Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend in Philly

Kevin and I took a trip to Philly this past weekend. It was a perfect 36-hour getaway. We stayed at the Hotel Palomar, which is part of the Kimpton chain.  Last year we stayed at the Hotel Burnham in Chicago and really loved the "boutique" feel that Kimpton imbues into the hotel, plus there's a free wine hour every afternoon.  And beer! And sangria! Total win.

Sometimes it's so nice to just get away and stay in a place WAY nicer and much more stylishly decorated than your own home.

I think bathrooms say a lot about a hotel. I really like the wide sink and the generous amount of counterspace.  Plus, again, WAY nicer than our bathroom (this is a theme).

One of the most important reasons we chose Hotel Palomar is because Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly: they do not, I repeat *do not* charge an additional fee for having a pet in the room, allow your dogs to be left in the room unattended (a lot of places have some rule that you can't leave unless you leave with the dog), and provide beds and food/water bowls.

The pugs approved.

The first night, we walked a few blocks to Tria, a wine/beer/small plates bar.  We scored a little sidewalk table because we are cool and see-and-be-seen kind of people. Just kidding. Obviously. We opted for an outside table because we are old fogies and could not handle the deafening noise level inside the restaurant.  Seriously, thinking about it makes my ears want to cry.

I started with a Grenache/Syrah blend.

Kevin had a Malbec. He loves Malbec.  And look! He has jaundice.

We had a Tuscan white bean spread (fine, but nothing special), a 1-year aged Cheddar from Cabot (I know that sounds really lame but it must be some artisanal line because it was really good--sharp and crystalline, like a mild Parmesan).  We also had lomo, a Spanish cured pork tenderloin:

The best dish of the evening--smoked duck and strawberry spinach salad with parmesan.  God I love duck.

The next morning, after getting up early and walking the dogs to nearby Rittenhouse Square, we headed to Reading Terminal market.  Since it was early it was relatively quiet. It's fun to walk around and look, but it kind of reminds me of Pike Place Market in Seattle in that while there are some gems, overall it's more of a touristy thing. Which is fine with me because I was a tourist.  

Even though it was 9:30 a.m., Kevin and I couldn't resist a stand run by Mennonites that were dishing up breakfast food and apple dumplings.  Look at the excited anticipation:

Folks, what you just saw happened to be THE WORST apple dumpling in all of God's creation. Seriously, no fucking joke this thing was awful.  Kevin gave me the first bite--it was gooey, doughy, flabby and anemic. I spit it out.  We tried to eat the apple, but it was unyielding, rubbery, so we just settled for stabbing it with a fork before chucking this insult to baked goods into the trash.

Eff you, you sorry excuse for an apple dumpling

We then made the requisite trip to Independence Hall (with Liberty Bell and stuff--we only saw it through a window because we didn't want to wait in line). The pics are boring so instead take a gander at our faces.

My face is like the moon, and Kevin's is like a parsnip

We strolled around Society Hill, the surrounding neighborhood, to gawk at the pretty Federalist townhouses.  We saw the former residence of James and Dolly Madison, which had this plaque by the door:

See how she is referred to as a "Famous Hostess" Wife? I want to be a "Famous Hostess" Wife.  Especially if it mean being a "Famous Hostess" Wife of this abode:

Midway through our death march I nearly induced a nuclear holocaust of our marriage owing to my increaing hunger pangs and sweatiness.  Hunger pangs give me panic attacks--I don't like being hungry.  Luckily we quickly happened on a little Cuban place that served empanadas in this cute little fryer basket:

Kevin drinking a mojito, well-deserved after having suffered through the trauma of the near-implosion of his wife. I'm pretty sure the bartender just assumed I wasn't 21 years old and gave me a virgin mojito. Asshole.

We then visited the cemetery where Ben Franklin and his wife are buried.  Here are some of the other headstones (Ben's was a boring old slab):

Oh, do you want a close-up?

Yep. This is pretty much what they all looked like--weathered stones completely devoid of any trace of the original text.  Note to self: tell any survivors not to cheap out on headstone and invest in marble instead of stone, or else suffer this:

Yes, those are the socks, shoes and shorts look of my adorable 33-year old husband, who dresses like he's a 55-year old German tourist. We've past the point of mortification, and it's so silly that it's pretty damn cute to me.

Again, after walking around for what seemed like eternity, we happened upon one of the branches of Brown Betty Dessert Boutique, where we purchased a few cupcakes.  Chocolate with chocolate icing and red velvet with cream cheese frosting.

The chocolate icing was really good.  The red velvet and frosting were yummy as well.  The chocolate cake had good flavor but was very, very dense and some of the crumbs had kinda fused together into one big blob. I think, based on the red velvet cake, they use more of a poundcake recipe which I think keeps the cake more moist even after sitting out.  Despite the chocolate cake fusion aspect, these cupcakes were way better than the ones at the shitshow they call Magnolia Bakery in NYC. Seriously, that place is NOT GOOD.

After heading back to the hotel, walking the dogs, and taking a quick nap, we headed out to Fish restaurant, not too far from Rittenhouse Square. We really liked this place. Comfortable and friendly, and some of the best fish we've ever had.

We started with cava to go along with our oysters. (Actually, my oysters. Kevin doesn't eat oysters. Sad.)

My seared halibut with rock shrimp cioppino. Super crispy on one side, and the body of the fish cooked all meaty and tender without being dried out. And the rock shrimp were perfectly poached--literally burst in the mouth.

Kevin's mahi mahi with fava beans and other spring goodies. Again with the wonderful crispy crunch on one side.

The next day we wandered around some uber fancy neighborhoods with the dogs and fed our total real estate envy before hopping back on the train for the 1.5 hour trip home.  All in all a very nice trip.


  1. oh and should you have rated this post 'R' for the pic of the naked man-ankles?

  2. what a great idea! from now on whenever I am served something that isn't worth eating, I, too, will spit it out loudly, mutilate it with eating implements while shouting obscenities, and then dispose of it.

  3. Fun!!! Mr. Peng just got back from Philly, he said it was his fave place to visit on his little tour of the East Coast (that's right take that NYC. Just kidding he'd already been to NY before). So sorry about that shit apple dumpling. I've been pretty pissed over shit food before. What a waste of calories. Because unlike you, I would have totally ate the whole thing but complained the whole time. Because I am a piggy.

    I recently stayed at Hotel Monaco in Alexandria VA (a Kimpton place)... super cute! Alexandria is a suuuuuper cute little town if you're looking for another quick weekend trip!

  4. Fantastic trip! Philly is such an awesome food town! Bonus with the BYOs. Now I can't get my mind off of that duck and strawberry salad. Kimpton hotels are so fabs, btw. Go Pugs!

  5. Love the Kimpton hotels! I stayed in one while I was in Dallas (even though my family lives there, I'm not weird). A friend of mine works for them, so we got the presidential suite. Score! They even had a big long table that I assume was for doing presidential type business, of which I had none to do. Oh well. Your trip looks awesome! Next time can we come? :)