People trolling First Friday know grazing in the galleries is like a Woody Allen joke: It’s terrible, and there’s never enough. It’s the Jews who turn Allen’s philosophy around. The food at the Old City Jewish Arts Center is consistently great, and it keeps coming—sometimes it even trumps the art. Once they had Japanese sushi chefs making fresh sashimi and California rolls while we looked at … well, we can’t remember what we were looking at because we were eating. Another time it was a simple, fresh guacamole while we were awed by a photo documentary of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn from the 1970s. If you stay long enough they’ll invite you to stay for Shabbat, or you can just keep on trolling with one of their decadent chocolate rice-cereal squares to hold you over until the next gallery.
Old City Jewish Arts Center, 119 N. Third St. 215.923.1222. jewishartcenter.com
There are several pros and cons at Sang Kee Peking Duck House . Cons first: Cash only, surly wait-staff, obnoxious lighting, charmless decor, generally crowded and loud, studenty, weird dishes with cheese in them. Now the pros: Cheap, clean, generous (not gluttonous) portions, the occasional special, and everything involving the sublime roast duck, be it rolled in those adorable pancakes, gussied up with hoisin sauce, luxuriated in noodle soups or most exquisitely: naked on a plate.
Sang Kee Peking Duck House, 238 N. Ninth St. 215.925.7532
Pimping the Erace brothers’ cute-as-can-be Passyunk Avenue specialty grocery Green Aisle could be considered a conflict of interest, since Adam Erace reviews restaurants for PW . However, when something is this good, you want to shout it from the rooftops. (Or just put it on your best-of list.) Find out about specials, drink nights and what’s in stock by following the Eraces at twitter.com/greenaisle. If you’re anything like us, you’ll have to physically restrain yourself from jumping on the Broad Street Line when you read “only two tubs of Zahav hummus left” or “Ekta re-up is here.”
Seriously. It’s as if the every single person who works at Parc was hired specifically for their perfectly chiseled cheekbones, impeccably styled hair and unblemished skin. The food’s okay, too.
Parc, 227 S. 18th St. 215.545.2262. parc-restaurant.com
After a night of hard drinkin’, sometimes the only cure is a little hair o’ the dog. McCrossen’s Tavern makes that easy. For less than what it probably cost you to get the initial hangover, you can score one of three brunch items (we recommend the French Toast Bananas Foster) plus endless bloody Marys or mimosas to start on a whole new one.
McCrossen’s Tavern, 529 N. 20th St. 215.854.0923. mccrossens.com
Amazing food takes time and money: In this case, $10 and 20 minutes. At this truck—recognizable for its smoke stack—you have a choice of regular or vegetarian, platter or wrap when ordering falafel, various salads, charcoal-roasted chicken, couscous and more. (Get the platter, because the two meals’ worth of heavenly food overwhelm the pita.) A word to the wise: Don’t ask for anything extra. While you wait, the proprietor, sometimes compared to Seinfeld ’s famed Soup Nazi, doesn’t tolerate special requests. He does, however, expound on the secrets to a virtuous life and sometimes sings a little. If you’re lucky, he will, like a mother bird offering sustenance to its child, give you a piece of falafel or chicken to sample while you wait. But don’t wait too long: This lunch truck is open as long as supplies last.
NE corner of 20th and Market sts.
Ready to find out Philly's coolest people, fanciest food, tastiest drinks, best shopping and more? Welcome to PW's "Better Than Best" list, a roundup of all of the city's top hidden treasures.