PODCAST FEATURE:
Destination Eat Drink Podcast:  Philadelphia Episode

 

Interview Transcript:

Announcer:

Cheesesteaks, tomato pie, and an all-purpose slang term. This week, we're in Philadelphia. Traveling the world to bring new delicious dishes, tasty beverages, and interesting experiences. This is the Destination Eat Drink podcast on the Radio Misfits podcasts network.

Brent Petersen:

I'm Brent Petersen. Welcome to Destination Eat Drink the travel podcast for foodies. Each week, we make a trip to a different foodie city and try the dishes and drinks that make it unique. This week it's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and my guest for this episode is Matt Schillizzi of Philadelphia City Food Fours. Matt’s a foodie tour guide, who's originally from New Jersey, but came to Philly to go to school at Temple and never left. Now he takes guests all over the city to learn about the cuisine that makes Philly Philly. We had a great talk about Philly foods like cheesesteak, of course, and the cheese whiz that tops them. Matt told me a great story about how cab drivers and a rumor about the meat in cheesesteaks helped to popularize the sandwich in the city. And we talk about the glory that is the tomato pie. I love a similar item called pizza strips, a local dish in Rhode Island. So Matt and I compare notes on tomato pie and pizza strips. We also talk about how Philadelphians love their pretzels and Italian food. And we talk about the famous Reading Terminal Market. Plus Matt tells me some of his favorite places to eat and drink in Philly. And before we get to that, if you could do me a favor, if you've been enjoying the show rate and review us on Apple podcasts or wherever you get Destination Eat Drink. Just take some minutes, and I say thank you to you in advance, but now I'm starving. So let's eat.

Brent Petersen:

Matt from City Food Tours. Thank you so much for being on Destination Eat Drink. It's a pleasure to talk to you today about Philadelphia.  I think that, you know, we have to start at the place where everyone thinks about Philly and food. The intersection of food and Philly is cheesesteaks. So let's broach the subject of cheesesteaks. What is it that makes a good cheesesteak in Philly and what makes a poor one?

Matt Schillizzi:

So I get this question all the time, probably more this than any other question is about the cheesesteak. So, and we latch onto them pretty quickly. Because of course we do it better than anywhere else. But also Philadelphia, the PH level in the water here, it's actually ideal for cheesesteaks, but similar to that, like you, New Yorkers think that their pizza is better than anywhere else, their bagels than anywhere else. If the be part is the water, because when you cook water is a major ingredient for almost everything that you're cooking with. So, so it just works really well for our cheesesteaks and also with our pretzels, which we'll get into as well. But cheesesteaks weren't an accident the way that it started, but it was two brothers in south Philly that originally had a hot dog stand. And after a long time of just serving hot dogs, like, you know what, let's do something a little bit different. So they got some beef and they chopped it up and to spice it up they mix some fried onions in there. And then the only thing they had to put it on was actually a hot dog bun. So, that was kind of the start of this new sandwich. And actually they didn't put cheese on it at first so it was just called a steak sandwich. And it was the cab drivers that helped get that first business is going to them. And as they would bring customers into their cars and they would drive them around, they would smell this new steak sandwich and it would circulate these new smells around South Philly in the Italian Market as well that people started to crave these new steak sandwiches. Funny enough is they've been pretty strategic with how they've pushed their business forward over the years. And a funny example of that is in the Great Depression when it was, it was hard to get big rations or beef and other meats. They were able to still get the inventory that they needed, but people were starting to spread the rumor that they weren't using real beef, they're using horse meat instead. So what they ended up doing was they took an ad out in a newspaper and said, Hey, you can prove that we're using horsemeat, we'll give you $10,000. They got so much business from people trying to prove they're using horsemeat instead of real beef, because $10,000 even today, is a great prize if you could win that,  but in the Great Depression, I mean, that was life-changing So, people wanted to try to prove them wrong. So they got a lot of great business out of it. But later on, they came out, actually that I'll give you one guess: who do you think started that whole rumor of the horsemeat?

 

Brent Petersen:

The vendor themselves.

 

Matt Schillizzi:

You've got it. That's just it. Yeah, the brothers themselves. They're the ones who started that rumor. So they’ve been using their strategic wit in terms of keeping their business alive. And nowadays they also rely on competition to keep themselves alive because these brothers were Pat and Harry Oliveri. So they now have, what's now known as Pat’s the originator or the cheesesteak right across the street from Geno's. A lot of people think of Pat's and Geno's as like one entity. When in fact if you've been there, you'll notice they're actually two separate locations; on the same corner, they face one another. It's almost like a Time Square intersection where there's like triangles one on one corner and one of the other, and they look completely different from one other. Pat’s is not maybe as well lit as Geno's, but tourists and some locals will go to both. They're open 24/7. There's always lines at both. But we just love our  cheesesteaks so much, and it didn't start off by accident per se. But that story is just such a Philly thing. And then later on, we actually, once we started adding cheese, it wasn't until about like 20 or 30 years after the steak sandwich started that we started adding cheese onto it. And the Italians that they were, they gravitated towards provolone. That was their cheese of choice. Then once cheese whiz came out, I mean, it just went insane because when you look at something, let's say, if you're not from Philadelphia, cheese whiz think of almost like a molten kind of liquid-y-like, cheese, almost like you're gunna melt Velveeta on top of your nachos, almost something like that. So it worked really well with our cheesesteaks and that's why it just makes it what it is. And you can't use that cheese whiz for anything, like you can't make a grilled cheese out of cheese whiz, you can't put it on pizza - well  I'm sure you can, I’m sure people have done it - but cheese whiz has like a specific type of food it’s supposed to go with. And a cheesesteak is perfect for that because it looks like this gourmet rich cheese that looks like you were like slaving over your stove all day making it, when in fact it comes out of the can looking exactly the way it does when you eat it. You just have to heat it up a little bit and there you go. So when we had our steak sandwiches and then we started adding cheese and then cheese whiz came out and this is all we really need. So yes, cheesesteaks are really big for us. What a lot of people don't know is that people who grew up and live in Philadelphia, a lot of them actually prefer to get their cheesesteaks kind of on the outskirts of Philly. Where a lot of people who visit Philadelphia, they'll just assume the best cheesesteaks are in Center City or maybe Old City where a lot of the attractions are. But if you come by Philadelphia and you want to find a great cheesesteak, you can go within Center City, South Philly, North Philly, West Philly. There's really nowhere you're going to get like a bad cheesesteak per se. But a lot of people don't realize you can actually just go into any old pizza shop and they'll have a whole menu of different types of cheesesteaks to get as well. So you don't have to go to one of those like big name places like Jim’s, Tony Luke's, Dalessandro’s, I mean, if you want to  certainly go ahead and do so. But on our food tours, we take our guests into a place on 13th street called Zio's. It's a regular pizza shop, it's like the mom-n-pop shop, you might walk right by it and not think that that's a great place to go to get a real Philly cheesesteak. But when our guests have their cheesesteaks they absolutely love them.

Brent Petersen:

So I got a question about the cheese whiz, because I'm familiar with cheese whiz. I, I was a college student at one point and you know, I might've taken a shot of cheese whiz straight out of the nozzle. But the question is do they actually spray the cheese whiz onto the cheesesteak from the can? Or do restaurants have like vats of cheese whiz and they're taking a spatula and spreading it out? How does the cheese was actually get onto the meat itself?

Matt Schillizzi:

It's actually more of the latter where people don't  know that there's many different types of cheese whiz, where cheese whiz can come in that spray can. We don't use that here in Philadelphia. I can't even remember the last time I saw that, I might've been a kid the last time I saw that. But you know, when you use it, it's more of like a liquid-y consistency and we heat it up. So, it is usually refrigerated. So think of like, if you have like that small jar of Tostito's like cheese that you want to put on top of your nachos, it's kind of like that. Of course it's not chunky at all. I actually have never seen anywhere put like slices of jalapeno or maybe some like Pico de Gallo place just don't really do that. Because cheese whiz is its own ingredient that places like to use and keep; they know that people want them because just for what it is.

Brent Petersen:

Now, I know Philly has something called a tomato pie. I think I know what this is because I lived in Rhode Island for a long time and we had something there called pizza strips. And I think it's very similar, but,  describe for me, Matt, what exactly a tomato pie is and where would we go to get one.

Matt Schillizzi:

Tomato pie is a huge thing in Philadelphia. And I didn't realize how big it really was until I would say a few years after I moved to Philly. We are just so proud of our tomato pie here. And so brace yourself because when I first say what it is, you're going to think like, why would I ever want to eat that? It's essentially like a cheese-less pizza. And I also on our food floors, I also give our cheese tasting tour. I absolutely love cheese. My friends know that if we have a party, I need either to bring cheese platter and/or a pretzel platter because I need at least one of those there. But the tomato pie is so delicious because it's all about the sauce in some way. And every restaurant or pizza shop, tomato pie maker, whatever they use in their sauces, other seasonings and spices, they think in their mind they have all seasoned it to perfection. I mean, and maybe they have. Every place might season it a little bit different, but no matter where you go, it's all “perfect”. But our tomato pie, it actually started because in Philadelphia, we’ve always had huge communities of Italians living here. Even today, we have a big Italian Market in South Philadelphia. The region of South Philly does still have a lot of Italian families that are there. And for a long time with those Italian families, a lot of them were Catholic and they had very large families. So an easy and inexpensive way to feed everybody was with tomato pie. And all they needed to do is get their dough from somewhere. And the dough  is actually, it's not the same as pizza dough; they actually use like baking bread dough. And they can get that almost any bakery shop in South Philly and all you really needed in addition to that was to make your sauce. So you can grow tomatoes anywhere, including in your fire escape if you were short on space, and then season it as much as you wanted to, and you basically have your tomato pie. Cheese was considered more of a delicacy, so that's originally why they didn't add cheese, but something about the Philly tomato pie that's different from elsewhere is that our tomato pie largely comes in the shape of a rectangle. That's because the shapes of the tables and the kitchens were the shape of a rectangle. So they would shape it after the shape of the table. And then we've noticed that pizzas these days are usually circular shapes. So that also reflects when kitchens started to have more of a circular table in them. So the pizzas and tomato pies have largely shaped themselves after the shapes that our tables have. But I’m happy you say that you you've experienced it before in the Northeast because there are different versions of the tomato pie across the country. Where  down south, their tomato pie is completely different than ours, but they call it tomato pie. Their crust is, it's more of like a pie crust, so it can be hard and dense, a little bit thick. And they have like chunks of tomatoes and like a tomato sauce in there. And they have like this melted cheese, almost like a fondue. I've also heard sometimes they mix mayonnaise into that cheese sauce as well  they'll put over the top of it. So theirs is very different. Places might also call it like a grandma pie. You said it was a, what's it called pizza strips. So you can call it different things, but I'm sure there are different areas across the country that have almost like a different type of version of it somewhere.

Brent Petersen:

Yeah. Tomato pies huge and Philly, pizza strips are huge in Rhode Island. In Utica, New York there's also a tomato pie as they even have a tomato pie festival. Last time I checked, they have a tomato pie festival in Utica, New York. So, and they're good. I mean, when I moved to Rhode Island back in 1990 from the Midwest, I kind of turned my note. I was like, I don't know about this. Then I tried it. And I was like, this is a genius invention. And every party you go to in Rhode Island, someone comes with a big box of pizza strips and they are delicious. I love them.

Matt Schillizzi:

No, you're completely right. And that's exactly the reaction I get that when we give our food tours. One of the stops we go to for our Flavors of Philly food tour is Joe's Pizza on 16th Street to get our tomato pie. And once we sit down and the at the chefs at the counter, and they're just starting to fire up slices for us, I'm talking about what to expect everybody with this pie. We get a lot of, a lot of visitors on our tours who have never had tomato pie before, or don't even know what it is. So as we're waiting for the slices to get warmed up, I'm starting to talk about what is tomato pie. And as I say it's cheese-less pizza, but it's all about the sauce. And then I can see on their faces they're like, you know what? I need more convincing than that. They're saying is not wowing me in any way. But then once it comes out and they try it, I tell you almost every person every time says, wow, this is a lot better than I was expecting. I never would have thought to order this, but now I want to get it again. I mean, some people say they still prefer to have cheese on their pizza. I get it. But the tomato pie definitely it's something that we do really well here in Philadelphia.

Brent Petersen:

So, uh, you mentioned, you know, the large Italian population in Philadelphia. Philly’s known for having a huge Italian population. Is there a specific neighborhood where we would go to get great Italian food? And where's your favorite Italian food place in Philly?

Matt Schillizzi:

I mean, there's a lot of fantastic places to go to. South Philly, definitely I would say is the most prominent area that's known for its Italian culture. You'll still see, I mean, Italian, it could be murals, Italian churches, there's  Italian festivals down there, the Italian market certainly down there as well. So you'll find a lot of really cool places to go to. And especially there's an area in South Philly called East Passyunk. And it's like, it's been a very up and coming area for a long time that we are well past that. It's now such an established place. And one of the older restaurants in Philadelphia is called Marra’s. And, they, uh, have amazing pizzas, tomato pies, as Italian dishes as well. In South Philly, a restaurant you absolutely have to go to his Ralph's Italian restaurant. People talk about it all the time. It's actually, America's oldest Italian restaurant and it's been continuously running the same family. It's been like 120 years, so don't quote me on it. It's been something around that. It's been a ridiculous amount of time that has been running and operating. And the thing is South Philly, you could walk around - and it's a very large section of Philadelphia - but you could walk around those neighborhoods and it feels mostly residential and it largely is, but a place like Ralph's, you could walk out the front of it - and yes, they have a sign saying Ralph's Restaurant - but it looks just like a regular Italian row home. It doesn't from the outside look almost any different from a lot of other places. But when you walk inside, it's completely different. And that's, what's kind of cool about South Philly is that we've renovated the inside of these houses to turn them into restaurants. So it still has that South Philly and Italian feel to it. And sometimes they haven't even fully renovated it where you go into the bathroom of the restaurant and it is a spitting image of a bathroom from the row home, right next door. So it's pretty cool that it holds on their culture in that respect.

Brent Petersen:

I love those kinds of places and Philly's famous for the row houses. So that must be cool to go in there and enjoy a meal at Ralph's. Philly is such a diverse city. What are some of the other ethnicities that have made Philly home? And what are some of the things that they've added to the culinary scene in Philadelphia?

Matt Schillizzi:

That's actually something we're very proud of because I mean, ever since our history, we’re the City of Brotherly Love; we wanted people to live here. I mean, not that we always treated all of our communities the right way or the best way. But we wanted people to live here, no matter what language you spoke or religion you practiced or country you came from. So over the years, we got a lot of people coming to Philadelphia. So definitely a lot from Italy, from Ireland, we've got a lot of Germans coming over the years. There's even populations of Polish, Japanese, there's a big Korean population, Chinese, LatinX as well. And then years ago, we got a lot of slaves from Africa coming here because us being a big colonial city, I mean, we had a lot of slaves that were put to work. Not that we're proud of that but they are part of our fabric of the city. And you can even go in Southwest Philly and there's communities that still show their African heritage many ways. So we have a lot of different ethnic pockets in our city. And these neighborhoods are so pretty prominent. I would say not as prominent as maybe they used to always be. For example, the Italian Market used to be all Italian a little bit bigger than what it is now. Now there’s kind of like an extension to it that’s more of like a Mexican market. And there's a big LatinX community that's grown in that area as well. And I think it would have taken away some of what the Italian Market was. But it has grown the Mexican and LatinX community as well. Up in North Philadelphia, there's a section called Germantown because Germans had a big founding in our city as well. And we can thank them for our pretzels or what they called their bretzels as well. And also our Chinatown, for example, too, I mean, it's shrunk a little bit and to be completely honest, COVID has affected it pretty negatively as well. They were hit very hard, their businesses. So it is coming back. We're very proud of our Chinatown and we want to see it growing and thriving as much as it can. But it's still a great destination and Philly.

Brent Petersen:

You mentioned pretzels, and I didn't even know that there was a large German community in Philly. I guess I could assume most cities in the U.S. have a German community, but I didn't realize pretzels were such a big thing there. Tell me about pretzels in Philly, where would we go to get them and what makes them so special?

Matt Schillizzi:

We've loved pretzels since the beginning. And again, it's because the Germans that when they came to Philadelphia, they had such a big cultural influence on Philly because they came in the masses. And when they came and they loved their bretzels so much and that was part of their culture, that when they became a part of Philadelphia's culture, we just started to love our pretzels so much. And pretzels started off getting traction in a city by guys would walk around with little pretzel carts on wheels, and they would just wheel them through their neighborhoods. You don't really see that so much anymore these days. You might see at the stadiums in South Philly a little bit, but not as much throughout the rest of the city, really. And if you wanted a pretzel from that pretzel cart, you had to like, know that person's route in that neighborhood or, you know, their timing or be lucky enough to stumble upon them. So it was sometimes it's just based upon luck. You were able to get your pretzel for that day. But what happened is Philly really latched onto their pretzel so much. And then up popped the chain called Philly Pretzel Factory. Do you have any of those near you?

Brent Petersen:

No. No, we don't.

Matt Schillizzi:

But a Philly Pretzel Factory actually started in Roxborough, Manayunk area in Philadelphia, and it's grown quite a bit. It is a chain. They have almost 200 locations across the country now going all the way down the coast to Florida. So we have grown quite expansively. And they really pushed pretzels much farther than I think anyone else had. Their pretzels are all made fresh behind their stands. Even though it is a chain, they make them all fresh at their stand. They are absolutely delicious and people think it's just a pretzel, it's nothing special, but it's that perfect treat that's exactly what you need when you don't even know that you need it. They only use three ingredients and their pretzels, which is water, flour, and yeast. And then of course the optional salt. If you get it without salt we call it a baldy. We’ve perfected how much salt put it on there though, because if you actually put too much salt on your pretzel, what happens is it draws out the moisture from within your pretzels. So the interior gets a little bit hard, but the exterior will then get a little bit slimy. So if anyone's ever had like a slimy pretzel, it’s because there's been too much salt on it. But you won't have that problem at all at Philly Pretzel Factory. They opened up in the early 2000s. And again, since they pushed pretzels so much it helped Philadelphia be founded it as like a pretzel capital of the country, where Philadelphians actually consume a 14 times more pretzels than your national average. So anytime you in Rhode Island have had one pretzel, I in Philadelphia have had 14, which is kind of crazy to think about. But also if you look at Pennsylvania as a whole, we have so many manufacturers of pretzels. We have the many Philadelphia Pretzel Factory locations. we have the Amish in Lancaster, we have Utz pretzel factory, even Herrs as well. But so many places making so many pretzels that the state of Pennsylvania actually produces 80% of the country's pretzels. So we are really big on it. And if you go into any household party, or if there was something at like an office being catered, it's pretty common to see pretzels there. And if you're walking throughout Center City, Philadelphia, you'll pretty often see someone with a hand truck carrying boxes of Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels, to a party or something being catered.

Brent Petersen:

Let's move on to drinks Matt. And nothing would be more refreshing with a pretzel than a beer. What's the, uh, what's the craft beer scene like in Philadelphia

Matt Schillizzi:

Philly is such a wet city, and we always have that. I mean, we even have a section of North Philly called Brewerytown. It's a neighborhood right along the Schuylkill River. Which for anyone, if you've ever seen it and didn't know how to pronounce it’s Schuylkill S C H U Y L K I L L.

Brent Petersen:

I never would’ve gotten Schuylkill out of that.

Matt Schillizzi:

You kind of have to hear it and just remember how it sounds. But we're right along the Schuylkill River is a section called Brewerytown in North Philly. And that's because it was easy to access the waterways many years ago for people to bring in what they need it for their breweries. And then Prohibition happened, I mean, that changed the landscape forever in Philadelphia because a lot, I mean, so many bars and breweries shut down. It ruined our reputation for being such a great and wet city for what we were. But Philly was actually on the forefront of being a really popular city for happy hour. That during Prohibition, what a lot of people would do is they would go over someone's house or meet somewhere in private and they would drink a lot. And then they would go out for their dinner reservation because you weren't allowed to drink out or at restaurants or anywhere. So they would drink in private and then that buzz would carry them through their dinnertime. So that's kind of how we started getting big on happy hour. And then once Prohibition was over, a lot of Philadelphia bars realized that people like to drink and then go out to dinner. So we kind of set off as that. And we were a big city and when it came to happy hour and we still are. I mean, if you leave your office at 5:00 and you walk around anywhere, any neighbor, there's a lot of restaurants and bars, you’ll  see a lot of activity inside, outside. People love to be going out and drinking. So it could be either bars, restaurants. We love going to microbrews. We have Yards of Evil Genius. We have so many other places in and around the city. And a lot of it is also our specialty cocktails. We have a lot of them, including our notorious fish house punch, which is pretty big at a number of places. And we also even have a few speakeasies. So like a Hop Sing Laundromat. We have one called Randstead Room. And then another one that's called the Franklin Bar. That was, I believe it was remodeled a few years ago. But when you walk in the outside, you would never look at it and think that is a bar. But if you know it and you walk in, like, this is just a beautiful place to be.

Brent Petersen:

What about dive bars? Do you have a favorite dive bar in Philly? You like to go to? Nothing like having a cold beer out of a can and a shooting a game of pool or playing some darts. Where would I go for that in Philly?

Matt Schillizzi:

You know, there's a lot of dive bars. You don't have to walk far, no matter what neighborhood you're in to get to at least a few. I'll admit dive bar is not necessarily my go-to. But a great area if that's your scene to go to, it's a section of Philly called Fishtown. And Fishtown and Northern Liberties are two separate neighborhoods within Philadelphia. A lot of people confuse the two. Those were areas that were up and coming for such a long time and they are beyond that. They are well established, especially Northern Liberties. I would say that that might've had the biggest growth in property value and restaurants and people moving there than any other neighborhood in Philadelphia over the past decade. And it’s such a fun place and you get a lot of young people, young families, young professionals that are living there. Amazing restaurants and ones that are getting national attention like Cafe du Monde and Saraya and Laser Wolf. One of my personal favorites is Apricot Stone. It's an Armenian restaurant and I brought my Armenian grandma there and absolutely, she said it reminds her of what her mother used to make her when she was little. So I love bringing my friends and family there. But the whole area of Northern Liberties and Fishtown has such a diverse array of restaurants and bars. And you have upscale bars, you have dive bars everywhere in between. And what I would love to do for City Food Tours in the future, I want to create another tour that's going to - and don't steal this from me - but I want to create a retro bar food tour because there's a few places in that neighborhood that are almost like retro in some way. We have North Bowl, it's like a bowling alley but designed to be made in like the ‘70s or so, we have, it's an awesome place. We have Frankford hall, which is like an outdoor bar, has a lot of people who like to visit there. I was Barcade, which is there as well. So that’s the type of people who liked to frequent there, whether they live there or not. It's just a lot of energy, excitement, great drinking area. So I would love to create like a retro bar food tour in that area because it's the perfect place to do it.

Brent Petersen:

I would definitely buy a ticket to the retro bar tour, Matt. I'll tell you right up front, put me at the, put me at the head of the line.

Matt Schillizzi:

I’ll let you know once we get that going.

Brent Petersen:

I love the Reading Terminal Market. If I recall correctly, years and years ago, I bought a mortar and pestle from a little kitchen utility shop in there. And that thing lasted me over 20 years before I finally ended up dropping it on a concrete floor and breaking it. I would just say, man, when you go to Philly, go to the Reading Terminal Market and plan to spend at least a couple hours, you could spend easily half a day there and not see everything at the Reading Terminal Market.

Matt Schillizzi:

A lot of people when they come to Philadelphia, a big destination for them to go to is the Reading Terminal Market. And they are right in doing that. And the Market brings in so many visitors, locals and other people who frequent Philadelphia. There really is something for everyone because locals will go there to do their food shopping. They'll go to the butchers, they'll get their seafood from there, they'll go get their produce. But then people who live around Philadelphia and come in for work, they’ll go to the Reading Terminal Market weekly for lunches. And then you also get the visitors of Philadelphia who want to go there to check it out and try something unique and see what's there. In the Market, you can find anything and everything there. And if you go to any particular vendor, you might look at their menu and say, oh this is a cookie stand that they just make cookies. Or I'll go to let's say one of the other stands that they just make corn dogs that you might think this is their specialty, but those chefs are capable of a lot. And I've seen the chefs from our Reading Terminal Market that they go on these other cooking shows and are in these other competitions. And they do really well on a national level. So it's amazing to know that we have this talent right here within our Market. And you can find in many international dishes, we have Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties, Profi’s Creperie, uh, we have a lot of Latin, there's Indian places, we also have a lot of vendors that are Amish, so you have that like central PA flavor coming into our Market, like Miller’s Twist, Dutch Eating Place, Hatfield Deli. We also have places that Philly is really known for. For example, a lot of Philadelphians are so proud of like Termini’s and their cannoli, Beiler's donuts, Bassett’s ice cream, Dinic’s roast pork sandwiches and cheesesteaks, and then Carmen's as well. But then in addition to that, we also have little shops and other fun places like Flying Monkey Bakery. They have so many delicious, amazing creative treats. And Fox and Son that has their menu crafted after almost like carnival food. So they have like corn dogs, cheese curds, and poutine, and funnel cake. So you can run a lot of amazing dishes in there and with City Food Tours, we actually offer a scavenger hunt activities to do of the Reading Terminal Market. It is such a fun thing to the lead but I know that as the guest, it's even more fun than that. Where we give you like a list of questions - and you're in small teams, so maybe like two or three people per team - and you run around the Market, answering all these questions and riddles and you have to physically be in the Market to find the answers to these. So once you're able to work your way through, you make your way back to the front. It is a timed activity, it's a great team-building activity. While we get a lot of businesses that want to do it, we get schools that want to do it, getting friends that want to have a nice activity to do together as well. And, then the winning team was a little edible delicious prize for the Market itself. So it really is a fun thing. And then we take some of our other tours into the Reading Terminal Market as well to explore it and show some of our prized vendors in there.

Brent Petersen:

Matt, before I let you go. There's a question that's been eating at me for years and I have family in Philadelphia, my nieces live in Philly, my brother and my sister-in-law live in Philly. And I still have not got an answer to the question of what does the word jawn mean? And for people who are listening, it's J A W N. And I hear this all the time when people in Philly are talking, but I still don't understand exactly what jawn means.

Matt Schillizzi:

I wish I had an exciting answer for you.

 

Brent Petersen:

You’re not going to solve this for me?

 

Matt Schillizzi:

So lower your expectations. But this is just such a Philly thing is that I don't want to say it's out of laziness or forgetfulness, but it's like it's when someone doesn't think of, I guess they don't want to say what it actually is. So basically it's a substitute word for anything. It could be an object, it could be a person, it could be a place, it could be a noun; anything in the world. And we don't feel like saying it. Like, if you want to take a photo instead of, oh go stand up against that tree, we'll say oh go stand up against that jawn because we just don't want to say the word tree. And you know what, and so take it for what it is. And that's, let me just tell you it's a perfect Philly word.

Brent Petersen:

Oh man. Okay. So, you know, you know that might be the best explanation that I've got so far, you know, it's just like, it doesn't mean anything and it means everything at the same time. And I can live in those two worlds simultaneously. That's not a problem. Well, Matt from City Food Tours, thanks for talking to us about cheesesteaks, tomato pies, and jawns. And it's been great talking to you. I look forward to taking a City Food Tour when we come to Philly next time.

Matt Schillizzi:

Thanks so much. We'd love to have you. It's been an honor to talk to you today.

Brent Petersen:

Okay. There you go. Everything you wanted to know about cheese whiz, tomato pie, and jawn. Matt dropped a lot of info. So I've got links to Philadelphia City Food Tours and all the places he mentioned in the shownotes at radiomisfits.com/ded146. Well, that'll put a bow on this episode of Destination Eat Drink. Next week, we are in Chile to sample Pisco and Kurento. Until then check out DestinationEatDrink.com. I've got foodie travel guides for cities all over the world. If you're planning a trip, get over there for all your foodie info. I've also got the blog where I just posted an article about the legend of the spouting horn of the ancient lizard. And it's just as scary as it sounds. It's a great story. So check that out. That's a destinationeatdrink.com/blog. Destination Eat Drink is distributed by the Radio Misfits podcast network and the man who licks the vats of cheese whiz clean, Ed Silla. Thanks, ed. I'm Brent Petersen. I will see you down the road.

Brent Petersen:

Join us next week for another culinary adventure on Destination Eat Drink, a presentation of the Radio Misfits podcast network.

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Destination Eat Drink: Philadelphia Episode
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