Sunday, June 16, 2013

Golf-swinging Sunday.

Hi friends,
I had some errands in Rittenhouse (at the Apple Store) and decided to run to Reading Terminal and meander back to Old City. I took Arch, lucky for me, and happened to see this...when I believe I also heard angels singing and saw unicorns.

This glorious site is The Cow and the Curd! AKA The Cheese Curd Truck that has eluded me for some time now for some reason or another because they roam from spot to spot selling this fried goodness.

Being a fan of cheese and food out of trucks, I ordered a small batch of freshly-made cheese curds for $6.50 with a side of sriracha mayonnaise.

About a half a dozen other trucks are there including a cupcake truck.

Why are the food trucks lining Arch Street, you ask? Because of a PGA-sponsored event of course! And it's even complete with a big-screen TV televising the U.S.Open, that's currently happening minutes outside of Philadelphia. There are even bleachers with fancy outdoor furniture with a rose centerpiece. The backdrop to this viewing station is the Visitor's Center, between The National Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell.

 What a pretty way to watch golf.

See....I wasn't kidding about a rose centerpiece. But, let's be honest here, the main attraction is, cheese curds withstanding, all of the plaid-shorts-wearing men. Delaney and I are heading back now to make new friends, I mean, pretend to be interested in watching golf.

One added item: there are putting greens and picnic tables for you to go and hang out with your dad, should you happen to be wandering around this part of the city on this Father's Day. Hope you are all having a lovely Sunday.

Your friend,

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day.

Hi friends,

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there.

Here is a little history for you on how the day started. The first Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. It was the idea of the daughter of a Civil War veteran, who raised his six children on his own, because she wanted to commemorate her father the same way children celebrated Mother's Day. She initially wanted Father's Day to land on her father's birthday - June 5 - but there was not enough time to pull a celebration together in the town of Spokane so they landed on the third Sunday in June.

I'm glad the day exists if only to have an extra reason to celebrate my first hero.

Whenever I'm out with my dad in Pittsburgh, in the Strip District hunting for interesting food items or getting coffee at La Prima, we're inevitably stopped by someone he knows. A patient who adores him, a nurse from the hospital, sometimes even a chef from a local restaurant in which he frequents. It happens without fail that I call him The Mayor. So, now you see where I get it. My mom will also gladly tell you the other traits I have from my dad.

A few of my favorite memories of my dad from my childhood include catching fireflies on a hot summer night, going for soft-serve ice-cream and fishing on the open water. We also used to read Love, Dad. It's a sweet story about a dad writing notes to his kids. I still have a dozen letters he would write to me during my collegiate years. They are sweet and funny and usually included a goofy rhyme and $20 intended for gas which I'm sure was used for beer, I mean, books. 

Now, one of our favorite things to do is open a nice bottle of wine, have dinner outside with my mom and talk. 

Here are a few vintage images of us throughout the years...

 Swimming in Bethany Beach where I'm probably about seven.

Heading off to Xavier in August 1997. I have it on good authority that he cried the entire way home to Pittsburgh after leaving Cincinnati with one less person in the car.

The day before my brother's wedding. My dad is always the best date. Did anyone else dance with their dad by standing on their feet as a little girl?

On this Father's Day, I want to thank my dad for being my cheerleader at swim meets and on the marathon course, for encouraging me to follow my dreams and for being my biggest fan. It's because of my dad that I walk confidently and the reason I have incredibly high expectations and zero patience. Thank you for always wanting the best for your little girl.

I just wish he lived a bit closer, but I'm lucky that he's only at the other end of the phone.

Happy Father's Day, dad! This quote sums it up...

I love my father as the stars — he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. - Terri Guillemets

Your friend, (and daughter)

Monday, June 3, 2013

British Invasion.

'ello, friends.

Last week, my friend Lisa and I went to a newer spot in our neighborhood - The Victoria Freehouse. It's a British gastropub that opened about two months old on Front Street, just south of Market in Old City. I'm kind of surprised it took me that long to check it out...considering I drive a Mini Cooper (Mini Coopa if you're from the U.K.) and have a slight obsession with the Union Jack.

The pub, or freehouse, is handsome, dark and cozy and the bartenders we met were extremely helpful and chatty.

We chatted with our bartender friend, Dave, who made us a delicious Bramble cocktail, that contains gin and blackberries, on Lisa's recommendation. It was lovely. Pouring our drinks whilst speaking with a British accent would have made the experience complete given my love of all things English. Who doesn't adore a British accent?

Then we switched over to beer. I chose the Russian Imperial stout because it was a rainy day, I love dark beer and it because was brewed for Catherine the Great in the 1700s.

Since we were just looking to grab a quick bite and because I love a good curry, we went for the tikka pizza (amazing, I'm craving it right now) and the curried cheese chips.

Both were great. The pizza was my favorite and I'll probably get one later this week because it was a surprisingly yet perfect combination of curry-coated cheese. The chips were thick-cut fries covered with cheese and swimming in a curry sauce. My only wish was for a tiny bit more cheese on the chips - one can never have too much cheese on fries.


Another solid reason why The Freehouse is a solid spot: this guy! Who doesn't love a British card-holding fox? I can hear him quip away in his British accent now.

...and even the baby pint glasses boast a British-inspired crown which I think is brilliant. All the more reason to go ahead and have one more tiny glass of a beer. You know you don't want to go home anyway!

And timely for Philadelphia Beer Week, the Freehouse having events for Beer Week.

If you fancy a good British pub, head to The Freehouse, sit at the bar, chat with Dave, and order the tikka pizza! I'm going to go back and try out the rest of the menu - namely the welsh rarebit (because it reminds me of something my grandmother used to eat), the fish and chips and the sticky toffee pudding! Cheerio!

Your friend,

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lazy, coffee-filled mornings.

Good morning, friends. I'm sitting outside right now on what I consider to be the best patio in the city. It's just before 8 a.m. on this lovely, breezy (for now), Saturday morning. It's not too hot (for now). I have my coffee (brewed from Old City Coffee beans) sitting on the arm of my Adirondack chair. Delaney is at my feet (for now) until the wind blows and she has to investigate.
I started to think about my visit to Ultimo Coffee a few weeks ago. They receive a great deal of positive press for unbelievable coffee and just opened a new location in Graduate Hospital, a bit south of Rittenhouse in Center City, Philadelphia.

I kinda love their logo...and it's painted on an old window frame.

I went to Ultimo the other day, by happenstance, as we were in the midst of a marathon house-hunting day and needed to refuel.

I was personally psyched because I have been wanting to check them out and was happy to have spotted the Grad Hospital location. I still want to check out the original location at 15th and Mifflin, one day.

The coffee shop is light and airy, with plenty of patrons drinking their coffee and reading at tables. I am pretty sure my friend Adrienne and I will plan a day in which we will sit there all day long.

Here is their menu. I opted for a double cappuccino.

....their espresso maker.

...and the finished product.


Here is the best part - the pallet planter just hanging out on the sidewalk. 

When on that side of Broad, my allegiance is still with La Colombe at 19th and Walnut, but I will certainly return to Ultimo. 

On this side of Broad, I choose to become caffeinated at Old City Coffee and Cafe Ole. If you go to Cafe Ole, order a dirty vanilla chai. You'll become slightly addicted, I apologize in advance.

So friends, I hope you are enjoying a lovely, lazy, coffee-drinking Saturday morning, too.

Your friend, Caroline.