So before my boyfriend and I move to California (which may not happen for two years but we like to dream/take action), we committed to maximizing the East Coast. On our chalkboard wall several months ago, we wrote down 5 places we wanted to/must visit while we’re still super close to them.
Because the fact of the matter is, if/when we live in the West Coast, how likely/practical will it be that we’ll take a trip to…..Miami, for a very long time? Or to….Philly? Extremely unlikely/impractical.When we live in LA, we’ll be taking weekend trips to all things West Coast– northern california, Mexico, Seattle, Las Vegas, Portland, etc. I would venture to say that if we didn’t make it to Philly while we lived in DC, we probably never would have gone to Philly. Imagine: we’re living our life, in sunny southern California, hiking Runyon Canyon every weekend and taking Sunday drives through Topanga Canyon to Malibu, and weekend jaunts to Santa Barbara and Carmel and Big Sur, eating Bottega Louis and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf every day….when are we going to sit down and be like “you know, let’s buy a plane ticket and travel the entire country to visit PHILADELPHIA.” The answer is never.
The same exact thing applies to the other 4 destinations we wrote down:
- Bowdoin (Portland)
Both Alex and I have really been wanting to get back to our college campuses, ESPECIALLY before leaving the East Coast because, c’mon, like my Philly example up above, chances of us buying plane tickets to those places from CALIFORNIA are literally non existent. It’s just obvious— if you can’t even get to those places when you live a 1 hour plane ride away (more or less), it AIN’T GON’ HAPPEN. The college campuses themselves were written down as the destination, because…they are. We’re not going for the cities they’re in, we’re going…for the college itself, like to step foot on the greens and visit the libraries as though we’re 18 years old again. Except Bowdoin happens to be 20 minutes from Portland Maine which has like an unreal restaurant scene and I’ve never spent much time in, so we’ll explore Portland while we’re at Bowdoin but Hanover is like, a street. And it’s just really crazy and unbelievable that I haven’t stepped foot on it since the DAY I graduated. I really really miss it and want to show Alex it, and vice versa. He’s never been and I’ve never been to his. What we realized is that next June is BOTH of our 5 year reunions (I literally CANNOT believe that when I go I will have not stepped foot on the campus in 5 years), and they’ll probably be around the same time and the two campuses are like 3 hours apart, so we’re just going to knock them out then. Couldn’t be more perfect. Because when would we ever visit either place from…..LA. “Oh hey babe, you know, we live in this amazing beautiful city on the west coast where summer is eternal and life is magical, but I was thinking, we should buy a plane ticket to Bowdoin this weekend.” #no. If we don’t visit these places while we live in DC, they literally may not happen for ten years.
And this spring alone, we knocked out Miami (recap post here), Baltimore and Philly. We went to Miami in May in honor of Alex’s birthday; we spent the day in Baltimore when my aunt/cousin were in town (because he was college visiting in the area); and this past weekend, we got our act together and finally went to Philly. I wore this, for our first steps in the city:
The trip ended up being EXACTLY 24 hours, yet we got a lot done. We rolled in at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and after settling in our hotel room we took a walk in the Rittenhouse Square area and stopped into a place for the best appetizer I’d never thought of: HEARTS OF PALM BRUSCHETTA. Instead of tomatoes, the base of the bruschetta was tiny little chunks of diced hearts of palm. It was so fucking good.
Then, we took the loveliest evening stroll in the world to a restaurant that my boyfriend had researched and surprised us with. It was called Meme and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO good. EVERYTHING about it, the location, the ambiance, the decor, the food. We got watermelon salad (legit my favorite thing in the summer) with this dry ricotta and arugula and sugar snap peas + sizzling mussels (without the shell and with LOTS OF LEMON) and fresh salmon.We sat next to a couple that was getting divorced, AT the table, and the dialogue was so fascinating that I took out my blackberry and wrote down every single word they said. I have a transcript of their divorce in my blackberry. Because that is what writers do. I couldn’t NOT.
After dinner we walked through like..a French area of the city that was soooo super charming…just people and couples out and about, leisurely strolling, eating ice cream, it was a very cute and calm part of the city, not like….Times Square. We walked back to the hotel, and got into bed to have chocolate covered strawberries …………..
……….and to watch Aaron Sorkin’s new show, Newsroom. Mixed feelings, as it’s so painfully contrived sometimes and the MUSIC, I truly thought it was a JOKE when it first crept into the scene, because surely he couldn’t have possibly put that corny of music into that pivotal of a scene to make it THAT clear that the scene is ‘supposed’ to be sentimental even though it’s blatantly fucking obvious WITHOUT the music and the music totally cheapens and mocks it and insults everyone watching, but apparently Sorkin is serious with it. BUT, Jeff Daniels is so so so so so so career-pinnacle good in it, his acting is like, disturbingly effortless, and the dialogue is smart/funny/interesting despite trying too hard at times, so we’re definitely sticking with it.
It’s so fun/weird to see Thomas Mathews (Chris Mathews son) in the show (he has a small role as the comic relief- he’s like…that OTHER male worker who talks really fast and everyone snaps at because he asks redundant or annoying questions haha), because I carpooled twice a week with him in highschool to go to our fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. You already know this if you read my Miami post, but I would literally, drive my station wagon, to his school, pull up outside, beep beep, and he would hop in, and we’d talk all the way to the Folger library HAHA. He was very very very much like his character (not annoying), but a fast talker who…speaks really fast and is high energy and says things really drly and so quickly you almost don’t realize he just said a funny joke till like 20 seconds after. I love people like that.
So HE’S on the show and I get really really excited every time he has screen time! We actually found out ABOUT the show when we were getting drunk at the DC airport bar on our way to Miami and saw his dad and I was like “oh hey Chris Matthews, I drove your son to our fellowship in highschool” and he was like “oh yeah he’s actually out in LA working on this new Sorkin pilot” and then Alex and I both came in our pants because we love Sorkin and because we found out about his new show from Chris Mathews’ mouth. So after 2 episodes, despite how CORNY Mackenzie McHale’s “The-news-is-about-the-facts” speeches are, we are def hooked.
After one episode, we ordered room service because you HAVE to when you’re on a romantic one-night get away in a hotel! We were so full that my stomach literally H-U-R-T, like I’ve never been so sickeningly full, but was going to die before I let the night pass WITHOUT eating room service in bed. Chocolate lava cake + ben & Jerry’s. : )
The next morning, we slept till 10:30 (the bed was PURE luxury, never in my life had a better sleep), and then walked to COLOMBE COFFEE, which I’d figured out was NOT ONLY in Soho (I’d gone the weekend before when I was in New York City) but was also in Philly and HAPPENED to be 10 feet from our hotel!!!Honestly, WHAT. ARE. THE. CHANCES. That I go to New York (trip recap here), and my friend takes me to like the best place I’ve ever had coffee in my life (tied with or second to Coffee Bean/Tea Leaf), and I am going to Philly the next weekend, and find out that of like the 5 locations in the U.S., Colombe is ALSO in Philly and I’ll have a second chance to have it in the span of 7 days! And more importantly, introduce it to my boyfriend! We live for coffee (though I have to be careful with my acid problems), and there’s nothing I want more, when I try good coffee, than for Alex to try and enjoy the goodness. I was so excited he’d be able to try Colombe while in Philly (or LA colombe, whatever the eff you call it).
Yes I look really tired in this photo, hennnnnnnce the coffee:
With iced coffees in hand, we drove straight to East Passyunk to have breakfast at a place called Chhaya. I find restaurant and shop ideas in new cities the RANDOMEST ways that only a true internet addict/blog lover/lifestyle researcher could appreciate/understand. I only know of one Philly-based blogger, the adorable Veronika of Tik-Tok vintage. I knew that she’d done a guest post series for Modcloth’s blog on her fave spots in Philly (probably because I’d read something about it on twitter and it stuck in my brain), so I googled “modcloth tik tok vintage”, and came upon the post in question. I obviously noted her recommendations, but also read each COMMENT where readers supplemented with suggestions, and one reader described Chhaya and it sounded amazing, and then I checked out the website and loved it INSTANTLY (so important, how the website looks) and read the food on the menu and was sold. We LOVED it. It was so cute. So so my exact style of place. I got waffles with sausage gravy and Alex got hash browns and shit. So, thank you, random 7th commenter on Veronika’s guest-post series on Modcloth’s blog.
We walked and strolled and walked and strolled, then drove to Reading Terminal Market– OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYY GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD.
- Every type of old-fashioned candy you could ever imagine, which I don’t like eating but enjoy looking at
- A million specialty chocolate treats including chocolate covered potato chips and gummy bears
- All fruit in the world
- The most delicious and creamy looking ice cream I’ve ever seen, which apparently Obama loves (there were pictures)
- All meat ever
- All cheese that’s ever been made
- Fresh squeezed juice
- Really absurdly delicious looking sandwiches
- Jams. All kinds of jams.
- All kinds of pickles.
- All other food that exists on planet earth
Then we walked and walked some more, including some vintage shopping but no purchases. And then….around 5:00 p.m. we headed straight for Cantina de los Caballitos, which was the thing I was looking forward to the most the entire time.
I’d read about it in Veronika’s post, and then saw mentions of it like 3 other places, and it looked sooooooooo adorable. It surpassed all expectations. Cutest outside (doesn’t it look like we’re LEGIT in Mexico?), cutest inside, best salsa verde EVER, best plantains, best chicken/shrimp tacos, and really yummy passionfruit/guava/mango margaritas!!
I wanted to get festive for our casual-fancy last date in Philly, so I wore this outrageously versatile white Iro cocktail dress with puffed sleeves that I got from Style Etoile because they are the only humans I know with a keen enough eye to buy this dress for their boutique, because even the places that sell Iro like Net-a-Porter never sold this dress even thoughhhhhhhhh It’s THE BEST dress and I got it for the BEST price because they have THE BEST sales ever. I wore it with the BOMBEST gold collar necklace ALSO FROM STYLE ETOILE because they are the only humans I know that carry Mona Assemi because they have the eye to recognize how bomb her pieces are, and it was also an amazing price (like $4o or something, and I wear it with everything), PLUSSSSS my red/purple colorblock Zara heels that got their debut that night! So in love with them.
And then, at 6 pm, we hopped in the car, and were home at 8!!!! It was a total joke of a drive.
And that was our trip to Philly.
We are just CRUSHING our list of things to do while our address is still DC before we move to the west coast. Don’t worry bout it.