Philadelphia may be known as the home of cheesesteak, but the city has got a lot more going on that doesn’t involve cheese whiz. Recently there have been some major food trends popping up and catching the eye of diners. Whether these trendy dishes will stay or go we can never tell, but one thing is for certain- they’re delicious!
This dish is often described simply as “deconstructed sushi”. Poke is actually a traditional Hawaiian appetizer, almost a raw fish salad. Served on a base of rice or salad, the main ingredient is cubes of fresh fish like ahi tuna or salmon. Traditional poke seasonings have been heavily influenced by Japanese and Asian cuisines. Soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil are very popular. Poke takes on many variations and restaurants even give customers the option to create their own unique bowl with toppings and sauces like avocado, ponzu sauce, teriyaki sauce, mushrooms, crispy onions, pickled jalapeno, sriracha, cilantro, pineapple or cucumber.
If you’re interested in trying out a Poke Bowl it’s a very light and refreshing meal, Oishii Poke at 938 Arch Street is only a short stroll from the Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City-Convention Center.
It might not sound like a new trend, but this old-timey treat is being served up in all sorts of new ways. We stopped by to check out Kuriimii at 1023 Cherry St in Chinatown.
Kuriimii is serving up all types of soft serve ice cream with creative new flavors we’ll bet you’ve never tried before. Matcha has become hugely popular, as with the charcoal vanilla flavor with its startling black color. We enjoyed the honeydew and they’ve even got vegan pineapple on the menu! Guests are encouraged to add all the topping they want free of charge. Some of these toppings include fruity pepples, condensed milk, chocolate fudge, sprinkles, toasted marshmallow, gummy bears, coconut, Pocky sticks, and even gold flakes.
Around the corner Ice Land and Teassert Bar are serving up Thai Rolled Ice Cream and Hong Kong-style waffles. Thai Rolled Ice Cream is just what it sounds like: rolls of ice cream, packed into a cup or folded waffle, topped with all the extras like whipped cream, fresh fruit, cookies, and hot fudge. This sweet treat began in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines, where it is often sold by street vendors. What may be most exciting about Thai Rolled Ice Cream is that it’s dessert and a show! The servers in the parlor mix the ice cream right before your eyes on a cold metal circle. The liquid base is poured and as it begins to freeze they chop it and smooth it over the surface with small paddles, manipulating it into a cream like consistency. Fresh toppings are even added and chopped into the mixture for flavors. The final step is to smooth it all out into a sheet and use the paddles to peel off rolls of the frozen ice cream.
This classic comfort food gets major love from Philadelphians but it’s also been stepped up from what some might consider a fast food type dish. A major trend with nostalgic foods like fried chicken is simply going back to basics; putting some more love and care into their creation. Craft fried chicken is being served up hot and finger-licking delicious at Wishbone Fried Chicken located at 210 S 13th St near the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City and also at 4034 Walnut St near the Homewood Suites by Hilton University City.
Guests are able to choose from either white or dark meat boneless tenders, along with bone-in chicken wings. Each brined in buttermilk and cider then coated with a crust of pretzels and secret spices. Everything at the restaurant is made from scratch, and only locally-sourced, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken is used. And they don’t just stop with fried chicken: Wishbone offers homemade buttermilk biscuits, chicken chili, and Mac N’ Cheese complete with chicken sausage and pretzel crumb crust. We’re also really into sauces for dipping and slathering on our chicken. Try the Don’s XXX Hot Sauce if you like the flavors of Buffalo Bleu with extra heat. Tamarind Sweet Chili offers a unique sweet and sour blend of Sambal, citrus, garlic, shallot and tamarind. Modern BBQ is a Memphis-style classic, with a touch of cider vinegar and coffee. If you like something creamy we’d also recommend the Pesto Parmesan.
Pizza has probably been one of the most popular foods across the world for centuries. But recently Philadelphia has seen a major boom in pies that aren’t typical. Square pizzas have been popping up all over the city. Inspired by the authentic pizza al taglio (pizza by the “cut” or slice) these pies are commonly seen in Rome and across Italy. The square pies typically allow guests to order slices sized for their appetite and measured by weight. One of our favorite square pies may not be sold by the slice, but we easily devour the whole pie. Santucci’s Square Pizza at 655 N Broad St is about 10 minutes down Broad Street from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Philadelphia Center City. In addition to three sizes of square pizza pies they’re serving up a full menu of sandwiches, pastas and more. They use a family recipe for making pizza in a square pan with the sauce on top of the cheese. Some may consider this unconventional, but Philadelphians see it as a unique pizza they’ve come to know and love.
If you’d prefer some pizza by the slice, it doesn’t get more Italian than Alice Pizza at 235 S 15th Street. From their first shop opening in Via delle Grazie, near San Pietro in 1990, this restaurant has made its way to the United States bringing with it a variety of pizza al taglio. They also boast an exquisite coffee selection and award winning Italian gelato from Gran Caffe L’Aquila.
Being health-conscious is always on trend. Today more and more restaurants are offering options that are delicious while also being good fuel for your body and active lifestyle. We’ve been hooked on Smoothie bowls. Not only are they healthy and packed with flavor, but also beautiful to look at. Adorned with colorful slices of fruit and strategically positioned nuts and seeds, these bowls can look like edible works of art. These bowls are essentially more nutrient-dense smoothies, thick enough to eat with a spoon and artfully topped with fruits, nuts, seeds, granola, etc.
Our favorite place to grab a smoothie bowl is Ánimo Juice Bar at 1701 Arch Street. The most popular smoothie bowl is made with a base of acai. This superfood berry is blended frozen banana, almond milk, and a touch of honey to form a thick, creamy base packed with antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. Acai have a higher antioxidant content than other berries, like cranberries, blueberries and strawberries. Other superfoods like spirulina, a natural “algae” powder, are used to create blue colored smoothie bowls. Spirulina is incredibly high in protein and source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. It is largely made up of protein and amino acids, often spirulina is recommended to many due to its high natural iron content.
By now, you can see it would take days to dine your way through all of Philly’s hottest food trends. Book the Philadelphia Long Weekender package for three days of eating, drinking, and exploring, and get 50% off of your Sunday night stay!