Night Market Visits the Italian Market

Since Chester and I had such a good time at the Food Trust’s fall Night Market, we marked our calendars as soon as we heard about its plans to visit the Italian Market neighborhood in South Philly. This time our friends Shannon and Dave joined us.

The location made for a nice mix of vendors, including long-time Italian Market occupants, such as Villa di Roma and DiBruno Brothers, as well as the trendy, new food trucks. The event was set up primarily along Washington Avenue, between 9th and 11th Streets, which made it feel a lot less crowded than the comparatively narrow streets at the Chinatown event. Since it was a pretty warm night, the extra room to move around was most welcome.

One of the first vendors we came upon was the Sweetbox Cupcake Truck. By the time I got to that truck on my last visit, they were almost sold out. So, Shannon and I decided to eat dessert first. The moist chocolate cake topped with creamy peanut butter icing was the perfect way to start our evening.

Then, it was on to real food.

First up was Tashan, which was offering veggie samosas, buttered chicken and mango lassi. The chicken was my favorite because it reminded me of one of my favorite dishes from Sitar India. I know Sitar is a buffet and Tashan is more of a fine dining establishment, but that chicken is one of my favorite things ever, so that’s pretty high praise, I think.

Next up was Royal Tavern. Their sliders, which I had heard a lot about, did not disappoint either. Although there was a major flare up on their grill which caused a fairly long wait time for our burgers, it was worth it. The meat was cooked to perfection and very juicy. Toppings included crispy bacon, caramelized onions, pickled hot peppers, smoky gouda cheese for an interesting and somewhat spicy flavor combination.

These were easily my two favorite stops of the night, and I’ll definitely be paying a visit to their brick and mortar locations soon. Although I was pretty full by that point, I couldn’t resist making a final stop at the Smoke Truck, because they had mac and cheese. It was just okay—I should know that mass quantities of make and cheese don’t keep very well. It was a bit soggy, but I really could only stomach a few bites of it anyway. And, although Chester had already had a pork sandwich from Esposito’s, he tried the truck’s pulled pork sandwich, which is prepared Carolina style, with vinegar and lots of spice. I would definitely give this truck another try, though, on an occasion when I’m not already close to a food coma.

Not pictured are the empanadas from Cuba Libre, tacos from Cantina los Caballitos, and meatball sandwich and gnocchi from Villa di Roma that Shannon and Dave sampled. I try not to annoy my friends too much by shoving my iPhone at them when they are trying to eat, you know?

One vendor that I had been curious about but that we didn’t stop at was the Ka’Chi Truck, which specializes in Korean food. It had one of the longest lines throughout the night (aside from the lines for beer), so I’ll assume it must be pretty good. I will definitely need to keep my eye out for it around the city.

We definitely left stuffed after eating pretty heavy food on a summer night. The Night Market was a good time, once again, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it turns up next!

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