The eating adventures of the first few days were fruitful, and the last two days didn’t fail.
We kicked off the day by drooling over every section of the Di Bruno Bros grocery store. Walking into the store was slightly overwhelming, I wanted to touch all the things. The pastry counter was our first stop, followed by the meat counter, then jams. There were shelves and shelves of spreads and jams that captivated me for only 20 minutes or so, and then cheeses. I wanted alllll the things in the same way most women feel when they walk into Target, or kids into a toy store. It was surprising we made it out of the store with smoked lox and cream cheese, and tiramisu in tote.
Our snack for the afternoon was baguettes and snacks we rescued from the reception the evening before. While I wish I could give shout outs to the bread company, all I know about the triplet baguettes journey is that it came from New York City to Philly, and eventually made it back to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But I could recommend one thing, and it would be to track down the Di Bruno Bros. Abbruzze spread. It didn’t fail that every single time one of us took a bit of this spread we moaned.
I should also mention our path from the grocery store, and all of the great shopping back to our hotel took us past The Dandelion. And I’m not entirely positive how the magnetic pull happened but that damn Salt & Vinegar Martini from day one got me every time. I’d cross the street, and one of my friends would drag me past the open door groaning “keep walking!”. (real question- is that a good friend, or a bad friend?)
We ended the evening at a wedding at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and I while I can’t give details about where the appetizers, dinner or cake came from- just know it was a magical culmination to the three days filled with a lot of dancing, and a few injuries.
Our Last Day
Luckily, we kicked off our last day in Philadelphia at the Reading Terminal Market. “It is really hot in here or am I just hungover?” guided most of my tour. And this mild hangover led us to quick stops at several different stands. First stop, the Termini Brothers Bakery. While the gorgeous display of pastries was enticing, the idea of lying under the hanging bag of cannoli filling was more so. But I settled on a almond horn that was very, very almondy. Luckily, we also purchased a sfogliatella that was flakey, and had a slightly sweetened and savory filling that balanced it out. Next stop, jambalaya from Beck’s Cajun Cafe brought the heat. We stood nearby, quickly scarfing down the shrimp and sausages bites while sweating out last night’s vodka, and if there were several other places on the list, I would’ve gone back for seconds.
Instead, we departed from The Reading Terminal still in awe of all of the stops left to make in the market, and headed toward Chinatown. A good ramen spot was on the top of our To Do’s for the weekend, and we found one! Enter Yamitsuki, where the ramen was great and the music was terrible. I’m not sure if the dj had bad taste, or bumped the wrong Pandora station but the late 90’s pop made me chortle in my soup. I’d highly recommend the Tonkotsu Pork Ramen, and look for the $20,000 in the upper corner of the women’s restroom.
After several hours of tourist stops including running the Rocky stairs, we found ourselves on a mini bar crawl. Most notably, bar Hygge which introduced me to my new favorite cocktail for the summer, the Seasonal Punch. This punch included Philly’s original Stateside Vodka, lavender simple syrup, lemon and soda water and was one of the most drinkable cocktails I’ve ever met. Light, slightly sweetened but not too much and the surprising hint of lavender made it a drink you could enjoy in a lawn chair for hours, without realizing until you stood up that you were unable to walk.
To close out our four days, we ventured to the oldest bar in Philly, McGillin’s Old Ale House. I’ll be honest, I’ve never fully understood the draw to karaoke, but I truly believe it’s a regional force. In the midwest, it’s “fine”. On the east coast, it’s almost like a rite of passage meets “well, this is just what everyone does to have fun, duh.” We made our exit after a private tour of the space upstairs and an 8-minute rendition of “Philadelphia Freedom”.
As we boarded the plane the next morning to return to the Midwest, I had a new list of favorite foods and a new LOVE of this city. There is so much more exploring to be done here, and with a few cocktails in hand, I’m confident I can do it.