Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Philadelphia...Food, Friends and Turning 40

I’m back from another whirlwind trip to my favorite city and hometown: Philadelphia. As I mentioned in my previous blog this was sort of a “celebration” trip. All of our friends are turning 40…most of us this summer…so I decided it was the perfect time to gather everyone together and celebrate. For some of us it’s been years since we’ve seen each other and for all of us it’s been a long time since we’ve had so much fun together.

I arrived in Philly last Wednesday; devoured a soft pretzel in the airport, rented a car and headed to Atlantic City; where my husband was working at the Borgata Casino. We had dinner that first night at Fornelletto in the hotel. Whipped ricotta and garlic topped with a delicate olive oil and served with crusty Italian bread for spreading was the highlight of the appetizers. I enjoyed the veal osso bucco ravioli equally as well and the bambolini with three dipping sauces was so good we ordered two.

I spent Thursday afternoon enjoying the Jersey shore…something I hadn’t done in a long time. I rented a bike on the boardwalk, ate salt water taffy and visited Steel Pier.

That night we met some friends at a place called Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern. For some reason, and I don’t know why, I wasn’t expected much from this place…fortunately I was wrong.

Every meal at Angelo’s includes a house salad which is served family style. A very nice touch if you ask me. I decided to try that night’s fish special. Sea Bass topped with lump crab meat and served with lobster ravioli. Portions were large; prices were moderate and the food was delicious. I could not have been happier.

Friday ended up being a wash out day. I headed to Philly late morning only to realize I had my husband’s rental car keys. Back to Atlantic City I went. $20 in tolls later I was finally back in Philly again.

Our Friday night ritual when we’re in town is drinks at the Irish Pub followed by dinner at L’Angelo’s and late night coffee at dessert at a friend’s house. I’m not sure why but it always works out that way. As usual L’Angelo’s did not disappoint. And also as usual we shared the grilled calamari and I had the orecchiette with duck. There’s some things I just can’t resist.

We lucked out on Saturday. The 9th st. Italian Market was holding their annual Italian festival. I remember attending this as a little girl. The big event back then was the climbing of the “greased” pole. Money and other prizes were attached to the top and whoever made it up there got to keep whatever they could reach. Sadly they don’t do that anymore but they still did the Catholic saint procession and they did have lots of great food vendors.

My husband and I shared a roasted pork sandwich from Cannuli’s. They roasted an entire pig for this event. Topped with melted provolone cheese and hot cherry peppers the pork was delicious. It was late afternoon and hot so we decided to head indoors for dessert.

I had heard that Termini Brother’s Bakery had opened a small cafĂ© across from their 8th street shop. Mr. Joe’s is a small luncheonette that serves pasta and various other Italian specialties. Diners are offered free dessert provided by Termini’s. If you are just interested in espresso; which we were; you are encouraged to grab the pastry of your choice from across the street and enjoy it at Mr. Joe’s. I hope to have time on my next trip to actually sample the food as everything looked and smelled really good.

After months of planning our big night finally arrived. I made us dinner reservations at D’Angelo’s in Center City; more because they had a lounge area than because of the food. I really knew nothing about the food. I just knew we wanted to be able to hang out, drink and dance after dinner.

As with Angelo’s Tavern a few nights earlier we lucked out with decent food at D’Angelo’s. I think we ordered one of every appetizer…we’re crazy that way…and they were all pretty good. In particular I enjoyed the broccoli rabe with sausage and the fried calamari. Again, like at Angelo’s, I went with the fish special for dinner. It was grilled Dover Sole filleted tableside and it was fabulous.

With the weather being on the warmer side this trip would not have been complete…at least in my mind…without a lemon water ice and Italiano’s is the only place to get one. So goes our Sunday afternoon…licking water ice on the street corner in South Philly.

Enjoying a Philly pretzel on the plane ride home yesterday I realized how lucky I am to have roots in such a great food city and to have such awesome friends there to enjoy it with. And maybe 40’s not going to be so bad after all…..I'll let you know next month.


  1. Oh my gosh you made the Italian festival, how lucky!! What memories this brings back, thanks for sharing your trip!

  2. Sounds like a super fun trip...food, friends...more food. What more could you ask for?

  3. What a scrumptious food to celebrate 40th birthday. Sounds perfect~ So, Happy Birthday to you and all of your friends that are going to turn 40. May you have many many more ...

  4. Awesome review of your trip.. did I already tell you I'm jealous!! :)
    I see you had salt water taffy and dessert from Termini’s.. my mom after all these years still remembers there rum cakes. :) Ciao xoxo

  5. angelos' fairmount is the ONLY place to eat in A.C. It is a hidden gem off the strip!
    Glad you had nice birthday celebration at home!

  6. What a great way to celebrate! All of the food looks and sounds spectacular. Nothing beats a Philly roast pork sandwich - oh my!

  7. You packed a lot into the trip! Everything looks delicious!

  8. Happy BirthdayS.

    Sounded like lots of fun. I think we all need this kind of fun break, occasionally.

  9. Such a pretty, simply designed cake! Happy Birthday!

  10. Thoroughly jealous... sounds like a fab time!