Temple vs East Carolina – Owls pillage the Pirates…

My trip to Philadelphia was a quick one, fouled by wet weather and a lackluster Temple squad that plays their home games in the sterile NFL confines of Lincoln Financial Field – home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Before any football was played however, I made sure to sample a few of Philadelphia’s finest sandwiches for breakfast. No, I’m not referring to the iconic Philadelphia cheesesteak, a City of Brotherly Love staple that I sampled extensively back in 2012 (read the reviews here). Instead, I decided to try out a few of Philly’s other, lesser known staple – the roast pork sandwich.

There are two spots known for these delightful porcine gut bombs: Dinic’s and John’s Roast Pork. I try the offering at Dinic’s first, located in the Reading Terminal Market, a converted rail terminal that houses dozens of enticing food vendors. Crafting the sandwich in this location since 1980, the Dinic’s example is exquisite – nice crusty bread holds the tender slices of pork, while the provolone and hot peppers all blend into perfect bite after bite. The sandwiches are crafted with care here, and it shows.

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From there I head down the road to John’s Roast Pork, a tiny stand with counter service on the industrial east edge of town. Dishing out the classic roast pork since 1930, they top it with provolone cheese and the “greens”. I retreat with my foil wrapped prize to one of the outdoor tables (there is no interior seating), and unwrap the hefty offering. While the John’s location has more of a nostalgic, blue collar feel – the sandwich doesn’t quite measure up to Dinic’s. The bread turns soggy and disintegrates into a mushy mess, and the pork, while nice and moist, lacks true “porky” flavor and eats rather bland.

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Overall winner: Dinic’s.

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Once I saunter over to Lincoln Financial and grab a quick ticket for twenty bucks, the game itself is a soggy, depressing affair. The rain pours the entire time, and wind whips through the stadium pelting my face in misty gusts. Temple lists the official attendance as 22,130, but if there were more than 2,000 fans there then I’ll wear a Dallas Cowboys to the next Eagles game. It’s a shame, however, that more of the Owls faithful didn’t turn out for the contest because the Pirates were easily the biggest home game match up of the year. Sporting a 6-1 record and lofty #23 ranking, the East Carolina Pirates were the juggernauts of the American Athletic conference, and had their sights set on climbing further up the ranks. But the Owls won’t be pushed around in their backyard. They take it to the Pirates, jumping out to an early lead and never look back, capitalizing on five turnovers from the sloppy East Carolina squad. Temple runs away with a 20-10 victory, and their first victory over a ranked opponent since 1998! The biggest Temple win in 16 years, and I just happened to be there for it – you’re welcome Owls fans….

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