Now here’s a city that knows food.
After an energetic 90-minute interview with Chef Marc Vetri, I set off to explore. I’d been planning to go to Reading Terminal, a farmers and produce and seafood market, but MV said not to bother.
When I asked him where to eat lunch, he sent me, noting that his restaurants were not open that time of day, towards lovely Rittenhouse Square and to a restaurant called The Dandelion.
It’s a corner establishment with a bar that dominates the front room. I sat at that bar, and ordered simple, memorable gazpacho topped with small toasts on which olive pesto had been spread. Followed by baked mac and cheese infiltrated slightly by bits of ham hock. A local draft Pilsener. Folks? This is perfection.
MV also sent me to Paesano’s, in the Italian Market section of South Philly. It was a long, wonderful walk. Philadelphia is such an easy city to navigate. Flat, too, and pleasant with streets on which mostly there are colonial three story homes. Pleasant, pleasant, pleasant.
Paesano’s was on a street filled with markets and sub shops. Old school. More markets than restaurants.
I bought an $8 Arista: “Roasted suckling pig, Italian Long Hots, Broccoli Rabe & Sharp Provolone.” Man, that was crazy delicious.
Isn’t is lovely when cooks allow the ingredients to tell the story rather than use the ingredients to tell their story?