Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Food in Philadelphia

...Deserved it's own post. Zack and I ate so well, it's easily the one thing we both miss about Philadelphia. We became avid yelpers on this trip; writing reviews, checking in, and looking up ratings before we decide. Although it was annoying at times, it was definitely worth it.

Philly cheesesteaks at Geno's

Of course, when in Philly we had to try the cheesesteaks. We wanted to try Pat's too but time escaped us. I'm convinced there's better cheesesteaks than theirs, though. I'd have to say of all the food we ate, this was the most underwhelming. They were so quick to get out orders it wasn't very welcoming.


This little cafe really packs a punch! it's about a block away from the Eastern State Penitentiary. We had breakfast AND lunch here it was so good. Everything on their menu is super creative. They're all named after places and the flavors follow suite. I ordered an Austin salad, my first time having avocado and tortilla chips in my salad. Needless to say I had no idea what I was missing.

Alma de Cuba

This was a beautiful find. Alma de Cuba is a bit more upscale than Zack and I are used to, but it was suggested by one of his relatives and we had to give it a try. The ambiance is, for lack of a better word seductive. I ordered the chicken imperial on top of a bed of rice and fiancé got the honey mustard glazed salmon. Both of us can agree that when we visit Philadelphia again we will absolutely be returning. The food was mind blowing--everything was fresh, the chicken was juicy and tender, the rice was soft and pillowy, and although it doesn't look like much food when first presented, it was just enough. For dessert we split a peanut butter bombe, which is a chocolate and peanut butter mousse covered in dark chocolate ganache, with marshmallow ice cream and caramelized bananas. Pure. Bliss. This restaurant really made us want to find food this good in our area.

Reading Terminal Market

Excuse our partially eaten pieces of heaven I mean doughnuts. This place is an absolute MUST when in philly. My cousin along with several others were pretty adamant about that. The best way to describe it is a huge indoor farmer's market with every food imaginable. The Amish have a very strong presence here and everything they made was glorious. I could assume it would be because everything they made truly is "farm to table." It's easy to spend the whole day here just to eat everything. My suggestions would be to definitely try Beiler's Donuts and Famous 4th Street Cookies (which you can order online whaaaaat).


This place is definitely for the adventurous foodies. You should know that the front door doesn't have a knob and you have to knock and wait for the owner to let you in. The idea behind this whole experience is this is how you would be served if you were to have dinner at a Moroccan home. This includes seven courses of delectable traditional Moroccan food. You get to choose the meat for two of the courses, but otherwise everything is already decided. Make sure you're starving, and you go with at least one or two other people since you will be served tons of food to be shared amongst everyone. After the owner seats you he goes over all of this with you as you wash your hands under the elaborate kettle he provides. Why you may ask? because you eat everything with your hands. The decor is also elaborate and inviting, surrounding you with vibrant colors and patterns. Everything I ate was like nothing I've ever eaten before. It was so tasty we were disappointed that we couldn't finish.

So not only was our time in Philadelphia fun, but it was quite delicious. Zack and I are definitely interested in finding more local foodie experiences after this venture. I never realized just how good food can be! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

From Philly to D.C. - Summer Vacations

This summer certainly has been a whirlwind for me. I've had the opportunity to go to both Philadelphia and Washington D.C. After these two trips back to back I certainly feel more patriotic. Philly was Zack and I's vacation to celebrate his first teaching job. DC sort of happened coincidentally because my mom had a conference for her job conveniently close to Washington :3

So how was Philadelphia?

It was jam packed with awesome adventures. We purchased a CityPASS and utilized everything but the aquarium ticket. Definitely a money saver. We also went to a the art museums and enjoyed some amazing food, which I'll be saving for a separate post. Onward with the photos!

Our first stop was the Liberty Bell. Definitely put us in the right mindset to appreciate some history.

This was taken outside of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Obviously Rocky is everywhere. T'was only fitting to pose in front of his statue.

One of my favorite pieces inside the museum was this Caulder mobile.

This is the Eastern State Penitentiary. It was beautiful and creepy all at the same time. There was a guided audio tour that really jolted the imagination, placing you right in the times when it was in operation. It was a new model for prisons at the time it was created. They revamped some rooms to display what it was like at certain time periods while others were left others untouched. 

The medical wing.

Al Capone's cell.

I didn't get too many good pictures at the zoo, but I definitely wanted to mention the gorillas and orangutans as well as the monkey tunnel system they have. The gorillas and orangutans have this special indoor/outdoor living space and were the most enjoyable animals to visit. All throughout the zoo they have tunnels in which they open up to different monkeys at different times. These tunnels are right above zoo pathways! 

Of course, how can I talk about Philly without talking about Ben Franklin? The man is EVERYWHERE. This is him at the Franklin Institute, which is not just for kids (ok well maybe it is but still, SCIENCE!) 

My favorite exhibit was this huge human heart. You get to crawl inside and follow the path that your little blood cells follow with every beat. How cool is that?

Found the Robert Indiana Love sculpture in the aptly named, Love Park.

This is where all of the gents who made our nation met up. The chair up front is George Washington's original chair :O)

The African American Museum in Philadelphia had this amazing and informative display that highlighted important moments and people in Black history through stories. I wish I could explain it better. They also had an exhibit showcasing the Supremes involvement in history as well as their outfits through the times.

And how was D.C.?

It was great! The trip actually started in Annapolis, MD since that's where my mom's conference was. I think my favorite Part about it was the Starbucks we stumbled upon. It was in the basement of a historic building and featured this tunnel here!

Easily my favorite Starbucks location. 

Amorphophallus titanum, one week after it bloomed. This flower is HUGE.

Behing the capitol!

Although the Wasthington Monument is under construction, it is still beautiful. It's visible from practically every angle in Washington D.C.

My favorite monument in the park was the Lincoln Memorial. This is where Martin Luther King Jr. stood for his speech.

The night before we visited, Lincoln was vandalized. They we quick to remove it though!

Little known fact about this post office: you can go up to the top of the bell tower and see all of DC for free! there's also an awesome food court in the basement.

The Lincoln memorial was awe-inspiring at night. By the time we came back all of the green paint was removed. I would highly suggest visiting memorial park at night. There's much less strollers and screaming children, allowing you to really enjoy the monuments.

This was at a gift shop in the train station. Perfect ending to our trip! There is so much to do in D.C. and the best part is it's all free.We squeezed as much as we could in the three days we were there but there was no way that we could go to every museum or site. I will definitely be back soon to experience more of Washington D.C.!

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