Archive for July, 2007

University City Dining Days


University City Dining Days kicked off tonight, but you’ve still got until next Thursday night to catch one of the deals. The nice thing about UC Dining Days as opposed to Center City’s Restaurant Week is that they’ve got a handful of restaurants that are offering 3 courses for $15. The bulk of the restaurants are running the special at $25 and just a few are charging Restaurant Week’s standard $30. Click here for the complete list of establishments participating in the deal.

Run, don’t walk, and get yourself some of this gorgeous baklava


The first time I tasted baklava was at my cousin’s wedding when I was six years old. Someone thought it would be a good idea to give a small child a sticky dessert that came in many layers and would be appealing food item to play with. I sat there, eating it layer by layer, pulling it apart and getting myself completely and utterly covered in honey. That day I developed a taste for the stuff that has endured to this day (despite the fact that I am actively trying *not* to eat much sugar these days).

Knowing these facts, you will understand both the delight and chagrin I experienced when I stumbled across this post on yesterday. Perfect slabs of baklava! For a dollar! It is a good thing I don’t live in West Philly, or all my attempts to eat more healthfully would go straight out the window (just the knowledge that this baklava exists puts it in pretty severe peril as it is). Thanks for the tip (and the photo)!

Makkah Market (4249 Walnut Street)

Crazy Times: Utley breaks hand in Phils’ loss…

All right…
The second half of the baseball season is underway and coming off the All Star Break, the Fightin’ Phils are showing signs of life…

Despite the following…

1.) A porous bullpen. The bullpen is waaaaaaaay beyond bad. It’s not even funny anymore. The bullpen is a lot like the Bush Administration, it’s gone beyond simply making fun of them and laughing at the absurdity of it all. Now it’s become tragic and sad, and we’re trying to figure out ways to fix this gigantic mess. Sadly though, there doesn’t seem to be a way to fix the pen in the fore seeable future, much like there doesn’t seem to be a way to fix Iraq, the deficit, or an inept Attorney General (i.e. Charlie Manuel.)

2.) Chase’s Hand. Today, in the Phils’ loss to the dreaded Nationals, The Force That is Chase had his hand broken when he was hit by a pitch. There is no timetable for his return, although Phillies management are confident he’ll be back by the end of the season.

But will that be too late?

The Phillies are currently 2 1/2 games out in the NL Wild Card and 5 games behind the Mets in the NL East. It’ll be interesting to see how the Phillies respond to loosing Chase, who has been rock solid for the team all year. Luckily Ryan Howard is hot, as is Jimmy Rollins and Aaron Rowand…and dude…even Pat “Mr. Miyagi” Burrell has been hot…yes…PAT BURRELL.

If Burrell is hitting the ball, then crazy times are happening, the stars must be aligned or the moon or the…wheat fields. Be prepared Philadelphia, there could be rampant power outtages, hurricanes and maybe even a monsoon down the Schuylkill…

Get Ready…

In bad times is when the craziest things will happen. Playoffs? Sure, it could happen.

Start holding your breath now.

This week from Center City Sips


I finally managed to get myself out for Center City Sips last night (I don’t know how I’ve missed it so far this summer) and not only that, I went to not one, but two different bars. I met a couple of friends at Susanna Foo’s first, and while the bar was crowded, the hostess magically conjured a table in the corner for the three of us. I had both of their Sips cocktails, first the Firecracker (a spiced up caipirinha) and then a Mango Mandarin Martini. Both were good and left me slightly tipsy (which was the point). One of my friends ordered a glass of wine and it was a VERY generous pour and a bargain at $3 a glass. We also tried out their $1 appetizers (chicken satay, pork dumplings and shrimp spring roll) and all lived up to Susanna Foo’s reputation, despite the bargain price.

After an hour there, we headed out. We tried to go to Tavern 17, but they were at capacity and did not let us in. With fifteen minutes left in the happy hour special, we kept walking and found a spot at the bar at La Castagne with a few minutes to spare. We ordered one each of the appetizer specials (grilled flat bread pizza and a plate with three types of bruschetta). Both were tasty and nicely sized, although the service that accompanied them wasn’t great. There was one very harassed-looking woman working the bar who looked like she couldn’t wait until 7 pm when the special was over. She seemed annoyed that we showed up so late in the game, demanding that we pay as soon as we placed our order. In the drinks department, they had a mohito, which was nicely minty, as well as caipirinha special, this one with coconut milk. It sounded wonderful in concept, but I think the flavor balance in the one they served us was off, because it just wasn’t so good.

All in all, a successful night out at Center City Sips. The picture above is the line out the door of people trying to get into Alma de Cuba for their Sips specials. I don’t know about you, but it just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

Philly Bits’ Bike Ride


Philly Bits, a blog that lives up to its name and posts about all things Philadelphia, put up a good photo post yesterday, documenting a bike ride out to 69th Street Station and back. I’ve only ever covered that ground in a car or on the El, so I thought was interesting to get a peek of things from bike level. Philly Bits is also the blogger who brought my attention to the Anti-Violence Bike Ride I posted about yesterday, so if you poke around on his site, you’ll see that I stole the scan of the poster about that event from him.

War and Taxes

I was surprised to see news coverage of protesters at the Marriott today while president Bush visited. Normally, I feel the press more or less ignores such gatherings but that may be on the larger scale. I’m happy our local television news and papers took the time to interview and relay an understanding of the passions the 150 people gathered to protest the war.

Bush, of course, went through a back entrance and may not have seen them. His comments today did acknowledge the issue, though: “I understand the angst among the American people. I know that people are weary of war.” Then he went on to tell the group of prominent legislators and business executives “…I plan to use my veto to keep your taxes low.” Great! Tax breaks for the rich. Just what we all need.

Anti-Violence Bike Ride Saturday


If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of violence happening in Philadelphia these days, think about turning out this Saturday at 9 am to ride your bike in protest. I realize that this ride won’t actually do a whole lot to stop things, but sometimes just taking some action, any action, helps with the feelings of frustration, fear and futility.

The Hogwarts library once lived in an awesome Mt Airy book shop


Last Friday night, tons of kids, teens, and adults gathered around town for the release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows. Just about every Borders and Barnes and Noble in Philadelphia had events, but my discussion group Potterdelphia decided that a smaller independent book shop would be the perfect place for our party!

And it was. It was totally awesome. The festivities at Big Blue Marble in Mt Airy began at 7pm and ran until just past midnight—of course no one wanted to hang around once books were handed out! The Marauders performed a set around 9pm, we did trivia for an hour starting at 10pm, kids and teens were running around in costume, and boxes of books taunted us at every turn.

Big Blue Marble is a wonderful book shop located near Weaver’s Way co-op in this neat little section of the city. The walk from the Carpenter R8 station takes no time at all and the store itself has three levels of awesomeness, with a cafe on the second floor and community space on the third.

Thank you thank you thank you to all the great staff members who were so amazing that night! I had more fun at this party than previous big-name-store-sponsored Harry Potter book releases, and the warm and cozy atmosphere made this truly feel like an intimate friends and family gathering and not some nameless event with people lined around the block barely looking at each other.

(Side note: I just love Mt Airy, and one of our group members, who’d just moved to Philadelphia last year, had never been in this neighborhood and had to call her friend and gush about it.)

Open Target

I love Target. I am aware their practices are no better than Wal-Mart in terms of compensation, conditions and sweatshop labor. It’s just so much nicer to shop in. Cleaner, brighter, wider aisles and irresistible seasonal sections. Fortunately for my bank account, there is no easy access to Target via Septa and I rarely have a car on hand. That said, I’ve been keeping an eye on the gigantic Target on City Ave, wondering when it would finally open. I passed by last Sunday and made a comment along the lines of “it looks ready enough, let us in.”

Lawn Chair Drive-In Tonight!

It is gorgeous out tonight, and if you’re looking around, wondering how best to take advantage of the weather, you might want to check out the Lawn Chair Drive-In tonight at Liberty Lands Park (3rd and Poplar Streets).

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Czechoslovakia, 83 min. 1958). Karl Zeman’s half-live action, half-animated film based on Jules Verne’s adventure novels. Shown on film (actual film) Drive-In exhumes the rarely screened work of Karel Zeman, the co-founder of Czech animation and one of the pioneers of stop-motion. Along with colleague Hermina Tyrlova, Zeman won the Best Animation award at Cannes ’46. He’s best remembered for this phantasmagoric mashup of Jules Verne stories (specifically Facing the Flag and Mysterious Island), which has him pulling out all the stops, integrating human actors into stunningly designed backdrops and interacting with animated creatures.

Sounds pretty cool to me. Grab your chairs and go stake yourself out a spot!

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