As you all know, my friend CH visited me this weekend. His train arrived after the work happy hour on Friday, so we met up and headed out for food. CH was in the mood for a cheesesteak, and rather than venturing into Center City, we walked up to Abner’s. I’ve been there several times, and know that they make good cheesesteaks, and CH agreed. Another Abner’s fan. After food, we headed home to take care of the dog (CH and Aussie bonded, even getting in a bit of play and a good game of tug) and since we both had long days, we sat down and vegged out for a bit to the Food Network (always good TV for foodies).
On Saturday, after sleeping in a bit, we went to the farmers market down in Clark Park. I needed some veggies, and since CH is also a foodie, he loves just looking around as much as I do. We arrived at Clark Park only to discover there was also a flea market going on. I vaguely remember my colleague and friend KS that lives nearby telling me about the flea market insanity, but couldn’t remember which days it happens. Well, Saturday was one of the days. It meant I ended up parking a bit farther away than normal, but the weather was glorious so the walk wasn’t unwelcome. We brought the dog with us (which wore her out for the rest of the day) because she loves all the attention and extra loves she gets and she gets to meet lots of other dogs (two of her favorite things). On our walk through the flea market to the farmers market, a really nice lady that was running one of the food carts even gave my dog some water just because. She did drink some, but I think she was more interested in the sausage smell coming from the woman’s cart.
At the farmers market, I had a few things I needed, like delicious bread, and KS had told me that the peaches were in. First stop (and always the first stop), whoopie pies from the stand on the end. Apparently CH has never even heard of them. He’s now a convert. Yummy. In addition to picking up some of the really good bread, I picked up some tomatoes, some squash and some kale for lunches and dinners this week. I also got peaches (freshed picked that morning!) and they are delicious. A few were a bit more ripe than others, and got a bit smashed just banging into each other in the bag, so CH and I were forced to eat them. Poor us (NOT!). Sweet, juicy, perfectly ripe…I didn’t even mind the peach skin (I usually have to peel the fuzzy skin off…it’s a texture thing). Several places had blueberries as well, but I passed on those this week. Next week I’m going for blueberries and peaches, and I’m going to buy extra so I can freeze some. Nothing like blueberries in the middle of November (the freeze very very well) and frozen peach slices on hot summer nights (better than a popsicle, really! Try it!).
On our way back to the car, we stopped to get coffee. And then we smelled it. Basil. Very fragrant basil coming from a stand just past the coffee stand. The basil smelled just too good to resist. So I bought a huge bunch (all the bunches were huge) so I have enough for my favorite summer salad (tomato, olive oil, salt, pepper, mozzarella and basil…a classic) AND enough to make some pesto. So good. My fridge currently smells like basil and it’s wonderful.
After stopping off at home to drop off the dog and eat some lunch, we headed for Center City. Specifically the area around Rittenhouse Square. We were meeting up with friends for dinner in the area, so we headed over early to walk around in the gorgeous weather for awhile. We didn’t have anything specific we were looking for, but the neighborhood itself is historical, and it was nice to just walk and talk and look around. Many of the row homes are historic, and some even have names like Madison, or Lexington. I don’t believe I’ve ever lived in a house that had it’s own name. There are lots of random little boutiques and shops around, as well as lots of restaurants. Every block or so we had to stop and read a menu. I love it when restaurants post their menus in the window or on a stand out front. It’s like window shopping for your stomach. There was one Spanish restaurant (lots of tapas) that looked intriguing that I’m going to have to find again. My friend AH even said that she heard they have good hot chocolate and churros. After hearing that I must find it again…if I can remember the name.
For dinner we met up with AH and her husband DS at Monk’s Cafe. There was a 30 minute wait for a table for four, but man-oh-man was it worth it! I had heard that they have a large variety of beer available, and their focus is on Belgian beers. They have a list of them all that is referred to as the “Beer Bible” and is cross referenced by style and country. We all decided to get a beer that is currently on their seasonal on tap menu and it was very refreshing after walking around. CH got their namesake Flemish Sour (a sour ale), DS and I both got the Geants Goliath (a Triple with a hit of fruitiness…almost peachy), and AH went for the Chimay Triple. We were all very satisfied beer drinkers.
For dinner, DS felt like being different and got a sandwich, but AH, CH and I decided to each get a side salad and to split two small pots of their famous mussels, which are served with a side of their pommes frites and bourbon mayo. We settled on their namesake Monk’s and the Brussels varieties. Delicious. And decadent. They also come with a piece of bread, that we all used to soak up the liquor in the pot. What a delicious rich flavor to that broth after steeping the mussels and herbs and garlic in it. CH contemplated just pouring it into an empty glass and drinking it…but he resisted. That’s some serious willpower on his part.
We declined dessert there, as we had plans to walk over to the Naked Chocolate Cafe. The weather continued to be beautiful, and as we crossed Broad Street, I looked over to see City Hall lit up, and an incredible dusky, gray blue color to the sky behind. Stunning. A nearly perfect summer evening, not too hot, people out and about, beautiful weather, brilliant sky colors…a great night to walk.
At Naked Chocolate Cafe, we scored a table, and realized we were just too full for anything beyond drinks. But that’s not a loss there. Their chocolate drinks are divine. AH and DS decided to split a Frozen Drinking Chocolate, and I decided to indulge myself and get my own. We all got the Aztec variety, rich chocolate with a hint of spices, slightly frozen, with whipped cream on top. CH went for a hot chocolate, the bittersweet variety. Mmmm…yum. It was definitely an evening of a decadent dinner followed by and an equally decadent dessert.
Sunday morning CH and I slept in again and vegged out for a bit with the dog before he had to leave. He has a soccer league game this evening, so he had to take a fairly early train, which really didn’t give us any time to do anything in the city. But that’s OK, we enjoyed our time hanging out and just having a relaxing weekend rather than rushing all over the city playing tourist. And he’ll be back…if only for the mussels and chocolate.