Spice Up Your Winter Nights

Photo by the author.

It’s another chilly day in the Italian Market! The Spice Corner at 904 S. 9th St. has some wonderful options to warm up your winter evenings. They carry many exotic flavors of loose tea to make at home, seasoned rubs and spices to add to that pot roast, and even some fruit and nuts to have with dessert.

FLASH CHAT: Chatting with Paesano Philly Style’s Chris Peterman

This is the first installment of Flash Chat, a segment in which I converse with people from various establishments in the Italian Market.

Not quite an interview and not quite a Q&A, Flash Chat will aim to get to the core of the business: what it stands for and what makes it worth knowing about!

I hope to discover some piquant information and to gain a more in-depth understanding of the people and culture of 9th Street in the process.

Without further ado, I present you with FLASH CHAT. This week’s chat was with Chris Peterman. Note: Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Paesano's sign

Paesano’s sign via Yelp user Fred B. on Paesano’s Yelp.com page.

Name: Chris Peterman

Business: Paesano’s Philly Style on 9th Street

Other locations: 2nd & Girard, Memories at Margate, Lincoln Financial Field

When was Paesano’s established? The first Paesano’s opened approximately five years ago [2010], that was the 2nd and Girard location; and our location has been open for almost four years now [2011].

What is the mantra of Paesano’s Philly Style? We’re always putting love into everything we do. We use fresh ingredients and put a Philly twist on it. That’s why our catchphrases are, “Jaeet Yet?” and “Puttin’ the Love in Your Mouth.”

How do you incorporate that into your dishes? We make sure every ingredient that is in the sandwich gets the utmost attention and tastes exactly the same every time that we do it. We like our sandwiches to be consistent through every bite.

Who comes up with the ideas for all the different flavor and ingredient combinations? Our chef, Chef Peter MacAndrews, who has several other restaurants also.

What is the best-selling product at Paesano’s? The Paesano, our signature sandwich. It’s made with beef brisket and has fried egg on top.

What do you think keeps customers coming back? Probably our friendliness when they come in here. And then obviously the delicious flavor of the sandwiches that they can’t find anywhere else!

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Paesano’s is a must-try spot in the Italian Market, and home to my favorite sandwich of all time, the Arista! Check it out in my selection of The 8 Most Crave-Worthy Foods in the Italian Market for Under $10.

What are some 9th Street establishments you’d like to see featured in Flash Chat? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Hollywood Star Bradley Cooper Spotted on 9th Street

bradley cooper

Photo via Flickr user benyupp.

Hollywood heartthrob and Philadelphia native Bradley Cooper enjoyed an authentic Italian dinner at Villa di Roma on 9th Street this week. You can take the man out of Philly, but you can’t take Philly out of the man!

Cooper, 40, plays the leading role in American Sniper, currently in theaters, and has starred in other popular films such as Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and The Hangover seriesHe’s also known to be a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan!

Cooper’s mother, Gloria, and his cousin, Colin, were interviewed alongside Cooper in the 60 Minutes: Overtime video.

Watch this video from CBS News for the feature on Cooper’s visit and a look into his career.

The 8 Most Crave-Worthy Foods in the Italian Market for Under $10

The Italian Market is overflowing with amazing foods and drinks with a variety of cultural influences. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide the best places to eat and how to budget yourself throughout a day trip, so I have narrowed it down for you!

Here is a selection of the most crave-worthy indulgences found on 9th Street, from breakfast through dinnertime – and everything in between.

1.  COFFEE OF THE DAY – Fante’s Kitchen Wares Shop, 1006 S. 9th St.

Fante's coffee

Click to enlarge photo. Photo via Fante’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FantesInc.

Nestled in the righthand side of the sprawling kitchen store lies an aromatic shop chock-full of enticing coffee beans. The best way to try them all is to stop by for the Coffee of the Day, a rotating menu of the many flavored beans available at Fante’s. Get your morning caffeine fix and try out some incredible flavors for under $2 a cup.

2. THE HOLY DIVER BREAKFAST SANDWICH – Gleaner’s Cafe, 917 S. 9th St.

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Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

The Holy Diver is a breakfast delight, especially for those of us who would rather skip right to lunch! This hearty bagel sandwich is comprised of roasted peppers, onions, provolone cheese, and spicy mustard on a wheat bagel and costs about $5.

Bonus: Answer the question of the day, written on the wall behind the counter, for a discount.

3.  ITALIAN MARKET HOAGIE – Sarcone’s Deli, 734 S. 9th St. 

sarcone hoagie

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

Everyone has heard of Sarcone’s Bakery’s famous bread that sells out early every day and fuels many sandwich shops in the surrounding area. In Sarcone’s fashion, their hoagies are just as delectable! Try the Italian Market hoagie with hot capicola (“gabagool” to fans of The Sopranos), fresh turkey breast, roasted peppers, sharp provolone cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, oil, vinegar, and herbs for about $9.

4. WHITE PIZZA – Lorenzo’s, 900 Christian St. (corner of 9th & Christian Streets)

lorenzo

Click to enlarge photo. Photo via Yelp user Danielle J.

Pizza is a heavenly treat and a staple of the Philadelphia food scene. When you’re in the mood for something cheesy and garlicky (for me that is most of the time), the best slice of white pizza that you’ll be dreaming about for days after can be found at Lorenzo’s Pizza, where a slice is $2 and a large pie is $12.50.

5. PESTO AGNOLOTTI SALAD – Talluto’s, 944 S. 9th St.

pesto salad

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

A great lunchtime side dish or in-between snack is the cold pesto agnolotti pasta salad from Talluto’s. The agnolotti pasta is stuffed with pesto and accompanied by grape tomatoes and plenty of minced garlic! Sprinkle a little grated parmesan on top and enjoy a half pint for about $4.

6. STEAK SOPECITOS – Blue Corn, 940 S. 9th St.

blue corn

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

Blue Corn is the new kid on the block in the Italian Market, having only opened in 2014. They have earned a spot in my heart with their steak sopecitos: julienned steak served over queso fresco (fresh, mild Mexican cheese), sour cream, and refried beans on a small corn round. You won’t regret trying this fresh, flavorful dish with some of their homemade sauces on top. Three sopecitos come in an order and cost about $8.

Bonus: Read this review from City Paper for a glimpse into the ambiance and and experience of Blue Corn.

7. THE ARISTA – Paesano’s Philly Style, 1017 S. 9th St. 

Arista

Click to enlarge photo. Photo by the author.

You will not find a more flavorful sandwich in the universe, let alone in the city of Philadelphia. My most-craved sandwich of all time is the Arista, full of shredded, whole roasted suckling pig, sharp provolone, spicy Italian long hots, and bitter broccoli rabe on a seeded roll. Do yourself a favor and pick one up at Paesano’s for $9, but be warned – you’ll crave this sandwich for all your lunches to come!

8. RICOTTA CANNOLI – Isgro Pasticceria, 1009 Christian St.

cannoli

Click to enlarge photo. Photo via Isgro’s website: http://www.bestcannoli.com/cannoli

After visiting the Italian Market and sampling every possible cheese, olive oil, and sandwich you could muster, you will STILL have room for dessert – it’s science, people. The best way to satisfy your sweet tooth is with an incredible ricotta cannoli from Isgro’s, who have been in business for over 100 years. Yup, they know what they’re doing! Two of these award-winning cannolis cost about $8.

Bonus: check out this video for an inside look at Isgro’s history and how their cannolis are made. Video by 6 ABC News on Isgro’s website.

What are some of your favorite things to snack on in the Italian Market?
Let me know in the comments!

Benvenuti – Welcome

Benvenuti! – That’s Italian for “Welcome!”
Yo, how you doin’? – That’s South Philadelphian for “Welcome!”
(It’s also a rhetorical question. Don’t bother answering.)

The historic 9th Street Italian Market is where these two worlds, among others, collide. The Italian Market is a glorious fusion of different cultures, and for that reason, it is a place where you will never go hungry or unentertained. 9th Street is home to numerous shops, restaurants, eateries, street vendors, events, and a plethora of characters.

I am Catherine DeMuro, a journalism student at Rowan University, and over the next several months I will be exploring the Italian Market and sharing everything with YOU! On this blog, you will find an accessible guide to all the Italian Market has to offer, as well as its rich history. I will be interviewing store owners who have been in the market for over 50 years, displaying photo galleries of different attractions, documenting events such as the annual Italian Market Festival, and hopefully doing a significant amount of taste testing.

Overall, these posts will be geared towards young adults in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area. I hope to create a helpful and relevant reference for things to do in this unique, amazing city – whether you’re seeking a change of pace in your social calendar, or you’re simply in need of some delicious lunch.

I’m excited to share this exploration of 9th Street with you and hope that you will find it informative. Please feel free to share your own stories and experiences with me, and let me know what you would like to see more of!

‘Ciao’ for now!