Sunday, April 6, 2008

philadelphia neighborhoods

With a friend of Jared's in town from California, we hit up a few of the best areas of Philadelphia.

We started the day in Northern Liberties, heading to Honey's for breakfast. Honey's has an interesting Southern Jewish style menu. There was 30 minute wait for a table, which I always take as a good sign for a breakfast place.

honey's sit 'n eat

Walking in the door, I wanted pancakes, but as soon as I sat down and saw the words French, Toast, Stuffed, Peanut Butter, and Bananas on the same line of the menu, I knew that I had to try it. I wasn't prepared to forget my desire for a pancake and Jared said the latkes were really good. So along with the Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast, I ordered a buttermilk pancake and a latke. Too much food, I know, but I had to do it. I was not disappointed in the least. The peanut butter was homemade, the pancake was thick and perfect and the latke was plain looking, but so tasty.

breakfast honey's

From Honey's and Northern Liberties, we headed off to Chinatown for a little adventure. First up was the Shanghai Bazaar, where we learned how to use an abacus (sort of) and played with Chinese brain teasers, one of which was purchased and brought home.

chinese maskchinese market aisle

Afterward, we ventured into a Chinese market that was below ground and the funk of fish hit you as soon as you opened the door. With no fear and a bit of anticipation, we headed down the steps to the market. We wandered around, looked at the live fish and crabs, marveled at the boneless duck feet and were astounded by the dried sea cucumbers ($89.99/lb!) but left basically empty handed. With the meter running out, we headed off to our next neighborhood, the fantastic Italian Market.

The Italian Market is filled with food, colors, culture, people, smells, tastes, and sounds and there is nowhere else like it.

bananas and orangesbutcher

The highlight of our visit was DiBruno Brothers, where we sampled Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, a goat cheese with black truffle. Purchased. Next we sampled the Midnight Moon Goat Gouda. Also purchased. And finally, we decided that we absolutely could not pass up a chance to try a prune that had been soaked in cognac and then stuffed with foie gras. If ever a perfect food was created, this might be it. So rich, just one is more than enough, but so, so succulent. We also picked up a baguette before leaving. Moving down the block, we picked up some fresh mozzarella before heading off to South Street.

We decided to walk from the Italian Market to South Street since we had free parking and weren't really all that far. They're doing construction on South Street to freshen the look. They've pulled out all the trees, including the gum covered one, which is a little disappointing, but supposedly the "new" South Street is going to be worth it. Anyway, the goal on South Street was to get Jim a cheese steak. We passed up Jim's and moved down to Steaks on South, under appreciated and not nearly as busy as Jim's, the steaks are great. Plus they take a shot right at Geno's, which always makes me happy. We wandered around a bit more before heading back to the car we left at the Italian Market.

steaks on southconcrete footprint

From there, we took Jim on a driving tour of University City and Manayunk and then headed back to the house, stopping at ACME to see if we could find some Hank's Root Beer for Jim to try. We failed at that, but decided to have a taste comparison of Virgil's Root Beer and Natural Brew Root Beer. While picking those out, it was decided that a Key Lime pie would be made for dessert. Jim's family was instrumental in the history of Key Lime pie and he insisted on making it right. With true Key Limes - the yellow ones that come from the Florida Keys and not the green ones that come from Mexico - in short supply, the only acceptable substitute is Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Juice. Luckily ACME carries it, so we were in business. We picked up some eggs, sweetened condensed milk and a pre-made pie crust (it was a long day), ice cream and milk and headed back to the house. Jim took control, prepped the filling and stuck it in the oven for 15 minutes, at which point we decided to tackle the cheese we had purchased earlier in the day. When we sampled the Truffle Tremor at DiBruno's, we didn't get a whole lot of the truffle flavor, but it really stood out when we ate it now.

soft goat cheese with trufflemidnight moon goat gouda

Jared pulled out some dark chocolate chips and suddenly chocolate and cheese was being enjoyed. A little olive oil was put into a dish and we had a gourmet cheese plate on our hands. We busted out the root beers and decided that the Virgil's was better of the two, but the Natural Brew was made into a root beer float to be enjoyed.

key lime pre-bakeKey Lime slice

A game of Kalooki while we waited for the pie to set in the fridge passed the time and before we knew it, we were finishing our day off with Key Lime pie at 12:30 am.


Jim T said...

And you can tell the pie still needed to set longer! Thanks for the fun times touring Philly Josh. I did end up finding Hank's in the airport at 5am this morning but they only had the Black Cherry. Oh well.

The food, drink and kalooki was definitely memorable. Hope we can make the beer fest!

BeccaT said...

"dried sea cucumbers ($89.99/lb!)"
That is just absurd.

I'm sad to have missed such a monumentally Philly-Style Day :)