Tourist Highlights of Philadelphia, City of Fun

Thursday night we flew in, meeting up with Katie (randomly) on the flight to Philly--she was continuing to Ohio, but we visited during our (delayed) flight anyway. We checked into the Sofitel and went out for Belgian mussels and lambics at Monk's just a few blocks away.

Friday we continued our Belgian theme by breakfasting on Belgian sugar waffles (strawberry and chocolate, in the dough!) at Bonte and coffee from La Colombe (excellent service, good coffee, but a little too dark of a roast for us) as we walked down Chestnut Street and then up to the U.S. Mint. The annoying rules about cameras and the lack of lockers meant that we had to go in in shifts, hurriedly, with one of us waiting outside, but it was still fun to see the giant vats of shiny pennies on the manufacturing floor. (Remember, we love factory tours!) Thankfully, the Federal Reserve just two blocks down allowed you in even with cameras, and we spent a long time at their exhibit, which appealed to our competitive side: we took quizzes to correctly identify counterfeit bills, to approve or deny loans, and then to compete against all other visitors, proving our superior knowledge of the information contained in the mini-museum (we made the list of high scores. . . of course). Upon leaving, we were each handed a small bag of shredded money--I plan on using it as packing material the next time we send a package to Aurora.

Lunch was at Raw Sushi & Sake, where we split a premium sake sampler and some innovative and delicious rolls. There was excellent pressed sushi, too, and one of those trendy bathrooms with the shared-sex sinks that Robert loves so much. Then, after a gelati at Rita's, a tour through DiBruni brothers with great samples, a stop at a fun kitchen store right near the hotel, and a mid-afternoon nap, we were fortified to walk over to the Rodin Museum, stopping at a fountain on the way over and back. Have you noticed Robert likes playing with water? It was a really hot day, but I still stayed (mostly) dry.

We followed the children's guide to the museum, since there wasn't an adult guide, but it was actually a great way to experience the museum. For dinner, we met up with Sarah and Sean, who were staying at a bed and breakfast near us, and we all walked over to Morimoto's, which Sean loves and Sarah had never been to. Robert, Sean, and Sarah all had omakase, but I built my own meal with the broiled king crab leg (fabulous--Robert had to talk me into getting it, but I loved it), the made-at-your-table tofu (simple, subtle, and superb--I'd been dreaming of it since the last time we were here two years ago), a lobster caesar salad (very nice), and the seasonal five-piece appetizer (delicious, refreshing, and innovative). I had a red bean creme brulee for dessert, too, and then Robert and I took a cab home--we had just about walked our feet off during the day!

On Saturday we had another Belgian sugar waffle (I had pecan, he had white chocolate) and then took a cab to the Edgar Allan Poe house, which was a lot of fun and had an excellent guided tour. We stopped at a park on the way back, because Robert was hoping to play in another fountain, but this one was roped off. Instead, we marvelled at the sand sculptures in honor of the King Tut exhibit--all sand, no supports at all! Robert took a picture of me in front of the sand sculpture in what he called my archaeologist's outfit, and then another in front of an R2-D2 mailbox (I love these) as we walked back toward our hotel. Incidentally, I happened to be wearing a Star Wars tee shirt. . . truly just by chance. Lunch was all-you-can-eat sushi for $22 each (the order-as-you-go kind, not a buffet) at Mixx, a sushi place in Chinatown on Arch Street. Technically they only do the all-you-can-eat on weekday evenings, but we went in and asked, and as the place was completely deserted at noon, they said sure. The sushi was very good and the service mostly good as well, but overall we're just suckers for this kind of all-you-can-eat.

Sunday morning we had brunch at Day by Day, which--apparently like every other breakfast and brunch place in that part of Philly--doesn't open until 10:00. The food was excellent, though the service was a little weird and harried, and the woman who owns the place was very friendly and nice. I had a stuffed french toast with cream cheese and apricots, served with a mango sauce, and Robert had eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham served on potato pancakes instead of an english muffin. Both were unusual and really good. After breakfast we went back and checked out, and then drove a little north to a glass-blowing place I had read about, where supposedly they blow glass every afternoon (including Sundays) and welcome visitors. Unfortunately, we found only two people, both finishing up, when we arrived, and they explained that they just rent out space from the people who run the place. We couldn't even buy a pretty glass ball or a few glasses, because the "main people" weren't there and no one knew when they would be back. The bakery in the same building was also closed for renovations, so that was another mild disappointment, but we continued on with our day, driving very slightly south to Bartram's Gardens, a botanical garden, walking tour, and a beautiful eighteenth-century stone house (huge for its time). It was very, very hot, and I was starting to wilt ("How would you have survived in India?" was Robert's favorite question of the weekend), but the house was nice, with a very efficient good-morning staircase going up to the second floor. We took a pretty picture of the Philadelphia skyline from the gardens, and then we headed out to the airport and home to Boston, ending our weekend with dinner and a movie home in the air-conditioning.

What else did we do that weekend? Don't forget Laurie and Chris's 07-07-07 wedding. . . .

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Created: 7/9/07. Last Modified: 7/9/07.