428 N. 13th St.
The Cafe Lift breakfast burrito is a work of brunch art. The all day brunch spot at 428 N. 13th St. is a slight walk from the nearest SEPTA station (13th Street off of the MFL), but the friendly service and charming renovated loft–style atmosphere make the impeccable food that much more worth it. The burrito itself is plated with a healthy portion of crispy home fries, sour cream and a homemade salsa that packs quite a kick. Don’t even try to tackle this baby with your hands—Lift provides a sharp knife so each bite of eggs, roasted peppers, mushrooms, onions and jack cheese (packed tightly in a flour tortilla) can be savored without the whole thing falling apart.
Four Seasons Juice Bar
Reading Terminal Market
51 N. 12th St.(215) 925–4448
This magazine and others have featured the goodies of Reading Terminal Market on multiple occasions: the donuts made by the amish, the ice cream at Bassetts, the roast pork sandwiches. While I don’t aim to deter you from these offerings, my favorite item there is the juice. Ignore the suggestions on the board and order a juice at Four Seasons with kale, ginger, cucumber and a pineapple base and get excited. Pineapple remains an underutilized fruit and it lends a tropical flavor to this juice that is far more interesting than typical apple undertones. Cucumber and ginger add refreshment and some zing. I tried this blend one hungover Saturday when my grandparents were in town. My grandpa took a sip between bites of his Bassetts cone. I don’t want to speak on his behalf, but from the look on his face he may be altering his order next time he’s in town. Bam, the power of green juice.
Jimmie’s Cupcake Truck
Each cake at Jimmie’s Cupcake Truck is named after a famous James—there’s the James Dean, the James Bond, the Jesse James, the Jimmy Neutron. The best, however, is the LeBron James: soft vanilla cake with tart lemon glaze and raspberry buttercream. The cake is moist with flecks of vanilla bean. The citrusy glaze contrasts beautifully with creaminess of the icing and, unlike many glazes, doesn’t make the cupcake too sticky or soft. The buttercream is subtly flavored and tinted a refreshing shade of pink. The most satisfying part of this cupcake, however, is the frosting–to–cake ratio. Whether you try the two bite mini–cupcake, or commit fully with the regular size, each mouthful will have an ideal ratio of cake and buttercream—no need to fret about choking on those last bites of naked, dry cake.
412 S. 13th St.
The baked pecorino with almond honey at Amis Trattoria performs some kind of magic. It melts once—in its perfect little round ceramic dish before it lands on your table—and then it melts again, on your tongue and seemingly right into your taste buds as you take your first bite. The cheese is gooey but not chewy. It is sharp, it is buttery, it is nutty and then—boom—the sweetness of the honey takes over and you just want to melt right into the chair yourself. A baked pecorino patron on the hardwood floor. Amis is not “cheap eats” but at around $8–12 per small plate, you can get away with a gourmet Marc Vetri meal without totally breaking the bank. And if you needed any more convincing, many of the dishes (including the pecorino) are served with slices of perfectly grilled focaccia bread. And who doesn’t like grilled bread with their bowl of melted cheese?
1017 S. 9th St
and 152 W. Girard Ave.
It is common knowledge that Philly is home to America’s best sandwich, but what most people don’t know is that this sandwich can be found just a few blocks away from Pat’s and Geno’s. While it can be difficult to find time to trek to the Italian Market, the bolognese sandwich at Paesano’s makes it worthwhile. Fried lasagna bolognese, smoked mozzarella and a fried egg sit atop a crusty roll and come together to make an irresistible trifecta. Next time you go to the Italian Market, make sure to save room for this life–changing sandwich.
Tacconelli’s Pizzeria2604 E. Somerset St.
Philadelphia, PA 19134
BYO wine and beer, cash only
Getting a seat—and even more miraculous, a pizza—at Taccconelli’s is somewhat of a VIP experience. The only way you can get a taste of its mouthwatering brick–oven slices is by ordering your dough in advance. So, for the most part, no dough reservation, no pizza. What’s more, only one person makes pizza in the pizzeria’s one oven, so prepare for a leisurely experience. Once you reserve your soon–to–be pie and make the trek to Port Richmond, though, get ready for the best garlicky, vegetable–topped, perfect sauce–to–cheese ratio pizza this city has to offer.