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Long weekend in Philly


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Center City Philadelphia may be the most walkable city in the U.S. Consequently cabs are readily available only when one doesn't need them.

The Ritz Carlton, at Broad and Sansom, is in the midst of everything, a city hotel. Beautiful lobby, used to be the principle banking office of a major bank. Easy strolls to the Walnut Street Restaurants, the performing arts, Reading Terminal Market, Rittenhouse Square, and the Can Do Copy Center. Hearty walks to South Street and the Historical area. The Ritz Carlton also boasts a Baths Butler and something like a chocolate sommelier. If you anticipate requiring a bubble bath with choice of scents or a cup of cocoa assembled to your specifications, the Ritz Carlton is your best bet.

The Four Seasons is on the northern edge of Center City amid a park-like setting. A pleasant walk to the Parkway museums. Everything else is pretty much a hike or a cab ride. Their priniple restaurant, the Fountain, though no longer under Chef Lacroix's stewardship, is still highly regarded. I particularly enjoy breakfast in the Fountain room. Closest I've come to a perfect hotel breakfast. Sunday breakfast is extra fun, watching the chefs assemble Sunday Brunch. If you are of the Sunday Brunch ilk, the Four Seasons version is the one to seek out.

If the hotel is the thing I'd choose the Four Seasons. If convenience is king, the Ritz Carlton.

One other hotel should be in the mix. The Rittenhouse, a five diamond hotel, is directly on Rittenhouse Square, as walkable a location as the Ritz, and now home for Chef Lacroix. The Rittenhouse Hotel might be my first choice.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I'm curious to hear what you Philly residents think of Tony Lukes?

Tony Lukes in itself would be reason enough to visit Philadelphia for me and yet no one seems to be recommending it...

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Yo Joy-

Tony Lukes rocks. Great grease. Some of the best grease in Philly. I want to eat my way through the whole menu, but always end up with a variation on the pork sandwich - usually with greens and aged provolone.

My only complaint - Tony Luke's keeps track of orders by first name - yells your name when your order is ready. Tony Luke's is deep in South Philly, way deep. Most of the orders are from guys named Vito, Frank, Gino and such. I'm a guy named Holly. I can usually deal with being a "Boy Named Sue." But at Tony Luke's - lest, upon learning that I'm a "Holly," the Vito's and Franks ridicule and bully me and steal my hat and toss back and forth, out of my reach - I lie and tell the counter person my name is Joe or Ant-ny.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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phew. you guys are allright then. i was starting to worry. :raz:

i've only had the pork/provalone/greens combo and its what calls my name everytime. infact i had blacked out any other part of the menu.

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Holly, that is a great tale. Joy, I'm glad you persisted.

Spending just part of a day in Philadelphia a couple of years ago before catching a plane a friend and I were sent to Tony Luke's by a young Philadelphia native who was like a Central Casting version of a young Philadelphia native. Really just the kind of informant one DREAMS of running across.

And he said, BE SURE to get the sauteed escarole and AGED provolone. And bless him for that. We wouldn't have known, but that is obviously the signature dish. I remember eavesdropping on other orderers and hearing "Italian style" -- izzat what this greens/provolone version is called?

Great, great atmosphere -- actual cops, priests, like that, in line, a guy clearing tables singing Frank Sinatra songs. And most importantly an incredible sandwich.

Edited by Priscilla (log)

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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can someone explain tony luke's a bit more? sounds like a place i should definitely go for lunch.

striped bass has gotten some good reviews here. given 3 dinners, would this be a good choice for one of them? i saw the chef on TVFN the other day. it was a rib cook-off. he won, although it's a fish restaurant. that was enough for me to call and make a reserveration. :biggrin:

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can someone explain tony luke's a bit more?  sounds like a place i should definitely go for lunch.

Yo Tommy! Youse stand in line. Youse order a pork sandwich with greeens and aged provolone. They call out your name. Youse pick up your sandwich. Youse eat it. Youse towel off. Youse stand in line. Youse order another pork sandwich with greens and aged provolone. They call out your name. Youse pick up your sandwich. Youse eat it. Youse towel off. Youse stand in line. Youse order another pork sandwich with greeens and aged provolone. Etc. Etc. Etc.

What more youse need to know?

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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striped bass has gotten some good reviews here.  given 3 dinners, would this be a good choice for one of them?  i saw the chef on TVFN the other day.  it was a rib cook-off.  he won, although it's a fish restaurant.  that was enough for me to call and make a reserveration.  :biggrin:

Tommy:

I'd highly recommend coming in for dinner, or if you'd like just a "taste" of the Bass, come in for a $26.00 three course prix fixe lunch Mon.-Fri. or Sunday for brunch. Many of the same preparations as dinner and a bargain for the caliber of food. And yes - that was a shameless shill for anyone who missed it :raz:

The rib cook-off you recently saw on TVFN was from a few years ago. The current chef is Terence Feury, formerly of Le Bernardin in New York. We have a few special events coming up, including a wine dinner with Walt Flowers of Flowers winery on April 30, if that's something that would interest you. You can check out the menu and more info HERE, if you're interested.

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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ok, it's looking liked dinners at striped bass, django, morimoto. i'm tempted to substitute le bec fin for one of those. but i'm not totally convinced that i'd enjoy it more.

lunches are going to be harder, especially considering

1) i'll be on the go during the day (hopefull)

2) i don't want to get too full

3) lunchy places aren't as well document

considering: jacks diner or firehoues (2 places, same guy?), that bar place with beer and crabs typa thing, cheesesteak at one (or both) of those famous places, anything else that people might suggest. :smile:

it's shaping up to be a decent food trip.

thanks to all, once again.

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lunches are going to be harder, especially considering

1)  i'll be on the go during the day (hopefull)

2)  i don't want to get too full

3)  lunchy places aren't as well document

For lunch, in addition to Tony Luke's, also try Sarcone's Deli at 9th and Bainbridge for a hoagie (and if you've got the time, visit the cheese shops-- Di Bruno's and Claudio's-- in the Italian Market.)

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Isn't that Jack as in Jack McDavid?  Sounds like a must (if only to admire his Melrose Place style looks  :rolleyes: ).

Yes it's Jack, and he does own both the Down Home Diner in Reading Terminal Market and Jack's Firehouse. Of the two, for lunch, I'd recommend the Down Home Diner. Give you a chance to walk Reading Terminal Market, too. But then again, if I'm going to the Down Home Diner, I'd prefer breakfast. Sausage biscuits and rich man's gravy, home made hash, shrimp and grits, ho cakes, and a lot more.

As to Jack's Melrose Place style looks, I see him more on the set of the Waltons.

As to lunch, the places you've listed Tommy, other than the Down Home Diner, are not directly in Center City. If time is an issue, other Center City lunch spots worth considering are DeNic's in Reading Terminal Market for a Roast Pork with Aged Provolone and Greens that is every bit as good as Tony Luke's; Tequilla's on Locust between 16th and 17th for huevos rancheros, sopas and such; there's a Tony Luke's on 18th between Sansom and Chestnut but it's not the South Philly Tony Lukes; and Monk's Cafe which is Belgian influenced, a wonderful selection of beers, and mussels or burgers for sustinence.

You could also do lunch at Le Bec-Fin or Georges' other restaurant Brasserie Perrier.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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won't comment on dinner, don't feel like muddying the issue.

it is interesting that tommy's 2-3 day trip has spawned this long a thread, but that's the power of the tommy.

anyway, the lunch suggestions so far are good.

the main questions to me are:

if you're gonna be on the go during the day, where are you gonna be?

getting too full shouldn't be problem, just walk everywhere, then take public transit/cab only when tired.

it's how i handled eating all day in my manhattan trips these past few years.

the first time i did it in feb 2001, i walked from upper 90s east to chelsea, back to chinatown.

don't worry, we'll find you some good lunch spots. just give some guidelines, like what else (non-food, etc.) will influence your schedule, locations?

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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if you're gonna be on the go during the day, where are you gonna be?

dunno! that's a question i have as well!

taking past trips into account, i'd guess that most of my time will be spent going to and from restaurants. :rolleyes:

sersiously though, i'd like to see that market that i read so much about. and also the big bell and whatnot. there's a "seaport" thing near water, yes? (my notes are on my other computer, so i can't answer my own questions right now) i'm totally open for suggestions on this one...

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Hi Tommy:

Both Reading Terminal Market and the Italian Market are worth checking out. If you're near the Italian Market you really should have lunch at Shank & Evelyn's Luncheonette on 10th Street. It's a unique Philadelphia experience and the chicken cutlet sandwiches are to die for. If you do a museum day you'll be on Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Philly's own Champ de Elysee) and can walk from the Art Museum (NOTE: you must get tickets to the Degas exhibit in advance) to the Rodin Museum just a few blocks away. A small but excellent collection of sculpture. If you do the touristy thing at the Bell and Independence Hall, you'll be a few short blocks from Penn's Landing where the Seaport Museum is.

Give me a call when you're ready to plan your Striped Bass dinner and I'll be happy to make the reservation for you.

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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If you do a museum day you'll be on Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Philly's own Champ de Elysee) and can walk from the Art Museum (NOTE: you must get tickets to the Degas exhibit in advance) to the Rodin Museum just a few blocks away.  A small but excellent collection of sculpture.

And only about three blocks from Jack's Firehouse if you want to have lunch there instead of dinner.

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bigjas' point on jack's firehouse is important, and perhaps a good reason to go to the art museum.

if you do go, check out the tapestrys. they're my favorite part.

reading terminal market and italian market are both worth checking out;

the question is should you check them both out on the same trip?

i'd be happy to help you build an itinerary. PM if you want.

dinners: striped bass, django, morimoto

lunch: italian market, reading terminal, jack's firehouse???

if italian market (between 9th and 11th(N-S streets) and Christian and Washington (E-W Sts)), then either shank and evelyn's or chickie's is probably best choice. i like both their sausage sandwiches, but katie's pushing S+E's chicken cutlet, which probably ain't too bad.

if reading terminal (12th and Arch), ya got tommy dinic's as mentioned for roast pork, delilah's for southern although i thought was overpriced, the amish bbq place in the northwest corner is good though, down home diner also possible.

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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I had only heard about scrapple before my first Philadelphia visit. The way the name sounded (like a car accident) and it's description peaked my interest.

As it was described to me, scrapple is many parts of the pig (my favorite food group) that lots of people generally don't like to eat. Tails? Ears? I don't know what parts exactly but they're all ground up and then formed into a brick or tube. I'm not sure if any or all of this is correct so scrapple-experts please feel free step in.

Slices are cut off and fried, and served with eggs, in sandwiches, etc.

The one scrapple specimen I tried was almost devoid of pig taste. I tasted notes of cardboard, it was definitely dry. Since then, I have not tried any more scrapple but would give it a go again if someone were to point out a good scrapple seller.

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Slices are cut off and fried, and served with eggs, in sandwiches, etc.

The one scrapple specimen I tried was almost devoid of pig taste. I tasted notes of cardboard, it was definitely dry. Since then, I have not tried any more scrapple but would give it a go again if someone were to point out a good scrapple seller.

Scrapple IS mostly devoid of pig taste. Basically you cook the bits'n'pieces off the head, boil them up, pour in cornmeal and spices, and make it into blocks.

Good purveyors: any of the amish places in the terminal. If you want it cooked, down home diner does it well in the terminal, and the divey diner Little Pete's at 17th and Chancellor makes some good scrapple, all innocuous and cool on the hardened deep-fried outside, and searing lava inside. Usually not dry though, rather kind of a wet pasty texture, with a crispy outside. A lot of people eat it with ketchup; we always ate it with syrup.

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Scrapple is more of an at-home food than an order-at-diners food, as far as I'm concerned. The spicing mixture of the scrapple is the key to its flavor, and you can never tell whether a diner is using the good stuff, or the awful cardboardy flavored stuff. My favorite scrapple makers are Habbersetts' and Alderfer's. They've got the spicing right.

There is also a divide in the scrapple eating population between those who like it wafer thin and fried until crunch throughout, and those (like myself) who like a 1/4 inch cut that is fried until golden and crispy on the outside and is still mushy on the inside. Yum!

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Thanks, enjoying my scrapple education.

If scrapple doesn't taste of pig, what exactly does it taste like? Is it all about the talent behind the fryer? What spicing is used?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any sweet B&B's between Philly and Harrisburg? And once in Harrisburg, what then?

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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