Tongue tacos, Italian milkshakes, candy-coated flapjacks and 47 other delicious foods and drinks you should be tasting right now.
Presented like gems at a jeweler’s, the vibrant assembly of seasonal canapés by James’ chef/owner Jim Burke proves good things come in small packages: fried sweetbreads with dates; pork trotters dabbed with divine apricot mostarda; chilled soup shooters (carrot-and-lemongrass, lavender-laced spring onion); and scallop ceviche, to name a few. Figure on eight to 10 different treasures per plate, changing weekly, with some frequent fliers like the aranacini—addictive fried saffron risotto balls. And it’s only $11. James, 824 S. Eighth St. 215.629.4980. jameson8th.com
We know they’ve gotten a lot of press and rightfully so. Osteria’s polpo pizza—with tender octopus, lush tomato and smoked mozzarella on a crust that’s thin and smoky thanks to a wood-burning oven—is the real pizza deal. Osteria, 640 N. Broad St. 215.763.0920. osteriaphilly.com
Mama’s Vegetarian’s crispy, dark golden brown, fluffy, herb-spiked chickpea fritters come peeking out from behind a sea of velvety hummus with shredded cabbage and diced cucumber tucked in a house-made wheat pita. Just don’t go on the Sabbath because (no lie) you’ll press your nose against their window and weep until Sunday. Mama’s Vegetarian, 18 S. 20th St. 215.751.0477. mamasvegetarian.com
Few things are as satisfying as a freshly made Vietnamese hoagie known as Banh Mi—that sexy mix of Vietnamese culinary know-how on warm Italian bread. And considering the cost ($3.75) of the tofu version at the friendliest mini market in town, few things are as good a deal either. Order yours with everything and be treated to plump morsels of marinated tofu garnished with pickled daikon radish and carrots, and just-fat-enough slices of fresh jalapeño. Fu Wah Mini Market, 810 S. 47th St. 215.729.2993
There are more Amish pickles slipped at AJ Pickle Patch than in Lancaster County during Rumspringa. These pickle purveyors preserve everything from tomatoes to cucumbers, but a few of their best are the green pickle, a newly pickled cucumber with an intense garlic flavor and the aged pickle, with a more mellow vinegary tang than a feisty youngster. AJ Pickle Patch and Salads, Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch sts. 215.627.8067
Here’s what we love about food in Philadelphia: everything. No, seriously. From the street vendor’s commonest cheesesteak to the most subtly spiced French-Asian hybrid delicacy, it’s all good. But some of it? Some of it is awesome. So here are 50 suggestions for dishes, ranging from sophisticated to speedy, that you’ve just got to try—whether you’re in town for the day or here for keeps.
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.
The first PW reader to document they've had all 50 items on our list wins $100 in gift certificates to fabulous Philly restaurants. It's that easy, and that delicious.
PW's 2015 Gift Guide
Dinner with Luke Palladino