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Travel Dine like it’s 1776 at this historic Philadelphia restaurant

07:50  14 february  2020
07:50  14 february  2020 Source:   10best.com

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Like a freshly poured, almost-overflowing beer, Philadelphia ’s Historic District is brimming with The creative cocktails and imaginative décor at this diner and martini bar create an atmosphere all its own, making it one of the hottest Today, it ’ s a restaurant (that transforms into a dance spot at night)

But it ’ s also home to buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, owner-operated boutiques, pushing-the-boundaries art galleries and more. Getting Here: The Historic District is conveniently located in the center of Philadelphia , from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine Street to Lombard

Every year, around 5 million people visit Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park where they can "be in the room where it happened" as is sung in Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit musical, "Hamilton." But just around the corner from Independence Hall, where America’s Founding Fathers hashed out the foundation of a new nation, is a unique stop that history lovers shouldn’t miss: City Tavern.

The original restaurant opened in 1773 and served as a popular meeting spot for members of the First Continental Congress. After long days debating, many of the conversations from Independence Hall continued over drinks and food at City Tavern.

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Two interesting restaurants in Philadelphia ’s Historic District offer seating not just near the water Want to see where the cast of It ’ s Always Sunny in Philadelphia hangs out when they’re in town? Get spooked with Ghost Tours of Philadelphia . Hang out like the cast of It ' s Always Sunny in

Throughout Philadelphia ’ s Historic District, 13 Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches feature free tales and secret stories told by professional storytellers. At multiple locations throughout Philadelphia ’ s Historic District, guests can spend the afternoon as if they were in the 18th century.

Regulars included such luminaries as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams who routinely held meetings there. In fact, the tavern played such a big part of the American Revolution, that in 1777, City Tavern held the first Fourth of July celebration.

But in 1834, the original City Tavern was damaged by a fire and demolished 20 years later. The location that stands today on 2nd Street in Philadelphia’s Old City is a historically accurate replica that was completed in 1976 to celebrate the United States’ bicentennial.

a large brick building with a clock on the side of a road: Though the original City Tavern was demolished in 1854, the new building is a historically accurate replica© City Tavern Though the original City Tavern was demolished in 1854, the new building is a historically accurate replica

But it’s not just following in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers that draws a crowd to this historic landmark. City Tavern is still an operating restaurant, and everything on the menu is inspired by colonial cuisine – with many of the recipes coming straight from notes and letters written by the nation’s first congressional delegates.

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The diverse selection of hotels in Philadelphia ’ s Historic District (which spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine Street to On-site restaurants , Delaware River views, in-room fireplaces and private balconies are just a few of the many amenities that the Historic District’ s guests can enjoy.

in 2018, Philadelphia ’s top attractions get a lot of well-warranted attention — and it ’ s not hard to see why. This historic building housed U.S. Congress from 1790 to 1800, during the time when Mosaics bloom at this fantasy- like art showplace, presenting and preserving the work of artist Isaiah

Chef Walter Staib is the owner and head chef of City Tavern, he has published six cookbooks and he is the Emmy Award-winning host of "A Taste of History on PBS."

"We try as much as we can to be historically accurate in the dishes we serve," explains Staib. Just as City Tavern was built to be a historically accurate replica of the original tavern from the 1770s, Staib and his team are dedicated to replicating what the dining experience was like in 18th century.

In addition to recreating popular colonial dishes, the waitstaff’s attire and the décor are all inspired by the Revolutionary era. They even set every table with pewter cups!

Chef Staib has spent much of his career researching early American cuisine and has incorporated his findings into his cookbooks, as well as onto the menu at City Tavern. Guests can order dishes like Thomas Jefferson’s favorite sweet potato biscuits, an applewood smoked pork chop (made using an 18th century technique for preserving meats), and pork tenderloin medallions marinated in George Washington’s Porter (his actual recipe for porter beer brewed by Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company).

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Top Historic Philadelphia Attractions. The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall bring the past to life. In 1776 , Thomas Jefferson rented a room in the home of Jacob Graff Jr., a Philadelphia bricklayer, and it ' s here that Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.

Philly ’ s waterside dining options include traditional favorites like Moshulu as well as modern concepts like FringeArts’ La Peg and seasonal offerings like Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. Enjoy some of the city’ s most scenic eating at these waterfront venues.

For vegan guests, there’s even a fried tofu dish that Benjamin Franklin included in a letter to Philadelphia’s John Bartram in 1770. But one of the most popular dishes on City Tavern’s menu is the pepperpot stew. "People will finish other food tours in Philadelphia, and come here specifically for the pepperpot," says Staib.

a person standing in front of a plate of food: Chef Walter Staib has been running City Tavern for over 25 years© City Tavern Chef Walter Staib has been running City Tavern for over 25 years

The dish has a deep history with Philadelphia, and was so popular in the city that its own variant, the Philadelphia pepperpot, was created. But the stew isn’t originally from Philadelphia; pepperpot actually comes from the Caribbean. "Every island has its own version of pepperpot," explains Staib. "If you just order pepperpot, you won’t know what you’re going to get."

It's a hearty stew with a spicy heat that builds with every bite, and lingers long after you’ve finished your meal. It’s made with meat, vegetables peppers and spices that vary depending on location and what ingredients are readily available.

This resourceful dish can be made from anything the cook can get their hands on, which is why it was served to soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Pepperpot was the celebratory meal after George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware, and it was also the food that saved the Continental Army from starvation at Valley Forge.

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But it wasn’t just the patriotic tales of Washington serving his troops pepperpot that made the dish so popular. Its prevalence in Philadelphia, a major harbor city at the time, was due to the amount of spices, peppers and other ingredients from around the world that came to shore.

"Cooks were able to get the ingredients directly from the harbor and they started making pepperpot and selling it on the streets," says Staib. Pepperpot became almost like a street food – it was easy to make, there were a lot of vendors on the streets, it was a relatively cheap dish and it was delicious.

"Pepperpot, smoking hot" was what vendors yelled when the stew was ready.

a bowl of food on a table: Pepperpot was a popular dish in Philadelphia during the 18th century© City Tavern Pepperpot was a popular dish in Philadelphia during the 18th century

What makes the Philadelphia pepperpot distinct from other versions of the dish is the use of tripe and cayenne peppers. Most Caribbean pepperpot stews don’t use tripe. It was an ingredient added by the French and English who preferred its taste and texture. Veal, chuck beef and other forms of protein are more commonly used throughout the islands.

However, the pepperpot served at City Tavern isn’t the Philadelphia version. Chef Staib prefers a recipe that he learned while researching West Indies cuisine in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

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"This pepperpot has more than 300 years of history, because this pepperpot I had to learn from people who didn’t write anything down. It was passed down by mouth and translated," says Chef Staib. "I learned this recipe in 1989, long before I knew I’d be working at City Tavern. And when I came to City Tavern and started researching the Philadelphia pepperpot, I thought it would be more interesting to do a West Indies version of the stew."

Offering a West Indies-style pepperpot may seem out of place, but it has some historic merit. It's likely that George Washington knew about pepperpot before he served it to his troops during the Revolutionary War.

"Not many people know this, but George Washington traveled to Barbados in 1751 to visit his brother," explains Chef Staib. "There he had cohobblopot, a version of pepperpot with okra. So chances are Washington was familiar with the kinds of pepperpot you’d find in the West Indies."

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.

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