Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Tastes Like Home: Philly Hoagie

16 Mar

Photo by Casey Taylor Patten

The first in an occasional series.

Often one of the biggest causes of homesickness is missing a fave food. After living in DC for over 10 years, my coworker had just about given up on finding a true Philly hoagie in the district … when it happened: She discovered Taylor Gourmet.

The two young owners of the deli, also Philly natives, moved to DC in 2002 and when they couldn’t find a good local hoagie shop, they were inspired to start their own. The hoagies (subs for the uninitiated) are named after places in Philly, for example the Philadelphia Landfill and the Schuylkill Expressway. And the bread arrives daily direct from the city of brotherly love. The meat and cheese is imported from Italy. But don’t ask for mayo or mustard—that’s a no-no on a true hoagie (though any Philadelphian would know that already).

My coworker recommends the classic 9th Street Italian and I like the vegetarian Christina Street but, judging by all the good press they’ve received, you probably can’t go wrong with anything you choose.

Weekend Away: Philly

12 Nov

© Bev Sykes

I recently went up to Philadelphia for a special taping of NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and I had such a great trip that I thought this would be a good time to kick off the topic of weekend destinations.

Ah, America’s birthplace—known for cheese steaks, brotherly love and Rocky. Philly is the sixth most populated city in the U.S. and is about 2 ½ hours away from DC, but that very much depends on the traffic: Be sure to consider our rush hour and theirs if you’re traveling on a weekday. Typical Philly tourist attractions include the National Constitution Center, Liberty Bell Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art/the Rocky steps.

I’ve explored the city a few times, but I really wanted to go to the Mint. The Mint in DC used to be open for tours, and I remember loving it when I was eight. Philly’s Mint is well, kind of strange. They allow visitors to do a “self-guided” tour, but it sort of feels like they don’t actually want visitors. The exhibits are very low budget and most look like they are a decade old. My boyfriend said it felt kind of like we stumbled upon something from the Dharma Initiative on “Lost”. The most interesting part is looking down through glass to where they actually make coins, but that’s not all that fascinating either. What made it strange, however, is what made me like it, if that makes sense.

One thing that I did NOT know about until the end of my stay was Breakfast with Benjamin Franklin! So now I have to go back to do that. I love Benjamin Franklin. Did you know he invented swim fins, street lighting and daylight savings time? But I digress …

We went to a popular restaurant called Continental, which is probably one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been too. The food was great—basically American tapas. What really impressed me though, was the décor and the layout—it’s got this retro—while at the same time modern—vibe. I highly recommend. We went before the taping of Wait, Wait so it was pretty early, but apparently it’s a big late-night destination.

Interesting Tidbit: I never understood why Philadelphia was called the “city of brotherly love” because people there don’t seem all that friendly to me, but it turns out it’s not a nickname but rather a translation. Quaker William Penn established the city and chose the name (philos means “love” and adelphos means “brother” in Greek) because he wanted it to be a peaceful place free of persecution.