a weekend in philadelphia: reading terminal market & surrounds

Friday, March 4:  This morning is quite cold and overcast as Mike and I drive to Philadelphia for a three-day weekend.  Our trip is a belated celebration of Mike’s 62nd birthday; his actual birthday was last weekend, February 26. He didn’t feel like going away on his actual birthday because he had gone to Ohio the weekend before that to meet his old high school friends.  I think he needed some down time before jumping into another trip.  As for me, I’m always ready to go on an adventure!

When we get to the city, it’s too early to check into our hotel.  We’re ready for lunch and we’ve read that the Reading Terminal Market, with its 80-some eatery stands, make the market a popular lunchtime destination.

Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market

According to Moon Handbooks: Pennsylvania, the Reading Railroad was forced into bankruptcy decades ago, but the terminal has housed a busy farmer’s market since then.

Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market

Besides being a regular stop for locals looking for fresh produce, eggs, dairy products, meats, and seafood, there are a staggering array of lunch options, from macaroni and cheese, chicken and dumplings, cheese steaks, roast beef sandwiches, burgers, specialty grilled cheese sandwiches, Cajun fare, Mexican and Indian/Pakistani food and savory crepes. We walk around, our mouths watering, before we settle on a diner that serves chicken and dumplings.

The dumplings in my lunch look more like noodles or spätzle than the typical dumplings I’ve eaten. The meal is just okay, maybe even a little disappointing.

Chicken & Dumplings
Chicken & Dumplings
at the lunch counter
at the lunch counter
Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market

It’s a bustling place with people hollering and bantering and driving hard bargains.

Pennsylvania General Store
Pennsylvania General Store

There are even some Easter delights: chocolate bunnies, Easter baskets, and chocolate eggs.

Easter display at the Pennsylvania General Store
Easter display at the Pennsylvania General Store
candles
candles

We know we have to try some Philly cheese steaks while here, but we’ll wait till we get a good recommendation for a tried-and-true place.

Cheesesteaks
Cheese steaks
Smucker's
Smucker’s
Lancaster County Farm Fresh
Lancaster County Farm Fresh
Burritos
12th Street Cantina
Burritos
Burritos
Tommy Dinic's Roast Pork and Beef
Tommy Dinic’s Roast Pork and Beef
peppers
peppers
fruits & veggies
fruits & veggies

It’s too bad I find this Grilled Cheese place AFTER we’ve already eaten.  I love to eat variations on the good old grilled cheese sandwich.

Grilled Cheese
Grilled Cheese
Nanee's Kitchen
Nanee’s Kitchen
goodies to eat
goodies to eat
Frank's
Frank’s
For the love of it
For the love of it
The Train Wreck
The Train Wreck
Deli
Deli
Dinic's
Dinic’s
Fresh Juices. Smoothies.
Fresh Juices. Smoothies.
Mueller's
Mueller’s

After lunch and a wander around the market, we have a short time before we have to pick up our car from the garage for a flat $4 rate, so we take a walk around the surrounding area; here we find a world sculpture, City Hall, street murals, a Hard Rock Cafe and the Masonic Temple.

sculptures outside of Terminal Market
sculptures outside of Terminal Market
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe

When the construction of City Hall was begun in 1871, it was to be the tallest building in the world.  The project dragged on for so long that in the meantime, the Washington Monument and Eiffel Tower were built higher. City Hall had the brief distinction as being the tallest habitable building in the world — at least for a few years.

City Hall on the left, mural on the right
City Hall on the left, mural on the right

Today, City Hall’s remaining claims to fame are: “world’s tallest occupied masonry structure, America’s largest (and most expensive) municipal building, and one of the continent’s finest examples of Second Empire architecture” (Moon Handbooks: Pennsylvania).

City Hall
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall

The Masonic Temple of Philadelphia is just across from City Hall and is often mistaken for a church.  Dedicated in 1873, the temple is the mothership of Pennsylvania Masonry. Masonry is considered the world’s oldest fraternal organization with practices shrouded in secrecy.

Masonic Temple
Masonic Temple
Masonic Temple
Masonic Temple

By the time we walk around a long couple of blocks, it’s time to pick up our car and check into The Independent Hotel; we then head back out to explore more of the city.

 

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19 thoughts on “a weekend in philadelphia: reading terminal market & surrounds

  1. So much tempting food at the markets. When we were on Maui, our friends ate Philly Cheese Steaks and they looked delicious but I was too busy eating coconut shrimp to try them. Maybe next time we come to the US!

    1. It was very tempting indeed, Carol. I think I’d prefer your coconut shrimp, but it was fun to try the Philly cheesesteak! You should definitely try one if you make it to Philadelphia, as that’s where you get the original! 🙂

    1. Did you used to live in Philadelphia, Susan? We only had one shot at what to eat there, as we were only visiting for the weekend. After our mediocre choices, I was drooling over the other possibilities. 🙂

      1. Not at all. I’ve only ever visited there twice, and the funny thing is that we found an absolutely stupendous Asian restaurant right next door to the more famous market. Luck is everything sometimes!

  2. The RTM!! I’ve wandered around there many times, although I don’t think I’ve ever eaten there. The chicken and dumplings you had looks a lot like Pennsylvania Dutch chicken pot pie (which is not a pie at all, but cooked in a pot and has homemade noodles that look the same as pictured in your post). Great set of images. 🙂

    1. It’s a great place to wander around, isn’t it? The chicken and dumplings was the Pennsylvania Dutch version, I think. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind and was rather bland. Next time, I think I’d choose something else. 🙂

  3. Well you couldn’t possibly go hungry there! So much to choose from. though I must admit your chicken and dumplings did look a little bland, hope they tasted good. I love cheese toasties – are they the same as grilled cheese? ! And what are the cheesesteaks? I loved looking around the market with you – they are such wonderful places for photography and you done well yet again in tempting me 🙂

    By the way I am curious to how you pronounce Reading – is it Redding as we say it?

    1. There were so many tempting things to eat, Jude. The dumplings were quite bland and uninspired, so I found myself wishing I’d chosen something else. Cheese toasties? I’m not sure what those are. We have cheese toast here, where you put a piece of cheese on a piece of bread and put it into the toaster oven, or grilled cheese, which is made with one piece of cheese between two pieces of bread, buttered on both sides, and cooked on a griddle or frying pan. I’ll have to look back at the signs. Were cheese toasties an option? (Shows how well I notice my own pictures!)

      As for Reading, it is pronounced like your “Redding.” At least that’s how I was pronouncing it! 🙂

      I’d sure like to spend more time in Philadelphia sampling all those food places. A cheesesteak is sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll; the birthplace of this sandwich is Philadelphia. I’ll show a picture later!! I’m in the midst of preparing for our kitchen demolition tomorrow, so I haven’t had much time for blogging. 🙂

      1. EEEK! Kitchen demolition sounds serious! Good luck. Guess there will be plenty of dining out then. And your grilled cheese is what I call cheese toasties. Popular in South Africa and Australia.

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