Many students are choosy eaters, but some are just plain picky. Whether you’re a vegetarian, a vegan, only eat kosher, or are currently on the Atkin’s Diet, you know exactly what you want and do not want to eat. Luckily, having selective tastes in Philadelphia is not a problem, as there are plenty places to eat and purchase the goods you want, need or crave.
While only a small sampling, read on to discover a store or restaurant that fits your special dining desires.
VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN FOODS
So you don’t eat meat. Where do you go to get your daily allowance of protein without cutting into a T-bone steak? For the freshest fruit and vegetables, the Italian Market at Wharton and Federal streets has it all. The produce-lined streets are reminiscent of a country farmer’s market. Head on down to Giordano’s on 9th Street and Washington Avenue and sift through stands full of bananas, watermelon, peppers, cucumbers, squash, pineapples…and the list goes on.
Philadelphia’s very own Chinatown also carries a diverse selection of produce as well as tofu and soybean food products. Chinatown is a shopping haven for all health food gurus.
Two specialty supermarket chains, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, on both have meatless equivalents at reasonable prices. However, Whole Foods is a bit more expensive. The Center City stores are also well-known for their organic and kosher-friendly foods. Whole Foods has two Philadelphia locations: 20th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and 9th and South streets. Trader Joe’s is at 21st and Market streets.
While most are a distance from campus, Philadelphia offers a variety of places for Kosher-friendly dining. La Boheme, 246 S. 11th St., is a romantic French bistro in Center City. Singapore Vegetarian on 10th and Race streets offers kosher and vegetarian Chinese dining deep in the heart of Chinatown. Other noteworthy restaurants include Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian on 14th and South streets and Koch’s Delicatessen on 43rd and Locust streets in West Philadelphia.
FAT-FREE, LOW-CARBOHYDRATE ICE CREAM
Calling ice cream lovers everywhere! Cremalita Ice Cream serves the best non-fat and low-carbohydrate ice cream that’s healthy and tasty enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. The best part about Cremalita is that it has two locations in the city, 129 S. 16th St. by Rittenhouse Square and 401-A Chestnut St. Check out www.cremalita.com for a complete listing of fat-free, 99 percent fat free, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate ice cream flavors.
LACTOSE-FREE AND LOW-CARBOHYDRATE FOODS
If you are ever in the vicinity of the Italian Market, Giordano’s on 9th Street and Washington Avenue sells lactose-free, “farm fresh” milk inside its market store. If you can’t make it to those streets, then check out local grocery stores for Lactaid milk and dairy products and low-carbohydrate foods. Chain grocery stores close to main campus include Acme Markets on 14th Street and Passyunk Avenue, Fresh Grocer on 40th and Walnut streets, Whole Foods on 9th and South streets, and Save-A-Lot grocery store on 2120 S. 23rd St. Locally known grocers close to campus include Collado’s Grocery on 4501 N. 15th St., Fredy’s Grocery on 22nd and N. Broad streets, and T&A Grocery on 20th and Cecil streets.
If you are one of the unlucky individuals who suffers from this intestinal disorder (an allergic reaction to wheat), have no fear: there is hope for you in Philadelphia. Mr. Ritt’s Bakery, 7th Street and Passyunk Avenue, leads the way in gluten-free specialties. It boasts a selection of 25 frosted cakes, nine tarts, nine cheesecakes, and seven varieties of angel food cake. The bakery produces new gluten-free items each week, so be sure to visit frequently for the sweetest cakes and treats.
Iannelli’s Bakery on 1155 E. Passyunk Ave. may be a bit offset from the main roads of the Italian Market, but this has not prevented the bakery from producing its oh-so-warm bread with that Old World Italian drive. Iannelli’s Bakery was founded in 1915, making it one of the oldest brick- oven bakeries in South Philadelphia. The bakery has made Old World Sicilian style bread and rolls since 1965 but is most famous for their tomato pies and homemade pizzas.
Shoppers can also purchase homemade breads from the six bakeries at the historic Reading Terminal Market on 12th and Arch streets. LeBus Bakery sells certified kosher items like cakes, bagels and muffins. Beiler’s Bakery sells Amish-inspired baked goods like sticky buns and shoofly pies.
The Italian Market is arguably the best place for homemade pastas. Talluto’s at 944 S. 9th St. sells a variety of pasta cuts and shapes, including capellini, spaghettini, linguine, fettuccine, pappardelle, lasagna, and manicotti-canneloni. The store also serves as a “to-go” Italian restaurant, where customers can personally watch their meals cut, cooked and prepared. Talluto’s has a great stock of refrigerated pasta and non-refrigerated pasta ready for immediate purchase. Fresh, homemade mozzarella is made daily and the store also sells an extensive selection of imported meats, cheeses, olives, olive oils and vinegars.
Claudio Pasta on 9th and Hall streets sells “genuine Italian pasta” at affordable prices. The store is stocked with boxes of pasta in every shape, texture, size and color that sell for roughly $3 a pound. Claudio also stocks cabinets full of specialty foods like bottle peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and grape leaves. Hard-to-find items like calamari, whole baby clams, and banana and cherry peppers can all be found in the many aisles of Claudio Pasta.
Superior Pasta Company at 9th and Christian streets has lived the Italian tradition since 1948. The restaurant and store is known for its gourmet ravioli and as always, pasta made fresh daily.
The Italian Market has four different fresh fish merchants, specializing in raw foods such as mussels, clams, scallops, oysters and shrimp. Anastasi’s Seafood on 1101 S. 9th St. has that New England, fishing town feel. Fish heads and scales greet you as soon as you walk inside the store and outside shoppers can admire live lobsters for sale on the sidewalks. Inside is a convenient sit-down restaurant and bar.
For more raw fish, head over to Darigo Fish Market, 1029 S. 9th St., or check out the multitude of Chinese seafood grocers in Philadelphia’s very own Chinatown. Ri Wang Food Market on 11th and Race, Chung May Food Market on 10th and Jung’s Produce and Grocery, both on 10th and Race, offer a great selection of tofu products and produce. If you’re in need of unique fish items like octopus, jellyfish, sardines, anchovies and more, then be sure to make a trip to Chinatown. Other Chinatown grocers specializing in seafood and raw foods include Quality Seafood & Grocery on 140 N.10th St., and Atlantic Supermarket on 8th Street and Adams Avenue.
Sammy Davis can be reached at S.Davis@temple.edu.