Food Issue: Smart Food

Just Say No: To the frozen food section

By Jacob Lambert
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Dec. 3, 2008

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Cozy up to the fireplace during "Hours of Happiness" (Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.) at Bella Vista's James with $5 rum-spiked apple cider and $3 local draughts like Slyfox 113 IPA and Yards ESA. Balance the boozing with complementary bar snacks like arancine, popcorn and fresh roasted chestnuts from chef Jim Burke.

Fitzwater Cafe

728 S. Seventh St. 215.629.0428

You might know this cozy, sun-washed BYOB for brunch, but they do a mean dinner business. Go on Wednesdays for their $35 four-course prix fixe. There's lots to choose from--think black linguine with scallops, lemony branzino and house-made gnocchi--and for dessert, head to the pastry case full of baked-daily fruit tarts and mile-high Napoleons.

Caff� Casta Diva

227 S. 20th St. 215.496.9677

This Rittenhouse gem's $30 Recession Menu is a PW favorite. Just make sure one of the your three courses features chef/owner Stephen Vassalluzzo's heavenly pastas. Khyber

56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888.

This Old City spot is owned by the boys from Royal Tavern. Every day from noon till 7 p.m., the Khyber sells Royal's glorious trifecta of Angus beef, smoked Gouda and pickled long hots for only $4.


746 Christian St. 215.413.0171

Here's a sweet bonus from Bella Vista's newish Mexican outpost from bros-in-law Ismael Torres and Dionicio Jimenez: When everyone at the table orders an entree, the first pitcher of limey, fresh-squeezed 'rita mix is on the house. Just remember to BYOT.

Taproom on 19th

2400 S. 19th St. 267.687.7817. www.taproom

Should you find yourself way down South Philly, hit this Girard Estate saloon for its rock-bottom lunch deal. Ten bucks buys a cup of soup du jour or house salad, followed by a veal meatloaf sandwich, IPA-battered fish and chips, wintry chicken potpie or one of several other entrees. Domestic pint included.

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. phillygrrl said... on Dec 2, 2008 at 08:29PM

“And don't forget Under the Oak Cafe! Read about it in my blog!”

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2. silverbullet69 said... on Dec 2, 2008 at 08:29PM

“And don't forget Under the Oak Cafe! Read about it in my blog!”

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3. paula johnson said... on Dec 4, 2008 at 09:52PM

“I would rather spend more money on an egg salad sandwich that is made using cage-free eggs, mayonnaise free of hydrogenated oils and whole grain bread that doesn't contain "caramel coloring." While I agree that it is cheaper to prepare your own meals at home, I do not think it fair to throw Whole Foods under the bus. Instead of bashing Whole Foods, educate yourself about the high quality products they carry and the small companies that they support. That is why I choose to shop there. Not to mention, eating healthy now may save me many expensive trips to the hospital later on in life. Just sayin'...”

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4. silverbullet69 said... on Dec 9, 2008 at 10:02AM

“it's also possible, with a little research and work, to find REAL LOCAL, healthy ingredients somewhere OTHER THAN WHOLE FOODS where you're paying double the price (or more) for all that fancy "green" branding and b.s. flowery yoga logo design. shopping on 9th street or a farmers market/produce stand with local stuff, regardless of whether it's "organic" or doesn't come with a snappy hippie-dippy save the world packaging you're supporting PHILADELPHIA's economy, supporting hard working communities - mexicans, amish, whatever - rather than A HUGE GIANT COMPANY that MAKES BILLIONS OF DOLLARS off of people's environmental GUILT.”

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5. juliet Wayne said... on Dec 13, 2008 at 11:59AM

“I've lived in Philadelphia all my life. If I ever doubted my city's status as a vanguard of cultural innovation, my doubts were erased when I picked up last week's Philadelphia Weekly. The cover story about cheap food [where to find it, what to do with it after you find it, etc.] nearly made me blush with excitement, and I quickly flipped to the article. I was not to be disappointed! Riveted from the first paragraph, I eventually arrived at the part where the reporter bravely spoke out against skyrocketing egg salad sandwich prices. These "grab and go" rip-offs are one of the biggest rackets perpetrated on American soil since the British government attempted to levy taxes on the head-cheese breakfast wrap — the third most popular sandwich in colonial Philadelphia between 1765 and 1773. Grab and go? More like grab and KNOW! Now, I've always felt the allure of the egg —for both its culinary properties and its presence in Heironymous Bosch paintings—but never believed myself to be the kind of bon vivant (if you will) that could actually put together an egg dish of my own. Luckily the writer walked me through it: where to buy things like lettuce, eggs, mayonnaise and even tomatoes! I really had to psych myself up. "Just pretend you're the kind of person who can cook egg dishes!" I thought, as I tugged at my fleece mock turtleneck, hoping no one would notice me —the novice— at the grocery store. (Thank you for pointing out these off-the-grid snacktopias to me by the way - everything was so much cheaper than at Whole Foods!) Next thing I knew I was boiling, shelling and eventually mashing eggs with mayonnaise, and eating my own egg salad sandwich, created with the help of the Philadelphia Weekly. As I cleared my placemat, walked over to the sink and eventually washed and dried my plate and cutlery, I looked across the cityscape from my kitchen window, confident now in Philadelphia's status as a culinary hub! Look out New York! Move over Baltimore! And me? Well, as I exclaimed with newfound confidence to my pet hermit crab, Joel, I'm a cost-savvy Philadelphian gourmand! ”


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