Philadelphia Adventure: Reading Terminal Market
I know this is far past my trip to Philadelphia, but I've had this list of reasons why I loved Reading Terminal Market, and I still dream of some of the food, so I thought I would finally sit down and write about it.
Reading Terminal Market
Oh let me count the ways…
Apparently when our friends stopped by the market before Alex and I visited, they thought I would love it. They were right. I'm a foodie and love adventuring through cuisine. Being from Seattle, I had a benchmark of public markets. Pike Place is a huge deal here! So for one of the days in Philly, our adventure was all about food! Ok, well, most days were all about food, but this was different!
Reading Terminal Market is all indoors, which was great for us! Being in Philly in November, it got a little chilly! So we enjoyed the warm and cozy atmosphere. Since we were there all day, we got to see the natural flow. The morning rush, the lunch crowd and the dinner shopping people. #AlexEatsPhilly was amazing that day! You can check that out on Instagram if you are curious.
I loved walking around the market. Alex and I took about 30 minutes and made a few laps of the food stalls and knick-knack shops. Navigating was super easy. Everything is basically laid out on a grid, similar to how streets in a city are. Bonus was that each aisle had a street name or number. Very convenient when you wander away from your loved one and need to figure out where that cheese stand you left him at was.
The place was made to eat at! SO MANY TABLES! Literally, if they could put a table and chair in a area, they did. Rarely were Alex and I looking for a table and couldn't find one nearby. Props to the planner on that one! Some shops had a small seating area attached to the shop, but most had an area they shared with the stands nearby. This made for our method of getting something to eat, taking another full lap, shopping, and then getting something again, extremely efficient. Even at the busiest time, maneuvering and finding space was easy. I wasn't fighting through crowds to get somewhere and the dreaded "slow walker" was minimal.
One of the best aspects of the market was the variety. Tea shops, bakeries, ethnic food and American classics. I was in heaven! And there were Amish and Minenite stands with amazing food as well. Rachel gave me the tip that some of them had gluten free things! I found the best carrot cake. I hate carrots, the only way I will eat them is in cake form or fried rice. I didn't even take a picture, I ate it that fast. Plenty of shops had gluten free things too! Jerky, bread, and even cake. I had some great options, and while I didn't eat strictly gluten free...it was nice to have that option a lot of the time. Even things that I thought I was risking the gluten turned out to be gluten free, like the falafel! Seriously, the best falafel I've ever had, and it was gluten free, they used chickpea flour instead of wheat flour. I think I ate my way around the U.S. and the world that day.
My people watching was on point that day too! Business men and women getting breakfast or lunch to go, artist types taking professional photos and film crews doing fluff pieces. Conversations between shop owners and workers were so interesting! Listening to them call out orders and plan out the ingredients for the next batch of whatever they were making, I should have taken notes at the German potato pancake stand. I witnessed Amish ladies chat about their schedules with regulars and run through the crowds to get to the stand in time for the lunch rush. It was a great day, food and entertainment!
The food stands were intermixed with little shops selling tchotchkes and trinkets. We found some great popping corn and cook books. I spent plenty of time in a small cooking shop and a toy store with lots of antique dolls. And then, we found wine!
A nearby winery had a store front where you could do tastings and oh my it was great. We brought in our own snacks we got from some other stands in the market, my favorite being the chocolate dipped potato chips. We each got 2 glasses of wine and relaxed for an hour or so talking with the lady there about how the wine was made and the history. Needless to say we ended up buying a bottle of wine. Thankfully they will ship to Washington so I can get my Philly wine fix without the plane ride!
Food, wine, interesting conversation, not bad for a cold windy day in Philly. I highly suggest hitting up Reading Terminal Market at least once if you can visit.