While most people left for the beach this post July 4th weekend, I headed to Philadelphia with the boyfriend. This was our second time there and even though New York will always be my #1, Philly is a close second of favorite cities. We did most of the touristy things when we went last year so there were only a few things left on the list: US Mint, Eastern State Penitentiary and Elfreth’s Alley. And of course I made plans for food; I had to get my cheesesteak this time around.
The Eastern State Penitentiary was a really interesting and somewhat eerie structure. It has a castle-like facade and a number of corridors of cells. It used to house inmates from the early 1800s until its closing in 1971. Al Capone actually stayed there at some point and his cell was one of the attractions within the place. The cell was decked out with luscious rugs, antique lamps and cushioned chair, among other decor fit for a king. My favorite part was this little bridge I believe was in corridor #4. Standing on it, I had an amazing view down the corridor and I really got the sense of how large the facility was. I thought a really interesting part of the penitentiary design was the center. A guard standing right in the circle on the ground could see down all the corridors for any activity.
The US Mint was just reopened to the public on July 3rd so my trip was planned coincidentally with that weekend. Since I went on a Saturday, there wasn’t any coin production going on the floor for view but there were displays and videos which was pretty cool. Who knew there were so many steps to creating the designs we see on our coins? My favorite part was how how they showed the plaster models of the designs and the machinery they used carve it out.
Elfreth’s Alley is one of the oldest continuously inhabited residential streets in all of the US. The houses are just so quaint and line a cobblestone street. I don’t know what it is but the colored shutters and doors along with the historical significance and the feeling the block evokes… I absolutely fell in love with the block of houses and would just love to live there one d! I definitely want to go back when some of the residences open their houses up for the public.
And of course the most important part of our trip: what we ATE! The first place we stopped at on the way in was Tony Luke’s. I really didn’t want to stand in line at Geno’s or Pat’s and Tony Luke’s was close by. We ordered a pork Italian with broccoli rabe and a cheesesteak with whiz. The pork sandwich came with provolone cheese and juicy cuts of pork but I felt it was really over peppered. The cheesesteak was pretty good flavor-wise but the meat was a little dry. Overall, I am definitely still in search of a really good let-me-just-faint kind of cheesesteak in Philly. The sandwiches were so filling that we just skipped dinner and went checking out the night scene in the Old City. We had some fantastic margaritas at Q BBQ & Tequila and then headed to Cube Libre which was had a great vibe.Their drink menu (especially their rum) was extensive as well as the food menu I took a peak at.
The meal we were most looking forward to was dinner the next night at Amada, an amazing tapas place we discovered by accident the last time we were in town. We made reservations this time around and ate our hearts out. We opted for the never-fail Chef’s Selection so we didn’t have to go crazy trying to decide what dishes to get. We were not disappointed by a single thing that came out. Pork chops, charcuteria, flatbread, mushrooms, fish, salad, dessert… EVERYTHING was simply delicious. My favorite was the Alcochofas y Setas flatbread which had artichoke, wild mushrooms,
black truffles and manchego cheese; I don’t think I have to explain any further given those ingredients! And the Ensalada de Jamon (serrano ham, fig, cabrales and spiced almonds)… AMAZING! They also have a decent drink menu. Their sangrias are perfectly balanced, not overly powerful or sweet and the specialty cocktails are great too. We got the red sangria that had hints of cinnamon for kick, the rose sangria that was fruity and refreshing and a specialty cocktail (Tie Me Up Tie Me Down) which reminded me of a lemon drop with the addition of rosemary.
Overall, it was a great and relaxing trip. I definitely can’t wait for our next visit but I’ll have to hit the gym in preparation!