Your Guide to Reading Between the Tines

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This weekend

From Honey Moon Sweets.  Bavarian cream with strawberries, white chocolate, and toasted almonds.  Wowza!

Of course, this was one of two delicious cakes.  The other one was a homemade chocolate raspberry confection that we mutilated (read: devoured) long before I thought to take a picture.

Mmmm….

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When in New York…

When in New York, it’s important to take care of the basics.  New York basics.  Theater and cheesecake, to be specific.   (Not necessarily in that order.)  I had been fortunate enough earlier in the week to go see Illyria, the off-Broadway musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night that Mary had been working on.  The caliber of the cast and the deceptively simple set design were absolutely fantastic.  I laughed, I sat rapt, and I walked out singing the score.  I also left hungry for more.  I dig theater.  I really, really dig it.  So, not surprisingly, Mary and I wound up in Times Square a couple days later, scoping out the last-minute discounted seats for matinees on Broadway while discussing our need to score some NY original cheesecake.  Matinee first?  Cheesecake first?  Since we’d lunched rather late, we settled on theater first.  Choosing a show was relatively easy.

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Last Night in Philly

Rachel made sure I left Philly with a bang. Enter Monk’s. The Beer Bible–twenty pages of the beers offered at Monk’s. Fries famous in a couple states for their spice and the bourbon-mayonnaise dipping sauce.

And, of course, cheese steaks. You can even get one veggie-style, made with seitan. Considering that this was Philly and I was staring down my last opportunity for a cheese steak in the home of cheese steaks, I broke my informal policy against pretend meat and went for it.  Besides, when I asked for a recommendation from the server, she immediately named the veggie cheese steak as her favorite.  Who am I to argue?

Monk’s was dark. Really, really dark.  Forgive the flash.  Someday I will graduate to a camera more advanced than a point-and-shoot.

Here’s the thing I enjoyed about going out to eat in Philly. Even Monk’s, a pub kind of place, featured local vegetables on their sandwiches and local potatoes for their fries whenever possible. Monk’s is a Philadelphia institution; the place oozes local pride. To be fair, so does Philly in general. They take their sports teams seriously, farmer’s markets dot the city, the downtown showcases a local chocolate shop, visitors and residents can enjoy several shops featuring local artists, over 2,000 murals are splashed across the cityscape, and a multitude of small, independent restaurants have loyal followings in the city. All in all, Philly was full of excellent surprises. I’ll be filling in the gaps on my East Coast visit over the next few days as I get resettled. Stay tuned for more delicious tales of food!

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Philly Food Tour Pt. 2: White Dog Cafe

For me to be in Philly and not go to a famed restaurant called “The White Dog Café” would almost certainly write me out of my mother’s will. This is the mum who has two Jack Russel terriers and dreams of starting a Bed and Biscuit someday. Naturally, when my friends in Philly mentioned how much I would probably dig White Dog, I decided to check it out when my friend Rebecca came up from Maryland for the day. It turns out that the White Dog has more going for it than just a cool name.

This apple pie, made from local apples, is one such tasty example.

And let’s not forget the silky chocolate and cinnamon pot de créme Rebecca enjoyed.

What can I say? Life is short. Start with dessert.

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Philly Food Tour Pt. 1: Sabrina’s, Di Bruno’s, and Reading Terminal

Having recently read Michael Pollan’s “Farmer in Chief,” I was excited to have the opportunity to visit one of the year-round indoor farmer’s markets he mentioned as a model for the nation: Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. My friends were ready, willing, and able to indulge in the experience, and we were off. Well, almost. After all, one should never try to evaluate food on an empty stomach. For that reason, Jon, Sara, Rachel, and I decided to pay a visit to Sabrina‘s to get fueled up before hitting the farmer’s market.

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Welcome to Philly (Cheesesteaks Optional)

I am in Philadelphia, first stop on a two-stop East Coast tour to visit dear friends I haven’t seen in way too long.  While I sit on Rachel’s bed last night and try to hash out where to go for dinner with her and Sara, Rachel enthuses about this wonderful Italian place she knows…and the amazing Mexican tapas place she’s recently become addicted to…and the brunch place we should definitely visit tomorrow…and then she cuts herself off.

“You know, my friend Linds was here a week ago, and I had made up this list of things to do in Philly, right?  And she got here and I looked at this list, and it was maybe 15 restaurants and then 3 non-food things at the very bottom, which were pretty much an afterthought as it was.  So, anyway, it has occurred to me since then that maybe not everyone wants to plan their trip based around what they’re going to be eating when and which restaurants they want to squeeze in.”

“Ha.”  I say.  What a ridiculous notion.  Poor, unfortunate souls.

And so the Great Philly Food adventure began.

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