Last month, I spent one hot and humid weekend sweating my way through Philadelphia, consuming as much as my stomach could handle. I endured high 90s temperature and double-digit humidity to find myself pleasantly surprised by the city's thriving food scene. The temperature was in the high 90s with double-digit humidity, but it was worth it. Allow me to reminisce:
After a hellish 5-hour drive from Maryland (complete with standstill traffic!), I finally arrive at my Airbnb in Fishtown, which I can only describe as Philly's answer to Silverlake. Fishtown is also the home of Wm. Mulherin's Sons, one of Bon Appetit's best new restaurants of 2016. RSVPs are hard to come by, but if you're patient you can find some last-minute seating. I gorged on veal crostini and rabbit corzetti with shaved black truffle. The truffle add-on made the pasta that much richer and more indulgent. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the atmosphere felt like if a lumberjack married a socialite, and they decorated a winter cabin together.
Vacation means eating whatever and whenever you want. For me, that translates to a breakfast of mocha cream donut and OJ at Beiler's Donuts at Reading Terminal Market. The sheer number of stalls at the market can be overwhelming, so I recommend visiting a couple of times. After an unsuccessful attempt at visiting the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, I took solace in La Colombe in Rittenhouse Square. A cold brew, a sugar brioche, and an hour of journaling tired me out, so a nap was necessary.
Dinner was preceded by a quick trip to the Liberty Bell. I'd arrived too late to tour Independence Hall, so I settled for sitting at a park directly across. When I finally got hungry, I turned to High Street on Market, another Bon Appetit recommendation. The dishes I had were inventive, flavorful, but not pretentious: pickled carrot in a sesame yogurt foam (on the house), a medley of mushrooms in cream sauce, and crab spaghetti. To cap off the night, I stopped by Little Baby's Ice Cream before watching the heat lightning on the deck of my Airbnb.
I began my morning at Philly Style Bagels, a relatively new small-batch bagel shop that boils their creations in beer and water. Their bagels are crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. What began as a pop-up series turned into a brick-and-mortar location that has fans lining out the door. I had the marble rye with cream cheese, which was as pretty as it was enjoyable.
Before I left, I realized that I had almost stayed in Philly without eating a cheesesteak. Pat's was closed, and Geno's was too far. So I chose Sonny's instead. Look, I finally get why cheesesteaks are such a beloved food for many people. I only got one, but I should have bought two and passed out in a cloud of my meaty, cheesy farts back in Maryland.
Less than 72 hours later, I came, I saw, and I ate my way through Philadelphia solo dolo. And while I enormously enjoyed having a weekend completely to myself, the only thing that will bring me back is the promise of more Sonny's cheesesteaks in my future.