Aside from the times they break down or take me to the opposite side of the city without warning, I love subways. At first it was because of their convenient regularity and the, "Ooh, I'm zooming underground!" thing, but after riding enough different subway systems, I became more fascinated with the ways metro systems are interpreted around the world (maps in particular, to see how the rest of the world makes New York City's map look like ass). Paris is still number one in my book, and New York City is a love/hate thing; when it doesn't work they way it's "supposed" to, I want to blow up things with lasers and throw rocks at people, but then I'm reminded that it runs 24/7 and I'm not allowed to complain.
Philadelphia's subway system seemed nice enough. I didn't have to wait long for a train and the car Alex and I rode in was clean. And I used a token! A TOKEN! HEEHEE!
First stop was The Hacktory. Yeah, I know you can't eat that. It's a place where you go hack things. More specifically, build neat things. Perhaps with metal. And plastic. And electronic bits. Things that make blinky lights or blippy noises when you turn them on. I would be more specific if this weren't a food blog (besides that I'm just lazy), but I have almost no idea how to do any of that stuff, although I did practice my soldering technique some many weeks ago. And I suck at it. NYC Resistor is the New York City equivalent, in a way.
First edible substance was a smooth, creamy, and yogurt-y mango lassi from Nani's Kitchen, possibly the best thing we had at the market, definitely the most refreshing. If you're feeling thirsty, that's where you should go. ...Unless you're dehydrated, in which case you should get a bottle of water.
A fennel pretzel from Metropolitan Bakery made for a nice chewy, carb-loading snack, although it tasted like it had been sitting out for a while and I probably would've liked it more without the fennel seeds' licorice-like flavor. A little bit of fennel is okay though; I definitely do not like licorice in any quantity. And that is why I could never be a real Scandinavian. Besides that I'm Chinese and was born in the USA.
As attractive as DiNic's neon sign was—I eyed it repeatedly while walking around the market like a man with wandering eyes might stare at an attractive, short-skirted woman—I couldn't give in. I mean, I could give in, but I'd just end up wasting most of their famous roast pork sandwich because I wasn't very hungry and, unlike the other two things I had already eaten, it wasn't something I could share with vegetarian Alex. I figured I could wait until next time, when my stomach was emptier and thus fully devotable to an onslaught of sliced pork in a roll.
I also liked this neon sign. Along with Peking duck. Anyone have an opinion about this place?
Naturally, I stopped at Bassett's before leaving because of golden fooding rule #65: "There's Always Room for Ice Cream." Alex and I shared a cup of butter pecan and pumpkin. Bassett's pumpkin was less pumpkin-y and more nugmeg and cinnamon-y than Capogiro's version—a little too much spice, not enough pumpkin. Butter pecan was perfectly fine. Or maybe I couldn't tell since my taste buds had collapsed overuse. Even with our powers combined, Alex and I couldn't finish the towering cup of ice cream.
We let our stomach settle by walking around the city and stopping into the fabric and sewing shop Spool. Alex told me to pick out two kinds of fabric so he could sew a bag for me. AWWW!! :) What a nice boy he is. It took me seemingly an hour to figure out what I wanted—I rifled through the same bolts over and over and over...and over again, my indecisiveness be damned—but I was happy with my final choice. Which I've forgotten by now. We'll see what it was when Alex finished my bag.
Sandwiches! Here they come!
For dinner, Alex took me to one of his favorite restaurants, Tria. Seeing as they focused on many of his favorite things—wine, beer, cheese, and Italian-ish sandwiches—it was easy to see why Alex loved it. I just wanted the reasonably priced sandwiches, which reminded me of the offerings from Ino and Inoteca in New York City, but with bigger portions for less moolah ($8 to $10).
We started with the truffled egg toast with fontina cheese, a super-thick slice of soft, toasted brioche bread covered in a layer of melted fontina cheese, a bit of truffle oil, and an egg whose bulbous yolk appeared to be pulsating with the lives of unrealized chickens. We poked the yolk and spread its thick, golden goo to every corner of the monstrous toast brick. This is what all toast should be like: a fluffy chunk as tall as a seaside cliff, topped with cheesy eggy goodness. The truffle flavor isn't a necessity, although it's not bad either.
Like good eating buddies tend to do, we split two grilled sandwiches. Mushroom lovers should go for the wild mushroom panino with Grana Padano and fontina cheese, baby spinach, and lemon-infused olive oil. There isn't much cheese—just enough to keep the mushrooms bits together until their die by the crushing force of your jaw.
Melty cheese lovers (LIKE MEEEEE), the three cheese and tomato panino made with fontina, Grana Padano, and goat cheese (THE GLORIOUS CHEESE OF GOATS!!!) is for you. Look at the flabular glob of cheese ooze forth—it just wants to be free. BUT IT CANNOT BE FREE, for the vengeful, cheese-hating God has already doomed its life with a single purpose: to go into your mouth. There were lots of semi-dried tomatoes (or whatever they are; my terminology sucks) to go with the cheesy goodness.
We ended with a banana, goat's milk caramel, and mascarpone panino. I didn't like it as much as the savory sandwiches—I'm not sure I'd ever like a dessert sandwich since the bread throws me off, unless it's French toast—but you can't combine those three ingredients and not get something tasty. I had also lost the feeling in my stomach by this point. The sandwiches weren't too big for one person to handle, but they weren't petite things either.
I'm not sure what kind of bread they used for the sandwiches, but it was quite soft and light—although not so light it couldn't hold up to the fillings—with a nice crispiness from the grilling. No jaw-aching chewiness here.
If I lived in Philadelphia, I'd see myself going to Tria frequently. Chill, casual-semi-refined atmosphere, good sandwiches, and lots of good alcohol to please my booze-loving friends with discerning palates.
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