Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 10:15am
Subject: Philly Series, Part 2 of 3
Hey RR – I’m back with Part 2 of 3 of my year in Philly food. Picking up from the last batch, I continue to love what Philly has to offer. Philadelphia seems like a hidden gem when it comes to food cities these days. Not to take anything away from it, because there’s some serious talent, here – and it has a history of serious talent – but it’s not like you’re reading about it as a food destination on every page.
Every time I mention that I’m heading Philly I hear that I’ve got to try the Tartufo Pizza from Pizzeria Stella. I made my way there for an early snack ahead of another meal. I swore I was only going to have one bite. I posted up at the pizza bar, ordered the ‘za and was mesmerized by what took place next. Now, I know you love Motorino in New York, but this gives it a run for the money. A blistering crust pizza with fontina cheese, black truffle and a sunny-side up egg was placed in front of me. Like an artist at work, the server broke the egg and spooned the yolk all over the pizza (while I drooled). I had a slice… and another – but stopped myself before I lost all of my appetite for my next meal. This pizza was definitely worth it.
I think I may have told you about my next stop, Pub & Kitchen. Now, I can get down with some pub food as you know, but put it this way: this is Philly’s answer to New York’s The Spotted Pig, and a darn good answer at that. Chef Jon Adams has some top-shelf talent in the kitchen, and I got to see it first hand. He started me out with a mini Caesar salad with perfectly grilled shrimp. Next, I had to ask about the Buffalo wings on the menu. You know I love my wings. Heck, if you’re a talented chef and you have Buffalo wings on the menu, I’m going to try them. He gave me a taste of their Buffalo-style and a taste of their honey-whisky-style. They came out just how I like them: small, crispy and not too much fat. After a rich and delicious potted crab and artichoke dip, I demolished a bowl of fusilli with smoked pork shank ragu. This was one of the best bowls of pasta I’ve had in a long time. Chef finished me off with a burger, which he takes great pride in, as one should. It was fantastic, but I barely made a dent in it since I was so full! I ended on a sweet note with a piece of ginger carrot cake and pumpkin ice cream. Good night and get there soon!
I can get down with a good cheesesteak, and I’m pretty confident that I know what I like in a cheesesteak, but if you talk to enough locals in Philly you’ll find that most of them go for a roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. I had mine at Shank’s Original, a little hut along Pier 40. It was quite alright, but the secret weapon for this sandwich is definitely the sharp provolone. Next time you’re in Philly, do as the locals do and try a roast pork sandwich. Although, come to think of it, I know you have a pretty great recipe for a very similar sandwich.
Now, I know New York has its fair share of barbecue, but Percy Street BBQ in Philly is the real deal. I made a quick stop there for a little taste of brisket and mac and cheese…next thing I knew, I had about ten plates all around me. From the German Potato Salad to brisket, mac and cheese and ribs to the pork belly, beans and smoked turkey tail. Yea, I said it. Smoked, then grilled and tossed in barbecue sauce, the turkey tail was something different, that’s for sure, but quite good and well worth trying. There’s a first time for everything, and Percy Street does it right! And I can’t forget – even though I know you’re not a sweets person, you’ve got to at least have a taste of the pecan pie.
And that’s what’s on my plate!
420 South 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Pub & Kitchen
1946 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
901 S Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Percy Street BBQ
900 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!