Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One of our country's oldest farmer's market... and who won the giveaway

Reading Terminal is an enclosed historic public market. Located in Philadelphia at 12th and Arch Streets. Established in 1893, the market occupies the first floor and basement levels of Reading Terminals train shed. Reading Terminal is one of the oldest farmer's markets in the country with over 80 unique merchants in a food bazaar setting. Along with many Culinary treats, there are also Amish merchants from Lancaster County.

Reading Terminal has been a filming location for several movies including Trading Places, National Treasure, Blow Out and 12 Monkeys.

Reading Terminal is one of John and my favorite markets and in this post I will take you along with us in a photo essay during a shopping trip a few weeks back. I'll weave in a funny true story and leave you with a competing chef's challenge poem. 

But first who won the Poe giveaway! 

The blogger who won is Nana Diana! Congratulations Diana,
please email me your address and this is off to you.

The reflection in the window is of the Pennsylvania Convention Center directly across the street at 1101 Arch Street.

Walking into Reading Terminal is always exciting. It's where the worlds diverse foods and tastes await, where ethnicity and cultures combine on the plate.

Interesting spices and seasonings combine for a treat and leaves your appetite satisfied with the savory and sweet.

John and I turn our weekly food shopping into an adventure. Creating dinners is fun for me and I never plan out a menu in advance. Instead I buy the freshest of what's available and locally sourced if possible. I delight in the creativity of inventing on the spot recipes for our meals be it just us or for dinner guests.

Because we both believe ... Drive throughs that serve fast food in a wrapper, isn't really what your tastebuds are after!

We bought the two Red Snappers on the left, had then cleaned and filleted and it became our dinner that evening. Dried rubbed with Cajun spices and blackened. Red Snapper is a delicate flavored fish that can take on spicy seasonings. When cleaned the two fish equaled 1 pound.

Many, many years ago when my son was in his early teens I spent three weeks away in Chicago because of my work. I love Chicago, it is a splendidly beautiful city which I did get to enjoy sightseeing. It was the first time I was away more than a week from John and Chris. I'm a nurturer and I love to cook, to me it's just another artistic expression and a way to show people I care. So imagine being away worrying about them eating nutritiously. I figured the first week they would be eating Philly Cheesesteaks and Pork sandwiches every night for dinner ... But I also knew it would grow old quickly and John would eventually cook something out of necessity.

Every evening I would call, first I'd talk awhile with Chris, discuss his day, address any homework questions and ask him what he and John had for dinner. My suspicions were correct and on the 9th day the allure for takeout was over. The following night when I asked what they ate for dinner I was told John cooked Cajun. CAJUN ... I thought, I didn't even know John could cook!!! John and I love Cajun food, matter of fact we are regulars at an authentic Cajun restaurant that I swear inside you feel you're in New Orleans, so my reply to Cajun was - COOL.

Following evening, once again Chris told me John cooked Cajun for dinner .... I asked leftovers? Nope, Chris said, John cooked Cajun. Hmmm I thought, perhaps John was planning a surprise Cajun meal on my return and he was trying out recipes. Next night when I asked once again ... you know it, Chris's response was Cajun! Suddenly I knew Cajun was code for burnt! I asked Chris if the meal was blackened, he said as blackened as you can possibly make something! That evening Chris, John and I laughed ourselves silly over it and I knew just how much they were missing me and anxiously awaiting my return home making dinner requests for their favorite meals.

Even now after all those years when John is asked by friends if he cooks - his answer is always, YES, CAJUN! True story and John gave me the OK to share it.

A basket of cuteness

Turkey slab bacon, sliced chicken steaks and chicken cutlets came home with us from Godshall's Poultry.

For the past 30 years I haven't eaten Beef or Pork. But not for any other reason than I have difficulty digesting it and I become extremely tired afterwards. My system hasn't the enzymes it needs for digesting it. So I mostly eat things that swim and fly. But around 10 years ago I added Lamb into the mix, giving me my red meat fix. Lamb is the easiest meat to digest and in Italy they even serve it to small children and invalids! 

At the Border Springs Lamb stand - pâté, ribs and ground meat for lamb burgers was purchased. It's USA raised lamb. But I will honestly admit I prefer Icelandic or New Zealand lamb over domestic.

Salumeria International Cheese in the terminal. Smile and say cheese.

We love cheese!

Picked up both Cow and Goat cheese and it was enjoyed by us and dinner guests that weekend.

At Lancaster County Farm Fresh - Canned foods, honey, jams anything you can name.

All things beeswax, check out those sweet pumpkin candles.

Iovine Brothers where we choose to shop. Locally grown and always the freshest veggies and fruits.

In the Bazaar setting you can even find fine French linens, Portuguese and Italian pottery too.

Roasted right on the premise, only the freshest coffee beans at Old City Coffee, Inc.

Always a stop for us.

We love Duck and this place won a "Best of Philly award". 

A Creperie ... 
Hey, here's what I say...
To awaken your palate of global culinary pleasure, experience dining adventures at your leisure!

Pearl's Oysters a weakness for John and I. Ever have an Oyster shooter? Pepper infused Vodka, hot sauce and a you guessed it an Oyster. 

Love me a Po Boy ... pretty please!

Termini Brothers is a famous Philadelphia Italian Bakery. A third generation, 90 Year old Philly tradition. During the holidays we make a stop at their flag ship store at 1523 South 8th Street located in South Philly. There's always a line half way around the block and even entertainment during the holidays. Which usually is a guy playing the Accordion.

I have a suggestion to make ... in our busy active filled days ... Please nurture yourself, enjoy traditional cultural taste. Because to hurry a meal in haste is truly a waste. 

I leave you with a poem I wrote - Nola versus Dan. Both John and I love watching Food Network's food challenges late Sunday night in bed ... Hey are there calories consumed just by looking at food??? Hope not, other wises we'd be in a whole lot of calorie laden trouble!

Awhile ago a fierce culinary battle of the states started on a very stormy day,
Competition in opposing cooking styles and palate tastes from states far away.

First competition matched lovely Nola from New Orleans, Louisiana,
up against ruggedly handsome Dan, from Big Sky - Montana.

Nola's a chef in the French Quarter and has a sexy southern drawl,
with her restaurant diners she would instantly charm and enthrall.

Nola's Praline confections are widely known to cause grown men to drool,
Dan owns a wild game steakhouse and decided he should just play it cool.

First challenge was Nola's Oyster shooters and popular savory blackened Cajun Red Fish,
Dan's signature drink the Montana Tornado was served with braised Bison short ribs as his dish.

The judges were expecting each one would prepare their prized recipes to win for their beloved state...
But judging a competition between a couple with sexual tension really turned into a huge debate.

Seems funny now it all came down to five judges who would determine their culinary fate ...
Each inventing creatively delicious offerings on each and every tasty, yet diverse plate.

But in the end it was Dan who won the highly desired red chef jacket in this battle.
Months later Nola flew out to visit Dan at his Montana ranch where he raises cattle.

Much in love, Nola agreed to stay in Montana and together they formed an unexpected union.

Together creating new dishes combining cajun & creole with wild game in a unique food fusion!

© Vera


  1. I was with you all the way until we got to the oyster shooter. Great market though.

  2. I loved visiting my daughter in Philly, just so I could go eat at the Reading Terminal! (Plus, no tax on clothes on PA.) Now, she's in NYC, which also has some great food. But to be honest, I'd rather have her back near me. *sigh*

  3. Vera,

    Thanks for the heads up on your post! And you were right, I'm starving! I actually think you should be a food and travel writer, you find THE most interesting places to share with us! I would love to visit The Reading Terminal, I would really have to have a lot of self control. It's funny that you mentioned not eating beef, I had a friend who would NOT eat anything that could swim or fly! lol! And the tale of John's experience with Cajun cooking...how funny. My hubby can't boil water. Isn't it lucky that they married ladies who love the kitchen?

    Hooray for Diana...she really is a great lady. And thanks for such a sweet giveaway.

    Sending a big hug...off in a few hours for my doctor appointment, just want to get it over with. :(

    Jane xx

  4. Dearest Vera! WOW! First of all, lucky Nana Diana! Secondly, your town is rife with antiquity and ghosts of the nation's past....I would LOVE to visit you! The architecture is stunning and culture so alive.

    I sure like you. teeehehe....I miss you, but I look forward to another chat soon. In the meantime, stay well my friend. I have to run off to work now, but will be back. I have my poetry group tonight, but will top it off at the end of the evening with another read your poem. Have a super day, Anita

  5. Congrats to Diana for your wonderful giveaway!
    How fun to get a tour of Reading Terminal through your eyes, Vera. Great place for a weekly excursion to select fresh and enticing delectables. And I loved the story of John's Cajun cooking!! Next time we come to Philadelphia this will be at the top of the list of things to do.
    Your poetry is always a delight and never disappoints.
    Mary Alice

  6. Congratulations to Diana ~ she is a sweetheart! Cajun means burned. :) Love this. My eldest daughter used to make "Cajun" toast!

    How I wish I could fit inside your pocket and go to all these places with you, Vera. The Reading Terminal looks and sounds incredible! You really do live a remarkable life, filled with all things beautiful.

    Enjoy your day!

  7. oh my I just love a market...this one looks incredible full of delights!

  8. Hi Vera, Congrats to Diana. I am excited for her. Diana is one of my dearest blogland friends and she will love this gift.
    I love the story you shared for Cajun food cooked by your hubby. LOL My hubby could adopt a story like this~~
    The Reading Terminal looks to be an incredible spot to shop for a fresh selection. Your pics are so inviting!
    Once again your poetry is amazing and with a happy ending for the two chefs!

    Thank you for sharing your city and all the wonderful culture!
    Have a special day!!

  9. Good Morning Vera,
    Love the Market so many wonderful choices. I can see why you love to go there. I think cooking is another form of art. Such a wonderful way to express love and wonderful cultures and tastes. You are so right nothing is better than a home cooked meal with love. Too cute the story of John and Chris and the Cajun meals lol! Loved the poem just shows food can stir up so many feelings especially love. Loved your post today Vera. Congrats to Diana too. She will be thrilled.

  10. Dear Vera,
    Congratulations to Diana...What a lucky lady she is... Yours was such a generous giveaway...
    I thought your story about John, Chris and the Cajun meals was so sweet!
    The farmer's market is wonderful, all the great foods, but I am afraid you would find me at the Italian Bakery! I am afraid that is my downfall.
    Loved your poem.
    Thank you so much for your sweet comment.. I always look forward to your visits.
    Take care dear friend.

  11. Well, FIRST OFF--THANK YOU SO MUCH! You KNOW I am just thrilled!!!!! Whooo Hooooo! I love Poe- and bit my teeth on his poetry when I was young. I can still remember my heart racing reading The Pit & The Pendulum and The Tell Tale Heart. I can't wait to do a re-read of his stories! The only thing that could be better than winning is if you delivered it in person! lol

    That is a fantastic farmer's market. Wow! What you have available to you there is amazing compared to where we live. We aren 4 hours North of Chicago and a world away from shopping like you have...or Chicago has for that matter.

    Laughed about the Cajun cooking. Once in a while John would cook when I was working and the kids said they knew dinner was ready when the fire detector went off....seriously! lol Horrible cook and he readily admits it.

    Have a wonderful afternoon and evening and again, Vera, thank you SOOOO much! I will email you my addy. xo Diana

  12. What a delightful glimpse into the market! I had never seen it before. Thanks for sharing!

  13. wow...that looks like an awesome market...I've never, in my looong life been to one like this. Amazing.
    Happy thoughts to Diana for the fabulous win. She will love it..:)

  14. Dearest Vera!

    I had a wildly busy Tuesday morning and I was unable to come yesterday and in the evening, we had our poetry group! (I love this group but unlike you blogger pals, they don't get my poetry)

    THANK YOU FOR THE CARD!!!!!!!!! I wanted to come to thank you on Sunday, for I received it on Saturday to my delight. THE PHOTO on there....it's on my blog! And the little extra shaggy ribbon...how utterly gorgeous and Poe-like!

    I do hope to chat soon with you. I'd love that so much.

    Well, off to teach. Have a relaxing day! Anita

  15. Yes, this post did make me hungry. But more so, it made me want to visit the market. My nearest comparison is The Ferry Building in San Francisco. I love strolling through The Ferry Building looking at all the different cheeses, meats, sweets, etc.

    I agree with you about fast food. Steve and I avoid it at all costs. On road trips, we take our own food along rather than be forced to in fast food as we take a quick stop for gas.

    I say that after having succumbed to an In 'n' Out burger last night. In 'n' Out started in my home town and it brings good memories. They are made to order, not sitting waiting and the fries are made from real potatoes that you watch being cut.

    I can't remember if we have discussed this, but have you seen Chef, The 100 Foot Journey, or the Indian film The Lunchbox? All are about good food and we loved each one.

  16. So very full, I've eaten my hearts delight. Dan and Nola what a team and a marriage of culinary arts.
    You my friend have a vivid imagination, oh how I wish I could create such stories that come to life as yours. As for fast foods, Hannah and I try to eat as fresh as possible, and the least amount of process. A great fruit stand is our friend, and salads and wild fish, and pizza from time to time, yet we make it health as we can.

    Vera, I would not b able to get out of that farmers market without taking home my fair share of shopping :)
    Vera, I happen to love the many signs for the vendors businesses they are so interesting, they inspire all our needs and wants.

    Every post you create I wonder what exciting place you will visit next, this is one of those times, I wonder what's next in all you inspire us with..... Perhaps John cooking Cajun in the kitchen, blackening everything the way we love it !

    Congrats to your winner " Nana Diana" she is a doll I need to stop over to see what she has been up to, and her family life.


  17. Oh, I forgot to mention, those black cats are so fun, bordering whimsy folkart :)


  18. Oh my goodness, so many beautiful and delicious pictures ... I don't know where to begin! But I think fresh cheese it always on my mind:)

  19. I would LOVE to visit this Market as it looks AMAZING!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Vera, Reading Terminal looks like my kind of place! Keith and I loved to go to a big market like that when we lived in Columbus, and I miss it! That 'Cajun' story is the cutest! I guess I should tell people that I can cook 'Cajun'! ;)

  21. I could spend all day there. I LOVE food and this would be my kind of place to walk around and eat all day. I hope you are feeling better, Vera. I was in bed for two weeks with a cold! As someone who never sits for more than 5 minutes, it was torture for me.

  22. Congrats Diana!
    This place looks like a fun time...very similar to our Fanuel Hall Market in Boston!

  23. Hi Vera - What a heavenly place! Such goodies :) I would learn to cook just so I can shop there! Congrats to Diana. Cheers, L

  24. Wow!!! what a place! I would love to shop there for the linens.
    Congrats to Diana...so happy for her..she's a great gal!!

  25. It's a spectacular place! xoxo It looks European. It reminds me of the one I went to in Florence in the variety of fresh and prepared foods.

  26. With all this, what i fixated on was the CREPERIE. sigh!!!!!! I visited one on vacation and had the most fantastic dessert crepe, filled with the tastiest calories ever combined!!! When I came home I tried to re-create it.

    mmmmm ~ mmmmmm!!!!! their's was better but one does what one has to.

    My husband barbecues "Cajun".

    oh my.

    Delighted by your visit.
    ~ Violet

  27. Congrats to Diana! I love her.
    And I want to hang out at the market for days...how fun. The eating and eating and eating....sounds wonderful!

  28. Hi Vera, Congrats to Diana!! I received your post in my inbox once again and thought it a grand time to stop back over and wish you a wonderful Halloween evening and weekend.
    Enjoy sweet friend and thank you for stopping by and your kind words for my Autumn memory. Your visits always are an encouragement.
    Blessings and Hugs

  29. Oh, looks like a perfect day at the market! Loads of colorful veggies. :)