Reading Terminal Market is on 12th and Arch, near the Philadelphia Convention Center. It is one of the oldest Farmer's Markets in the country, and is probably better known from the game Monopoly as the Phila. terminal of the famous Reading Railroad. Inside the market are Amish vendors, fresh veggies, meats, cheeses, flowers, ice cream, and the best variety of lunch counters you can get anywhere in the USA. Reading Terminal is a "must visit" for me every time I am in Philadelphia. You will see people buying their fresh foods for their evening meals, and perhaps flowers for their loved ones. This place does attract tourists, but it also is a functioning farmer's and meat market for those who live in and around Philadelphia.
For lunch I decided to eat at Rick's Steaks. Rick's is the orginal Pat's of the great South Philly Geno's and Pat's Cheesesteak rivalry, but Rick sold Pat's and started another Cheesesteak stand at Reading Terminal Market, and called it Rick's. The Philly Cheesesteak really isn't haute cuisine nor is it that great, and is traditionally made with shaved beef, CheezeWhiz, and other items liked canned mushrooms, onions and green peppers. Who would eat CheeseWhiz willingly? Apparently I am, everytime I am in Philly.So here is my cheesesteak, and it is more of a tradition to eat these things, rather than having a fabulous meal. I feel the history and tradition in every bite of a Philly cheesesteak. Philly Cheesesteaks at Pat's, Geno's, Jim's and Rick's, when eaten, should give a feeling of being in a hard working town with deep American working class and family values. It really isn't about taste, texture or aroma of the meal.
Bassetts Ice Cream is also in the Reading Terminal Market, and is about 150 years old, est 1861. Bassetts is considered one of the TOP 10 Ice Creams in the USA. Bassetts ice cream is dense, rich in flavor and a lovely afternoon snack before going shopping for the ingredients for dinner.
After the best ice cream in Philadelphia, I continued my visit in the Reading Terminal Market by visiting various vegetable booths and a cheese shop. The ingredients I bought were all organic and fresh - zucchinis, Japanese eggplants, tomatoes, Italian parsley, garlic, oregano and Romano cheese. I layered all these ingredients with olive oil, salt, pepper and baked it with some tomato sauce for over an hour. It was a nice treat for my friends who lent me their kitchen for the evening.The Reading Terminal is dear to me, and I recommend a visit to it if you are in Philadelphia.