Starting It Off!

Our New Years weekend was more than we could have asked for.  Our two best friends from Cleveland, (you may remember Dilshire and Raji) stayed with us for the weekend to ring in the New Year.

  My kitchen is a bit bare these days, but I was able to make some flaky and delicious buttermilk biscuits for our morning lounging.  

We ate them with fresh butter, fig jam, Nutella....and of course the ever so usual scrambled eggs and bacon.

Unfortunately the weekend was over much too soon and they headed back into the snowy Midwest.  This past weekend (thankfully helping to combat my holiday party withdrawal), we headed up to New Jersey to celebrate the engagement of two great friends from our past.  Here is Brian and I with the lucky couple.

So, driving up the East Coast on such a beautiful weekend, with absolutely Spring- like weather, gave us a perfect excuse to stop off in Philadelphia...for some delicious only-in-Philly eats.  We pretty much spent the day in the South Philadelphia foodie mecca, where you can find numerous Italian delis, fresh fruit stall, fish mongers, butcher shops, and pretty much everything else.  First stop was South 8th St. Termini Bros Italian Bakery.

 They have a lot of typically Italian pastries and cookies, and even a few Americanized specialties (after all, this is home of one of the largest Italian-American populations).  We bought a few cannoli,  few handfuls of biscotti, and an interesting sort of tiny fruit pie...almost like mince meat.     

The cannoli were delicious. Creamy ricotta, not too sweet, and a crispy shell.

The biscotti were perfect in every way.  Reminding you of my affection for mince meat pies these days...the pie was amazing. Buttery, flaky crust, sweet and flavorful dried fruit inside.

Next stop, the cheese steak of course.  We chose Pat's on South 9th St.  Brian got the typical "steak wit Wiz"...for all of us that do not not live in Philly that means a cheese steak with onions and Cheese Wiz.  Cheese Wiz is the original cheese sauce on the original Philly Cheese Steak.  However, we agreed that we both prefer the lean, tender juicy steak on the crusty fresh roll, with provolone (an option that is offered), rather than the bright orange sauce.

As we continued our walk up 9th st, Brian wiping the last of the juicy steak from his lips with his wax paper "napkin".  We walked in and out of the warming winter sun, past the markets and stands, and pushed through the crowds of focused Sunday grocery shoppers.  We ducked into a fresh pasta shop to get some fresh pappardelle pasta, and then into a narrow busy deli to buy some large briny green olives stuffed with feta (and some with red peppers for me).  We also got a few slices of a salty imported speck from Alto Adige.

At the same shop, I was so tempted to buy these beautiful panettones with sweet wild cherries, that were on sale for 2 for 1! An incredible price that I guarantee you will never, ever find again...but I had no one to share them with (Mom, sis, I really needed you today).  And although I could, I thought it best that I did not eat two whole panettones all on my own.

On our way back to the car, we walked into a spice shop with jars of everything you might need from Genmaicha (popcorn) tea to Gumbo File (sassafrass).  On a quiet block, we passed the rare find of an accordion shop.  There was according music streaming from an outdoor speaker, even though it was closed for the day.   

Planning ahead for this trip up north, being January, we decided against cruising over to the Jersey Shore, but with our incredible "winter" weather we could have definitely ambled down the boardwalk with a corn dog in hand. However, I am glad we chose, this time, to veer from the Ferris Wheel and Funnel Cakes, as there is no trade off for navigating the narrow South Philly food markets on a crisp Sunday morning. 


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