Philadelphia Weekend

Double Chili Cheeseburger
2010/09/27 13:21:15
Recently took a long weekend in Philadelphia.  Have been many times but this is the first time I'm attempting a report with pictures. 
We started out Thursday at Tony Luke's.  In all my trips to Philly, somehow I had never been.
We had the Roast Pork Italian with spinach and sharp provolone (under the pork). The other option was broccoli rabe, but was very happy with the spinach. 
I recently saw on an episode of Food Wars that they finish off par-baked rolls from Liscio’s Bakery on site.  Definitely the best roll of the trip. 
We headed for the hotel and I got bollixed up with the one–way streets. On the way, I discovered where to go if I ever want a "big dish of beef chow mien" in Philly.
We were going to Villa Di Roma for dinner (no pictures – fail) so decided to have a snack at Franklin Fountain after checking in.


A short walk down Market Street toward Penn’s Landing brought us to Franklin Fountain.  We had seen this on Man v. Food and I guess we thought it was much bigger inside than it is.  There’s a 3 stool counter past the cash register but other than that, no seating, except for the five or so tables outside.  They did have a nice collection of root beers and assorted sodas in bottles.
We had the Homemade Hot Fudge Sundae and substituted cherry Vanilla for one of the 2 scoops of Vanilla Bean.  Very good ice cream and the dark chocolate fudge was a plus, though a bit skimpy IMHO.

More to follow later (this is much harder than I thought it would be).
post edited by eruby - 2010/09/28 07:07:40
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/27 13:26:25
Been to the Franklin Fountain-  I remember preferring the atmosphere over the ice cream
I can never say anything bad about Tony Lukes except that it's been too long since I've been back there.
Filet Mignon
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/27 13:55:18
Nice start to the report...looking forward to more!  Thanks for sharing!
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/27 14:02:18
The Tony Luke's pork sandwich looks very good...did it serve 1 person or 2?
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/27 14:29:02

The Tony Luke's pork sandwich looks very good...did it serve 1 person or 2?

My girlfriend and I split it as we had more stops to make.  I definitely could have finished it, but would have had no room for ice cream or anything else before dinner.  It was either a 10" or 12" roll and was a pretty substantial roll at that.

Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 07:26:31
Prior to checking in, we had stopped at the Reading Terminal Market. 

We mostly walked around as we were still full from Tony Luke's, but did gety a few cookies from Termini Bros.  There was a stall that sold beeswax producys and I thought these wax dragons were interesting.

After we had the sundae at Franklin Fountain  we walked over to Penn's Landing  on the Delaware River.  There were some old Naval ships as well as a submarine, though we didn't pay to board the vessels.
We walked back to the hotel and took a short rest before dinner at Villa Di Roma.  We try to eat there each trip to Philly and it's one of our favorite places.  I apologize for not having any dinner pictures, I'm still trying to master this digital camera.    
We had an appetizer of crab stuffed mushrooms in a somewhat thick Scampi sauce that was delicious.  Along with the exception spinach with garlic and oil, we had sausage and peppers over linguini and a veal/eggplant parmesan combo.  We've never been disappointed at Villa Di Roma. 
More later. 
post edited by eruby - 2010/09/28 07:38:31
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 10:13:12
I'm surprised you didn't get some canolli while you were at Termimi Bros.  They make the best!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 10:48:06
nice report so far eruby, didn't know you were werewolf though ;)
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 13:08:42
We started early with breakfast at Honey's Sit n Eat.  Again I'm a zero for not having food pictures, I can't seem to get an indoor picture.  The challah toast and potato latke (more like a big wedge of potato cake) were both excellent.  We will definitely return to Honey's which is about 2 miles north of the Old City.

Murals near Honey's. Philadelphia has a big murals program and we saw them in several areas including by Honey's and in the Italian Market

We spent the rest of the day in the Independence Park complex.  It makes one proud to be an American to go there, and I found it hard to not get choked up at times.
Independence Hall

Close up of Washington's statue outside Independence Hall.

We had ordered free tickets online ($1.50 surchage per ticket) so we didn't have to go to first come - first serve to get tickets that morning.  Highly recommend this.
We then went to the Liberty Bell. The line was about 40 people long but it did move quickly.

We then went to the National Constitution Center.  It was not actually part of the complex, and there was charge of $12 to get in, but they had a 2 for 1 special and it would have been worth both admissions.   Again, for me, hard to not get emotional in the building.


Inside the Constitution Center, they had an exhibit with statues of the Founding Fathers.  This picture, which includes Ben Franklin (I didn't know he was in his eighties when he signed) came out not too bad. I don't recall who the guy with the peg leg was.

Across 5th Steet was the U.S. Mint

After all the sightseeing, we headed back down Market Street to Campo's Deli.  I had always heard good things about Campo's but the cheesesteak we got had a roll no better than a typical Baltimore sub shop and was kind of on the skimpy side.  Don't know if we hit them on an off day, or we looked like rube tourists, but we were not at all impressed.  As usual, the indoor pic failed.  On the plus side, they did have an excellent canolli, though not as good (as ChrisOC pointed out) as you can get at Termini Bros.  Some of the food trucks all around Independence Hall had better looking cheesesteaks than Campo's.

It was back to the hotel to rest before dinner.....
post edited by eruby - 2010/09/28 13:15:04
TJ Jackson
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 14:30:52
The thing to get at Campo's is the Mama Mia italian hoagie on a ($1 extra) Sarcone's seeded roll
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 15:57:06


Some pics of Villa di Roma
post edited by acer2x - 2010/09/28 16:06:04
Junior Burger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 21:43:12
As a Philly guy I'd have to say you did the right thing by going to Tony Luke's- it's the best of all the popular joints by far. The Franklin Fountain is good too!
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/28 23:41:37
Very nice report. I live on the same block as Lee How Fook.
My wife and I love Franklin Fountain and go there somewhat regularly during the summer. Their Maple-Walnut ice cream is a big favorite of mine. My only complaint is the high prices, but I'm sure their rent is high in that neighborhood. Funny that you mentioned that they were a bit skimpy with their hot fudge. A couple times, I've had just the opposite complaint. They put so much on that it kind of drowned out everything else in my sundae. I guess it depends who is making your sundae.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2010/09/28 23:42:59
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 06:54:56
phlmaestro - I just got the 2011 Philadelphia Zagat in the mail and Lee How Fook was tied for the top rated Chinese in Philly.  And Campo's was tied with 4 others for 2nd in cheesesteaks behind - Tony Luke's. 

On our way to dinner we stopped in Signer's Park which is next to Independence Hall.  We saw the statue called The Signer. 
"The Signer 'commemorates the spirit and deeds of all who devoted their lives to the cause of American Freedom.'  The bronze statue, standing 9-1/2 feet high on a 6-foot granite base, was a gift of the Independence Hall Association."

We walked down to South Street and had dinner at South Street Souvlaki.  The large greek salad was very good and the dolmades had a great flavor, though the rice filling was a little dry.  We also split a gyro platter and the meat was excellent.  We ordered extra pita but the waitress did not charge for it, and her service was spot on the whole meal.  Again no inside pictures of the food.

After dinner, we walked back to Penn's Landing where they had a Friday night fireworks display. Not a long show, but very good fireworks and the right price.  
We checked out and went back to the Italian Market.  We first stopped at Sarcone's Bakery and picked up several Italian breads and a few onion rolls.  I'm always jealous of Philly residents as they have so many excellent bakeries to get great bread pretty much whenever they want.  The guy ahead of us had a pepperoni roll and it looked so good we had to try one as well.  It was the best one we've ever had, not overly bready and a nice amount of pepperoni. Last weekend we were in Pittsburgh and got a pepperoni roll from Mancini's in the Strip District.  Lots more bread and lots less pepperoni.  Made us appreciate Sarcone's even more.
We then walked over to Isgro's for canolli and cookies to take home.  It was strange to be in there when it's empty as we're usually there around Christmastime and it's a madhouse. 
Next we walked down 9th street, going into various shops, and made our way to Pat's Steaks.  I've always enjoyed the cheesesteaks at Pat's, and ignored the "too touristy" talk, but this time, we thought the sandwich was a bit on the chincy side.  While still better than what we can get back home, it just wasn't up to what we normally get at Pat's.

We walked back up 9th street and stopped in at Claudio's for a couple of balls of mozzarella to take home.  We'd forgotten ice, but there was a Rite Aid up a few blocks on 9th, so we didn't have to go hunting for ice for the cooler.  We packed everything up and got ready to leave.
The last decision was wether to go to Steve's Prince of Steaks for one last cheesesteak, or Tony Luke's to try their version.  We went to Steve's (off Bustleton) as it has always been my favorite.  In retrospect, we probably should have chosen Tony Luke's as there was a big traffic detour getting to Steve's off of I95, and we probably could have gotten home an hour earlier had we gone to Tony Luke's.  The sandwich at Steve's was my favorite of the trip, but I'm sure next trip, when we try Tony Luke's cheesesteak, it will be right up there.  The picture below is from the Roadfood review, but ours looked just about the same as the the picture.  Never had a bad sandwich at Steve's.
That's all for this trip.  I will practice more with the camera so I can post more food pictures from inside restaurants.  It's always a great trip to the City of Brotherly Love.
post edited by eruby - 2010/09/29 07:36:36
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 07:32:27
TJ Jackson

The thing to get at Campo's is the Mama Mia italian hoagie on a ($1 extra) Sarcone's seeded roll

Noted for next time, thanks!! 

Filet Mignon
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 14:01:03
eruby, excellent start, and great pictures!  I don't think I ever knew that Lee How Fook existed.  The founder you mentioned is the oft-forgotten Peg Leg Jones, who signed the Declaration and also founded Groundhog Day.  :)
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 14:36:00
What a great report....great for thought..thanks.
Filet Mignon
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 14:39:54
I enjoyed reading your  report very  much.............time  for me to  have another weekend in Philadelphia.  The  next time  that you  have  a  roast pork  at  Tony Lukes;  try it with  the rabe  rather thaan  the  spinach.  It  is  really  awesome.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 17:51:49
I'm not surprised Lee How Fook is rated that highly. It's probably been my favorite Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown as far as entrees go for a number of years. Sometimes I'm more in the mood for Hong Kong style noodle soups or barbecued meats and prefer Sang Keep Peking Duckhouse at 9th and Vine for that type of food.
I can't argue with your decision to go to Steve's Prince of Steaks. It's also my personal favorite cheesesteak in Philly, with D'Alessandro's probably being the runner-up.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/29 18:13:57
eruby, nice job on this!  Steve's is amazing -- did you get it with hot peppers?  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  And Tony Luke's Roast Pork is one of my all-time favorite sandwiches.  I've got to get down to Philly again sometime...  Chris
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/30 06:28:52
Thanks to all for the kind words.  I always enjoy reading other reports, it almost makes me think I was at the places myself,  and was glad I could make a small contribution.
Greymo - I've had the rabe at Dinic's and thought it was a little bitter, but I will definitely try the rabe at Tony Luke's next go round.  I first had spinach at John's Roast Pork and guess I got hooked on it there.
phlmaestro - I will have to give D'Alessandro's a try.  I've never been there but many speak very highly of it.  I also need to try Chink's as well.
ayersian - No hot peppers at Steve's.  I had one several years ago and I think I STILL feel its heat.  I'm not as bold as most when it comes to hot/spicey foods.  My favorite hot sauce is La. Gold out of Louisiana made by Bruce Foods.  Though I see Bruce Foods yams in all my local stores, I've never seen La. gold, and have to mail it order it.  That sauce is about as hot as I can handle.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/30 06:42:00
Nice job eruby! You put together a good weekend. Whenever I have friends in from out of town, I take them to Villa di Roma. It's my favorite Italian restaurant in Philly.
Good move going to Isgro's - I love it there and have taken a couple of tour groups there (you may or may not know that I host food tours in Philadelphia and its environs).
I don't want to turn this into a cheesesteak forum but your choices of Campo's, Pat's, and Steve's are fine and gave you a variety. Personally, I'm not a Dalessandro's fan anymore since it was sold a while back. I could give you a dozen other off-the-beaten path steak shops that will knock your socks off. A trip to Chink's is definitely worthwhile.
Anyway, again, great job!
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/30 09:12:18
Really nice report!  Thanks for making the effort.  No visit to Philly is complete without at least one visit to Tony Luke's.  And you aren't the only one who gets choked up when near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
sk bob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Philadelphia Weekend 2010/09/30 21:34:57
great report eruby