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  1. #1
    Nookular Free Since '03 kingofchimps's Avatar
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    Anyone from Philly/Harrisburg/D.C. area?

    Am vacationing there soon and am looking for places to eat.

    Me likes:

    Italian (old school)
    BBQ
    Local cuisine (cheese steak, etc.)
    Dives

    Looking for places with character and good food (mom and pop joints). Not the mini-mall type of corporate crap - got way too much of that here in SoCal.

    any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    In Philly you've gotta have a cheesesteak, well actually two. One from Pat's and one from Geno's. They are across the street from each other and it's been an ongoing competition whose is best. You'll have to decide for yourself.

    Pizza: There are two places. Sandorz Bar & grill in Robeling, NJ. This place also fills the dive criteria but makes a tomato pie to die for. Hot sausage, garlic & ricotta has always been my favorite there.

    The other place is The Altoona Hotel, in Altoona, PA. It's about 6 hours west of Philly. They also offer a full menu with a concetration on old school Italian. A completly different pie than Sandorz, but exqusite none the less. While there you could visit the world famous Horseshoe Curve. If you like trains, you'll love the curve. In the evening you can spend some snuggle time with your favorite squeeze at a primo makeout palce that overlooks the city of Altoona... Wopsononock Lookout (sp). It's been a few years since I've been there but I doubt any of the places have gone away.

    If a killer breakfast is on your agenda may I suggest the Shady Maple truly a dining experience. It's a large comercial venture that is everything to everyone, but nothing like it anywhere.

    If you get up near the Allentown/Bethlehem, PA area there is the Truck Stop in Coopersburg. Mom & Pop, dive, local color, and tons of character(s). It's about 3 miles from my place and my favorite for a Saturday breakfast.

  3. #3
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Here's a nice place we've been to (just across the river from Harrisburg). It's kind of a hole in the wall, but has a relaxed and pleasant ambience. http://www.scottsgrille.com/m-menu.shtml
    The search for inner peace continues...

  4. #4
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Philly (my hometown, so I can only answer to this one):

    As to cheesesteaks, what Stacey said. Do not, under any circumstances, go to Jim's on South Street if you want an authentic cheesesteak. It's a tourist trap (you see lines stretching around the block, but that's no indication of their goodness) and I don't believe I've ever seen a Philly native ever eat there!

    As to breakfast, I'd add this one to Stacey's suggestion: Morning Glory Diner. It's right off the Italian Market, so you can walk off your meal browsing the 5-6 blocks of produce, meats, fish, game (yeah- really- like rabbit, venison, boar, etc.- all with skin on but dressed and ready for butchering), spices, cheeses (don't hit your head on the provolones hanging from the ceiling in Claudio's), fresh pasta, etc., etc. One suggestion- get there early- it crowds up real fast and they do run out of stuff. Their waffles and French toast are to die for.

    As to old school Italian, you should check out Marra's at 12th and Passyunk (and if you want to sound like a local, it's "Pashyunk"). Their pizza is excellent, as are their pasta dishes. It's a real classic- very art deco (I don't think they've changed the decor since it opened).

    Another classic Italian place- right down to the red checkered tablecloths is Ralph's (9th and Catherine). It's the kind of place you can go into and ask your waiter to "bring me something nice." They love this kind of thing- but only if they're not swamped with customers. Such a request will bring you more food than you could ever eat- and the bill won't kill you.

    BTW, if you do end up in the Italian Market, check out DiBruno's Pronto on Ninth Street (that's what the locals call it- they'd never call it "The Italian Market"). They have the most awesome panini and other sandwiches- all made to order,and big enough to share. My favorite is the aged provolone, garlic broccoli rabe, and roasted red pepper hoagie on a sesame Italian roll. Un-freakin'-real. Grab a drink from the fridge there, and sit outside to watch the tourists (and the locals- they do shop there too).

    As to BBQ, check out Ron's Ribs (16th and South) or Phoebe's (22nd and South)

    A little further out is Dwight's BBQ, which gets rave reviews- it's probably the best in Philly. It's a little off the beaten track in West Philly (43rd and Lancaster), but it's easy to get there by trolley or car. PM me for details.
    Last edited by MTBLover; 08-07-07 at 07:49 PM.

  5. #5
    Nookular Free Since '03 kingofchimps's Avatar
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    so.... hungry....... mustn't blow..... gasket


    thanks all - that should tide us over!

    Shady Maple!?!? holy crap that place looks huge. Is that on the way or in Amish country? I think we may hit that leaving Philly on the way to harrisburg/gettysburg.

    I read good things about Scott's and Ralph's/Marra's look like the ticket too.

  6. #6
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingofchimps View Post
    so.... hungry....... mustn't blow..... gasket


    thanks all - that should tide us over!

    Shady Maple!?!? holy crap that place looks huge. Is that on the way or in Amish country? I think we may hit that leaving Philly on the way to harrisburg/gettysburg.

    I read good things about Scott's and Ralph's/Marra's look like the ticket too.
    It sits between Philly and the Amish country, near Morgantown IIRC. It's kind of on the cusp of Mennonite & Amish areas. We've been visiting the Shady Maple for year, long before it's grown to this size.

  7. #7
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    It sits between Philly and the Amish country, near Morgantown IIRC. It's kind of on the cusp of Mennonite & Amish areas. We've been visiting the Shady Maple for year, long before it's grown to this size.
    Stacey, do you know Zinn's? I think it's right after the Morgantown exit. it's another of those "diners" that has grown into a mini-Disneyworld.

  8. #8
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm familiar with Zinn's. I wouldn't eat there again if you paid me! BLECH!!!

  9. #9
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    ^^^ seriously. Gelatinous gravy, cementitious mashed potatoes, and oh- some guy at the next table ordered a beef heart. That sucker sat all by its lonesome on this big plate- not even sliced or anything- I could swear it was beating...

  10. #10
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    I ordered wiener schnitzel there once. a slab of breaded veal with two sunny side up eggs on top. I hates sunny side up eggs. I darn near tossed cookies!

  11. #11
    Tête de Limace gurana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    In Philly you've gotta have a cheesesteak, well actually two. One from Pat's and one from Geno's. They are across the street from each other and it's been an ongoing competition whose is best. You'll have to decide for yourself.
    ...
    I'm a D.C. native and drove up to philly, I guess it was like 2 years ago now, to see the Salvadore Dali exhibit at the PMA (that's what you guys call it right?). We had some time to kill, so we had our friend from the area direct us to Pats and Genos (I thought it was 'Ginos'). We drove up there and were instantly torn on which one to choose. My inclination was to choose Pat's because it looked like it had more character. Everyone else in my group was distracted by the shiny-ness of Geno's. So I caved and we ate there. Afterwhich, I said "screw it! I'm taking the cheesesteak challenge!" and then promptly got into Geno's line and did it all over again. I was like 8 or 10 people back when I got in line. About 2 minutes later I walk up to the window, "One wiz, with!" and less than a minute after that I was chowing down on a little piece of heaven.

    As somebody not from that area, Pat's was the way to go.

    Les Douleurs de la Mort. :: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus.

  12. #12
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Yep- it's the PMA. Alas, I missed the Dali exhibit, but I know it was a good one. Your experience in the cheesesteak derby is quite common. Back when I ate those things, I would have voted for Pat's too. Geno's is a relative newcomer, BTW.

  13. #13
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Yes, I'm familiar with Zinn's. I wouldn't eat there again if you paid me! BLECH!!!
    Isn't Zinn's closed? I thought it had gone out of business.....
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  14. #14
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Isn't Zinn's closed? I thought it had gone out of business.....
    Wow! You're right. It's name has changed... http://www.roadsideonline.com/commen...?id=43_0_1_0_C

    Musta been that craptastic wiener schnitzel.

  15. #15
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Wow! You're right. It's name has changed... http://www.roadsideonline.com/commen...?id=43_0_1_0_C

    Musta been that craptastic wiener schnitzel.
    Not bad, considering I live in Indiana, and haven't been in PA for years!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  16. #16
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Wow! You're right. It's name has changed... http://www.roadsideonline.com/commen...?id=43_0_1_0_C

    Musta been that craptastic wiener schnitzel.
    Or that beef heart thing.

  17. #17
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Not bad, considering I live in Indiana, and haven't been in PA for years!
    Once you go west of the Susquehanna, it's all the mid-West

  18. #18
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Not bad, considering I live in Indiana, and haven't been in PA for years!
    I try to avoid 'Dutch Country'. Tourist traps & traffic. Argh!

  19. #19
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBLover View Post
    Once you go west of the Susquehanna, it's all the mid-West
    Nah, not till past Pittsburgh then you're up on the Allegheny Plateau. Now it's mid-west.

  20. #20
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Nah, not till past Pittsburgh then you're up on the Allegheny Plateau. Now it's mid-west.
    All depends on your pespective, I guess! Here in Philly, it's the Susquehanna. That's where people start referring to soda as "pop" and saying things like "my car needs fixed."

  21. #21
    Nookular Free Since '03 kingofchimps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    I try to avoid 'Dutch Country'. Tourist traps & traffic. Argh!
    we're not set on heading there, but had planned to. I get enough traffic here in SoCal thankyouverymuch.

    We've got a full day to kill coming from Philly heading to Harrisburg. Definitely going to Gettysburg. What else would you suggest? Bringing wife and kids (9/12). I love old stuff and I'm sure there's lots of that to see.

    thanks Stacey

  22. #22
    Nookular Free Since '03 kingofchimps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurana View Post
    I'm a D.C. native
    We'll be in DC for 3 days. Anything there with a bit if character? We're staying near Union Station.

    thanks

  23. #23
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I seem to remember a place right on US 30 in Gettysburg that serves GREAT Apple Pie. It's right in town, but I can't remember their name. There's a huge sign though and it has Pie on it......
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  24. #24
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingofchimps View Post
    We'll be in DC for 3 days. Anything there with a bit if character? We're staying near Union Station.

    thanks

    You'll be right near all the museums (Natural History, National Gallery, Smithsonian, etc., etc.) It's your oyster!

  25. #25
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBLover View Post
    Once you go west of the Susquehanna, it's all the mid-West
    'scuse me?
    The search for inner peace continues...

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