After a bunch of blog posts, you start to realize that people really love lists and comparisons and best of [insert city/neighborhood]. It's difficult to really just say, "Oh well this was tasty." People seemingly only turn heads when you make really outlandish statements. Like a sandwich is only a sandwich when it appears on a top ten list or something. I tasted three sandwiches two weekends ago in Philly. All three were from DiNic's. So let's just break it down for you real simple.
If you're in Philly, you pretty much have to stop at Reading Terminal Market for some food. Really, you could have lunch there during every day of your stay, and eat something different for like two weeks. I was there with Steph and we both thought it was like Chelsea Market on crack. Chelsea Market gets this rep for being a market with good food choices and an interesting food place to check out... but Reading Terminal Market pretty muchs pwns anything we have in Manhattan.
DiNic's is a roast pork and roast beef counter in the middle of Reading Terminal Market. I heard about it from Robyn and Kathy. I settled on the brisket sandwich topped with peppers. The guys slice the stuff a few feet away, and it's fun to watch.
Maybe it was watching them prepare it in front of me, or reading about it prior to coming... but the sandwich was a bit of a letdown. It was quite delicious, and if you randomly happened upon DiNic's, you would probably be quite pleased. But the main thing that I noticed about the sandwich was that it needed salt. The meat was soft and moist and it was just oh so close to being great. Out of my Philly sandwiches at DiNic's, this comes in at number 3.
Steph got the roast pork with spinach. This was also pretty tasty. Soft roast pork with sauteed spinach. The bread soaked up all the juices. Just like the brisket sandwich though, this needed a touch of salt to bring it to life. I don't know if they add much salt during the cooking process, or maybe they just didn't sprinkle any on at the end... who knows. Steph mentioned that while DiNic's is delicious, it still can't compare to Porchetta's pork sandwich. I must agree, since you miss the crunch of cracklings in the DiNic sandwich. Yes, they're different type of sandwiches, and most sandwiches would do well to have crunchy pig skin in them... but it's still a fair comparison. Out of my Philly sandwiches at DiNic's, this comes in at number 2.
On Sunday, I went back to DiNic's because the other sandwich people talked about was the Italian pulled pork. I got this one to-go, and with broccoli rabe on top. This sandwich had some kind of sauce poured on top that really soaked into the bread. Out of all three sandwiches, this one probably had the necessary amount of salt for my tastes. The difference between spinach and broccoli rabe is really a taste preference; I picked broccoli rabe since the day before I tasted their spinach. Out of my Philly sandwiches at DiNic's, this comes in at number 1.
I didn't even eat a single cheesesteak while in Philly. Everyone talks about two places. Pat's and Geno's. If you travel to Philly via the Chinatown buses, and you stay downtown, then it's kind of impossible to get to those two storied cheesesteak places. I would say that DiNic's sandwiches are a pretty good alternative. I like cheesesteaks and all but they're not THAT amazing.
Ranking things gets to be pretty tiring after a while. That's why I keep it simple and rank it from the same place. Instead of telling you where to go in Philly, I just tell you basically nothing. See how awesome my rankings are? Do you even remember what I just told you? Of course not, you're not supposed to. Just eat what you want to eat.
One last thing, if you go to Philly via the Chinatown buses? For the love of anything pure and sweet.... do NOT take New Century Buses. If you plan on getting on that bus in a timely manner, it's just not possible. I would avoid at all costs. Seriously, unless you decide to go to Philly at the last minute, and all the Bolt Buses are gone... you should stay away from Chinatown bus services. Lame-o.
Dinic's Oven Roasted Beef & Pork
Reading Terminl Market.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
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