This is not a usual post, but I haven't cooked in a while as I've been out of town, so I thought I'd let you all know some very important information: I ate really really well in Philadelphia. Read on for details; if it's a recipe you want you'll have to come back tomorrow.
Day the first. Jocelyn picked me up via rail at the philly airport (which, by the way? really easy to get in and out of) and we realized an immediate need for food. Walked pretty much straightaway over to a narrow little Belgian bar called Eulogy (136 Chestnut Street). I ordered a Delerium and about a pound of mussels in white wine. They came with delicious crusty bread and I stuffed myself. We also had fries--golden, doubled fried, perfect wedges of potato.
Day the second. Awakened with thoughts of breakfast and so made our way to Sabrina's Cafe (910 Christian Street) where we split this enormous, towering behemoth of stuffed challah french toast. It had farmers cheese inside it and strawberries and was seriously the size of a small dog. They cut it in half and it was still huge. Delicious. Also had some decent potatoes, although they were clearly of the home fries variety instead of the hash brown type that I generally prefer. I'll tell you what though--their turkey bacon was WEIRD. Wide, flat and pink. Like a cross-section of tounge. That french toast was happening though. Later in the day we somehow found ourselves hungry again and so walked to Govinda's (1505 South Street) to get vegetarian cheese steaks. I'm not really eating a lot of meat right now (thinking a lot about sustainability and feed lots are bothering me again) and Jocelyn's a vegetarian anyway, so it seemed like we should hit up a meatless option for this classic. Govinda's makes vegetarian and vegan cheese steaks and hoagies and they are really good. We got ours with real cheese and we also got a golden tofu wrap--the tofu was marinated in tamari, ginger and tahini then wrapped with basmati rice in a whole wheat shell. Sounds strange but it totally worked--besides we were hungry. For dinner we didn't go out--we picked up sushi from Whole Foods and made a salad--oh I lie! Here's a recipe after all: juice one lemon, shake in a jar with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Toss into a salad of spinach, baby greens, tomatoes, chick peas and diced raw zucchini. We hit up The Foodery for dinner beverages, which we decided should be called the Drinkery. It's a little corner store by Jocelyn's apartment that looks like your average bodega but when you walk in you realize that the walls are lined with refrigerators that have singles of every beer you want and about a million that you've never heard of. It's really neat. You can assemble your own Franken-6-pack-stein. I got a weird orange blossom cream ale (I know, I know, I was asking for it. But I was curious!) and also a belgian something. So that was really cool.
Day the third. For breakfast we just went to the coffee shop that Jocelyn is in the process of auditioning to be "hers." It had good coffee and decent pastries so we were set for awhile. We had planned to go for $10 vegetarian dim sum for dinner but we got hungry and so just made it a late lunch. We wandered around Chinatown looking for a place that she had been to before but ended up at a different $10 vegetarian dim sum place that I'm not sure of the name. Maybe H.K. Golden Phoenix, or something like that? Anyway, couldn't tell you, but we were the only people in there. Our waitress was really sweet and she kept bringing us food from this little elevator--it was funny, the kitchen must have been upstairs so you'd put in an order for something, wait a few minutes, then see a little light go "ding!" and the elevator would descend, and then she'd open the door and there would be your food! It was fun. We got all kinds of stuff, but the highlights were the (veggie) roast pork dumplings and also these coconut/sweet potato paste deep fried triangles. Oh my lord, it was so delicious. I would eat there every day if I lived in Philly. If I could find it again, that is. Later that night we went to Nodding Head Brewery (1516 Sansom Street)and I got a decent beer and then a great beer--the great one was their Nodding Head Grog, which was dark and chocolate-malty.
Day the fourth. Breakfast found us at Beau Monde (624 South Sixth Street), a creperie. Unsuprisingly, we ordered crepes--mine was nutella and banana and I think Jocelyn got lemon curd and berries in hers. They take their crepes pretty seriously there. Also got some decent bacon and really good fried potatoes--again, however, not hash browns. It seemed OK though, because we were in a french, excuse me, a BRETON, restaurant. The waitress tried to get me to add sorbet to my crepe combo and I think I looked at her funny and said something about it being breakfast time and not sorbet time. It was weird, I thought. 9 in the morning and you want me to eat cold sorbet atop my nice breakfast crepe? Keep it to yourself, lady. For lunch we ended up at Reading Terminal Market (51 N 12th Street) which is a lively public market with a bajillion food vendors to choose from. We got latkes and matzo ball soup from Hershels East Side Deli inside the market and then went to the Flying Monkey Patisserie where we procured a dark chocolate cupcake with lavender buttercream frosting.
Also of note in Philadelphia is a very fine kitchenware store in the Bella Vista Italian neighborhood called Fante's (1006 S 9th Sreet, also check them out at http://www.fantes.com/). They had everything you could ever want crammed into this store and the staff was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. I highly recommend them for any kitchen-y needs.