. Our recent blogger from South Africa, gsquared, had a package in his fridge too, as the photo in this post shows.

But as I'm sure many of you know, Philadelphia Brand cream cheese has never been made in Philadelphia.

Today's Trivia Question is a two-parter and researchable online:

1. Where did Philadelphia Brand cream cheese originate?
2. Why was it named for Philadelphia?

BTW, for breakfast this morning, I varied my routine and had a bowl of this instead:

Posted Image

(Those of you who have followed my ravings around various parts of the General Food Topics forum know that I am no brand snob.)

Then I got down to assembling the salads, starting with the contents of the spinner--bagged Romaine salad and bagged spring mix from OK Lee in the Reading Terminal Market, augmented with sliced red, yellow and green bell peppers and cucumber slices:

Posted Image

To which I added sliced mushrooms:

Posted Image

cherry tomatoes cut in half:

Posted Image

imitation bacon bits and croutons.

Posted Image

Then I made my partner a liverwurst sandwich with lettuce and American cheese, packed everything away and got ready to go to work.

Later today:

Posted Image
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#30 tejon

tejon
  • participating member
  • 1,385 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:57 AM

My word - look at 30th street station now! It's amazing to see all the changes since I lived out that way. Glad to see The Village Restaurant still alive and kicking. I'm a bit shocked to see chains finally infiltrating such a special town, though. Ah well - that's progress for you.
Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Foodblog