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Reading Terminal Market (Part 2)


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Lord Chesterfield is cheap and good. A British-born friend who likes his beer and spent most of his adult career in Pittsburgh turned me onto it. Never knew they had offered it in kegs -- had to be even better. But it's my go-to beer when my small stock of Spotted Cow expires.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Those figs purchased last week at Fair Food made a great dinner (photo above) when served with some of Northland Dairy's Bergeré Bleu from Upstate New York, Faragallo's sesame seed bread, Serrano ham, olive oil and Hermann Wiemer's dry riesling. I didn't spot any figs today at Fair Food, but they still had plenty of Mirai corn.

Pennsylvania General Store now offers two, count 'em, two different potato chips fried in lard: 18-ounce bags of Diffenbach's for $3.99 and 12-ounce bags of Good's for $2.99.

Benuel Kauffman had added help at his produce stand today:

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That's Emma Rose, Ben's eighth grandchild, six months old, posed here with mom Mary and the head of the clan. In chatting with Benuel today he says his craft items designed for the convention/tourist market and jarred and dry goods have been selling quite well (photo below). He used to close during the winter when he started at the market 15 years ago, but about half a dozen years ago started experimenting with winter hours. The first couple of seasons went slowly, but business is solid now, he reports. As for the produce end of his stall, Benuel has pretty much given up growing his own fruits and vegetables for sale and instead relies on other Lancaster County growers. He tries not to buy from "farmers who grow everything" but instead source his produce from those who specialize on just a couple of products. For example, his supplier of white corn is just about done for the season in order to move on to his pumpkin and squash crops. So Benuel will be turning for his corn supply to his bi-color supplier. (Still no unpasteurized apple sider, but Benuel says it will arrive "anytime soon".)

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Rieker's German-style cold cuts, sausages and other products will be added to the mix at Dutch Country Meats soon. Although the former owner of DCM added some German-style products after Siegfried's closed, the new owner eliminated those items. Shoppers asking him for the products convinced him they would be worthwhile adding. (L. Halteman's also offers some similar German style products.) Rieker's Prime Meats is located in the far, far Northeast, practically Fox Chase (where Oxford meets Rhawn). I've only been there once, but the selection is astounding and it's well worth the trip. But the convenience of getting at least some of their wursts at the RTM is most welcome.

Joe Nicolosi of DiNic's reports that among customers asking for greens on their sandwich, slightly more go for broccoli rabe than spinach. Until recently, only spinach was available at the roast pork sandwich mecca. (Pork mecca? Something's wrong with that.)

There's a sign hanging in the former Foster's saying it will be occupied soon. RTM GM Paul Steinke says he's close to a deal that will bring a kitchen hardgoods merchant to the space (no, not Kitchen Kapers). As for the demonstration kitchen in the rear, Steinke says that will remain completely separate from the store and will be operated independently. With space for about two dozen students, he hopes to resume cooking classes after the store is up and running, which should be by the end of October.

There's another large vacancy: Natural Connection/Juice Connection, which went out of business Friday. No tenant, but Steinke hopes to sign a retailer selling groceries (canned goods, dry food goods, etc.) and environmentally-friendly household cleaning products. Steinke said the latter is a small but growing segment nationwide. Traditional grocery sellers who concentrate on canned and box goods haven't done well at the market -- that's one of the reasons why Nell Margerum closed her store in the same space about a half dozen years ago. The thinking, yet to be proved, is that there will be enough demand for the "natural" household items that it would support the grocery end of the business. It would also give RTM shoppers one less reason to patronize Whole Foods.

One other significant vacancy remains at the market: the former LeBus stall near the 12th and Filbert. Nothing brewing for that space yet. It's also likely that L. Halteman, under the terms of its new lease, would absorb what's currently a display area for historic photos of the market.

The Parking Authority has adopted the new regulations for the south side of Arch Street and will put them into effect soon. That means it will be truck-loading only from 5 a.m. to 12 noon weekdays; 30-minute max meters from noon to 8 p.m. weekdays, with a 30-minute limit on weekends, too.

There's a trade magazine for everything: the August issue of Sign Builders Illustrated featured photos and an article on the restored RTM neon sign at 12th & Filbert.

A postcard promotional mailing to go out later this month, targetted to the residents of all the new center city condos, will feature this year's Harvest Festival. It's on the RTM calendar for Saturday, Oct. 13.

RTM traffic is up eight percent for the year, notching 3,446,196 through Aug. 12. For the week ending Aug. 12, traffic was 126,563 vs. 111,670 the previous year (no conventions either week).

Here's this week's shopping list:

GIUNTA PRIME SHOP $21.74

Delmonico steaks

Turkey bacon

IOVINE $1.00

Limes

KAUFFMAN'S LANCASTER COUNTY PRODUCE $5.27

Honeydew melon (half)

Bell pepper

Onion

FAIR FOOD FARMSTAND $16.00

Sugar Baby watermelon

Mirai corn

Cubanelle peppers

Angus burger

LIVENGOOD'S $2.45

Tomatos

HERSHEL'S EAST SIDE DELI $4.50

Lox

LANCASTER COUNTY DAIRY $3.75

Milk

LE BUS $3.75

Rolls

SALUMERIA $1.69

Olives

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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today at the terminal i had yet another instance of 'if you can find it somewhere else, dibruno's will always cost more': amore tomato paste. you know the stuff, it's the usual tomato paste you see in all the markets. at salumeria: $3.99. at dibruno's $6.99. i mean, come ON, dibruno's. it's tomato paste.

also had a pretzel from fisher's today, which i haven't done in a while. hot out of the oven -- like so hot you could barely hold it. fantastic. the boy scarfed a bunch of it once it cooled...

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DiNic's roast pork with rabe, glorious rabe! The greens were just right: cooked till tender, but not mush; edgy but not too bitter; garlicky, but not too stinky.

(It's a great sandwich, although, if you're Holly Moore, you apparently get to go in back and get a sample of something else...)

Dropped by Hershel's and got a pastrami on rye for later. Well, most of it was for later.

OK some of it was for later.

The pastrami was moist, tender, spicy, generously-portioned. Not quite as decadent as a Katz sandwich in NY, but that's a high bar. And a long drive. I can live with this as a substitute.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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When you visit Earl Livengood's this week -- either Thursday afternoon at the Fairmount market or Saturday at the RTM -- be on the lookout for some of Sam Consylman's gorgeous apples. Their exact provenance is unknown, thoughy they are clearly related to the Delicious variety. But otherwise they hardly resemble the mealy, sticky-icky Washington State product. The exterior of the apples are bumpy and occasionally scabby, but the flesh is, as Tracy said of Hepburn, "cherce". They were $2.50/pound at today's South Street Market.

Also, Sam will be checking the paw paw trees by the river this week to see how close the fruit is to dropping. They should show up over the next two weeks. Makes great ice cream.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Fava beans come in number of varieties, including this purple-blotched bean which was being sold this morning next to its legume cousin, the lima, at Livengood Produce. Earl said he was given the seeds by a customer who told him he was a fava bean, but he wasn't sure what it was since it had the same shape and similar taste, eaten raw, to a lima. (I Googled fava images, and found some that looked like Earl's, so that's what it appears to be.) I never much cared for limas as a kid, since they always came out of a can, but the fresh version sauteed in butter or good olive oil, seasoned as you like, makes a nice change in vegetables.

Harry Ochs was featuring dry aged Delmonico steaks (rib eye) for $10.99/pound today. That's about what I paid last week for the same cut (wet aged) at Giunta's Prime Shop. Giunta's were excellent, and I would expect Ochs' to be their equal, at the very least.

Mammoth cauliflower heads competed for space with the corn at Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce. The Frankenstein-sized veggies were priced at $4.95 apiece. Benuel still doesn't have unpasteurized apple cider. (Benuel will be closed next Saturday because of a family wedding.)

Apple varieties are still fairly limited, but we should start to see a diversity of America's favorite pome fruit soon. Iovine Brothers Produce offered local apples from its contract grower, Shady Brook, for 99-cents; the variety was not noted, but they might have been Honey Crisps from the shape and color. (I'll be traveling to Maine and New England until the end of the month, but I've already contacted a Massachusetts orchard which says my favorite dessert apple, the Cox Orange Pippin, should be ready when I'm in the neighborhood. Few orchards grow this variety in the U.S., because it isn't a particularly prolific cultivar, but it's a favorite in the UK, which gets much of its COPs from South Africa.)

Smallish Hass avocados on sale at Iovine's today for 99-cents apiece, just in time for football season guacamole dips. Local Shady Brook corn at Iovine was 25-cents an ear, vs. four for a buck at OK Lee. Lee's had a better bargain in lemons, with bagged fruit (seven to a bag) selling for $1; both produce vendors were selling loose lemons at 3/$1.

Sam Consylman, who sells foraged finds as well as fruit and veggies from his garden at Livengood's, is still waiting for pawpaws to drop from trees along the riverbank, but if you have a hankering for this most American of fruits you could meander down to southeast Ohio next weekend for the ninth annual Ohio Pawpaw festival. It's at Lake Snowden, just a few miles outside of Athens. The pawpaw eating contest will be held just before dinnertime Saturday.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I've been cooking up peppers and onions (with some sliced garlic thrown in) like mad the last week or so. Just love the combination, especially with red meat (so far I've served them with those Delmonico steaks, burgers and bratwursts) though it works well with heartier fishes as well as on its own. Today I picked up some sweet red frying peppers from Benuel, but last week I used very flavorful Cubanelles from the Fair Food Farmstand.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Fava beans come in number of varieties, including this purple-blotched bean which was being sold this morning next to its legume cousin, the lima, at Livengood Produce. Earl said he was given the seeds by a customer who told him he was a fava bean, but he wasn't sure what it was since it had the same shape and similar taste, eaten raw, to a lima. (I Googled fava images, and found some that looked like Earl's, so that's what it appears to be.) I never much cared for limas as a kid, since they always came out of a can, but the fresh version sauteed in butter or good olive oil, seasoned as you like, makes a nice change in vegetables.

could they be christmas limas?

click here

just a thought -- i know rancho gordo used to sell them, and i considered buying them because they were so pretty, but then i remembered i don't like limas.

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We went to the market monday to pick up vegetables and were helpfully reminded that fair foods is closed on monday.

Therefore, we opted on a side trip to the cheese shop for their excellent fresh ricotta (the closest I've been able to get to the real thing here).

We also decided to sample DiNic's new roast pork with rabe. All I have to say about that is 'outstanding'.

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Wow. Does Martin's usually have such excellent deals on sausage? 11-oz prepacked sets of four links were 3 for $5 on Saturday. One of my three (chicken sausage with peppers and onions) is already gone; must stop by again during the week.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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yes, but usually during the week. they often have a buy-2-get-1-free on all fresh sausages. i saw the deal this week but when they've had things like that before, it's often on smoked/cured sausages, and i can't eat that many so i don't bother. guess i shoulda looked closer this week!

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Bad news from Sam on the pawpaw front. He told me today that they've been scarce this year: four hours of picking netted him ten pounds (a small bucket) of the fruit. And all those (which he brought with him to the South & Passyunk market) went to Southwark. So head to Southwark, I guess, to see what they cook with them!

Sam did say that he hopes to have more pawpaws on Saturday at RTM. I haven't been up there this week, so I don't know about FFF. But I would like to get my fix...

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Paw paws.. as I said a while back, I'm into them, too.

To thwart the hard-to-eat aspect, Sam advised me to try peeling them and squeezing the fruit through cheesecloth- the stones are left behind and most of the good stuff comes through.

If my imagination didn't deceive me last time, Nanee's Kitchen is now offering a salt lassi. I dig the cardamom one, so I can't wait to try it! I am also pleased that the rice and dal side is available there once again, as it is IMHO one of the best quick snacks in the market. When I'm trying to figure out what I want to make for dinner and I'm too hungry to shop straight, it's just the thing. I missed it so when it went away, and I hope its comeback will aid me in my quest to resist their incredible samosas at least two-thirds of the time. (So far, it is not going very well.)

I got a fat basket of figs from OK Lee on Monday for not a lot of money. They don't have the pedigree the Fair Food ones do, but they rocked in the tart with Bee Natural's orange blossom honey that I made during the lame Eagles game.

"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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If my imagination didn't deceive me last time, Nanee's Kitchen is now offering a salt lassi. I dig the cardamom one, so I can't wait to try it! I am also pleased that the rice and dal side is available there once again, as it is IMHO one of the best quick snacks in the market. When I'm trying to figure out what I want to make for dinner and I'm too hungry to shop straight, it's just the thing. I missed it so when it went away, and I hope its comeback will aid me in my quest to resist their incredible samosas at least two-thirds of the time. (So far, it is not going very well.)

here's my problem with nanee's kitchen: several times i've been there, and she's making samosas, and someone wants to pay, and she stops making samosas, takes the money, gives the change, and goes right back to it. no handwashing, no gloves or anything.

and really i'm not someone who stresses about those things that much, but it's like, come on, at least make a half-assed attempt to follow some of the standard health codes. that's kinda gross.

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If my imagination didn't deceive me last time, Nanee's Kitchen is now offering a salt lassi. I dig the cardamom one, so I can't wait to try it! I am also pleased that the rice and dal side is available there once again, as it is IMHO one of the best quick snacks in the market. When I'm trying to figure out what I want to make for dinner and I'm too hungry to shop straight, it's just the thing. I missed it so when it went away, and I hope its comeback will aid me in my quest to resist their incredible samosas at least two-thirds of the time. (So far, it is not going very well.)

here's my problem with nanee's kitchen: several times i've been there, and she's making samosas, and someone wants to pay, and she stops making samosas, takes the money, gives the change, and goes right back to it. no handwashing, no gloves or anything.

and really i'm not someone who stresses about those things that much, but it's like, come on, at least make a half-assed attempt to follow some of the standard health codes. that's kinda gross.

Yeah that is pretty gross. I saw another merchant drop a plastic plate on the floor, pick it up, and use it for someone's lunch. At least you can see the food being prepared in front of you at Nanee's and many other places at the market. Just imagine what you're missing in many kitchens!

Edited by Bluehensfan (log)
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Wasn't that the one where the vendors would wipe their noses and sell pretzels in the same breath? Some things are hard to forget.

And as far as the cleanliness of the market, it seems pretty good to me, particularly when hearing stories of how it was essentially a smelly, fly-ridden place like 20 or 30 years ago. Of course (not that you'd know) the mens room could use some updating...

Edited by Bluehensfan (log)
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My favorite scene from the Herb Dennenberg report on street vendors selling pretzels was the shot of the vendor near the Tacony Palmyra Bridge taking a wizz in the nearby shrubbery, wiping his hands on his pants and heading back to the curb to sell his pretzels. Skeevey with a capital S.

Edited by Rich Pawlak (log)

Rich Pawlak

 

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Friends, that shot is seared onto my brain. I was raised in a supermarket- my dad was a store director in a few different places around this area while my sister and I were coming up- and I've seen some gnarly stuff. Nothing on the order of pee pee pretzels, though. That is next level; if ever I encounter its equal, I do not want to know.

And as far as the cleanliness of the market, it seems pretty good to me, particularly when hearing stories of how it was essentially a smelly, fly-ridden place like 20 or 30 years ago. Of course (not that you'd know) the mens room could use some updating...

Yeah, man. It's not that bad in there, especially in light of some of those tales from the past. It's a big job to keep such a busy place clean! It's just that it's.. grubby in a lot of places, and the tables are often dirty. It bums me out when I go to pack my purchases up in my bike bag at 5pm on a weekday before riding home and I can't find a clean table to sit at. With the slick new RTM marketing campaign on and all, I'd like to see them step it up a little. But I eat boogie moneyfinger samosas, so it's safe to say I'm not that worried about it. :raz:

"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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But I eat boogie moneyfinger samosas, so it's safe to say I'm not that worried about it. :raz:

I guess what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. I know that if I loved those samosas enough, I'd close my eyes and forget about hygiene :smile:

After making the usual rounds at FFF and Livengood this morning, my wife and I crashed at DiNic's and tried the Roast Pork with Rabe (our first time since they started serving it again). Wow! I finally have an excuse to stop trekking down to Oregon Ave. He says it's selling well. Well enough, I hope, for him to keep it around for a long time.

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Sam did say that he hopes to have more pawpaws on Saturday at RTM.  I haven't been up there this week, so I don't know about FFF.  But I would like to get my fix...

I did go today, and they did have them, hooray!

I'll be sure to save the seeds to scatter, maybe in the howling wilderness of Ardmore...

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