Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend highlights

I mentioned on Fri that on Sat we were taking a day trip to Philadelphia with Steven & Thad. Wow, what a day!!

We left at 9am and got to Philly about 11am. We started with a driving tour that allowed us to see much of the beautiful downtown architecture.
Thad lived in several neighborhoods of Philly so he had a tremendous knowledge of many of the original and current uses for the lovely buildings we saw. We also drove by several historic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell, Joan of Arc statue, William Penn, and many museums and "free" libraries. I thought it odd that the signs all referred to the libraries as free, since I was not aware that any libraries charged admission.
Much of our time was spent in Center City, but we also drove through other places such as the Italian Market in South Philly, Antique Row on Pine St, Fairmount Park, Manayunk, and several beautiful residential neighborhoods like Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, and East Falls. We passed by the house where Grace Kelly lived.

Then we were ready for lunch. Steven & Thad picked the lovely French
creperie Beau Monde where we got a table on the patio. The weather was perfect for outdoor dining.
I had a delicious crepe filled with grilled chicken breast, leeks, olives, goat cheese & lemon butter. It was amazing. View their
menus here.

Next we headed to
Termini Brothers Italian bakery for dessert, a favorite of mine & Spouse.
For almost 90 years Termini Brothers have been making incredible Italian baked goods such as canoli, cakes, biscotti, and cookies. When you walk in the door you feel as though you've been transported back in time. Notice the black and white tile floor, the pressed tin ceiling, and the bakery cases made of wood and glass.
When you're ready, a woman dressed all in white places your selections on a stainless steel cookie sheet, then ties up your box full of goodies with twine. Spouse & I each got a canoli to eat right away, a box of assorted Italian cookies, some assorted biscotti, a package of pizzelles, a caramel pecan bar, and a dark chocolate macadamia wheel to take home. OMG - I can not even BEGIN to describe how delicious this stuff is!!! But why take my word for it? They will ship to you!

We went inside several antique, vintage, and one-of-a-kind art stores along Antique Row, then continued our driving tour.
Our next stop was a surprise: Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Prior to moving to DE, Thad was a project manager for the company hired to furnish and decorate the Phillies stadium. I once referred to this part of his career as "sports decorating" and it stuck. So Thad arranged for us to have a private tour so we could see his "sports decorating". Our mutual friend Joe (who lives outside Philly) met us there.
Not just the stands, but we also got to tour many other private/VIP areas the general public never sees, such as the Diamond Club, players club, hall of fame, and more. Although I know little-to-nothing about baseball, it was exciting to get a 'back stage', 'behind the scenes' tour. We looked all over for the plaque acknowledging Thad's contribution to the beauty and function of the stadium, but couldn't find it.

Next the 5 of us went back into the Gayborhood again to Giovanni's Room, one of the few remaining GLBT bookstores. It was colorful and cramped, just as you'd expect. There was a reading going on upstairs so we kept our visit brief and quiet. But while there, Steven opened up a magazine and saw a guy with whom I played beach volley ball last summer!
We walked next door to Mixto for dinner. It was an attractive brick and wood restaurant that felt cozy despite its large size. I started with a Mojito, then had Bandeja Tipico for dinner. Its description puzzled me: seared steak, crispy pork rind, arepa, avocado, rice, fried eggs, beans, and maduros, so I had to try it. I thought the ingredients would be all mixed together sort of like paella, but they weren't. Each ingredient was placed on the plate individually. It was quite unusual and tasted fantastic!

Our last stop was to have dessert at Max Brenner Chocolate from the Bald Man. The name alone was intriguing, but once we looked at the dessert menu, I knew I was in heaven. I was way too full from dinner to eat a full dessert myself, plus I knew I'd have a terrible time trying to decide on just one, so I told Spouse to pick whatever he wanted and we would split it. He chose the Munchies Waffles (page 2) which were perfect, and coffee to wash it all down. There is nothing quite like good quality (high cocoa %) dark chocolate. Its like truth serum to me.

We bid our friend Joe goodbye and headed back home. Steven and Spouse sat in the back since we knew they'd be asleep in no time. Thad and I chatted all the way back to DE. We got home at 11pm.

We had a terrific day and really enjoyed everything we saw and ate.
Sun we both slept in (surprise), had lunch and ran some errands. Later we went to a potluck at Deb & Greer's which was nice. We watched a little TV before turning in early at 10:00.

Crush du Jour: Marcello Baca


Jim said...

Wow, what a weekend! We've got to get to Philly to try out Termini Pastries....oh yeah we've never been to Philly either. Looks like a great city.
Thanks for sharing.

John Going Gently said...

been to pittsburgh....which I loed.....philly looks huge....and rather pretty

anne marie in philly said...

jabacue - yes, we ARE a great city!

john - yes, we ARE bigger than PGH and just as pretty!

now for some insider info - the joan of arc statue was just put back into place early last week; it had been removed for a cleaning/polishing.

ben franklin gave us the free library of philadelphia; and yes, it IS free!

y'all hit all the great neighborhoods! TERMINI IS THE BEST F-ING ITALIAN BAKERY EVAH! pine nut cookies...(slobbers like homer simpson)

(now for the green monster to rear his ugly head)...I have been to citizens bank park many times (and its predecessor veteran's stadium) to watch the phillies...but I have NEVER been behind the scenes...SO F-ING JEALOUS IT MAKES MY HEAD SPIN! but the next time I go I will admire thad's sports decorating style.

and they took you to some outstanding restaurants too!

dammit, y'all come back now, hear?!? and I will make myself available next time, fer sure!

Anonymous said...

Great pix! Looks like Philly definitely eschews the modern architecture.

Me personally, I like the modern to post modern look.

Steve said...

Ummmm.... I don't remember giving permission for you to post my fatass on TOTS !

Stephen said...

Handsome men in the CITY OF LOVE...who could ask for more?

my verification word is; coldmen

Jeff said...

Sounds like a fantastic day! And your crepe has me drooling!

Rick said...

Sounds like another action packed weekend. I've never been to Philly but want to go some day soon. Thanks for sharing.