Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Philly Pretzel: Ultimate Airport Snack

As you know, I travel a lot. Much has been said about finding great food at your destination, but what about when you are in transit? Airport food has a bad rap (expensive junk food), but every now and then there is a shining star at airports that is worthy of seeking out.

One of my favorite airport treats are available in Philadelphia. I'm not talking about a greasy cheese steak, but rather one of their iconic soft pretzels.

Prior to visiting Philadelphia, I had never heard about these pretzels, but upon exploring a few of the cities food carts I quickly fell in love with these lunchtime staples.

What makes them special? First of all, they are fresh. These aren't pretzels that have been manufactured months before in a factory hundreds of miles away, frozen and then reheated. These are made the day that they are consumed, and the taste is reflected in the freshness.

The second thing that makes these unique is the fact that they aren't the traditional pretzel shape, but rather a squared off figure eight. While this was most likely done for production efficiency, the shape is much more conducive to eating it on the run.

Fortunately for travelers who have frequent connections through PHL, these soft pretzels are readily available in carts within the airport terminal. With such accessibility, I find them hard to resist on even a tight layover. What's harder yet is resisting buying a half dozen to take home with me. At about $1 each, you'll be hard pressed to find a better value for a snack at an airport.

While I can't eat 6 of these before they go stale, they do freeze relatively well. They will loose a little something in the freezing and reheating process, but when I can't get them fresh, a frozen pretzel will do in a pinch.

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  1. Growing up outside of Philly on the Jersey side these were always a great treat. We would go into the city at Christams time to see the lights and window scenes and get a pretzel. One of my fondest memories of the Philly pretzel was when I was older and a nurse at a NJ hospital, we needed to bring a patient over to a big Philly hospital via ambulance and I had wondered why all the nurses fought for the trip. Well I HAD to go because it was my first transpost and my preceptor went with me. I soon found out why it was a big deal. After we dropped off the patient we had the driver- illegally no less- pull over so we could bring back dozens of pretzels to the nurses on our unit! Great times. Now when we go we are sure to buy them for our kids, they love them. Thanks for the memory Graham, you always have a way of bringing out great memories!!! I will be in Boston Oct 27-31. This time I think I will do a halfmoon-black and white cookie- throwdown, any suggestions of good places in the Northend?

  2. pretzels are the special snacks of Italian Market and it is the heart of South Philly.

  3. What a yummy pretzels, I eat some pretzels and it taste so sweet. When I find travel agents for a trip vacation I bring some pretzels to be eat over the trip. :)