Everyone knows that when you think of Philadelphia, PA food, you think of cheese steaks, but did you know they are equally known for their pretzels and their water ice? Thomas, my boyfriend, was born in Miami but raised in Philadelphia, and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have known about the last two, which in my opinion are the best two! So here is a look how Thomas and I ate our way through Philadelphia’s favorites.
So let’s go back to this pretzel thing. Not only are they known for pretzels, but they eat them in the breakfast like bagels or donuts! Instead of bringing a dozen donuts to the office, someone will run to the nearest Pretzel Factory and grab a dozen pretzels. In my opinion, I think it is a little weird, but I am also the one who argues with Thomas that Donuts are a breakfast and not a dessert, so I guess regional ‘breakfasts’ are up to debate. We ended up going to Philly Pretzel Factory in Abington, Pa and was pleasantly surprised. We walked in and you could smell the fresh pretzels! You can even see them being made to the right of us through a big glass window.
I ordered a rivet shaker with cheese sauce, a cinnamon pretzel twist with a pumpkin spice dipping sauce, and Thomas ordered two Beef Pretzel dogs. I was pleasantly surprised! The rivets were soft and not to salty and paired really well with the cheese sauce. The cinnamon pretzel, although great tasting, wasn’t the softest, but the pumpkin spice frosting dip was good. But ultimately, I think my favorite was the beef pretzel dog with a little yellow mustard on it! Delicious! I was actually craving another one of those the whole rest of the trip.
Now the next place we went to is truly a Philly staple and has broadened it’s reach by moving into Virginia, Ohio, Georgia and even Florida. This has to be, by far, my favorite, and clearly Thomas’ favorite too, Philly eat, Rita’s Italian ice, or as the Philly’s call it Rita’s Water Ice. They have combine an old favorite of Italian ice with amazing flavors and the option of custard to make the most delicious, cold treat for the summer. Unfortunately, it is closed in the winter, so if you hurry now, you may get to it before they close!
Thomas and I both got the Cotton Candy Misto Shake, which is the cotton candy Italian ice mixed with vanilla custard, and I also got a small Mango Italian ice to go. I have to say I just looooooove Rita’s. They are consistent with their amazing flavors, they mix just the right amount of vanilla custard with the cotton candy Italian ice to make it a sweet and decadent dessert, especially after the salty pretzels. And my mango Italian ice was just as good a couple days later in the freezer, when I decided to indulge on it. If you are ever on the East coast in the PA/VA area, this place is a must try!
Last and not least, the food that is the most known for Philly, the Philadelphia Cheese Steak. Now we didn’t want to eat just any other cheese steak, so we asked Thomas’ long time friend Mugg to give us the best cheesesteak place, and he said Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop because they use a great cut of meat, they are consistently good, and worth the little drive from the burbs.
Friday at about 9:30PM our plans had fallen through, and we decided that we would take the 30 minute drive to go out to Joe’s in Fishtown to try them out. Never having a true AUTHENTIC Philly cheesesteak, I was excited! We drove out there down broad town, and enjoyed a little tour of Philly and got there and found easy parking. Now, my situation isn’t going to be the same as everyone else’s but I am particular when it comes to my cheesesteaks, I do NOT do onions. I asked the lady who was taking our order, may I please have the Philly cheesesteak with mushrooms and no onions, and she said yes! we can definitely do that for you, so I was sold. I had ordered the cheesesteak with wiz, because that’s what the locals do, and mushrooms with an old fashioned orange soda and a large order of Old Bay French Fries, Thomas ordered the chicken cheesesteak. We sat down at the cute diner booth and waited for our order to come in. After about 10 minutes, we were given our to go bag and we set on the 30 minutes trek back up to the burbs.
We got home and started to grub, and immediately I was saddened. Not only did they forget to leave off onions, they were everywhere and they had been melding with all the other flavors of the cheesesteak, that even after I picked them all off, the lingering taste was still there. It was not the Philly cheesesteak experience I was hoping for. Even thought they left the onions on there, I know that it had the makings of being an amazing sandwich, so I can’t write them off completely! The bread was soft and warm, the cheese wiz had melted into the meat and bread, and you can tell the cut of meat, like Mugg had suggested, was a great choice. There wasn’t any gristle, and cooked perfectly. So all in all the experience was ok, if I lived there I would give them another chance, but next time I go there I will try someone else out.
Although I gained two pounds, and indulged a little to much, our vacation was a great experience trying out the Philly favorites. If you visit Philly, please check these places out!