Some of the best things we ever ate (social distancing edition)!

“Stuck inside these four walls, sent inside forever, never seeing no one, nice again…”

Yes, yes, we get it. Scary thought, we know. But, it damn sure sounded as if Sir Paul McCartney knew in the early ’70s what we’d all be living through in these, the-not-so-roaring 20s. Prophetic? Eh, maybe. 

In trying to stay up-to-the-minute-current, just trying to keep up with the terminology, let alone the various rules of engagement, can be challenging. Let’s see. There’s self-quarantine, where for all intents and purposes, means you should be prepared to go it alone for a while or at the most, with the aid of one trusted soul, who then gets tagged to the self-isolation category. 

They then need to absolutely do their best to avoid other people – most of whom should be practicing social distancing anyway. That’s sort of like walking the streets looking side-eyed at anyone who comes too close to you at the Ack-a-Mee, sniffles, sneezes, stares or clears their throat. I think we covered it all, right?

Oh, the humanity! We have been unceremoniously asked to change our way of life for the common good. It shouldn’t be such a hard ask, yet we’re struggling. We. Are. All. Struggling. 

We’ve got healthcare workers complaining over the imminent danger and long hours they’re working during this crisis. On the flip side, unpaid and mostly unprotected hospitality and live event workers would gladly trade shoes with those caring for the ill for the sake of a payday and food on their table. And caught in the middle – damn  near every one of us. Covid-19 has long-reaching tentacles and it’s entangling everyone. We are ALL in it together.

So, what can be done to help? Well first, play by the rules as much as you can. All politics aside, you have to take your marching orders from somewhere. So, pay attention to what information is being disseminated. Adapt to it as you and your family see fit, but when you can strictly abide by the rules of the new norm, please do so for the sake of unity. If we stand together, we win together. Hopefully, quicker, rather than later. 

Now, we all have to eat, right? Hey, if you feel you need to go to the market and play Supermarket Sweep, God bless you. We’re not real fond of squeezing the Charmin out from under the hands of a menacing mob, either. But, hey, do what you have to do when it comes to the essentials you need for your… essentials. 

As far as food and good eats go, it’s as simple as picking up the phone, tapping the app or stopping by (only if you are social distancing), some of our fine establishments and members of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Business Network. They’re here to help. And just as importantly, they certainly can use our support during these strange and stressful times. 

With that said, some of the finest writers assembled west of The Kitchen Consigliere in Collingswood, New Jersey (that would be us), have compiled a list of Some of the Best Things We Ever Ate. All of the items mentioned below are ready and available from our RowHome family of advertisers that are still open for business and waiting to serve you, soon. So, Go Home Philly! Stop & Shop at our Local Spots!

PASTIFICIO By Mark Casasanto 
I may have exhausted the entire hoagie menu, hot and cold, along the way and my waistline is living proof. But, still, how can anyone resist? As hoagies go, you’re not going to find much better. A classic stop-before-a game or a day-at-the-beach or park. With all the trimmings and sides in store, to boot. 

So, will it shock you if I go rogue?

If you haven’t noticed, I’m Italian. Holding true to form, fresh from Sunday mornings of years gone by, I gotta tell you, it’s usually one or two things for me when I order from Pastificio. I’m down with either the sausage or meatball special. The meat is pan-fried and not yet submerged in gravy, ummm sauce. Then placed on an amazing Abruzzi roll with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. OMG. Take me home, country roads! For me, I always ask to go a little bit lighter on the cheese so as not to overpower the meat and greens (spinach available as well). 

My friends, take that, crack open some red table wine and have at it. It’s Sunday morning all over again. And shhhh. Here’s one last hidden gem for you. If the fried raviolis are available, go ahead and throw them into the order. You can thank me later. 

Phone: 215-467-1111
Mobile App: Order online via GrubHub or Eat24
Pick-up and Delivery: Located at 1528 Packer Ave. for pick up / Delivery options available

By Mark Casasanto

Wow, so much to choose from and honestly, walking into Lombardi’s is like walking up to order a water ice. I’m ordering on the fly, picking up stuff as I order and usually not what I thought I was going to order anyway. 

Here’s the take-away for me, though. I love chicken cutlets. Full disclosure, I don’t trust anyone with my cutlets but my dearly missed mom, myself, and Anthony from Lombardi’s. It has to be cut just right and I’m not asking a lot when I say that. If it’s too thick, it won’t cook evenly and will more than likely not be done at the thickest point. At the risk of sounding like a spoiled juvenile, “That’s just gross!” And then there’s the fat. If I bite into one thing that doesn’t taste and chew like tender white chicken meat, I’m gone. Long gone. I’ve fed many a pooch under a kitchen table in my day and did the side head, polite napkin spit, too. Don’t mess with my chicken cutlets, damn it. 

I call Anthony at least two or three times a year with rather large cutlet orders. I pick them up – clean, trimmed, breaded and prepared for frying. From there, I’ll fry sometimes 8 or 9 pounds of the finest chicken cutlets known to this man and proceed to feed my hardworking supervisors during major events where food is either scarce or just two damn expensive. I’m never fearful of being embarrassed or disappointed. If I trust you with my food, we got it going on!

Oh yeah, pick up some cheese, roasted peppers and a good Italian roll while you’re there. Now you’re living. 

Phone: (215) 334-1212
Mobile App: Order on their website or call
Pick-up and Delivery: Both are available. Visit website or call for details.

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