Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Walk Through Philly

A few sunny Sundays ago, my friend Emily drove in from Westchester and we took advantage of the beautiful day to take an extended walk. The walk started at my apartment, involved some beer drinking at Belgium Cafe, and ended at The Dandelion where we crashed tea and boozed instead.
The tour was dictated by Emily who spent the first few years of her life in Fairmount and hasn't spent too much time there since. She was literally taking me down memory lane.

Here are some images from out walk

A mural by Shepard Fairey

I have no idea how we got lucky enough to have one of these so close to our front door (its located on 26th and Girard), but let's take a closer look:

love it

Part of a mural by Isaiah Zagar

another part: I love how he incorporate broken bits of trash into his art

Deviled eggs at The Dandelion. They were mustard curry delicious and I can honestly say that I've never had better devilled eggs. I didn't even know devilled eggs could be that tasty!! I would go back just for them!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Murals in North Philly

Some of the best murals (in my most expert opinion) are located in North Philly where a lot of people do not venture on a daily basis. I however, have a few different routes that take me to work everyday that take me by some amazing murals. Here are three that I love. Unfortunatly the quality isn't amazing since I took them from my iphone while in my car on cloudy days...but work with me, ok?

this last one is my favorite, and so powerful

Mural Near Drexel's Campus and Spring Garden Bridge

I passed this lovely mural on the way home from playing Frisbee at 38th and Filbert a few weeks ago. I was riding my bike towards the Spring Garden Bridge going up 31st St and there it was. I just loved it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pho Hoa

Last week involved a lot of Pho (pronounced Fuh, but last week we went to Pho Hao for the first time with some friends. The interior is like a sports bar themed Pho restaurant with big flat screen TVs that were playing Dancing With The Stars and Sports.

We started with some non Vietnamese drinks: Chinese beer and sake.

As pictured above, same and Josh both got the crunchy nest of noodles with various stir fried chicken and veggies instead of the baby birds you typically find in nests. The crunchy noodles softened in a sauce and were quite delicious.

However, I was not very happy with my Pho. Unlike at Pho Nam, it did not come with basil, jalapenos and sprouts. I also went for the adventurous Pho with tripe in it and I was disappointed by the chewy stringy texture that wasn't even accompanied by anything near a tasty taste. The beef in my Pho also could have been rarer.

My Pho

Dylan's Pho
okay, so I didn't love it but as you can see that didn't stop me from devouring most of it

I wouldn't run back to Pho Hoa in a hurry. There are many more Pho restaurants to try and I've already established that I love Pho Nam and will probably run back there before trying any other places without a recommendation!

Monday, March 28, 2011

From My Drive Home: Scenes From North Philly

Mural Arts

Love the Old PGW sign...I'd love it more if they hadn't bogarted all my money this winter

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Sunday I had the good fortune to be invited to the first annual Chestnut Hill Rotary Club Chili Cook Off by my new friend Jaime and her parents (who are members). The cook off featured 12 different chillies from local vendors and caterers. The selection was varied and I was amazing at the different varieties of chili! Below is a picture of the vendors offering my third favorite chili: a chili with chocolate (like a mole) and beer made with cheerios.
The chili was good enough to inspire a future trip to Mount Airy where Earth Bread and Brewery is located. I can't wait to spend an afternoon trying their other dishes and their beer!

Jaime trying some chili while on crutches = talent

Alligator Quinoa chili - not my favorite but very original

My next favorite was the pulled pork by Blue Monkey Catering from Bucks County PA. Its flavors were so intense that I wished I hadn't tried it first. Afterwards, I tried some very excellent chilies of the more traditional brand that just couldn't stand up to it and paled in comparison. Equalling this fine chili was none other than the poblano green chili. Its chef kept his beans on the side. He served up a mean dish of baked beans with ham next to the poblano chili sprinkled with chips and some type of red pepper corn. It was very different and very amazing. The baked beans alone could have won a prize, and along side the spicy poblano green chili it was a match made in heaven. His chili also took home first place.

After trying twelve different chilies (and of course seconds of the pulled pork) Jaime and I somehow managed to split a black bean brownie (not as sensational as its cooks at Food For All claimed it would be but quite moist) we also had room for some cask pale ale from a local brewery. As my blogging skills are a little out of practice I do not remember the name of the brewery. This is unfortunate as the beer was excellent. My B.

Mural in Fairmount

Went for a job today and noticed this mural for the first time. It's on 29th a little south of Girard. I think you can click it to make it a little bigger...still figuring out how to use the iphone...

Mosaic in Bella Vista

While walking with Lana in South Philly/Bella Vista area last Saturday we happened upon this little mosaic. Thought I'd share...Philly can be very beautiful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Back to roots. That was my Argentine Frisbee captain's favorite phrase when he was trying to tell us that in order for us to come close to winning a game we would have to get back to the basics and then work on the fancy stuff. As this long, lonely winter draws to an end I realize that I should be applying the same phrase to my own life here in Philadelphia. Back to the things I love to do, which I really haven't been doing much of. Number one of course should be writing. The few of you out there who check this blog can see I've been doing none of that. I blame it on the lack of interesting things happening in my life, but that's just a sorry excuse, and one I will no longer use. Next are the crafty things I love to do but couldn't afford to do while abroad.
Third of all, I'm going to stop saying I don't like Philly. I'm going to say I love it hear 'til I believe it!! Sam and I have made a pact to fall in love with this city of brotherly love by June and its high time I got working on it.
This week was a first step in the right direction. Even dingy, post industrial, poor North Philly looks nicer in the sunlight, and plenty of sunlight was on the menu this week. After two weekends in a row in NYC I expected to long for Brooklyn but I was content as I drove to and from work and strolled the familiar (and suddenly cleaner) sidewalks on Girard as I walked from my car to my apartment. Ambitious pedestrians had already got their sandals out, and the day care center on my block was outside playing plastic horse shoes on the sidewalk.
I entered my apartment, and threw open the windows and the back door and sat down on my grandmother's old fold out chair and wrote. I kept my speakers silent and listened instead to sirens, the sounds of dirt bikes riding up and down street, and children laughing.
That night Josh and I made an amazing dinner for some friends and I didn't complain about Philly once.
I've got to admit its gettin' better, a little better, all the time....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Melissa Comes To Visit And We Explore Art And Food In Philly

Finally, my very first out of town visitor came to stay! My friend Melissa flew in all the way from Kentucky to check out the fair city. Its one of the places she could possibly be moving to next year for her PHD in Art History. I did a pretty horrible job of convincing her to move here, but I did show her some good art and provide her with plenty of good food.

First we checked out the Barnes Foundation. I thought it might be a special treat for an art lover to catch one last glimpse of Barnes' legacy in it original state. The top floor was closed already for conservation but the bottom floor was full of so many Cezannes and Renoirs not mention the dozens of paintings by equally as famous and important artists from Monet to Seurat and Barnes' extensive collection of keys that I left satisfied. I also left with a dislike for the majority of Renoir's paintings and a greater appreciation of Cezanne.

A note on the Barnes Controversy. The Barnes is moving just down the block from me. Barnes' collection is being relocated and reorganized in a big, modern building on the BFP where the Foundation will also offer classes. Many people are against the move because Barnes specifically stated in his instructions that his collection should never be moved and according to my cousin he hated the city. At first I was firmly behind those who stand behind Barnes' last wished, but after further researching the matter (and becoming a member) I am excited for the move. Barnes' philosophy was to bring art of the masses. He had his factory workers take art classes in the factory, and the idea of his museum was to make art accessible. Now that his foundation is running out of money, and given the fact the SEPTA is unreliable and not helping to make the Barnes Foundation accessible to people without a car, I agree that the collection should be moved to a location where it can be enjoyed by all. I only regret that his arrangements of the paintings will probably be lost.

The next day we explored a very different museum. On the first Sunday of every month the Philadelphia Art Museum is pay what you want, so we headed over on this sunny afternoon to check out the goods.

very impressive entrance


no trip would be complete without seeing at least one bust of this very important man!
I really enjoyed the museum. There are rooms upon rooms that have been brought over from homes in Europe or England and recreated in the museum with lovely wood paneling, curtains, and even fire places and painted ceilings. The modern section was surprisingly good, and we spent almost an hour looking at the tapestries on the second floor. After all of this we had worked up a serious appetite and walked down the Parkway named for the bust pictured above to Reading Terminal Market.

we took in one more bit of art on the way!
At Reading, we were of course overwhelmed by options, but eventually settled on Hershel's Deli. Our mouths watered while we waited in line and watched cute young men expertly slice through steaming hot corned beef, pastrami, turkey and more. We split the corned beef special (gotta have that Cole Slaw) and lapsed into silence as we munched our way through it.

no words needed

Hershel, who ever you are...thank you

self portrait no. 2 Corned Beef = Heaven

Needless to say this sandwich is worth the wait and every bit delicious as it appears in its picture. Two thumbs up!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Two Door Cinema Club at The Troc

Getting back in touch with my old roommate Emily has been great for lots of reasons. The number one reason this weekend was that she invited me to see Two Door Cinema Club at Trocadero Theatre.

More familiarly known as The Troc, this venue is one of the coolest places I've been since I moved here. Its an old theatre with a beautiful balcony that is for 21+ and a dance floor below for the young at heart.

the view from above

Em and I squatting to get a view of Tokyo Police Club

Two Door Cinema Club was fun, especially considering I'd never heard the music before. This group of handsome (ok, hott), talented Irish lads rocked the stage with their sweet voices and on point percussion. Their beat was good enough to dance to but their music has more of a poppy feel that only rock from across the pond can pull off without being cheesy or too teeny boppery. The show started off a little slow but every song got better and better and when the asked the crowd if we were ready to dance (most of us already were) they kicked it up a notch. The drummer out of his seat for most of the rest of the show as he threw his whole body into each note. People around us really were going pretty crazy, singing along and all that. Suffice it to say, I happily dropped $10 for their CD and I will be listening to it on the way to work tomorrow.

Troc employee slacking off and watching Tokyo Police Club and their lead singer's very long legs

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nuclear Snow Fall

The last big snow fall we had came with some very gray skies which reflected the yellow lights of the city. The effect was eerie as it came with an unprecedented silence and the next morning was followed by incessant sirens. As we stood in the doorway to out "balcony" we were facinated by the scene. We tried to capture it. It wasn't as orange in real life, but I call it:

Nuclear Snow Fall