So once again, L and I slept in a bit late. This time we can blame it on our late night of Latin dancing the night before. Regardless, we had a late start to our day. Once we both got coffee in us, and showered, we felt human enough to head down into Philly’s downtown, known as Center City.
Foolishly, we decided to drive. Our thought process went like this: it’s Sunday, free parking is a possibility, and public transit near me doesn’t go directly into Center City so we would have had to mess with transfers, etc., so driving is a better bet. Foolish us. Foolish foolish us. We spent an hour, a full HOUR, driving in circles looking for parking. We didn’t even care if we had to walk, we were planning on walking the city anyway, all we wanted was a parking spot that didn’t say “Tow Zone” or handicapped. Yeah. Never again. Next time I think I’ll just deal with public transit.
By the time we finally found parking and made our way to the Reading Terminal Market for some “lunch” it was almost 3pm and we were both starving. L found a stall specializing in vegetarian food, and decided to get some sweet potato fries. I went in search of something else and found some sushi. It was quite tasty, but that may have been the hunger talking. By the time I had found the sushi stall, ordered my rolls, received them, and eaten almost all of it, L still did not have her sweet potato fries. I was starting to wonder if they had to peel and slice the whole sweet potatoes to make the fries.
When she found me sitting at the counter, she was empty handed. What happened? Apparently the woman had forgotten them and they had burnt so she was going to have make another batch. WTF?? Forgotten them? Is this a joke? Unfortunately, no. L, being starving and cranky, told the woman to just give her the money back and walked away. By the time L found me, she had hit “feed me or I will kill you” stage of hunger so we quickly walked through the remainder of the market to find something vegetarian (no small feat). L ended up with a vegetarian gyro that wasn’t all that good, but it did pull her out of homicidal mode so the world was safe again.
On our way out of the market (almost 4pm, and the stalls were closing up), we came upon the Flying Monkey. The Flying Monkey has cupcakes. Yummy cupcakes. We enjoyed a vanilla pound cake cupcake with chocolate filling and butter cream frosting. OMG. A mini-orgasm in our mouth. Cupcake heaven. A picture of the cupcake carnage can be seen here. I can’t say that it was better or worse than the cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery in NYC because they are two completely different kinds of cupcakes, both with their own place in cupcake heaven.
Our bellies now full and content, we hit the pavement, with the goal of heading East and then South, meandering our way down towards the intersection 6th Street and South Street. We walked down Market Street to the Independence National Historical Park, home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, which runs along 6th Street. We started at the Liberty Bell. We had to go through security to see the Liberty Bell, which was just like airport security, except while I still had to take off my belt, at least I got to keep my shoes on. We timed our visit perfectly, and were able to get some great photos without a lot of people around. After we exited the Liberty Bell building, we headed South along 6th Street to Independence Hall. Unfortunately, we could no longer enter the actual building (no more tickets for today), so we contented ourselves with walking around the outside in the very nice park that surrounds it.
Philly being a very historical city, there are even more historical sites to behold on either side of the Park. We saw the Curtis Center, a piece of publishing history, and Library Hall, home to Ben Franklin’s American Philosophical Society’s library. We continued South on 6th to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in Washington Square. Our heads full of history, our stomachs called again, and we left history behind in search of food.
A colleague had told me about this place on 6th Street that had great vegetarian cheese steaks. Ummm, ok, we’ll give it a shot. So we went in search of Gianna’s Grille. Sure enough, while the menu includes all the standard cheese steak and traditional meat favorites, it also has a very extensive selection of vegetarian options, all of which can be “veganized” if desired. We opted to split a GG Special (the vegetarian cheese steak) and an order of Krabby Fries (basic fries but with Old Bay Seasoning, a childhood favorite of mine). While waiting to order, our eyes were drawn to a case at the end of the counter that boasted “All treats are vegan” and contained a delicious array of cakes and cannolis. So we added two cupcakes to our order. We had to test them against our earlier experience of cupcake heaven and see how they stacked up.
Our food arrived, and we were really glad we split the vegetarian cheese steak. And it was fantastic. FANTASTIC. We couldn’t even finish it all, so we wrapped up the remaining cheese steaks and fries, to be eaten as a snack or lunch tomorrow. And we took the cupcakes to go. Being only a block from South Street, we decided a nice walk was in order to walk off some of the very large and very very tasty meal we just had.
South Street is an eclectic blend of shops and restaurants and cafes with an equally eclectic bunch of people wandering around. It was great fun to walk while window shopping and people watching. After about a half hour of walking up and down South Street, we made our way back to the car. Aussie was waiting at home and needed to be fed and walked.
Once the dog was taken care of, we decided to be brave and venture out again, this time to Sisters for an adult beverage and conversation. Foolishly, again, we decided to drive in. After circling for parking for a good fifteen minutes, praying to the parking gods, we realized we were praying to the wrong gender. As soon as we changed to praying to the parking goddess, a parking spot became available. Thank you thank you thank you parking goddess. We will never pray to the wrong gender again. The late night of dancing followed by a day of walking caught up with us and we made it an early night, only hanging out at Sisters for a little over an hour.
We made it home without incident, and returned home to find that the parking goddess was still smiling upon us and the parking space we had vacated when we left was miraculously still available. After walking the dog one last time, we decided we needed a bedtime snack of leftover Krabby Fries and our vegan cupcakes. Aussie laid in wait in her usual spot, waiting for crumbs to drop.
We demolished the remainder of the fries, and moved onto the vegan cupcakes. Wow. Quite tasty. Not quite as heavenly as the Flying Monkey cupcake earlier (not much beats butter cream frosting), but if we hadn’t known they were vegan cupcakes, we never would have believe it. All in all, an excellent way to end the day.
Tomorrow’s plan includes a visit to another vegetarian recommendations and the King Tut touring exhibit.