Monday, July 27, 2009

Down Home Diner : Philadelphia

I generally like eating breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place at the Reading Terminal Market, but I had read a Chowhound poster stating their preference for Down Home Diner over Dutch Eating Place. And I've also seen posts about their scrapple as well, so my gf and I ambled on down to give them a shot.

And to get straight to the point, it was definitely nice to try them out, but we were both not really fans. Not that things were bad by any means, just not to our taste. And in all fairness, I will note that it could perhaps be our background at play, since some of things we tried out were new to us.

For example, the scrapple. This was really our first time trying this and well, to us it tasted like a fried slab of dry corned beef hash. I find the history of scrapple to be interesting, especially the fact that it has remained so Pennsylvania-centric, but I suppose it might be one of those things, where I just need some Pennsylvanian native to show me the ropes on how to eat this thing (some eat it with maple syrup or other toppings) and why it deserves more attention.

Virginia salted ham - If one couldn't tell already, I'm not really a big fan of salty things. And the menu does clearly say "if you don't like salty things, you won't like the Virginia Salted Ham" so I will not really comment critically on this one. This tasted very much like some Chinese preserved sausages I've had. The poached eggs on top were pretty decently done.

Country Sausage and Biscuit (unsure of name) - My knowledge of Southern cooking is very limited to say the least and I was expecting an oily sausage/buttery biscuit/heavy gravy all-out flavor assault from this dish. But was somewhat disappointed by this. The sausage was rather dry in some parts and needed to be mopped in the gravy to be manageable.

The gravy was well surprisingly light in texture (a plus) and in flavor (a minus).

The biscuit wasn't as buttery as I thought it would be, just dense and kind of plain-tasting. It also needed to be mopped with the gravy.

The baked apple pieces were fine and a nice respite from the rest of the dish. But huh? I'm focusing on the baked apple pieces?

*Edit* Forgot to mention that the gravy, biscuit and sausage were all luke-warm, contributing to the blah quality of this.

I'm open to hearing from those more knowledgeable about these dishes, because I suspect Down Home Diner's appeal is on those who grew up with these dishes. Personally, I'm keeping with my favorites for the time being.

Down Home Diner
Reading Terminal Market
12th St & Arch Street Philadelphia PA (Map)
Down Home Diner
($Brunch, $Philadelphia)

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