Annual Meeting
Challenge Your Taste Buds But Not Your Wallet
Psychiatric News
Volume 47 Number 7 page 14a-14a

Philadelphia offers a vast array of fast and affordable food choices, and what you will probably notice first is the bounty of food-cart options. Almost every street corner in downtown Center City has multiple food carts. Touristy Love Park (JFK between 15th and 16th) is in many ways the heart of this scene, especially for lunch, and depending on the day of the week, you get a rotating cast of Philadelphia’s best. Jose Garces’ Guapos Tacos serves up creative gourmet tacos, like duck with kimchee and peanuts, at least twice weekly (usually Monday and Friday, but check Twitter @guapostacos to be sure). Lucky Old Souls (@LOSburgertruck) offers burgers with house-made (or is it truck-made?) condiments, while Pitruco Pizza (@pitrucopizza) has surprises like braised radicchio pizza with wild mushrooms and parmesan, and afterward you can satisfy your sweet tooth at one of many dessert and cupcake trucks, including Sweetbox and Buttercream. And if falafel is your tried and true, you will find the best down a couple of blocks at Falafel Truck (at the corner of 20th and Market).

No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a visit to Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch), an enclosed public market with more than 100 food merchants and truly a food mecca. Groceries, butchers, hard-to-find spices, and anything else remotely related to food can be found here. Pork-sandwich lovers receive special attention, as John’s Roast Pork and DiNic’s both have sensational offerings—John’s has earned a James Beard American Classic Award and might offer the best cheesesteak in the city in addition to its pork. Duck lovers will have to stop by Sang Kee Peking Duck, before moving on to pretzels at Metropolitan Pretzel and cookies at Famous Fourth Street Cookie.

Phenomenal sandwiches are a Philadelphia staple. The pinnacle is Paesano’s (1017 South 9th Street) in South Philly, the sandwich outpost of Peter McAndrews, whose sit-down $34 prix fixe Italian restaurant Modo Mio (161 West Gerard Avenue) is not exactly a cheap eat, but certainly an incredible deal, and has been a staple for years. The journey to South Philly for Paesano’s sandwiches is absolutely worth it, and come with a group so you can share the suckling pig with rabe, the brisket with pepperincino and fried egg, the lamb sausage with roasted fennel, and the crispy fried lasagna with meat sauce (lasagna in a sandwich! genius!). And if you prefer the Vietnamese variety of sandwich, the banh mi of choice can be found at Q.T. Vietnamese Sandwich (48 North 10th Street).

If it’s Chinese food you crave, you can get delicious dim sum at Dim Sum Garden (59 North 11th Street), as long as you can forgive the ambiance. For a step up to true sit-down Chinese, you must go to Han Dynasty (108 Chestnut Street) with its notoriously outspoken chef/owner Han Chiang. The Szechuan food is so good it has gotten rave reviews from Philadelphia’s leading food critics, but the level of heat is not for the faint of heart or palette.

Despite all these options, the most memorable place you stop in might be Capogiro (119 South 13th Street and 117 South 20th Street). Its gelato is perfected, artisinally crafted in as many inspiring and delicious flavors as you can imagine. It is Stephanie and John Reitano’s gift to the world, and don’t think for a second that I would forget to mention that John was a practicing psychiatrist before he was gelato messiah. inline-graphic-1.gif

Yan Xuan, M.D., is a PGY-3 resident in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

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