PROFILE: Philly Lunch’er “Earl”

As will be customary here on Philly Lunch, every Tuesday we turn over the site to a different lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Philadelphia. This week it’s Earl, a former lawyer who has deli meat nightmares and is looking for a place to deliver some hot pho to further his noodle binge. Thanks for taking the plunge and being our first ever Philly Lunch profile!

Name: Earl

Age: 31

Occupation: Attorney/Grad student. More the latter than the former at present.

Where in Philly do you Work?: Last full time job was @ 16th and Market. These days, I mostly work from home in Center City.

Favorite Kind of Food: This depends on my mood, really. I’ll go through phases where I’ll eat one type of food for a while or cycle through a few different types of cuisine. I’m big on Asian foods- Korean, Indian, Malaysian, Vietnamese. I’m partial to intense, bold flavors, having grown up eating Korean food every day- my mom’s a kick ass cook. Currently, I’m in a noodle soup phase- mostly because it’s been way too cold. I like my pho from Pho Ha on 6th and Washington, and in Chinatown, I’ll hit up Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House (Race btw 9th and 10th St). I like to watch my noodles magically transform from a ball of dough to countless, thin, yummy strands of noodles before my eyes. I’ll I go through BBQ kicks now and again. My favorites are Tommy Gunn’s and Percy Street (burnt ends!) on 9th and South St. This summer, I went on a month long burger binge- I had to stop because I was getting fat. My 2 current faves are at Square 1682 (17th btw Walnut and Chestnut St) and Noble (Sansom btw 20th and 21st St). One of these days, I’ll have to try the Whiskey King. I also have an on and off, torrid affair with corn beef specials. I like mine from Kibitz Room (the whole, naturally) on Locust btw 15th and 16th and Hershel’s in Reading Terminal Market.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Mac and cheese (unless it’s perfectly made), pasta with alfredo sauce, cold cuts. I don’t like cheese as a sauce. It makes a decent addition, but as the feature presentation, no. While I’m on that topic- no wiz on my cheesesteaks. I prefer melted American. That’s how I grew up eating them in the ghetto and that’s what a cheesesteak is to me. Also, both Pat’s and Geno’s are complete crap. As for deli meats, I’m disgusted with the whole idea and general spirit of cold cuts- I had a traumatic childhood with way too many Italian hoagies. Have you guessed? I am a Philadelphian.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Philly: Crazy Falafel Guy- cart located on NE corner of 20th and Market. Look for the smoke coming from his charcoal grill. My order: Sandwich (please). You will reek of garlic and char grilled chicken for 2 days, but it is so worth it. His food is worth waiting 45 minutes in line, worth the $8 or whatever he charges now, worth standing in the cold, the rain, the snow, and worth not getting laid at least that night, because no one in their right mind would kiss someone that smells that strongly of garlic.

Honest Tom’s Taco truck- 33rd and Arch, across from the Drexel beach volleyball courts. $6 for 2 chicken tacos. Totally worth the time (at least 15 minutes to cook), the money, and the trip up there, if you’re taking the subway or biking, as I do. Definitely go for some french pressed Stumptown coffee. Believe the hype.

Reading Terminal Market- Hershel’s 1/2 corned beef special and cup of matzo ball soup can’t be beat. It’s a lot of home made, delicious food, and plus tip, about $9.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Variety is the spice of life. So, rotating varieties of spices is… better? I don’t have “goto” places, really, because of my aforementioned cuisine cycles. That, and I’m ridiculously fickle.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Ben Thanh market in Saigon, Vietnam. Anthony Bourdain ate there for “A Cook’s Tour” and I fell in love with the colors, description, and scene. I like variety, flavor, and street food. I haven’t been there. Yet

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Philly Lunch readers? Do any Center City Vietnamese places deliver? If so, my winter pho consumption may go through the roof…

I dunno Earl, a little garlic breath never hurt anyone… If you would like to be next week’s Profiled Philly Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at



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