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Reading Terminal Market (Part 1)


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Fiddleheads. A sure sign of spring today: packages of fiddlehead ferns at Iovine's. At $14.99/pound, pricey; also, the quality didn't look as good as it will in five or six weeks. Some additional mushrooms are showing up: Oregon truffles, horse mushrooms.

Earl's return. Last Saturday Earl Livengood was back at the market, with a limited supply of potatoes, rutabagas and spinach. However, his location was a different: part of the space formerly occupied by John's Produce (now mostly a seating area) directly opposite Foster's and Metropolitan. Whether he stays there for the full season or not, I don't know. Earl also doesn't expect to be there every Saturday until the spring crops start coming in, so he probably won't be there tomorrow (March 5).

New sandwich. I noticed a small sign at Tommy DiNic's at the Reading Terminal Market, advertising "brisket of beef" sandwiches at $6.50. When I asked Tommy if this was new, he said he'd had it occasionally (never every day) for a few weeks. He got in some brisket today, so it will be available for lunch tomorrow. I assume its oven roasted like his other meats, not bbq. I don't think I'd put provolone and greens on it, either, but I'll have to tear myself away from the pull of pork soon and give it a try.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 3 weeks later...

March 19 visit

Spring has yet to appear, though there are signs:

$1 for a big box of California berries at Iovine's. Certainly not nearly as sweet as what we'll see in late May and June from local berry patches, but a good deal for a welcome treat. At least they taste like strawberries.

Iovine's has had some decent, small, non-woody celeriac. I picked some up a week ago and boiled them with potatoes and mashed them together. Nice fresh tasting, lighter bodied mashed potatoes. Excellent with hearty meat dishes; in this case I served it with a carbonnade flammande. The Haas avocados were ripe and ready at $1 apiece, considerably less expensive than you will find at Whole Paychek.

Fair Food Project is considering moving from center court to part of the space formerly occupied by John's and then D&D produce, directly across from Foster's. Not a done deal, by any means, but it is a strong possibility. The lunch vendors would love to see that happen, and have the other farm stands move to that area, too; that would open up more tables in center court for the lunch crowd, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. The farm stand vendors, however, like center court's high traffic.

Some great looking wild striped bass at John Yi's today. I picked up a filet at about $8/pound. Served it simply: broiled with lemon butter. This is fish like a steak: hearty, meaty, doesn't need to be gussied up. The mackeral run should start soon. Shad from Georgia and the Carolinas has been displayed for a couple of weeks. (Restaurants have taken notice; shad roe was a special last week at Sansom Street Oyster House). And carp is available for the gefilte fish makers. Now, if we could only get fresh smelts, rather than frozen.

Just in case anyone doesn't get enough fat, the potato chips sold by Glicks Salads are fried in lard. Boy are they good. You can buy a one-pound bag for $3.

Foster's is selling local food writer Aliza Green's new "Field Guide", following her success with "Field Guide to Produce". The new one is devoted to meat.

mrbighas – did you get that brisket sandwich?

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Just in case anyone doesn't get enough fat, the potato chips sold by Glicks Salads are fried in lard. Boy are they good. You can buy a one-pound bag for $3.

these chips are good's, the potato chips i grew up on (well, those and gibbles), which they repackage into those plastic bags. i've seen the boxes behind the counter. they're excellent, although some people (like my wife) find the lard-y taste offputting.

mrbighas – did you get that brisket sandwich?

unfortunately no, we got there too late, at about 2. one of these days i'm gonna make it. however, we split a half beef, half pork sandwich. i'd never had the beef before. actually it's not that different from the pork--the seasoning is similar, and once you get the greens and cheese on there, the sandwiches are pretty much the same. the pork has better texture though. still the best sandwich in town if you ask me.

personally i hate this time of year. the citrus is starting to go off, the apples are all soft and mealy, and nothing around here is growing quite yet. we're stuck with only bananas and california strawberries and asparagus. drives me nuts.

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Citrus going off? I've gotten peak Temple oranges & FL tangerines here in NJ in the last 5 days.

I would kill for a place near me that sold striped bass at that price.

DiNic's or Sarcone's for lunch, there's a dilemma.

Sorry, just musing out loud while preparing for Philly next week, & enjoying the reading 'round these parts.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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mrbighas – did you get that brisket sandwich?

unfortunately no, we got there too late, at about 2.

Sometimes Tommy even runs out of pork about 2-2:30 p.m. if it's been a particularly hungry lunch crowd.
personally i hate this time of year.  the citrus is starting to go off, the apples are all soft and mealy, and nothing around here is growing quite yet.  we're stuck with only bananas and california strawberries and asparagus.  drives me nuts.

The oranges I've picked up lately at Iovines have been fine. The Chilean grapes are sometimes okay. As far as veggies go, go for the greens: the turnip greens I got last week were just fine for something that traveled cross-country.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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i probably overstated, so let me clarify: it's just STARTING to go off. we buy a lot of fruit and vegetables, and by this time of year there are a higher percentage of those dried out hard oranges and tangerines. not all of them--in fact, the honey tangerines we got at iovine's yesterday are great, and the temples we got there a couple weeks ago were awesome as well (which reminds me, i need to start a topic about how fruit with seeds nearly always tastes better than fruit without; clementines being a notable exception). so it's not that everything sucks, it's just that the percentage of suckiness is starting to go up a little about now.

and i'm starting to get tired of root vegetables. when winter starts i love them, but by early spring i'm ready to move on. when will the peas and ramps be ready!

rlibkind, i'm right with ya on the greens. not a week goes by that i don't get several bunches. oh and the strawberries--sue's produce this week had california strawberries that were actually delicious. they weren't quite as intensely flavored as the smaller local varieties, but they were really pretty darn good.

ghostrider, as far as your lunch dilemma, i would let your location decide. if you're in south philadelphia, go for sarcone's. if you're in center city near the terminal, go for dinics.

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  • 2 months later...

Went to RTM(visiting back home from VA) this Sat. and visited my favorite places. Got some spices from the spice terminal, some stuff from Foster's and finally tried out Di Nic's roast pork with cheese and spinach.

Let me just say....WOW!! I've been telling my husband about the every increasingly popular roast pork italian sammies in Philly. Basically, he's had no interest. Maybe it didn't sound that special, and he always loves to treat us to some cheesesteaks when we visit home.

So, in RTM Ricks has about 30 people/tourists in line and I say "hey, walk back this way with me, and take a look at the pork at DiNic's". So, being that there were two seats open, we sat down, and had a juicy, amazing roast pork in 4 minutes. My husband is a convert! Although he got his with peppers (is that going against the grain?) he loved his as much as i loved mine. Had to wrap up half of it myself. It was huge.

And the drippings were ajus from the pork, not just grease. Hey, not that there's anything wrong with that.

We sat next to out of town tourists and I gave them two thumbs up for finding a true insider real deal. Especially since they'd gone to Pat's the night before at about 3 am.. .....didn't beat him up over that!

Next...Tony Lukes.

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What does one do with fiddleheads, anyway? I saw them yesterday in Whole Foods. They were intriguing, but I've never come across any recipes or recommendations on how to consume them.

And also: Man, this is making me crave DiNic's big time. Last time we were there we had the roast pork sandwiches, but they were out of the broccoli rabe. The pork and the super-strong provolone were terrific by themselves, to be sure, but without the rabe it just lacked that extra *oomph*.

Edited by MysticMilt (log)
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What does one do with fiddleheads, anyway? I saw them yesterday in Whole Foods. They were intriguing, but I've never come across any recipes or recommendations on how to consume them.

I blanch for 10 seconds and place in cold water. Then I sautee with garlic and oil. Before all that, I also defrizz them in cold water to get rid of the brown little leaves. You can probably find more recipes on google

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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1. i've had the brisket. it's a good sandwich, the meat very tender, an almost sweet juice of reduced wine and caramelized onions. i don't think it'd be my go-to above the pork (since so very few, if any, things are), but i would definitely recommend it. give it a try! it's only one sandwich, one day--at worst you're out $6.50 and have to wait and have pork the next day...

2. fiddleheads: i clean them, sautee in olive oil with garlic and some red pepper flakes, then squeeze in some lemon juice and a few drops of water, and cover and steam for about 30 seconds or a minute. for a meal, toss that with pasta and goat cheese, and then put on fresh basil or parsley or mint or whatever you have fresh.

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You people are evil. On my lunch break today I HAD to go to DiNic's and try the roast pork (with cheese and greens, of course).

Mega-WOW. :raz: I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a cheesesteak again, this was just SO much better.

Thanks all for placing the evil thought in my head!

sockii

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| South Jersey Foodie |

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You people are evil. On my lunch break today I HAD to go to DiNic's and try the roast pork (with cheese and greens, of course).

Mega-WOW.  :raz: I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a cheesesteak again, this was just SO much better.

Thanks all for placing the evil thought in my head!

Welcome to the campaign! I've been trying to get the "National Sandwich" changed to the Roast Pork Italian for years now. It simply blows the doors off of a cheesesteak.

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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The roast pork italian is deserving of a campaign. Although, I can't imagine it will ever reach the level of the cheesesteak as far as it's association with Philadelphia. Maybe that's OK though. Who needs a rpi equivalent of Geno's and Pat's?

Perhaps it'll be a true Philly insider thing, and that's ok. It's certainly taken on mega wonderful and desirous status amongst the locals. Keeps those tourists outa my way when I visit!

In fact, our lovely waitress at DiNic's told us that Saturday is their light day because all the tourists line up for hoagies and cheesesteaks (mostly at Ricks). Weekdays, of course, bring locals for lunch.

:smile:

Edited by monavano (log)
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  • 1 month later...

It's a jubilee of cherries the past few weeks. As noted on another thread on another board, it's been a great year for these stone fruits, both sweet, sour and inbetween varieties. Today Halteman's Country Foods was selling sweet red cherries for, IIRC, $3.89 a quart. On the other side of the market, Benuel Kauffman was charging about that for a pint. The Halteman cherries were just a tad softer, but measurably sweeter. Benuel, however, also had a yellow variety that makes an interesting color contrast and tastes pretty good, too. Benuel also had sour cherries of pies and other baked goods. Last week Earl Livengood offered a "sweet/sour" variety that was just a little sweeter than the normal pie cherry and could be easily eaten out-of-hand, or baked. This week and next will probably be the last of the cherries.

Lemon cucumbers have started to show up (Fair Food Project had them; Livengood's usually has them in season, too). Another "ball" shaped veggie is the little round summer squash that Benuel Kaufman sells; grate them and sautee them.

Last week I picked up some fresh beets at the Fair Food Project and roasted them in foil. Delish! Lots of other beets available now, too. What I'm waiting for are the longer, more cylindrical beets Benuel offers in season. They should be available soon.

Raspberries were still available today at Benuel's, $3.95/pint.

Tomato prices vary; Iovine's has Jersey's at 99-cents; Halteman's had two different Lancaster County tomatoes at $2.59 and $2.89, IIRC. Benuel gets about $3.50 for his. Goes great with the Silver King corn at 50-cents an ear. Fair Food had the first sun gold cherry tomatoes I've seen this season (they'll sauce pasta tomorrow night)

Kirby cucumbers are in season, and Benuel has some nice small ones, perfect for pickle-making. (I do mine in a salt-only brine [no vinegar] with garlic and coriander seeds. Dill is nice, too.)

Peaches have started to show up; Benuel had "soft" ones for $2 a pound, which is just a little more than the going-price for unsoft peaches at Halteman's.

Local apricots were still here today, but it's probably the last weekend for them. I made a clafouti the other day with some that had been sitting in my fridge since last week (peeled by a dip in boiling water followed by ice bath) with a few going-soft black raspberries thrown in for contrast. It's amazing how even just-okay apricots become silken and unctious when baked.

Finally got to try Tommy's brisket sandwich. I agree with bigjas, it won't replace roast pork, but it does present a difficult choice. It just melted in the mouth, and the light touch of gravy was perfect; I detected just a touch of tomato paste to give the gravy a light sweetness. I got the sandwich wrapped to go and ate it soon after I put the produce away; despite the sufficient quantity of gravy, the sandwich, though messy, stayed together, even though I ate at least a third of the meat with a fork.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 2 weeks later...

Blackberries have arrived. Earl Livengood had some big, beautiful berries yesterday, and he should have them Tuesday at South Street and Thursday at Fairmount. Plenty of local blueberries, too.

And when there are blackberries, there are also peaches. Early varieties can be found at Kauffman's, Halteman's, Fair Food Project and Livengood's. I think next week I'll make a blackberry-peach cobbler! Halteman's had the best price, at $1.89/pound.

Cherries are just about over. This past Saturday the only cherries to be found were pie cherries at Benuel Kauffman's and Pacific NW Bings at Iovines.

Tomatoes, however, are building. Livengood offered both certified organics and heirlooms.

Wild Pacific sockeye and king salmon were available at John Yi's. The sockeye was a buck or two cheaper a pound.

Time to cook greens. The chard, collards and other greens at Livengood's looked splendid. Fair Food frequently has Tuscan kale. Varieties of eggplant starting to expand exponentially, especially at Iovine's. Most of them come from South Jersey. Lima beans are in season, too; Livengood's has them shelled.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I went today with my out of towners and ate my way through. Might I say that being accompanied by a 6'-6" full framed dude allows one to eat small samples of many things while giving the bulk away to him. You should get one yourself for every visit!

I introduced them to the dinic roast pork and greens, fisher pretzels and apple dumplings with cream. While we were at it we grabbed some dumplings et all from Sang Kee.

The rib stand looked good but we passed and headed over to Zen Tea house for some bubble (tapioca) drinks - iced vietnamese coffee :wub: and coconut.

I presume tonight is cheesesteak night. I only eat them when people are in from out of town. Thats a good rule for me - well - a guideline more than a rule. :biggrin:

Evan

Dough can sense fear.

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today at the terminal: mirai corn at the farmstand. it's bred to be as sweet as the supersweet varieties, but as tender as the old stuff. and it's bright yellow instead of white. damn good.

i'm still looking for the old school yellow corn though. someday.

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Just like cherries, apricots are having an amazing season. I've never seen such good-looking apricots hang around for so long. Every week, I keep on thinking, better get some more, this is probably the last week. But it isn't! Halteman's, Kaufman's and Livengood's all were well-stocked with blemish-free, rose-touched local cots.

Could it be that it's just an exceptionally good year for stone fruits? So far, the cherries and apricots have been outstanding. Hard to tell with the early variety peaches, but we'll know in another week or two how that crop's quality and quantity fares. Local plums are also coming in now. I haven't tasted any yet, but they look good.

Blackberries continue strong. Absolutely amazing with Pequea Valley Dairy's whole milk yogurt from jersey cows (available at the Fair Food Farmstand and from the diary stand). Blueberries also plentiful, and they're cheap.

Lots more heirloom tomatoes at Livengood's. Pricey at $3.99, but they are exceptional. The standard tomatoes from Benuel Kaufman aren't shabby either, and they're priced, IIRC, at $2.99, or is it $2.49?

Local canteloupes (actually, musk melons) are available. Their going for $250/$3.50 a melon.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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i think you're right about the stone fruits. the early peaches have been really good, esp the ones from kauffmans. we bought some shiro and sugar plums from haltemann's yesterday but i haven't tasted them yet. i have high hopes.

kauffman's tomaters are $2.99 for reds, $3.69 for yellows. i bought a tomato there yesterday that cost over $2, which, i mean, obviously it was nearly a pound, but it still caught me off guard.

livengoods had fewer greens this week, but were loaded with colorful carrots, good lookin beets, and lots of green beans. i'm tempted to go out to their farm today, but i don't think i can make it.

iovine's has their first local cantaloupes for $1 each. i do wish they'd stop styrofoam/saran wrapping their hot peppers, though. their serranos nearly always are starting to grow mold on the stems from being in there. i picked up a package of their not-so-pretty chantarelles, though, which were delicious. i love that they sell those imperfect mushrooms--those fancy varieties cost a mint, and i wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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i do wish they'd stop styrofoam/saran wrapping their hot peppers, though.  their serranos nearly always are starting to grow mold on the stems from being in there.  i picked up a package of their not-so-pretty chantarelles, though, which were delicious.  i love that they sell those imperfect mushrooms--those fancy varieties cost a mint, and i wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise.

I agree with you on the styrofoam/saran wrap at Iovine's. I'll have to ask Vin or Jim why they do that, but I can take a good guess: it allows them to carry a wider variety of goods without the need to provide bin space. If they had to have separate bins for all the items they pack this way, they'd either have to tremendously expand the size of their store or limit the variety of what they stock (which would mean no samphire or fiddleheads in their seasons). As for expansion, well, they probably pay enough rent already, and where would they expand to?

At the same time, the "bagged" specials for $1 and the imperfect mushrooms can be great deals.

I'm hard-pressed to think of another greengrocer in town who carries the quality and variety of produce at decent prices that Iovine's does. Supermarkets don't come close, and as good as some of the Korean greengrocers can be, Iovine's generally has them beat across the board.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 3 weeks later...

Melons have been exceptional this season! Benuel Kaufman says he's never had better watermelon. I had some two weeks from Halteman's and it was sweet as could be. Ditto last week's canteloupe from Halteman's and this week's canteloupe and honeydew from Benuel.

The mirai corn from the Fair Food Farmstand is sweet and tender. I've been grilling it, then serving it with a squeeze of lime and some grains of cayenne to taste. Butter and salt works, too.

Also from FFF, picked up pork chops (Country Time Farm); they had been delivered Thursday and not yet frozen. I'd love to see some fattier, heritage pig, but after brining and two-stage grilling these succulent babies satisfied. Served with the mirai corn, some slices of heirloom tomatoes (don't know the variety, but they were yellow and red, from Benuel Kaufman) and nectarine chutney (made from purposely picked hard nectarines from Kaufman and a "kung pao" pepper just turned red from our patio garden.

Also served a quick cucumber pickle, made from "English" cukes the FFF unexpected got from one of their farmers. Although seedier than the commercial English cukes, the seeds it did have were still marginal, and the fresh taste was as summery as it gets. For a refreshing apperitif, dice a teaspoon's worth of cuke and add to a glass of chilled light, cheap summer white wine (Portuguese 'green' wine works well) with a thin slice of lime. Warning: Do not do this with chard.

Benuel expects to have his second (and main) crop of the long red beets during the coming week. I find them sweeter and "beet-ier" than the fancier varieties. They have the added advantage of a more uniform thickness, which means you can cook them (roasting is my preferred method) and all parts will be equally cooked. With bigger round beets, sometimes the outside is too soft or the center too hard.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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For a refreshing apperitif, dice a teaspoon's worth of cuke and add to a glass of chilled light, cheap summer white wine (Portuguese 'green' wine works well) with a thin slice of lime. Warning: Do not do this with chard.

chard? in wine? why ever would we?

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