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What Does Philadelphia Have That New York Doesn't?


Kent Wang
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There are free band concerts at 8pm every Thursday this summer at the Mummers Museum, Second and Washington.

I'm dining at Snockey's before gigging there tomorrow (June 4) with the Uptown Stringband.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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Down in South Philly, James makes a nice variety in-house as well.

gallery_23992_4406_18839.jpg

Good luck, feel free to ask for more details...

Is that cured duck breast on the left? Looks almost exactly like the results of the duck breast "prosciutto" from Ruhlman's Charcuterie book that I've tried to make a half dozen times, problem being that my results have always been pretty terrible. Can you describe the flavor/texture profile? Sorry if that's going off-topic. I may have to make a special visit to James to investigate and compare.

BTW - meant to write you after the Ideas/SK dinner. Great meeting you. See you at the next one perhaps.

"I've been served a parsley mojito. Shit happens." - philadining

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Brewpubs! Although not plentiful Philly's brewpub scene betters NYC's by a mile. Triumph, Earth Bread + Brewery, Dock Street, Nodding Head, Manayunk. And if you have a car a swing thru the western suburbs yields a gold mine: Sly Fox (a couple of them), Iron Hill (many of them), Victory.

Once Brauhaus Schmitz (not a brewpub but an ambitious German beerhall/restaurant) opens (any day now, just waiting on final licensing approvals), Philly will beat NYC handily in the German food department. Granted, that's not saying much--is there anything German left in NY?

---Guy

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Brewpubs!  Although not plentiful Philly's brewpub scene betters NYC's by a mile.  Triumph, Earth Bread + Brewery, Dock Street, Nodding Head, Manayunk.  And if you have a car a swing thru the western suburbs yields a gold mine:  Sly Fox (a couple of them), Iron Hill (many of them), Victory.

Once Brauhaus Schmitz (not a brewpub but an ambitious German beerhall/restaurant) opens (any day now, just waiting on final licensing approvals), Philly will beat NYC handily in the German food department.  Granted, that's not saying much--is there anything German left in NY? 

---Guy

Karl Ehmer's, Schaller & Weber both make fine German sausages.

John the hot dog guy

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The new Oyster House does indeed have both Snapper Soup and Fried Oysters with Chicken Salad on the menu. I haven't had a chance to try them yet, but I certainly hope to rectify that soon!

Doors open to the public tonight. 1516 Sansom Street. Wheeeee! All the snapper soup you'd ever want to have with real OTC's on the side...

Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

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

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Similarly, NYC can't hold a candle to a city like Houston when it comes to Vietnamese food.  But whether or not it can hold a candle to Philadelphia when it comes to Vietnamese food?  Probably.  Same thing with some of those other categories.  If Philadelphia has a couple of great Malaysian restaurants, NYC also has around the same number of Malaysian restaurants at right around the same level.  But, again, 2 great Malaysian restaurants out of a total of around 30 does not seem like "a lot" to someone who lives in NYC.  It seems likely that neither NYC nor Philadelphia can be counted as a "great city" for Vietnamese or Malaysian food.

HOUSTON for Vietnamese? I was under the imnpression that DENVER had the highest number/concentration of Vietnamese places in the country, something like 80+ Viet restaurants. I've been to several of them over the years, and they have all been superb, and a definite notch above Philly's offerings.

Rich Pawlak

 

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Is that cured duck breast on the left? Looks almost exactly like the results of the duck breast "prosciutto" from Ruhlman's Charcuterie book that I've tried to make a half dozen times, problem being that my results have always been pretty terrible. Can you describe the flavor/texture profile? Sorry if that's going off-topic. I may have to make a special visit to James to investigate and compare.

I haven't had the James version but the duck "prosciutto" at Supper is very nice, the stuff at DiBruno's less so (though it was thickly sliced when I had it there and that makes a big difference).

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Is that cured duck breast on the left? Looks almost exactly like the results of the duck breast "prosciutto" from Ruhlman's Charcuterie book that I've tried to make a half dozen times, problem being that my results have always been pretty terrible. Can you describe the flavor/texture profile? Sorry if that's going off-topic. I may have to make a special visit to James to investigate and compare.

I haven't had the James version but the duck "prosciutto" at Supper is very nice, the stuff at DiBruno's less so (though it was thickly sliced when I had it there and that makes a big difference).

By chance I just finished curing a duck ham earlier this week:

duckham.jpg

I'd describe the texture as a little chewier than prosciutto. The meat is firms up up but there's that thick layer of unctuous fat. If you serve it at room temperature, and slice it very thin, it will melt on your tongue like prosciutto does. Flavor-wise, it has a little bit of that nutty, gamy flavor of duck- especially in the surrounding fat layer- tempered with whatever spices you use to cure it (I use garlic, black pepper and juniper berries.)

I make it pretty regularly. The biggest difficulty, as jm chen notes, is slicing it thin enough. Even with freezing it and using a sharp knife, it's hard for me to get it paper-thin. (I console myself that my thick, ragged slices are "authentically rustic.") But it's pretty straightforward to make, and I've always been happy with the result.

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Hey Kretch, sorry for the delay in replying, but yes, that's cured duck on the James charcuterie plate, and it was really good. As you might be able to see, the fat's really melty, I'm not sure if that's from the particular method of curing, or the very thin slicing, or both. Restaurants certainly have the advantage of good slicers that the home cook can't replicate very easily even with a good knife.

(That said, I've had Dr Fenton's duck prosciutto, and it's pretty darn good!)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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OK, it's with some embarrassment that I feel the need to backtrack on something.

While it's entirely true that Philly's Roast Pork sandwiches are delicious, and unique in their specific style of cooking the pork, serving it wet with juices, and adorning with greens and sharp provolone, it may be going too far to say that Philly has great pork sandwiches and NY doesn't.

It pains me to say this, but I just had the best roast pork sandwich in my life, and it was in NY...

gallery_23992_6660_86215.jpg

gallery_23992_6660_145793.jpg

Just roasted pork, including crunchy, crispy skin, on a ciabatta-like roll. That's it. No sauce, no condiments, no cheese, no vegetables, just juicy, herby roasted pork.

Porchetta

110 E 7th St

NY, New York

www.porchettanyc.com

It's a little storefront that sells those sandwiches and not much else.

Still, of course, the Roast Pork Italian remains a mighty sandwich,and there's nothing quite like that outside of Philly, so I'd still recommend it to a visiting foodie. But beware, there's some serious competition in pork sandwich awesomeness up in NYC...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Better than John's Roast Pork? Better than Paesano's?? I find that hard to believe...Perhaps it's equal, and found in an unexpected locale, but it can't be better. I just don't believe you. I'd have to try it for myself before I'd even consider putting it in the same league. Philly RPI (Roast Pork Italiano) seems to be its own thing, that can't be replicated anywhere else. Like Speidies or Chicago pizza or bagels anywhere but the NYC metropolitan area.

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

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Philly RPI (Roast Pork Italiano) seems to be its own thing, that can't be replicated anywhere else.

Agreed. Porchetta can be great, but comparing it to a Philly RPI is like comparing beef on weck to a cheesesteak.
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Yeah, Porchetta makes a great sandwich and no mistake, but I prefer DiNic's. You sometimes get a glob of fat or a square of hard-to-chew skin in the porchetta, and it doesn't have the lovely contrast of the pork/prov/rabe. Excellent but not unmissable.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Yeah, Porchetta makes a great sandwich and no mistake, but I prefer DiNic's. You sometimes get a glob of fat or a square of hard-to-chew skin in the porchetta, and it doesn't have the lovely contrast of the pork/prov/rabe. Excellent but not unmissable.

I beg to differ -- I was fortunate enough to eat at Porchetta w/ Mr. Dining, and I think the sandwich is completely and totally unmissable, and in fact the greatest pork sandwich I've ever had. No globs of fat (or, at least, no unpleasantly large ones), and no hard-to-chew skin.

I love Philly roast pork, but let me put it this way: if I were to be stranded on a desert island and could choose only one pork sandwich to bring along with me, it would clearly be Prochetta's.

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Diversity of opinion is what makes this country great. That, and pork. Mmm, pork.

My desert island pork sandwich would be DiNic's. But, barring the Survivor scenario, there's room for both. (Perhaps not on the same day without some recovery time in between.)

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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I agree that the Roast Pork Italian is something special, and as I said, that particular matrix of ingredients is pretty unique to Philly, so I'd still recommend a visitor try one.

But in the context of this specific discussion - what does Philly have that NY doesn't - I'm no longer comfortable answering "an awesome roast pork sandwich."

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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i don't want to stir up controversy -- asking me to pick porchetta or tony luke's is like asking me to choose a favorite child... but

side note: if you get the platter at porchetta and ask for bread on the side, you can assemble yourself a nice little sandwich: the amazing, mind-blowing porchetta plus garlicky/spicy greens (i think it was broccoli rabe) on that amazing sullivan st. ciabatta.

the plate also comes with white beans which i thought were just OK.

back to the glories of philadelphia!

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C'mon peeps:

Philly RPI: apple

Porchetta: orange

Cuban sandwich: lime

Mufaletta: peach

Carolina bbq: dunno, vinegar fruit

"Awesome roast pork sandwich" is too broad, like "awesome Asian food" or "awesome fish preparations" or awesome whatevah.

There is nothing in this world that is equivalent (or IMO compares) to a sandwich composed of Philly-style roast pork, BR and provolone. The end.

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There is nothing in this world that is equivalent (or IMO compares) to a sandwich composed of Philly-style roast pork, BR and provolone.  The end.

That'd be sharp, aged provolone, yes? Regular provolone is too tasteless. Needs the stinky edge to stand up to the broccoli rabe.

I may have to go get me one of these on my way to work now...

Damn you! :raz:

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

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That'd be sharp, aged provolone, yes?
Certo! I nominate Katie Loeb to write the wiki entry for Roast Pork Italiano. In that regard, if you google "roast pork sandwich", the 6of the first 10 hits are Philly-related, with Tony Luke's at the top. Coming at No. 7: HollyEats.com.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks all for the suggestions. Just got into Philly a few days ago.

I've had Burmese food in DC and in San Francisco, but even if I didn't think Philly's Rangoon is better (which I do) it's something really good here that you shouldn't miss, just because you could conceivably get it somewhere else.

I went to Rangoon for my vegetarian friend's bachelor party, so we got mostly vegetarian dishes. They were great, but I might come back here to try more of the meat dishes. Also, I got so drunk at Zot afterwards that I forgot most of what we had. :blush:

BTW, what were the Burmese places you went to in SF and DC?

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Thanks all for the suggestions. Just got into Philly a few days ago.
I've had Burmese food in DC and in San Francisco, but even if I didn't think Philly's Rangoon is better (which I do) it's something really good here that you shouldn't miss, just because you could conceivably get it somewhere else.

I went to Rangoon for my vegetarian friend's bachelor party, so we got mostly vegetarian dishes. They were great, but I might come back here to try more of the meat dishes. Also, I got so drunk at Zot afterwards that I forgot most of what we had. :blush:

BTW, what were the Burmese places you went to in SF and DC?

Rangoon has added a lot of vegetarian dishes in the last few years, I think in response to vegetarians adopting the place even though there's dried shrimp powder as a seasoning in almost everything... But I assume they're leaving that out in the vegetarian section. I noticed the place in DC offered versions of vegetable dishes with and without fish sauce.

You definitely should try some meat dishes, there are some good ones. My current faves are the thousand-layer bread with chicken curry, Kung Pau Beef (no, it's not like the Kung Pau anything you get in Americanized Chinese places) the Festival Rice (kind of like a chicken Biryani) the Pagan Beef, any of the Mint Kebabs (not kebabs, they're stir-fries) any of the jungle curries, jeeze, there's not much I don't like... Many of the seafood dishes are breaded and fried, and I find the breading a little heavy, so I'm actually not all that find of those, but I think they're pretty popular overall. But whatever you do, don't skip the ginger salad.

The places I've gone in other cities were:

Burma Superstar in San Francisco: http://www.burmasuperstar.com/

and Mandalay, which is now in Silver Spring, MD, not in DC proper anymore. http://www.mandalayrestaurantcafe.net/

I liked both of them, but still prefer Rangoon in Philly...

(fixed typos)

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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If you're still looking for a not-cheap-but-not-blowout dinner spot, the 5-course $45 menu at Matyson this week (crab-stuffed squash blossom, squash "spaghetti" with clams, duck breast on zucchini curry, and more) is tremendous. BYO. There's a wine store around the corner on Chestnut btw 19th & 20th.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Hijacking this thread a wee bit, as it has been an inspiration for me for "what does Philly have that NYC doesn't have that Italy doesn't have a'tall." Answer to the latter part of the query: tons. I'm in town for a few days and want to test the assertions, particularly since I'm on a budget:

Day 1: went to T-Mobile to have them attempt to remedy the deletion of my prepaid minutes. Silly me: show up at 8:45, but CC doesn't open until 10. Headed up to La Colombe. Ok, at home I have daily access to more or less well-made espresso etc., but the Italians don't make a decent CUP of coffee. And this for me is a real shortcoming. What better to remedy my longing than getting the best there is (flat-out trumps all would-be competitors, including in NYC)? My first sip elicited from me that sound that you hear like when someone eats a rich chocolate dessert. There is no written word for it: it's the grunt of the body hit. That's what came forth unprompted. I always bought LC beans while living here, but I never had their brewed version. Went back later in the day and got an iced coffee (plus 1 each from the Chapter House and the Bean Exchange in the BV). Just loving the coffee here. ($1.50/cup (to go size) at LC, beating the price of pretty much every other pedestrian coffee shop in the city). Try getting a pastry beforehand from Miel 2 blocks away on 17th Street and then head to Rittenhouse Square to people watch.

While waiting for T-Mobile to open, thought of trying to get a cheeseburger at Snow White (sliders), but the griddle was full of breakfast. Checked out my fav chain Five Guys (also available in NYC), and "NYC's Best Burger" (give me a break) Goodburger, a location of which is just west of 5G on Chestnut, but both don't open till 11.

Noticed that Le Bec Fin (tradition-wrought old-school French) is offering lunch downstairs for $15.23 (I believe that'd be their address). OK, if I (perish the thought) skip the wine, that'd be ca. $20 incl. t/t. Not a bad deal. Susanna Foo (Asian-French) still looks open. Brasserie Perrier (much better available in NYC) shuttered as otherwise noted here. What up with Alma de Cuba (not sure if this fits in the Philly/NYC dynamic)? Anyone eaten there recently? I've only been once, on a Philly Restaurant Week visit, and it wasn't memorable. How do they hold out against the influx of Armani eXchange and what not?

After getting the T-Mobile guys to hook me up (next to Butcher & Singer), headed straight to the Terminal and DiNics (roast pork sandwich). Passed APJ (Texas wieners) on the walk over and had to restrain myself. DiNic's RPI was Jesus Christmas so good (no BR today, but spinach, which was really really spicy & garlicky) ($8.25 w/ two toppings, tax included). Took Holly's suggestion and got (just one) Famous 4th Street Cookie. Stopped off outside the Terminal to get the Chinatown bus schedule and peeked into the for me usually underwhelming offerings of the otherwise highly praised dim sum joint next door (IMO outweighed by the offerings at the NYC end of the bus line) in anticipation of next week's bus ride.

Drinks with my mixologist/chef friend Bruce at his place: Blue Coat (Philly distillery, now making vodka and absinthe, I understand) fizzes. Then onward for a margarita ($4.00) at Los Caballitos (refined yet still peasant Mexican). I was intrigued by the cheeseburger camilita on the board ($11), still available (as was the entire menu) at 11:30 on a Wednesday night, but couldn't quite make out the description from the harried but quite charming bartendress.

Opted instead to ride my bike down 9th Street to Taquitos de Puebla (straight-up peasant cooking) and get some al pastor (3 for $6). You know, I've eaten there now and then since they opened, and I don't share the enthusiasm. It was and still is the strange orange that draws me in, plus they keep really good hours. Service couldn't be more pleasant. But the pork is just plain bland. I chatted with the cooks about how they make their carnitas (available only Saturdays), and it seems just wrong: 1-2 hour braise. If that's the general approach there, they'll never get any flavor in the pork.

I'm gonna try to follow the other recs on this thread over the next few days and hope to post accordingly.

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