Sure, you can sample Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine at Reading Terminal Market, but for a more immersive experience, head 55 miles west to Lancaster, a city of 60,000 people located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. Here’s an itinerary we put together for a delicious, action–packed day in Lancaster.
How to Get There: If you have a car, the trip is easy and usually takes around an hour and a half. If you’re carless, though, the easiest way to travel is by train. The Keystone line runs multiple times per day from 30th Street Station to Lancaster, and the 70–minute ride costs only $15 each way.
Breakfast: If you get there in time for breakfast, try Rachel’s Café & Creperie, located just a short walk from the train station. The breakfast crepes ($6–8) are all delicious, especially with a side of chive hash browns ($1), and don’t leave without getting your caffeine boost from a nutella mocha.
Lunch: Call a cab and head just outside the city to Dienner’s Country Restaurant for a true Amish–country experience. The lunch buffet ($9.25) is the way to go at this family–run joint, which serves up local favorites, like Amish–style rotisserie chicken, chipped beef and chow chow (we’ll let you look it up), and don’t even get us started on the dessert buffet…
Dinner: Before you hop back on the train, stop by Rice & Noodles. This Vietnamese spot relocated to Lancaster from New Orleans after Katrina, and it’s become a local favorite for its huge menu of fresh spring rolls ($4–4.50), pho ($6.75–7.75) and banh mis ($4.25–6). Make sure you wash it down with a glass of da chanh muoi ($.275), a salt–preserved limeade.
In between: Make sure to stop by Central Market, Lancaster’s answer to Reading Terminal, between breakfast and lunch for some Pennsylvania Dutch treats. The focus here is more on baked goods and fresh produce than prepared foods, and don’t leave without trying apple cider from Kauffman’s or shoofly pie from Stotzfus Bakery.
For the best ice cream in Lancaster, Carmen & David’s Creamery is the spot. The ice cream here extra creamy, and at any given time, there are 30 flavors to choose from. Your best bet? A pretzel sundae with peanut butter oreo ice cream.