Juno: No Match for Meat Week at Percy Street

There was this one time that every meteorologist in Philadelphia predicted the storm of the century. Her name was Juno, and she was supposed to be a beast. And so we watched, and we waited, and we bought an outrageous amount of milk, bread, and eggs (as is tradition). It was briefly beautiful.Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 6.40.16 PMThe weather outside was frightful. But not REALLY that frightful. So I made my way to Flywheel, like a winner.

Lemme tell you what could happen when you DESTROY a Flywheel class: you MIGHT hit a PR (I know I did). Your heart rate will DEFINITELY be up. Your blood will almost certainly be pumping. And, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll feel like you belong at the top of the food chain.

Enter: Percy Street Barbecue. Namely, their Meat Week. For $20, the Meathearts (like sweethearts, but meatier) at Percy Street are offering family style Brisket (MOO), Chicken (cluck), and pulled pork (OINK!), pinto beans with brisket burnt ends, german potato salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette, collard greens with smoked ham hocks, coleslaw, extra sharp cheddar mac & cheese, and buttermilk chive skillet cornbread.

Do yourself a solid and reread that. And then, ogle the goodies.

Housemade Pimento Cheese!

Housemade Pimento Cheese!

I had to take a separate picture of the mac & cheese because it disappeared so fast

I had to take a separate picture of the mac & cheese because it disappeared so fast

The cornbread, unfortunately, was too quickly consumed for my phone to take a photo. Sorry, folks. But it was delicious…

And then, the money shot:

MEAT'S ON!

MEAT’S ON!

Yup. A little bite of every beast you could want, savory sides, Texas toast. The hits seemingly kept coming, and by the end of the meal, the five of us were left with bellies teeming with protein (proteeming?) AND leftovers. All for $20 per person! Can’t be beat.

If you’re gunning for meat week you’ve got until January 30th (that’s TWO MORE NIGHTS!!) but here’s some pretty good scoop:

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Percy Street’s Lockhart can be purchased ANY DAY OF THE YEAR! Sure, you miss out on mac & cheese and cornbread, but pretend you’re going low-carb and you’ll never miss them.

(You might miss the mac & cheese, but for $6 it could [and should] be yours.)

If you’ve got any other meaty meals in Philly that are must-tries PLEASE share. Because I’ve realized that the only thing I want after a hard workout is to remind myself of the Viking Woman Amazon Warrior within.

And she’s hungry.

Beer Match: Finding the Perfect Match EVERY TIME

This is a guest post.

We can all agree on one thing (except those poor souls with gluten issues): Beer is a beautiful thing, and there’s nothing better than cracking one open at the end of a long day… except, of course, having said beautiful beer in hand as you sit down to a delicious meal, and enjoying the way flavors of the beer and the food complement each other. But pairing beer and food isn’t always easy, or even something that most of us know about, and while sometimes you may think that some pairings are “good enough”, there can always be better pairings that more trained tongues can distinguish. Always something to learn…

Lucky for everyone (except, again, the gluten-challenged), an app called Beer Match gives us all that we could possibly need. That’s right, just like it can now get you rides home or show you where the nearest public bathroom is, your phone can help you take taste to a whole new level and enjoy your beer in never-before-seen ways.

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It doesn’t really come as a surprise, as we continue to use our phones in innovative ways every day. AlchemyBet, the proud owners of Pocket Fruity, have said that we now use our phones everywhere from in church to at school and at work, and we’ve all seen those brilliant souls who walk into the streets, eyes glazed over at their phones, nearly colliding with oncoming traffic (this is a real thing, I just watched the other day!). Luckily, with Beer Match, your phone isn’t just a distraction; it’s a powerful tool that helps you get the most out of your meal and the brew you choose to drink it with!

The way it works is you select a food from the list of over 500 foods already on the app, and the app then generates a list of beers – kinds of beer, not brands – that go well with your selection.

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If you find yourself on the other end of the line, beer in hand and wondering “goodness, what should I eat with this auspicious ale?!”, you can use the app to find food that match the beer you have at home too. Major bonus: the fact that you don’t even need an internet connection to use it. Once you’ve downloaded it, all information is stored locally on your phone so you can look up great beer and food pairings no matter what pub, restaurant, or microbrewery you’re in. Even if it’s a secret sneaky restaurant underground… or you decide to have dinner in your basement.

Whatever floats your boat.

The app costs $0.99 on the iTunes App Store, and its developers have also made mobile apps for other pairings such as wine-and-food and wine-and-cheese. Really, an app for every palate and pairing.

Two Dames Do Dogfish Head

When I visited the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago, I was impressed with lots of things. The hoards of bearded beer bros. The wonder of Denver. The tartness of sours. The bitter hops that can be packed into imperial double ULTIMATE IPAs!! But something else struck me… The line for the Dogfish Head stand. It seemed to span a mile! WHAT WERE THEY ALL WAITING FOR?!

See, though I’m just mad for the brews produced by Dogfish Head, I was born in Delaware. I grew up there, and though I migrated to Pennsylvania when I was 10, it was “Delaware County”, a stone’s throw from Wilmington. It’s no surprise, then, that DFH was never perceived to me as “rare” or “special” merely…. present. Ubiquitous, even. That said, I get it. If you’re someone who doesn’t have access to the tasty beers from the First State, they become something to seek out. Rare gems. And where better to pan for gems than the source? (That was my best try at a segue. Don’t hate me.)

Paradise

Paradise

My dear buddy Claire came down right after the new year cracked so we could take a journey south to Milton to visit the brewery for the day. We were promptly greeted with tickets to the tour and four sample pours. I chose the four I hadn’t tried before, and we enjoyed a little pre-tour tasting

Working my way through the ranks

Working my way through the ranks

Beer's better with buddies

Beer’s better with buddies

Before I’d even started my fourth pour, it was time to tour!

And I have a confession….

The tour was (at least the portion we were on) dreadfully dull. I have a feeling it isn’t always this way, but we got shafted by a tour guide who somehow managed to make my absolute favorite topic boring, while periodically making me feel weirded out… Claire put it best, saying that Lars (our tour guide) left us feeling like his entire spiel was a long joke that never got the punchline, and never really taught us anything about what makes Dogfish Head special.

Not for lack of looking!

Not for lack of looking!

It’s okay. Their website can tell you plenty. All we knew was that, after about 30 minutes of saying what felt like nothing, we had to get outta there.

We left the tour early for greener pastures (after one last beer…)

One day I'll get a new hat. but that day isn't today.

One day I’ll get a new hat. but that day isn’t today.

Lucky for us, Dogfish Head’s Brewpub is in Rehoboth Beach, a mere 25 minutes away. So we hit the road for some eats and dranks.

Tapas, anyone?

Tapas, anyone?

Pickles, cheese, olives, and beer: What else could two gals ask for?

The beers were brewpub exclusives, Pennsylvania Tuxedo and Analog, and they were world-rocking. Claire had the higher ABV since I was driving, but we both made sure we didn’t leave empty bellied….

Oh baby.

Oh baby.

We each got a porchetta sandwich with MORE PICKLES (quickly becoming something I seek out, don’t offer to dining partners! #growingup), arugula, roasted (or was it “blistered”) red peppers, and a rich aioli that I don’t even really remember beyond just stifled moans of enjoyment from both of us.

We both left proud members of the clean plate club, stoked that our DFH dreams came true, just a little distance away from where we thought they would.

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for those off-centered ales, and with a setting like this outside…. well, I still recommend a visit!

Steampunk Treehouse, anyone?

Steampunk Treehouse, anyone?

It was still a solid day trip, and if you’ve got the time (especially in the summer) worth the trek!

Best brewery tour you’ve ever taken?

New Belgium still has my heart…

ClassPass in Philadelphia: Reflections and Progress

Ok, Christmas is fast upon us. And, if your office/family/friends are anything like mine, you’re likely experiencing a deluge of sweets and treats flooding from the gates of Pinterest with unparalleled force. A veritable nonstop influx of all things sugary, savory, seasonal, and sensational.

Corned beef and cheddar latkes? Sure.

Corned beef and cheddar latkes? Sure.

Cupcake in a Jar? WHY THE HELL NOT?!

Cupcake in a Jar from office mate? WHY THE HELL NOT?!

However, due to my dedication to this Jan1 Challenge inspired by my uber-fit bro and a pretty regimented tracking document with a few friends, near and far-flung, I have, for the most part, been able to steer clear of the mounds of muffins, caches of cookies and cupcakes, and the droves of donuts (nope, someone brings in Federal Donuts, I’m like a woman possessed). The past few days, especially though, have been jam-packed with potlucks and dinner parties, holiday parties and ugly sweater crawls so, despite keeping a pretty tight lock and key on the sweets, there’s definitely been a fair amount of indulgence lately.

1920267_10153646560343504_1063637603234754817_nLucky for me, I’ve got a secret weapon. It’s my new ClassPass and I’ve definitely been giving it a workout lately. In the past six days, I’ve gone to three different classes with the pass, and one without it. The results? I’m actually feeling fantastic!!

Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

I’ve visited Bikram Yoga Philadelphia for an early morning class (WOW, talk about sweaty!!) I actually went to BIkram about 8 times earlier this year through a little daily-deal unlimited package. I believe it was 2 months, and I actually got pretty into it. There’s something really soothing about the same 26 poses over the course of 90 minutes in a piping hot room. Sure, maybe I’m just relishing in the opportunity to rock spandex shorts again in a socially acceptable fashion, but repeated visits had me noticing marked improvement in my balance and back strength.

This most recent visit…. rude awakening. I was teetering and tottering, but found my center towards the end. I’m hoping to go back at least once if not twice before the pass runs out!

Focus Barre and Yoga’s Barre Class was…. insane. First, the studio: Clean, bright space, comfortable carpets for the barre class, and check out the view!

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I know, it’s just Chestnut Street, but I do appreciate a good window in a studio, especially one where you can actually see out of it. There are a number of classes scheduled (click link for schedule), though not TOO many, which could be tough if you were going here regularly.

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The class itself, though, that was the most impressive part. I haven’t felt that type of burn in my legs and arms since Pure Barre in North Carolina! Lotsa gear in this class, from balls to weights to resistance bands.

Because what woman doesn't love to accessorize?

Because what woman doesn’t love to accessorize?

The instructor was super high energy the entire time, and chimed in with helpful, non-judgmental sounding critiques every now and then (if you’ve ever been to a barre class, you might know what I am alluding to when I say her critiques didn’t sound judgmental. If you haven’t, LUCKY YOU!) My thighs were on fire, my arms shaking, and my abs resonating with the deep burn of an incredible workout, all in only one hour.

FULL recommendation to this joint, truly. When can I go back?!

Finally, Philly Power Yoga. I’ve visited this studio a handful of times in the past, so nothing really blew me away. They are tough workouts. The instructors won’t hesitate to tell you when you’re doing something wrong, or where you should be pushing yourself. However, I’m not 100% sure it’s my favorite style of yoga/critique. I don’t know, the jury’s still out, but the location is almost too convenient and the temperature too comfortable warm to write it off completely. They have so many class options, it’s hard to say no.

I also threw in a BodyPump class on Sunday, just for good measure. All this, and a trip to Zumba last Monday, and I’m finding myself working out 5 days in one week! I’m sore, but in that muscle ache because you know you’re doing it right soreness. And I’ve got a lot of ClassPass left to use like crazy. Tomorrow’s agenda calls for a Cross-Training lunchtime class at Unite, which I’m maybe even a little nervous to try. But if there’s ever a time to give new exercises a go, this is it.

I know that life isn’t ALL about the numbers, but I will say that, since November, I have lost about 5lbs. My clothes are fitting better, I’m falling to sleep more easily, and my independent weight lifting feels like it actually…. matters? That sounds about right.

Now all I’ve gotta do is make it through Christmas without being trampled by Bell-jar baked goods. Wish me luck.

ClassPass Comes to Philly!!

I’ve been holding onto a secret for about a week or so, but the cat is outta the bag: ClassPass has officially arrived in Philadelphia!!

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If you’ve ever met me, spent time with me, or really even read my blog, you might understand why I’m so pumped for this arrival. For $99/month (the cost of some gyms around the city, and the cost of something like 4/5 classes at a lot of Philly’s premiere studios), you get unlimited classes to use at studios in the ClassPass network (Well, unlimited to a point… While a member can take as many classes per month as they’d like, they can visit the same studio up to 3 times per monthly membership cycle.)

It’s basically an all-access pass to work out at different studios all throughout the city (and some are even in the suburbs). For more information, check out their FAQs.

I’ll admit, I’ve been anxiously awaiting launch because I’ve been given a month membership to try out Philly’s own take on ClassPass. My heart skipped a beat when I received the email that launch had gone down, and immediately signed up for my first class. After ogling all the others, you can BET I’ll be visiting a buncha spots. Here’s just a sample of the studios that are participating in Philly’s ClassPass (and the ones I can’t WAIT to check out):

  • Focus Barre and Yoga (20th and Chestnut)
  • Allongée (Old City) – ballet based fitness, I’ll give it a try!
  • Body Cycle Studio (Also 20th and Chestnut, looks like the same address as Focus) – for all my spinning needs!
  • RowZone (Rittenhouse) – I’ve been DYING to try a rowing class!!
  • Lithe Method (because DUH)
  • Unite Fitness Studio (12 and Arch) – they’ve got yoga AND cross training, which is like cardio strength and yoga!
  • Bikram Yoga (16 and Sansom) – LOVED this earlier in the year enough to do 2 months unlimited. I think I went at least once a week throughout, great for the cold weather, let’s get bendy and sweaty!
  • FlyWheel (Rittenhouse) – Another one I’ve been meaning to try forever…. now’s as good a time as any!!

If I even went to a single class at each of those, with drop-in costs, I’d probably be dropping at least $160. However, I can go to all of those spots like… 3 times each. I’m overwhelmed with anticipation.

I’ll keep y’all abreast of what this experience is like, and feel free to follow along on Twitter with #ClassPassPhilly and #LivingtheSweatyLife!

T-minus 2 hours until my first class, wish me luck!

Philly: All I Want for Christmas is YOU!

When I was down in NOLA in November, I crossed paths with a buddy from my fraternity. He’s living in New Orleans now, and asked me how I was liking Philly after 7 years in sunny North Carolina. When I responded, gushing about how much I love Philadelphia, he shook his head, professing general distaste for the city I love. I scoffed in his general direction, turning back to the bar to get something ridiculous like a hot buttered rum because, “When in N’awlins…” (But seriously. why isn’t every bar offering this drink the second temperatures drop?)

I tell you this story to lead into this post. This post is nothing more than a love letter (not a Love Note, as someone already has that covered) to Philadelphia. This is not to say that my previous homes (Wilmington, DE; Chapel Hill, NC; Durham, NC) weren’t all wonderful in their own rights. And, in some way, I’ll always love them for the person they made me. But I spent the last two years of my 7 in NC trying to get back to Philly. And the way I feel about this city can easily be described as romantic. Truly, it’s a relationship you can only have with a city that is oft hated, mocked, and seemingly never celebrated for more than sloppy meat sandwiches. The love you defend to the death, despite complaining all year about the cold, the dirt, the smell, the Rittenhouse rats, and the PPA.

So click on this Youtube version of a Mariah Carey-oke (BAHAHA get it?!) version of All I Want for Christmas, and sing along with my new, much more romantic lyrics.

This one’s for you, Philly.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There’s not much I really need
Tastykakes, could take or leave them
Prefer my steaks grilled, hold the cheese

Head to Monk’s to have a beer
Thank goodness that I live here
My wishes all came true…
Philly, all I want for Christmas is you!

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I don’t want a lot for Christmas
Really, not much that I need
Maybe just a lil’ Budino
Spicy cukes – Han Dynasty

I don’t need to hear those carols
Sang throughout Rittenhouse Square
I’ll give up the lights on Locust Walk
Honestly, don’t even care!

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I just want my postal code
to start with one nine one ZERO
Wishes all came true….
Philly, all I want for Christmas is you!
Youuuuu, Philly.

I won’t ask for much this Christmas
Definitely won’t ask for snow
Trudging out to get some groceries
Fighting crowds at Trader Joe’s

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If I were to make a list I’d
Send it straight to RTM
Stock up on some “OK” Produce
Meats and Sausages from Martin.

‘Cause I just want to spend the night
Staring at those PECO lights
Wishes all came true…
Philly all I want for Christmas is YOU!

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Oh, all the kids are watching
The Macy’s Christmas Show
As folks slip at Rothman
Butts are sore, ya know…

And though our skin is stinging
Still hear those sleigh bills ringing
Philly, bitter as we may all seem
Won’t you please spend this Christmas with me??

Oh, I don’t want a lot for Christmas
This is all I’m asking for
I just want to have my city
Right outside my tiny door

Oh, I just want you for my own
(Though I don’t mind sharing, don’t ya know?)
Wishes all came true
Philly, all I want for Christmas is you
You, Philly.

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Philadelphia’s Christmas Village: Eats n’ Sweets!

If you’ve been reading for a little while, you may know a little about my belief in pockets of magic, hidden throughout Philadelphia. Maybe it’s a monochrome pop-up picnic. Maybe it’s a giant garden made up of found items, mosaic, and art. Maybe it’s one of those incredible nights where you look around and realize you know more people at the bar than you don’t, and you’re all singing along to the same jukebox. Moments like that where you look around and just fall in love with the city all over again.

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Philadelphia’s Christmas Village, modeled in the style of German Christmas villages, is one of those awesome annual traditions that is easy to overlook with the holidays being as jam-packed as they always are. Every year, my parents take a trip to the city to visit this spot, and I normally meet them afterwards. But, this year, I got the chance to tour through (when the weather was oh-so-frightful) and sample some of the goodies and, I’m telling you this, “Make Philly’s Christmas Village a destination this year, not an afterthought!”

Come for the photo-opps, stay for the baked cheese?

I don’t know, something like that.

We first got to try the meats.

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Wurst?

More like…. best. (Is that the most played out German food-based joke? Good.)

I think the Germans just like…. “get it” when it comes to sausages. Every single bite was tastier and snappier than the last. And then, the icing on the cake (or… the sugar on the streudel).

Look at this REAL LIVE GERMAN DUDE who brought dessert out for us!

gute Nacht, herr streudel-meister

gute Nacht, herr streudel-meister

But sometimes, your loved ones can’t make it out to the village with you. Here’s where the shopping aspect comes in…. only shopping’s much better when you can taste some of the goods before you buy them (I wouldn’t recommend this with like… scarves. But definitely with: bacon jam!)

Spreadable bacon: for the one who has it all!

Spreadable bacon: for the one who has it all!

This stand has bacon everything. You see that bacon caramel popcorn?

Yup, for the one who has it all!

Other folks prefer the sweet to the savory. Don’t worry, they’ve got you covered:

It's like a tiny Willy Wonka stand!!

It’s like a tiny Willy Wonka stand!!

German treats, gingerbread hearts, marzipan fruit. There’s also a macaron stand in the back that I had to fight every urge not to rob purchase heavily from. But I’ll give you a serious tip: if you just get ONE edible treat for someone important to you, give the gift that keeps giving (good feelings… and maybe a stomach ache if you overdo it).

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Yeah. That’s just like… baked cheese full of bacon.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

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I tried Original, Bacon, AND Garlic. And I did it for you all. Although the bacon was pretty world rocking, the absolute tastiest was definitely the GARLIC CHEESE. Imagine halloumi. And then, imagine it being even better.

Stocking stuffer? Mouth stuffer? Why choose just one?

I mean, I won’t pretend that there’s not a TON of great shopping to be had at the Christmas Village. Everything from jewelry to decorations to handmade scarves to doner kebabs [oh sorry, those are food too. One track mind.] It’s picturesque. It’s festive. AND, if you buy a cup of mulled wine, you get a pretty cute mug to take home. I’ve already got plans to crash my parents’ date night this year and get some full-sized snacks of my own.

Ok, I did get ONE full size snack.

Ok, I did get ONE full size snack.

Bring your family. Bring a date. Bring your appetite.

Sometimes, You Just Knead Bagels (get it?)

I woke up Saturday morning feeling, as my Carolina friends might say, like death warmed over. And I’m not sure if it stemmed from a restless sleep, my general malaise in the winter, or (most likely) a few too many celebratory Proseccos following a buddy’s successful dissertation proposal defense. Whatever it was, I spent the first half hour of consciousness sending whiny Snapchats and wondering, David After Dentist-style, “Why is this happening to me?”

2n04rwmBut then, something magical happened. Something that social media, god bless it, made possible. The folks at Knead Bagels, a new bagel joint at 7th and Walnut, tweeted out this picture.

Come to mama.

Come to mama.

In case you can’t see, that’s a Nigella Seed Bagel, jalapeno bacon (from 1732 Meats) and Agave cream cheese. As I’ve been eye-ing Knead for some time now, drawn to the exciting bagel flavors and intriguing cream cheese options, I had a feeling this was just what the doctor ordered. I begrudgingly donned all the rainy cold weather attire needed for a miserable winter morning and headed out the door. A woman with a mission.

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.

The space is open and almost rustic. Think wood, think chalkboard menu, beautiful art on the walls. And though my tastebuds were piqued by options like pastrami spice, togarashi, fennel seed & sea salt, flax and chia seed bagels…. scallion lime, kimchee, roasted tomato, and balsamic cherry cream cheeses…. I knew what I needed.

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I squirreled my special bagel back home to be enjoyed on the comfort of my couch as I watched something dumb and mindless on TV. The verdict?

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MEDICINAL. Momentarily disregard the bags under my eyes and realize that these bagels…. I’m fairly certain they’ve got healing properties. Because as I consumed my nigella seed bagel, full of burnt onion flavoring, and the hearty bacon-filled cream cheese (spice and sweet, oh yes), I felt rejuvenated from the inside out.

I can not WAIT to hurry back and try the rest of the options. Or perhaps, when I’m feeling peckish, I’ll even enjoy some of their new lunch options.

Knead has won my heart and my tummy. Philly (k)needed a new bagel spot, and Knead delivered.

A Very Philly-centric Gift List

it’s that time again. The Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade is parading across my family’s television, I’ve got a puppy curled up at my feet (admittedly, he’s about 108 lbs… Great Danes don’t stay babies for long), and folks have been lining up at Best Buy since like… Halloween. It’s no surprise, then, that I’ve started thinking about gifts for this holiday season. I’ve always prided myself on my gift-giving skills. I spend what some might call an “unreasonable” amount of time thinking of gifts to give. It’s no surprise, then, that I’ve been brainstorming this year’s presents since…. well, maybe since last year. I can’t unload ALL my brilliant ideas, heaven forbid one of the recipients checks out the blog… But I figure for those of you who aren’t constantly thinking about what you should get your loved ones, I’d help out a bit. Let’s just stick with the theme of the blog, while we’re at it. Food, sweat, and beers.

Food

6a0120a848bbaf970b0153909573ca970b-500wiCOOK is a Philly Bucket List experience for me, and a gift certificate would make a KILLER gift. Featuring cooking classes from Philadelphia chefs, cook book authors, and the general foodie elite, these Rittenhouse Square based classes range anywhere from $70-250 and, in addition to sipping on fancy wine and noshing on tastiness, you get some serious ambiance and, according to folks that have tried it, a pretty world-rocking experience. The classes fill up fast, but they’re always scheduling more. If you’re looking for a date night with a food-lover, look no further.

It’s no surprise that Reading Terminal Market, a mecca for food lovers in Philly, is one of my favorite places. And it would be easy enough to get and gift a gift certificate to this spot. BUT if you are willing to work a little bit, why not put together a “Best of” basket full of your favorite goodies? Cheese from Salumeria, a pint of ice cream from Bassetts (the literal best ice cream), preserves and nut butters from Kauffman’s. There’s so many options, let your palate be your guide. OR your recipient’s palate. Yes, definitely that.

For the non-perishable food fanatic, I’m all about repping this city with what you wear. Here are some of my favorites.

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Two Paper Dolls, based out of Wayne, PA, has a pretty fantastic cheesesteak shirt I’ve been ogling… (Don’t worry, they have them in baby sizes.) Their Philly/Phillies Pretzel shirt is AMAZING!

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And if you like your fried chicken served with a side of donuts, we’ve got the Federal Donuts apparel.

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Let’s get into some SWEAT

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We’ll start off with the very sweatiest…. BIKRAM YOGA! I got a two month unlimited last year and just sweat my FACE off. They’ve got a pretty fantastic Introductory Month deal for $30 unlimited for a month. I would totally recommend as a gift OR a personal present/escape from the frozen Philly tundra.

Now I’m no runner, but as a friend with a plethora of speed demons and road warriors, I know few things are tougher than running in the winter. If you’re looking for gifts for these men and women to keep em going during the chilly months, hit up Philadelphia Runner for some of the sage running wisdom from the folks that eat, sleep, and breathe running. I just scooped up a pair of waterproof sneakers from Brooks because they were touted as “better than boots”. Admittedly, I got these bad boys because…. well, because I won them. BUT folks who know better than me can give you more tips on running gloves (Be Well Philly).

This last one isn’t Philly specific, and it’s not out until March yet, but if the advertising is telling the truth, this could be my number one recommendation for your friends/daughters/sisters/mothers/cousins who live in the city and spend their time running outside, walking outside, biking, really anything.

Look at all these cute options!

CUFF: Wearable tech. Bonus: Look at all these cute options!

 The Cuff is supposed to work with your smartphone to help with your health, your safety, and your courtesy (i.e. it alerts you if your phone rings while it’s in your purse so you’re not constantly checking up on it at the table). The video on the website says more than I can, but the concept of being able to press a button if I was in danger and alert my friends and family of my location…. I’m all about this, and have ordered one of my own. Hope it delivers.

Last, but not least: Beers (or Booze in general)

The Philly spirits game is crushing it lately. So if you’re looking for something special for the boozehound who has everything, why not gift them some of Philadelphia Distlling’s own absinthe, Vieux Carre, or their award winning Bluecoat Gin? The bottles, whenever you’re finished, make beautiful decorations or vases.

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Or, for a more complete gift, try a signature cocktail kit!  Start with one of Art in the Age‘s fancy liquors like their Alcoholic Root Tea, ROOT. Toss in some Maple Porter (wanna stay local-ish? Try Sap Sucker Maple Porter from The Brewery at Hershey if you can get it! But I know Brooklyn has one, too. Regular porter works, so pick your [porter] poison), a mini maple syrup, and some bitters, add a mason jar, and VOILA! Cocktail Kit (click for official recipe)!!

root-11

Finally (and this is a gift I’ve given that was very well-received), hit up Duross and Langel in Midtown for some of their beer soaps (made with brews from locals Yards, Victory, and Dogfish Head) and a pint glass from the corresponding brewery for a perfect (flight-friendly if you’re traveling) gift! No need to check a bag.

We started off our Thanksgiving day with a HEARTY breakfast, so I’m off to Turkey Trot a little of this food fatigue off….

But HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y’ALL! I’m always, always thankful that anyone thinks my words are interesting enough to read. So, ya know, thanks.

#CampCampbell: Tasty Traditions

Two PhDs, a yarn expert, a circus performer, blogger, and a lawyer walk into an apartment….

Nope. Not the beginning of a hilarious joke (YET! Accepting any takers.) But it was the beginning of a night filled with some of the most interesting and inspiring ladies that I know (well, at least those that live in Philly. Maybe I’ll try to scoop some more distant buddies next time).

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but I’m a member of a lovely network of women organized by Campbell Soup called Camp Campbell. It’s made up of women 18-34 who are passionate about food. Change makers and tasters and movers and shakers. Apparently, I qualify as one of those, so when they reached out to see if I wanted to host a fall dinner, I jumped on the opportunity. I invited a handful of inspirational women in my life, and we went back and forth with what to eat from the ingredients sent over. Although I received a generous box of Campbell family products, when I described them to the ladies, one option came out as clear.

Taylor ogles the spread

Taylor ogles the spread

PIZZA PARTY!

Prego Pizza Sauce, unknown to me before delivery, is part of the family often known only for their soups (and like…. a bunch of other brands. Learn something every day, right?)

PREGO: Not just for pasta anymore!

PREGO: Not just for pasta anymore!

Almost all the other stuff was brought and supplied by my buddies. And we were fully loaded. Prego, pesto, two crust types, sausage, salami, roasted vegetables, cheese far as the eye can see, spinach, pine nuts. SUCH GOURMET, am I right?? Not only are we inspirational. We keep it classy. Since my dear friend Susan let me bogart her home for the evening, I played cook.

Chef BoyarJay

Chef BoyarJay

Pizza a plenty

Pizza a plenty

And Ame brought the treats.

Ame's got dessert covered (she also brought the snickerdoodles)

Ame’s got dessert covered (she also brought the Snickerdoodles)

Despite most of the photos, though, the night was not only about pizza…

Dinner is served!

I mean, it was a lot about pizza.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner and kicking off the holiday season, we decided to share some of our favorite traditions. From singing with wine to rotating hosts of Thanksgiving dinner to choosing who brings the novelty butter (you guys haven’t LIVED until you try some turkey-shaped butter) to putting together Thanksgiving hoagies the next day with all the leftovers, it wasn’t surprising that some of our best holiday memories revolve around food.

Since two 'zas is never enough

Since two ‘zas is never enough

But here’s the thing. Although I was provided some choice ingredients courtesy of Campbell’s, and I deeply appreciate that, the best thing that came from the night was not the food (despite the fact that the brussels sprouts pizza was off the chain).

The MVP(izza)

The MVP(izza)

The best part was the promise of a new tradition. These are women that I know from different walks of life. School, work, friends of friends. And they all came together, by my invitation, to dine. To dish. To gossip and reflect. And then, at the end, we were like “Wait. This was great. Let’s do it again around Hanukkah!”

So we will.

Sure, anyone can be a girl who grubs… but we’re going to be ladies who latke. And that can be our new tradition.