runningwithrewards

Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Philadelphia! Aka Philly. Aka PHLY.

on June 27, 2012

This past weekend was spent in Philadelphia, taking in the sites and watching the “PHLYTRI” – the olympic distance triathlon held on Sunday morning.  For a full race recap. click here.

We arrived in Philly around 11 on Saturday morning, without too much traffic delays or trouble.  (Though I get unreasonably upset and personally offended by the tolls, but that’s another story!) 

We headed over to the race expo first, which was actually in the Northern part of the city.  The expo was up by the “Please Touch Museum,” a Children’s Museum which looked really cool and in which, had it not cost $14, I definitely would have gone!

Anyway, the race expo was pretty good, but nothing terribly awesome to write home about.  From there we went straight into the city to get some quality tourist action in.  First Up:  Philly Cheesesteaks, obviously!  Battling mid-Saturday traffic, we travelled all the way down to the South City to Tony Luke’s, of Man v. Food fame.  Being foreign to the city, we didn’t know which place was best to try, so we thought this would be a safe bet.  Tony Luke’s boasts an unassuming facade in an obscure location, and despite brandishing a long line, we excitedly walked right up to take a bite of culture!

         

Although I couldn’t partake, my companion eagerly devoured the fare.  Order: Cheesesteak with provolone and cheese wiz (there is a much cooler, Philly dialect way to say this, but I’d only embarrass myself by trying!).  Classic.  Review?  He loved it…it was everything he expected 🙂

Before:

After:

Next up: historic district….with a slight detour.  On the way up, talking about cheesesteaks, I mentioned that Philly is also known for its pretzels, a treat which would allow me to take part in a little city tradition as well.  Driving up to the downtown area, we spotted a pretzel frontage stand on a random street.  WAIT!  Pull over!  Despite a bewildered look on his face, The Boy pulled over and looked to the right to see the cause of my sudden outburst.  Ah.  No longer confused.  I excitedly hopped out, and ordered a plain salted pretzel with cheese sauce (perhaps my homage to the cheese wiz I just missed out on!).  Review: it was tasty, ball park style (crunchy exterior but soft baked) as opposed to Auntie Anne’s style.  I have to admit I’m partial to the latter, with the softer and buttery-er appeal, but this was one of the best of this style I’ve had 🙂

Alright, enough gastronomical detours…it was time for the history!  This city was the capital of the country at one point, and was the host of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, from which our Constitution was produced (and for those of you that know me, I ❤ the Constitution!)

We started at the Independence Visitor Center to get a tourist map and learn a little bit about our surroundings.  We walked around the Market Street area, viewing the Old City Hall and passed by the Liberty Bell Center (but didn’t go in because the line to see it was insane…plus neither of us <embarrasingly> could remember it’s significance and both have seen it before).  If you’re curious, according to the reputable site of Wikipedia, the Liberty Bell was cast in 1752 with the words, “”Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”  The bell apparently cracked the first time it was rung.  Oopsie.  And it “may” have been one of the bells run when the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Anyhoo, we then walked around the National Constitution Center, but since we had both seen it before and again weren’t to keen on the $15 price tag, we passed. 

Using my fabulous navigation skills (me + maps = I can get you almost anywhere, in any city, with alterations made for traffic), we journeyed through Chinatown and past the Philadelphia Convention Center. 

We stumbled upon Reading Terminal Market….which was a gem. “Let’s go in here” he says.  I reply “I mean if it has to do with food I’m obviously intrigued…”  Wow was this place awesome!

Enter: heaven.

ANY kind of food you can imagine, from all over the globe.  American: You got deli sandwiches, cheesesteaks (obviously), soul food, and cajun.  Then tour of Asia – Thai, Chinese, Japanese.  Throw in some Afghani, Indian and Pakistani for food measure.  Then French and Italian eats and bakeries.  Plus, the fabulous Amish section, reminiscent of my FAVORITE place in Annapolis.  These pics don’t do them justice, but here are a couple!

   

Apparently I got the fudge shop twice, but from different angles.  One bakery, the Flying Monkey, offered vegan goods, and as we all know, if it’s vegan, I’ll buy it.  And, it was super yummy!  “Doesn’t even taste vegan,” was the review 😉

They even had a vegetarian place called Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack bar, but it was closed on Saturdays!  NO FAIR.  Don’t worry after further research (awaiting the start of the tri) I discovered they were open on Sunday AND had awesome reviews for their Vegan cheesesteak.  Done and Done.  We emerged with many treats, and continued on our path to the City Hall before turning back.  Here are some tourist pics for your viewing pleasure!

City Hall was by far my favorite building in the city, possibly one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring I’ve seen.  It was absolutely amazing.

That’s about all for now folks, this post is getting rather long!  More later on: an evening in Manayunk, the triathlon, and Round 2 of Philly Cheesesteaks!

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