On Friday, August 14, Barrio Alegría hosted its annual Delicioso Tour, a culinary tour that highlights some of downtown Reading’s best food businesses.
Normally, the Delicioso Tour is an actual tour with guests walking from restaurant to restaurant in the City of Reading to sample the cuisine of a diverse population and learn the stories behind the food and those who make it.
Rather than canceling the 2020 event, the tour went virtual. Instead of going from site to site, the food was delivered right to your door. And because we couldn’t meet the owners face-to-face, video introductions were included from each of the five restaurateurs giving tour-goers insight into their heritage and their food.
Stop #1 – Franklyn’s Breakfast, Burgers, and Shakes
The first “stop” on the tour was Franklyn’s (1007 Penn Street), one of downtown’s newer restaurants. Franklyn’s opened at the end of 2019, Franklyn’s has a simple menu that, as the name suggests, focuses on scratch-made breakfasts and lunch.
We were treated to our choice of milkshake from the diner. I chose strawberry-banana while Julie chose the Oreo shake.
This is one time when I was more than happy to eat dessert first. The shakes were amazing. Drinking my strawberry-banana shake was like drinking a banana split.
Stop #2 – Loncheria y Panaderia Doña Tere
Doña Tere is located across from Reading High School (800 N. 13th Street), and as we found out with our second course, it is home to some of the best tacos anywhere.
We each had two tacos – one of our choice and one of their speciality taco, suadero. Suadero is a slow roasted or stewed beef that is then shredded similar to a pork carnitas. It had a similar flavor, too, but was just a little richer. For my other taco, I tried the adobada.
All of our tacos were served with a side of traditional toppings – cilantro and onion. I wouldn’t want them any other way because the meat was perfect and flavorful all on its own.
The tacos also came with a green salsa and a red salsa – both of them were a little too hot for our tastes. The flavors were great, but a little bit went a long way.
Stop #3 – El Tronco de Lily
El Tronco de Lily (101 S. 6th Street) was the “main course” of the meal. Julie had their rice and peas with ribs while I had the white rice with chicken.
I was not expecting to enjoy my chicken as much as I did. It had a nice flavor, almost like a barbecue chicken but with a Latin twist. And the spices seeped in so it was good all the way to the last bite.
While Julie’s yellow rice had the “peas” cooked with it, my white rice came with a dish of beans in a tomato sauce to pour over top. It was all very good, but way too much food for a five-course meal (we both saved about half of our rice for later).
The ribs were good, too. They weren’t the fall-off-the-bone ribs like you would find at a barbecue joint. They were a little tougher but still with plenty of flavor.
Stop #4 – Antojitos y Algo Mas
The dishes from Antojitos y Algo Mas (154 Walnut Street) were practically a meal of themselves. We knew were were getting chicharrón (pork rinds) and arepas (ground maize/corn, kind of like a fluffy corn tortilla) but the box also included some fried plantains, ribs and chorizo.
The latter were actually my favorites. Because of how they were fried, they almost had the texture of jerky which I enjoyed, especially as a change of pace to the other dishes we had tried.
Stop #5 – Homemade Cravings
Just when we thought the meal couldn’t get any better, Homemade Cravings (50 N. 5th Street) had tres leches cake. The milky cake was so rich and sweet, but neither of us had enough room to finish it.
That was OK though, because after a couple nights in the refrigerator, the cake had soaked in even more flavor from the creamy mixture it was sitting in.
And it also helped extend the tour for a couple days, which was great because we didn’t want it to end.
The food throughout was outstanding and it was great to experience so many new places – some that I was vaguely familiar with and others that I had never heard of.
I really hope that the tour happens in person next year because the only thing better than eating the amazing food would be to dine alongside others who are discovering new dishes and new restaurants, too.
But whether the next tour is in-person or virtual, you can count us in.
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