Taste of South PhillyWhen my friends and I arrived at our high school reunion, we were greeted by the school secretary, Lori, who looks exactly the same as she did back in 1977 –she didn’t age….she must have a hidden Dorian Gray–like portrait. Next, I heard, DJ Bob Pantano, from WOGL, spinning records; it made me feel like I was a teenager. It was strange to see boys at this event, since St. Maria Goretti was an all-girl high school when I attended. I wonder if this cured the old problem that would happen every day during 7th and 8th period….girls constantly staring outside the class window to see if their boyfriends had arrived to pick them up.

As soon as we left the registration table and walked into the event, all you could smell were familiar South Philly aromas and my favorite comfort foods: sausage, cheese steaks, meatballs and gravy! The room was huge and tables stretched as far as the eye could see, brimming with food from South Philly and South Jersey restaurants. Let the grazing begin…we were starving and on a mission to sample everything!

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Cousin Agnes. I walked up to the table and asked her what she was cooking, it smelled sooooo good! She offered me a sausage sandwich, not just any sausage sandwich – Martin’s chicken sausage stuffed with broccoli rabe sandwich. OMG, it was fantastic! When I asked her how she prepared it, she replied “I simply grilled it for 20 minutes”. The sandwich didn’t need anything else, it was all in there, veggies, chicken and real Italian crispy bread. When I owned my catering company, Martin’s was the only pork/sausage purveyor I used. He uses top-quality all natural ingredients, no preservatives and perfectly seasoned. Martin’s has a variety of sausages and are available at Martin’s Quality Meats in Reading Terminal Market, selected supermarkets and gourmet retailers.

Like me, Agnes is a busy mom and sometimes we only get 30 minutes to cook for our families. She was more than happy to share one of her favorite quick and easy recipes. Enjoy!

Levis Hot Dogs was offering real old-fashioned cream soda in glass bottles. Mixx had the best fried chicken dumplings with soy dipping sauce. Mary’s Catering (Mike) offered roast pork and potatoes, they tasted just like my mother’s, I couldn’t believe it! Chef Lynn Rinaldi of Paradiso/Izumi restaurants was offering spicy Kimchi over white rice…delicious! She also makes incredible homemade gnocchi. Keep an eye out for future adventures with Taste for Travel and Chef Lynn…shopping/cooking lessons/eating.

Our 3rd trip around the tables was strictly desserts: We thought we would start out with some healthy choices like water ice from Pop’s and watermelon. Chef Joseph Poon, was showing his monster carving skills and carved a dragon out of a single watermelon! We stopped and chatted with Barbie from Anthony’s and tried gelato. I have to say the Limoncello and the Blood Orange were my favorites; they even had bits of pulp, scrumptious! Since we ate such healthy things, in our minds it justified what we ate next: vanilla cake with vanilla icing, chocolate cake with chocolate icing, assorted cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate covered marshmallow lollipops. Taste of South Philly is an annual event. See you there next year!

Want to sample some of these? Take one of our tours.