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DanM

What to eat at Reading Terminal Market

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My wife and I will be heading down to DC in a few weeks for a short vacation and plan to stop in PA for lunch. Reading Terminal Market looks like a gastronomical wonderland. Besides Fisher's Pretzels, what are the must haves at the market? This includes food to take along and put in the cooler.

Thanks!

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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A far more limiting question would be where not to eat.

More often than not I end up at Tommy DiNics for a pork or brisket sandwich followed up by a ice cream cone from Bassett's. For the car, a bag of cookies from 4th Street Famous Cookies.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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As Holly already said, there's really no bad places to eat at the RTM, and most of the eateries have something to recommend them, so it depends on what you want most.

I'd second his endorsement of Tommy DiNic's roast pork sandwiches and Bassett's ice cream as the lunch to have if you're having only one, but if roast pork isn't what you're in the mood for, here are some other places you should put at the top of your list:

--For hoagies: Salumeria and Carmen's, in that order

--Soul food: Delilah's at the Terminal

--Homestyle cooking: If you're there on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, the specials at the Dutch Eating Place, otherwise, the Down Home Diner

--Pizza: By George

--Seafood: Pearl's Oyster Bar (very much old school, fried-and-broiled)

The Chinese places are all right, but if you're in the mood for that, Chinatown's one block away, with much better options. Little Thai Market, however, can hold its own with the Chinatown Thai eateries.

And while the following places are quite good and very popular, unless you're really hungry for that sort of fare, I'd try some of the other places on the grounds that better examples of each can be found outside the RTM, in many cases in the general vicinity:

--12th Street Cantina (Mexican)

--Tokyo Sushi

--The Original Turkey (actually, with the demise of Bassett's Original Turkey, from which this stand descended, there isn't anyone serving up what they serve anywhere near as well as they serve it, but I generally think that hot roast turkey sandwiches are somewhere down the RTM food chain from the places above; however, again, if you find yourself craving turkey, there's none better)

This still leaves lots of RTM eateries unmentioned. Edited to add: Though perhaps I should mention one simply because it is distinctive and not easily found elsewhere in the city: the Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar.


Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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My wife and I will be heading down to DC in a few weeks for a short vacation and plan to stop in PA for lunch. Reading Terminal Market looks like a gastronomical wonderland. Besides Fisher's Pretzels, what are the must haves at the market? This includes food to take along and put in the cooler.

Thanks!

Dan

Just so you know, Fisher's pretzels are now Miller's Twist. Same pretzels...just across the aisle.

My recommendations at the market include pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place, cinnamon buns or strawberry cream donuts at Beiler's, chocolate peanut butter pretzels at DiNic's, a cannoli (or if you're lucky a slice of raspberry pound cake) at Termini's, peanut butter ice cream from Bassett's, a roast pork sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe from DiNic's, double chocolate chip cookies from 4th St. Cookies, and some random piece of fruit that looks good from Iovine's (gotta have something healthy...)

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What can I say that hasn't been said? Another vote for roast pork w/provolone and broccoli rabe at DiNic's. Corned beef at Herschel's is also very strong (you won't find any worth eating in DC unless you spring for lunch at Central Michel Richard) and anything from Termini's is fab. The tiny bag of assorted cookies there is expensive but worth it. I also like the cupcakes at Flying Monkey. Whatever you do, do not waste any digestive real estate on a cheesesteak.

Anyone know if Fair Food is still selling pints of Capogiro? I haven't checked in a few months. I like Bassett's but I like Capogiro a whole lot better. (You could also trek a few blocks south for the scoop shop on 13th... they should be back up and running by then.)

Don't forget to get your parking validated.

And for the cooler, you could do worse than a baguette from Metropolitan and assorted cheeses from either Salumeria or Downtown Cheese, and pears/plums/whathaveyou from Iovine's or Fair Food.


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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All of the above, plus . . .

A cupcake or two from Flying Monkey

A South Asian fritter or two from Nanee's Kitchen

While roast pork/rabe/provolone (aged) is the gold standard at DiNic's, the pulled pork, brisket, and sausages are also quite fine. And as an alternate to rabe or spinach, their sweet roasted peppers are perfection. Tommy will also make you a great cold roast beef, which he'll do up with horseradish and peppers, upon request.

Of course what you choose will have a lot to do with what's normally available in your own neighborhood. For example, as good a Hershel's corned beef and pastrami are (and they are very good, corned/cured in-house) if you leave near the Lower East Side of Manhattan and have easy access to Katz's, Herschel's will be almost, but not quite, as good. They do hand-carve their meats, the brisket is wonderful, too. And they've got belly (salty) lox, available for sandwiches either pre-sliced from Marshall's or handsliced from a whole belly; they've also got Nova, but the salty lox, unsmoked, is increasingly hard to find.

If you're a licorice lover, stop by Mueller's Chocolates, which has a gazillion varieties, primarily Dutch, including a great selection of double-salts for hard-core licorice lovers. They've also got a lot of old-fashioned candies, as does Sweet As Fudge (across from Miller's Twists). You might also want to try the chocolate-covered potato chips at the Pennsylvania General Store, or buy somne Copes Corn to cook at home.

If it's still breakfast time when you arrive, try the scrapple at either the Down Home Diner or the Dutch Eating Place. The latter also has killer apple dumplings.

I'd recommend you go for something you like that you can't ordinarily find at home.

For a hoagie at Salumeria, be sure to ask for the house dressing, and the marinated artichoke hearts are a fine addition to any sandwich. I generally go for the prosciutto hoagie.

I know Chinatown is only a couple blocks away, but I've always found some of the basic items at Sang Kee make a quite nice lunch. I particularly like the roast pork (or duck) platters served with a green vegetable and the lightly sauced white rice; you could also do the meat in a soup bowl.

At Bassetts, pick your fav flavor, but I've always been fond of the Raspberry Truffle, plain vanilla and French vanilla. They also make a mean rum raisin. They also have ice cream sandwiches.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Thanks for all of the advice so far. It appears that there is a pickle shop. How are the pickles?

Thanks!

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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if you like cheese, i wouldn't miss downtown cheese. anything form here would be nice in your cooler for later down the road. also, they usually have unusual vinegars and olive oils. very knowledgable help at the counter.

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I will get both Hershel’s and Dinic’s, but we are meeting friends who “have” to eat a cheesesteak. I’ve had plenty already in my three-week trip back to the Debellaware Valley. Lee’s Hoagie House and Chick's Cold Cuts are both better than Tony Luke’s but I digress.

So where is the best place in RT for a cheesesteak for the Florida tourists we are meeting?


Nobody eats at that restaurant anymore. It's always too crowded.

---Yogi Berra

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I will get both Hershel’s and Dinic’s, but we are meeting friends who “have” to eat a cheesesteak. I’ve had plenty already in my three-week trip back to the Debellaware Valley. Lee’s Hoagie House and Chick's Cold Cuts are both better than Tony Luke’s but I digress.

So where is the best place in RT for a cheesesteak for the Florida tourists we are meeting?

Rumor has it that the best cheesestaks at Reading Terminal Market are at By George. I have never tried them personally, though, as I am more of a roast pork fanatic...

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A far more limiting question would be where not to eat. 

More often than not I end up at Tommy DiNics for a pork or brisket sandwich followed up by a ice cream cone from Bassett's.  For the car, a bag of cookies from 4th Street Famous Cookies.

Perfect! Just add a cup of coffee from the roaster next to the cookie stand and you're ready to roll. DeNics roast pork with broccoli rabe is the best!


KathyM

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Thanks again everyone for the help. We stopped by and munched our way through the place. My absolute favorite was the apple dumpling at the Dutch Eating place followed by the pretzels. I'm sorry, I just prefer the traditional German pretzel over the Penn Dutch version.

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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