I like Good magazine. Really, I’m a subscriber. (You might consider subscribing, too. It’s only $20 and it goes directly to a charity of your choice, and one of the options is Slow Food.) But when I read Good’s piece on the tastiest streets in America and saw my beloved Ninth Street—Philadelphia’s treasured Italian Market—left off the list, I wondered how the author could have been so asleep behind the keyboard.
I know I’m somewhat biased. When my husband and I bought our house, proximity to the market was the single nonnegotiable factor. Walking the market, loaded-down shopping bag over my shoulder, is like my Paxil, a moving (and eating) meditation on what makes life worth living. This is my completely personal tour of what I believe is the tastiest street on earth.
Address: 734 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
Sarcone’s fresh baked seeded Italian loaf is the secret behind many of the city’s best sandwiches. With a brown, crunchy crust and a soft airy interior this bread makes anything you put on it taste amazing. A hunk torn off the loaf drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper is the height of simple pleasures.
Address: 817 Christian Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
This shop has been making sausage the old fashioned way for the past 115 plus years—they really know how to turn out the perfect Italian hot sausage with fennel. The pork comes from local farms and is butchered on the premises.
Address: 903 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
Anthony’s own Italian Market Reserve beans have been fueling my existence for the past 3 years. Whenever I stop by for my regular two pounds, I also pick up a cup to go. Recently I’ve switched from wintertime hot to summery iced, which comes with ice cubes made from frozen joe. Brilliant.
Address: 900 Christian Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
The giant, floppy, cheese, greasy wedges passed through the sidewalk takeout window are guaranteed to cure a hangover, lift a funk, moisturize your cuticles, inspire a jog, remind you of the boardwalk and, if you are me, transport you back to 1983. A heavy shower of red pepper flakes amplifies most of the above mentioned effects.
Address: 926 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
Claudio’s is where I buy olive oil, risotto rice and fresh mozzarella. The cheese is made in an adjacent storefront in a huge machine imported from Italy. It’s extremely perishable, but don’t worry, you won’t be able to stop eating it. It’s perfect on pizza or just drizzled with a touch of aged balsamic.
Los Taquitos de Puebla
Address: 1149 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
It surprises a lot of people, but part of the Italian market isn’t so Italian anymore. A run of stores along the southern stretch are now run by Mexican merchants. Thankfully, they are carrying on the proud tradition of deliciousness. Here, order tacos al pastor, pork roasted on a pineapple crowned spit and sliced to order.
Address: 1172 South Ninth Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
Another newcomer, Rim Café owes its success to the passion and personality of its owner, René. A flatscreen shows scenes of the French Riviera while he creates his signature liquid desserts like the Volcano, his extra-rich take on hot chocolate.
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