Hope you're hungry.

Recently, right after I was Gayle King’s guest on her Oprah Radio show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, I hopped on the train to Philadelphia to be on NPR’s “A Chef’s Table.” All of this was so cool, by the way, that I could barely get my coffee past my huge grin.

I made sure I had enough time before the NPR show to visit Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, a mecca for food lovers. This warehouse-style landmark, which has been feeding Philly since 1893, features stalls with everything from fish shops to organic farm stands to soul food to Pennsylvania Dutch counters. If you go, make sure you’re hungry.

Maybe not as hungry as I was–by the time I got there, I didn’t even know where to go first. This taught me an important rule of food markets: Go to the ones that have long lines. Yes, your stomach will grumble for a while longer, but the lines mean the food is good. Me, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I got instant service and a boring sandwich. Bummer!

I made sure to counter that DFE (Disappointing Food Experience) with a sure thing: the apple dumping at the Dutch Eating Place. I have a thing for the Amish; they live simply, and they’re the most forgiving people on the planet. I also like to follow the “When in Rome, eat as the Romans do” idea, wherever I am. And since I was in Pennsylvania Dutch territory, I briefly cursed myself for not going to the large Pennsylvania Dutch corner of the Reading Terminal Market first, and then ordered the apple dumpling. “Whipped or heavy cream?” asked the Amish counter girl. Bring on the heavy stuff, I said.

Sheer gorgeousness, this dumpling was–dense, tender biscuit lovingly hugged a fat baked apple, and the cream made the whole dessert sing with different, harmonious textures.

If you’re in the area, visit the Reading Terminal Market, sample as much as you can, and definitely save room for that dumpling.


Wilkum to the Pennsylvania Dutch corner of Reading Terminal Market.

Pure Amish lusciousness

The incredible apple dumpling at the Dutch Eating Place. Swoonsome.

You're in Amish country

Delicious overkill

Chocolate covered cookies. Great idea? Too much? Yes? No?

Got raw milk?

Contraband! Raw milk can't cross state lines. It looked delicious.

The latest buzz in gifts.

Sculptures made of beeswax. Yep, beeswax.