You know what’s really cool about America? Because of its vastness, each state carries its own personality. Traveling to a new state almost feels like visiting a new country. On one end of the country, you have New York — a huge metropolis buzzing with energy and streams of yellow cabs — and on the other end you have good ol’ Texas with its sweeping plains and massive trucks. Even the people are different. New Yorkers are known for their brashness, Texans are known for their good-natured hospitality and Californians are known for being… well, Californians.
Philly is a cross between New York and San Francisco. It’s not too busy, but it’s not entirely laid back either. My friends and I took a day trip to Philadelphia a few weekends ago. I love road trips — especially when you’re blasting music in the car and belting out lyrics. As long as “Wrecking Ball” doesn’t come on, the trip isn’t ruined.
It was my first time in Philly, and I’m glad we stayed within the compounds of the city. I’ve been told that there are two sides to Philly. The city is where all the nice things are — museums, cool restaurants, etc. But once you travel a little further out, you hit a completely different zone. Suddenly, your safety becomes your main priority. I guess that’s the same with every city. There’s always that one area you know you need to avoid.
We didn’t try the Philly cheesesteak because one of my friends said he’d had it before and it was severely overrated. So we had lunch at Paesano’s, a renowned little spot known for its interesting sandwich variety. You know it’s no ordinary sandwich shop when Anthony Bourdain’s been in it. I went ahead and tried the Bolognese, which contained crispy fried lasagna in classic meat sauce, a fried egg, smoked mozarella and sharp provolone. It was a crazy sandwich, almost as crazy as the 2,000 calories packed between the buns (eeks!)
After lunch, we did some sightseeing. It was chilly in Philly, but not too chilly for an overview shot of the city!
Fall was in full swing that afternoon. The trees were bursting with fiery hues and all I wanted to do was stand among those leaves and be one with nature.
I’m glad I met LeLe and Yuan, the wonderful couple who gladly brought us around Philly that day. They’re New Yorkers who moved to Philly a few years ago for work, and the Philly trip wouldn’t have been half as special without them.
A trip isn’t complete without photographs of friends doing weird things, like when Aaron hopped on a random statue of a moose and first-pumped the air.
After he got off, he said, “I think I tore something.”
Tack replied, “Yeah, your pride.”
The museum boasted some cool exhibits. It was a pity we didn’t get to cover the entire museum, because our tummies were ready for dinner after being in there for about an hour.
Sunsets are my favorite. I could stare at the sky all night long and just watch the clouds roll by.
We had dinner at Terakawa, a famous ramen spot that serves extremely delicious, quality Japanese cuisine. The Terakawa ramen is the best-seller, consisting of tender pork and fresh noodles soaked in steaming pork bone broth.
For dessert, we walked ten blocks to The Franklin Fountain. Known for its handmade ice creams, this retro dessert place has received plenty of press over the years, including a 2009 feature on Man vs. Food!
I had the Mt. Vesuvius — which is best described as a mountain of chocolate/vanilla ice cream erupting with chocolate brownie pieces, and drizzled with hot fudge and blanketed in malt powder. Of course, the sundae isn’t complete without a generous serving of whipped cream.
We ended our Philly trip on a sweet note. That night, we returned to New York with bloated tummies… and good memories!