It can be kind of weird to share a blog with a bunch of people you’ve never met in person, but that’s the situation here at The Midnight Garden. We are scattered all across North America, and several of us have never even met each other in person. It’s kind of like an odd combination of having a pen pal and dating someone long distance. So we were really excited last week when Kate had the opportunity to visit Kim in Philadelphia for a day. Here’s what happened.
Kate: I was nervous about missing my train (I’ve never taken Amtrak, but I’m always really confused when I try to take trains long distances in Europe, and I (correctly) assumed this had less to do with the language barrier than with general incompetence on my part), so I arrived half an hour early. And then waited by the wrong track until five minutes after my train left. So I got to text Kim and let her know that because I’m a stupid country bumpkin, she was going to have to wait for me an extra hour. I may have consumed an alcoholic beverage or two along with my coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper on the train.
Kim: Oh no worries about me. I always have my Kindle. ;) I am no stranger to missing trains and I felt so bad you missed yours! You really need to watch the “Destination Wedding” episode of Broad City. You’ll identify with it on a spiritual level, as I do.
Kate: The great thing about Philadelphia is that as soon as I got there, Kim took me to get donuts. She wore a trench coat, cute boots, and bright red lipstick, and she took me to get donuts. Donuts. One of my donuts was delicious. It was yummy cinnamon goodness. I ate it very quickly. The other one had chocolate on it, so it was disgusting. Why did I order a donut with chocolate on it? Was this my first rodeo?
Kim: That is a really great thing about Philadelphia. I am there and I will bring you to Federal Donuts. I was just dying to get another Cookies and Cream donut from that place. The best donut I have ever had! I blame your chocolate mistake on Amtrak Dysphoria, an ailment I just made up. It worked out for me, though! I got to have the chocolate strawberry donut! :D
Kate: Oh, that one was good, even with the chocolate.
I live in LA, so I’m used to seeing famous landmarks from movies and having them seem smaller and less awesome in person than they do on film (kind of like movie stars, actually). And when I went to DC a few years back I was surprised by how tiny everything was. The Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum were the complete opposite experience. It was so freaking cool to see the city laid out from such an awesome height.
Kim: It makes me so happy that you enjoyed The Rocky Steps. The view is majestic. It’s one of my favorite places to be in the city. Probably considered “too touristy,” I actually find it quite serene and peaceful. My tip for all visitors: Don’t turn around til you get to the top!
Kate: I am not ashamed to tell you that at this point in the day, we decided to just travel around the city drinking. We had “tea” (champagne cocktails and curry fritters) at an adorable little English pub called The Dandelion. Then we wandered around, stopping at Joseph Fox book store and Premium Steap tea shop while we waited for Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co to open. Holy crap was it ever worth the wait.
Kim: Yeah, I’m not even a little bit ashamed to admit that. I’m not even ashamed that I ate all of Kate’s mayo because she hates it. Who hates fancy mayo?! Curry mayo, okay? Yum. And THE SPEAKEASY. No seriously, this place makes cocktails a craft. I don’t think cocktails get any better in Philadelphia than they do at the Franklin. I had to take you. And when the best cocktails come in an atmospheric “speakeasy” setting, at a location that used to be an actual speakeasy (hence the name) THERE WILL BE NO RESISTING!
Kate: Mayo is fucking disgusting, and you are a monster. But we had a really delicious dinner at Parc, and then I called Amtrak to change my ticket so we could go back to The Franklin and drink some more yummy yummy rum punch (Remember in Mary Poppins, how the medicine she gives the kids tastes different for everyone (I used to quote this scene from memory over and over again as a child) and Mary’s tastes like rum punch? That must have been some delicious fucking medicine, and also, was Mary Poppins a lush?).
Kim: Well, yeah. We had to go back The Franklin. A given. You need to experience these drinks at some point in your lives, everyone who enjoys cocktails. They all have fun names and intriguing ingredients. I remember my first drink was a “My Maudlin Career” and it called to me with the siren song of a vanilla-pepper-pear syrup. Yes.
Kate: What I liked about the drinks there in general was that the bartender didn’t go overboard with the bitters. Over-bitters-ing is my number one “mixology” (ugh) pet peeve.
Kim: I would just like to express my general regret that I utterly failed in getting you a cheesesteak. Also, does a sandwich that is just fried lasagna on a hoagie roll sound good to you? Because I’m pretty sad that I didn’t take you to have that either. There are so many other sights to see, drinks to be imbibed, and food to be devoured in Philly. It’s impossible to do in one day. I hope you got a feel for the city and enjoyed yourself. It was so lovely and so fun and I just didn’t want you to go! Please come back and see me again and I will show you more and better things!
Kate: Cheesesteak schmeesesteak! All my drinks were pink! I had such a lovely time. Let’s do it again when I’m back in New York this summer. You’re the best pen pal a girl could ask for.