Happy Chinese New Year, Philly!

Beautiful firework pastry from A La Mousse, in celebration of the Chinese New Year!

Every holiday should be celebrated with food!

So, we set out to Chinatown to celebrate – starting with a giant Taiwanese fried (Ninja) chicken and squid from Cheers Cuts:IMG_20180220_120934543

And finishing up with the most amazing Asian-inspired desserts from A La Mousse:

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Happy Year of the Dog!

 

 

And who are these little guys? And, why are they riding chickens?

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https://www.facebook.com/alamoussecafe/

https://www.yelp.com/biz/cheers-cut-philadelphia

Love, Philly Style

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Philly’s iconic LOVE sculpture returned Tuesday after a year-long renovation.  It was welcomed back with a mini-parade through downtown.  Since Tobey and I were in town, we decided to join the welcome parade as it moved down the Ben Franklin Parkway:

 

Being in the right place at the right time… Tobey had her first television interview!

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Finished the day with chocolates from Reading Terminal:

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Mummers & Pie

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Every New Year’s Day, I wonder what the heck a “mummer” is – today we found out at the Mummer’s Museum.  This is a small museum (admission was “pay what you wish” on the cold, January day we visited) filled with videos, costumes, memorabilia and best of all… dress-ups with a video to teach the mummer’s strut.  We will definitely return for one of their (free) Thursday evening summer concerts.

Only about a mile walk from the tacky shops and restaurants on South Street, we checked out the new (tasty!) Bahn Mi & Bottles restaurant for Vietnamese street food:

And (best of all) homemade pie from Magpies (see Philly Ice Cream Treats – From Traditional To Trendy To Unusual)  for info on their yummy pie milkshakes):

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Mexican Chocolate & Oatmeal Cookie Pie

http://mummersmuseum.com/

https://www.banhmiandbottles.com/

https://www.iluvmagpie.com/

Philly’s Fantastic Chinatown

img_0340-e1504916762754.jpgFor the past 2 years, Tobey and I have been on a quest to explore the cuisines of  Chinatown.  Although Philadelphia’s Chinatown is just a few blocks long, this has proved never ending (but very enjoyable).  In addition to the diverse cuisines and foods of China (dim sum, hand-drawn noodles, duck, Cantonese, Szechuan, Hong Kong, Fujian), many other Asian cuisines are represented – Burmese, Vietnamese (including banh-mi), Korean, Japanese – plus many trendy and traditional desserts (QQ waffles, Japanese crepes, taro buns, green tea mousse cake).  Just when we start to put a dent in our list, restaurants close and new trends take over.  A few years ago it was soup dumplings, bubble tea, and hand-drawn noodles.  Last year was ramen and rolled ice-cream.  This year, it’s hot pots, Taiwanese fried food and nitrogen-frozen desserts.

 

 

 

 

Burmese Food, Louis Kahn, And A (Free) Museum With A Misleading Name

 

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It’s called “The Fabric Workshop,” but houses a (free) museum that supports and exhibits artists in a variety of media.  Until November 5th, they have an extensive exhibit on Philly-based architect Louis Kahn.  Videos, sketches, models, etc. – all showcasing Kahn’s work both in Philadelphia (Richards Medical Research Laboratories @ University of Pennsylvania) and elsewhere – including FDR 4 Freedoms Park in NYC – where Tobey and I visited last summer:

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They also offer student workshops.  Tobey and Erick attended a great program set up by a fellow home-schooler several years ago – during which their group designed and printed a large piece of silk-screen:

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Since it’s right up the street from Chinatown, the museum is a great stop for a little culture before or after lunch – in this case Burmese food at Rangoon.  Delicious lentil fritters, thousand-layer bread with potato curry, and tea leaf salad:

 

For dessert: coconut sticky rice with mango and jello-crunch ice (who would think the combination of jello, tapioca, pineapple, peanuts, ice, and condensed milk could taste so good??):

 

http://www.rangoonphilly.com/

http://www.fabricworkshopandmuseum.org/

Chinatown Continued… (Noodles + Cake), Street Art & Homeschooling

Our explorations of Chinatown seem to be never ending – so many different regional cuisines, many of which are represented in Philly.  Plus, new restaurants open faster than we can try them.  We were both fighting colds this week, so what better cure than spicy noodle soup?  Spice C is one of the best places in Philly for hand-drawn noodles – plus, the noodles are made fresh for each order and you can watch the chef toss the noodles while you wait.  Spicy Sichuan soup with wontons, roast pork & shaved noodles and spicy soy sauce, hand-drawn noodles were the perfect medicine:

 

In the land of $8 ice cream, we decided to try a more economical dessert.  Two Chinatown bakeries fit the bill:  The Mayflower Bakery (1008 Race St.) – $4 for a whole Swiss Roll (you can buy them by the slice for $1, but we were feeling greedy):

 

and KC’s Pastries (109 N. 10th St.) – $1.00 for a  bun (we loved the butter cream – the taro bun was…. interesting).

 

During the walk to Chinatown, we came across this new street art by a storm drain on Race Street (you never know what you are going to see in the City – love the octopus and crabbie):

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Since we homeschool, Tobey occasionally needs to finish up some schoolwork before we start our Philly adventures.  We often go to the Free Library, but the weather was so beautiful, we sat in the gardens of the Barnes Foundation (better than a classroom any day!).

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Exploring U-Penn – Art, Architecture, Macarons And An Indian Food Adventure AND The Cutest Little Dog Ever

We explored a new part of town this week – the University of Pennsylvania campus area.  U-Penn was established by Ben Franklin in 1751.  The current campus dates to the Victorian era, and has a great example of Philadelphia architect, Frank Furness’s work – the Fisher Memorial Library:

 

In addition to the gorgeous library, the building also houses a (free) art museum, where we saw “A View of One’s Own” – photos of Rome by 3 women photographers from the 1910’s, 1950’s and 2000’s:

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Walking campus, we saw the cutest little dog:

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And my mom’s old dormitory – the fortress-like Hill College House, designed by Finnish-born modernist architect Eero Saarinen (who also designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis):

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Lunch was at Dana Mandi, one of local food critic Craig LaBan’s Best Philly Values – and an experience in itself: walk to the back of the Indian grocery store, go behind a curtain to the seating area, write your order on a scrap of paper and leave it on the counter.  Like magic, delicious, cheap (the parathas were amazing) Indian food comes out on styrofoam trays, served in to-go containers.

 

No adventure is complete without dessert, so our final stop was the Sugar food truck (38th St. between Walnut & Sansom St.) for Tobey’s favorite – macrons:

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https://www.yelp.com/biz/dana-mandi-philadelphia

Soup Dumplings, Eskimo Kisses And An Eskimo Mailman

We had a friend with us for this week’s Thursday in Philadelphia, so we introduced her to one of our favorite Chinatown foods: Soup Dumplings at Tom’s Dim Sum (we also love their scallion pancakes and cucumber salad):

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Then, a new Chinatown adventure: Eskimo Kisses at the new N2 Sweet Cafe.  Crunchy banana flavored snacks soaked in liquid Nitrogen – spear them, eat them and watch the smoke come out of your mouth (a science lesson and culinary adventure all in one).  We also had one of their nitrogen frozen ice-creams with peanut butter and Oreo, which was super creamy and delicious.

 

Since we had an Eskimo theme going, we stopped by the old Art-Deco post office at 9th & Market for a look at the Eskimo, Caribbean and Cowboy mailmen:

 

 

http://tomsdimsum.com/default.aspx

https://www.yelp.com/biz/n2-sweet-cafe-philadelphia

Dippin’ Dots, Dot-To-Dots And Popping Boba

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Back in Philly after a late summer break.  We started by crashing Parkway 100’s  press conference outside the Academy of Natural Science – listening to the talks netted us free Dippin’ Dots and a Philly-centered dot-to-dot book (not just for kids – one of the pages has over 1,000 dots.  After 1/2 hours work, we still only finished 1/4 of the page).  Very excited about the activities going on to celebrate the Parkway’s 100 year anniversary – we already have our tickets for a ride in the Firefly pedicabs.  After the unexpected snack, we walked to Chinatown for 2 of our favorite treats:

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Bahn mi from QT Vietnamese Sandwich (48 N. 10th St.) – we get the #1 special with meat, carrot, cilantro and jalapeno on the best French bread in Philly.  At $6.60 for a sharable sandwich, it’s a great bargain. We ate in the cute little parking-spot park at 10th/Cherry – 2 planters, 2 benches, all squeezed in 1 parking spot right in the middle of Chinatown.

We followed with a Very Mango from Bubblefish (909 Arch St.) – boba for Tobey and popping yogurt for me.  Since Tobey loves bubble tea, we stopped by one of the Asian grocery stores to purchase our own tapioca balls.  We are going to attempt to make bubble tea at home.  Stay tuned for the results…

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http://bubblefishphilly.com/