My best friend Krysia and I have a dream.
It's a beautiful dream that has existed since our youngest years. Back in the day, we used to talk about how one day we would own a bed and breakfast, in which Krysia would run the front of the house, I would cook all the food, and our third friend would serve meals to guests on her roller-skates. Very sensible, really.
Sometimes we would practice our skills, to the point of venturing to the park across the street to retrieve onion grass that would soon be sautéed and tasted before tossed in the trash. Or we would concoct marvelously strange drinks consisting of tea, pepsi, lemon, and various other ingredients, later to be forced upon my gracious grandad, who would unfailingly respond with, "that's good!", which fueled our giggles. Sometimes we would practice our entrepreneurial skills with the always-expensive lemonade stand, or we would let our tastebuds guide menu exploration by tracking down that friendly neighborhood summer jingle until our hands were gripping skylite or spearmint snow cones topped with drippy marshmallow sauce. Although it was all a distant dream at that point, it has all started to become tangible reality since. We have both matured into our designated roles, realizing that our gifts and talents lie in these areas (although the roller-skating seems to have fizzled out). We have been pursuing them through our jobs this summer and it's our goal to come up with a business plan for some sort of cafe or coffee shop by the time we return to school. We have been brainstorming concepts and exploring, both physically and electronically, different cities to see where we might fit.
And last week... we got to explore Philly.
It's kind of funny actually. For some reason, Philly has just kept arising in both of our lives, both separately and together, in conversation or news articles or inspirations. And neither of us had ever been there. Thus, we're both intrigued by this historic city. So last week, when I had to go to the Italian Consulate to apply for my visa, we and my mom made a day trip of it. And though we'd heard various opinions of this Filthadelphia, we both loved it.
After my long-anticipated appointment, we toured Independence Hall, led by a man who looked to be the great-great-great-great grandson of Benjamin Franklin. We asked him if he was related. He wasn't. Then we walked to Old City, an area full of colorful shops, small restaurants, and art galleries. We saw Christ Church and Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continually inhabited street in the nation.
And then... it was lunchtime. Instead of trekking across town to debate over Pat's and Geno's, we were recommended to Sonny's by an artist who so genuinely invited us into his gallery and treated us with freezey-pops on that brutally hot day, letting us pick our preferred colors. When we sat down at Sonny's, we were not disappointed. Perfectly crispy but not overwhelming bread. Thin steak that was not overly fatty. Gooey cheez-wiz. Oh man, it was good.
But it didn't stop there. A coworker of Krysia's had informed us of "the best sandwich in America," which he claimed to dream of daily. So we walked the several blocks to Reading Terminal Market, which I promptly fell in love with, to have second lunch at Tommy DiNic's. It was roast beef, sitting upon thickly-sliced but still-melty extra sharp provolone cheese, sandwiched between another example of perfect bread, and topped with warm broccoli rabe. Oh my goodness, it was fantastic. We could have eaten about four more.
To finish out, we explored Reading Terminal pretty thoroughly. It was about 3 o'clock, so naturally we had to get coffee for the road. Which of course meant getting something sweet to go with it. We scoped out the options- Flying Monkey, Termini Brothers, Famous 4th Street Cookie Company, Metropolitan Bakery, Market Bakery... It seemed like the possibilities were endless. Eventually we settled on Flying Monkey Bakery, which bakes all their goods on site, which is pretty amazing considering the size of their space. My mom, a true Pennsylvanian and mint-lover, got a mint chocolate gob. Krysia chose a vegan chocolate chip cookie. And I settled on a flourless monster cookie. We grabbed our americanos with foam and almond milk mistos from Old City Coffee, and hit the road.
The trip was seriously delightful. It couldn't have been more pleasant, except for maybe the heat. But regardless, it was fantastic. We have vowed to return, to explore more sites and foods and aspects of the city. To continue pursuing the possibilities that are on our doorstep. To dream on.