October 21 – The last conference day, and I’m up at a reasonable hour as my body clock has finally adjusted from the previous weeks traveling in Europe. Here’s the view from my hotel window of Philadelphia’s city hall and Liberty Place just as the sun is coming up:
The conference wraps up at mid day and my goal is to try cheesesteak #3 of the trip at Pat’s in South Philly. The plan was to catch a cab, but with a 5,000 delegate conference spilling out of hotels, no cabbie wants a city fare so I start out walking south. About 15 minutes later, out of the crush of hotels, I find a cab to take me the rest of the way. Here’s Pat’s:
It’s an odd mix of tourists who don’t understand the gruff protocol of this place and locals looking to pick up a quick bite on their lunch hour. I step up to the window, order my “wiz wit” and find a table:
It’s surprisingly good. I’d read/heard about how Pat’s, although the home of the original cheesesteak, just didn’t make good ones – but this is pretty tasty and well put together. I think I still prefer Jim’s, but I’m glad that I’m now basing that opinion on some scientific experimentation.
Walking around to the other side of Pat’s, here’s their competition – Geno’s (I wanted to try cheesesteak #4 there at lunch too, but a voice in my head, likely tied to the health of my heart, advised against it):
Hopped in a cab that magically appeared, and I get back to Center City to explore in the afternoon.
View north along Broad Street toward City Hall:
City Hall and One Liberty Place:
Love Park with the Museum of Art in the distance at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. On a previous trip to Philly, Jodi and I did a city tour and the guide, clearly infatuated with anything/everything French, kept referring to the Ben Franklin Parkway as Philly’s “Champs Elysees” – No knock against the BFP, but he’d clearly never been to Paris:
The plan for my last evening in Philly (on a recommendation from a conference delegate and the fact that I’m currently infatuated with Spanish food and wine) was tapas at Amada, Jose Garces’ restaurant in the Old City neighbourhood:
The restaurant itself is beautiful inside and I’m lucky to have an attentive and knowledgeable server for the evening. As my first glass of wine hits the table, so too does a small serving of flat bread with a dip made from balsamic, tuna and a cream and cheese mixture that I’ve forgotten (on the left of the photo below). Sounds odd, but it was really lovely. Shortly after that arrives, my first dish of aged manchego with truffled lavender honey and green apple (on the right of the photo) enters the scene. It’s spectacular (great blend of creme, sweet, tart and herbal) and a great start to the evening.
Next up is my favourite dish from the evening – grilled Spanish octopus in olive oil, paprika and garlic, served with small slices of potatoes:
This next course was really interesting – fried peppers with Maldon Sea salt. A perfect mix of spice and salt cooled down by the foam made from La Peral (a blue cheese from the north of Spain) on the bottom of the dish:
Last up was some Chorizo Pamplona with cornichons, caper berries and mustard. All of the elements of the dish worked so well together. The chorizo was divine:
This was my one splurge meal in Philadelphia and I enjoyed it thoroughly. After a short walk back to the subway, I’m whisked back to the hotel. I’ve got a big day tomorrow before my later evening flight home…