Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lunch Report: DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market...

During our visit to New Jersey, we made a few trips into Philadelphia which is just a short drive (20 - 25 minutes) from my daughter's condo.  We had talked about wanting to go walk around and see some sights (I'll post some pictures in another blog entry) as well as visiting Reading Terminal Market, which I had seen featured on some show or another.  Inside RTM is just this beautiful spread of produce shops, arts and crafts, bakeries and desserts, but most of all, it is full of food! 
Often when I find myself in downtown San Antonio, in side the farmers market - el mercado in market square, I imagine that the developers of the place had a vision that it might somehow become as robust and vibrant an experience as RTM.  San Antonio's market square is only robust when there is a reason to party and stages with bands playing loud music encourage beer soaked revelers to liven the place up.  Otherwise, and this is a place I like I should mention, the place is pretty quiet and the shopkeepers seem to spend their time checking their Facebook status, eager for the next big party. 
 When we first walked into RTM, it was like entering this magnificent air conditioned dream of a flea market, complete with beautiful smells of fresh bread, hand tossed pizza, and freshly picked produce. 
 The place was bustling but not so overcrowded that we were forced to go with the flow of the crowd.  My gut reaction was to want to walk up and down each and every aisle, to gander at every item on sale or take a whiff of every lunch being cooked. 
But hunger prevailed, and before long, we had weaved ourselves in and out of the crowds and at the end of a long line to try DiNic's.  I had seen the DiNic's piece on Adam Richman's show on The Travel Channel, and in fact, RTM has a huge banner up in the main area promoting this.
 DiNic's is packed into an area probably 20 X 20 with a all the sandwich making action taking place in the center, and eating bar with stools surrounding, and a line of hungry customers wrapped around waiting to order. 
 In all, we probably waited for maybe 15 minutes to make it from the back of the line with probably 35 to 40 people in front of us, order and receive our sandwiches.  Meanwhile, it was fun to watch how incredibly organized the staff was.  The guy taking the orders would first get the sandwich selection, then give that ticket to the guys making them, then grab drinks and eventually take payment.  The timing was such that, by the time you got to the very front of the line to pay, your order was ready to go.
 I did notice that the guy taking orders would occasionally make a move toward the back of the area and take orders from police and firemen, slipping their orders into the mix.  I didn't have a problem with this little cutting of the line, and from what I could see, none of the other people seemed to mind either.
So how was the sandwich?  The one Adam Richman chose as the best in America was the roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and Provolone.  I had thought about ordering that, but honestly, I'm not even sure what broccoli rabe is.  Instead, for my order, I had the Italian style pulled pork with roasted sweet peppers and Provolone.  I'm guessing I should have gone with the one with broccoli rabe, because the sandwich was good, but really, nothing I would even consider close to the best of anything. 
The bread was wonderful, I really liked the Provolone and how it melted in with the meat, but the meat itself was extraordinarily bland.  Even the peppers didn't add to the taste of the meet.  Would I order one if I was there?  Sure.  But would I make a special trip.  No.  In fact, next door to DiNic's was a place called Hershel's east side deli that had a huge corned beef sandwich on display.  My son-in-law commented that he had wished we had tried that pace where there was no line at all.
Tyler did have the brisket which was good - better than the Italian pulled pork.  But even then, compared to brisket in Texas?  Fuhgeddaboudit! 
Eva and Roxanne shared the roast beef sandwich, and all of us agreed that as for taste, this was the one worth the trip.  That was some yummy roast beef right there. 
 Look, I don't want to slam the place.  I ate my entire sandwich and enjoyed it.  The experience of standing on line wrapped around the bar of locals eating lunch and fellow tourists posing with their sandwiches was worth the price of lunch. But the best sandwich in America?  It must be the broccoli rabe.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

Yeah...Adam Richman picked that Philly stuff over a Primanti Brothers sammich!!

The nerve!!!