Posts tagged liberty bell
Posts tagged liberty bell
I have only been to Philadelphia two times…that count. That is to say, two trips which have been more than your standard to-and-from the airport perfunctories.
The first time was in December 2010 and the second a year later – just about 10 days ago as a matter of fact. The first trip was basically not much more than a handshake. “Hi Philly, how ya doin’?” Also, the bitter cold of 2010, with it’s heavy gunmetal-gray sky, in addition to my moody and perpetually hung-over traveling companion, sort of set the tone for a less than stellar trip. So to be fair, it’s not entirely Philadelphia’s fault that the first trip was sort of “blah.”
I had also made the rookie mistake of going for cheese steaks to a place I saw on TV. While the line wasn’t too terrible at Pat’s King of Steaks, the sandwich was. The bland meat wasn’t even hot enough to melt the cheese, dude! How on earth can they call themselves professionals?! Termini Bakery had some pretty decent dolces but the most memorable aspect was the combination of Old World displays, tin ceiling, and the fact that they had an old accordion player and guitarist camped out just inside the front door playing traditional music. Entertainment in a bakery? I love it!
The highlight of the trip was definitely DiBruno Brothers cheese importers. Cheese just so happens to be my second favorite food group after pastry.
A long case filled with perhaps a hundred types of cheeses, attended by an extremely knowledgeable staff of white-aproned mustachioed cheese mongers greeted me as I walked through the deliciously pungent doorway. After a few little samples, I attempted to keep my purchases to a minimum and decided on a few things ranging from creamy to crumbly.
The second trip was more of an opportunity to become better acquainted with the City of Brotherly Love. And speaking of love, I was privileged to have the company of my good friend, Kristin. We approached the city in high spirits and almost immediately set out in search of something delicious.
Our preliminary dining research was confirmed by a positive comment from the concierge and so we were off to Palace at the Ben for Indian food. We enjoyed a variety of different things (which I’m sure secretly made the waiter laugh when I tried to pronounce them upon ordering). The naan was wonderfully chewy and the yellow creamy savory vegetable dish was excellent. It was hard to pace myself and leave some for Kristin, actually. The chai was not too thick and not too sweet, and did wonders to warm me up on this cold East Coast evening. But if there is one worthy reason to get cold again…
From there it was off to Capogiro for (I am not exaggerating) the best gelato I have had since Italy! My favorite flavor in Italy was always the fior di latte – milk. It’s so perfect in its simplicity and stands as the essential compliment to just about any other flavor. The generous gelaterista let us have so many samples; I’m not sure we could have made a wrong choice here. However, on this night, I paired the fior di latte with dark chocolate; a classic combo which was totally divine. Kristin got an equally delicious flavor, pomegranate, which I must say was oh so tart and mouthwateringly juicy.
Before heading off to the airport the next morning, we swung by Federal Donuts. While all their donuts are made fresh each day, the Lavender Vanilla donuts are always served fresh and HOT for your immediate consumption. How often does that happen?! Where someone takes a donut fresh out of the fryer and rolls it in sugar just for you!?! Not often enough, my friend! The cakey interior with a delicately crisp exterior may or may not have caused me a shiver of delight – that’s all I’m sayin’. High marks for their apple walnut donut, too. On the downside, I advise against the grapefruit brown sugar and spicy chocolate peanut combinations. While these are flavors that could potentially be pulled off, that wasn’t the case here.
As far as sights to be seen - The Liberty Bell, the softly glowing remains of George Washington’s house, and Independence Hall were all glorious and stirred deep within me some innate sense of patriotism. Kristin and I stayed in Penn’s Landing, which is the Historic District, and I don’t think I would stay anywhere else if I had the choice. Being in Philadelphia and not staying near these gorgeous relics of American history would be like going to an Italian restaurant and ordering the hamburger. I guess you could, but why would you really?
Philadelphia. The landmarks, the food…it really is all there like they say it is. I’m sure there’s got to be more, and I look forward to my next visit so that I can further explore.