TORONTO — Philadelphia, the ‘birthplace of America’, home to five major league sports teams, and the “largest indoor flower show in the world’, is also a great destination for food lovers, according to Donna Schorr, Director of Communications, Visit Philadelphia.
Speaking to a group of about two dozen writers this week at Dish Cooking Studio in Toronto, Schorr said the city has many award-winning chefs and restaurants, 200 BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle or Bring Your Own Booze) restaurants, food tours, farmer markets, wine trails, craft breweries and beer gardens, and that you can find “great food for any size wallet”.
“The best way to gauge the Philadelphia food scene,” explained Philadelphia-based author and blogger Drew Lazor, who also spoke at the event, “is to go to a BYOB restaurant. The chefs can focus on the food and personality of the restaurant and not worry about the red tape that comes with having a liquor license.”
One of those BYOB restaurants is Noord, which specializes in Northern European cuisine. Chef and owner Joncarl Lachman, who was at the event and prepared one of his signature dishes – clams and zuurkol (sauerkraut or sour cabbages as he calls them) – says he makes food that is near and dear to his heart.
“Because of what’s happening in Copenhagen, it’s opening the minds to Northern European foods and making people pay attention to us,” Lachman says. He aims for a relaxed, cozy environment and food to match.
“The biggest compliment I can get is when people say the food tastes like my mother’s cooking,” says the Philadelphia native who has Dutch ancestry. In an age of celebrity chefs, Lachman prefers the personal touch, often greeting guests at the door.
The city is only a 90-minute flight from Toronto or a one day drive, and is 25 blocks river to river making it an ideal walking town. Located between New York City and Washington, DC, Schorr said Philadelphia is less expensive than either of those two major cities especially when it comes to hotels and shopping (no tax on clothing).
The evening also included a short video showing the city’s highlights including some of its 28 gardens, and 3,000 murals (the city boasts it is the ‘Mural capital of America’) as well as cobblestone streets and historic buildings dating back 300 years.