Trips to Philadelphia always start the same way. Alex meets me at 30th Street station, we exchange a few gestures of delirious happiness to see each other, and then we walk to our favorite late-night eatery: Capogiro. There isn't really an equivalent of Capogiro in New York City, surprisingly—that is, a gelateria with that has some atypical flavors alongside the traditional ones, like Thai Coconut Milk and Honey Chamomile, and touts their use of local ingredients. (The other most similar gelateria I can think of is Dolcezza in Washington, D.C.).
During this visit I tried a cup of salt and tahini. Salt? Salt. Is awesome. Creamy, milky, sweet goodness with a hint of saltiness to enhance the non-salty parts. Can we popularize this flavor? Please? Thanks. Tahini was fine, but not as memorable. The flavor, while...er, tahini-y, was pretty mild. I expected a deeper sesame flavor. I WANT TO BE PUNCHED IN THE FACE WITH FLAVOR; IS THAT OKAY?
Even better than the gelato was the company. Alex and I ate our gelato in Rittenhouse Square with my old friend from high school, Lisa, and her friend, Mel. I don't know how to express their awesomeness in mere words. You need like...fireworks and explosives. Because life doesn't get much more awesome than when things blow up.
The Next Day
Per my ritual Saturday in Philadelphia, Alex and I started our morning with breakfast. Carman's Country Kitchen sounded quirky (the sort of quirky that involves phallic objects and signs that say "She Put The Cunt Back Into Country") and possibly tasty with its small four-item brunch menu that changes weekly.
Given the choices of waffles, French toast, an omelette, and salmon, the choice was easy: SWEET CARBS. (It may not have been the best deal though considering every dish was a hefty $12. But whatever.)
The challah French toast came with pineapple slices, Kentucky Sour Mash candied pecans, puréed pineapple, bananas, toasted coconut, and crystallized ginger. Overall, I thought it was okay. Not $12 good, but interesting, even if I thought the many flavors in the toppings failed to result in the most harmonious combination. The bulk of the topping, pineapple purée, didn't do much for me and the toast, while perfectly fine, was bested by my last Philly brunch at Sabrina's, which I suppose had the unfair advantage of being filled with a thick layer of sweet cream cheesy goodness. Toast alone, Carman's fared better.
Belgian waffles were topped with sliced nectarines, raspberries, and New Jersey blueberries. There was supposedly white chocolate inside the batter, but we didn't taste any. Either we got defective waffles or the white chocolate was just really hard to detect. The fresh fruits were delicious, especially the nectarines, but the waffles were just alright. I should've heeded the words in my post about Greg's awesome waffles, which forever ruined all subsequent waffle-eating experiences.
After brunch, Alex brought me to the Philadephia Museum of Art for a personal tour of its many art-filled crannies that I knew nothing about because I am a complete art history n00b. Alex works at the museum and is a art history grad student. So. You know. In exchange for feeding him pizza, he edumuhcates my feeble mind.
Oh yeah, so what is he looking at up there?
Girl lying in the grass. Specifically, it's called "Given: I. The Waterfall, 2., The Illuminating Gas" by Marcel Duchamp. I wouldn't have known it was there if Alex didn't show it to me, and it would've been a shame to miss. The funkiness cannot be captured in photos; ye gotta get your face into that door and look in yourself.
I generally stroll through art museums too quickly to fully appreciate anything—most pieces just don't catch my eye. Except for the one above, "Portrait of Emma Hart (later Lady Hamilton) as Miranda" by George Romney, which stood out among the other paintings for ...I don't know. It felt more alive and dreamy than other paintings, besides that it immediately reminded me of Diana's work.
We also liked the section of jewelry and accessories decorated with peoples' eyes. I saw it's time we bring this back into popularity. Mostly so I won't look creepy wear a photo of Alex's eye around my neck.
For no reason besides I think it looks cool, here's a photo of Alex on a bench. Heavily photoshopped to look awesomer.
We grabbed a quick lunch at the nearby Luigi's Pizza Fresca. I nommed down a slice of white (oh, how I love my cheese-blanketed breads) and asparagus and beef. They were alright.
For dessert, we shared a cup of vanilla and strawberry Bassett's ice cream from Pumpkin Market, a small gourmet food shop. And here's where I bring up "sort of dumb thing that sort of bothers me": While labeled as a two scoop cup, the cup really contained four scoops. COUNTING SKILLS, WHERE ARE YOU? Not that I think they can't count (other places do this too); it just seems like it'd make more sense to call it a "medium" instead of labeling it by scoopage.
The weather was too fugly to warrant a night on the town (besides that we were tired), so we ordered delivery from Alex's favorite Indian restaurant, Tiffin. I definitely should've ordered something spicier than Kaju Mattar Paneer, paneer and peas cooked in a cashew-based sauce, but it was satisfying enough, and probably enhanced by the meal's visual accompaniment: The Mighty Boosh, season 1.
Carmans' Country Kitchen
1301 S 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Multiple locations listed on their site.