Monday, April 19, 2010

Philly Phanatic

After a late night out, Stacy and I woke up at 6:30am to catch a bus to Philly for the remainder of our weekend. The sound of my alarm on a Saturday morning threw me into an automatic tizzy making me feel like I had to go to work. The two hour bus ride went by so quickly and before I knew it we were entering the City of Brotherly Love. After taking an hour to relax, Stacy and I decided to set out on an adventure. So here we are…2 girls, no plan, almost no money…and one goal-for Stacy to eat her first Philly cheesesteak. Being the foodie that I am, I continued to point out different places along the way. But nothing could interfere with our search for the quintessential cheesesteak. With so many amazing options in the city, we knew we would need some help making a choice. We enlisted Ashley, our resident Philly food expert, to narrow down our choices. Since Stacy isn’t very familiar with the city, Ashley and I insisted on venturing over to Reading Terminal. Along the way Ashley and I (with a little assistance from Scott) gave Stacy the low down on what to order. Anyone from Philadelphia knows that a legit cheesesteak is made with whiz-not provolone, American or cheddar-those are for amateurs. We’re talking neon orange goo that comes straight from a can and never expires cheese whiz. For anyone who has ever wondered why Philadelphia is one of the fattest city’s in America…this would be reason number one. We finally found the perfect place for Stacy to lose her cheese steak virginity…Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. While this is not one of the famous places that you often hear about like Geno’s, Pat’s or Tony Luke’s, this place fit the bill. Since there was a long line Stacy was able to rehearse her order for a good 15 minutes. It didn’t matter. As she approached the cashier with a look of nervous excitement she said “Cheese steak with whiz and onions”. Ashley and I looked on with such pride, but it didn’t fool the cashier…she could tell this was Stacy’s first time. As her order came out the white roll was oozing with chopped steak and bright orange melted whiz. Stacy took her first bite and an immediate smile sprawled across her face quickly followed by “This is sooooo good!” Mission accomplished… but now that we broke her in with a traditional cheese steak, it’s time to introduce her to the best that Philly has to offer. Some people say “When in Rome”, but I say “When in Philly.” And one thing’s for sure, this will not be the last time you hear about the whiz.

Feeling full and content we decided to partake in a more cultural activity for the rest of the day. We walked over to The Franklin Institute which is by far one of the most exciting and interactive museums I ever visited as a kid. It was just as awe inspiring as I remember and nothing stopped us from partaking in every activity that no one over the age of 12 should be interested in trying. Have I mentioned I am one of the most easily amused people I know? It doesn’t take much and this museum went above and beyond. Ashley even left saying how she wishes she knew more about Physics and that’s coming from a girl that is not the slightest bit nerdy. Bottom line-this place is cool. If you’re ever in Philly, it is definitely worth checking out.

After a few hours of much needed rest and relaxation the three of us walked over to 18th and Chestnut for dinner at Stephen Starr’s Continental Midtown. As far as I’m concerned, this man is an absolute genius. His restaurant concepts are so creative and the theme of each place is so different and eclectic. The place was packed and we were unable to make a reservation, so we ended up sitting in their rooftop bar area. I was told that during the summer they open up the whole floor and I can only imagine it’s one of the hottest places to be in Philly on a warm summer night or day…depending on when you like to start your cocktail hour. No judgments on my end. I am a firm believer that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. This place is fun drink central and has a great selection of martinis and cocktails. I’m always partial to anything with bubbles so I skipped out on the mixed drinks and opted for a glass (or three) of cava, Stacy got a martini with vodka, chocolate milk and an espresso liquor and Ashley had a jolly rancher martini. Besides the amazing drinks, this place also has incredible tapas style food, which is always my favorite choice for going out with girlfriends. It provides you with the perfect opportunity to try a bunch of completely different flavors without getting too full. Between the three of us we ordered a chopped salad, BBQ chicken quesadilla with avocado sour cream, tofu tempura served with edamame, avocado and mustard-miso dressing, and my personal favorite the French onion soup dumplings baked with gruyere cheese. When dining at this restaurant, these dumplings are not to be missed. We concluded our night with a drink at Rum Bar and parted ways around midnight.

Our final day in Philly consisted mostly of Stacy and I wandering around the city aimlessly and spending hours at a time sitting in a coffee shop writing and discussing life and all of its possibilities. Deep I know…we get that way sometimes.

On Sunday night we left Philly with fond memories and maybe a few clogged arteries.

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