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.):

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:




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: