Reading Terminal Market
“If you want to feast while you’re in Philadelphia, there is no better place to do it than here, the Reading Terminal Market. Now this is one of the oldest and largest public markets in America, and you can find every kind of food Philly has to offer.
This is Bassett’s Ice Cream, the oldest ice cream company in America. They’ve been located here in the market for 100 years. They still have the original marble countertops. They still get all their milk from local Pennsylvania dairy farms. Let’s get a taste. This is Roger Bassett, fifth generation owner of Bassett’s Ice Cream, scooping it myself. This is going to be a thing of glory here. Chocolate first. Got some serious chunks in this salted caramel pretzel right here.”
“Vanilla is nice.”
“You’re telling me vanilla is your most famous flavor? Look at that. You can see the little specks of the vanilla in there. Perfect amount of cream in it. No ice in here at all. Listen, everybody loves chocolate. You know that it’s going to be good. Salted caramel pretzel, full of chunks, but the vanilla is where it’s at. That’s what vanilla ice cream is supposed to taste like. All my life, I’ve been eating the imposter. You know how people say the word ‘vanilla’ has become synonymous with boring? This vanilla is pure excitement. This is electricity, my friend. This is where it’s happening.
One of the most popular spots in the market is DiNic’s. Now this place has been here since the 50s. It started out as a butcher shop, but today they’re known for serving some of the most beloved sandwiches in Philadelphia. You can get brisket, you can get roast beef, but the number one seller is definitely the roast pork. Starts with the bread. Slice that baby up. Then in comes that sharp provolone cheese. In goes the thin-sliced roast pork that’s been marinating in its own juices. Then comes the broccoli rub and then the au jus just goes right over the top. Smother that baby. Now this is what a proper roast pork sandwich is supposed to look like and taste like. Messy, juicy, delicious. A lot of different flavors and textures going on. Broccoli rub is here because it’s definitely bitter, definitely garlicy. Adds a whole new dimension. By the way, extremely generous with the roast pork here. This thing is loaded. This is a heavy duty sandwich. DiNic’s is delicious.
Now let’s talk Italian sweets. In Boston, we have Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry. In Philadelphia, you have the Termini Brothers. They’ve been doing it for 100 years. All the Sicilian style cakes and cookies and biscotti, and of course the number one treat you’ve got to get is the cannoli. Every cannoli here is filled to order in front of your eyes. They are so busy, they keep the pastry bag hanging from the ceiling so it’s right there, ready to be filled in seconds. They make their own ricotta filling. They have some chocolate chips and the candied citron in there. They even make their own shells. The shells are a little on the well-done side, kind of thin, very crispy. That is a fantastic cannoli. A really, really rich and creamy, almost savory cannoli. It is thick. It is rich. It’s only slightly sweet. It is what the Italians call croccante. That means crispy, crunchy. That’s a lot of crunch.
One of the best donut shops in the country is located right here in the market. This is Beiler’s Donuts. They’ve been making the same Pennsylvania Dutch-style hand-rolled donuts for hundreds of years. Every donut is fried right here, and then it is topped and smothered and frosted and stuffed right in front of your eyes. They have 50 different flavors every single day. You’ve got your glaze, Boston cream, maple bacon, salted caramel and the most famous one, which is the apple fritter. Apple fritter, not too dense, not too heavy. Nice crackly sugar glaze on the outside. Real maple flavor all the way through. I mean infused into the dough. This just tastes like the fall. It tastes like the best warm apple cider you’ve ever had in your life, just stuffed into a donut fritter form. Now that’s a fantastic fritter.
I came, I saw, I conquered, I ate. Philadelphia, you are delicious.”