Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green: Or finding healthy vegan food in Philly is an art

Facts: (sort of)
  • Philadelphia is a place of many many fine restaurants. 
  • So you'd think that finding vegan food wouldn't be that hard. You'd think wrong. 
  • Sure there are places that serve french fries but that isn't really a healthy alternative. (No, really people. French fries - not a good vegetable choice)
  • Go to Vedge!
  • Try MiLah
  • Taste Mumbai Bistro's vegan offerings

  • Forget to make a reservation at Vedge. They are popular for a reason. Their food is delicious. 
  • Eat too much tofu - moobs anyone?
  • Be shy - ask for veggies instead of bread when you're at a restaurant! The worst that could happen is that they stare at you incomprehensibly and then talk about the crazy person at table 8 when they're back in the kitchen.
1221 Locust Street
218 S. 16th
Mumbai Bistro:
930 Locust Street

Thursday, December 8, 2011

No Cause For Alarm - But.... I'm in Love

with Molton Brown's (not to be confused with Alton Brown) Paradisiac Pink Pepperpod Bath & Shower Gel. 

Quite simply - it smells divine. (not to be confused with THE Divine) I will probably be discretely sniffing myself because I smell so good.

  • Molton Brown's slogan includes the phrase "Unmistakeably English"
  • Molton Brown originated in London but was purchased by the Japanese corporation Kao in 2005
Located at:
Blue Mercury: 1707 Walnut Street

Blue Mercury's Rittenhouse location is small and very friendly. It also includes a spa. 

  • Get on their mailing list to be invited to in-store events
  • Ask for advice from their knowledgeable employees

  • Bring in a stroller - it is a small space
  • Miss their great holiday value packs from:
    • Laura Mercier
    • Molton Brown
    • Fresh

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tria: Or a place I've actually never been to

So I had a blind date here but it wasn't very successful - the date that is - so I guess you'll just have to try it based on what I've heard.

Tria at 12th and Spruce

Photo from their website
 I don't have much to share about this place. Simply put, my "date" did not consider the huge wait time. We stood around trying to make small talk (unsuccessfully) until we went for a coffee instead.  It was a gorgeous night but instead of wanting to walk around he asked if we could stand on a corner.
Perhaps he wanted to pick up a hooker. I don't know. Needless to say, we did not meet up again.

Two center city locations: 12th and Spruce and 18th and Sansom
12th and Spruce:
Outside seating with heat lamps available when cold

Monday – Friday4pm – Late Night
Saturday + SundayNoon - Late Night

  • I have no idea as I haven't actually been here
  • I have heard that they have excellent Happy Hour deals
  • Go to Happy Hour M-Th 5-7pm at the 12th street location

  • Come at 6pm on Thursday night and think that you'll be able to sit immediately

Monday, August 22, 2011

Old City: or where Hipsters, Tourists, and the Overindulged Unite

  • I used to live in Old City until I could no longer handle hearing "American Woman" blaring out of the Big Bus tour, or the loud obnoxious blowing of the Duck tour kazoos, or the sound of bongos playing on First Friday.
  • Actually, I also had a tiny bit of concern about the people hanging outside of the drug rehab center next door to me.
  • Old City formally extends from Spring Garden Street, 4th Street, the Delaware River, and Walnut Street. But I never go as far as Spring Garden - maybe Race street.
  • Old City has galleries, historic buildings (ie the Liberty Bell Center), shops and the aforementioned hipsters, tourists, and people with lots of money and a sense of entitlement (much like the main line).

  • Check out Lost and Found - an affordable shop (unlike many of the surrounding boutiques) for men's and women's fashions/accessories at 133 N. 3rd St.
  • Go to nearby Cafe Ole at 147 N 3rd St. for great hummus and ice tea.
  • Visit PAWS at 100 N. 2nd street to volunteer and/or adopt a sweet cat or dog.
  • Walk and visit historic spots like Elfreth's Alley, Franklin Court, and Independence Hall.
  • Forget to visit the Betsy Ross House (next to the former Real World Philadelphia house).
  • Try and engage the guy playing a cittern in conversation at the Visitor's Center at 599 Market St. as he is a jerk.
  • Miss First Friday, where galleries show new art and provide some nibbles and wine on the first Friday of every month (but you may have to suffer through pretentious patrons and the overlymonied)
  • Pass on Franklin Fountain -which has awesomely extravagant ice cream creations made from local Bassetts ice cream. Though the owner's handle-bar mustache is a little off-putting.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Memphis Taproom: or a special journey into Kensington

  • I cheated and did not take public transport. I got a ride. There is a simple reason for this. It's in KENSINGTON. I'm not saying that you can't take public transit to Kensington but I am saying if you can get a ride - then do so. 
  • Good place to take vegetarians or vegans.
  • I went here because I saw it on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and I'm a sucker for marketing. 

How to get there (if you're not getting a ride):
  • Take Market-Frankford subway to Spring Garden.
  • Take SEPTA bus 25 to Cedar and Cumberland streets.
  • Address: 2331 E. Cumberland Street at Memphis (which I guess explains why it's not a bbq place like I originally thought)
  • Order the Beer-Battered Kosher Dils.
  • Check out their new beer garden - open from April to October.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chemical Heritage Foundation - or a place I've walked by but had no idea what it was

  • The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) began in 1982 as the Center for the History of Chemistry.
  • It was a pilot project of the University of Pennsylvania and the American Chemical Society.
  • It was made a non-profit organization in 1987. And became the CHF in 1992.
  • Today the Chemical Heritage Foundation has a library, museum, and a conference center. It also supports research, produces educational materials and offers fellowships.
Swiss Bakelite phone. Photo by Gregory Tobias from the collection Making Modernity.
  • The Chemical Heritage Foundation is located at 315 Chestnut Street in what used to be the 1865 First National Bank. It was renovated and opened on October 3, 2008.  
  • Visit the Museum - it's free! Open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.
  • Use the restrooms in the Museum/Conference area - the floors are made of recycled cans!
  • Check out the exhibition Making Modernity!

Bakelite and Lucite Handbag. Photo by Gregory Tobias from the collection Making Modernity.
  • Want to take a guided tour of the museum? (Because really - who has the attention span or the ability to deal with cantankerous old people?) Take a self-guided tour using your cell phone! 215.525.1682
  • Miss First Fridays - the museum hosts events and guest speakers and is open until 8pm.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Port Kennedy - or how building a bypass helped end a town

  • Port Kennedy Village was named after Alexander Kennedy and was built around the limestone quarried from the nearby Valley Forge Hills.
  • Port Kennedy expanded under the guidance of Alexander's son, John, who established an extensive Lime production, employing up to 70 men.
  • During Port Kennedy's prime,  the village included a hotel, furnace and workshops, and starting in 1849, a Reading Railroad station.
  • In the 1960s the Pottstown Expressway (US Route 422) was constructed, effectively cutting through the town.
  • Today only the Kennedy-Supplee Mansion (1852) and the First Presbterian Church of Port Kennedy (1845) remain.
Photo by Jack E. Boucher
  • Visit the Kennedy-Supplee Mansion located in Valley Forge National Historical Park and originally known as Kenhurst. You can lease it!
  • Check out the National Historic Registry for more information about the Mansion and it's interesting past.

  • Know how the Kennedy-Supplee Mansion got its name? In 1911 J. Henderson Supplee purchased the mansion and lived there until his death in 1936.
  • Know who J. Henderson Supplee was? In 1936 he was one of the last Civil War Veterans of Montgomery County. He had fought in Antietam, Stony River, Chattanooga, and Gettysburg.

 "I eventually had to go down to the cellar..."
"That's the display department."
"...with a torch."
"The lights had probably gone."
"So had the stairs."
"Well, you found the notice, didn't you?"
"Yes. The plans were on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard."
Douglas Adams' A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Monday, August 1, 2011

Camden Aquarium - or it's annoying to take a ferry with Rascal Flatts fans

  • The Camden Aquarium started out in 1992 as the non-profit New Jersey State Aquarium.
  • The new Adventure Aquarium reopened in 2005 and is most definitely for profit.
  • You can take the RiverLink Ferry from Philadelphia Penn's Landing to the Camden Waterfront.
  • The ferry takes about 15 minutes even though it's directly across the water. Maybe it has something to do with currents or people wanting to sit longer.
  • The ferry is every hour and only runs Saturdays/Sundays from May-September.
This is not the octopus from Adventure Aquarium. It's from a much more interesting article in the LA Times.
  • Aquarium is an overpriced $22.95 (plus tax! I know! There' s tax!) for adults and $17.95 (don't forget the tax) for kids 2-12.
  • RiverLink Ferry is $7.00 round trip ($6 for kids)- they have a special concert series schedule too. So if you're lucky - like us - you can share the ferry with teenagers with daisy dukes, fake curls, cowboy hats and a thing for Rascall Flatts.
  • Take advantage of their free fountain refills in the aquarium's cafe. Not only do you get free soda refills - but you get free slushies! (seriously - when's the last time that you had a slushy?)
  • Look at the octopus - it's fascinating.

  • Go on the weekend. Unless you love the smell of dirty diapers or you're a giant and can see over everyone's heads.
  • Have high expectations - then you won't be disappointed that you just spent a fortune to see fish you could see in a nearby lake.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Highways: Or please can you remove the roadkill?

It's bad enough that I have to drive to and from work on the Schuylkill but must I also see the roadways littered with bloody and bloated animal carcasses too?

  • Pennsylvania has the highest number of deer-related accidents in the country
  • Deer crashes result in at least $1.1 billion a year in vehicle damage (in the country -not just Pennsylvania)
  • I couldn't locate much helpful information on who to contact, but I did manage to find a lovely poster about deer safety on the dmv site

  • Call the Southeastern Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 610-926-3136 if you see dead wild animals like deer or elk or raccoons
  • Test yourself with this non-related question from the Motorcycle Operator's Manual:

  • Try and put a wounded animal out of it's misery. For one it's illegal and for another - just how were you planning on doing that?
  • Try and help a rattlesnake across the road. I didn't think it needed to be said, but then I saw this...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Because I find this fascinating

  • I'm a sucker for fountains. But even more so - for the stories behind them
On 9th near Spruce
  • This particular fountain was in remembrance for Edward Wetherill who was born in Pennsylvania in February 1821 and who died October 2, 1908
  • Even more interesting is that a census reports his occupation as Abolitionist
  • He and his family were Quakers and lived at one point at 1413 Spruce street
The city really takes care of its fountains
  •  He came from a long line of Philadelphia Quakers mentioned as far back as 1783
  • Get confused but read this short but fascinating excerpt from the New York Times December 26, 1905 edition about another Edward Wetherill
  • Know anything about paint manufacturing? George Wetherill owner of George D Wetherill & Co  - was the first to manufacture white lead in 1804 - which later became Dutch Boy Paint

Things People have said to me on the Street

  • All sorts of crazy people accost me while I’m peaceably walking 
  • This happens to me all over the city
  • These are in no particular order or chronology
  • It does not include people asking me for directions
 What was said:
  • Damn! Anyone ever tell you that you’re built like a black woman? (said by man sitting in front of his low income housing)
  • MMMMMMM you sure are juicy! (said by homeless man on bicycle)
  • You retarded bitch! (said by mentally ill woman when I didn’t give her money)
  • Don’t you know it’s Christmas? (said by homeless man asking me for money on January 4th)
  • SMACK! (no words, but me getting my ass slapped (hard) by Mexican guy on a bicycle)
  • Cookie? (asked by homeless man holding a crumpled open box of girl scout cookies in exchange for money)
  • Don’t go to North Philly! You’ll die in North Philly! (said by crazy homeless woman)
  • MMM Looking good girl! (said by flamboyant queen)
  • PUTA! (said by white frat guys in a car)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why I love the city of Philadelphia and so should you

  • Because I do love Philadelphia. I may not say it, but it doesn't mean that I don't feel it. I'm just not the demonstrative type - alright? Will you just drop it? I already said I loved Philadelphia why do you have to make such a big deal out of it?
  • Philadelphia has historic buildings, beautiful architecture, blooming gardens, and glorious hidden side streets.

  • It also has unsentimental hoodlums who think that putting graffiti on fountains and littering is awesome.
Back of fountain on 9th near Pine
Front of fountain on 9th near Pine
  • But even the most hardened heart can admit that Philadelphia in the spring is a gorgeous gorgeous place.
  • Walk around the city or you'll miss out on sidewalk plots and impressive facades.
  • Watch where you're going. It might surprise you - but you're not the only person strolling on the sidewalk.
  • Do look at the window boxes. Rich people pay a lot of money to have them look so good.
  •  Stop in the middle of the street or sidewalk to talk or gawk. 
  • Take a duck tour and obnoxiously blow your stupid yellow kazoo. 
  • Hassle Philadelphia inhabitants while directing a bus tour by asking them for some M&Ms.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Philly Driving: Or I wouldn't have bought a car unless I was forced into it

I have a new job and it requires me to drive. On THE SCHUYLKILL. Which means nothing to those not from the area. But if you are from the area then you realized that having a 2 LANE HIGHWAY serving thousands upon thousands of people is not a good idea.

  • I hate other drivers
  • I have no depth perception
  • I curse like a sailor when I drive 
  • Driving in Philadelphia is a special sort of torture
  • Complain to the city of Philadelphia. The amount of potholes on our city streets is outrageous. Going down 21st street reminds me of this: (but with actual potholes and not in French)

  • Use your turn signal. It's not a choice. It will prevent accidents and me screaming and flipping you the bird.
  • Plan a playlist, listen to an audiobook or have satellite radio. It will make your idling in traffic slightly more bearable.
  • Let people in when lanes are merging. Really. It would make things go more quickly.
  • Have city street lanes defined. I have no idea which are one lane streets versus two lane streets until someone honks at me.
  • Take the Schuylkill between the hours of 6:30am-10am and 2pm-7pm. (Or at all if you can help it.)
  • Forget your GPS. It will help if you decide to take a "shortcut" off of I-76.
  • Weave in and out of traffic like you're at NASCAR. You're not. Also, you're going to cause an accident which will make me late for work.
  • Get behind a bus when driving in the city. They don't actually care that you're stuck behind them. 
  • Honk your horn in the city just because I'm not turning as soon as the light turns green - there's a reason and they're called PEDESTRIANS. THEY HAVE RIGHT OF WAY.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gollum: or the Frank Sinatra mural

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Location: S Broad Street and Wharton
Artist: Diane Keller (She's to blame for several other murals in the city)
Part of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia.
Completed: 11/1/99

Thanks to Matchstick Girl for pinning down that this is Gollum.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

King of Prussia Mall - only a bus ride with a junkie hooker away

I've been extremely lax in my blog - and I apologize. But I have a new job starting this Monday and it requires effort to be back in the 9-5 working world. Effort such as buying new clothes. And to buy new clothes I made the sacrifice and went on a pilgrimage to mecca (no disrespect intended it's just that if you prayed to the god of consumerism then this is your temple) - or as others may know it "King of Prussia Mall."

  • King of Prussia Mall is the largest mall on the East Coast.
  • The Mall is divided into two sections: the Plaza and the Court.
  • The Plaza side opened in 1963.
  • There are over 400 stores and restaurants. Most of them upscale ie Betsy Johnson, Stuart Weitzman, chick-fil-a...
  • It is a real pain in the ass to get there from the city.
  • There actually was a King of Prussia. Many of them, I imagine. However, the name originates from an 18th century local tavern called "The King of Prussia Inn" named after Frederick II, King of Prussia.

King of Prussia Mall is located at 160 North Gulf Road. You can take a bus (but DON'T). If you do (DON'T) you can catch the 124 or the 125 from Market Street. There is no train that takes you there directly.

  • Try their iphone app. Because shopping can never be too pretentious.

  • Take the bus. No, really, please - DON'T DO IT.  Ask a friend for a ride because taking the local bus is:
    • a) long 
    • b) not always on time 
    • c) awkward when you are trying to avoid the junkie hooker's eyes.

PS. In an effort to be honest - that bus ride described above was actually taken this summer. Today I drove.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mario Lanza Institue and Museum - or a place so small you've probably missed it


  • Mario Lanza was born in 1921 at 636 Christian Street.
  • His birth name was Alfredo Arnold Cocozza.
  • As a young boy he listened to opera records and trained with a local music teacher, Irene Williams.
  • He was discovered by a famous conductor, drafted into the Army, and then later worked with MGM in Hollywood showcasing his amazing operatic tenor.
  • His film, "The Great Caruso", was the top grossing film in the world in 1951.
  • He left Hollywood to move to Italy and died in Rome in 1959 of a heart attack.
  • The Mario Lanza museum is next to St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Church. 

St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Church


  • Visit the museum at 712 Montrose Street on the first floor of Columbus House.
  • Call before visiting - they might be closed. Their hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Visit their website.

Entrance to  the museum


  • Worry about admission. It's free, though donations are accepted.
  • Know what to expect? The museum houses Mario Lanza memorabilia and has items for sale. 
  • Miss his mural at the corner of Broad and Reed.
  • Worry. I had no idea who he was either.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pennsylvania Hospital - or the oldest hospital in the United States

  • I haven't posted as much recently because I have been interviewing and looking for jobs. 
  • You probably don't care about that.
  • Another unrelated fact? The woman in the apartment next door thinks that we live in a slum and that it's okay for her to leave her trash in the hall.

  • This is the first hospital in the United States and founded by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond in 1751.
  • The building below is still in use.
  • The hospital was, and still is, a teaching hospital.
  • It held the first Medical Library and in 1847 was designated the largest medical library in the country by the American Medical Association.

  • Wait too long in the spring. The garden blooms for only a few short weeks. 
  • Know where to go? The hospital is located at 800 Spruce Street.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

PennDot: or where you want to lay down and die

I've been back in Philadelphia for four and half years. In those four and a half years I have clung to my California driver's license. It was a safety net that could carry me back to sunny SoCal. But it was also a foot out the door and today I pulled in that foot and shut the door - for today I exchanged my California driver's license for one from Pennsylvania.

The experience was far more dreadful than expected.

  • People who work at the DMV actually hate you. No, really, they do. They must - because civil and polite behavior is met with grunts and rudeness.
  • When there is a line out the door they decide that three special needs employees (I'm not being mean -they really are special needs) taking license photos is one too many. So they then have only two employees helping one hundred people. 
  • You are constantly getting a new number to put you in a new longer line. 
  • The people sitting next to you - not the creme de la creme of society.
  • These may not, in fact, be facts, per se.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of time to spare. For example two to three hours. 
  • Bring reading material or be content to stare at the grimy floor.
  • Do have all the forms already filled out - it may just save you some mind-numbing wait time.

  • Bring cash. They only take check or money orders.
  • Expect the man next to you to actually bathe or clean his long yellow fingernails.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eye's Gallery - or how you don't have to like mosaics to like this store

  • The Eye's Gallery is located at 402 South St.
  • It began in 1968 after Julia and Isaiah Zagar returned from their two year stint in the Peace Corps in Peru where they worked in craft development.
  • In those early days they lived in the back of the store.
  • They are one of the few businesses on South st from the 60s that is still there.
  • Isaiah Zagar is responsible for a great number of mosaics in Philadelphia and for the Magic Gardens.
  •  Especially peruse the Day of the Dead art. There is a very large selection.
  • Check out all three levels of the store.  

  • Like mosaics? Me neither, but the store has many great things - from plates to glasses to jewelry and clothing.
  • Want to buy from the store? Then take a tour led by Julia to Mexico, India, Guatemala, or Peru. She'll take you to some great spots to buy from the locals.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Philadelphia Movies: Invincible

Why You Should Watch Invincible:

  • It's about Vince Papale, a South Philly walk-on for the 1976 Eagle's season. 

  • It's about Philadelphia, and okay, the Eagles.
  • It's a great nostalgic 70s movie.
  • Men were men. Or at least the people they chose to play them were.
  • Times were tough, like they are now. 
  • There is a couple of scenes with Bachman Turner Overdrive's Let it Ride and it captures the feeling of the movie perfectly.

  • It shows how Philadelphia got a reputation for having tough fans.
  • Mark Wahlberg looks great in tight pants. And tight t-shirts. Tight anything really.
  • I relate to the movie, sort of. Not that I watch football. But if I did, I would absolutely relate.
  • Everyone loves the story of an underdog.
  • Veterans Stadium. RIP.
  • It shows a time where your neighbors were your neighbors. If you needed to use their tv they'd also feed you a huge bowl of pasta.
  • Also watch the bonus features to see the real Vince Papale. On a side note - I can't figure out how they have two such young kids unless Janet was a child bride.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Man Full Of Trouble Tavern - Now Someone's Home?


  • Built in 1759 and is the oldest pre-Revolutionary War tavern remaining.
  • Located at 125-127 Spruce Street it catered to a less than genteel crowd.
  • Was at one point known as the "Man with a Load of Mischief" with a sign of a man giving a woman a piggyback ride, rather than the sign standing today.
  • Throughout its history of successive ownership, the tavern was also a hotel known for their oysters, and a wholesale chicken market.
  • The tavern was renovated and opened for tours in the 1960s and an archaeological dig took place in 1966.
  • The tavern closed to tourists in 1994.
  • The tavern now seems to be a home because when I took these photos I noticed a woman changing her baby on the sofa inside. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Penn Treaty Park: or a park that I had no idea existed but is kind of a big deal

Commemorative marker. Click here for older pictures of the park.
  • William Penn and Lenape Chief Tamanend entered into a peace treaty under an elm on that site in 1683. (Okay, this actually might not be a fact. There is no historical documentation of this specific treaty. But it has become part of our shared history and William Penn was on good terms with the Lenape.)
  • The elm tree was lost to a storm in 1810 but a descendant of the tree was planted there again on May 6, 2010. 
  • The peace treaty was the subject of several famous paintings, including ones by Benjamin West and Edward Hicks.
  • The park became part of the Fairmount park system in 1894.

 To get here:
  • It involves the subway and walking. Take Market-Frankford to the Girard stop. Exit to Girard Ave and walk 4 blocks east to Columbia. Walk to the right a few blocks to Delaware Ave and voila!
  •  Or you can ask a friend with a car to drive. It's much easier that way.
  • Check out the powerful views of the park.  You can see Penn's Landing, the Ben Franklin bridge, and a great city skyline. 
  • Look at this amazing timeline of the park.
    • Know where the park is? Don't worry, I didn't either. It's hidden away in Fishtown at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Beach Street, just off Delaware Avenue.
    • Be fooled by these photos. The park is actually several acres and holds many events, such as a free concert series.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Solar Powered Trash Cans: or a flaw in design as I absolutely refuse to touch one

    • Philadelphia uses BigBelly Solar trash cans.
    • Philadelphia replaced 700 trashcans with 500 BigBelly Solar cans.
    • Philadelphia went from 17 collections a week to 5 collections a week.
    • Philadelphia saved $900,000 in the first year.
    • BigBelly Solar trash cans uses solar power to compact trash up to 5x more than a regular can.
    • BigBelly Solar trash cans have wireless connectivity and monitoring informing the city when the can is full.


    • Big Belly Solar cans require you to touch a handle.
    • These handles are disgusting to touch.
    • People don't want to touch the handle.
    • BigBelly Solar cans should have a pedal that allows people to throw their trash away without having to touch a handle.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Kanella - or how a Greek restaurant has the best English breakfast


    • Kanella is a Greek Cypriot restaurant located at 1001 Spruce Street. (That's 10th and Spruce for those who can't figure it out)
    • The chef Konstantinos Pitsillides grew up in Cyprus and later studied and worked in the London restaurant industry.
    • Pitsillides came to Philadelphia, married a philly native, worked in some popular area restaurants, and then opened Kanella. 
    • His varied menu displays both his Greek/Cypriot heritage and his time spent in London.

    • Try their Lemonnana: half mint tea, half lemonade. All delicious.
    • Try their English Breakfast. It is the best that I've had in the city and at a great price. It's like the ones that I had in London but without making me feel sick afterward.
    • Try and come for lunch during the week - unless it's a Thursday or Friday. Lunch/Brunch is only offered on Thursday-Sunday.
    • Worry - that means you can get your traditional English breakfast on a Thursday - no waiting for the weekend!
    • Only have their English breakfast. I know that I've been going on and on about it. But they have plenty of other tasty food.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Interview with an Knitwear Designer

    Me: Hello, thanks for doing this interview! First thing's first - you're British. Explain Cockney slang to me. No - never mind - more importantly - we won you know.  The Revolutionary war - how does that make you feel?

    Lucy: Like I want to gouge your eyes out with one of my many pairs of knitting needles or crochet hooks. Cor Blimey Govenor, not a polite start!

    Me: Sore loser. Anyway, Why did you move from the UK (United Kingdom to you ignoramuses out there) to Philadelphia?

    Lucy: I moved to Philly to find the Fresh Prince..... No I actually wanted to move to New York, but Anthropologie and Leifsdottir got in there first. I was desperate for a new job and so I was happy to move even though the only things that came to mind when thinking about Philly were The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Philadelphia cream cheese and The Philadelphia Story.

    Me: As it does. What do you think are the best things about Philadelphia?

    Lucy:  KANELLA. My number one vice in Philphie. God that restaurant saved my existence in Philly, along with wonderful friends. Philly is a good place to meet people since it is so small, sort of like a village where everyone knows who you are. Annoying at times! Haha. I love that you can walk everywhere. Night life is a little monotonous, but the restaurants are good, some great cocktail spots too! Wilbur vintage has the best accessories and clothing. I love The Eyes gallery for presents and inspiration. Beaux Arts video was a fave spot for horror films. So gutted it is closing. Makes me angry when small and amazing businesses fold. Grrrrrrrrrrrr
    Being close to New York is a definite plus! Also Philly is a great place to see live music! Cafe 12 has amazing lattes!!! Supreme my friends!

    Me: I'm sure we all agree.  How did you get into knitting? It's something I tend to think is something old people do - or people with lots of cats.

    Efterklang. Collaboration by Lucy & Natasha. Lucy designed the sweaters on each end
    Lucy: Well, I am not old and I do not have cats. It is possible that I have been Possessed by my dead Knitting Nanny?? So my Mum used to knit alot when I was little, but Knitting Nanny (obviously called Knitting Nanny as she Knitted....ALOT!) probably ingrained this yarn obsession into me when she used to knit shockingly disgusting kids jumpers for me when I was little. Nanny was a Knitting and crochet, technical Designer.

    Lucy: It was actually my Mum who thought I should get into knitting and take it up as a degree. I started out in painting, but always was drawn to Fashion and textiles. If my Mum and I did not discuss me taking Fashion Knitwear as a degree and taking it on as a career, who knows if I would be this happy now?

    Me: It's funny that knitting is now on the leading edge of fashion. How do you keep up to date with trends?

    Lucy: I try to not be too consumed by Vogue, Style and all the generic catwalk websites. It is great to do that and to look at magazines for trends, but I feel like trend becomes more interesting when you can make them yourself. This has to come from looking at books, blogs, art, Everyday life and people. Imagination and abstract thought is vital for me. is a great Fashion Knitwear blog. Pitti Filatti, Florence Italy is one of the best Yarn and Knitwear exhibitions. A really good place for trend. I am really inspired by new designers. I think researching new graduates collections is a great place to find new trend. These are the people who are pushing the boundaries and making Knitwear exciting and challenging! I think the V&A museum in London is a wonderful research space for both historical and modern ideas. You need both to make something extraordinary and out of the box.

    Me: Excellent.  This makes me want to knit! Thank you for your time!

    Catwalk piece created for Moonspoon Saloon AW 2011 show at Copenhagen Fashion week by Lucy

    • Check out Lucy's blog.
    • Want to be knitwear designer? Check out programs that include industry internships.
    • Push yourself to explore all kinds of knitting possibilities!
    • Research and Network constantly. Half the game is about who you know.
    • Collaborate.

    • Think that knitting is just a hobby. Being a knitwear designer can be lucrative and your designs can be shown on the runway.
    • Be afraid to push the boundaries of knitting. You can knit with anything. We have moved on from the basic sock and merino wool guys!!! So don't be afraid!
    • Don't do this if you think it is going to be easy. It is challenging and ongoing. Perfection takes a lifetime!!
    • Don't give up if you make mistakes. Professionals have been known to create entire garments and then pull them apart. It is good to do this! 

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Update on a Fountain

    I posted last week about a hidden fountain. Turns out that the snow and my poor eyesight hid more than I had realized.

    Rather than For Our Gentle Friends - it actually says Drink Gentle Friends. And with further snow melting - it shows the date and inscription.
    See an original photo here:
    It makes this water fountain for horses a little sweeter - that it's in memorial for Annie L Lowry who was an avid supporter of the WPSPCA.

    • Annie L Lowry was a resident of Philadelphia. She had been brought up as a Lutheran, married an attorney and later became a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
    • Her executor Elwood Bonsall, Esq managed her donation requests and she had two buildings on separate Lutheran campuses in Topton and Tressler named after her in 1911 and 1923 respectively. Each was called The Annie L Lowry Memorial Infirmary.
    • Today the Lutheran Social Ministries is known as Diakon. Only the Topton building remains and now houses some of Diakon's children services.
    • Annie L Lowry was known as the "mother" of American Presbyterian churches due to her generous donations.
    • She died at 85 years of age on August 1, 1908 and left $5000 for care of her pets.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Interview with a Taxidermist!

    Me: So, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. I have to say, when I think of taxidermy and women - well, I guess I just don't.
    Me: But if I did think of taxidermy and women - I would have expected you to be some po-faced goth. You're absolutely not,  - but - tell me - do you worship the devil?

    Beth: I worship at the altar of good fortune.  Taxidermy has traditionally been a male-dominated craft (however behind every successful taxidermist I'd bet my salt you could find a nimble-fingered wife scraping fat and stitching up rugs) but times have certainly changed.  That couldn't be more evident than in the alterna-taxidermy scene where  women like Sarina Brewer dominate.  But no – no devil worshiping.

    Me: I didn't really think you did. But I'm still not removing this cross.

    Beth: Suit yourself.  Just don't let me catch you wearing Uggs. 

    Me: Too late! You went to school in the Poconos - was it like the movie Deliverance?  Were you afraid for your life?

    Beth: I was living in a mountain house which belonged to my two friends Warren and RJ (it's actually been featured in Elle Decor  and Shelter Pop ).   The property was an old pig farm and I had plenty of land to roam around as well as an empty farmhouse where I could rehearse my aerial dance routines (I’m a trained aerialist as well as a State- and Federally-licensed taxidermist). 

    Beth:  I think I can safely say it was nothing like Deliverance (although I've never actually seen that movie) - but  I did develop a real soft spot for contemporary country music.  As for the people, I found the kindness of strangers permeating every facet of everyday life there.  I felt completely safe and at ease.  Nighttime could be a different story, however – when you're completely alone, living in the mountains and you hear coyotes just outside, it can be slightly unnerving.

    Me: You were brave! I think that some people would believe that taxidermy is a sick hobby about dead animals. But I know that you have two living cats at home and that you love them. Why taxidermy?
    Photo by James Coughlin

    Beth: I love animals and believe that their beauty should be preserved. My cats mean the world to me; I've always had pets and spent many hours of my life watching them, mostly in awe.  By working with animals I have a deeper appreciation for how they're formed, what makes them tick, how they move and all the wonderful little nuances nature has installed into them which makes each creature so unique and awe-inspiring.  Through my craft I also enjoy a greater sense of responsibility when it comes to eating meat and wearing animal by-products. I use nearly every single part of the animal, either to feed myself or my pets. And one standard I always uphold is to source every specimen humanely and ethically. While this does make obtaining specimen a bit harder, I have a clear conscience when I do create a piece. When you meet your meat, so to speak, waste is not an option.

    Me: I've seen your work - and it is incredible. Do animal rights activists ever hassle you?

    Beth: Not that I care to acknowledge.  I wrote a lengthy blog entry about my philosophy in regard to my work and the reactions of others.

    Me:  Lastly, do you think that by posing animals with jewelry and outfits that you are actually enriching their afterlife? Do you think animals have an afterlife?
    Photo by James Coughlin

    Beth: I have no idea if any of us have an afterlife.  I just recently read about the mummified Japanese monks known as Sokushinbutsu and found it touching that the monks who are able to reach a state of pure mummyism achieve idol status and their remains are tended to and watched over by devotees for eternity.  I wondered if this was for the monks themselves or more for the caretakers, and I'm at a loss.   If animals do have an afterlife, I can't imagine they'd care that much what has been done with their bodies.  I suppose it's my way of idolizing them for eternity, as a postmortem care taker.

    Me: Thank you for your time!

    • Check out Beth Beverly's website and blog
    • Think a little more carefully the next time you see something dead on the sidewalk. One man's roadkill could be another man's art.

    • Think you can tell someone's occupation just by looking at them. Taxidermists look just like you and me. They're among us!
    • Have a gift for Valentine's day? One of Beth Beverly's unique pieces would be an incredible gift!

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Di Bruno Bros: or a good place to get cheese


    • Di Bruno Bros began with two brothers originally from Italy opening a grocery store in 1939 at 930 S. 9th Street.
    • They became Di Bruno Bros "House of Cheese", a gourmet cheese and meat store in 1965 to combat the spread of the big supermarket chains.
    • Still a family run business, it now encompasses a variety of specialty goods from all over the world.

    • Visit the original location at 930 s 9th street (I'm not just saying that because they have some good looking guys working there. Okay, I am.)
    • Ask for advice on the right cheese and/or meat. They are extremely helpful and good looking. (Wait, did I already mention good looking?)
    •  Buy some warm bread to go with your cheese. It's made down the street in the Italian Market.
    • Ask for a sample.

    • Feel like walking to the Italian Market? Visit one of their other locations, including Rittenhouse Square and the Comcast Center. 
    • Feel like cooking? Try their cafe or purchase their ready-made meals at the Rittenhouse location.
    • Like olives? Yeah, me neither. But they have a vast selection. 
    To order online or learn more, visit their website.

    Get ready for tomorrow's Interview with a Taxidermist!

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    The Italian Market: or where you can find a lot of stuff that you forgot that you needed

    • Philadelphia's Italian Market is the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the United States. (Take that everywhere else!)
    • There are over 100 merchants.
    • You can buy at minimum: poultry, meat, pasta, produce, baked goods, and spices.
    • The Italian Market stars in In Her Shoes and Invincible.
    • The Italian Market in on 9th street and runs from Fitzwater to Wharton.

    • Try Lorenzo's Pizza. It's among my favorite's in Philly.
    • Shop at Fante's. It will make you want to cook and/or bake just so that you have an excuse to buy that amazing pan.
    • Browse at Molly's Bookstore at 1010 S. 9th St.
    • Try and get Lorenzo's Pizza delivered. They only do carry out.
    • Be afraid of the hipsters. They tend to stick to Anthony's Italian Coffee House. 
    • Correction: Hipsters hang out at Gleaner's. My bad. 
    For Thursday: Di Bruno Bros