The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Philly, Day 2: Snacks at Reading Terminal, Sandwiches at Tria

Note: This entry originally took place on November 8. Also, happy gobble day!

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.

City Hall subway stop

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.

somewhere in the market
Somewhere in the market...

We roamed towards the direction of Reading Terminal Market with a list of Joy Manning's recommendations in my bag.

Mango lassi, is gooood

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.

Metropolitan bakery fennel pretzel
Fennel pretzel

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.

DiNic's roast pork and beef

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.

peking duck sign

I also liked this neon sign. Along with Peking duck. Anyone have an opinion about this place?

butter pecan and pumpkin
Ice cream!

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).

Truffled Egg Toast with Fontina Cheese
Yes, the yolk compells you

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.

wild mushrooms

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.

grilled cheese

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.

Banana, Goat's Milk Caramel and Mascarpone Panino
Dessert sandwich; hell yes

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.


The Hacktory
1524 Brandywine St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Reading Terminal Market
51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

1912 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

1137 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Another location at:

123 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103


LHK / November 27, 2008 1:40 AM

hi robyn - i've been keeping up with your blog for quite some time but have never commented before. a random thought went through my head as i read this entry, realizing that you eat out a lot and was wondering how you tip, if you go by a system, etc. etc. As someone working in the service industry i am just very curious! if it's too personal, no worries! and thanks for the awesome blog, i love reading/looking. -L

yoko / November 27, 2008 10:11 AM

About Sang Kee-- I've never eaten at the Reading Terminal Location, so I can't say to that. Their main location is in Chinatown, and I have to say that their (thick) dumplings are awesome. Their main specialty is roast duck-- I keep meaning to go there to eat a whole duck, but I haven't done that yet. I've heard it's pretty good.

sarah / November 27, 2008 3:15 PM

Sang Kee's duck is amazing - I like going there with three friends and getting the whole duck meal. I've never eaten at the RTM location, just at the China town one. Definitely gets high marks from me.

Christina / November 27, 2008 7:05 PM

I wish I could sew.

About the fennel, I made a rye loaf the other day that called for fennel instead of caraway seeds, but I didn't have enough so I used less. That was the perfect amount because otherwise it would have overwhelmingly tasted of licorice. So... Fennel is actually really good in desserts, if you think about it.

The panini look great! That yolk definitely is compels you, it's like THE perfect yolk.

Happy Thanksgiving, Robyn!

Mahar / November 27, 2008 7:43 PM

I love sandwiches with eggy parts! Yum.

Also had a "crispy-pata" sandwich a few days ago which features whole crackling skins, lettuce, pork drippings, onions, tomatoes and cheese in a bun. Heaven.

As for dessert sandwiches, I love peanut butter-Nutella sandwiches, on a really nice soft bread, lightly toasted and served with a scoop of ice cream on the side.

Angeline / November 27, 2008 8:53 PM

I thought the Hacktory was where they mass produce Hacks. My bad.

Fennel on a pretzel? That's crazy talk.

roboppy / November 27, 2008 9:22 PM

LHK: Asking me how I tip is a valid question I think, hehe. I usually do 20% unless service is really..bad? But that never really happens. I mean they'd have to throw the food at me or something. I'd say I'd tip more if service were really awesome, but that's about as rare as really bad service. I'm a boring 20%-er, haha.

G: I'm part of the Cheese Demolition Front.

Sarah: Ah I'm sure you've got some good stuff there.. ;)



Christine: Thanks! I am nursing a full belly right now. A belly full of duck, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and...stuff. :) Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

Mahar: I WANT CRISPY PATA SANDWICH SO BADLY! Why must you tempt me so?

PB nutella with ice cream sounds awesome. The ice cream is a nice touch. Heh.

Angeline: Not crazy, it's REAAAL!! Unlike the factory that mass produces hacks.

Jesse / November 27, 2008 10:01 PM

Sorry to hear about your apartment troubles Robyn =( I hope you find someplace to live soon. Sure you don't wanna move to Oxford? I have a cute lil 2-bedroom flat and am sharing with the sweetest housemate ever. We would both love and cherish you and feed you fattening foodz =D

Mahar / November 28, 2008 1:01 AM





piccola / November 28, 2008 9:14 PM

I love subways because of the whole not being cold while you wait thing.

Oh, and the trick to a good dessert sandwich is using a day-old croissant. I worked in a café where we made croissant panini all the time, usually with either nutella-banana or cheese and preserves.

roboppy / November 29, 2008 11:30 AM


I found a new awesome roommate, so hopefully ..we'll get a new apartment soon. WEE!

Mahar: You need to write for your tourism board. "THE BIRTHPLACE OF CRACKLING AS WE KNOW IT" is a winner!

piccola: I know how I like my day-old croissants: make into pain aux amandes! :D

Jane: Kinda like feet and earth. ...It's funky. If you ever get to smell truffle oil, the real thing is like 100 times funkier. UHH but it's kinda good, sometimes, even though I'm making it sound gross.

wonders / December 1, 2008 12:10 AM

OMG those grilled cheeses look super yummy!

I'm sorry to hear about your living situations. I would ask you to move here if we had an extra room -=( It sucks searching for a place. Good luck and of course you deserve it!

Kate / December 1, 2008 10:11 AM

Cheesy blobs...mmm...

I must say, those sandwiches look delicious...but compared to other cheesy ones, the dessert one looks kind of...anorexic.

There is no cheese blob trying to escape before the crushing jaws of death devour it. That, I think, might have made it better...and maybe if they had made the bread into french toast. Yes...massive amounts of sugar...

roboppy / December 3, 2008 1:11 AM

wonders: Still searching! I'm sure we'll find something...hopefully not too expensive.. :)

Kate: Ah, the dessert sandwich had enough going for it. Enough..sugar, that is. It was pretty sweet!

emma / December 3, 2008 1:33 PM


im emma, originally from philly now living in brooklyn and a dedicated reader of your blog (though this is my first comment). 22 and a foodie, but my official title at work is real estate, if you are still looking for a place, let me know and I'll see if i can hook you up!

good luck!


SuperChomp / December 7, 2008 5:05 PM

I always liked the London Underground. It always struck me as being nice and logical. It seems comparatively more clean and modern as well. And less scary than NYC, amiright? Hong Kong is pretty good (though their metro system is much smaller so probably more manageable). Very shiny and anti-jumpers.

I have never seen toast like that before O_O Wow. I want to buy a loaf of bread so that I might recreate such awesomeness. I'm also enamoured by the idea of only needing one slice to fill you up in the morning :)

roboppy / December 7, 2008 9:31 PM

SuperChomp: I like the London Underground too! I thought the fuzzy seats were funny though...don't have any of those in NYC. :) And yeah, it's less scary. And much easier to follow. EVERY other metro system I've been on was easier to follow than NYC's. In Paris just simply placing the signs on the platform perpendicular to the track made life a lot easier (unlike in nyc where they're parallel and thus harder to see from far can't. This didn't bother me until I went to Paris).


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