Eat: Reading Terminal, DiNic's, Famous 4th St Cookies in Philly

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This is the 2nd post of my Weekend Trip to Philly series. Previous posts include Philly Cheesesteak in Philly (Pat's vs. Geno's).

After the cheesesteak binge at Pat's and Geno's, my friends and I headed right for Reading Terminal Market to continue on our "Best of Philadelphia" food tour. Partly because we're fatties, but partly because we didn't want to miss out on the Amish Vendors. The Amish are only there from Wednesday-Saturday and tend to leave on the earlier side.

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia is a must for visitors, especially for anyone who loves food

Tommy DiNic's

From my research, besides cheesesteaks, another Philly favorite is the roast pork sandwich at Tommy DiNic's inside Reading Terminal. When I first found the booth, I was REALLY surprised by how crazy long the line was. I think to say that the line was less than 100-people deep is an understatement. The line wrapped around the entire booth, and then snaked to double up in the line.

Customers wrap around 2 sides of DiNic's booth, with lucky patrons eating away at the counters

The line at DiNic's was hungry people waiting in line made that section of Reading Terminal way too crowded

So what was so good here that people lined up for over 30 minutes to eat? The Roast Pork Sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe. It's been voted as the best sandwich in America by the Travel Channel and fans say that this is even BETTER than the Philly cheesesteak, making it a must try for me in Philly.

On DiNic's menu: Roast Pork Sandwhich ($8.25) plus Provolone and Broccoli Rabe (an extra $1.25)

Piles of Roast Pork ready to be sliced and made into a sandwich

As my friends stood in line, I went full-on stalker mode to see if I could discover any secrets behind this famous roast pork sandwich. I was a bit weirded out and disappointed when I saw the employees carry out pre-sliced bags of pork to dump it in the metal containers in front of the roast pork sandwich makers. The roast beef/brisket however, was sliced fresh, which made me regret not trying that out as well...

Slices of Roast pork sits in a tub of liquid

So here's the making of the DiNic's sandwhich: baguette sliced in half, add a few slices of sharp provolone, fish out wet pork from container and slap on sandwich, add broccoli rabe cooked with garlic and red pepper flakes on top. I'm sad to say that I wasn't really impressed by the sandwich. Sure, the pork was pretty tender, and the sandwich was dripping in juices, but the juiciness came from the bath it was sitting in and might not really be from the roast pork itself. It just rendered a wet sloppy mess on my sandwich.

I know that with that super long line, it would be pretty impossible to cut the pork fresh, but I really do wonder if it would make a difference. I also though the cheese was mediocre and I really wish there was more to this sandwich. Maybe next time I will have to try the hand carved brisket sandwich instead.

DiNic's Roast Pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone let me wanting a cheesesteak instead...

Famous 4th Street Cookie Company

As DiNic's underwhelmed me, my next stop in Reading Terminal completely exceeded my expectations. I'm not really a sweets person, but Famous 4th Street Cookie Company really left me wanting more. They sell a variety of flavors, including freshly baked Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chip Cookies, two of my favorites.

Famous 4th Street Cookies
Famous 4th Street Cookies - sold by the pound and freshly baked in Reading Terminal

4th Street Cookies sold at $10.95/lb of cookie

Besides the cookies, the milk at 4th Street Cookie from Kreider Farms, a "micro-mooery", was the best milk I've had in a long time. I don't know if it was because I was stuffing my face with a chocolate chip cookie, or if the milk really was just super fresh, everyone in my party agreed that there was something extra fresh and crisp about the milk.

As we were all standing by the booth prancing around in milk and cookies heaven, one of the ladies behind the counter asked if we tried her favorite cookie, the peanut butter cookie. Sadly, we didn't pick one up, so she handed one to us fresh from the rack. I have to say that this was definitely my favorite cookie of all the ones we tried. Please if you ever go to Reading Terminal Market, come grab a peanut butter cookie along with a milk from Kreider Farms and enjoy.

The best milk ever, paired with a delicious fresh baked cookie - best day ever

Amish pickles, pastries, fresh vegetables, produce and more!

Besides DiNic's and 4th Street Cookies, the Reading Terminal is a Mecca for food. Not only did it have a variety of shops serving every cuisine under the sun, it had many other vendors, including popular Amish vendors. I was so full by the time I got to walk around that I barely had an appetite to buy any food to bring home.

Looking back, I'm full of regret. I really wish I got to try some of the Amish pretzels and pastries I've read so much about. Also, apparently Amish jerky is the best. I'll definitely have to find some the next time I'm back in Philly!

Straight from Lancaster County - jarred pickles and jams made by the Amish!
Fresh grown vegetable selection at one of the vendors

Summary

Come here if you love food markets, it reminds me of a much larger Ferry Building Marketplace in SF except slightly more crowded and a lot more casual. For the Amish vendors, come here Wednesday-Saturday, and come before 4PM as they tend to leave early.

Good for...
Milk and Peanut Butter cookie from Famous 4th Street Cookie
Tourists - go ahead and try a sandwich from DiNic's, because, why not?
Cheap vegetables/fruits, variety of butchers and large seafood market.

Avoid
Crowds, don't come here on a busy Saturday unless you absolutely have to

Have you been to Reading Terminal Market? What are some of your must-haves? Share in the comments below!


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Reading Terminal Market | Yelp

51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 922-2317

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