Giant Bean Love, or, More Broadly, Philly's Italian Market
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I was a tad stressed because of the things I was supposed to do: volunteer from 10AM to 12PM, buy my bulkpack for Jewish History, and do my homework. I had also planned to go with a few friends to the Italian Market. Well, if you know me it’s not so shocking that the only thing I actually ended up doing was going to the Italian Market. Owing to my 5AM bedtime and Wharton Reprographics being closed, I didn’t have much of a choice, right?
So Dave, Sarah, Rachel, and I layered up in anticipation of the bitter cold (and oh, was it bitter), and we took the 40 bus downtown.
We got off at 9th and South and walked the couple blocks south to Fitzwater, where the market starts. We were surprised to find a lot of the shops and bakeries closed, but we found enough to keep us going for the afternoon. First, I spotted Lorenzo’s Pizza, which I hear has employees a la Soup Nazi. I’ve also been told that it’s traditional to buy a cheesesteak at Pat’s or Geno’s (I’m not sure if it matters which — if someone knows please enlighten me with a comment) and then a slice at Lorenzo’s…and then wrap the pizza around the steak and eat it. Disgusting? Yes. Almost as disgusting as the kid who told me he did that, but before he ate it he deep fried it.
Right by Lorenzo’s is Sabrina’s, a brunch place that Penn Appetit’s own Jamie Png has raved about. I’ve been meaning to go there since I heard about it last semester, so I had to go in and see the menu. After glancing at it we moved on, simply because half of our group wasn’t hungry and we weren’t looking to sit down quite yet. So I squeezed back out of the tiny restaurant, Rachel grabbed a sip of the hot chocolate they had outside, and we kept walking.
Next I made everyone go into a butcher shop. I inhaled deeply once inside, savoring the smell of pure meat. This helped my friends confirm that I am, in fact, strange and a little sick.
After dabbling in a few other places, we ended up at DiBruno Brothers. This was the highlight of my visit…and not just because of the free samples! Well, mostly because of the free samples. DiBruno Brothers is primarily a cheese place, but they have a fairly extensive olive bar. They also have giant marinated beans that my sister Mia introduced me to over the summer. I got a container of the beans, had an extremely pleasant exchange with the elderly man behind the counter, and left. And I think I succeeded in spreading the giant bean love by making Dave and Rachel try them. Delicious!
Our last stop was Anthony’s Italian Coffee House. I had been there before –during PennCORP , when Anthony’s saved me from peeing my pants. The only place in the Italian Market with a bathroom, I think, is Anthony’s. So Monday was my first time eating there…
To prevent frostbite on our toes, we took the bus back to Penn after lunch. $50 lighter and with some olive oil, blackberries, asparagus, beans, some day-old Anthony’s goodies, and a couple of records, I felt great! How couldn’t I? I had had a lot of stuff to do, but only actually did the one thing I wanted to do. My stress was as cured as…cured meat?