|Pretzel right out of the oven from Center City Pretzel Company in Philadelphia|
There's only three ingredients: flour, water, and yeast. So what makes these pretzels so special?
Well, they are fresh. It doesn't get any fresher than right out of the oven.
And they are cheap. It's only 35 cents for one, or three for a buck. Back in California these would be a couple or three dollars, and they wouldn't taste as good.
But of course it's the taste. Pure, fresh, soft, pretzely deliciousness. And just the right amount of salt.
Maybe it's the water. According to Jane and Michael Stern's Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 900 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More, now in its 9th edition --
“Bad-tasting water = good-tasting food. There is no other logical explanation for the excellence of Philadelphia soft pretzels.”And that's particularly funny to me, because I'm in Philly this week visiting my daughter, and she always points out how awful-tasting the water is here (which is true). So it's nice to see it put to good use :)
I took the advice of the Sterns and didn't bother putting any mustard on my pretzel. And it didn't need any.
Parking is a little tricky in the Italian Market area. Deal with it! You'll spend more money on gas trying to find a parking place than you'll spend on your pretzel.
TIP: Get there early-ish in the day to get the pretzels warm out of the oven. I got there at 10:30am and they were still right out of the oven. I saw mine grabbed right grabbed right off the rack.
Center City Pretzel Company is featured in both of these excellent road food books --