Best of Philly

I recently visited Philadelphia for the first time since I was in high school (bonus photo of high school Jane if you keep reading). The purpose of the trip was three-fold:

  • Help my friend Lauren find a wedding dress for her wedding next year
  • Snuggle
  • Eat and drink only delicious things

saxbys coffeeSpoiler: we met all three objectives.

I took an overnight Amtrak train and arrived at the 30th Street Station at 5am. I didn’t mind the early wake-up call since it gave me the opportunity to catch up on some writing. I sat at a table with some Saxby’s coffee and a croissant. I had a lot of interesting interactions while I was writing. It was only about two hours, but in that time I: helped an employee from Pret A Manager by holding the door for him while he removed a load of empty boxes (he later gave me a delicious chocolate croissant for helping him), met a gentleman with serious back problems who was in town for his monthly doctor’s visit to get some relief (he later spilled coffee on himself and I grabbed a handful of napkins to help him out), and listened to a man waiting in line for coffee rapping about his morning (and inviting those around him to join in… none of them did so). I also did a lot of people watching and a little writing.

Once it was a more normal hour to meet up with my friends, I took a Lyft over to our adorable Airbnb on Spruce St. I knocked on the door of the third floor walk-up and was greeted by three out of five of my adventure buddies: Lauren (bride/friend from middle school all through college and now), Tom (groom/beer connoisseur), and Dana (MOH/friend from college). We all got dressed and the ladies hit the streets of Philly to meet up with another adventure buddy: Mary (Lauren’s mom/fellow blogger). We were on a mission for a wedding dress!

I’ll fast forward through the wedding dress shopping with a quick summary: we went, we saw, we laughed a lot. In between dress shops, we went to Revolution Taco for an epic lunch. Most of us ordered the cauliflower tacos (a must-eat if you go) and we all shared some chips and guacamole.

After a long day of watching Lauren try on wedding dresses, the rest of us were exhausted (kidding, kind of). We went back to the Airbnb to relax and drink champagne as we all put in our two cents about which dress looked the best. Our last adventure mate (Brian: Lauren’s dad/in town for a conference) finally joined. We also tried to make dinner reservations at a bunch of restaurants before finally getting a spot at Francoluigi’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant.

linguine with clamWe were a little confused when we walked in to a bright, busy walk-up counter. But when we told the staff we were there for a sit-down meal, they brought us through a door to the dining room, a cozy, dimly lit room with less than 20 tables and a man on a piano in the corner. Over the next few hours, we enjoyed serving after serving of wine and carbs, all enjoyed over a lot of laughter with some smooth music playing in the background. Don’t let their website fool you, this place is classy, delightful, and delicious. I had some amazing linguine with clam sauce, but we kind of turned it into a family-style meal and I got to taste a little of everything. The food, atmosphere, and great company combined to create the most perfect meal.

The next day, we started leisurely and Tom went out to get us donuts (he’s the real hero). We snacked on a healthy dozen while we planned out the day, which was to be filled up with good food, history, beer, and Nicolas Cage references.

We took a Lyft over to High Street on Market to put our names on the waitlist for brunch (a meal that is always worth waiting for). The lovely staff took down a cell number, which gave us some time to wander around the neighborhood while we waited. Minutes later, we stumbled upon a gift shop that would change the course of our trip (i.e., humanity) forever. This run-of-the-mill gift shop was selling $3 copies of the Declaration of Independence. If you know me at all, you know exactly where this story is going.

trip to philly with friends
just a bunch of goofballs helping me live out my dreams

That’s right, people. We bought the copy of the Declaration so we could expertly and ridiculously reenact scenes from National Treasure. And reenact we did. If you want to check out scenes from our full day of honoring Nicolas Cage’s most pivotal role, go to my Instagram story highlights. You won’t be disappointed.

Aside from an amazing walking tour (outlined below) and about 9 million hilarious moments (mostly related to Nic Cage), we also got to eat some outstanding food that day. Our brunch at High Street on Market was exceptional. I ordered their avocado toast with roasted cauliflower and ricotta salata, topped with radishes for a pop of color. I know this sounds crazy, but: it was the best avocado toast I’ve ever eaten.

We took a quick coffee and scone break in the middle of the day and, due to weird customer service, they don’t get a shout out. But I would indeed recommend the break. I think tourists often get caught up in trying to see everything. Guess what! You’ll never see everything. Even people who live in Philly haven’t seen it all, and that’s okay.

beer at roy pitzAfter a full day, we needed some beer. We took a long walk over to Roy Pitz Brewing Company, where we shared a giant serving of fries and a family-sized soft pretzel with dipping sauces. We each ordered a flight of beer so we could unwind (and toast to Nic Cage). The food, beer, staff, and atmosphere were all fantastic. It was off the beaten path, but I think that’s why we loved it so much.

The next stop was around the corner (ish) at Prohibition Tap Room. We thought we were going to stop there for one round of drinks and some appetizers and we ended up staying all night. That should tell you how much fun we were having there. Our server was such a gem–she didn’t mind us ordering things every other minute, changing tables, or requesting that she become a signer of our Declaration of Independence. Because it’s so impressive, let me list out all the dishes we ordered during our marathon dining experience at Prohibition: popcorn, fries, roasted beets and carrots, deviled eggs, beer-battered green beans, fried pickles, grilled cheese, vegetarian cheesesteak, peanut butter pie parfait. I seriously can’t wait to go back to Philly so I can head over to this restaurant (perhaps on their Bring Your Own Vinyl night!) to finish out the menu and try everything they make.

I am definitely heading back to Philly again soon–it’s a great city, it’s easy to navigate, and it allows me to talk about Nic Cage all day every day.

In case you want to copy our trip, here’s the walking tour we came up with while we were wandering around Philly:

  • High Street on Market (brunch), Ben Franklin’s House, Independence Hall (get tickets ahead of time if you want to go in), Liberty Bell (long line, but it moves fast if you’re super interested), Betsy Ross’s house, Elfreth’s Alley, Jules Goldman Books and Antiques, shop and coffee break, then to a brewery or time at museums

Summary

  1. Grab coffee and baked goods at Saxby’s
  2. Chow down on some tacos at Revolution Taco
  3. Enjoy a beer flight and giant soft pretzel at Roy Pitz Brewery
  4. Have a leisurely and authentic dinner at Francoluigi’s
  5. Do brunch at High Street on Market
  6. Spend the rest of your time at Prohibition Tap Room
as promised, here’s a photo of me on a high school trip to philly in 2007; hair game: strong hat game: also strong friend game: super strong (and still going… that goofball in the middle is still my buddy)

 

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