Monday, July 09, 2007

NEA Report #8 -- Philly Food

I don't want to give the impression that the NEA RA (Representative Assembly) was all work and no play. And I certainly don't want you to think that we survived on bread and water! Finding good food in Philly was part of the fun of the week!

The Reading Terminal Market across the street from the Convention Center is like our North Market...only on steroids! It has been open since 1893 and is home to more than 80 merchants, two of whom are descendants of the original standholders from a century before. This market has Thai, Mexican, Amish, gourmet, and local foods (just to name a few). There are fresh flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts, wines, and cookbooks (just to name a few more). What a great asset to the thriving downtown of Philadelphia!

Yes, we ate the requisite Philly Cheesesteak. The governor of PA visited the convention and he told us what makes the Philly Cheesesteak the Philly Cheesesteak. (He had been mayor of Philly before becoming governor.) 1. Stringy, fatty meat. Many people try to improve on the Philly Cheesesteak by using good meat, but that nullifies the authenticity. 2. Cheese Whiz. Again, don't bother with real cheese, because it won't melt right and get down in the cracks of the stringy meat. 3. Don't drain the fat off the onions. Yup, to be a REAL Philly Cheesesteak, it needs to be greasy. The ones we ate were authentic in every way. And I'm sorry, Philly, but I like the fake version I get at Cap City Diner!

Even though we worked really hard for the 5 days of the Representative Assembly, we somehow found the time to make it over to the Reading Market in the mid-afternoon for a still-warm cookie, or some to-die-for candy!

The best meal of the week was at La Fontana Della Citta. I had the best arugula salad ever, and great creme brulle. The Eggplant Parmesan was good, but not the best ever.

On the first day we were in Philadelphia, the day we did all our sight-seeing, we had lunch at Soho Pizza. I had a typical slice of pepperoni, along with an experimental slice of broccoli/spinach. YUM! Whoda thunk? But it worked. I may try to replicate it here at home!

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