Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Eating

Now, my parents tell me that starting January 1st, millions of Americans will sign up for gym memberships in a futile effort to lose all those extra pounds from holiday feasting.

Our family won't be joining them in over paying for the use of treadmills, but we will have a tougher time squeezing into our pants this New Years.

That's because we had more than our fair share of excessively delicious (albeit unhealthy) food over the long weekend.

Buffalo Chicken Wings at Pic-a-Lilli Pub
Now, you will probably smirk when you read this next statement and think, "What a cute little kid." But I'm 100% serious - this place has THE BEST WINGS EVER.

You'd never expect anything superlative from a tiny bar in the run-down part of Atlantic City (231 South Tennessee Avenue). In fact, the inside of Pic-A-Lilli Pub probably matches your expectations based on the outside. It's really just a plain bar that serves more AC locals than any Zagat readers.

But there's something in their secret wing sauce that makes the entire trek to Atlantic City worth it. First, the wings are doubles (meaning both the wing and drumstick) so an order of 13 wings is actually comparable to 26 at another establishment. Second, the sauce is a great combination of savory-sweet that we've never experienced before. Truly unique!

Even my aunt (who's had her fair share of delicious food) remarked that these were the best wings she's ever had. If you don't believe us, then you'll just have to drive down to AC and taste for yourself.

And if you don't, then that's OK too, because we actually prefer having our secret eating spots kept quiet.

Italian Sub Sandwich at The White House
This place is less a secret than it is a local institution. I can't quite put my tiny toddler fingers on it, but there's something magic about their sub sandwiches. Maybe it's the way they overload the deli meat or the sprinkle of chopped hot cherry peppers that give it an extra kick or perhaps the amazing South Jersey bread. I'm not sure, but I don't question deliciousness, I just enjoy it.

It's located in downtown AC at 2301 Arctic Avenue, but unfortunately, there's no where convenient to park outside, so you'll just have to get lucky with street parking (good luck!) or you'll have to have your parents circle around the block while your sandwiches are being made.

Once you get inside, the set up is a bit complicated if you've never been before. There are stools and booths for people to eat inside, but you have to wait outside in line for those. If you want to place an order for pick up, however, you can come inside, walk to the back and order from one of the 3-4 sandwich specialists behind the counter. But don't forget to take a number.

Also important to know - the White House is cash only. So save your plastic and flash the cash. Subs are $7-8 for a half (12") and $14-15 for a full (24"). A full easily filled 3 of us (my grandma, aunt and father), but will probably be more appropriate for just 2 adult males.

There's also a second location at the Taj Mahal casino, but we've never gone there.

Roast Pork Sandwich at Tommy DiNic's
Philadelphia has no shortage of great sandwiches, but their cheesesteaks have a much better PR agency. Unbeknownst to many outside the 215, the Roast Pork sandwich at Tommy DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market is arguably one of the "best sandwiches in America" (as nominated by Man vs. Food's Adam Richman).

The stall is right in the middle of the market. You'll be able to find it by looking for the longest line of hungry waiting patrons. But it's definitely worth the wait to sample one of Philadelphia's finest.

The $10 sandwich is about a foot long packed with fresh slices roast pork (cut into thin slices like you'd find on a cheesesteak). Then topped with sharp provolone chesse and broccoli rabe.

But when you're in Philadelphia, you can't ignore their famous namesake sandwich...

Cheesesteak at Dalessandro's Steak & Hoagies
While I've never been to the infamous Pat's or Gino's, we actually prefer going outside the city to Dalessandro's (at 600 Wendover Street, Philadelphia but about a 20 minute drive northwest of Center City). While still technically in Philadelphia proper, the neighborhood scene is more comparable to a Brooklyn than a Manhattan.

On the corner across from a few gas stations, you'll find our hands down favorite cheesesteak place in the world. Another cash only institution, you walk in and pass the dozen or so patrons waiting for their order to come out. Most people have already ordered, so you should walk right up to the front and ask for my parents' favorite "steak with mushrooms and American cheese and hot peppers on the side."

Everything is made to order when you physically arrive, including those who call in ahead. For $8-9,  you get a perfectly made cheesesteak on a super soft sponge like roll that perfectly captures the juicy cheesy meat without getting soggy. Unlike the thin strips of meat, the steak here is chopped into tiny pieces which make the sandwich so much better in our humble opinion.

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