36 hours in Philly

I had the pleasure of spending last weekend with a dear friend in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. What did we do? Quite simply – we ate and talked. Talked and ate. Walked around, got pedicures, talked some more. A few dining recommendations next time you’re in that neck of the woods looking for some casual, friendly dining:

Dock Street Pub in West Philly

Dock Street Brewery & Pub: Fabulous pizza with just the right amount of squish to the crust that’s thin but not too crackery. We tried their vegetarian pizza with red sauce. I’m a bit of a marinara critic, but this one passed with flying colors. Turns out their pizzas are Zagat rated, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. I also tried a sampler of their brews, and my favorite ale was by far their Prisoner of Hell at 8.8% ABV. I had 2, or was it 3?

La Columbe Torrefaction: I love coffee. I need coffee. My friend prefers to start her day with water and tea, and holds the caffeine gods at bay. Fortunately we have the kind of relationship where I can say, “Kate, I will need to find coffee by 1pm. If not, things will get cranky – no good.” She suggested that en route to brunch I pick up a cup of joe at La Columbe. Not gonna lie, when I asked what my options were for a black coffee, they blinked and said, “For here or to go?” A bit disappointing with only one kind of coffee bean. But they’re in cahoots with Leonardo diCaprio, so they can’t be all bad.

Marathon mural

Marathon: Ha ha, no we didn’t run a marathon, the restaurant is named Marathon. The food politics of the place are all about buying local, building relationships with local farmers, and serving what’s in season. We enjoyed a late lunch/early supper of fresh salads with an amazing lemon dressing while looking at the (local) art. The food tasted like spring. This was a chalk wall mural in the restaurant.

Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar. Of

barbuzzo’s ravioli

all the places we ate, this was the most luscious & decadent, mouth happiness-inducing spot. Do not be fooled into thinking this is low country cooking by the simple style and font of the menu. We feasted on sheep’s milk ricotta over grilled country bread, casarecce pasta with smoky mushrooms, a side of pan-seared brussel sprouts with pancetta and some other handmade pasta dish whose name escapes memory. Despite it being Saturday night, we were immediately seated at the kitchen counter to watch the staff in action. I admit that our pasta dishes were ordered based on watching them being cooked and served to others. Drool-inducing. Another reason to love this place? It’s one of 6 retail spots on 13th Street owned by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran – two women committed to revitalizing the area.The only downside, as Kate phrased it the next morning, “I feel like a piece of salted pork. I’m parched!” The food was fantastic, but they were heavy on the butter and salt.

Morning Glory Diner.Despite the general rule about a bad website = a bad experience, diners should be exempted. I don’t need Flash player; I want want S’More waffles, frittatas

recipe for your own goat cheese-beet salad

the size of my head, banana-caramel stuffed French toast, 5 kinds of pork products and bottomless coffee. Ta da! I understand they regularly deviate from their menu, and we benefited, indulging in goat cheese & roasted beet salad; a creamy spinach-artichoke-asparagus-goat cheese egg scramble; and mint iced tea. They bake giant ‘muffins’ on a cookie sheet and slice them up into crumbly goodness. I appreciate that the clients were diverse too: a group of nuns, two older ladies with curlers in their hair and bright red lipstick, a pack of frat boys, several hipsters with more tattoos than clothes, a mom and son. It was casual, friendly, filling and the food was packed with flavor.

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