I've been thinking a lot about Lunch lately. I think it's a fair argument that Lunch is the most important meal of the day: the time between when we groggily reach for that first cup of caffeinated beverage, and the moment when we slip on our Spider-Man jammies once more is neatly bisected by Lunch. Whether it's a peanut butter sandwich, hastily gobbled at one's desk, or a thick steak washed down by three or four martinis, Lunch has the power to define the course of an entire day. So it's important to encourage not simply Lunch, but something that aspires to something higher-- LUNCH, or "Luscious Unexpensive Noontime CHow."
What is LUNCH? Well, it has four defining principles:
1. While LUNCH is Lunch, the converse is not necessarily true. You may be able to have a wonderful Lunch at Le Bec-Fin, but it's not LUNCH. Likewise, last night's leftover veal piccata, however delicious, is not LUNCH, even if eaten promptly at the stroke of noon: you have to go out to LUNCH. (Not sure how this relates with *being* out to LUNCH...)
2. LUNCH should ideally cost somewhere in the range of $5-8. Too much less, and it's almost certainly a Snack; too much more, and it suffers pressure to be something other than LUNCH.
3. LUNCH should be consumed on-site. Food bought at one location and eaten at another is Take-Out or a Picnic, but not LUNCH.
4. LUNCH is not fast food; nor is it slow food. You should have to sit down for LUNCH, but should be finished before your coworkers start gossiping about your disappearance.
So sticking within these guidelines, where's the best LUNCH to be found in Philly? My vote is the great Washington Avenue eating corridor, starting with the pho joints there (Pho Ha and Pho 76). Some fantastic noodle soup, in a bowl big enough for a small child to crawl into and use as a boat, and cheap enough for the most penniless grad student to feel like a big shot, is perfect LUNCH.
So, chowhounds, what do you think? Where do you like to do LUNCH?