I’ll start by admitting that I have no complaints about this trip because it was a perfect, much needed 30-hour getaway. My friend, Jordun, and I decided to escape our respective cities (Washington for her, New York for me) for a fun and relaxing day after a few grueling work weeks. We conveniently met in the city of brotherly love, which is a 2 hour drive from New York and 3 hours from Washington. This trip was a combination of simplicity, relaxation and fun. We both had already been to Philadelphia before so we didn’t need to see the traditional historical landmarks again (i.e. the liberty bell, the Rocky steps, Love Park). We wanted to see what else was brewing.
First stop of the day was Green Eggs for brunch. Despite the hour wait I would return because the food was that delicious! The most difficult part of the day was choosing my order but I eventually decided on the chicken and waffles benedict with grits on the side. My final rating is a solid 10/10 (pats self on the back for good decision-making). Next time I’ll try the crab mac&cheese…or maybe I’ll get the Creole shrimp and grits. Too many tempting options! I will forewarn that the long wait is a bit annoying since the restaurant doesn’t provide an alert system to buzz or text you when your table is ready. So you have to wait out front to hear your name be called like it’s not 2016 and there’s no simple technology to alleviate this annoyance.
We were tipped that Ms. Tootsie’s is one of the best soul food spots in Philadelphia and I boy do I now love this place! There was a bit of a wait to be seated here as well but we were escorted upstairs to a swanky bar that served generous portions of Chardonnay in giant wine glasses so I wasn’t mad AT ALL. Our server was especially sweet and came out with hot corn bread when we were seated. I can always tell by the cornbread whether the rest of the food is going to be on point and it didn’t disappoint. I had smothered pork chops with mac & cheese and collard greens and turkey. It was just as heavenly as it sounds; in fact I licked my plate clean! I’m still daydreaming of this meal. Please believe we were in a food coma for a good few hours post-Ms.Tootsie’s.
Walking through Reading Terminal Market was a bit overwhelming for my indecisive mind. Inside, this marketplace had dozens of food vendors pulling at my heart and taste buds. After circling for what felt like forever, I finally decided to try the crepe vendor and ordered a “Philly crepe.” Filled with beef, cheese, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms this was a solid move on my part because it was just right hint of “savory” that I was searching for. In Reading Terminal Market there truly is an option for any palette: from cheesesteaks, chocolates, vegan eats, soul food to fresh fish accompanied by the largest crab legs I have ever seen.
We wondered upon the South Street Spring Festival without even realizing that it was taking place that Saturday. I would compare it to the H Street Festival in Washington, but better. There were more vendors, more live music and you can legally drink on the streets of Philadelphia which earns major points. My favorite band of the day ended their lineup playing Purple Rain (good choice). Another highlight was running into a few friends from college while walking around, proving that the world is the size of a cotton ball.
Jordun discovered Elfreth’s Alley, the nation’s oldest residential street dating back to 1702. Located in Old Town, all 32 homes on the block date back to the 18th or 19th century. We enjoyed walking down the cobblestone road to read up on some history and admire how the architecture has gone nearly unchanged.
Similar to Brooklyn Flea at Smorgasburg in New York, Art Star Craft Bazaar at Penn’s Landing is a pop up market for the spring and summer seasons. More than 100 vendors set up tents on a across Penn’s Landing on a beautifully sunny day. As we entered the Penn’s Landing, we received gift bags with adorable complimentary earrings that I’m slightly obsessed with and currently wearing. Penn’s Landing connects to Spruce Street Harbor Park, a park with paddle boats, ferry tours, restaurants, food trucks, sail boats, and my favorite, hammocks to lay in. It was a blissful way to end our trip.
After looking up a few jazz bars, we decided to pop into Time on Samson Street to listen to some quality music on a Saturday night. So imagine my surprise when we ventured to the second floor and found ourselves in a hot messy club with trash music. I wasn’t thrilled. The saving grace was realizing that we had wondered too far and the jazz bar with live music was just downstairs (phew!). The up and downstairs were as different as yin and yang and the jazz band was wonderful that night. So if you ever go to Time, remain on the first floor and stay clear of upstairs UNLESS you thoroughly enjoy being bumped by rhythmless underage college students who think they can dab.
It may come as no surprise that I had a great time in Philadelphia and look forward to returning. The change of pace was slower than New York in the best way possible, but was still full energy, culture and excitement. If you have any plans to go to Philly let me know!