Thursday, September 16, 2010

Phun in Philly: Days Three and Four

Our first full day in Philly was so jam packed, we thought we'd start Saturday off easy. Our friend Kristin highly recommended a place for breakfast; really, she gushed about it. So we headed off to South Philly to Carman's Country Kitchen. This tiny little corner joint (literally 3 tables inside, an 8 seat counter, and a pick up truck at the curb with a picnic table in back) was so awesome! It's full of kitschy tchotchkes and mismatched vintage dishware, and hidden among the Betty Boop cookie jars were penis pepper shakers, boobie mugs, and all sorts of fun things to laugh at while you ponder the menu. The menu, by the way, changes every day and offers four choices, all whipped up by Carman in a kitchen so tiny I don't know how she turns around. E went for the Jewish New Year special: brisket with fried eggs, toast, and country potatoes. I had challah French toast topped with baked peaches, apples, and blueberries and a mound of homemade whipped cream. I could have died. Trust me, when a woman's business card says, "She puts the Cunt back in Country" you know you're in good hands. Just call ahead to make a reservation; it's a local fave and we were lucky to get in!

We rolled ourselves out the door and walked down to the Italian Market on 9th Street. More amazing food stalls, specialty shops, and cafes. The cheeses alone got me dizzy, but E was more thrilled staring at meat. He made me walk into every butcher shop to ogle chops even though we couldn't buy anything. He was equally impressed that you can buy a whole boneless roasted pig there. How the hell they do that I have no idea, but it sounds impressive! On our way out, we passed the Magic Gardens, an art installation made of found objects, broken glass, and concrete created by Isaiah Zagar. Next time, I'll take the time to go inside, but even the outside is stunning and I imagine kids would love it!

We moved on to my absolute favorite part of our whole trip: The Eastern State Penitentiary. I wasn't really joking about the going to jail thing! We spent hours wandering this old prison, home to some of the notorious criminals in American history. It's truly amazing how they've kept this place as a ruin with only a few restorations. I took an insane amount of photos, and now I know I really do need a good camera! These were the best I could do with my old point and shoot, and I have tons more on flickr if you care to look. I'm not really a history buff, but the stories about what took place in the prison are fascinating. It's also got some very cool artists' installations scattered throughout the ruin, all linked in some way to exploring the prison system in America today compared to how it was when the ESP was built. I just wish I could go back next month to do the haunted tour!

We were smart on that afternoon and actually went back to the hotel for naps, then out to dinner at Lolita. It's one of the several restaurants and shops on 13th Street owned by Marcie Turney, one of the hottest female chefs in town. We went early since they don't take reservations and it's really popular, and the food was so delicious! We had guacamole (duh), roasted poblano and chihuahua gorditas, and short ribs. The ribs were crazy good, but left us, sadly, with no room for dessert. Lolita is also another another BYO place, but they call it BYOT for Bring Your Own Tequila. They bring a big pitcher of Blood Orange or Strawberry Basil Margaritas and you spike your own. Fun! We did some more shop hopping (oh how I loved you, duross & langel!) and called it a night.

Sunday was time to head home, but not without a stop at one of Philly's most famous places: The Philadelphia Museum of Art. No, we did not run up the steps and jump around like Rocky. No, we didn't even take our pictures with the statue of Rocky. I don't even like Rocky. I just wanted to see the art. Honestly, I think it would take a full day or at least two trips to really see everything inside. The place is huge and they have some gorgeous exhibits. It was perfect for such a gray drizzly day and a nice way to end a very long weekend. I'd go back in a heartbeat, if only to eat at more restaurants, but for now I'm keeping my walking tours to a minimum. It took two days for my feet to stop throbbing.

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