We left Louisville last Friday and headed to Philadelphia, my home town.
It has changed a lot since I left in 1993, but a lot of the things I love about the city still remain. Yes, it is more crowded, with more traffic, and more development, but growth is inevitable and good for any community.
Surrounded by lots of people who have a “Philly accent” makes me more aware than I ever was of the sound of my own voice. Servers don’t say “Howdy, ya’all, ken I hep you?” Rather, Hi, I’m Jennifer, can I help youse guys?” While we are on the subject of food and servers, many of the restaurants I love are still around. For Father’s Day, I took my Dad to our favorite seafood restaurant, Kelly’s. Really good seafood has always been a hallmark of dining in the City of Brotherly Love, and Kelly’s is an institution if there ever was one.
Jim’s Steaks is also a must stop on our dining tour, and we crossed that one off the list shortly after arriving. The choice of a spot for cheesesteaks never fails to raise a serious discussion. I have tried many places throughout the area, and many have a first-rate product, but I have been a faithful fan of Jim’s for more than 35 years. Hoagies are another source of contention, and, in this case, I have several favorites. We will check this item off of our list later today.
Around the corner from my parent’s home is another institution I really miss – a corner bakery. They come with many ethnic bents; this one happens to be German. Butter cake, donuts, pastries, strudel, and kuchen top my list, but seasonal favorites, which include pfeffernüsse and sprigalies, appear only at Christmas. My mother always has a bag for me in my Christmas stocking.
But the best treat of all are the famous Philly soft pretzels. Sold on street corners, this snack dates back to my days of selling them in the summer beginning after the fifth grade. I would buy 40 for a dollar from a local pretzel bakery, then sell them for 5¢ each. My mother funded me the first day, and I repaid that loan the same day, leaving me with a dollar to get started the next day.