Great report, T.J. I realize how lucky I am that both wife and son are supportive of my roadfood obsessions.
[:D][:D][:D][:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]When I saw this picture, I was struck by an urge to buy golfing stuff.
TJ, I’m a sucker for trying a pizza that has good word of mouth and certainly Taconelli’s has plenty. But after making a special trip there last year, calling ahead to reserve the dough, then being the only people in the place shortly after they opened, I was very underwhelmed by the pizza. Absolutely nothing memorable about it. But of course that’s just MY opinion.
But Reading Terminal Market, now that’s a reason to return. And definitely allow time to visit the White House.
Great report, looking forward to reading about the rest of your sandwich/hoagie eating.
The best laid plans…….
I was unaware that Black Cherry Wishniak was no longer available in Philadelphia. I wish I had known – I made several stops looking for it, and no one I talked to had even heard of it. I started to doubt my sanity at one point – had I imagined that this soda was discussed in regards to Philly?
Cheesewit emailed me that this soda was indeed a Philly thing, but the company had gone out of business some years ago, and so it is but a memory
I had hoped to loop north for old forge pizza, hazelton pitza, binghamton spiedies, and possibly all the way to Niagara falls for Beef on Weck at Schwabls. A foray east into Atlantic City for White House Subs, Maryland for Crab Cakes, and/or NJ for Rutt’s Hut was all in consideration at one point or another. So much roadfood on the east coast! Alas, there is only so much you can do in 5 days, particularly if your 3 companions have no real interest in roadfood other than that it happens to be food. Also, there was that whole problem with floods in north eastern PA as well.
I had really wanted to get to Reading Terminal Market, but they are not open evening hours nor Sunday nor Holidays. Maybe next time. DiNics – got to get there.
I had lesser interests in Tacconelli’s, but the wife is a pizza lover so I see that as a definite possibility for the next trip. The kids liked Sesame Place so much another trip to Philly is not out of the question for 2007.
I’ll steel my nerves and get the Pork Roll next time. Can’t be as bad as spam – can it?
Oh – one last pic – this next to the entrance to a fancy retail store – I walked by it as the terrible storm that had raged through Downtown Philly on the evening of July 2nd was subsiding – don’t know why I snapped this pic, just that I had the sudden urge to do so
Part 9 – Carlisle PA – Middlesex Diner – Wed July 5, 2006
Not too much to tell here. The catfish was not available for breakfast the next day, so I settled on a regular seection of mine – corned beef hash. I can never figure out why some breakfast places side corned beef hash – which of course is often large composed of potatoes – with more potatoes. In this case, sliced home fries accompanied, cooked nowhere near the well-done level I had requested accompanied what appeared to be "fresh from the can" finely diced hash. Fair, but a place like this should be able to do better, even when the menu is so widely ranged
The wife once again picked the winner here – the large tread belgian waffle. Simple but excellent. The kids blueberry pancakes were packed with plenty of what looked to be fresh blueberries, but the taste didn’t measure up.
We made several stops to empty swollen pea-sized bladders, but the only other food stop on the way back was at the golden arches for the budget friendly double cheeseburgers
and so this too-short holiday came to a close…..
Part 8 – Carlisle PA – Middlesex Diner – Tue July 4, 2006
also known as "why didn’t TJ stop at Larry’s?"
I had spent a great deal of my own time and effort – even posting on Chowhound hoping someone there would have some useful input – trying to find a good cheesesteak establishment open on the 4th of July. I didn’t want to venture downtown, knowing there’d be large crowds there, and in any case we were eading westward towards home that evening. So limited by the need to make some headway, unwillingness to go downtown, and the fact that virtually every cheesesteak joint in town with any reknown was closed on the 4th – some for the entire week of the 4th – I had a very, very hard time finding a place where I could get that one last quality cheesesteak before leaving Philly
The good news was – Cheesewit sent at least a dozen different suggestions, and every single one of them was closed with the exception of one – Larry’s Steaks – which I had never heard of, but was on the western side of town and therefore not too much out of my way, and again was recommended by the estimable Cheesewit. So before I left, I had mapquested it, adjusted my on-paper itinerary, and fully expected to have my last meal in Philly there.
The best laid plans…..ah well. There was a late thunderstorm in the park that kicked up just as we were about to leave, and we huddled in a sheltered area for about two hours before it blew over. In that two hours, my wife and kids’ moods also deteriorated rapidly. We had also intended to leave the park well before closing to avoid the crowd on the way out – but now, we lost additional 45 minutes just getting back to US 1. Deprived of nearly 3 hours of time, I had to shift priorities and get us speeding westward, and so that’s what I did. Larry’s – I will get back to you (and your house special, the bellyfiller) when I can. *sigh*
We did have to make several call of nature type stops and the wife kept the kids happy with small snacks as I worked us westward toward my backup eatery for the day – the Middlesex Diner. There are no roadfood or hollyeats reviews or anything, but I did see some random positive reviews and diners are virtually nonexistent in Cincinnati, so I thought it was better than ending up at another Cracker Barrel. Turns out I was right
I have to admit, this was more like a fairly big family restaurant, sorta like a Bill Knapps’ of old, but despite the lack of a physical resemblance to a diner, they had a lot of diner classics on the menu, including a fave from my childood – chicken croquettes with gravey. The kids had spaghetti and meatballs – they’ll eat that stuff anywhere and like it – and the wife made the surprising choice of catfish. I had never seen her order fish at a restaurant ever before, and in the less than cheerful mood she was in, I was figuring she’d go for something more tried and true, simpler.
It was a good thing I was wrong. Further purusal of the menu (which I asked the waitres to leave with me after ordering, because it was was so very extensive!) showed that this diner was quite proud of it’s reputation serving quality fish and seafood dishes. Their pride is well-deserved. The catfish came piping hot, lightly breaded and seasoned, and was flakey and mot throughout. Fried, but barely a speck of grease in evidence. Easily one of the best tasting pieces of fish I have had in years. I generously offered to swap my chicken croquettes for the fish, but the wife waved me off. 🙂 The crouettes were solidly good in that comfort-food-is-almost-always-good kind of way, but nowhere near as good as the catfish.
I didn’t sample the spaghetti and meatballs. Sad but true. The kids ripped through it like i,29,217987.011,1,14469,188.8.131.52
217997,217987,217987,2006-07-08 20:54:47,RE: Pennsylvania Trip Report – July 2006″
Stephen Rushmore Jr.
Part 4 – Somerset PA – Summit Diner – Sun July 2, 2006
The night before this breakfast stop, I downloaded all the photos from my digital camera and wiped the memory card. Photos I took from this morning onward I left on the camera….so I have them to share with you
Hungry but wary from the register experience of the previous night, we returned in part because I had notedscrapple on the breakfast menu the night before. Neither of us had ever had this Pennsylvania regional specialty, and had heard it was like Cincinnati’s goetta (which we like a LOT)….they certainly look a lot alike
The actual scrapple I was served and ate is pictured above. The comparison is interesting. Goetta is oats and sausage (more or less) and scrapple is corn meal and sausage (more or less) so there is some distinct similarity there. However, goetta’s ingredients have a fairly coarse grind while the ingredients in scrapple appear to have been ground fine, I might even say pureed. If you look closely at the pictures, you can see the textural difference.
I’ve had fried corn meal mush many times as a child, which I can take or leave but would probably never order for myself. Scrapple was a lot like my memories of corn meal mush but with an odd grey color and an odd taste, both no doubt imparted by the "meats" in it. The wife and I came to the same conclusion – if we had grown up here and ate scrapple as children, and then travelled to Cincinnati to eat goetta, we’d probably prefer scrapple. We think it is an acquired taste. Not bad, but not something we’d order again.
I call my breakfast that morning "The big deal" because it was big and it was a great deal….all of the food below for 2.99
The sausage patties were particularly good, and looked to be hand formed. The eggs were cooked to a perfect over easy. I did ask for the home fries well done, and clearly they weren’t, but they were good nonetheless.
Biscuits and gravy was not on the menu but when I saw a nearby table get an order, I asked the waitress to send a small order over to try.. B&G is one of the things I consider a measuring stick of a good diner. Unfortunately, this was bad – the biscuits were clearly from a commercial pre-baked box and had only been heated slightly on location prior to serving, and the sausage chunks tasted like hamburger….I mean, really tasteless. We both took one bite of this and put it aside, even though I don’t generally like wasting food. If you see it available as a special here, I advise you to skip it…I won’t even post a pic.
If I haven’t made this clear by now, the wife is a pancake fanatic, and the kids are getting most of their tastes from her. All three had pancakes, and I did not even get a bite. She tells me they were good, but not great, and that her only issue with them is they are fairly small, as you can see in the pic below.
One plus was that it appeared we were given real maple syrup to go with them, a big plus, and jugs of the same syrup were displayed for retail sale above the pie case
She also said her coffee – served in a Summit Diner logo’ed cup – was top notch.
I took one of the girls to the bathroom to wash up – pancake syrup gets everywhere, it seems, no matter how careful they are, assuming they are careful – and when I came back the wife had already paid the bill. I had told her about the overcharge the night before, and so I asked about it, and she told me no, it was a small total this morning. I didn’t press the matter, as I wante,29,217987.006,1,14469,184.108.40.206
217992,217987,217987,2006-07-08 19:03:54,RE: Pennsylvania Trip Report – July 2006″
Great report, TJ. Keep it coming.
Part 3 – Somerset PA – Summit Diner – Sat July 1, 2006
We stayed at the Zoo til closing time, and got to see a lot of different animals the kids had not seen on any of their many trips to the Cincinnati Zoo. I particularly liked the aquarium, especially the outstanding Jellyfish display and the beautiful Octopus they have, who pratically posed for us. The girls got to get up close and personal with white tailed deer, a reindeer, a camel, a giraffe, and a stingray.
We headed west towards Philadelphia on I-76, and I had reserved a room in Somerset, maybe a hundred miles west on the Turnpike. Lord, the turnpike is expensive! I had brought a bag of change for tolls but they wanted big money – in one case, it was a 12 dollar toll!
I didn’t plan this, but I lucked out – not only does Somerset feature some fairly cheap lodging, but also the Summit Diner, garnering high praise onHollyEats and even a recommendation from hard-to-please roadfooder Wanderingjew.
The place was well decorated in all the reds whites blues and stars of the upcoming holiday. They have a long counter with barstools and several booths following the outer window edge in classic diner fashion, even the stainless steel panels on the outside.
If that wasn’t enough to convince me that I was in a real old fashioned diner, the fact that they had no less than a dozen different types of pies (not counting cakes, and they had a few of those as well) with a good mix of fruits and creams. In my youthful days working at a bakery owned by the father of a close friend, I made dozens of Boston Cream pies, but had never seen them on a restaurant menu before.
Since I wanted to save room for pie, I ordered the selfsame "Big Top" burger Holly reviewed, in which one of the patties is beef and the other is pork. It wasn’t all that big – about the size of your basic big mac, as you can see from the photo from Holly’s site copied below – but the combinations of the flavors on the small bun with onion works nicely, better than I had thought.
I had wanted to try the Pepper Pot soup, which I understand to be a Pennsylvania regional specialty, but they sold the last cup to another customer just prior to my order.
The wife had a decently good BLT, the kids an order of chicken fingers and fries which they turned their nose up at. Of course, they loved the "straight from the jar" applesauce that preceded it, so who can tell what they’re going to like from one minute to the next?
The pies we tried – coconut cream, chocolate cream, and apple – were not as good as I expected. The wife proclaimed the tall pile of meringue atop her coconut cream (see photo linked from Holly’s site below) to be amogst the best she had tasted, but the same meringue atop the chocolate cream left me cold – to me, meringue should not top a cream pie – it should be more like a stiff whipped cream.
I ordered the apple to see if the fruit pies were better, and indeed it was. When we left our table, some of the two cream pies remained, but the apple we demolished. Less sweet than most apple pies I have had, with good fresh apples, a hint of cinnamon, and a really, really excellent crust.
I noted that the two waitresses on duty were really running the place efficiently, handling all front-of-the-house duties with cheer and vigor. However, my admiration came to a screeching halt when waitress other than the one who served us rang me up at the register – it came to over 80 dollars and she did not seem phased. We had not eaten anywhere near 80 dollars worth of food. I told her this, and she r,29,217987.003,1,14469,220.127.116.11
217989,217987,217987,2006-07-08 16:09:01,RE: Pennsylvania Trip Report – July 2006″
Pennsylvania Trip Report – July 2006
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