Yo, Adrian. Let’s Eat (or The Vultures Tour a Food Landmark in Philly)
This is how much we like food. We will awaken at 5 a.m. in our rural and suburban homes to drive into northwest Philadelphia–about 80 miles– and then board a SEPTA train that whisks us to center city Philadelphia, home of the historic Reading Terminal Market. The only glitch was exiting the train at Suburban Station instead of Market East, but we re-boarded before being abandoned in a location without a cheesesteak or fresh peach in sight. Think of the trauma! My commuter savvy has plummeted because it was me bossing everyone around to get off. What does Homer Simpson say? D’oh?
So, to recap—we drove, we rode and we walked our way to see and sniff and taste this food. And it was good. Very, very good. Bassett’s ice cream. Roast beef sandwiches from DiNics, dark chocolate almond bark from the Pennsylvania General Store, pastries from Termini Brothers, pie and whole wheat rolls from Beiler’s Bakery. Total yumminess. And lest you believe we stuffed ourselves on high carb treats all day, let me just point out that we sought out vegetable stands and took lots of pictures. Hey, there’s a cornfield right across the street from my home. I see food that’s good for me by the time I get the morning paper each day. I was here for the crazy good stuff and photo opportunities of antioxidants.
However, this outing was more than just a road trip to leer at food. We had signed up for the Taste of Philadelphia market tour, which is held every Wednesday and Saturday at the Market. Today, it was just the three of us and our guide Gail, a congenial Philly native who supplied all the food lore we could gobble up about the Reading Railroad, Philly’s role as the center of the food universe in the 19th century, and the true story behind the creation of hoagies, cheesesteaks, and soft pretzels. Although the tour is advertised to last 75 minutes, we hung out with Gail for nearly two hours. We had samples of snapper soup, ice cream, pretzels and candy, which whet our appetites for a second course—lunch!
The Terminal has so much to offer. We were overwhelmed with choices. The colors, the signs, the noise, the people, the displays, the smells. We’re determined to go back and sample our way through the place.
And as much as the day was about food, we emerged slightly more aware of how to get around the big city without our cars. The train trip was a relaxing alternative on a hot day to the Schuylkill Expressway. Once we arrived–correctly–at Market East, the market was across the street. It was pretty simple, and we’re determined to do it again. Sure, I bought luscious candy and whole wheat rolls, but I think I returned home feeling, as we used to say in the old days, “so cosmo.” You know, savvy, brave, eager to try again. We got out of our comfort zones, had a bit of an urban adventure, and washed it all down with a mouthwatering sandwich for lunch. Talk about a perfect day.