Last Day In Philadelphia: Cheese, bitters and “keeping it local”

My final Philly morning began at  the Rittenhouse Square outpost of DiBruno Brothers, the gourmet market in business since 1939.  Ever since I spied a photo of their original Italian Market location with a banner reading The House of Cheese, I knew I had to visit.  I love cheese.  The stinkier the better.

Cheese at DiBruno Brothers

Turns out the store was a very short distance from my hotel, which meant I could buy a lot and not get my usual arm bruises  from jostling heavy grocery bags through city streets. Hooray! (One  bonus of driving instead of flying on my adventures is there’s lots of  extra room in my (cooler filled) trunk.  Foodies always travel with at least one cooler on hand,  just in case they come across some great food finds.)  Anyway, this bustling shop was filled with charcuterie, artisan cheeses, pasta, tempting chocolates and breads, olive oils.  . . all displayed like a Milan market . My most exciting purchase?  A slew of flavored bitters.  Like chocolate,grapefruit, and sour cherry. Mix them with seltser or use them to make delish cocktails.

Can't wait to try these!

After a quick trip back to the hotel to drop off my goodies,  one more walk was necessary before that tedious drive on the good ol’ PA Turnpike back to Pittsburgh. I started down Sansom Street,  where the previous day I looked into a sweet little boutique  (okay, so I didn’t just look, I bought things, too)  called SA VA. What does this have to do with food? Well, read on.  It was my lucky day because Sarah Van Aken, the owner and designer, was walking between her shop and her manufacturing facility next door, so I told her how much I loved the clothes I bought the day before.

SA VA's shopping bag minus my purchases. . love the eco friendly bag!

Van Aken mentioned  she also designs uniforms for upscale restaurants such as Izakaya at the Borgata in Atlantic City, Alfred Portale’s Gotham in NY and Gotham Steak in Miami, Forge and Rouge Tomate in NY and Supper on Philly’s South Street under the Van Aken Signature brand. So cool.  Visit her beautiful shop in person or online and keep your eyes out for Sarah’s creations in the hottest restaurants. How inspiring to see young, innovative people doing good things for their city. Now, it’s back to the ‘Burgh, with one quick stop in PA Dutch Country on the way home.

3 comment on “Last Day In Philadelphia: Cheese, bitters and “keeping it local”

  1. The Poser

    When do I get to try some of those cheeses from the picture?

  2. Lynda

    Makes me want to rush down to the Strip District in Pittsburgh to Pennsylvania Macaroni where a few Saturdays ago we had that great experience of tasting a few cheeses, and watching the sales people hack pieces off large wheels that wound up to be pretty darn close to the amount we asked for. Nothing like tasting a cheese before you buy it. A question – do bitters contain alcohol? Are they really bitter tasting? Congratulations on your new blog!! I’ll be checking in……..

    1. Staff Mary

      Love Pennsylvania Macaroni. Bitters do often contain alcohol, depending on the brand . . . sometimes it’s a very high percentage of alcohol, but you can buy them in regular supermarkets. I usually see them in Italian markets. And yes, they are kind of bitter. The original bitters were served as a tonic to cure all ills and were made from herbs. My parents had to drink a shot of bitters when they had a stomachache when they were children. To try a delicious beverage using bitters, go to Prima Espresso in the Strip and order a Bitters Combo. My family loves this drink!

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