Belgian fries, pig popcorn, sausage from a home-improvement store, bacon brownies (pictured!) and more stunning dishes and divine drinks you should be tasting right now.
People, you may have noticed, are fat. Real fat. And getting bigger every day.
But lost in the endless conversations about the no-longer-new obesity epidemic that threatens to sink our country into a pit of health-care debt we can never pay is a very real and glaringly obvious fact: We’re all a hell of a lot skinnier than we could be.
Because, it could be argued, human beings are neurologically ill-designed to be modern Americans. British neuroscientist Dr. Peter Whybrow spelled out this theory in full in his book, American Mania: The human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in an environment defined by scarcity. We now live in an environment of extreme abundance, and we cannot cope. (Whybrow’s theory extends to sex and shelter, but that’s another issue entirely.)
There are ancient reward pathways deeply etched inside our minds that are incredibly difficult to suppress. Impossible, maybe, when faced with, say, the stuffed challah French toast at Sabrina’s or the country style beef cubes at Phuong. There are so many wonderfully delicious things to eat in our city, and nothing to keep you from eating them all, all the time. (Except, perhaps, your own looming debt, health care or otherwise.) So you’re bigger than you should be. So what. It’s, like, science or something.
And since you’re eating all the damn time anyway, we threw together a list of dishes and drinks you should be slamming down your gullet right now. Just try not to eat them all in the same week.
Dan Dan Noodles at Han Dynasty
When we asked Chef Joey Chmiko of Resurrection Ale House for his go-to dish, he responded: “Dan Dan Noodles, Han puts crack in there!” Just like the young bull trappers selling wet off the step, this dish originated in the streets. Chinese vendors sold baskets full of noodles and a spicy sesame sauce with minced pork and scallions. Han’s recipe holds true to the OG recipe.
Han Dynasty, 108 Chestnut St. 215.922.1888. handynasty.net
Love Stout from Yards Brewing Company
Homegrown brewing super star Yards pays homage to our city’s most flattering misnomer with Love Stout. This “seductively sweet” stout is part adult beverage, part aphrodisiac. The brewing process, involving oysters, adds a mineral contrast to this chocolatey roast malt forward beer. Even if your membership to Match.com has yet to pay off, you can still find a little love in our fair city.
Yards Brewing Company, 901 N. Delaware Ave. 215.634.2600. yardsbrewing.com
Famous Chicken Soup at Famous 4th Street
It’s scientifically proven, or something, that chicken soup helps cure the common cold. Order the Famous Chicken Soup to go: You’ll get two quarts of soup with kreplach, rice, noodles, kasha and, of course, an oversized matzo ball. Buy some ginger ale and proceed to never leave your house.
Famous 4th Delicatessen, 700 S. Fourth St. 215.922.3274. famous4thstreetdelicatessen.com
Cynar Cocktail at a.kitchen
The unnamed (we’re pushing for Cynar-Whale) and off-the-menu cocktail from bartendress Catherine Manning is a potent blend of the bitter Italian aperitif Cynar (made of 13 herbs and plants, including artichoke) and Kentucky Buffalo Trace Bourbon. Freshly squeezed OJ rounds out the mix that’s shaken hard and strained. It’s sure to warm the cockles of your Rittenhouse heart this winter.
a.kitchen, 135 S. 18th St. 215.825.7030. akitchenphilly.com
Mortadella Mousse at Amis
Narrowing down a top dish at Amis is like trying to definitively determine which Bob Dylan lyrics are best. But all other things being equal, this fluffy, intoxicatingly savory treat is among the most soulful and uniquely rewarding. Which is what eating here is all about in the first place.
We’ve been stuffing ourselves to the gills around here with soul food from every corner of this fair city. And in the Food & Drink Issue you can see where, exactly, we’ve been doing it. Dig in.
PW has compiled a list of the 50 best things to eat and drink in Philly rightthisverymoment. We’ve included—in no particular order—some entrenched favorites (Osteria pizza, Cape May Salts) but mostly illuminated the new and newly discovered: everything from offbeat beers (Alehoof Grut) to cheeses with stories to tell (Mancuso ricotta). They might just become your next favorites. They’re already ours.