Gambit and I went away with LQ (our friend visiting from Hong Kong) for Memorial Day weekend to Philadelphia.
Saturday – May 28
We took the 9:05am Amtrak from Penn Station.
After we dropped our bags off at our respective hotels – Gambit and I stayed at the Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square, and LQ stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City – we headed out to grab lunch from the Reading Terminal Market.
We had a Philly Cheesesteak from Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies & Cheesesteaks which was actually subpar – food and service wise. I am sure the food is fine but I just don’t really like chunky, white chewy bread with cheap tasting meet with bright colored cheese.
However, the donuts we then had from Beilers Donuts made up for it. They were cheap and tasty. We lined up in a long queue where we got to see the donuts being made fresh – from the cutting of the dough, frosting and filling. And because they were so fresh, they were soft and delicate and delicious. We tried to get some for the train trip back on Monday and it was closed. I cried a little inside.
We kicked around the city for a little bit and then popped into Macy’s to find a hat for LQ because it was hot and humid.
I booked us in at The Dandelion for dinner, a British gastropub. I absolutely loved this restaurant and look forward to coming back the next time I am in town, especially for the brunch. The restaurant is set in what looks like an old house and the inside is absolutely beautifully decorated. I didn’t take any photos of the place or food, so I have had to take some photos off the restaurant’s website.
LQ had the Crab Risotto, Gambit the Crispy Hampshire Pork Belly, and the Lamb Shepherd’s Pie for myself.
Sunday – May 29
LQ met us at Green Eggs Café – Midtown Village, for breakfast. I found this place on Yelp and I was not the least bit disappointed with the food. We got lucky and got seated within minutes of arriving which was great as it was hot and sunny outside and having to wait in those conditions would’ve been painful.
LQ and I ordered the Crème Brulee French Toast (each), and Gambit ordered the Chicken & Waffles Benedict. It was an extremely tough decision as all the options looked amazing. Next time I go, I will try the Red Velvet Pancakes.
After brunch we walked past the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens which is an outdoor mosaic sculpture garden and artworks. Entrance was $10 and the next entry time was not until later that day but as we popped our heads through the gates, we decided it was not worth the wait.
We then walked to the Italian Markets, the oldest working outdoor market in the US. The internet promised vendors selling cheese, meat, pastry, herbs, seafood, etc but what we got were dead streets lined with dated looking shops. Perhaps it was summer and it was too hot for the vendors to have their outdoor stalls.
I booked us tickets to the The Franklin Institute for The Science Behind Pixar exhibit. Our tickets included entrance to the rest of the Institute. The total experience was excellent – the Institute was very educational and well organized.
The Science Behind Pixar was excellent. I got to see my favorite characters and learning about how my favorite movies were put together.
After the museum we headed towards The Rocky Statue and the Rocky Steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I didn’t run the steps or pose the ‘Rocky’ pose because it was a hot and humid day. But that didn’t stop a whole bunch of other guys that did.
For dinner we popped into a neighbor seafood joint called Cameron’s Seafood before catching an Uber back to our hotels and had a semi-early night.
Monday – May 30
It was our last day in Philly and our visit would not have been complete without going to the Independence Hall and seeing the Liberty Bell. The Independence Hall tour is free and there is a limited quantity of free tickets available each day. I booked our tickets online in advanced so we didn’t miss out during our visit which incurred a $1.50 fee.
Here is a great page that explains what the Independence Hall is. All I can remember from the tour is that the Declaration of Independence was signed in the Independence Hall, and it was actually signed July 2nd and not the 4th – so Independence Day holiday should actually be celebrated on the 2nd.
The Liberty Bell was pretty cool – it is a giant bell. Here is another page that explains what the Liberty Bell is.
After the tour, we headed out to Federal Donuts for lunch before heading to the train station to catch the 4:19pm Amtrak back to Penn Station.
Federal Donuts however didn’t sell only donuts but also fried chicken (honestly, Philly – where have you been all my life!). Gambit and I shared a Fried Chicken Sandwich, and I ordered a dozen different cinnamon donuts (I gave half a dozen to my neighbor to thank her for looking after Ava).
Overall, our trip to Philly was great. I would say there is not much to see but a heck of a lot to eat. Next time I go, I will go on an eating tour!