Win a Race Entry! BOMF 5-Miler

Whether you lucked out in the Blue Cross Broad Street Run lottery and are ready to start training  or you’re lamenting not getting in AGAIN, I’ve got some pretty great news for you. And that news is all courtesy of Back on My Feet: Philadelphia.

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Back on My Feet is a national organization operating in all across the U.S. working to combat homelessness through the power of running, community support and housing and employee resources.

How does it work?

Back on My Feet recruits members (individuals experiencing homelessness) at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning.  After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Almost 80% of individuals who start the program move into Next Steps.

This race is the nation’s largest 10 mile race and it all takes place on Philly’s iconic Broad Street. Along the course, runners speed past Philadelphia landmarks including the Divine Lorraine Hotel, City Hall, and the infamous Catharine Street Popeye’s Chicken before coming to a close just past the gates of the Navy Yard. According to Philly runners, it’s a must. Entry is done through lottery (which closed February 13th, and winners were announced yesterday.) LOTS of people got in!

Some did not. Let’s make this post easy for everyone.

If you did NOT win the Broad Street Lottery

For those of you who didn’t get lucky, BOMF has a great idea: For guaranteed entry, become a FundRacer with BOMF!

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The FundRacing minimum for the 2017 Broad Street Run will be $500 (PER INDIVIDUAL) with a $25 registration fee (that is put towards your fundraising minimum) and gets you guaranteed race entry, a personalized fundraising page to collect donations, post-race massages, and more.

If you already HAVE your registration for Broad Street confirmed and need a fun training run, here’s your CHANCE:

The 2017 Stroehmann Bakeries BOMF 5-Miler is coming up March 25, 2017. I’ll be running it. But YOU could be, too!

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Comment on this post to WIN free entry in the 2017 Stroehmann Bakeries BOMF 5-Miler!

Join me and over 1500 other runners on Saturday, March 25, 2017 for this gorgeous 5 mile run along the Schuylkill River and support BOMF’s righteous cause.

Want to win a race bib? Comment below with your favorite Philadelphia landmark!

(For an extra entry, follow foodsweatnbeers  and/or Back on My Feet Philly on Twitter and comment about that, too for up to 3 entries per individual!)

Entries close February 22, 2017 at 12pm!

(Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post, and I paid for my BOMF 5-miler race entry BUT BOMF Philly is donating a race entry to the winner!)

Differences Between Barre3 and Pure Barre

You’ve probably heard of Portland, Oregon. This coastal Pacific Northwest city is known for a few things.

  1. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was born in Portland over 60 years ago.
  2. Put(ting) a bird on it“.
  3. In 2008, Sadie Lincoln and her hubby Chris started a killer brand of fitness called Barre3 that, in February 2017, finally opened in Center City, Philadelphia!

Barre3 has been around for a while, but, as they’re new in town, you might be wondering: What makes it different from other barre classes? Maybe you’re a Pure Barre fan, or you’ve never tried any barre classes and just want a crash course. Either way, let’s get down to brass tacks.

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The Studio & Equipment

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Wide open space in Barre3’s GIANT studio!

Barre3, unlike many barre classes I’ve taken (and I’ve taken quite a few in my day), takes place on a hard wood floor. Bright lighting for sure, and I noticed the instructor will dim the lights and turn up the music during certain points (like when you’re repeating a move for a little longer). You’ll use the barre around the room for leg/thigh work.

The only equipment you’ll use is a super squishy ball and a set of hand weights (ranging from 1-5lbs). Your instructor will bring you a mat when it’s time for that.

Pure Barrelike most other barre classes I’ve attended, is on a carpeted floor. The lighting starts bright and gradually gets darker, and I felt as though you used the barre much more often, for more than just leg work.

You use a ball, small hand weights, and a resistance band during class. The instructors bring over mats.

What to Wear

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Barre3’s gorgeous retail section

Barre3 – While there’s no required attire (officially), the “unofficial outfit” of the ladies of Barre3 is typically leggings or crops and tank tops. I don’t think I’d personally enjoy wearing anything with sleeves due to the larger movements of arms, but that’s just me. Barefoot in the studio!

Pure Barre – I believe they require socks (you can buy at studio if you always forget, like me. Note: this can get pricey.) Leggings were “strongly suggested” at my studio. I felt silly in crops, as I was the only one wearing them.

The Class Itself

Barre3 – These were my first few Barre3 classes, and I gotta admit, I liked them more than most barre classes I’ve taken. This is probably due to the addition of large, dynamic movements in addition to the teeny-tiny pulses that most barre classes highlight. The class went:

  • Warm-up – In the center of the room, no equipment at first. Lots of movements to stretch you out, open you up, and get the blood pumping. Eventually you’ll use the hand weights.
  • Barre Work – Leg-centric, this portion of class was pretty similar to many barre classes I’ve tried before. Squats, tiny pulses, raising of the heels. My inner thighs were burning.
  • Mat work – Here’s where the balls come into play. Your abs are gonna be ACHING after this set, but it’s totally manageable and instructors offer modifications when necessary!

Pure Barre – Format is always the same so you know what you’re in for (they do have a “Platform” Class I’ve never done, so I can’t speak to that)

  • Warm-up – Center of the room. Lots of marching.
  • Arm work – Here’s where their weights come in, with a systematic pumping of biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
  • Barre Work – Focuses on “Seat” (read: tush) and thighs. They love the term “Tuck” and you’ll hear it a lot during this portion of class, as you tuck your backside in and tighten your core.
  • Ab work – on the mat, sometimes leaning against the barre. This was always tough for me as the barre isn’t meant for someone over 6′ tall…
  • Cool down – Stretching, pretty similar to Barre3

Cost

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Keep in mind the UNLIMITED cost of Barre3 is ONLY for the Barre3 Rittenhouse location, and only for a limited time. SO if you’re gunning for that unlimited membership, you gotta strike while the iron is hot (if you go 4x/week, that’s $8.06/class!) (Bonus at Barre3: $5 gets you childcare during your class!)

I don’t know if I could do either of these methods EXCLUSIVELY, but I think they both make a challenging and unique addition to any workout regime. I’d lean towards Barre3, personally, but I’m a big fan of those LARGE dynamic, explosive moments, and I know that’s not for everyone.

Welcome to Philly Barre3!

Have you ever done a barre class? 

What did you LOVE?! What did you HATE?!

(I can’t stand the marching portion… ugh.)

 

Revolution Taco: Now so much more…

Look, I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next millennial. It’s not that we NEED an excuse for tacos any day of the week, really. It’s just that alliteration is fun, themed days are fun, and tacos are delicious.

Unfortunately, for my health, I have to eat things that aren’t tacos sometimes. Part of a balanced diet or something (though some have tried this “all vegan taco diet“, I’m gonna need a bit more meat in my life). Enter: Revolution Taco.

I know what you’re thinking, and Yes, they DO have a taco heavy menu. (Sidenote: They’re all flippin’ delicious, order the duck/scallion pancake for a real mouth-party). But, since man can’t live on tacos alone, the team has added some new kids to the bloc– er… menu.

Up first: Arroz con Pollo WEDNESDAYS! February Wednesdays, let Revolution take care of dinner for you.

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Arroz con POLLO!!

I tried their first week’s take (Classic Arroz con Pollo) and, for $11 per order, was greeted with a MASSIVE serving of moist and juicy chicken and some zesty rice. But the kicker here, each week you’re getting a new take on the classic dish!

February 1
Fried Chicken Arroz con Pollo
Fried chicken served with Creole Style Dirty rice

February 8
Coq Au Vin Arroz con Pollo
French red wine braised chicken served with fried risotto cake

February 15
Char Siu Arroz con Pollo
Chinese BBQ chicken with seared sticky rice, pickled mustard greens

February 22
Confit Duck Arroz con Pato
Duck leg slow cooked in duck fat, served with mushroom arancini

Pigs Fly Fridays!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “When pigs fly…”, but if you thought that was impossible, you’ve probably never seen Pig Wings.

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Come to Mama!

Clear out your Friday plans, because you’re gonna wanna get as many of these braised pork shanks into your mouth (and schedule) as possible. From dry rub to Korean BBQ to Chipotle, these juicy hunks of pork fall off the bone quicker than you can say “¡OLE!”

For ten bucks, you get three of these succulent spears with a side of rice and beans. Trust me, you’re gonna wanna go hungry, because you’ll be leaving full.

Also on the menu (ALL THE DAMN TIME): TAMALES!

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Peel back the husk for a salty surprise

Tamales are tasty pockets made of corn dough that is steamed in a corn husk, and since there was a serious dearth of them in Rittenhouse, Revolution said “Don’t worry, we got this.”

$4 each, a perfect appetizer, lunch bite, or shared app with a friend.

Here’s the thing: I’ve already been going to Revolution Tacos more often than I’d like to admit. But with those pig wings on the menu… If you’re looking for me on a Friday night, you’ll know where to start.

Freehouse Fitness FAQs

In early 2016, South Street got a brand new exercise studio, Freehouse Fitness. Nestled dangerously close to Sweet Freedom Bakery and the summer favorite PHS Popup Garden, this bright space houses some of Philly’s most challenging (and fun!) classes. Seven days a week, Dana and her team lead fitness junkies on the trampoline, the reformer, the mat, and at the barre. I’m certainly no expert, but with ClassPass bringing new guests daily, who couldn’t use a little more scoop before your visit?

What to Wear/Bring

  • Leggings or crops – I love wearing shorts, but NOT during these workouts
  • Tank top – You want your arms and shoulders free to move
  • Water bottle
  • Grippy socks – IF you choose to wear socks (I think a few classes suggest/request that you do), you’re not slipping. Most folks I see go barefoot

That’s it! You don’t have to bring a mat, or a lock. They have lockers with keys you can use during classes. They also have towels AND free Rival Bros. coffee for those 6:10am classes!

What Types of Classes Can You Take?

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Looks confusing? Yeah, I thought so too. BUT here are some key words:

  • Rebounder – This is a small, personal trampoline that, when combined with killer cardio, torches serious calories. Lower impact than just jumping on hardwood, rebounders at Freehouse are used to light up cardio classes.
  • Reformer – This thing might look like a torture device… and that’s probably because, depending on the instructor, it can feel like one, too! Using adjustable resistance bands, a pulley system, and physics, these things allow for a super low-impact, incredibly difficult workout when used correctly.

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    The Reformer is a double-edged sword: Incredible workout BUT doesn’t let you coast. At all.

  • Jumpboard – Like a foot plate they put on the reformer, this allows you to “jump” from a horizontal position. Any reformer class that mentions cardio will probably use this to get you sweating.
  • Bands – A little more user-friendly than those resistance bands you got in physical therapy, these bands have handles and allow you to “lift” in a dynamic fashion not available with your classic barbells or dumbbells

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    Bands high and low

How much does it cost?

Well, much like any fitness studio, that depends on how often you go and what type of classes you purchase.

Reformer classes, at $26 for a drop-in  or $120 for five classes, cost more than the rest of the classes. Consistent with most reformer-based studios, this is because the equipment is expensive and the room only has a few reformers. You’re getting the benefit of very personal attention when there are only 6-8 students in the class.

Fitness classes on the rebounders or with the bands are $18 for a drop-in or $80 for a five-pack. You’ll have more students in the class, too, but you’ll still get lots of attention as all the instructors at Freehouse really know their stuff.

There are also some $14 yoga sculpt classes AND if you’re lucky (and follow the FreehouseFitness Instagram page, you might be able to take advantage of one of their free classes they throw every now and then!

What’s the Vibe?

When it comes to fitness studios or gyms, they can give you the best workout of your life but, if you’re not “feeling it”, you’re not going to come back. BUT the vibe at Freehouse is a fun, fit, and enthusiastic one. PLUS Dana is always throwing special events like vegetarian/vegan brunch or mimosas with fresh-pressed juice in the studio. In the summer, she even had pop-up classes on the Schuylkill River banks. The showers are clean, the amenities are luxurious, and the lighting and windows keep the mood light and bright.

Whether you’re on a “New Year, New You” kick, or just looking for a way to change up your fitness regime, Freehouse could be the spot for you! Plus, just think of all the incredible photo opps…. Just saying.

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Flying High!

 

Flotation in Philly: Don’t Fear the Unknown

I’ll start with a confession: I’m rubbish when it comes to recovery. Well, active recovery, or even conscious recovery. I love to destroy my body with a great workout, and there’s no pain sweeter than the deep muscle soreness the following day. It’s after the sweat has dried, that’s when I get lazy. I may half-heartedly stretch a bit, or cool down with a walk, but a gal needs some help now and then.

Enter: flotation Philly

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After somewhat secretly starting Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide a few weeks ago (more on that, soon), I was feeling the burn in all the best ways. When I got the opportunity to finally try one of these sensory deprivation tanks, I went running (in the rain, to Fishtown).

The question that everyone’s been asking: what was it like?! Here goes nothing:

You’ve got three options

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The Tank is SERIOUS business (at least outwardly. It’s the more classic sensory deprivation option, but I was warned it can be a bit much for first timers.

The POD is the most fun word to say, and apparently, also one that most folks choose for their first time. It’s got lighting and music you can control from the inside, so if you’re prone to claustrophobia, this could be the one for you!

The Cabin, well, that was mine. As a 6’2″ Amazon lady, I was placed in their largest option. So that’s the experience I’ll speak to.

You’re led into a room containing the sensory deprivation tank of your choice. Scrub off in their WONDERFUL shower, jam some earplugs in, strip down, and dive in (well, step in, it’s only 10 inches deep).

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(OK here’s what it was really like)

There’s a little optional head rest float to put your noggin in, but other than that, your body just floats in water saturated with HUNDREDS of pounds of epsom salt. I closed the door, laid back, and closed my eyes. For once, I hadn’t done a ton of research on the experience, checking all the reviews. I was going in blind. And as the darkness set in, I was left alone with my thoughts.

Initially, those thoughts raced. Everything from my week’s workout schedule to cookie recipes to bridesmaid dresses. Sometimes I forgot to breathe for a second and had to take big gulps. Gradually, and then all of the sudden, it just stopped. I realized I had my eyes open at one point and didn’t remember opening them, because it was pitch black. My mind was blank. I didn’t fall asleep, I just… floated. I couldn’t tell which parts of my body were under water, because everything was the same temperature. But my breathing slowed, and I kept floating, completely weightless. It felt very natural.

Not asleep, not fully awake, my mind floated along with my body. I can’t remember thinking anything specific, just a peaceful dreamlike existence for my hyperactive mind. Fun bonus for the sore body: All that epsom salt can boost your magnesium levels, which can improve your circulation, improve your body’s ability to use insulin, ease muscle pain, regulate electrolytes, and relieve stress. So flotation has science backing it, too.

Unfortunately, my reveries were interrupted towards the tail end of my float (I opted for the 60 minute experience, but you can do 60 or 90). The jets that regulate the temperature kicked in, and shook me a bit. I’m assured this does not normally happen, as they can assure they’re off, and a total mistake. I will say, though, I wasn’t able to get back into that same state after settling back into my cabin of quiet. It was definitely calm and soothing, but I had trouble disconnecting like I did for the first 40 minutes.

That said, I was still surprised when the quiet music began and the glowing lights came back on.

REALLY?! That was already 60 minutes?!?!
(plus a few he added to make up for the jet mistake)

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Typical.

I, of course, immediately documented my post-soak spooky cabin on Snapchat (@jpreezy22 in case you’re interested), and showered again.

For the rest of the night, I realized that despite leg day the previous day, my legs were no longer sore. Nothing was sore. Full disclosure: a day later, I’m sore again, but that’s probably because I worked out about 3 hours before my float.

flotation’s pricing ranges from $75 for a 90 minute float, to $60 for 60 minutes, and this price drops if you sign up for a monthly membership.  If you have trouble shutting your brain off, floating could be great. If you want to soak up some of that beneficial magnesium, head on over. If you’re looking for the gift for that fit freak that has everything, or your workaholic pal that could use an hour of relaxation, BAM consider a giftcard.

flotation’s up in Fishtown, at 534 E. Girard Avenue.

honeygrow, hgAthletics, and YIP!

A little while back, a group of road warriors banded together, as they do every month, for the YIP (Young Involved Philadelphia) Running Club. The only difference that month: I joined them. That’s right, this  self-proclaimed “non-runner” decided to lace up her sneakers and sweat-wicking tank top and bring new meaning to “fast-casual”.  Lured by the guarantee of wholesome treats and an insider’s look at Honeygrow HQ, 20 of us knocked out 3.5 miles from Center City to Fishtown before reaching the Promised Land at Front and Oxford.

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Photo Credit: Matt Wargo, Inquirer

YIP, an organization full of civically minded young professionals in the City of Brotherly Love, puts together these 2-5 mile runs every month. Each run begins at Philadelphia Runner’s Center City location and ends at an interesting spot in the city where the gang can explore and mingle with some new and like-minded Philadelphians. It’s no coincidence that I chose September as my first running club. What can I say? I’m a sucker for post-run snacks, especially if they’re from Philly’s own Honeygrow.

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See, Honeygrow.and I, we go way back. Or, at least 4 years back. In June of 2012, Justin Rosenberg, the founder of Honeygrow, opened his first location at 16th and Sansom. And a few months later, I moved to town, following the migration patterns of approximately 100,000 other 20-34 year olds since 2006 seeking an urban center teeming with creativity and potential. Justin, who chatted with us briefly when we arrived, explained that despite a rocky first few months, the idea soon caught fire.

Like many health-conscious millennials, I chose Philly for the affordable rent, thriving job market, and, of course, the 24/7 accessibility to soft pretzels. The idea of an affordable, healthy, and customizable fast-casual dining experience is appealing to the young professional – none more so than Philadelphia’s own Honeygrow. Honestly, I don’t know a 20-something in the city that hasn’t waited, salivating, for their stir-fry or salad at one of Honeygrow’s Philadelphia locations. From my own experience as a graduate student at Penn and a frequenter of many of Center City’s boutique fitness studios, their West Philly and Rittenhouse locations have saved me from mid-study session starvation or post-sweat stove-top slumming more times than I can count.

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Dinner a la Five Spice stir fry!

Speaking of which, we only could explore Honeygrow’s inner sanctum for so long before our stomachs began to rumble. Luckily, the team had us covered and quickly doled out their signature Honeybars and something a bit more savory. In between shoveling stir fry into our mouths, we were able to have a revealing Q&A with David Katz, the culinary director and palate powerhouse of Honeygrow. He spoke to the focus on regional styles and recipe popularity, Honeygrow’s plans for expansion over the next year (spoiler alert: it’s gonna be fast & furious, with over 15 locations by 2017) and, of course, how his Jersey Shore and Philly roots influenced the menu.

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Love this message right in the heart of their HQ!

In a swirling sea of fast-casual options, Honeygrow stands out for the hungry and healthy, who are often in a hurry. Their founder, a former financial analyst himself, knows the grind well, and saw opportunity in Philly like so many of us did . We’ve got some of the most passionate eaters around and, with YIP being just one of DOZENS of run clubs, I can almost guarantee there’s always going to be someone down to carbo load.

ALSO, Honeygrow’s new hgAthletics program has opportunities for fitness of all kinds. From testing out PLUSgives new yoga mats

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…to a BOOtcamp with an Olympian, check out the hgAthletics Facebook page to stay in the know and get involved!

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I’m a GOLD RUSH. Get it? Don’t worry, no one else did, either. (Photo cred to Kyle Huff, Honeygrow’s social media master)

Check out Honeygrow’s monthly run club if you wanna get in on the “dash & dine” action on the fourth Tuesday of every month. After your 3-5 mile run, you’ll get 25% off your Honeygrow order! How’s that for instant gratification?

ALSO, word on the street is that the next hgAthletics event is going feature a partnership with PLUSgives AND Reading Terminal Market. Stay tuned!

UrbanStems: Happiness (and flowers) On Demand in Philly

(Pro tip: Scroll to the bottom for a discount code to get a bouquet for $20 with free delivery!)

There are plenty of things to worry about in Philadelphia these days:

But there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about: doling out flowers to friends/loved ones at a moment’s notice!

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We’re all busy bees. From work to play, dating to dining, school to spinning, it’s easy to forget things. Birthdays, anniversaries, you know… the kinds of things that make us depend on Facebook reminders. Enter: UrbanStems.

Your friends in D.C. and New York have been sending stems for a year or two now, but with their Philadelphia and Baltimore launch, UrbanStems is growing like a weed. Luckily, their bouquets are a little nicer than anything you’d pick from your backyard.

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From seasonal shades to surprise succulents, I love that UrbanStems isn’t just jamming baby’s breath around some carnations and a rose or two, tossing it all into a fish bowl and charging $65 to deliver in the city. In fact, their system is pretty awesome.

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This convenient little box is hand-delivered by a super-friendly courier, complete with a hand-written note AND handles (that’s a lot of hand-iness, right?) They even send a photo to confirm your flowers made it to their destination! PLUS the convenient tote allowed my flowers to make it home safely (and easily) on a city bus!

Another bonus: UrbanStems works with Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and Veriflora Certified farms to source their environmentally friendly flowers!

The little tote also had a pull tab which, when yanked, pushed the bouquet out as if the petals were opening up!

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I verify, no “fluffing” up took place. This is exactly how my bouquet looked when I pulled it out of the tote!

They switch up the bouquets all the time, so your flowers are always going to be different. AND, you don’t have to be a big-time baller to deliver your daisies (or mums, or rosehips, or whatever is in this season!)

Bouquets start at a mere $35 with free delivery within a few hours (or you can schedule in advance, if you’re a planner).

BUT since I’m a little obsessed with UrbanStems, they gave me a discount code to share getting you $15 off your first bouquet!

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Just type in FoodSweatBeers15 as your “Referral Code” when you sign up on UrbanStems’ site and you can get a killer bouquet to your bae (or mom) for $20! You probably spent that on cold brew in the last week, anyway. So make some at home, and #SendHappy (and then tell me how it went!)

 

Scarpetta Comes to Philadelphia

As you stroll out of the picturesque Rittenhouse Square and through the revolving doors of Scarpetta, the ultra-modern Italian restaurant and bar that recently opened in The Rittenhouse, the feeling is almost instantaneous.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

From the warm and sexy lighting to the bumping bass, the bustling staff and the attentive hostesses, Scarpetta feels like you’ve been transported to a hip Manhattan joint. Everyone we saw, from dates to businessmen, girls groups and buddies, was dressed to impress. The wine flowed like water and the bread baskets flowed like slightly-doughier water.  Scarpetta is a place to see and be seen, a place to bring your boss, a place to show-off to your parents, and a place to woo. I’ve gotta confess:

I loved it.

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So sleek. So sexy.

But I’ll also admit, if you wanna hear about the scene, the square footage, Uwishunu and Foobooz have done a much better job than I ever could.

I’m here to tell you, instead, about one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten.

Remember that bread basket I mentioned? Yeah, that bad boy is filled with some flawless, airy and crunchy foccaccia AND house-made stromboli.

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Heaven in a basket

Served alongside mascarpone butter, citrus infused olive oil, and an eggplant spread that wouldn’t quit, we definitely had them refill this basket (….twice).

Scarpetta’s menu is divided into four parts.

  • Crudo (raw!)
  • Primi Piatti
  • Pasta
  • Proteins (including fish, meat, and poultry)

The folks at Scarpetta were generous enough to give my date and I a little bit of everything, and I’d definitely recommend going that route if you have the opportunity.

The options for the crudo were honestly the biggest challenge we had as every dish looked better than the last. In the end, we had three of four options (don’t worry tuna, we’ll be back for you!)

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Scarpetta manages to elevate each dish in a way that not only let’s the quality of the fish shine but accentuates the natural flavor with expertly chosen garnishes. Our favorite was the  scallops. The pea and aleppo purée brought a zip to the smoothness of the scallop flavor I’d never experienced before.

The primi piatti that spoke to my date and I was something we’d tried at their preview party: Braised short ribs of beef with vegetable & farro risotto.

As expected, it didn’t disappoint. It merely melted in our mouths.

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Up next: the pasta!

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Scarpetta’s signature dish is their spaghetti, a flawless example of the classic dish. But I suggest you get at least one more pasta dish: the duck & foie gras ravioli. Velvety, rich, and drizzled with a marsala reduction, this is easily the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted. Each pocket was stuffed with a perfect blend of tender duck and creamy foie gras.

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Dry-aged ribeye, featuring trumpet mushroom, cipollini onion, fingerling potato & truffled spinach. Our “Carne” choice, cooked medium rare and served pink and juicy.

Full to the brim, I assumed we were done.

I assumed wrong.

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I’m so sorry that these photos don’t do the food an ounce of justice. I’m sorry I didn’t feel comfortable enough to bring my bulky DSLR to a gorgeous resto.

I’m also sorry I don’t have a vat of “unknown crunchy bits” to pour over all future desserts.

Scarpetta is a place to be spoiled, and to spoil someone. It’s a place I could easily write a thousand words about, but I’ll let these photos try and make up for about 400 of them.

Just go. Eat here. Be happy.

 

DIY Juicing on a Budget

In the fall, the term “basic” is tossed around in the direction of those well-coifed women clutching their pumpkin spice lattes and rocking boots and vests for 3 months straight.

I think the summer equivalent would have to be a Lululemon-clad lady, yoga mat swinging from her shoulder strap and a pricey green juice in the other.

And if that’s basic…. I’m guilty as charged.

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you’re damn right I am.

Nothing like a fancy juice after a workout class to make you feel like you’re on a different level of healthy.  Which is why, after 2-3 weeks of straight up INDULGENCE on the eating front, I decided to reboot with juice (let’s take it down a notch from Jordan’s Whole30 experience). 3 days, 5 juices, on meal of vegetable and lean meats.

Unfortunately, Ryan Crown Juice Club seems to be MIA, and is more expensive than I’d be able to handle. Even if I nabbed my juices at Philly’s most affordable “juice bar”, Fuel, it’d be over 20 bucks a day, and I’d be working with what they offer. Even the cheapest “juice cleanse” I found online seemed steep, and I hate paying for what I can do at home.

Luckily, I had all I needed to DIY my juice on a budget:

  • An affordable juicer (the least “budget friendly” portion of this, I received mine as a gift, and isn’t that exact model, but is similar. I’m not going to include this cost in the price, as I received mine as a gift, but “I get it”, they don’t grow on trees.)
  • A few hours of free time

I modeled my juice “recipes” and timing off of BluePrint, one of the better known “Juice Cleanse” companies online (who ships your prepared, bottled juices directly to your home!) And then I made a list of ingredients I needed and headed STRAIGHT to Reading Terminal Market to bring back fruits and vegetables from Iovine Brothers and OK Produce. (This is Philly specific but I’d recommend you just go straight to your local produce market, if possible).

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New FRIENDS!!

Green Juice (2/day)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples
  • Little bit of parsley
  • KALE!
  • ROMAINE!
  • SPINACH! (the amounts on the greens are up to you, but you truly can’t taste them at all)

Snack Juices (2/day)

  • Spicy Lemonade  (I just used honey instead of “Agave” because we had some)
  • PAM (Pineapple Apple Mint)

Dinner Juice (1/day)

  • 2 large green apples
  • 2 beets
  • 3 large carrots (or 1/3 bag of mini carrots!)
  • 1 lemon
  • Honking chunk of ginger

I got all the ingredients for these (other than the honey, which I already had) for $33.86, or about $11.28 per day. I used the leftover kale for my “greens” and I did buy a pound of turkey for $3.99, making the total cost for all the food-products I put into my body $37.85 for 3 days.

A 3-day “Renovation Cleanse” from Blueprint costs $195 (and does NOT come with turkey, though they do include a sort of dessert juice with cashews and blueberries).

The cost difference is $157.15. That’s enough to buy a juicer and still have money for savings.

I’ll admit, it took me about 40 minutes a night to make the juices for the next day and they didn’t come in sexy BluePrint bottles. Toting them was a bit weird, as I’d have glass bottles in my bag headed to work each day.

But I’ll take a tasty and fresh juice that clanks when I walk if it saves me $157.15…

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This is kinda pretty, right?

After the three days, I actually had enough ingredients for another green juice in the morning. I also felt fantastic and refreshed. I didn’t weigh myself, and I didn’t take photos. I just wanted to remind my body what all those good veggies and fruits tasted like, and see if I could do it on a budget.

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Mission: accomplished.

Now, can someone pass me a carb?

Urban Axes Comes to Philly!

If you’ve ever thought any of the following:

  • I love darts… I wish there was something bigger and sharper I could throw competitively at a target, though.
  • Why don’t more intramural leagues in Philly let me wear street clothes and eat pizza while I’m playing?
  • I don’t spend enough time in converted warehouses in Kensington.
  • Axe puns are great. I should use more axe puns.

…then you should probably continue reading.

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Urban Axes is a new competitive axe-throwing spot in Kensington and unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

There are heaps of intramural sports leagues in the city where you can play everything from kickball to cornhole to volleyball to broomball to ultimate frisbee. But, apparently, in Canada, the trendy move is axe-throwing leagues. And you know what I always say,

“If it’s trendy in Canada, sign me up.”

This got me in heaps of trouble during the poutine shortage of 2014, but that’s another story entirely.

I schlepped up to Kensington with beau in tow to check out the scene and we were promptly introduced to our Axe-pert (if this job sounds perfect to you, UrbanAxes is hiring!) who quickly showed us the ropes (REALLY quickly. Like… 2 minutes. This isn’t rocket science.) And then, it was throwin’ time.

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You may have a few questions about how I went from gentle giantess to axe-throwing Amazon in two minutes. Or just about Urban Axes. I’ll answer a few now:

  • Wait. How can I do this exciting activity?!
    Well, just hit up their website and click UrbanAxes – BOOK NOW. They offer axe adventures for the die-hard (leagues that run 8 weeks long) to newbs like myself (walk-in sessions every night except Monday and Wednesday!) Costs range from $20 for a 2 hour session to leagues for $120, and even some group events if you think this would make a great Bachelor party or potluck spot. Not good for a Sweet 16, though. Urban Axes is 21+ only!
  • Did you just say potluck?!
    I did! You can bring food, or have it delivered! We nibbled on some Federal Donuts and soft pretzels because I’m fairly sure axe-throwing requires carbo-loading. They even have refrigeration to keep your treats (or your drinks) chilly.
  • DRINKS?! ADULT DRINKS?!
    You bet. No hard alcohol, but they allow you to bring beer and wine. I know this may sound counter-intuitive (sharp objects + booze = ???) But their Axe-perts aren’t gonna let you get sloshed and toss axes. So be responsible.

If you have more questions about what to wear and how you get their and parking, check out theirUrbanAxes FAQ Page!

Their first leagues sold out, but they’re selling space for their October league already, so get moving!

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Urban Axes
2019 E Boston St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
(267) 585-2937