Wow. I have to admit, that is not customarily how I greet/receive Monday's arrival. Of course, I also don't customarily sleep until noon and then sit in the sunshine at my kitchen table while drinking coffee and eating a tasty breakfast of pretz-a-bagels with tofutti cream cheese and a sliced pluot and reading a historical fiction about a family of witches. And just in case I didn't love today enough, then there was the part where Mister and I went wandering down to the pier to see the Delaware River (not actually that swollen, actually) and watched some boats and Canadian geese floating in the murky, muddier-than-usual water, and when that got old, we went to Franklin Fountain for some old-fashioned ice cream (imagine my delight that they serve soy ice cream!) while we sat on a sidewalk in Old City. Top that off with pasta with garlic bread and Centine for dinner back home and we had a pretty darn nice day! How 'bout some pictures?
While Mister and I were perched on the wide barrier between the pier and the river, looking out over the Camden waterfront and the Ben Franklin Bridge, I realized that this was probably why I wasn't terribly impressed with the Golden Gate Bridge, in terms of its size. I'll grant you, the scenery surrounding the Ben Franklin and a little further south, the Walt Whitman bridges is not nearly as mystical or even green as that surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm also damn sure that Marin County is far prettier (and safer) than Camden, but in terms of size...it's nothing special.
Anyway, those were my thoughts looking out at the two bridges that connect Philadelphia proper to New Jersey.
Regardless, the San Francisco Bay, Lake Tahoe, the Pacific Ocean...the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean, even, are all far bluer and more attractive than the mud puddle that is the Delaware River. I'm sure Hurricane Irene kicked up a bit more mud than usual, as the waters did seem a little more active than ordinary, but seriously - it was opaque. If I had lost all my sense and put my hand a few inches into that water, I'd have lost it. I felt kind of bad for the luxury yacht parked on the other side of the pier and explained to Mister that should I ever find $5M extra lying about, I would not hesitate to buy a luxury yacht, but there is no way I would dock it in the murky waters of Philadelphia's "shoreline."
I guess that's why my dad docks his boat at a marina an hour and a half away, in the lovely, slightly less murky Chesapeake Bay of Maryland.
Anyway, after we'd taken in the sights, we wandered along the water until we got to a stairway that led us up to Market Street and crossed over the 6-laned monstrosity that is I-95 in Philly. Once we'd passed under an adorably 1980s-inspired archway informing us that the bridge was letting us out onto Market Street, we crossed at the light and doubled back to pay a visit to the olde-tymey soda jerks at The Franklin Fountain.
It has a fascinating history, started up as a wacky little dream by two brothers who had found old family recipes for ice cream - real ice cream that was flavored by natural things, rather than chemically enhanced like so many tubs in the supermarket freezer aisle. I was delighted to discover that even though they put a big emphasis on authenticity and holding true to early 20th century recipes, they made one little update and make some flavors in soy.
After I had thoroughly enjoyed my house-made cone and Mister slurped up the last of his root beer float through the biodegradable paper straw, we headed down 2nd Street, through Old City and Society Hill with a short detour through the Headhouse Shambles to arrive back at home just after the sun set.
I decided the baby tomatoes and yellowing parsley were not going to wait any longer for me, so I fed the olives, parsley, tarragon, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil to the food processor while the rotelle boiled and the halved cherry tomatoes popped and sizzled away in the saute pan. As I set the table, someone wanted me to know that he was also interested in our dinner...
That is one of the most adorable pictures I have of him lately, as he is not normally cooperative when I try to take his picture. It took about ten tries last night to earn his "gruntle face," so it surprised the heck out of me that he wanted dinner badly enough to sit perfectly still and make his big-eyed imploring face for the camera.
Turns out he wanted the garlic bread, which Mister shared with him (just a little crunchy piece is all he really needs to be happy and go away). Regarding dinner itself - due to my little experiment/strike on Whole Foods, I ended up with jarred pitted kalamatas for the sauce, rather than the brined bulk olives I usually pick up at WF for this recipe. I wouldn't recommend it. If you insist, though, on using jarred olives, keep two things in mind, please, or you'll end up with the relatively bland and unfulfilling sauce I had tonight:
- Even though 12oz is theoretically and mathematically equal to a cup and a half (8oz + 4oz = 12oz, right?), a 12oz jar of olives will not actually yield more than a rounded cup of kalamatas. This did turn out to be enough for the recipe, but just be aware.
- Check the label to see what the olives are being soaked in - if it's just olive oil with a dab of white vinegar, you're going to need to add some salt. When I eat the leftovers, I promise you that either a healthy sprinkling of salt or a glug of tamari will be involved.
Stay tuned, dearies! This week should be full of adventures as Mister and I plan to enjoy this week as a staycation of sorts while I rest up and refresh myself to prepare for my new job. Every once in a while, playing tourist in your own locale can really remind you why you love where you live so much, and after all the speculation that Philadelphia was turning into the new Detroit, it's a helpful reminder.