Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Long Weekend in Philadelphia, PA ~ September 2023

We booked this long weekend in Philadelphia to celebrate great food. Chef Marc Vetri is an accomplished chef with several Philadelphia restaurants and I really wanted to visit his highly acclaimed Vetri Cucina.

We arrived late on Wednesday night and opted for dinner at Barbuzza. The whipped ricotta and salted caramel budino were the standouts. 

We started our first fun-filled day with a bagel and Philly cream cheese from Shmear It.

We stopped at a few places for drinks, including Strange Love's and Milkboy. 

Then we found a park to eat our delicious Philly cheesesteak from Angelo’s. This was my favorite of the 3 cheesesteaks we tried on the trip.

We walked around several areas surrounding the downtown area, including the Italian market.

Dinner was at Dante Luigi's, the oldest Italian restaurant in the city. So much good food and so much fun.

Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Ophelia had made its way up the East coast, but we weren't going to let it ruin our fun! We withstood the wind, rain and cold and enjoyed day 2 in Philly. We started with a visit to the Reading Terminal Market.

We indulged in the famous roast pork sandwich from Tommy DiNic’s, complete with sharp provolone, hot peppers and broccoli rabe. 

The breakfast of champions! 

We enjoyed several stops to get out of the rain. Morea, Bud & Marilyn's, and Good Dog helped quench our thirst.

We enjoyed the Effin’ hot cheesesteak from Cleaver’s with white American cheese, hot cherry pepper relish, fried onions, and Sriracha aioli. Steve was in cheesesteak heaven. 

Dinner started at Pearl & Mary for some happy hour oysters followed by a few more drinks. 

The main event was at Marc Vetri’s Fiorella, a very small and intimate restaurant where pasta is the star of the show. 

I'm not sure how to describe our experience at Fiorella other than being one of the best dining experiences of our lives. 

We went off the rails and ordered three pastas dishes. Cacio e pepe, ricotta gnocchi with cherries and brown butter, and fagottini with corn and chanterelles. Goodness gracious. This man knows his pasta! 

The corn fagottini was unforgettable. 

Ricotta gnocchi with fig and brown butter. This was the best gnocchi ever!

Cacio e pepe was as good (or better?) than what we had in Italy.

The Uber home was the calm before we had to endure another day of rain and wind. Bring it Ophelia!

Sunday started with a bloody Mary sampler at Morea, following by a visit to the Betsy Ross House...ok, really just the gift shop to get out of the rain!

Next, we stopped at the famous Paddy's pub from the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"...ironic, huh?

No visit to Philadelphia would be complete without a stop at Elfreth's Alley, often referred to as the oldest continuously inhabited street in America.

Our 3rd and final cheesesteak was at Sonny's. This one was pretty good! Due to the rain, the space was totally packed, but the counter service was fast.

Another must-stop is McGillin’s Olde Ale House. The beer taps have been flowing since 1860, making it the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia and one of the oldest in the country.

I booked this long weekend in Philly for the sole purpose of dining at Vetri Cucina. It’s been on my bucket list for many years and we finally did it! 

Coursed dinners with wine pairings are my weakness. I’ve lost count of how many we’ve experienced, but this was one of the best we’ve had stateside. 

Cheers to Marc Vetri and his team for creating an experience for the ages. Every single course was prepared perfectly and timing was on point. The highlights were definitely the pastrami seasoned foie gras, chestnut agnolotti with sweetbreads, and the molten pistachio cake. The wine pairings were exceptional. 


Complimentary Aperol sprit to start the meal. 

Arancini amuse-bouche

Pastrami seasoned foie gras

Sweet onion crepe with truffle and parmesan fondue

Seared scallop

Chestnut agnolotti with castelrosso fonduta and sweetbreads

Fettuccini with Matsutake mushrooms

We both ordered the smoked baby goat with house-milled polenta 

Palate cleanser

Molten pistacchio cake

Chocolate cake

Another dessert presented on the house...I can't remember what it was!

During our last day in Philly, we enjoyed a good old fashioned pizza crawl.

We started with pizza by the slice at Pizzata.

Next was Pizzeria Vetri for a pepperoni pie. 

Finally, we stopped at Paulie Gee’s Soul City Slice Shop.

Despite A LOT of rain, Philly was fun and the food was phenomenal. 

Until next time!

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