Tag Archives: Italian

The “ultimate cheesesteak”

23 Apr

Named Philadelphia’s favorite, John’s Roast Pork was a location that reminded me of Johnnie’s Beef in Chicago — a stand on the outskirts of a big city with hungry, waiting crowds.  And like Johnnie’s Beef, I was very satisfied with my divey eats.
Cheesesteak with sharp provolone, onions and banana peppers
The publicity and James Beard Foundation Award did not lie.  I came to Philly for its cheesesteak (the Boyfriend, for its roast pork sandwiches but I obviously tried some anyway); I had quite a few in the past but none of them came close to this one sandwich.  There’s something comforting about gooey provolone over 12 ounces of thinly-sliced, grilled beef and onions, and John’s Roast Pork has got it right.
Roast pork sandwich with sharp provolone and spinach
I must admit I was disappointed that the namesake sandwich was not as expected.  Maybe it’s personal taste, but I didn’t like the funkiness of the pork, and the spinach could not reach the bar set by the garlicky broccoli rabe at DiNic’s.  If you want roast pork in Philly, go to Reading Terminal Market and head toward DiNic’s stand.

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Blood orange

20 Apr

Although Best Thing I Ever Ate suggested Osteria for its pizza, the highlight of this meal was the dessert — even the Boyfriend had to agree, and that’s really saying something.
Lombarda – baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella, and cotechino sausage
Delicious though it fell short of Pulino’s circa Nate Appleman.  Still, it was the second best artisan pizza I’ve had.
“Genovese ravioli” with capon and parmigiano
Pork shank osso bucco with saffron rice crema
Funny story — knowing how I am about texture, the Boyfriend decided to serve my first forkful of marrow without fair warning.  Don’t get me wrong, it was very tasty, but it felt on my tongue sent chills up my spine.  He finally gave me bread buttered with marrow.
Blood orange crostata with 63% manjari chocolate
The perfect marriage: tart blood orange, light cookie-like pie, and bittersweet dark chocolate.  Love, love, love!

It’s pronounced “red-ding”

6 Apr

I’m a sucker for farmers’ markets, and when they’re indoors, I could spend hours browsing.  I believe the best foods are found there and Reading Terminal did not prove otherwise.
First stop: Delilah’s.  The best macaroni and cheese in the country, says Oprah Winfrey.  I’m not one for baked mac and cheese — different texture than the boil-and-mix kind I grew up with — but this was some lip-smackin’, Southern comfort.  It was soft and creamy with an unexpected, smoky tang, ultimately why I gave in.  So I stood nibbling on Delilah’s famous mac and cheese while waiting to order at DiNic’s.  Here is where I smile guiltily.
Next stop: DiNic’s, clearly the favorite at Reading Terminal because the line wrapped around and continued to form past neighboring stands — and for good reason!  The pulled pork sandwich must’ve been heaven sent.  Tender, savory pork wonderfully cut by sharp provolone and garlicky broccoli rabe.  I could not believe my tastebuds: a bit of everything (heavenly) in each bite.
(More photos).

Italian landscape

14 Mar

Sadly no, I’m not in Italy while the Boyfriend attends meetings, but I sat for an early dinner at this cozy eatery downtown called the Meatball Shop, specializing in — you guessed it — Italian meatballs.  I’d say this was a great example of a restaurant doing one thing and doing it really well.
The first thing that caught my attention was the cup of markers on the table, then I saw the menu.  It was clever: mark off what to order in any combination, which means a new meal every time you return — believe me, you’ll want to.
Naked balls – four meatballs served with focaccia bread; spicy pork in pesto
Simple salad – arugula and apples; side

(More photos).

I don’t want nobody, baby!

28 Feb

Oscar winners and who-wore-what’s could wait.
Sunday afternoon was spent walking around Downtown and singing aloud to (read: embarrassing) the Boyfriend with a rendition of the 70’s hit “If I Can’t Have You”.  Needless to say, I was very happy and silly.
Eventually we found ourselves at Pulino’s for dinner.  I must admit, I was slightly disappointed, since we’ve visited pre-Nate Appleman’s split with the pizzeria and had a different experience, all-over crisp pizza.  The food was still great — I just care a lot about texture, so don’t let that alone sway your decision to try Pulino’s!  We also had semolina gnocchi with oxtail sugo, which was really good.  There was a hint of ricotta, and though I’m not a fan of the cheese, it still tasted great in the gnocchi.
So what exactly did I wear on my fun day Sunday?
Ralph Lauren Black Label slim-fit cable cashmere; Rock & Republic; Marc by Marc Jacobs FW 2003 black marlene wool jacket; Dior FW 2010 over-the-knee biker boots.

(More photos).

“Coffee and a kick in the pants”

16 Feb

My feelings exactly, now that Valentine’s Weekend is over and I need to get on top of next season’s fashion shows.

The Boyfriend had to fly out for a conference on Valentine’s Day — a “conference,” just kidding — so we decided to make the whole weekend special.
Saturday, we ventured out in the windy cold for afternoon tea at England’s pride in America Tea & Sympathy; the place lived up to its reputation and then some. The dining room was quite small and crowded but it didn’t deter any of the many diners waiting to be seated.  We were actually asked to move from our original table that seated three to another that was more appropriate and seated two.  Some may see that as an inconvenience but considering how delicious afternoon tea was, I couldn’t have cared less.
Afternoon tea for one – assorted finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry or raspberry jam, a selection of cakes, a pot of steaming hot tea
The finger sandwiches were light, generally egg salad, chicken, and tuna.  They each had their fill of vegetables like cucumber, celery, and tomato that lent a refreshing component.  I absolutely loved the scones and cakes!  The clotted cream was so surprisingly airy, and the scones were soft and buttery; I really enjoyed having my scones with clotted cream and jam together.  But, my favorite was the cup cake.  Unlike cupcakes in America, this cup (space) cake was a cake in all respects — almond extract, greater expansion in the batter — and to top it off, every single bite from the frosting to the cake gave a mouthful of strawberries (real, not the artificial flavoring).
Although it was afternoon tea for one, it was a struggle to finish even with some help.  I may have been ridiculously full afterwards but it was worth every tasty morsel.
Shepherd’s pie – lamb or beef
The Boyfriend ordered the beef shepherd’s pie that had a hearty, Bolognese base.  It tasted great but when he added in the green peas, the overall flavor became more balanced, and the dish looked more colorful and appetizing.

The rest of the day included take-out knoblewurst sandwiches from Katz’s Deli — garlicky, snapping goodness.  And since I was so full with sweets, dessert had to wait until the next day.  Flaky pastries with custard and whipped cream filling?  Couldn’t wait, sfogliatelle from La Bella Ferrara!

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