Epic Food Adventures: Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia

During our move, our broker eagerly rattled off Delaware’s virtues.  “The best thing,” she effused, “is it’s only 30 minutes from Philadelphia, 90 minutes from New York, and 2 hours from DC!”  We hear this a lot.  (So…. the best thing about Delaware is it’s easy to leave?)  But now that we’ve started to settle in, it is time to explore!

Earlier this month, my husband and I took my youngest – a high school sophomore playing for the St. Mark’s football team – to Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia for a food adventure. On an empty stomach.

Reading Terminal: A Historic Landmark

Being a mom, I began with a history and cultural lesson.  Established in 1892, Reading Terminal is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Today, the market offers a colorful selection of local produce, fresh eggs, milk, meats, poultry, seafood, handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing from more than 80 merchants. With 100,000 Philadelphians and tourists passing through every week, it is LA’s Grand Central and Farmer’s Market all rolled into one spectacular foodie mecca.




None of this impressed my teenager. Then we arrived, let him loose, and ran amuck until, like Templeton at the fair, we collapsed into a food coma.

Appetizers: Fried Mac & Cheese Balls.

To stave off hunger pangs before jumping into the serious food, we started with the fried mac & cheese balls at Beck’s Cajun Cafe.  I was expecting something more akin to a risotto ball, dried and bland.  But these scrumptious balls of mac & cheese are gooey, melt-in-your month deliciousness. The are ginormous, and served with a spicy creole tomato sauce for dipping. Yum!

Adult Beverages: Evil Genius on Draft

As we scanned the cacophony of food surrounding us, it was obvious that my husband and I were going to need more fortification for the adventure.  So off to Molly Malloy’s for one of two dozen local brews on tap — how can you say no to the Evil Genius on draft?  As a bonus, Molly’s will conveniently provide your beer in a to-go cup so you can continue to wander the market.

A Brief Detour:  Whoopie Pies

While searching for sandwiches, we discovered that Spencer had never had a whoopee pie before.  Clearly that needed to corrected, so we detoured by the Flying Monkey for  two classic whoopee pies.  The pumpple –  a cake that combines chocolate cake, vanilla cake, pumpkin pie, and apple pie into a single mega-dessert – was tempting.  But it was important not to loose focus here.

Doughnuts… So Close, Yet So Far!

After jumping back into the fray, we found ourselves at Beiler’s on a quest for their famous, maple bacon, yeast-risen doughnuts.  Sadly, they were closed. We left empty handed.

Lunch! An Italian Roast Pork Sandwich


By now, we had really worked up an appetite. So what better place to stop than DiNic’s for the roast pork Italiano, voted “Best Sandwich in America” by the Travel Channel?  Thinly sliced, juicy roast pork, a long roll with sliced sharp provolone, and bright green chopped broccoli rabe to top it all off.  We had two.  Heaven!

Dessert: Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

After a quick recap of the Godfather for Spencer (more cultural history!), it was time for dessert.  Because how could we possibly leave without getting some of the best cannoli in Philly?  That required a stop by Termini Bros for fresh made cannoli — the shells stuffed individually as they fill each order ensuring a perfect, crunchy exterior, and the interior packed with creamy, sweet, chocolate chip ricotta filling.  Perfection.

A Snack for the Road: Peking Duck & Roasted Pork Noodle Platter


At this point, a lesser family would have given up.  But, undeterred, we pressed on and picked up a light snack for the trip back home.  The roast duck and roasted pork noodle platter (because, really, who can choose between the gorgeously burnished Peking duck and the deeply flavored roasted pork hanging on display?) at Sang Kee Peking Duck House.  Although Jeff kept holding out for the Muffaletta back at Beck’s Cajun Cafe, it was here that we finally tapped out.

Stay tuned for my review of the Hockessin Athletic Club, where we will be spending the rest of the month recovering…!

Mette K.



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