This is a horribly self-indulgent post about self-indulgence, so I’ll put it below the fold. But (slightly more) seriously, there was a lot of good and not too expensive food to be had in Philadelphia, so why not plug the places I liked?
dinner: kicked off with Italian at Pompeii. Not so cheap, but very tasty (and popular with at least one local Italian-American family who were sitting at the table next to us, if that’s a good recommendation).
after the AHA session, lunch was at Passage to India. A very tasty eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet (plenty of veggie options, too, always a plus in the land of “Do you want more meat with your meat?”).
for dinner, munched a burger in The Public House (they had vinegar for my ‘fries’, so we got along just fine. You Yanks eat your deep-fried potato sticks without vinegar? Sacrilege, pure sacrilege) while watching/learning about American football – I wasn’t really converted,* but thanks to Caleb for the lesson!
snack lunch (portobello sandwich with salad) and a few beers in a Eulogy, a real beer lovers’ paradise, with more marvellous company and conversation.
dinner was a yummy beef bourgignon at home with Alan** and Barbara (who are both lovely) and Tom (who wasn’t so friendly, but then he is only two).
lunch in Cuba Libre. Mighty fine (but huge) sandwich and these fabulous mixed veg chips and dipping sauce. And, oh yeah, some more beer.
dinner: even I was flagging by this point, so just a light salad at Fergies, a small and really friendly pub: I got a free sample of the rather tasty local lager. (And I noticed that they had Plymouth gin. So a definite thumbs up there.) Even the jukebox played music I liked (including quite a bit of British 80s…).
(the less said about that museum-canteen lunch the better: some kinds of bad food are the same everywhere…)
dinner much better: Moriarty’s for chicken and pasta and a pint, with the bonus of a truly nailbiting basketball game on the TV. Although I really didn’t understand why Alando Tucker wears that bizarre plastic mask.
pastrami on rye (how could I resist, even if it is a cliche?) from a sandwich shop, eaten chilling out on a bench*** in the park with the squirrels. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I’d never have believed it was possible to get that much meat between two slices of bread… (And I had to laugh when I got to Birmingham station on Friday morning and got this bacon and tomato breakfast panini containing precisely two very small and skinny rashers of bacon. Talk about extremes.)
and a dinner treat to finish off the week: three only-slightly-decadent French courses (the venison with blackcurrant sauce was delicious) and a coupla glasses of wine at Caribou Cafe.
quick lunch encore: the full on eighteenth-century colonial experience at the City Tavern for sausage and mash with sauerkraut (after all, how could I possibly have gone a week without mashed potato?). I haven’t seen anything quite like it since I was last in Bath, but the food was pretty good anyway. And a final drop of that lager before I headed off to the airport.
*OTOH, I’d forgotten how much I like basketball. I should definitely watch more. But the TV treat of the week had to be National Treasure. Totally stupid pure movie fun for a historian loafing around in Philly. And it was also showing in the Visitor Center’s shop, which made me giggle nearly as much as all the naff Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin knick-knacks. There were Liberty Bell lollipops.
**I’m also eternally grateful to Alan for his restaurant recommendations – there wasn’t a dud ‘un among them.
***The weather was wonderfully mild all week. (Well, these things are relative: the guy I chatted with in the lift who’d come up from Texas, without a winter coat, wasn’t so happy.)