Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Daytrip to Philadelphia

Realizing that I haven't visited the city I love in over a year and a half, I decided to take the train to Philadelphia last Friday. I loved being there. Traveler that I am, it was nice to get out of town this summer.

The city seemed to welcome me back from the start! I must have looked lost trying to find the exit going in the direction I wanted from the subway system, so a man stopped and provided me clear directions. This is the "City of Brotherly Love" after all.

First, I met my former neighbor M at this coffee shop I found online and wanted to check out. It was fun to catch up. She also had her close friend R meet us, who I remembered. I liked the place, La Colombe, which has several things going for it. First, the location is nice, on 19th, right off the lovely park called Rittenhouse Square, within my favorite neighborhood of Center City. It's near the Walnut St/Chestnut St shopping district that I adore. Second, I liked the atmosphere; I mean check out the beautiful tables! The staff seemed down-to-earth and friendly. It was a bit loud though.

Third, the chocolate croissant was delicious, so incredibly flaky like they would be in New York or Paris. 

Chocolate Croissant and Cappuccino

When I move back, it will be a contender for my favorite. If money was no object, I would live in Center City, but since it is, I'd prefer to live in South Philly again. I'm sure I'd find a closer and much more Italian coffee shop there. 

I quickly browsed this small accessories store a block and a half away called Tselaine, but since nothing was absolutely perfect, I left empty-handed. I rejoined M and R to go on a few of M's errands, but then left them to go explore on my own.

I strolled through the popular park at Rittenhouse, which locals truly use to walk, hang out, sunbathe, cuddle, and picnic.

Then, I walked to my favorite place in Philly, the Reading Terminal Market, a large indoor food market. I walked the whole thing at first, which is a difficult thing to do since it is pretty much always packed. I perused French linens, Philadelphia souvenirs, beautiful flowers and, of course, all of the food options, Amish offerings included. My first purchase was 1/2 pound of cranberry pistachio biscotti from Termini Bros. They've accompanied my coffee every morning since. Delicious but expensive. I also bought a half loaf of Italian bread from my preferred bakery stand, which I have dipped in flavorful olive oil with lunches and dinners.

Skipping the long line, I sat down at the counter at Tommy DiNic's which serves my favorite Philly cheesesteak. 

View from my stool at Tommy DiNic's

I actually got mine without the provolone this time. They do offer a few delicious toppings like broccoli rabe but all cost a bit extra. Since I ate there, I had to tip the waitress. Lunch was delicious. I tried to exercise some restraint and not eat every last bit.

For dessert, I stopped by The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company for their amazing chocolate chip cookies, warm and gooey straight from the oven, not even on display yet. I know that you order by weight, so my request of 1/4 pound was two thick cookies. I devoured one of them standing next to the stand, which is one of the corners of the complex.

Coming out of the market, I stopped at the liquor store on the same block. I finally purchased a French rosé that I'm been wanting since my trip to Paris. I only saw one kind and this was confirmed by a store employee who added that the winner was dry. This Rosé de Mouton Cadet, a Bordeaux Rosé of 2013 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild features a line drawing of a ram on the label, which is the Zodiac symbol for my sign, Aries. This bottle was very affordable. Perfect for me. I look forward to sharing it with someone this summer. 

I wandered around my favorite neighborhood of Center City, browsing shops whenever I wanted. One of those was the high-end Italian market called Di Bruno Bros. on Chestnut. 

I also sat on the wall surrounding the fountain at Love Park, known for its LOVE sculpture of the LO on top of the VE, the "O" being tilted. The face of the letters are red but the sides are blue and green. Cooled a bit by the tall fountain's mist, I watched kids as they splashed around in the water. 

To escape the heat myself, I noticed a cheap nail salon across the street and had a manicure. My nails are once again painted Style Hunter by Essie, which is a dark pink. Without much of an itinerary, it was quite the leisurely day of travel.

Passing through the courtyard of City Hall during my travels, I found that stands were giving away free hot dogs. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams was playing and people were dancing within the central circle. This was the perfect sentiment for the day; I was just plain happy.

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.

Statue of William Penn atop City Hall.

Back at 30th Street Station, instead of stopping at the Irish pub across the street like I have before, I chose the German brewery inside. I asked the bartender at Bridgewater's Pub for a recommendation of something light. He served me a German pilsner and the cold draft beer was just what I needed. It was even happy hour, right before I lined up to board my train. 

When I got home around sunset, I made myself a couple of cups of tea with some of the biscotti I could hardly resist. 

It was a fabulous day in one of my favorite cities. 


  1. Sounds like a wonderfully perfect day. How do you pronounce the name of that market? Is it Reading as in "read(ing) a book" or Reading as in "red(ing), the colour?

    1. It was. I was very happy to be there. It was a change to not hit so many sights, but wander and stop whenever I felt like it. Red(ing) like the color. It was a train station.