A few things in Philadelphia

Some days you get started late and then breakfast happens at noon.

It’s totally ok because Green Eggs Cafe has you covered. They serve breakfast until 4pm, and not just any breakfast but elegant perfectly proportioned breakfast like the pancetta, spinach and sun dried tomato benedict above. The food is delectable, the atmosphere is calm and easy, it’s like Sunday morning but better because it’s Monday afternoon and you have nowhere to be all day. Take your time. Order a tempura fried “twinkie” cake, cream filled homemade sponge cake served with strawberries as an homage to the soon-to-be-vanished-forever (maybe) Hostess twinkie. Breakfast dessert. It’s what I’m saying.

Then because it’s Philadelphia, birth place of our American government, walk off some of the twinkie calories and go visit the Liberty Bell

Yes, it looks exactly like the pictures. Yes, it’s cracked and it will never ring again. Yes, you should see it anyway. As my friend Corey said, “it’s so fitting that we revere an ill-made cracked bell as the symbol of liberty and justice for all.” An imperfect symbol of an imperfect idea but they both endure.

The Liberty Bell Center is built on the foundations of George Washington’s house, with sketched out windows and doorways and views down into the basement where his slaves lived

America has a lot of dirty laundry and it’s good to revisit it every now and then, to take a good look at the past so we don’t repeat it. I think this space is beautifully curated. There’s a lot of information here about the beginnings of the United States and the fight against slavery and it’s winnowed down to some key highlights and displayed well in this architectural format.

Independence Hall is across the road and since you’re right here and it’s free, you should visit. There’s not a lot to recommend the tour since all the rooms in the Hall have been renovated and filled with reproduction furniture but take a second to think about the men that created our constitution in that space. Somehow 13 different colonies all sent representatives and they stayed in these rooms until they’d hammered out an agreement everyone could sign. Imagine that happening now. I can’t. It’s borderline miraculous that we have a working government now, even with all its faults.

Now that you’re overloaded on history, do an abrupt 180 and cleanse your viewing palate with a visit to the Mutter Museum.

Skulls, conjoined twins, preserved human organs in formaldehyde. Yes, not kidding. This is the Museum of Medical Oddities and if ever you’ve wondered what typhoid does to your intestines or how many things people “accidentally” swallow, all your questions and more will be answered in this curious place. I wouldn’t recommend it to kids under 10 but for the rest of you, go visit. To honor the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, there’s an exhibit about fairy tale creatures and how they could actually be real. Fascinating. Also, there are books bound in human skin. I’ve run out of words. Just go check it out.

Now you need a drink? Of course you do

Village Whiskey’s Erin go Bragh flight of Irish whiskeys should be just the thing. It’s not cheap but it is delicious. They serve bar snacks but they’re only ok. It’s really all about the whiskey. And it’s a small little place so don’t bring a big group.

Dinner? Alright then.

How about hot pink walls and all you can eat tacos at Distrito? The neon lighting and funky decor remind me of Boca del Lobo in Quito Ecuador but the food at Distrito is so much better than Boca. Tiny tacos of pollo (ok), carnitas (good), lengua (really good), hongos (amazing) and mahi mahi (mind blowing) just keep coming to the table one after the other. When they say “all you can eat” they really mean it. Check out the wall of lucha libre masks, the swing chairs upstairs and get your picture taken in the taxi car table. This place is really fun and the food is really good. I’m a huge fan.

Now maybe a movie? See Skyfall and watch James Bond go off the reservation and loose his 007 status before roaring back to save the day in the nick of time. He’s getting old, that Bond, but he’s still got it going on. Same goes for Daniel Craig.

More Philly next week. Stay tuned.

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