04.23.09: PA redux

my feet and magnolia petals

alright: philadelphia. as i tweeted (and said about four thousand times, i'm told), it's pinchably cute. we had the good fortune to be in town for dazzling weather - breezy sunshine straight through - and the flowering trees had just started to shed their early spring blossoms, so everything was covered with petals. revolving doors and air conditioned shops would kick up little white eddies. it was like wandering around in a snow globe.

our pre-trip research was far more fruitful than i'd expected it to be: tripadvisor led me to the independent hotel [nb 2016: now the independent philadelphia hotel], a little boutique place in rittenhouse square, and travelzoo hooked us up there; we paid $119 for a room with a pressed tin ceiling in the bath.* design*sponge's city guide did us several solids, too: in fact, most of our random decisions worked out so well that i started to expect a stroke of bad luck just to balance things out. i'm used to special occasion doom, you see.

windows at mcgillin's

doomless occasions are so nice, internets. as we sipped pints and peoplewatched by the windows at mcgillin's,** joe's blackberry beeped: an anniversary note from his parents saying how happy they are that i'm their daughter.

imaginary vacation awards

best bar: national mechanics (22 south 3rd st. @ market). i didn't even try to blend like a local when i got a good look at the interior of this place: it was designed so well that i needed at least a dozen pictures immediately. the apothecary jar terraria! the lamps made of pharmaceutical bottles and whippets! the bill cosby pint glasses!*** if you find yourself in philly, find this place immediately.

best use of artichoke: three-way tie, osteria (alla giudia), amada (on flatbread with wild mushrooms, black truffles, and manchego), and tria (in salad with grilled asparagus, white beans, tomato-onion relish and pine nuts). inspired by joe's dad and his all-haggis scottish adventure, i tried to have an all-artichoke weekend. an excellent decision, if i do say so myself.

best use of al gore: this room.

i love you, wallpaper

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 if you were to eat one foodstuff at every meal for a whole trip, what would it be?

02 have you been to philly? how was it?

03 when joe and i finally buy an apartment, should our bathroom have a tin ceiling or a little chandelier?**** (both would be overkill even for me).

*which strikes me as kind of brilliant, as it'd be so much easier to clean than the painted ceilings i've always had (no weird condensation-mold!). note to self: install pressed tin in bathroom.

**cheers for that tip, anonymous commenter!

***i don't have a picture of those, but...ask me about them sometime.

****i was skeptical at first, too, but they're surprisingly pleasing.


Amanda Bruns said...

Tin ceiling! Tin ceiling!

It's all I've ever wanted my whole life.

I'm soooo happy you had a sweet and lovely anniversary. Cheers!

Rachel (Heart of Light) said...

What, you are supposed to clean your ceilings? I've definitely never done such a thing. I wonder if people come over and stare at my sad bathroom ceiling and wonder why I don't know you are supposed to clean it. But how do you get up there?

Also, I have never been to Philly but it is on my short list. Will report back if I make it.

lauren said...

word, amanda. extra perk: bathrooms are (usually) small, so it'd be cheaper to install than it would be for a big ol' living room. i always figured it'd be prohibitively expensive.

@rachel: most ceilings probably don't need much cleaning, but i've always lived in old apartments with poorly ventilated bathrooms (our current one has a tiny window, and our san francisco place had one that was painted shut, as i recall) and especially enthusiastic showers; after awhile, the steam makes everything a bit funky. i have a bit of a fear of bathroom mold.

anonymous said...

More anonymous tips:
In Philly:
Nicholl's Seafood for "pepper hash," a juicy cabbage-pepper slaw
City Tavern for real pepper pot (don't ask)
Shane's Candies for molasses strips and butter creams
Haegele's Bakery for butter cakes and springerle cookies
Yards Brewery for vintage, original-recipe ales
Out of town:
Dietrich's in Krumsville for PA Dutch pies - black walnut custard, cherry crumb, and shoofly
Cape May Salt for fresh oysters that harken to the 1800s & don't miss Cape May's Vickies
Petronglo Farms near Vineland for "Jersey dandelions," should you there in spring
The Pine Barrens' Paradise Hill heirloom cranberries later in the season
Cope's Corn in Rheems

meg said...

Oh. Well. That made *me* all teary, Joe and the note. I forgot to wish you a happy 10 at the time, with my birthday and all, but happy to you both. I think 5 will cease to be a thing, as we'll be fresh back from our honeymoon.

Philly was exactly like this cherry blossoms and all last time I was there.

Tin. No chandelier in the bathroom, that's just silly.

lauren said...

man, i wish i could find you guys the research i had for a story we did a few years ago on the mythical bathroom chandelier. they're little - about the size of a fruit bowl - and comparatively understated, but they add this little splash of The Crazy that - i swear! - works. (aside: this loo-chandy thread from apartment therapy chicago is kind of hilarious.) also, i'm thinking near the sink, not over the tub - the latter sounds too clue, i think.

how was your birthday weekend, miss meg?

jacob said...

01 fava beans. this may be due to some sort of recency effect, as our local whole foods just got their first shipment of fresh favas in this week. however, they're both mild and tasty enough to be eaten at every meal. also, they're a bit of a pain to make at home, so as long as someone else is preparing them...

02 i have been to philadelphia three times, though i'll discount the family trip when i was 7, since all i remember is the liberty bell. the last two times i've gone with megan, once for a vacation/birthday present and once for a conference. we had a...er...mixed time there. i think we really would have benefited from a guide like design sponge's. the first time we went was in december 2005, which was very un-springlike. megan greatly enjoyed (and i...experienced) the mutter museum, and we had a couple of very nice meals and drank some very good beer. but philadelphians lived up to their stereotype as kinda gruff, and outside of the rittenhouse square area it was a bit desolate. but it's encouraging to hear you had such a good time! maybe third time will be the charm?

03 i think of the bathroom chandelier as a high-risk, high-reward kind of venture, whereas the tin ceiling would be lovely and conventional (in a good way!)

baby jo said...

easy. potato. to be honest, i could handle eating mashed potatoes for at least one meal a day for the rest of my life, if my hips didn't have to suffer the consequences. wasabe, garlic, regular, pepper...amazing.

also...chandelier. if we move into chris's, i want to put one into the pornal bathroom, and if we move into somewhere else, i want a chandelier there too.

re: bathroom mold: we had a wicked mold issue in our shower, as the '40's architecture of our place blows so all moisture just seeps up into the sectioned off ceiling -- you must have noticed when you were here last summer, but were inevitably too kind to mention it. we called in the repair and when they showed up, they just painted over the problem. awesome.

sara said...

a bit tardy, i'll confess i glanced down at the questions before i'd finished reading your post in its entirety and decided "artichoke," because that's how i am regularly. if it has artichoke in it, i'm hard-pressed to choose an alternate entree. and lo, artichoke was your choice as well. huzzah!

i'm going to bed now. will contemplate other questions in and if sleep.