The Philadelphia Flower Show, which runs through Sunday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, is the largest and oldest flower show in the world. I always enjoy attending this marvelous event where professional horticulturalists force flowers to bloom indoors, filling the air with an intoxicating scent.
I think the best time to view orchids, roses and just about every flower in between is during the early dinner hour. The crowds thin out a bit. I like to arrive around 5 p.m., which means a late lunch.
For those of you who live in South Philly, visit two of my favorite haunts: Sabrina’s Café and Santucci’s.
On weekends, brunch at Sabrina’s is first-rate. There is always a line, but one can call ahead for placement on a list. The host will give callers a time for their arrival. If going on an off hour, it will not be as mobbed.
I like to build my own omelette or tuck into a big, juicy burger with french fries. Stuffed challah French toast is another winning dish, or one can opt for a bagel and lox platter. Sabrina’s also offers a variety of sandwiches and salads.
910 Christian St.
Santucci’s is home to the square pizza. I enjoy a white pie with spinach, but I also think this restaurant serves some of the best salads in South Philly. The Caesar is authentic and the dressing and croutons are made in-house. The antipasto board is visually appealing and consists of assorted cured meats, cheeses, olives and crusty bread. I think my all-time favorite is the granny smith salad prepared with pickled red onions, imported Gorgonzola from Lombardy, candied walnuts, thinly-sliced Granny Smith apples and bibb lettuce tossed with an apple cider vinaigrette. The spinach stromboli with homemade rich marinara served on the side should win an award, and one can also enjoy homemade meatballs, burgers and roast pork sandwiches.
901 S. 10th St.
But the obvious choice for a meal during the Flower Show is the Reading Terminal Market. Anything one hankers for, from sushi to deli, is on offer from the various merchants and restaurants. It is hard for me to pick a favorite place because everything served in the market is too delicious and tempting.
Wonton noodle soup with greens is high on my list. You can order this big bowl of goodness with either egg or rice noodles.
Want a slice of pizza to munch while making your way among the merchants? By George has thin-crust pizza, and the dough is made fresh daily. I love the hoagies at Salumeria, including the vegetarian one made with imported Italian cheeses, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato and onion.
I think the finest Jewish deli in the city is Hershel’s East Side Deli. The corned beef, brisket and pastrami are made the old-fashioned way and are sliced by hand. Chopped liver and onion and tasty red bliss potato salad, along with half-done kosher pickles, round out the list. All sandwiches are served on crusty Jewish sandwich rye.
Breakfast and lunch are served all day at the Down Home Diner. Short stack pancakes, with a side of applewood smoked bacon, a pretty good cheesesteak, a hot turkey platter, fried catfish and fresh salads are also on the menu.
Molly Malloy’s opened a few years ago, and I immediately fell in love with its piping hot bowls of homemade soup, especially the leek and potato, Caesar salad and chicken pot pie. Tokyo Sushi has a small sushi bar and features rolls and sashimi with a few vegetarian options.
There is always a long line at DiNic’s ever since the Travel Channel’s Adam Richman named its roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe the finest sandwich in America.
If craving something sweet, stop by Termini Bros. for a chocolate, vanilla or ricotta cannoli to go.
Finally, there is Melt Kraft, which is one of the newest merchants in the market. It specializes in all sorts of grilled cheese sandwiches, roasted tomato and fennel soup and Boylan’s Old Fashioned soda pop. I have not yet reviewed Melt Kraft, but it deserves a visit. I have purchased the site’s handmade artisan fresh mozzarella, and it is downright delicious.
Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch streets
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