Lunch With: Our Very Own Julie & Julia


In our January cover story, we selected 239 must-eat dishes in Philadelphia. Soon after, we found out about Lauren Lynch, an intrepid Villanova senior who made it her mission to eat — and blog about — all 239 of our dishes. Lauren claims she’s not a writer, but we disagree: From weaving shoe shopping with egg sandwiches and boding with new co-workers at Village Whiskey, we can’t get enough of her blog (and honest critique). I caught up with our very own Julie & Julia at Parc to discuss her gastrointestinal quest sample three of the 239 plates.

What compelled you to eat all 239 dishes?
I interned for a firm in the city this summer. We went out a lot, but we never got beyond the boundaries of Center City. I wanted to explore more of Philadelphia, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Once I started, I realized that, one, it was going to be extremely expensive, and two, it was going to take a long time. I figured I might make other people endure this with me.

What was your food upbringing?
My family is full of perfectionists, especially when it comes to food. My father has spent his entire lifetime perfecting his recipe for brownies. I also worked in a French brasserie for one summer growing up [in Bergen County, New Jersey]. I loved it, although it has always made me wary of eating out. I know what it’s really like in kitchens!

What makes good food?
Butter, lots of butter.

What’s been your favorite of the 239 so far?
Honestly? I’m going to let my college kid roots show, but the grilled cheese and tomato soup at Jones. Again, it’s the butter. It’s just so rich and simple. I argued with someone who claimed it wasn’t worth ten bucks. They’d clearly never eaten one, because it’s easily worth ten bucks.

What do you think of this lunch?
I’m not sure how to attack either the Niçoise salad or the baguette Provençal. The salad and the baguette are a bit heavy on the olive oil. They’re both very strong dishes, very overwhelming in their flavors. The onion soup is tasty, though, and again, very rich in flavor.

Do you like Philly?
I grew up outside of New York, and honestly Philadelphia wasn’t really on my radar. But, obviously, I’ve been proven wrong. It’s a wonderful place. People are so much friendlier here. I’ve found people in Philadelphia are obsessed with holding doors for other people. They go out of their way to be friendly, something that I wasn’t used to.