Tongue tacos, Italian milkshakes, candy-coated flapjacks and 47 other delicious foods and drinks you should be tasting right now.
At Butter’s Soul Food to Go in Brewerytown—the epicenter of Philly soul food—they’re smoking more green than Michael Phelps on 4/20. Call ahead to pick up an order of some of the best soul food in the city and don’t forget an extra side of the rich, smoky collard greens. They’re silky and smooth like butter, baby. Butter’s Soul Food to Go, 2821 W. Girard Ave. 215.235.4724. buttersoulfood.com
There was once a time when a dude couldn’t sip a brightly colored beverage with a salted rim in front of his homies without being called out. When your michelada arrives at the bar at Xochtil, you can confidently tell your bud, “It’s beer, brah.” The name itself is the contraction of Mexican slang “mi chela helada,” or “my cold beer.” The drink itself is cerveza de barril (draft beer) on ice in a chili-and-salt-rimmed glass with lime juice and a bit of spicy tomato sauce. Think bloody beery and you’re close. Xochitl, 408 S. Second St. 215.238.7280. xochitl.com
Though Saisons and gin spritzes are still dominating our drinking repertoire, we’d be lying if somewhere in the corner of our brains we weren’t thinking of autumn and the cider it will bring. And not just any cider, but the virgin-pure, intensely apple-y cider crafted by Ben Wenk with the Jonagold, Jonathan and Summer Rambo heirlooms grown on his family’s Three Springs Fruit Farm in Adams County, Pa. Wenk, a Penn State agro-ecology grad, once took a cider-making lab there, and the skills stuck. He presses the cider in small batches that are flash- pasteurized with UV light instead of flavor-destroying heat. Because there are no preservatives, the shelf life is a mere two weeks. Not that it ever lasts that long. Three Springs Fruit Farms, 1606 Bendersville- Wenksville Road, Aspers. 717.677.9553. threespringsfruitfarm.com
Take Fiorella’s ground pork and fennel sausages stuffed with provolone cheese to your last Eagles’ tailgate and be the envy of the parking lot. Grilled with peppers and onions on a good Italian roll, these sausages don’t disappoint (even if your team sometimes does). Fiorella’s, 817 Christian St. 215.922.0506
If you want eight-legged eats, try the tender grilled Spanish octopus at XIX in the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. It’s served on a warm paper- thin potato and leek salad and tossed with a bright, earthy truffle and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The Spaniard in you will be truly satisfied. XIX, Hyatt, 200 S. Broad St., 19th fl. 215.790.1919. hyatt.com/gallery/nineteen/xix.html
Counter Culture Idido Misty Valley Coffee
“It tastes like blueberries,” the floppy-haired barista at Newbold coffeehouse/beer box Brew says when asked about the single-origin Ethiopian blend called Idido Misty Valley. Dude looks like a CW tween soap star, not a joe pro, so we’re skeptical. But there they are: blueberries, sure enough, a whole Hammonton meadow of them rolling across our tongues like ball bearings. Organic, shade-grown and sun-dried in the traditional Ethiopian method, the coffee beans are roasted by North Carolina’s Counter Culture and delivered to Brew, where the fresh grinds are brewed individually in Bee House’s pour-over drippers for a clear, pure coffee that really sings. Voluptuous body. Dazzling acidity. It’s the best cup poured in Philly. Brew, 1900 S. 15th St. 215.339.5177. ultimocoffee.wordpress.com
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 Holiday Guide 2014