FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD STORE:
This is the kind of place where when you are a regular, you feel like a regular. One of us is usually in here daily. They've got tons packed into the tiny shop, like fresh avocados, gluten free treats, nuts, yogurt, and a some prepared salads too! You'll actually feel good about giving them your business.
FAVORITE RIDICULOUS INANIMATE BEAST:
Also, when you walk home from Maxx's, you can pass the angry cheetah left tied outside a store. I'd tell you which store but it's changed hands I think four or five times since I've lived there. The only constant is the cheetah. I will definitely miss the angry cheetah. Leopard? Maybe it's a leopard? I know nothing about big cats and even less about big cat sculpture.
LERNER AND LOEWE INDUCING SCENERY:
I'm no Freddy Eynsford-Hill, but when I walk the beautiful streets in my neighborhood I often find myself humming... "I have often walked down this street before...".
Musical Side Note: Bonus points to anyone who can explain to my satisfaction why the hell anyone would take Henry Higgins over Freddy.
SPOT WHERE TOURISTS ARE MOST LIKELY TO GET MURDERED BY NORMAL FOLK:
Reading Terminal Market may be a tourist mecca, but many of the shops there are actually meant for use by locals. Anyone who is totally broke must check out the dollar bags of veggies at OK Lee. I can't tell you how often I've been grateful for a bag of dollar cauliflower. Martin's is an absolute godsend for my non-pork eating husband. Although they have tons of pork products they have an incredible selection of poultry sausage as well. Sadly, Ochs' butcher stand has closed after 105 years. It's very sad that second rate cheesesteak hawkers and souvenir shops are pushing out legitimate businesses used by actual Philly residents. Do your protein and veggie shopping there if you've got the patience and sharp elbows. You'll need them to shove through the hoards that come to a dead stop in the middle of an aisle to ogle the Pennsylvania Dutch.
MOST HEARTBREAKING CLOSURE?:
Ron's Ribs is closed. Possibly for renovations. Possibly because chef/owner Kevin has moved on. I won't be there to find out for sure, but if you're in town, you should. Kevin did amazing things with barbecue (or Bar-B-Q). The menu was very small, but oh tasty. If you want a half chicken though, go early or call Kevin to set one aside. Those suckers go fast. It seems to be slated to reopen Summer of 2011, but only time will tell.
BEST WAY TO
Capogiro Gelato Artisans My waistline will not stand frequent visits here, but oh how I will miss the creamy goodness. They do have mail order, but for me, the joy is selecting the perfect combination (you have to pick two flavors). With 4 city locations there's really no excuse for not stopping by if you're in town. Unless you're a weird person who doesn't like ice cream like my husband.
TASTY MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD:
Leila Cafe - I feel kind of sorry for this guy. So many restaurants look beautiful but can't execute on food at all. Poor Leila's has the opposite problem. He just moved to a new location (on South Street). The place isn't all that great inside and the waitstaff is a tad neglectful, but the food is really tasty. Last time we went as I was walking home whimpering because I was so full, Ryan suggested we turn around and go back for more. Check them out on GrubHub for a delivery order. Otherwise, pray someone comes to his rescue.
FORGET IT JAKE; IT'S CHINATOWN
Sang Kee Peking Duck House may even be my choice for our last supper tonight. When I'm there, the orders on the other diners tables always look delicious but I cannot get myself to move past the Peking Duck Dinner for 2. Although the fried rice is seriously not special, the two duck dishes are absolutely heavenly. Mmmm.
SO THIS IS THE WAY IT ENDS, NOT WITH A BANG BUT A WHIMPER
I'm sure we'll go back to Philadelphia, but it will never inspire homesickness as Boston still does. It's really a good little city (she says condescendingly about the fifth biggest city in the country). I managed to live there for eight years without falling in love with Water Ice, engaging in a single Pat's vs. Geno's argument, or affecting an Italian accent when ordering prosciutto. All in all, I think it turned out rather well.
Next stop, the burbs.