Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Philadelphia Story

I took my cure in Philly. After weeks of feeling just...awful, Hubbabubba dearest and I decided to get outta Dodge sans kiddles. I arrived in Philadelphia sneezing and sniveling and left hale and hearty, how's that for a marketing tagline?
Philly is great for so many reasons- it has an old world kind of charm as well as all the amenities of a big city. Art and sculpture and incredible architecture abound, as well as some great shopping and eating. Eating is important when you escape from your real life and give yourself over to a weekend of hedonism and indulgence. We had ice cream sundaes in a soda shoppe that was overwhelming in it's old time authenticity and flavors, it's called the Franklin Fountain (Ben Franklin is a big deal in Philly). Dearest had to wait 20 minutes for the freshly made waffle he ordered to go with the generous scoops of peach and mango ice cream. It was definitely worth it- this was the real deal not some McWaffle Sundae which is zapped into being at a moment's notice.
We "took tea" at our hotel's Mary Cassat Tea Room, and it was perfect. The pianist played "Hatikva" as I sipped caramel pear tea and nibbled on tea sandwiches. I was a little perplexed by that, feeling like Woody Allen in "Annie Hall" ("Wagner, Max, Wagner") but then decided it made the scene all the more perfect. Their currant scones smothered in clotted cream and homemade lemon curd made the world feel like a better place to be in.
The only fly in the soup was the meal we had on saturday night, we went to a fish restaurant Seafood Unlimited near the hotel, which looked cute enough. The waitress was rude in a bitchy way, that made me feel instantly defensive. The meal we ordered was decent, but for the fact that she didn't pay any heed to our specifications- I wanted my tilapia blackened , it was fried. Dearest ordered spinach that never came. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to (bad) experience.
Right before departing the City of Brotherly Love. After walking to and from the Museum of Art to see a great exhibit of Frida Kahlo (my Nachos Frida are coming soon), we stumbled upon "Mamas Vegetarian Kosher", a cramped spot that had Dearest, a tough critic, raving over their felafel and tahini . I loved the homemade hummos and the wide selection of Israeli fruit juices.
In between the eating we did a lot of walking and sightseeing. I slept through the night uninterrupted. I shopped.
I also conducted a miniature chocolate tour, starting at a stall at the Reading Street Market that sold yummy caramels and even yummier peanut butter buckeyes. Then I moved over to the Metroplitan Bakery stall for a delicious and soft chocolate croissant. I ended at Teuscher Chocolates, which are Swiss, their gianduja chocolates were incredible. Their morsels of bliss came with a good measure of snobbery though. When I mentioned the folksy, down-home candy I purchased from the stall at the Market, M. Chocolat rolled his eyes slightly and deemed "that" chocolate "cute" (quite an insult when delivered by a serious chocolatier).

Re-entry into regular life is proving a little difficult. Cruising the aisles of the local Shop- Rite, isn't much like touring the stalls at the Market in Philly. No one is bringing me my tea in a fine porcelain cup. And I'm the one preparing dinner (without the side of bitchery, thank you very much). Cannot wait to escape again- and find the cure to the common life.

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