Philly or Bust…

So this past week I was sent to Philadelphia for work, and got to experience this great city for my very first time. I am blessed with a job that affords me the opportunity to see some different parts of the US. So when I found out that a presentation was needed in Philly, I was quick to jump on that opportunity. From then on  I could not stop singing Fresh Prince of Bel-air’s theme song. Over and over again my brain would say…”in west Philadelphia born and raised…” I was told not to see West Philadelphia though, as the song is quite accurate in that it is not a very safe place to be. So, I stuck to the “Center City” and all of the amazing food and sites there are to see!

Disclaimer: I did not stick to my Whole 30 at all while on this trip. I’m basically going to just press a restart button on MLK day and attempt this again. I’m hoping this is something that is relatable for you as a reader. Sometimes we just aren’t perfect! Sometimes a Philly cheese steak sounds a lot better than a salad. It happens!

Basically the trip went like this: land in Philly, meet up with my fun coworker Michelle, and eat. We did some work as well (presenting to the Department of the Navy there, which was a great experience!), and then ate some more. We stayed at the Sonesta Philadelphia Hotel which was a very pleasant stay! Beautiful spacious rooms, modern decor, and great customer service! I will admit though that on our walking tour of downtown Philly we saw the Monaco and I will just go ahead and say I had super hotel envy. Next time I go to Philly, I’m definitely staying there!

Back to the important part…food. On night one we went to a restaurant called El Vez. This is a Mexican style restaurant and they had the best best best corn. They also have a super old school photo booth so obviously we took advantage of that! Then we walked over to the Graffiti Bar where the bartender was awesome and gave us the low down on everything to eat and drink in the city. They also had a delicious cider-esque whiskey drink that I highly recommend! (See how I incorporated the whole whiskey thing here) We then took a quite fascinating cab ride, with complimentary trumpet music, to Franklin Fountain for some ice cream. I had a chocolate milk shake that totally rocked my world, but all the other treats (check out those pies) looked amazing as well!

On day two, our awesome Navy friends brought us to Jim’s for some real Philly cheesesteaks. They taught us the right way to order. “Wiz with” means cheese wiz and caramelized onions. I went all in for the Wiz. Others got American…but I was looking for the real deal. To recover from the food coma…we then had to have an afternoon coffee to survive! So we found an amazing little coffee shop called Elixir. Word to the wise, they have amazing espresso and lattes. I’m not a fancy coffee drinker. I am a regular drip coffee drinker with a touch of heavy whipping cream. Elixir only does pour overs…so my coffee was not as delightful as Michelle’s. But, she loved it so much we went back again the next day. Moral of the story is if you are a fancy coffee lover, definitely check it out. The vibe was super cool too with wood paneled walls, beautiful wall paper, and a lot of terrariums. Did you know that you can hire an indoor plant designer? This is something I learned from Elixir.

For dinner, and yes we ate dinner even though we had a huge lunch, we found an amazing British restaurant called The Dandelion. HEAVEN! The cheese plate- yes! The fish and chips- yes! The environment- double yes! I stuffed my face so much that I wanted to go to bed afterwards…see I told you I did not stick to the Whole 30.

Day 3 was our last day. That morning I dropped in at CrossFit Center City for a WOD before I ate some more. This was a great spot! The coaches were wonderful and attentive, and everyone was super friendly as is common in the CrossFit world. Word to the wise, if you plan to drop in here you need to prepare in advance. They do require that your coaches from your “home gym” email them to let them know you are familiar with the lifting moves, and have been doing CrossFit for at least 3 months.  One thing I learned here…is that when you get used to your own jump rope, other jump ropes really suck. I also learned about banded pull-ups! Our gym does not do banded pull-ups so this was new for me, and quite fun I might add!

Afterwards we walked all over the city. Obviously I had to see the Liberty Bell and get a little touch of American spirit in me! God Bless the USA! We also had to do a little shopping because I had learned that the “Old City District” was the place to find some boutiques and unique Philly fare. Vagabond was definitely my favorite shop that totally fit my style. I found two cute sweaters and was so pleased with my shopping success. We also had a great lunch at Farmicia complete with yummy cheese plate and a classic BLT to end the trip!

That’s basically my experience of Philly in 2 nights. I think I will have to do an East Coast city tour with my hubby. He has not been to Washington DC, Philadelphia, or New York City yet but he is like the biggest history lover ever. He would totally go crazy for these cities. East coasters- do not take for granted the fact that you are just a hop skip and a step away from some these awe-inspiring historically rich cities! Take advantage of it!


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