Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Philadelphia: a city of "sisterly" love

On March 21st Anna and I met in Philadelphia for a 3 day weekend to celebrate our birthday a week early. We had an awesome time. Here is a quick recap:

Arrival at 4pm
Check into the Hilton Garden Inn 12th and Arch: this was a perfect location: completely in the center of Downtown and allowed us to walk everywhere!

Exchange presents!!!! Anna loved the jewelry I made for her, and I received three metal containers of loose tea with pretty brown ribbons. We then checked out the hotel swimming pool where we were splashed by a bunch of little kids...not too much fun, but we did a few laps.

Dinner: Cebu. The original plan was to meet with Janet at Amada for Spanish tapas, but there was a 1.5 hours wait, so we decided to go to Cebu instead: also tapas, but with Filipino influence. The restaurant is in the building that used to be a bank and was absolutely beautiful. The food was pretty good too (in my opinion).

Dancing at Brasil's: After dinner, Anna and I went literally across the street to Brasil's for salsa dancing. It was fabulous! People danced with us, the music was pretty good and we burned off some of the calories.

Reading Terminal Market When I went to Philadelphia the first time, I absolutely loved the Reading Terminal Market. It reminded me of Pike Place Market in Seattle and the markets we used to have in Moscow. This time around, it was less exciting, but still a buzzing place! We could not decide what to have for breakfast and since by that time it was 11 am, we agreed to head to Old City and find lunch.

Lunch at Campo's Deli (2nd and Market): This place was recommended by gophilla.com and had excellent cheesesteak sandwiches and hoagies; the only thing missing were fries.
Afterwards I bought the best hot chocolate I have ever had at a nearby Franklin Fountain: definitely worth $5!

South Street Shopping: This street has a ton of shopping! We went in and out of little stores and ended up at Beadworks (2nd & South) where we spent more than an hour choosing the beads for our craft projects, which we made after the shopping was over.

Dinner at Monk's (Spruce & 16th): this was one of my favorite places and I decided to come back to have dinner at Monk's with Anna. Once again there was an hour wait, but we waited and it was completely worth it! Mussels, fries, salad and beer! Yes, I even had beer!

Dancing at Brasil's: We went back to Brasil's for dancing. This time around the music was even better and we stayed out till 2 am: had to take a cab back to the hotel because our feet weren't cooperating any more.

Di Bruno Brothers: the plan was to go to Di Bruno Brothers and look around the store and then have brunch at their upstairs restaurant. However, since it was Easter, the restaurant was closed and we needed to find another place for food.

Brunch at Continental: When I came to Philadelphia two years ago, I tried having dinner at Continental, but sadly, and I don't know why, no one would serve me at the bar (which at the end was lucky, because it was then that I found Monk's). This time around Anna and I had a fabulous brunch and sat at chairs that were hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful and the food was even better (and only $10/plate!!!).

Ritterhouse Square: We then strolled to Ritterhouse Square, which is admittedly more beautiful in the spring or summer, but it is still a nice neighborhood surrounded by fancy stores.

Philadelphia Museum of Art: Time for some culture! We went through the main museum and the newly opened Perelman Building, which was by far my favorite.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Whole Foods for a little snack, and it was there that I bought my gorgeous orchid (which luckily survived the trip back to DC) and received a free bar of dark chocolate.

Dinner at Amada: I made reservations, and we did not have to wait! Again: such a pretty space, great service, and amazing food! This was a great way to cap off our time in Philadelphia.

Miel Patisserie: Janet recommended this bakery because she used to work there. The door handles are wings of a bee: cuteness! We had the Parisian style macaroons: oh the memories!

Shopping: no trip is complete without shopping, so we did some!

And then it was time to pick our bags from the hotel, head back to Amtrak station and catch our respective trains.

Fun was had by all!

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