NFT Travel Guides: Best Food in Philadelphia
One of our travel guides partners, Not For Tourists, has many funny and unique offerings for travelers on their website this week. Check out the following highlights from their Philadelphia correspondents this week...
Drink Before You Eat
Local 44 receives accolades where accolades are due: their beer list runneth over with gorgeous, frequently changing draft beers. Want a Belgian saison? Got it. A framboise? Awesome. Hoppy beer, local beer, gluten-free beer? It's all there in this comfortable bar that added a much-needed injection of drinking to West Philly. But, be warned: Local 44's food knows that beer is the focus, and it behaves accordingly. The veggie burger, while featuring a beautiful bun and coupled with great fries, was made elsewhere (or else Local 44 took great pains to form their veggie burgers into a dense, Morningstar-like patties). Similarly, the tofu tacos had brilliant elements, but didn't quite come together like they could have (and, actually, were quite adept at falling apart). Go forth and drink at Local 44, drink plenty and often. But if your stomach is grumbling for a dinner-full of pub food, consider going elsewhere.
Ice Cream Festival
Penn's Landing Marina
I imagine that one of the low-to-middle rings of hell consists of being smothered by sweaty, sticky-fingered children as they press progressively closer and closer to you, eating ice cream that you yourself are not allowed to enjoy. If you would like to prepare yourself for this particular hell, I suggest that you visit the annual Fourth of July Ice Cream Festival at Penn's Landing. Oh, I probably shouldn't be so harsh. After all, you do get to try as many delicious ice cream flavors as you can eat..that is, if you have the stamina to push yourself through the crowds of sweaty families who stand like Lindsey Lohan's bodyguards between you and the ice cream. And yeah, your entry fee does go to charity. Sigh. Maybe I'm becoming an agoraphobic cynic. Or maybe I just hate being touched by sticky-fingered children.
Where else in Philly can you have Lobster & Crab mac 'n cheese washed down with Watermelon Sangria and a seriously cool atmosphere other than Valanni? I mean really, cause I'm kinda obsessed with this place and I can't stop craving the medi-Latin cuisine. Apparently, the story is the owner of the place went to Spain and fell in love with the culture (and food) and was kind enough to share his experiences through Valanni's tapas, entrees, seasonal sangria, and delicious drink menu. Thank you Valanni man, whoever you are. The vibe inside the restaurant is moody and hip. What's best of all is although being in the restaurant makes you feel fancy and high-class, there's no feeling of pretentiousness like some other places and I won't name names. (Even though I should.) Make sure you stop by and get a drink (or seven) like the "X Boyfriend" or the "Blueberry Cotton Candy Martini." But don't worry fellas they've got the non sweet stuff too, feel free to order the filthy martini, they are oh so wonderful.
Jimmy's Got Style
Wait. South Philly's got a Home, Baby and Gift store and it's NOT tacky? Apparently, that seems to be the case thanks to the recently opened JimmyStyle. Jimmy Contreras, a local fashionista known for his no-nonsense approach to style, has set up shop on East Passyunk Avenue. Literally. In early-May, Contreras opened JimmyStyle in South Philadelphia. It's a "home store," which he describes as an "eclectic mix of funky, functional and fashionable products for your life and home." JimmyStyle carrys an assortment that includes small furniture, candles, frames, gift items, pillows, plates and vases, from names such as AREAWARE, Sagaform, Barrveld, Blue Q, Jonathan Adler, and Tribeca Candle. In addition, the store features a chic Baby Corner, with clothing for infants and toddlers, toys and accessories from designers like the Appaman Collection, Kee-Ka Baby, Ooh La La Mama and Trumpette.
The Hard-to-Find No Wait Brunch
I first found Hinge over two years ago, when I was sick as snot with the flu, half out-of-my brain and dragging my ass around Port Richmond trying to find an ATM. See, the doctor who I picked out of the phone book was kind enough to see me first-thing that morning, but when I tried to pay her, the credit card machine didn't work, sending me blindly into the neighborhood looking for cash. When I pulled myself into Hinge, I discovered that they didn't have an ATM, but they did have coffee, food, and an almost disturbingly eclectic decor that was part cafe, part jewelry store, and part home-dining-room where everyone in the family leaves their paperwork out. I returned to the restaurant a few weeks later with a clearer head to discover not only that their brunch was delicious (think: pesto, goat cheese, eggs, tomatoes, and bread), but that there was no wait. That's right--no wait for a delicious brunch in Philadelphia, a city whose best bruncheries are known to command hour plus wait times. Since then, Hinge has become my regular brunch spot, because we all know that time = money, and money = food.
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