Scrapple For Everyone: Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market to Expand

The little slice of heaven that is know as Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market is slated for an upgrade.

Business has been booming at Philly’s Shangri-La of gastronomic delights thanks to the overall growth in interest of food and more recently by the expansion of the nearby Convention Center. The folks who run one of the preeminent indoor food experiences in the country are going to shuffle some of the vendors around and move some storage areas underground to free up some space.

Storage areas along “Avenue D,” the aisle closest to 11th Street, will move to the basement to make room for up to five new retailers, which have yet to be named. Veteran tenants – the Spice Terminal, L. Halteman Family Country Foods, Flying Monkey Bakery, Spataro’s, and DiNic’s – will move to new spaces.

New faces are always welcome, but perhaps the biggest impact will be the relocation of a few of the big names. DiNic’s, in particular, is the proud purveyor of what I believe to be the best damn sandwich in Philadelphia.  Yes, I’m a cheesesteak man until I die, but the roast pork with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe is otherworldly.

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Pickled Loafs and Teriyaki Smokes: Cleveland’s West Side Market

There are two things people think they must do in Cleveland. One is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. But instead of spending 4 hours inside, I quickly trolled around the lobby and gift shop and then explored the waterfront around the gorgeous, Louvre-like building. Outside of the museum there were some food vendors, a food truck and some rouge fisherman (check out the album) catching walleye and perch. (There are “no fishing” signs all over the place!)

But I did fully visit another landmark, Cleveland’s historic West Side Market, a large building housing produce, meats, meats, meats, pierogies and Italian specialty items.

10 Finds from Cleveland’s West Side Market

1. Question the produce.

With avocados sitting next to Brussels sprouts, apples and tomatoes, at first glance this market seemed to get its produce from all over the place. But my guide Heather told me that if you start asking vendors, and as the summer offers more local vegetables, you’ll be able to find true Ohian fare.

2. Love your loafs.

I don’t know what’s in a Pickle Loaf. And I’m afraid to ask.

3.Try a new meat.

This just screamed Midwest to me. Plus I’m just picturing that SNL skit with the Super Fans from Chicago and all they keep repeating in their heads are: Ditka, sausage, Kielbasa, Jordan, Ditka, sausage, Da Bears, Ditka… (go to minute 4)

4. Don’t leave Cleveland without a pierogi tasting.

My one regret is leaving Cleveland without trying a pierogi. Heather and I ate a late lunch (gravity-defying apple!) and we didn’t arrive to the market until about an hour to close. Heather’s favorite pierogi comes from Pierogi Palace, but it closed shop before we got there and she didn’t want to subject me to less than awesome potato nuggets. But when you go, Heather suggests the jalepeno/potato/cheese pierogies. (Check her other top picks for West Side Market.) I guess that means another trip to the “Mistake by the Lake.”

5. Smoke something.

I don’t know why, but the word “smokies” really cracks me up.

Next: 5 More Finds from Cleveland’s West Side Market

Bombay By Way Of San Jose

charminar market Aug 16, 2009 3-56
Fresh pineapple cut to order. Don’t eat it, though. You’ve been warned.

Greetings from India. This is my fourth week here, about the halfway point of the trip, and all is well.

Well, sort of. The first week was taken up with recovering from jet lag. They say to expect a day of screwed-up circadian rhythm for each time zone you travel through, and I passed over fifteen getting here. Once you’re over it, however, you kind of miss it. Even though you’re crashing out at around nine every night, you’re also awake by four in the morning, which equates into a whole extra half-day if you act on it. But even when you recover from jet lag, homesickness can set in right afterward.

A little history: not only is this my first visit to a country outside the U.S., it’s also the first time I’ve traveled anywhere by plane in over a decade, since before 9/11. So between not getting sick on the flight over and not getting sick from questionable food or water sources, I think a little pining for my own bed is a natural reaction and the least that could happen. It could very easily have been worse.

And by “worse,” most people mean, of course the Indian equivalent of Montezuma’s revenge, a.k.a. “Delhi belly,” or less delicately, mudbutt.” Dysentery and its cousins can be caused by improper food handling, unsanitary conditions, or simply a tender tummy’s reaction to new foods. But the biggest culprit of intestinal illnesses in the developing world is, sadly, the water. The hard and fast rule is that if you’re traveling in a country where you don’t absolutely trust the source of your food, there are only two safe choices; eating something that’s had the shit boiled out of it, or eating something that you can peel, like a banana.

Of all the things you’ve heard about India, the one that turns out to be the most true is the people. I’m currently working in Hyderbad, which is one of the country’s Silicon Valley counterparts; it’s also the third largest outsourcing city in India. People are everywhere; crowding the roads with their insane driving, building mansions into the rocky hills, and selling everything in the marketplace. Find out what after the jump.

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