|The Reading Terminal Market Mascot!|
On Friday, the iPad2 and I took a little trip to see the Librarian in Philadelphia. She was there for a conference and per our usual deal, if we are within proximity to one another we must see each other. I guess since she did carry me for 9 months and has continued to bathe (not so much these days) and clothe (yup, still does on occassion---) I can carve out 24 hrs for her. To be honest, I love these trips and loved spending some quality, even if it is short, time with my Mom. The one kink in our plan was that I needed to return to D.C. before the bridges closed and locked my out of my City. (Again, I am kidding, but this is my usual line for when I don't want to stay in VA or MD to long, "we have to get home before the close the bridges!") Actually, I need to get home on Sat night in order to carb up, get a good night sleep, and wake up to run the Cherry Blossom 10 mile run.
The challenge what can you really do in Philadelphia in 24hrs? Turns out, a lot.
The iPad2 and I zipped up to Philadelphia courtesy of MegaBus; even though the bus claimed to have WiFi (which is sort of did) we were not even outside of D.C. before I caved and purchased the AT&T #G monthly plan ($30), I just couldn't handle NOT playing Angry Birds for the 3hr ride. Ironically, I ended up playing Sudoko (which is lovely on the iPad2) for most of the trip which doesn't require a WiFi/#G connection. Anyways, we zipped up to Philadelphia without incident and arrived at Penn Station just in time for a downpour, luckily, we had to circle until a spot opened up for us in the bus queue. From there, I hailed a taxi (love the $2.70 base fee---see D.C. IT CAN BE DONE!) and motored over to the Marriott downtown. From there I was instructed to "chug" a glass of wine because we were immediately off to dinner at Zahav and proceed to have one of the best dining experiences of my young, but experienced, dining life. Perhaps it was the amazing service, suberp/fun company, or the dreamy chef, but the food was outstanding, in fact, I proclaimed loudly (after complimentary champagne and two bottles of wine) a top 10 dining experience. Chef Michael Solomonov happened to pick up a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best Chef-Mid Atlantic days after we made our reservation (sidenote: Chef Solomonov is HOT and so charming...). Anyone traveling to Philadelphia must travel to Zahav and enjoy the divine dining experience. Our party opted for the Mesibah tasting menu which was not only nicely priced but included the most amazing main course, a whole-roasted lamb shoulder. I think of have adequately gushed about Zahav...I think.
It is completely fair to say that I am NOT A MORNING PERSON. In fact, my dream job has my work day starting around 10/10:30am and extending until 7/7:30pm. However, the Librarian is a morning person and I happened to make breakfast plans with a friend of mine who is an extreme morning person. Which led to an awesome discovery, Reading Terminal Market, which conveniently was located across the street from the hotel. The Librarian and I started with tea and coffee from Old City Coffee. They roast all of their beans on site, I even snagged a new travel mug (eco-friendly), we then strolled around the market checking out the massive space and its various vendors in the stages of "opening" up for the day. The market is about 5X as big as Eastern Market and has a carved out section just for Amish farmers/families. Unfortunately, the Librarian had to boogey to give a speech, so my friend Diane and I were off to explore breakfast options. We landed at the Dutch Eating Place food counter and we each tucked into two pancakes and a side of bacon. Beyond delicious, I especially enjoyed the tab: $7.25 total for both.
After the Librarian's superb presentation, we headed out. Walking is something we do best and with the 10 mile run quickly approaching, I warned the Librarian that we would have to be conservative with our miles, unlike last time when we walked 10 milers in one day exploring the city. Our goal was to be at The Rittenhouse Hotel at 2pm for our afternoon tea reservation. Off we went, checking out stores, grabbing a cup of soup at a local market, new dri-fit running shirt, and window shopping at Macy's. By 1:45pm we had arrived to Rittenhouse Square and made our way to the restaurant for tea. When I made the reservations for tea, I had been told that an event was taking place in the Mary Cassett Tea Room and afternon tea would be re-located to the restaurant. I had some mixed feelings about this, but went ahead and made reservations. Boy, am I glad. To start with, the restaurant has amazing views of Rittenhouse Square, we were distracted for a good chunk of the time by a wedding party taking photos in front of the hotel and in the square. The service was impeccable and the food divine (we even ordered a second round of tea sandwiches). However, the best part, the had renamed their tea options in honor of Prince William and soon-to-be bride Kate Middleton. And of course, we went with the Princess Kate tea, which included unlimited champagne.
Of course the challenge with having afternoon tea and unlimited champagne is one has to use the bathroom a lot, we strategically planned bathroom runs on our exit and motored to Macy's where I was treated to a new dress and belt (as it happens the Librarian does continue to clothe me). From there, I begged for a pre-train nap (yeh for comfy Marriott down-beds!!).
Finally, the dreaded 6pm time arrived and the Librarian and I headed back to Penn Station where I boarded an Amtrak to return to D.C. Even after eight years living away from home, it is still rough to say good-bye. It was made a little bit easier knowing that I would see the Librarian in May, June, August, and September (geez, we might get sick of each other!). As the train pulled into the station, I tucked into a great book, In-N-Out Burgers, and in no time at all we were puling into Union Station.
Thank you Philadelphia for an excellent 24hrs, we must do it again....soon.