The second part of our trip was mainly filled with eating and lounging around the hotel watching the Summer Olympics in Rio (unfortunately via NBC's terrible coverage).
We slept in and decided we'd like to try another cheesesteak for lunch. I had surfed Instagram hashtags like #phillyfood during my trip planning and found a particularly tasty looking sandwich from a place called Cleaver's. We walked over and ordered a cheesesteak with onions and American to split with a side of waffle fries. I was so happy to find it was every bit as delicious as the picture led me to believe. I was also pleased that this proved Instagram is a good way to discover restaurants you might not otherwise find if you know the right hashtag to look into.
Jeff decided he would now like to try a donut from Federal Donuts since I was the only one who got one on Day 2. We stopped in and procured a guava poppy as well as a chocolate churro donut.
Instead of eating them on the spot, we decided to walk over to Reading Terminal Market to get some ice cream from Bassetts to go with it. We got 2 scoops of coffee and it turned out to be a massive amount.
We stuffed ourselves and grabbed a regular latte from Old City Coffee before heading back to the hotel to bask in the glory of the insanely cold hotel lobby with a giant multi-panel tv showing all the Olympics coverage. It made for an enjoyable afternoon.
For dinner, we headed to a restaurant called Ela to partake in the six course chef's tasting menu. This place was not walkable, so we finally bit the bullet and used Uber for the first time. Don't ask me how we got away with avoiding it so long. I found the experience awkward since our driver didn't really talk to us, but he got us where we needed to go safely and for a reasonable price so that's that. The restaurant kind of reminded me of one of my Ballard favorites, Staple & Fancy, which also offers a great tasting menu. We ordered some beverages and our tasting experience got under way:
Beverages: Jeff's old fashioned, my house made everything Shirley Temple (such a nostalgic beverage for me)
- Garlic focaccia bread with smoked oil
- Salmon pastrami crudo
- Chickpea soup
- Foie gras with grilled asparagus, rice cracker, and hoisin sauce
- Grilled baby octopus on squid ink pumpernickel with tomato sauce
- Beef rib steak with polenta, jus reduction, corn and roasted squash
- Smoked dulce de leche ice cream with cookie, chocolate fudge, and banana caramel
Overall, the service here was great and we agreed this meal was everything we hoped it would be. We left the restaurant and decided to walk back to the hotel to turn in for the night since we were quite full, which may or may not have been a good idea.
We decided to visit Lancaster/Amish country! We woke early and headed up to the weekday only continental breakfast at our hotel before setting out on our small road trip. Our first stop was September Farm where they're known for making cheese. This place is fairly new, huge, and contained all kinds of goodies. We got a cherry cheese tart and a funny cake which we later discovered is basically a pie crust containing chocolate and cake. Both were sweet and delicious.
Next, we checked out Dutch Haven. They're known for making shoo fly pie famous. I'd heard of this kind of pie, but never had a slice so I had to try it. We bought a slice of the regular pie with whipped cream as well as a pumpkin whoopie pie (which I later discovered are very popular in Amish country). The pie reminded me of a chocolate pecan pie that my friend SC makes at Thanksgiving, but without the pecans. I might try making one next time we're off keto. The whoopie pie was tasty, but overpoweringly sweet.
We then moved on to a non-food stop: Li'l Country Store & Miniature Horse Farm. I love animals, so this was a fun stop for me! We met several furry friends of the minature horse and goat varieties here. The horses were friendly and appreciated pets and treats. One had even recently had a baby and it was great to see it with its mama. Unsurprisingly, the goats were more interested in treats than attention and became disinterested quickly.
Next up was Bird in Hand Bakery for some donuts. Jeff had seen them on Yelp and thought they looked really good, but the ones we were received were just ok. The items in their actual bakery looked much better.
Kitchen Kettle Village had been recommended as a stop by one of Jeff's coworkers, so we checked it out. It's basically an area full of little stores of varying types that's known for its large jam store. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures in the jam shop. Here's a picture of a nice soft and garlicky pretzel we had instead.
Our final stop was Hayloft Candles, a strange mix of candle maker, ice cream shop, and petting zoo. There were a ton of varieties of standard as well as creative candles. The ice cream had a great creamy texture and good flavor. We saw many animals, but it wasn't quite what I expected as a "petting zoo" since most of them were behind chain link fences. We did at least get to feed them some treats.
From here, we headed back to the city and to our hotel. We'd eaten only baked goods and sweets all day, so we decided to have a real meal for dinner. We were both still thinking about those delicious dumplings at Dim Sum Garden, so we went back. We ordered the dumplings as well as General Tso's chicken and some rice cakes. The dumplings were every bit as delicious as before and I also really enjoyed the texture and flavor of the rice cakes. The General Tso's chicken was just ok.
Like last time, we stopped by a bakery to pick up some snacks for later. This time it was a cocktail bun and sesame ball from Bread Top House Bakery. Both tasted exactly as we expected.
Finally, we stopped off for dessert at T-Swirl Crepe. They had all kinds of delicious looking wax/plastic/fake crepes in the window so it would've been difficult to resist. We agreed to split the caramel fuji apple crepe. We got to watch them make it and it came out beautifully. The flavors of the apples combined with caramel and custard were a match made in heaven.
This was our final day in Philly and also a travel day. We woke early and headed back to Reading Terminal Market for one last delicious breakfast. The line was short at Beiler's, so we picked up a half dozen donuts to eat on our long flight home. They included three glazed in addition to a lemon filled, apple fritter, and red cake donut. (All were gone by the time we landed in Seattle.)
We also finally tried the Dutch Eating Place that we had seen on tv and was on our list to try. I had the apple dumpling that was every bit as flaky, sweet, and warm as it looked on tv. Jeff tried the scrapple (ground pork/trimmings, cornmeal, flour, and spices that are pan fried) with toast and an egg. He said it had a hint of intestine flavor that he just wasn't into, but he was glad he tried it.
We went back to the hotel to pack up, check out, and receive our car from the valet. This took forever, so we decided we could head over to John's Roast Pork to split a cheese steak for lunch. Jeff was pleased that the bread was really soft since it'd been wrapped, but I thought the meat was just a bit too peppery. Overall, another place we were happy we checked off our list of things to try that we'd seen on tv.
We hopped in the car and drove back to DC to catch our flight (we originally flew into DC to visit family and then road tripped to Philly, so it was cheaper to drive back, return the rental car, and fly out from there). I had Waze set to avoid tolls since we paid ~$16 on the drive from DC to Philly (this blew my mind since I grew up in an area with no tolls and I think the tolls in Seattle are excessive). About an hour or so into our trip, we found a Friendly's and decided to stop in for some ice cream since we had time to kill. Jeff was excited since this place was nostalgic for him and he had wanted me to try it for a while. We shared an oreo sundae that was a perfect ending to our trip.
We had a safe flight back to Seattle (where we ate all the Beiler's donuts) and were so happy to be reunited with our feline furry children when we got home. Props to Philadelphia... you definitely did not disappoint these two food lovers.