I just moved to Philly, like a week ago, and am happily exploring the food situation. Thus far it seems a very happy step up from my last home, St. Louis. I have some questions, and would welcome your reccomended faves. Admittedly, I live on the shoestring budget of two graduate students with a three-year-old, so I'm mostly looking for good, cheap, foods. Also, I'm a hobbyist cook, so I'm looking for markets as much as restaurants.
Coffee. I live in Center City (well, more like South Philly, depending on who you ask) on Bainbridge, near 22nd. I don't mind walking some distance for really, really good coffee, but would love to find a cup in the neighborhood for the morning fix. So far I've found lots of bad cups and two ok, but not great, cups. Tuscany Cafe on Rittenhouse Square (this chain tried to make a go in St. L a couple years back, but became overextended and closed down), and European Union on 22nd around Locust. I guess I like EU a little better, in that the owner is there and seems to be a quality guy, but the coffee, at least the day I went there, was only ok. I could drink it black without wincing, but it didn't have that rich fullness I'm looking for. Tuscany makes a harsh, acidic cup, but at least it has flavor even if it's not good flavor.
Am I missing something? I feel like I've scoured, and come up at a loss. Any suggestions for coffee (and a good, neighborhoody feeling cafe where I can sit for a little while with my coffee) would be most appreciated.
Steaks. Is Geno's the best? Is Pat in fact the King of Steaks?
The Italian Market. I was immediately won over by the Italian market. That is my sort of shopping. But I wonder, do any of you know who to trust for fish? It seems like a crap-shoot. I have a pretty good eye (and nose) for bad fish, but nevertheless worry about finding the best. Also, anybody have a feel for which is the best of the many butchers? I got some short ribs this afternoon that I though were quite tasty, but I didn't note the name (I'm sure if I went back I'd remember it by sight).
I'm sure I'll have more questions as I eat around. For now, good eating.