2016 Philadelphia Flower Show

Photo by Tina Garceau

The Philadelphia Flower Show, the oldest and largest show of its kind, runs through Sunday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This year’s theme is “Explore America,” an homage to our National Park Service, which was created 100 years ago.

I try to visit the flower show every year, and I get hungry. Some people feel the best time to go is the dinner hour. Other people prefer to arrive when the doors open. Either way, The Reading Terminal Market is the place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. The Market has extended hours through Sunday. Most merchants and restaurants remain open until 7 p.m.

I like the almond croissants from Metropolitan Bakery. This, along with a cup of coffee, may be the pick-me-up one needs. A hearty breakfast is on offer at the Down Home Diner. Homemade pancakes with bacon or eggs over easy with toast are a fine choice.

Lunch and dinner offerings comprise a tour of the culinary world.

Sang Kee has delicious Hong Kong-style fare. My favorites are wonton soup with baby bok choy or a platter of roast duck with rice and greens.

If one wants to visit Mexico, the tacos with salsa at 12th Street Cantina are the top option.

The dishes of The Big Easy are available at Beck’s Cajun Cooking. New Orleans is well represented: red beans and rice, gumbo and jambalaya provide energy before one visits the Flower Show.

By George sells pizza and straightforward Italian fare such as roasted peppers, anchovies, salads, artichokes, and fresh mozzarella.

Not to be outdone is Salumeria, where one can find a vegetarian hoagie, a hoagie prepared with imported Italian meats and cheeses, or an antipasto salad.

Crepes, Middle Eastern food, specialty burgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches are among the choices hungry tummies can find.

Bassett’s Original Turkey piles up roasted turkey with lettuce and tomato on rye. Hesch’s Deli hand slices homemade corned beef and pastrami and sells chopped liver, kasha and bow ties and mouth- puckering, half-done kosher pickles.

Several years ago, The Travel Network named DiNic’s roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone the finest sandwich in America. There is always a line, so be patient.

For a sweet snack, The Flying Monkey is famous for its moon pies and cupcakes while Termini’s will keep you smiling with a chocolate, vanilla or ricotta with chocolate chips cannoli.

I’ve seen people enjoying a cone or cup of Bassett’s ice cream at 9:30 in the morning. Bassett’s has been in business since 1861.

Meals in the Reading Terminal Market are a good value. They are moderately priced.

If one wants a fancier dinner following a Flower Show visit, the French fare at Caribou Cafe never disappoints. French food is also the focus at the restaurant inside Le Meridien Hotel. New American cuisine is on offer at Bank & Bourbon in the Loew’s Hotel where South Philly native, Mummer and current Jersey Boy Chef Tom Harkins commands the kitchen. One can enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine with dinner at these restaurants.

I plan to visit The Flower Show on closing day. I will probably fortify myself with wonton noodle soup, walk through the breathtaking exhibits, purchase something for home, and head to dinner. I just don’t know where yet. ■