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A few weeks ago, I got into a discussion, verging on argument, about Philadelphia pretzels.  

The somewhat arcane backstory is this:  Years ago, when I lived in Philadelphia, I was introduced (being a newcomer) to "Philadelphia pretzels."  These were warm, soft pretzels sold from carts on street corners, having large chunks of salt (like for melting snow, practically) and always served with mustard. They were quite good.  

The argument entailed whether these were really "New York" pretzels--apparently in New York there is something similar, though not quite the same, and further whether they were like something that is now very popular called "Mall pretzels" which are served from kiosks in shopping malls everywhere.  

Being too old to make a spur-of-the moment day trip (all the way to) New York to find out what "New York" pretzels were like, we settled for a suburban mall trip to check out "Mall pretzels" instead.  

I won't try to describe the mall trip, as you have caught the essence.  It was just weird.  But the high point was getting to compare the "very popular" mall pretzels with what I used to get in Philadelphia.  Well:  They were dipped in "butter"--an artificially and disgustingly flavored liquid grease--and were not soft, but soggy and limp, through and through.  

They weren't cheap either.  

The mustard for the pretzels was like out of an airline plastic package, mixed with mayonaise! from same plus vinegar:  Thoroughly disgusting in its own right.  

It cost extra.  

I think there is no way to explain this, without assuming people are just mind-dead.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 12:16:33 AM EST
Mall pretzels are hit or miss. You can get decent ones, but they do tend towards soggy ang gross unfortunately.

There are several smallish chain breweries that have (I think) the style of pretzels you're talking about as a bar snack / appetizer. I really liked the ones at Capitol City Brewery in the DC area. They were always chewy on the outside, soft on the inside and came with abundant mustard that IIRC they actually made on site from mustard and horseradish. Yummy.

by R343L (reverse qw/ten.cinos@l343r/) on Mon Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:39:39 PM EST
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