A Dogfish Head Holiday

Here’s a fun fact: despite eating, drinking, and breathing Philadelphia, I was actually born in Delaware. The “Small Wonder” is known for a few things (other than where I came into this world):

Now, I’m a big Dogfish Head fan. Founder (and James Beard Award-Winning) Sam Calagione is pretty much a rockstar in the craft beer world, and I get a little giddy on those lucky occasions I get to rub elbows with him.

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Philly Beer Week: Bringing Beer Buddies Together!

But last summer I had the chance to do something I’d actually never done before: Visit and explore the home of Dogfish Head AND stay in the historic Dogfish Inn.

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Just over two hours from Philadelphia is the coastal Delaware town, Lewes, that’s home to the Dogfish Inn. The Inn is about 11 miles from the brewery in Milton  and 6 miles from the Brewpub. Perfectly nestled for an epic beer-themed weekend getaway!

Our room was ADORABLE, with a large bed and a cozy little desk area (everything is available to purchase, but the growler was complimentary, perfect for taking on a brewery tour and filling up with the good stuff!)

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Beach chairs for the nearby sandy shores, and a tote bag I still covet

While the thin walls of this charming spot made for some semi-sleepless nights, the kitsch and vibes were so stellar, it was easy to forget. BONUS: Who needs sleep when you can mainline Chicory Stout Coffee in the little lobby-visitor center?

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While we planned our own little tour of the area, and drove ourselves from place to place (don’t worry, we waited until we got back to our room before we enjoyed our growler’s contents), you could always let the DFH team plan your weekend for you, with some pretty epic Packages (from brewery tours & swag to a honeymoon getaway!)

Other bonuses?

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Access to the elite fleet of Dogfish Head’s beach cruisers AND a wonderful little fire pit that fills up with like-minded, beer-loving guests at night!

Now, to answer a few questions I’ve had since my stay:

  • The rooms can range from $209-$349, or potentially more during the weekends. I was lucky enough to WIN a two-night stay during the off-season (mid-September) but it could definitely be a splurge for some.
  • There’s ZERO beer sold on-site. Luckily, there are restaurants and shops nearby so you can stock up on all your DFH beer needs!
  • Yes, there’s beer soap in the showers. Yes, it’s amazing. Yup, I took the remainder of the soap block home with me.

Next time you’re thinking of a beachy weekend (or playing hooky, lots more availability during the weekdays), and wanna soak up some brews and seaside views, consider the Dogfish Head Inn. And then head over to Milton to stock up on all the beers, spirits, and swag you can get your hands on!

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Beer-loving Babes!

Cheers to vacations fueled by beers!

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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.

Herban Quality Eats Comes to University City!

Back in October, I scuttled over to Drexel’s Center for Hospitality and Sports Management to get school’d by restaurant professionals from throughout Philly. We learned from distillers and burger slingers alike, but I was most interested in a new-to-town restaurant opening down the street from where I worked. Herban Quality Eats, opening TODAY at 3601 Market Street, is a welcome newbie to the neighborhood of University City which hosts students and employees of Penn and Drexel, employees and patients from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and CHOP (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) alike.

And, while we do have Subway, Wawa, and food trucks nearby, sometimes you want something fast, something healthy, and something delicious. OR something to fuel a good workout.

Enter: The Bros from Herban.

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Snacketizers. Nice portmanteau.

This fine establishment was founded by two 2013 graduates from Wharton, the Penn MBA program. And if I know one thing about the graduates from Wharton, it’s that they’re savvy. If I know another thing, it’s that they appreciate the finer things. This is reflected in the quality of ingredients on Herban’s menu.

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Mini Menu

Monday, December 14th, 2015 some lucky locals (myself included) were invited to try out the goods at their exclusive preview lunch, a day before the grand opening. The mood was excited, the smells intoxicating, and the employees rocking like a well-oiled machine.

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Check out Amir Fardshisheh, one of the founders, prepping the squad!

We waited patiently, salivating as the goods started rolling out. The open kitchen allowed guests to watch the process, and I’ll admit, I eat with my eyes. It was no surprise, then that my tummy began growling watching the lean steak flavored with a house spice rub being sliced on the table.

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That quinoa and cheese is looking pretty fly

In an area where the only “healthy eats” are salads and…. mostly salads, it was awesome to see a hearty and healthy plate loaded with delicious ingredients that didn’t feel like bunny fodder.

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LOOK! There’s even some Vegan Jawn (also gluten free)

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My platter (plus Perrier)

I went for the Himalayan red rice as a base, the backyard steak, and sides of Brussels sprouts (roasted in coconut oil and tossed with dried cranberries and onions) and the quinoa and cheese (a high protein/fiber substitute for the often indulgent mac and cheese).

The Verdict?

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Moment of Truth

GOSH this was good. The steak was fantastic, still pink inside and super juicy. I loved the base of the red rice, full of antioxidants and fiber. Their hot sauce wasn’t quite to my tastes, but I’d put the walnut coriander (the green) sauce on EVERYTHING. Happily. I tried bites of the plantain chips and guac (nice deal for $3.70 when you need a quick snack) and the salmon, which was tasty, but the portion was a bit on the small side.

Taste-wise, this place is off the charts. And I think I could probably see myself grabbing lunch from here once every week or two. I’ll also admit that, truth be told, the prices are a pinch steep for what I typically budget for lunch. Luckily, they’re located in the heart of an area full of doctors, MBA students, and college kids LOADED with disposable income. I’m certain the gang from Herban is going to do very well for themselves.

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I see you, baby.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Herban. I still may not know exactly how to pronounce your name, but I’m so happy you’re here.

The Hunt for ThanksgivWiches #1: Jake’s Sandwich Board

I’ve got a fever.

And the only prescription is…. more Thanksgiving sandwiches.

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Luckily, the prognosis is looking good. See, ever since I was a little lady, the concept of Thanksgiving was a little intense to me. I’m the eldest of five kids, and most years my siblings and I split up for different family celebrations. But often, we made up for the big night with Fakesgiving, or just an informal dinner of Thanksgiving Sandwiches.

ThanksgivWiches.

Since then, something about this concept of Thanksgiving on a Roll has always appealed to me. I’ve made a new goal of chasing down that perfect ThanksgivWich within the city of Philadelphia, since my beloved Capriotti’s is too far. Up first?

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Bathroom Doors: Charming, no?

Jake’s Sandwich Board’s Turducken (click HERE for video)

Jake’s has always been a favorite spot of mine, mostly because it’s truly a place that reminds you how high you are on the food chain. Sandwiches topped with turkey, brisket, bacon, pulled pork, or a mix of a few…. Seeded rolls, sriracha mayo, and a number of other toppings from long hots to bitter greens, avocado to cheese, roasted vegetables to pickled red onions. But I had tunnel vision.

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Sandwich of the Month: Turducken

I had heard tell of this “Turducken” Sandwich, but finally today took the 5 block stroll over to get one of my own.

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Why not add a side of fried potatoes to this sandwich topped with fried potatoes?

This sandwich was delicious… and super busy. The base of cranberry-apple sauce was the spread, but some of the flavors might have been lost in the…. well, in the other flavors.

I think a great challenge of the ThanksgivWich is to allow the multitude of ingredients to sing in harmony. And while the Turducken was tasty, it was rare to get a bite that contained more than 1 or 2 ingredients. The seeded roll, however…. that was just a crusty delight.

This is a sandwich meant to be served and consumed hot, and the addition of the potato pancake was an EXCELLENT one. Unfortunately, due to the size of the medallions, only a few bites of the sandwich actually contained the potato crunch. I actually think that there could be a few more if they were smaller, and that could lead to more potato bites. Which is a good thing.

I’ve got my eyes out for others, and I’ll definitely be checking out the offerings from Wawa (the Infamous Gobbler), Nick’s Roast Beef in Old City, PERHAPS a trip to Fairmount’s Rybread for their Savannah, and a jaunt to Reading Terminal Market for Bassett’s Original Turkey. Now welcoming suggestions, especially the seasonal ones!

They Did The Mash, They Did the #Philly Mash (Brooklyn Brewery Weekend Takeover)

Sometimes, the stars align in the world of craft beer. Whether it’s winning tickets to a sold out Great American Beer Festival (check), tweeting the perfect New Belgium bike tweet (check), joining a meet-up group just in time to lead a weekly glass event (check, RIP Rockfish Thursdays), or scheduling your new full-time job to start just a few days after the end of Philly Beer Week (check, and ouch on the wallet front), these moments can fall into your lap. But you can also seek them out.

When I saw that Brooklyn Brewery was bringing a slew of incredible events to Philly for their Philly Mash series, I made a point to find out how many I could feasibly go to.

Then I went to one more.

In their words, the “Mash” is

An adventurous festival of emerging culture from our neighborhood and yours; dinner parties, comedy, screenings, debates, art, and humanity’s favorite beverage.

I’m in. You bring the fun to Philly. I’ll partake in (most of) it.

I “started” my Brooklyn Bonanza last Wednesday with the Found Footage Festival, hosted at World Cafe Live.

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Pins and Pints

Sure, the beer was pretty fantastic. No surprise there. However, there was so much more to be… found.

Found Footage almost directly translates to the weirdest, most ridiculous clips from VHS tapes from all over creation. We’re talking hyperactive arts and crafts queens, a deeply uncomfortable moment or two with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the most effective way to Rent-a-Friend.

Watch the linked videos if you dare.

Thursday was an opportunity for me to geek out in a manner I typically shy away from. You know how gals of yore used to faint over the blokes from The Beatles, the Backstreet Boys, and such? Not me. And yet, on Thursday night, I found myself fan-girling out over the real rockstars at The State of Beer. Brooklyn Brewery’s co-founder Steve Hindy, Saint Benjamin Brewing Company‘s Christina Burris and Tim Patton (who were also our hosts!), Victory co-founder Bill Covaleski, All About Beer editor John Holl, and Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione (SWOON).

That's just me losing it completely surrounded by the dreamiest beer bunch

That’s just me losing it completely surrounded by the dreamiest beer bunch

I’d give you the insider scoop on what the State of Beer actually IS, but Brandon Baker at Philly Voice did a much more timely job than I! However, I WILL say that there was a moment when Steve Hindy got more flak than anyone else MERELY for being from a city with a baseball team that won.

True to form, Philly.

Friday night was a Secret Supper with Dinner Lab at Ruba Club in NoLibs. The menu? Incredible.

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The ghost bottles? Flowing.

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Chef Andrew Gerson and a handful of awesome Dinner Lab chefs whipped up seasonal squash, luscious lamb, and spicy scallops.

Talk about treating ourselves.

But what’s an overly indulgent mini-week without a succulent Saturday?

What might that mean?

What might that mean?

Ah, ok, keeping things very literal.

Ah, ok, keeping things very literal.

3-Headed Beast hosted by Alla Spina? OH YES.

Dishes featuring lamb, pig, and goat were featured. We noshed. We mingled. We, of course, sipped delicious Brooklyn Brews.

It was the perfect finale to four fun-filled days. And, eventually, we waddled home, bellies soaked in Brooklyn’s beers and all just a little more thankful for our neighbors to the North.

Thank you so much (for the memories, the IPAs, the geeky gab, and the meat party), Brooklyn Brewery. Same time next year?

Good. It’s a date.

Philly Beer Week 2015: Must Attend Events for Anyone!

Look. I’m no beer expert. I haven’t completed a single day of Cicerone training, I’ve never bar-tended or -backed (only patronized).

They say you never forget your first.... Philly Beer Week

They say you never forget your first…. Philly Beer Week

I’m merely a twenty something lover of all things Philly and all things Beer, and for one week (that boggles the space-time continuum by actually being 10 days!), I get to merge these loves in a manner never explored before I moved.
It’s as if the entire city (and, in some cases, the entire country (of brewers) and some distant, beer brewing pros from around the world) are throwing me a party (that I have to pay for) with all of my friends invited (even if I don’t know they’re my friends yet…) However, with over a thousand events (I don’t even think that’s an exaggeration. I think last year the event number hit over 1k!), it can be tough to parse out which event is best for YOU. Well, forget poring over the extensive Philly Beer Week website. Because I already spent most of last night doing that for you. Instead, sit back, relax, and pore over my (relatively) brief post about the must-attend events this year for every type of beer drinker under the sun!
I’m going to just go ahead and skip the super festive Opening Tap event, mostly because that type of thing isn’t really my bag. A little too much stimulation, too many beer options, and it just gets overwhelming to me. BUT if you wanna start the “week” off with a bang, there’s nowhere else you should be Friday, May 29th than The Armory.
For the Sweaty Beer Runner
Two events come to mind:
  1. The Craft Beer-Venture, 12pm Saturday May 30th – Starting at Varga Bar, this (FREE TO REGISTER) event is a fun-run through the city sponsored by Saucony Creek and Southern Tier Brewing with over 10 bars participating around the city. And loads of prizes. And it’s a Saturday morning.

    Basically: Does anyone wanna do this with me?

  2. Southern Tier Bridge 5k, 6:30pm, Monday, June 1st – Starting in Old City’s own Irish Pol, this event features a 5k across the Ben Franklin Bridge followed by some pretty incredible offerings from Southern Tier. Run 5k > get discounts on beer. Everyone is happy.
  3. Detox / Retox at City Tap House Logan 10:30 am-1pm, Saturday May 30th. $20 for a yoga class AND your first beer afterwards. Nama….stay all day after?

For the Dudes and Dames who Dig Drag

  1. BBQ – Brews, Broads, and Queens, 9pm May 30th
    The Goddess Isis does NOT want you to miss BBQ!

    The Goddess Isis does NOT want you to miss BBQ!

    Smokin’ Betty’s brings one of the ABSOLUTE COOLEST events of the entire year. Ladies in the brewing community, their awesome beers, and the drag queens that really tie the whole experience together. Suggested $10 donation at the door!

  2. German Beer Sparkle Party and Drag Cabaret at Alla Spina, June 2nd, 8pm. Hosted by Martha Graham Cracker, this is guaranteed to be a dazzling evening full of German brews, food specials, and Miss Martha Graham Cracker rocking the mic. $15 in advance, $20 at the door – Get LGBT Pride Month started right!
  3. (Yup there are 3 drag events to choose from) Leading Ladies Drag Night with Left Hand Brewing at Tap Room on 19th, Thursday June 4th, 7pm Their Left Hand rep Ryan Vaughan will be in full drag, as the staff of Tap Room! So pull up a seat, and get ready for a show!

For the Hungry Hop Hunter

  1. Pigs in Space at Percy Street BBQ, June 4th, 5pm-10pm. Y’all. Smoky pork treats (pulled pork, sausage, pig fritters. Oskar Blues brews. Theme attire suggested (i.e. get INTERGALACTIC with your accoutrements).
    A mechanical bull PIG to ride!
    Pigs in Space. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited.  Is that weird?
  2. Dogfish Head and Wells & Young at Local 44, June 1st, noon. I know, this is a Monday event at noon, so it might be hard to pull off. BUT think about this: The opportunity to bump elbows with Jim Robertson (Wells) AND Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head).
    Just show your boss this picture. I think (s)he'll get it.

    Just show your boss this picture. I think (s)he’ll get it.

    More Most importantly, enjoy Twice Fried Chicken from the folks at Resurrection Ale House. It’s worth the long lunch alone.

  3. First Friday Beer & Ice Cream at Little Baby’s! 6pm, Friday June 5th – Try the collaboration Pepper Lavender Ice Cream paired with Liason Saison from Saint Benjamin Brewing, this event is a great excuse to scoot up to Kensington/Port Richmond. Stop by Pizza Brain while you’re up there. Because what goes better with beer (and ice cream) than pizza (and more beer? Yep.)

For the Ladies 

  • Sadie Hawkins Dance with Allagash & New Holland at Varga Bar 10pm, June 2nd – Invite your favorite fellow or lady out for a night on the town and take your Tuesday night to the next level by taking advantage of the swanky suggested attire. PLUS Dr. Joel from New Holland and Suzy from Allagash will keep you dancing all night long. You might even nab a corsage (and then take a picture of it in the bathroom. That’s a cool thing to do.)

    Way better than high school prom

    Way better than high school prom

 For the Gents
  1.  The 5 O’clock Shave with Kimpton Hotels, 2-5pm May 31. Hit up this boutique hotel for $20 straight razor shaves from The Duke Barber Co. and exclusive brews from Barren Hill Brewery and tasty bites from Square 1682. Or if that’s not your style….
  2. Beers & Beards: The Great British Beard-off at The Dandelion 4pm, June 2nd. Because Wells and Young + Philly Beard Society Beard Contest = Joyful Jordy. Happy Hour pricing and prizes for the best bearded bros.

Get Cultured

  1. Future Sensations and Beer Garden at The Oval – All week. I bet this lighting exhibit will be EVEN cooler with a few beers in your belly.
    Just saying.
  2. A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister walk in to a bar again and again. Fergie’s Pub 4pm, Sunday May 31. Check out three men of faith who run beer clubs through their churches and use beer to reach their congregations. Special guest God!

This is just a smattering of the ZILLIONS of options for #PBW2015, and if you’re curious the other top events I’d recommend visiting, I’ve made this outrageously optimistic, physically-impossible-to-visit-all spreadsheet of Philly Beer Week Top Events.

So feel free to check it out, let me know if you’d like to join in any of the fun, and… if you’ve got a good beard and need a cheerleader on June 2nd, you lemme know.

See you Monday, June 8th. I'll be the one sleeping the day away.

See you Monday, June 8th. I’ll be the one sleeping the day away.

ClassPass in Philly: A Review from a Center City Gal

(Heads up: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I make a few dollars if you sign up for ClassPass using this link [You’ll also be able to skip the waitlist!] I received no compensation for writing this post, however, and all opinions are my own.)

Ok, phew, had to get that out there. Because the thing is: I LOVED my complimentary month (and some change) of ClassPass (in case you missed THAT whole announcement or initial feelings). And I’m really impressed with the progress I made in my classes I attended. Unfortunately for me, my time with CP fell during the holidays and two longer weekend trips, which resulted in me attending about 16 classes over the course of my 43ish days. This WOULD have cost about $150 on ClassPass (pro-rating my half month, and basing it on the former prices).

Pretty happy camper, over here

Pretty happy ClassPass-Kid, over here

I think I visited something like 8 studios (two for spinning, two for yoga, two for barre, one for rowing, and one for cross-training) which is definitely not even close to scratching the surface of the options. And this worked for me. I went 110% in every class, I enjoyed all but two, and I fell in love with a few. That said, as of right now, I’m going to hold off on renewing my ClassPass. Partially this is because of my personal circumstances, which are currently a little helter skelter at work with a fair amount of “off-schedule” hours coming up, partially because I’m commuting to-and-from Wilmington every now and then which can really cut into my after-work and before-work workouts, but mostly because, despite their recent drop of prices from $99 to $79 per month in Philly, the cheapskate within is not sure the increase of $35 from my standard gym membership is worth it (however, that recent drop in prices may have me checking back in come March!!)

The PROS of ClassPass

  • Diversity of classes. Y’ALL, there’s a ROWING class!! There’s yoga, hot yoga, power yoga, Lithe Method, spinning (total FlyWheel convert over here), cross-training (weights! Cardio! Yoga! OH MY!) bootcamps, and things I have never heard of (and still haven’t tried yet…) No need to get in a rut when you’ve got all these options!

    Sick form on that stroke, eh?

    Sick form on that stroke, eh?

  • TECHNOLOGY! I love the App, the website is super easy to use, and some of the studios (COUGH FLYWHEEL COUGH) even give you the bonus tech of THEIR sites. Below is a report of my 4 FlyWheel classes. Pretty amazing way to track progress and how you perform day to day!

    Clearly Monday, January 26 I became an ANIMAL

    Clearly Monday, January 26 I became an ANIMAL

  • The Studios Themselves: ClassPass has done an amazing job of getting the TOP fitness studios in Philadelphia signed up. If I’d taken 16 classes individually, I likely would’ve spent at least $300. And then been kicked out of my apartment for inability to pay rent. These are the finest, cleanest, most-updated studios in the area. And I loved being a part of them all, in some capacity.

The CONS of ClassPass

  • The diversity is spread PRETTY far…. Here are all the classes offered in “Philadelphia Metro Area”:Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 4.42.47 PMNot too shabby, right? Except, as a woman without a car (and no real interest in trying to get one just to work out), THESE are the studios I can/would go to:Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.03.40 PMAnd even some of those in the Northeast are pushing it…. It’s still more than my current gym offers, but far less than it appears in that first map.
  • The cost Whoah. As I was writing this up, CP dropped down to $79… and suddenly seems less out of reach and more… manageable.
  • ClassPass classes only: Lots of studios should mean the feeling of an endless SMORGASBORD of classes, right? Except… not always. Many of the studios I’ve visited before only have “ClassPass” Spots in the early morning, or during the middle of the day…. For someone without a very flexible schedule, this can be an issue. I tend to prefer to workout before work or IMMEDIATELY after…. but sometimes classes were only offered to certain studios at 11am or 7:30pm. Not my cuppa tea (whether it’s because I’m working, or already considering bed…)
  • No-Show Fee: You cancel a class within 24 hours of the time it starts? $20 fee. YES this made me feel very accountable. BUT come on, life happens. $20 is a steep price to pay if you get caught in traffic, or if plans suddenly change.

All in all, if you’re already spending money for a gym membership and you don’t feel like you’re getting a ton out of it, ClassPass could be just what the doctor ordered!

PLUS if you wanna skip the waitlist and join ClassPass ASAP, click this image to use my affiliate link.

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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.

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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What I Learned in Sydney, Australia

This isn’t a post about how to visit Sydney, because I get the feeling that I could go back time and time again and do it differently on each visit. Instead, it will be snippets and bites of one of the most unexpected, exciting trips of my life. My baby brother, Hunter, is studying abroad there this semester and when my dad pitched the idea of visiting him, I knew I’d be ludicrous to say anything but HELL YES! So, we went for 9 days. Here’s what I learned:

  • Hotels are for suckers. Airbnb is your BEST FRIEND! Find the right spot, and you’ll not only save major dollars, you could see a different part of town other than the center of the city. And you might just get the view of a lifetime.

    Not too shabby, right?

    Not too shabby, right?

  • When minimum wage is $17/hour, prices are gonna seem pretty steep. Also keep in mind, tipping is not expected anywhere and sometimes, on weekends and holidays, prices at restaurants will be 10-20% higher. Plan accordingly.
  • Sydney’s best by bike. I’m not just saying this because I had an absolute BLAST on our bike tour (but we really did, Bike Buffs if you’re curious). It’s a great way to bop all around the city, on the bridge… That said, go with a guide. I’m not sure it’s as “bikable” as Philly…
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  • Don’t toss your change. Because sometimes, if it feels like a dime, it’s actually $2. Yeah, my brother has a “change pile” on his desk that could probably buy a fancy dinner for two.
  • Summer is winter. Spring is fall. But I didn’t notice a single toilet flushing in any interesting manner. Rats.
  • The birds may be beautiful. But they are also incredibly annoying and woke me up every. single. morning.

    SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP

    SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP

  • Timtams. Eat them all.
  • Speaking of eating: Noodles and soup dumplings. When it comes to Pan-Asian cuisine, Australia’s only rival is in Asia. It’s incredible.

    This is a really sexual picture. For a borderline sexual moment between me and a soup dumpling.

    This is a really sexual picture. For a borderline sexual moment between me and a soup dumpling.

  • Other than those classless birds… the rest of the wildlife is pretty sweet. Try to mingle with these critters a bit…
    hey there lil buddy!

    hey there lil buddy!

    Lunch at the eucalyptus tree? Cool, meet you there.

    Lunch at the eucalyptus tree? Cool, meet you there.

  • If you roll up to a deep house DJ set and think “Wow, maybe I’m too old for this scene.” chances are… you are WAY too old for this scene. That said, it’s a great way to interact casually with folks 7-10 years your junior.
    Weird.
  • If you’re lucky enough to go with people you love, no matter what you do, you’ll have an incredible time.
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