Friday, May 17, 2013

Festivities. Part deux.

Hi friends,

Part two of my festival overview includes events happening Saturday and Sunday. 

On Saturday check out the Rittenhouse Row Festival that spans Walnut Street between Broad and 19th Street. This festival typically hosts outside food tents from the restaurants along Walnut Street, along with adult beverages, fashion shows, music and dog-related events. I don't typically love this festival, I know I'm in the minority on this one, but my friends Allison, Lee and their little girl, Stella, are going to be there, so I'll go and say hello to them.

The RRF runs from 12-5 on Saturday. See you there along with 30,000 of our closest friends.

And finally, it is time for the greatest festival in Philadelphia - this Saturday and Sunday marks the annual the Peroni Festival (formally known as the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival).

photo credit: wiki

Now this is my favorite festival for a hundred different reasons, and lucky for me, my friend Desi lives nearby so not only do I get to enjoy the festival with a friend, but when we want to escape (highly unlikely) we can go to her house and use a real bathroom. The perks of knowing someone in high places, I'm telling you.

The festival is like all other street fairs and 9th Street, located in the Italian Market district, is open and festival goers are invited (and encouraged) to drink a cold Peroni (in a plastic red cup) from one of the many vendors and walk around with it while deciding what to eat (corn-on-a-stick with chile butter, tamales, dozens of Italian pastries, and pretty much anything else you can think of).

Here are my tips for you: decide to go either day, or both, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. but make your first stop the beer stand outside of Villa di Roma for a Peroni. Then wander throughout the tiny streets of the Italian Market. You'll want to return to this restaurant later to sit at the bar and order the fried asparagus. I shouldn't need to continue, but I will. The eight or so pieces of the lightly battered and fried vegetable are served atop a butter sauce with a hint of lemon. Your mom always told you to eat your vegetables and this dish will make you love vegetables. Every bite is crunchy and there is usually a fight for the last spear.

You don't need to just take my word for it... read this review of the fried deliciousness.

Stop into Anthony's coffeehouse for a warm Sfogliatelle, which means many layers in Italian, that is a clam-shaped pastry filled with ricotta cheese with a tiny trace of vanilla and orange throughout. If you want to try to make one, here is a recipe

 photo credit:tumblr

I can taste it now. 

You can also check out DiBruno's for cheese and olive oil, and Talluto's for pasta.

The best part about this festival is the very relaxed vibe everyone seems to exude while they are there. The surrounding streets are open only for pedestrian traffic and you can wander aimlessly throughout the market. The weather will be gorgeous this weekend, perfect for summer dresses, plaid shorts and drinking Peronis on a hot day. Enjoy!

I hope I see you there!

Your friend,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Festivities this weekend. Part one.

Happy Thursday, friends.

If you're not sure what to do this weekend, or even tonight. I wanted to give you a few ideas.

On tap tonight is the season's first Night Market, where dozens of food trucks ranging from pizza, cheese curds, tamales, and pretty much anything else you can imagine including adult beverages and bands, converge onto one neighborhood. The Night Markets are a good time. My only recommendations are to go early and bring cash along with your patience. If you don't have much patience, seek out the first beer stand to help you combat the lines and the crowds. If you go, you should walk or take the bus, a subway or a cab.

My friend Pete's band, the 9's, will be on playing some of their cool hits at Fare Restaurant around 20th and Fairmount, so look for them, too!

Trucks will be parked along Fairmount Ave between 19th and 22nd Streets. If you miss this Night Market, more will be held this year in June, August and October.

On Saturday, there are two items to note, so stay tuned! One is the best festival, so it's not to be missed, the Peroni festival (formally known as the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival).

Enjoy the Night Market but look for more tips soon.

Your friend,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day.

Hi friends - especially moms, new moms, moms to be and everyone who has a mom.

New York Magazine wrote a profile on Mindy Kaling, formerly of The Office and now The Mindy Project.

I read this piece a few months ago and the below excerpt has stayed with me...and probably always will. I thought it was appropriate on this day and I wanted to share it with you.

"My relationship with my mom is really the single most profound relationship that I’ve ever had in my life," Mindy tells me...But her voice breaks when she starts talking about how she sat down with a pen and paper and asked her mother to give her all the advice she could possibly give her before she died, and Kaling realized she’d never be able to ask her mother for advice again. “I said to her, ‘Mom, I’m going to be so lonely without you.’” She’s crying now but keeps going. “And she just said, ‘You have to be your own best friend. If you always remember that, you will always have someone there with you.’”

I'm fortunate to have a great mom who I talk to daily, if not hourly, some days. She is the reason why I am who I am. She is the reason why I swam throughout my entire life, the reason why I have an Airedale, the reason why I am a writer, the reason why I am easily amused.

She's the reason I have a positive outlook on life. The reason why I absolutely cannot sleep in. The reason why I have to give my future children the most magical Christmas. I wouldn't have it any other way.

One day,  if I'm lucky, I hope to have the very same relationship with a daughter of my own. The same relationship my mom had with my grandmother. This is one heirloom I want to pass along.

Thank you, mom, for everything. For putting up with me throughout my teenage years, for happily carting me to and from swim practice at 5 a.m., for dealing with my antics and sass during the past 34 years, for being the best shopping partner, and for always being there for me when I want to tell you something great, something funny or when I just need a hug. For being my relentless cheerleader. For your ear and your shoulder. For teaching me to always make my bed first, when I move somewhere new so I know I have somewhere to sleep. For teaching me that a cup of tea and a good night's rest can fix pretty much everything. And above all, for always believing that everything happens for a reason.

You deserve the best day and I cannot wait to see you in a few weeks!

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
– Oscar Wilde

And now, I had better start thinking about my Father's Day post...
Your friend,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

American Sardine Bar.

Hi friends,
Last night, I met my dear friend, Andy, who happens to also be my realtor, to see a few houses. We met early in the evening and debated grabbing a quick bite before we began house hunting, but we ended up zipping through the houses and lo and behold, ended up a mere block from American Sardine Bar.

Coincidence, fate and happenstance, it was. I had raved about the haloumi sandwich earlier in the evening, but, to our dining displeasure ASB recently updated their menu.

I opted the 21st Amendment Come Hell or High Watermelon beer on draft, which is one of my favorites right now. It is also available by the can at Race Street Cafe. The design on the can, and the rather clever name, get me every time. Andy ordered the American Sardine Ale.

Since the haloumi sandwich (yes, I've mentioned this before, it's that good) isn't on the menu right now, we asked our waiter for a recommendation. And after hearing about it, and being a bit intrigued  - we ordered the spaghetti sandwich. Why not?

And that, my friends, is the sandwich that we shared. Odd right? But surprisingly good. It is exactly what it looks like: toasted garlic bread, with provolone cheese and basil, topped with spaghetti. I'm Italian and know my bread, pasta and cheese. Since I tend to enjoy my carbs with a side of carbs, this was exactly up my alley. Sharing it was absolutely the right idea. Sharing the haloumi sandwich is never a good idea, however. And yes, you can order sardines, at ASB, of course.

We also ordered the salt and pepper fries, which are served with a dill pickle dip.

If you are looking for a good beer and sandwich (get the haloumi if you see it on the menu), check out ASB, it won't disappoint. And if you're looking for a house - my dear friend Andy is the best of the best. He is married to one of my nearest and dearest, and he's always up for a bite somewhere cool before, during or after, any of your house-hunting adventures.

Your friend,

Friday, May 3, 2013

Margaritas and Mint Juleps.

Happy weekend, friends.

With two big events occurring this weekend, and gorgeous weather in the forecast, it's bound to be a fun weekend.

First, there is the Kentucky Derby, Saturday. I confess that my friend, Bill, offered me an extra ticket to the Derby. I'm sad this news reached me late Friday afternoon and I will not be drinking a mint julep at Churchill Downs, but I can say with all certainly that I will be drinking a mint julep, somewhere, Saturday.
And then there is Cinco de Mayo on Sunday. If you're out in Philadelphia, here are a few events that will most likely be a great time.

El Vez and all of 13th Street will be hosting a block party starting at noon with pop-up tands of tacos and drinks. If you go to El Vez, try the Granada margarita.

There is the always-amazing Dos Segundos in Northern Liberties (and sister restaurant, the Cantina in South Philadelphia) where you cannot go wrong with a blood orange margarita (on the rocks, with a sugar rim, please).

There is the East Passyunk Cinco de Mayo festival, too.

I wonder if Loco Pez is having a Cinco de Mayo event? If they do, it will be a hilarious time. If you go, bring cash.

To all of my friends running the Broad Street run on Sunday, I hope you run well and more importantly, rehydrate with a Dos Equis or a margarita. I'll be out cheering for you around Broad and Walnut, so look for me.

Busy weekend for sure! I just need to find a silver cup and a margarita glass.

Your friend, Caroline