I've mentioned on here once or twice the deep love Marrv has for Philadelphia, his "adopted" home. He started coming to the suburbs of Philly back when he was still in university. He'd come for the summers to coach golf at a rather prestigious summer camp. Upon finishing Uni back in the UK, the same camp offered to employ him full time here as director of the golf coaches. So he packed his bags and set off by himself to move to a new country. He's been here ever since (2005). We could have an entirely different and long discussion about what it takes to even make that move - but suffice to say, those same necessary characteristics are some of the ones I admire and respect about him and make me love him every day.
I grew up outside of Philly and have lived in the city on and off for the past 10 years (wow. nothing like putting it down on "paper" to make yourself feel old!). And although I wander away every few years, and plan to wander away together in our future, it will always be home.
It's funny because we've been calling the night before the wedding 'International Night' as it is when both sides are meeting for the first time. But we thought our "rehearsal" dinner would actually be the perfect place to highlight our city - through its food. As a way to maximize mingling (and keep costs down!), we are having everyone to our home the Saturday night before the wedding. Now, with a small guest list (35 in total) it makes it a little more doable, even with a city apartment!
We made our calls over the past few days to order the food and we're both so psyched. The menu is Philly to the core.
Ok, so cheese is universal. But I love it. And I love our local high quality cheesemonger - Dibruno Brothers. The original is down in our Italian Market but we have a bit of a superstore just around the corner from us and my jaw drops each time we go in. I want to buy it all (but can only afford a few splurges here and there). So a "Crowd Pleaser" full of gouda, cheddar, spreads, pepperoni, dried & fresh fruits, pecans and more was a mandatory starter.
Soft Pretzels. I remember as a young girl, coming to the city with my mom and buying soft pretzels from the guys on the side of the street out of their shopping cart. Yes, that's right. Guys stand in the middle of South Philly streets (and stadiums of course) selling pretzels to cars as they drive by. I am positive it wasn't hygienic at all and I'd never buy it that way now (except when drunk coming out of those stadiums), but they're a Philly staple.
It's a hoagie. Not a sub or submarine.
And when it comes to hoagies, it's all about Sarcone's Deli(again, in the Italian Market). Any good Philadelphian should tell you - what makes our sandwiches great are the rolls, and the best come from Sarcone's (ok, Amoroso's is also top notch).
So what is a Philly menu without the king of Philly sandwiches...the cheesesteak. Honestly, we don't actually even eat them often (we save it for when people visit), but with so many out of towners (and a few Philly newbies!) we knew everyone was already trying to coordinate when they could get their fix so we figured we'd make it easy for them.
Ok, now for the creme de la creme! Dessert.
If you've never heard of Tastykake, well you're missing out. Krimpets, chocolate cupcakes and my personal fave - the peanut butter kandy kakes...are a local treat. I remember sending care packages of Tastykakes to our family on the west coast because they missed them so much. To be fair, they're not necessarily the best dessert, but we're both fans and it's a local company that we wanted to highlight - plus it's just fun to have tons of individually packaged, totally processed, and high calorie sweets on our table!
As much as I love all this food and I love that it really plays up Philly, I think we're both happiest that it really reflects us. There's a reason we chose this menu, and we have memories together with either the stores or foods themselves and that matters. I'm pretty sure the guests are going to eat it up as well (ha! See what I did there...) Plus, with the boxes and boxes of wine, beer and liquor we also got for the night - I think they're all set.
Did you cater your menu to where you were hosting the event or in another personal way?