Went to the Reading Market today. Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!! My Sister-In-Law said she read where the Amish are not there all the time? All I know is they were there today in all their amazing glory. From their baked goods such as pies, moon pies, pecan rolls, cheese danishes, etc to their Amish butters, provisions, ribs, etc. Just great!
I got tons of pictures and I will post them all soon. I promise! I just didn't want to forget what I experienced....So, hot off the press..Here it is. Walked into the place and it was pretty full at noon. It reminded me of the DeKalb market outside of Atlanta, the market in Boston, and the Centro Market in Florence...Especially the Centro Market.
So many vendors..so much going on..Sooooo good! If I lived anywhere near this place, my arteries would have exploded by now! Produce of all sorts, flowers, cook books, candy, ice cream, bakeries, gyros, Chinese, Thai, cheesesteaks..On and on. Every so often there was a area for centralized dining...this place is built for consuming food..don't bother looking for a quiet cozy place to sit and talk over a meal...You are there to chow down informally!!!
We first walked up and down all the aisles to the right of the center of the market until we got to our destination; I already knew where we were gonna eat. There we located the Original Turkey (use to be called Bassett's Turkey I was told) and the roast pork place that' I'd read so much about. Sure enough, both places had long lines and so I knew I was right on the $$$.
I sent my wife to get her turkey sandwich in that long lone. My Sister-in-Law secured a table and I went to Dinic's for our sandwich. My wife came back with a beautiful thick hand sliced turkey breast sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce on multi grain bread. Looked to have 1/4 lb turkey on the sandwich (they do weigh the meat as I noticed later when I went to watch the operation). The turkey was moist and tasted terrific.. She paid about $10 for the sandwich and a soda. The line was at least 10 deep at all times.
Let me finish with the turkey place as I'm on a roll here. They roast off the double breasts (you can see them on the carving board) and pull them off the breast bone in front of the customers, pull the skin off and start slicing the breast by hand. That's what they do. They have a convection oven behind the line and that's how they roast them. I did not see much dry rub seasoning..the meat was just fantastic tasting.
They have all sorts of steam table options you can choose from and you can design a platter or a sandwich to your liking.
I am a pastrami lover. It was my favorite all time sandwich until now. I have to tell you, that's all changed after eating a Dinic's Pork, Greens and Sharp Provolone hoagie. It's a tie for me and that includes stops at the Carnegie, Harold's and Katz's. That Dinic's sandwich was truly exceptional. I shared one with my Sister-in-Law, who is Italian and she said she never thought of the combination and then added..It was the best sandwich she had ever had.
When you step up to the counter, you see the "inventory" of beautifully roasted pork (fresh hams), roast beefs and briskets (you can see the pictures). The meats has a dry rub of what appears to be garlic powder, salt and pepper. The exterior fat caps on all the meats have crusted just like on a fine piece of roasted prime rib. You just want to reach over the sneeze guard and pull it off and eat it!!!
They take your order of what meat (there's a veggie option, too - greens and cheese) you want and then the add ons like the greens (greens can be either Rabe or spinach), roasted peppers and sharp Provolone. You give them your drink order and then you step back and wait..There is a long line here, too. But, it moves fast. The sandwich maker slices the pork and beef and replenishes the steam table pans with the meats sitting in their juices. On the cutting board to the right of the meat, he has slivers of the provolone that he palces at the bottom of the hoagie before topping with the hot meat and juice.
I watched the process. The fresh roast pork is sliced and placed in a broth and sits in the steam table. Not unlike the way they serve Italian beef in Chicago. Same thing with the roast beef..The brisket is kept dry. They slice the rolls (not nearly as good as those at Tony Luke's!) and place slivers (you cannot machine slice this cheese, if it's the real thing!) of the most incredble sharp imported provolone cheese. If you love this particular cheese, you'll know in a second what I am talking about! Then they take a long fork and dip into the steam table pan and come up with slice after slice of this beautiful, thin cut fresh ham (I know it's fresh ham because of it's color..pure light meat..and texture...this is not meat from the shoulder or butt) dripping in meat juices.
They lay the warm meat and juices on top of the shaved cheese which automatically starts the melting process. Then the greens are added and the sandwich is cut and wrapped. the greens hae been sauteed in olive oil and garlic..You can taste it. They are perfectly done and still retain their beautiful green color.
The first bite, if not taken clear through to the bottom half of the sandwich, will just be to taste the wonderful spinach with the garlic and the meat - so soft, delicate and tasty. So, you take your second bite and it's deeper into the sandwich and it hits you..The most amazing provolone...So strong and yet so essential to this sandwich. So little goes so far. The combination is pure genius. Philly..You know your sh_t!
I spoke to a guy, who sure seemed like the owner and I kidded him. I said the provolone costs more than anything on the sandwich and he said.."You know.." This is imported provolone..Check out it's price..if you can even find it. Yes, he only gives you slivers, but it's fine. Works perfectly. What a sandwich! What a sandwich! It was around $7.00 and the same size as a Tony Luke's sandwich. Good for two average diners.
We got some ice cream from Basset's and it was good. I'm not a big ice cream fan. I had a slice of Amish blueberry pie..That was wonderful. The Reading Market was worth a 90 minute trip to Philly alone! Took a bus tour of the city. There is a lot to see. Nice city..Nice people..Great food!!! So they don't like the Mets and the Giants.....Nothing is perfect....
Only sad part was I did not get to go to Mastoris Diner. Next time....
I hope to have all the pictures posted in 10 days.
<message edited by Baah Ben on Wed, 05/6/09 5:14 PM>