Future Next Iron Chef contender and local restaurateur Jose Garces is everywhere - and we mean everywhere - shilling for Philly. Just yesterday, he popped up as one of the featured success story restaurateurs on the new Philadelphia Retail website, talking about how great it is to open a business in Philly, and today he sits down with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Commission’s blog uwishunu to pen his very own love letter to Philly as part of their With Love Philadelphia marketing campaign. What does he love about Philly? Well, everything!
For real. Here’s an excerpt of the Q&A;:
With Love: Be honest: have you ever run up the Rocky Steps?
Garces: I live near the Art Museum and I take my 2 1/2-year-old son Andrés up the steps all the time.
With Love: That’s great. Ok, with that question out of the way, let’s get down to business. What do you love about Philadelphia’s restaurant and food scene?
Garces: Am I allowed to say “everything”…? Because I really do love it all — the little BYOBs all over the place, the grand restaurants for special-occasion meals, the classic hoagies and cheesesteaks, the late-night Chinese food in Chinatown, dollar dog days at the stadium, Sunday brunches complete with scrapple, and especially all the innovation with so many talented new chefs that’s growing all the time. With this much culinary talent in one town, there is always somewhere new to eat — if you can keep yourself away from your old favorites long enough to try it.
With Love: We will certainly accept “everything” as an answer — we agree! Ok, so when you’re not working at your own restaurants, where are some of your favorite places to eat in Philadelphia?
Garces: I love to visit my friends at their restaurants, like Marc Vetri at Osteria and Morimoto [at Morimoto]. And sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back with my staff after a long shift at David’s Mei Lei Wah in Chinatown for some salt-and-pepper shrimp.
With Love: Sounds delicious. How about when you host friends and family from out-of-town; where do you like to take them? Are you especially hot on any one Philly neighborhood right now?
Garces: I love bringing them to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch and then shopping for ingredients that we’ll cook that night for dinner. And it just isn’t a trip to Philadelphia without seeing at least one of our beautiful parks — in the summer, we’ll play mini-golf in Franklin Square, and in the winter, Rittenhouse Square looks like a fairyland with all the Christmas lights in the trees.
Read the full interview here.