Kitty Café, Poutine, And Lots Of Ice Cream

Tobey says this was the best Thursday EVER. An hour petting the kitties and sipping  lattes at the Kawaii Kitty Café (759 South 4th Street):

2 ice cream treats – a bourbon peach pie milkshake from Magpie (a piece of pie blended with vanilla ice cream – way better than pie a la mode – 1622 South Street) and a Salted Pimp cone (vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche, sea salt and a chocolate coating) from Big Gay Ice Cream (521 Broad Street):

And a new (to us) food – poutine – a Canadian fast food meal of French fries, gravy, cheese curds – ours topped with BBQ pulled pork.  From Smokey’s Poutinerie (411 South Street).

Plus, a mini-photo shoot by one of South Street’s fun murals:


Yoga And Juice (And A Popsicle)

Yoga in a studio is one thing, but yoga in a sculpture garden overlooking the river is a different experience.


During the summer the Philadelphia Art Museum offers free yoga on Wednesday evenings (during the winter it takes place in the museum and you need (free) tickets).  Wednesdays are “pay what you wish” at the museum and there are lots of events inside the museum, including music, tours and art-making.


After yoga, we treated ourselves to a fresh juice at the Whole Foods (Green Goodness for Tobey & Tumeric-aid for me) and a popsicle from the Lil’ Pop Shop truck at Eakins Oval (because you can’t be too healthy….):



First Friday: Throwing Pots, French Pastries, The Science of Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” And (Of Course) Galleries and Shopping

First Friday in Old City is always busy-especially during the warmer months.  August’s adventures included: free pot throwing at the Clay Studio:

A demonstration at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on the electromedical experiments that influenced Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”


A sighting of the cutest little Chihuahua in the Impact Imports store window (she has her own Instagram account @tiny_lasi):


Plus, interesting art,:

Shopping at small, independent stores (Tobey’s refurbished picture frame mirror from Jules Goldman Books and Antiques- 29 N. 2nd St.),:


AND French pastries from the tiny, walk-up bakery, Tartes (212 Arch St.):

Hamilton And Hammocks


Portrait of Alexander Hamilton hanging in the Portrait Gallery, Independence National Park

Alexander Hamilton – everyone’s favorite revolutionary singing sensation had deep connections with Philadelphia. Many of the events in the musical actually took place in Philadelphia (including the nation’s first sex scandal, his conflicts with Madison & Jefferson over the establishment of a national bank and his term as Secretary of the Treasury).  Thursday’s adventure was taking a walking tour linking songs from the musical to the historic sites where they occurred.

The app. is available to download for $4.99 ( Twenty percent of net proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Independence National Park in support of their efforts to reopen the First National Bank to the public.


The First National Bank – Championed by Hamilton and located across the street from his Treasury Department office.

After learning all things Hamilton, Tobey and I checked out the Spruce Street Harbor Park.  Located right on the Delaware River, the park has hammocks, floating gardens, beautiful lights, and Philly food vendors. We enjoyed a picnic and a nap in our hammock (see the post “Gourmet Picnic Supplies”).


Gourmet Picnic Supplies

When the weather is nice, we love to get picnic supplies from Di Bruno’s.  Although it’s pricey, picnic-size quantities generally only add up to price of a restaurant lunch. What makes it great is the service and selection.  Our first stop is always the cheese counter, where we request 2 cheeses that are unique or seasonal.  The staff is always happy to make suggestions and provide samples.  This week’s choices were Rameker Gouda, a Dutch Gouda with an edible, butter washed rind, and Membrillo Albala, an aged sheep’s milk cheese from Spain.  We complimented with a slice of quince paste and 2 sourdough rolls.  At the salami counter we requested “something spicy” and got 1/4 lb of thinly sliced Saucisson Basque, a French salami with lots of red pepper.  We took our supplies on a long walk and enjoyed them in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park:


Other beautiful picnic spots in the city include the Azalea Gardens by the Art Museum

and the Japanese House in Fairmount Park, especially in the spring when the cherry trees are blooming:




Philly + Architecture = Art Deco

While it may not be Miami Beach (Philly doesn’t really do pastels), Philadelphia has some amazing Art Deco buildings.  These are a few of the highlights in Center City:

The former Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company, now an annex of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2525 Pennsylvania Avenue). Covered with decorations symbolizing attributes of insurance and hard work, including: the owl of wisdom, the dog of fidelity (origin of the dog name Fido – a tribute to the loyalty of dogs) , the pelican of charity, the opossum of protection, and the squirrel of frugality:



The old WCAU radio station (1618-22 Chestnut St.). The first building in the country designed specifically for a radio station. Decorated with lots of chrome and electricity symbols:





Suburban Station (16th & JFK Boulevard). It originally served as a terminal for Pennsylvania Railroad trains (yes- the same station on the Monopoly board – Pennsylvania Rail Road was one of the stations serving Atlantic City, home of all the properties on the board when it was first published in 1938):


The Ayer Building (210 W. Washington Square).  Originally home to one of the oldest ad agencies in the country, N.W. Ayer – established 1884 and creator of the slogan, “a diamond is forever”:




The former Market Street National Bank (1 East Penn Square). Covered with Mayan theme decorations – a real contrast to the ornate City Hall across the street:


1500 & 1528 Walnut Street (interior of 1528):




1608 & 1616 Walnut Street (interior of 1616):




The Metropolitan Apartments (117 N. 15th Street):


The Drake Hotel (1512 Spruce Street). The decorations symbolize the voyages of Sir Francis Drake – dolphins, shells, globes:


The old Horn & Hardart Automat (818 Chestnut):


And… the Deco  influenced Liberty 1. Viewed behind the Architects Building (117 South 17th Street):





Picnic Spots

Many great Philly restaurants are tiny, with limited seating – frustrating if you don’t have an office or apartment nearby. Although there are plenty of benches & walls around the city, Tobey and I have an on-going quest to find spots with tables and chairs:

The courtyard behind the Logan Hotel on 18th (love the couches!):


The park on the corner of Cherry & 18th:


The park off 17th (between Ranstead & Locust – entrances on both – adorable turkey head spout on the fountain):


The plaza of the Comcast Center (off JFK Blvd.):


Indoors – the basement shopping mall of the Comcast Center:


The plaza in front of 30th Street Station. Tables and chairs, but also lounge swings, food trucks and occasional live music:

30 street

Outside the Convention Center on Arch Street between 12th & 14th:


WILD At The Philadelphia Museum Of Art

wildTobey really only likes museums if there is something to DO.  The new Wild exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (through 9/17/17) was a hit with both of us.  There is the main exhibit with its incredible photographs (Tobey’s favorite):


My favorite:


Plus, a kid-friendly audio-guide and a video, showing the backstory of several shots.  There is also a scavenger hunt for another 11 photographs located throughout the museum – the challenge is to find the relationship between the photos and artworks they are displayed with:


Hint: both show hunters/hunting equipment

AND, Splash Studio is located right next to the exhibit, where kids (and grown-ups) can create their own Wild inspired artwork.


Tobey & Kathy’s jungle masterpiece

Wild and Splash Studio are free with museum admission.

Today’s lunch:


A cheese steak, burger and fries from the museum’s food truck, A-Burger.  Great view and plenty of entertainment watching folks do their Rocky thing. (through 9/17/17)

Photo Op: Another Toilet – This One For Modern Art Fans

100 years ago, Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” scandalized the art world.  An exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which, thanks to a relationship between Duchamp and a previous director of the museum, has one of the world’s best collections of Duchamp’s work) highlights the importance of this event.  I came across this photo-op by accident (luckily, not literally):


“Fountain” in the first floor women’s room

It’s located in the women’s room on the first floor of the museum.  No idea if there are others located in the museum – or how long it will be around.  But, for the moment, anyone with access to the women’s room can create their own “Fountain” photo.


Duchamp’s Fountain on display in the galleries (through 12/3/17)