The next morning at National Mechanics, I started my day with their veggie burger...
...While I had this somewhat awkward vantage point. Because I was there for the 215 Festival's Food Bloggers Brunch! Alex and Mel came to support me (how I love them so) as I sat at the front of the dining room with E, Taylor, Drew, Collin, and Ben while we answered various questions about the food bloggin-life. Many thanks to Jessica, moderator of the panel, for inviting me even though I'm not based in Philadelphia. I always find a way to slip through the cracks. Oh yes. [HEY LIFE: THANKS FOR LETTING ME SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS] And many thanks to the young woman who came up to me afterward to complement me on my Iceland photos. :)
After passing some random jugglers (part of the 27th Annual Philadelphia Jugglers Festival—duh), Mel, Alex, and I took a bus to The Piazza, a newish development of shops, housing, and food in Northern Liberties that features a huge open-air plaza with a huge-ass TV to match, enclosed by modern apartment buildings. It sort of reminded me of Ssamziegil in Seoul, a multi-level shopping complex with the same "lots of windows and clean lines" aesthetic, but with way less space and way more humans.
And we did. A woman in the audience of the Food Bloggers Brunch expressed fervent love for E's Elvis cake made of banana chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting. We were in luck; there was just one slice left.
...One slice being nearly a quarter of the full cake. Our waiter said it was too small for two slices (those are some generous slices), so he just gave us what was left. (Lady M would so not approve.) We weren't going to argue with that.
And there was no way in hell were were going to finish that block of cake, but we tried. It was quite dense with clean, not overly sweet flavors. I would've liked it if it were more moist, but I think I was mostly overwhelmed by its towering height.
We attempted to burn off the calories by walking back to civilization/Alex's apartment, passing a few interesting sights along the way, such as...
Mr. Bar Stool, store of funky window displays. And stools.
Elfreth's Alley, one of the oldest streets (established in the 1700s) in the country that people still live on.
This neat sign for these condos.
And a giant banner outside the National Liberty Museum advertising the presence of life-size jellybean children and butterflies because holy gee yes that's why I came to Philadelphia, to have nightmares filled with frolicking multicolored jellybean children, frozen mid-step. (I mean, it looks cool, but when they go on forever it starts to get a lil' creepy.)
After poking around the Internet for restaurant recommendations, we settled on eating dinner at Burmese restaurant Rangoon, which is not as tacky as its awesome 90s-looking-era website, for better or worse.
During the food blogger panel, Collin had pointed out the Firecracker Lentil Fritters—made of ground lentils mixed with onion, mint, chilis, and spices—as possessing "burn your face off and whatever else is left of you" hotness, but it was quite manageable. At least, with the expectation that it would leave a trail of ash as it traveled through my digestive system. It's spicy, but won't make you beg for death. Oh yeah, and there's nothing to dislike about crispy fried nuggets of lentil, so eat it.
We loaded up on the tofu for an Alex-friendly meal with Coconut Tofu (tofu, cauliflower, snow peas, carrots, and onions in a coconut sauce) and Jungle Tofu (tofu, bell peppers, string beans, snow peas, lime leaves, and onions in a coconut green curry sauce). We liked the Jungle Tofu more, although by this point in time I can't remember the specifics of what either dish tasted like. ...Just trust me. The tofu cubes had a pleasing texture, not too soft or firm, with a bit of bite to them.
Mel and I also shared the Rangoon House Noodle made of flat rice noodles with ground chicken, onions, and tomatoes in a red bean sauce. ...So says the menu. There's obviously other stuff in there that I can't identify. Once again, you'll just have to trust me and my nonexistent description that it was tasty and worth ordering. I say that, though, as someone who loves just about all applications of flat rice noodles, so pleasantly firm and chewy they are. (Rice noodles are my favorite member of the noodle kingdom, besides that rice is my favorite grain. Boring, basically nutrition-less, white rice.)
I've only eaten Burmese food once, at Mingala in New York City. This was better, meaning I can truthfully label it the best Burmese food I've ever had.
And thus my 27 hours in Philly came to a close. I love visiting Philly, but 99% of that love is derived from the presence of Alex and Mel. Assuming I die before they do, I should never have to experience a Philadelphia without Alex or Mel. HEAR THAT GUYS? NO DYING.
27 Hours in Philly, Part 1: Standard Tap and Franklin Fountain
Philly Eats, Part II: Banh Mi from Q.T. and a Bucket-O-Bean-Curd
Philly Eats, Part I: Capogiro, Carman's Country Kitchen, Random Pizza, and Tiffin
French Toast from Sabrina's and a Burger from Monk's