Things have been quiet around here the last few days but that's only because I've been busy eating and drinking my way around town with a group of friends who'd gathered in Philly for an extended bachelor's party weekend. Not to worry, there's no extended blow-by-blow on the horizon but at least a few of the details are ready for prime time play.
Visiting the RTM for the first time at mid-day on a Saturday is akin to baptism by fire. You get to see the market in full swing, experience the energy and bustle of peak traffic. But if you're claustrophobic or crowd averse, it can be a bit overwhelming. Suffice it to say that every aisle is a constant traffic jam and every seat is snapped up within seconds of being vacated. You'll get only a slight sense of it from the above picture of DiNic's, where the line actually wrapped around all three sides of their "end of block" space at the market's center before doubling back to the order and pick-up area. We were lucky on this day, as four guys handed over their seats at the counter just as we had made it to that point in the line.
DiNic's offers hand-carved roast beef, brisket, pulled pork and grilled sausages, all of which are quite admirable. Just as DiNic's always calls my name, though, it's only one of their sandwiches that does the same: their roast pork. It's one of those things that is so good I just have to order it every time, no matter what else is on tap. My preferred version is exactly what you see above: roast pork with provolone and greens. On any given day, the greens option may include broccoli rabe and/or spinach. While both are excellent, I favor the spinach, which adds to the overall flavor of the sandwich without dominating the succulence of the pork. The provolone is very sharp, accent on very, so much so that it actually adds a piquant aspect to the experience. The pork, though, flavorful and tender, awash in its own pan juices, along with the soft roll that willingly soaks up all those delicious drippings, is what really makes it special.
I'm not sure there's a better post-pub-crawl recovery meal or, for that matter, a finer pre-pub-crawl prep. On this weekend, it served more than admirably in both capacities.
Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork and Beef
1136 Arch Street
(in the Reading Terminal Market)
Philadelphia, PA 19107