Food, Pennsylvania, Travel, Uncategorized

How We Spent Our 10 Hours in Philadelphia

Call Us Crazy

Some may think we are crazy to do our quick day trips, like how can that be a vacation? Well, after three years of doing day trips or 48 hour trips we will always tell you that it is worth it! America is known for working too much and not making use of those vacation days. We do a little bit of both – we work a little too much and will admit to putting work first before more important things, but we will also always take advantage of our vacation days. So let’s talk about vacation days…. Adam has unlimited whereas I, Christina, do not. We have to be careful with my vacation days and try to use them for big trips to other countries. So with that being said, we maximize our day trips. We take advantage of our late twenties bodies by waking up early or driving through the night to wake up somewhere new (yes, one time we drove over night from Las Vegas and woke up to a sunrise in Zion National Park). We don’t need sleep, we need experiences! We believe that life is short and we should seize the opportunities to see and experience something new. If that means driving two and a half hours to Philadelphia to only spend 10 hours, so be it, we do it!

Philly Cheesesteaks at Tony Luke’s!

Of course the first thing we did in Philadelphia was grab a Philly cheesesteak! We would not be true foodies if we didn’t – plus we were starving. We were advised by a fellow blogger/photographer friend, Demetri, to stay away from the popular cheesesteak joints, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. Instead, he told us to go where the real best Philly cheesesteak was, John’s Roast Pork, but oh nooooo it was closed because it ran out of bread! Let me tell you, I was beyond devastated because after I did my research I found out that John’s Roast Pork truly is the best, it even holds a James Beard Award! Nevertheless, we went to the second best, Tony Luke’s.

Tony Luke’s “The Real Taste of South Philly” is claimed a Philadelphia institution for their amazing “Old Philly Style Sandwiches”. Little did we know that they are also known for their not so friendly hospitality. It was only until after the fact that I found out about this and that it is all part of their “lure”. All we knew coming here was that it was one of the best and that we wanted a Philly cheesesteak in Philly! When we go out to eat we always like to tell our server it’s our first visit and what do they recommend? It is fun and it engages us with people. So when we went to the counter with our excitement and gave our spiel, sure enough we got an unfriendly response. It did kind of kill our fun, but the sandwiches were worth it in the end. (Note to self for next time, come more prepared).

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Tony Luke’s has a retro vibe with its limited picnic-style indoor seating and bright neon sign. At noon it was pretty packed, but we heard that it was actually a slow day. Guests stand in line and can look at the vast menu they have that includes the famous, Philly cheesesteak, roast pork sandwich and more of the “Old Philly Style Sandwiches”. We also noticed some of the out of the ordinary menu items like pizza fries? We stuck with their regular natural cut fries. Once you read their novel of a menu, you finally make it to the counter and order your delicious Philly grub and wait to be called back at the pick up window. We noticed that most of the guests took their sandwiches away while others sat at the picnic tables. It was easy to spot the tourists from the locals. Locals took their food to go while tourists fought for a table with the limited seating.

There was a counter in the seating area for condiments which included your usual mustard and ketchup, but they also had amazing pickles and peppers – I think I ate enough pickles for the entire room. Adam ordered the Roast Pork Italian Sandwich and it was pretty darn delicious! The roast pork was seasoned with Tony Luke’s secret blend of herbs and spices topped with au jus, sautéed broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. The secret blend of herbs and spices and sautéed broccoli rabe really made this sandwich standout. It was really juicy and packed so much flavor! I went with the Philly Cheesesteak with provolone cheese and sautéed onions. I wanted it to stay simple and classic. Though it did not hold as much juicy flavors as the Roast Pork Italian it was still delicious! You can definitely tell that Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks are a craft with their thin cut, cooked to order, rib-eye steak. Tony Luke’s also puts care into his craft and uses only the best – 100% USDA certified Black Angus rib-eye steak that is hormone and steroid free. With that craft and care it is no wonder why they are considered the best!

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Tony Luke’s
39 East Oregon Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 892-1010
M – Th: 6am – 12am
F – Sa: 6am – 2am
Su: 11am – 8pm
$$$$
http://www.tonylukes.com

Liberty Bell

We licked the Liberty Bell!!!! How I Met Your Mother fans…anyone? We felt like we could not pass up one of our nations most significant historical pieces during this short day trip. We are really pleased that we made it here. The Liberty Bell Center is right next to Independence Hall and within Independence National Historical Park. The exhibit is quite small, but vast in information. It has several small sections about the history and significance of the Liberty Bell, including the famous crack.

The Liberty Bell has great importance to our nation with one of the most historical inscriptions, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” After all these years and repetitive cracks the inscription still stands proud and represents our history of when the abolitionists wished to end slavery. The Liberty Bell signified a powerful motion then and remains powerful today.

Liberty Bell Center
6th St & Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 965-2305
Daily: 9am-7pm
FREE
https://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/stories-libertybell.htm

Independence Hall

When we planned our day we expected to just see Independence Hall from the outside, but after a moving experience at the Liberty Bell Center we decided we wanted to enjoy the birthplace of America. The Independence Hall tour was free and lasted around 30-40 minutes and was very informative.

We were able to see two of the most important rooms, the Courtroom of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Assembly Room. Our tour guide talked standing inside the little “prison”, which was kind of cute and explained the process and history behind the room.

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We then moved to the Assembly Room and felt proud to be standing in the exact room where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both signed – pretty remarkable. Both rooms were well maintained, though it is refurbished it really felt untouched. It truly felt like we stepped back in time with our Founding Fathers.

Independence Hall
520 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 965-2305
Daily: 9am-5pm
FREE
https://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/independencehall.htm

Lo Spiedo

Lo Spiedo was a perfect pre game meal for a few reasons: it was only a ten minute walk from Wells Fargo Center, we were there during happy hour and it was a restaurant from a highly acclaimed and award winning chef, Marc Vetri. We had been wanting to dine at one of his restaurants for years and now we finally were.

Located in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, Lo Spiedo is a causal two story eatery that focuses on slow-roasted meats cooked in their custom-made 6-foot rotisserie. They slow roast everything from brisket, whole fish, chicken, pork shoulder and anything in between. Like any other Vetri restaurant, Lo Spiedo also specializes in housemade pastas, preparing salads and sides with the freshest produce from local farms and delicious desserts. This restaurant is the least Italian of Vetri’s Italian empire of restaurants, but it stays true to the Italian philosophy of creating a lot of love and care into the food – like slow roasting meats for several hours and using only the freshest ingredients. With that being said, Lo Spiedo caters to their clientele of being next to every Philadelphia sports stadium. This is definitely the go to pregame spot because they have chicken wings, BBQ popcorn, brisket sandwiches, BBQ pork ribs and more. Though the restaurant is casual, it definitely feels like a classy tailgate party.

The Happy Hour menu has everything a pregame meal needs and you can’t beat the prices!

Everything we ate was amazing, but the two standouts were the Polenta Cornbread with Meat Drippings (meat drippings yum) and the BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders with Grilled Pineapple. Is your mouth watering yet? Slow roasting the meats in the 6-foot rotisserie is no joke! The pork sliders were so tender, juicy and delicious and the the polenta cornbread on its own was fantastic, but with the meat drippings…oh my! We also had two cocktails, BBQ Popcorn and Fried Cauliflower with Pimiento Cheese.

As always we never forget about dessert – we had the Oreo Puddin’ Pie. Chocolate pudding with an Oreo whipped cream. It was so rich and tasty! It had that home good feeling – something that your mom would make, but so much better! (Sorry mom).

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Lo Spiedo
4503 S. Broad Street
Building 500
Philadelphia, PA 19112
(215) 282-3184
M – Th: 11am-9pm
F: 11am-10pm
Sa: 5pm-10pm
Closed Sunday
Happy Hour:
M -Th: 4pm-6:30pm
F: 3pm-6:30pm
$$$$
http://lo-spiedo.com

St. Louis Blues vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The real reason for this day trip! Every NHL hockey season we watch Adam’s favorite team, the St. Louis Blues, play another team in the opponents stadium. We take this opportunity to travel and sightsee around the city before the game. Traveling from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for a hockey game was our first trip together and it really made an impact on us. Going to the Wells Fargo Center stadium to watch the Blues play against the Philadelphia Flyers was our sixth stadium thus far and we were really impressed with it. It is located by the Philadelphia Phillies baseball stadium and Philadelphia Eagles football stadium.

If you want to arrive at the stadium hours early, like we did, then we highly recommend parking your car at the Wells Fargo Center. Parking fee was normal, around $15 and it was right next to a metro station. Though the stadium is on the outskirts of the city it is easily accessible to get into the city using the metro. We were able to avoid parking our car numerous times (and probably paying numerous times), throughout the city. Since the parking lot was basically empty we were also able to grab a perfect parking spot!

The stadium had a lot of dining options, of course they had their Philly cheesesteak vendors, but they also had some really nice upscale bar/restaurants options too. In addition, they had Shake Shack (big fans), which seems to be popping up everywhere in the U.S. lately. Overall, the upkeep of the stadium was nice – it is definitely well maintained, but what really makes this stadium is the Flyer fans.

We were warned, but wow are the Flyer fans intense and a little rude. Some had great smack talk and I would laugh at what they came up with, then Adam would glare at me and tell me, “not to fraternize with the enemy”. It was all fun and games and it truly makes for a more entertaining and fun atmosphere. The fun ends when the fans become rude, only it was not toward us and our fellow Blues fans, it was towards their own fans!!! There were Flyer fans screaming for their team to pick it up and other Flyer fans would use profanity telling their fellow fans to shut up! You definitely do not hear or see that at your typical sporting events.

By now you are probably wondering who won? The St. Louis Blues of course!!!! We don’t mean to brag, but with the exception of the L.A. Kings game the Blues have won every away and home game we have ever been to. We think they should hire us to travel with the team…just saying. In all seriousness though, it was a great game. We saw a fight, we watched the puck go in the net on the side we were sitting at, we had incredible seats and again, we won!

Using SeatGeek we bought tickets for $65 each. Our seats were Section 116, Row 14, Seats 11 and 12. That is a fantastic price for these close seats to the ice and great views of both sides. We were also sitting on the side where the Blues (away team) shot twice. I barely had to zoom in the pictures shown.

Wells Fargo Center
3601 S Broad St
PhiladelphiaPA 19148
(215) 336-3600

A Few More Pictures of Our 10 Hours in Philly

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Philly we LOVE you and we will be back!

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