Two friends and I made the three and a half hour drive to Philadelphia last week to catch a Mats/Phillies matinee and enjoy some of the food that the city is known for. We left CT early with the plan to hit 3 of the better known sandwich havens in less than 36 hours while squeezing in a ball game. With first pitch being at 3pm we arrived in town early enough to hit John's Roast Pork. I've been to Philly a handful of times but this was my first trip to John's. A winner of a James Beard Award as well as best cheesesteak and best roast pork sandwich in years past. I ordered a small roast pork with sharp provolone but passed on he spinach (John's does not offer broccoli rabe) and a cheesesteak with american cheese (not a fan of wiz) and onions. The roast pork was amazing. Garlicky and moist on an excellent seeded roll. The sharp provolone was barely noticeable under all that juicy pork but still a great sandwich. The cheesesteak was also top notch. They hack the meat on the grill as many places in Philly do and the cheese and onion were evenly integrated throughout the sandwich because of this. My friends ordered their roast pork with the spinach and sharp provolone and their steak with onions and wiz. They enjoyed both. The ballgame was next as I suffered through my Mets getting their heads handed to them 11-0. Enough said on that.
After a brief nap to recover from the days festivities it was on to Tony Luke's. I ordered a steak with sharp provolone and onion and mushroom while my friends ordered a roast pork italian with sharp provolone and spinach (Tony's was out of broccoli rabe) and a steak with onions and wiz. The thing I have always liked about Tony Luke's was their bread. An excellent crusty italian sub roll that's still pillowy soft on the inside. My friends agreed. The steak is left whole as opposed to chopped on the grill and is of high quality. After a few adult beverages we headed over to the Center City Pretzel Company. They open at midnight on Thursdays and we got there just after they opened. Not much better than a fresh hot pretzel just out of the oven and these were as good as it gets.
The next day before the drive back to CT we drove over to the Reading Terminal Market to visit DiNic's. They are famous for their roast pork sandwich and it did not disappoint. We all ordered sandwiches with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe and it was as advertised. We all agreed that the pork was not quite as juicy or flavorful as the sandwich at John's but it was still a very good sandwich. Before leaving the market we stopped at Bassett's Ice Cream. They have been around since 1861 and it's easy to see why. While not the best ice cream I've eaten it was exceptionally smooth and creamy.
The drive home was next and we were anxious to hit the road but before we did my friend wanted to hit Tony Luke's one more time to get a couple of cheesesteaks to take home with him. He hadn't stopped raving about the sandwiches there since our visit the night before. To recap; John's Roast Pork
- great roast pork sandwich on excellent bread and one of the best cheesesteaks in Philly. Tony Luke's
- still my go to joint for cheesesteaks and a very good roast pork sandwich. I'm still thinking about how good that bread is. DiNic's
- A notch below John's in my book but still a formidable sandwich worth trying. Center City Pretzel Company
- get there and enjoy Philly's finest pretzel. Bassett's Ice Cream
- not my favorite ice cream of all time but if you're in the Reading Terminal Market have a scoop or two.
<message edited by scovig on Tue, 04/12/11 2:46 PM>