The Food Issue: 50-Plus Things You Must Eat & Drink

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.

By Cristina Perachio, Tim McGinnis, Brian Freedman, Brian McManus, Nicole Finkbiner and a few foodie friends.
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 7 | Posted Nov. 2, 2011

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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.

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 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.

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.

Cynar Cocktail at

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., 135 S. 18th St. 215.825.7030.

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.

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7
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1. BAR said... on Nov 2, 2011 at 11:38AM

“Speaking of chicken livers.even for people who hate them:.none can even begin to touch those crisp,soft (yes, both)addictive little numbers at Cochon. Make a meal out of two or three appetizer orders. You won't regret it!”

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2. pete said... on Nov 2, 2011 at 03:01PM

“Too rich for my stomach.

I just think of the endless GI issues which
result from eating all that food.

Maybe it is just me but I can't eat anything
which I do not make myself or it will cause
me GI distress.

Is there bacteria present in restaurant kitchens
which is not present in mine?”

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3. JP said... on Nov 2, 2011 at 05:19PM

“Great article! Pete it is just you.”

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4. LadyAdmin said... on Nov 3, 2011 at 11:31AM

“One of the finest Sidecars in the city is at Southwark. Truth.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Nov 3, 2011 at 02:55PM

“The Budino at Barbuzzo is BY FAR my favorite dessert on the planet. It's perfection and I'm so happy to see it on this list.”

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6. Pat I said... on Nov 6, 2011 at 10:05AM

“Can someone explain to me why every chef and server in this city has to be a wailing wall of tattooes?”

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7. Steve said... on Nov 7, 2011 at 01:15PM

“Speaking of Cochon... the poor man's pudding. It seriously competes with Barbuzzo's budino (one of my other favories) in rich, sweet, vanilla/carameliness. It's shortbread dough (dough!) in a cup of hot maple-bacon caramel with a scoop of bacon ice cream that just melts right into the gooey awesomeness below. Highly rec'd.”


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