Jolene Eats in Philadelphia
If you've read my other blog, you know that I took a short weekend in Philadelphia for a friend's wedding. In this post, I will be recounting all of the delicious destinations I visited while I was there.
First, we stumbled across Cafe La Maude, which was a wonderful breakfast choice after a bumpy red-eye from LA. While the neighborhood was less than convenient and parking was quite a nightmare, I really appreciated our meal at this unassuming spot.
I opted for my ~usual item with poached eggs, in this case salmon Eggs Benedict, my mom chose the wonderfully indulgent tiramisu pancakes. Mine was perfectly balanced and savory, but I of course shoveled those tiramisu pancakes into my mouth!
The pancakes were soaked in coffee liqueur, stacked between luscious dollops of mascarpone deliciousness. There was chocolate sauce and everything you could ever hope for in a dessert. Er, I mean breakfast.
For lunch, I knew I absolutely had to have a cheesesteak. For a couple weeks before my trip, I was plagued with this burden: how does one find the "best" cheesesteak in Philly? After many discussions with my East Coast-raised boss, he assured me that I couldn't really go wrong. That being said, I still looked up plenty of blogs and "best of" lists. It didn't help much, but I did settle on Jimmy G's.
During my first trip to Philly many years ago, I had my first cheesesteak and I remember liking it. I remember going to a very popular place, with a line out the door. I knew I didn't have that kind of capacity for this short trip, so Jimmy G's seemed perfect to satisfy my craving.
I ordered a cheesesteak with provolone and onions, nothing fancy (although I was massively eyeing that lamb option). The place wasn't as greasy as I remember the other place being, but my cheesesteak did not disappoint. It was made freshly, piping hot with melty cheese and caramelized onions. The meat was prepared perfectly, seasoned well and not chewy in the slightest.
There was no indoor seating so we grabbed a table outside to enjoy our hot meal. My mom and I split one sandwich - she claimed she didn't want any, but I could tell she changed her mind when she saw my order. After we finished every last piece of our sandwich, we headed back to our friends' place to get ready for wedding ceremony #1.
The wedding ceremony wasn't until 2PM, so we utilized our morning time to go on a breakfast adventure.
One place that had come up in my research was the Reading Terminal Market. I'm generally a fan of a food market (if I'm in the mood to brave the crowds and chaos), so I really wanted to give this place a try. Originally, we had planned to visit Lancaster, as my mom has a massive soft spot for the Amish. Because those plans fell through, I wanted to grab some grub at the Dutch restaurant at RTM. That is exactly where we grabbed breakfast.
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the experience as much because of my food allergies - I couldn't try the apple dumplings or the blueberry pancakes... I just had regular pancakes with coffee and a side of scrapple. Yes, scrapple - a sausage-like concoction that is pork based, mixed with cornmeal, and deep fried. I didn't like the scrapple as much as I thought I would, but the pancakes were tasty and super fluffy!
Next, I'd really wanted to pick up some cannoli from Termini Bros Bakery. Unfortunately I didn't get to watch or take photos of my cannoli getting filled BUT they were worth every penny. Yes, I had cannoli after breakfast. You would too if you'd seen their perfectly crispy shells and creamy chocolate chip ricotta filling.
After going on a shopping spree for Amish goods from Kauffman's Lancaster County Goods, our last stop was Beiler's for some famous doughnuts. I'm not huge on doughnuts (I think I've mentioned this previously), but these doughnuts were worth the wait - yes, there was quite a line!
We got a dozen for the girls staying at our friends' place, all different flavors including oreo cream, maple bacon, blueberry fritter, banana cream, and some others I can't remember. The doughnuts were freshly made, hand-cut, and even hand-frosted. They were fluffy and not overly sweet - I could definitely understand the hype after sinking my teeth into just one.
After the wedding ceremony we made a quick pit-stop at another Philadelphia staple: water ice. Now, I'm the only one in the group who had suddenly become a water ice enthusiast and knew what I was getting myself into. I'd tried Rita's the last time, so I followed a friend's advice to try Philly Flavors this time.
I ordered a gelati with frozen custard and strawberry water ice. The custard was sweet and smooth, but I didn't enjoy the the water ice as much as I'd enjoyed Rita's.
On our last day in Philly, we had time for one last meal. For lunch, we decided to try some local dim sum at Sang Kee Asian Bistro. I was a bit apprehensive about having dim sum in Philly, as I was unfamiliar with its reputation as far as an Asian community. However, Sang Kee wasn't bad at all.
For those of you who are not familiar with dim sum, I like to think of it like the Asian version of tapas. There is usually a pretty broad menu with smaller, bite-sized items like dumplings, that are shared among the table. We ordered some of the classics, like har gow and shumai, but there were also some more traditional items that I don't always see available back home.
The restaurant itself was authentic, but what I appreciated most was its decor and service. Many Chinese restaurants have a bad reputation for having terrible service, but I could tell Sang Kee has adopted a more modern philosophy. I'm not sure if this is solely a trait of this particular location, since there is also one in China Town, but I'd recommend a meal here for sure.
So there you have it, my good eats in Philly!
Until next time,