philly

Philadelphia Museum of Art

It’s hard to drive on the I-76 through Philadelphia and not miss the gargantuan building that is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  This museum is seriously impressive, boasting two floors filled with various collections ranging from Impressionist paintings to arms & armors collection to a Japanese garden.

Full disclosure: as much as I love museums, I often take advantage of free/discount days.  Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I paid full admission price for a museum.  The awesome thing about the Philadelphia Museum of Art is every Wednesday night from 5pm – 8:45 pm and every first Sunday of the month is pay-as-you-wish admission. I asked one of the staff what’s the lowest you can pay, and they said “one penny”.  SERIOUSLY.  For one penny, you can have access to one of the best art collections.

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Another amazing thing about the art museum is the views.  The views from inside the museum or outside on the steps are some of the best in the city.  If you’re feeling extra touristy, the Rocky statue awaits you down the steps.  It’s become my favorite summer evening activity – going there on Wednesday nights after work and watching the sunset.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

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For more information, visit – https://philamuseum.org/

philly

An afternoon in East Passyunk

I’m finally getting a slow week after a few weeks of work and hosting visitors.  Finally I’m able to look through the photos I took of the places I visited and compile them into a post.  Up first – East Passyunk.

Despite living in Philly for 2 years now, this was actually my first time venturing down to East Passyunk (or even South Philly in general).  I’m not sure why, but I always have found my sweet spot to be hovering around Center City & Old City.  I’m a creature of habit, I suppose.

But when my friend visiting from San Francisco told me that she has to visit this plant shop in Philly, lo and behold it was located in East Passyunk.  Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.  But after spending the afternoon there on a sweltering July day, I love it. So much.  What I love about it is that despite it having so many cute shops, cafes, and restaurants (which are all ridiculously well-rated), it’s not overly crowded, it’s fairly easy to find parking, and it maintains the perfect combination of residential and “hey, there’s stuff to do here” vibe.

As we were walking towards East Passyunk, we were greeted by this mural outside of Bing Bing Dim Sum.  We already had dinner plans so we didn’t dine here, but I’m definitely coming back.  It has great reviews… and that cat.

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In my opinion, the Gritty mural alone is worth the trip.  We probably spent 20 minutes trying to get “the perfect profile pic” in front of Gritty.  The best part was this lady who lives directly across the street, taking pictures of us taking pictures with Gritty.

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Rival Bros. is one of my favorite coffee roasters here in town.  Granted, I always visit the location near Kimmel Center.  But this one in East Passyunk was just so darn cute.

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The granddaddy of it all was visiting Urban Jungle.  It’s one of the best indoor plant shops I’ve been to.  Fair warning, there’s no AC inside and I was sweating like a beast.  Regardless, the employees were so knowledgeable and helpful, and I got a cutie little plant to add to my collection.  My friend also bought a plant and lugged it back to San Francisco.

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I suppose another reason why East Passyunk is known as the foodie hub of Philly is its close proximity to Italian Market.  It’s just a stone’s throw away.  So we ended up walking towards Italian Market, passing by the famous Pat’s and Geno’s.  In case you were wondering, I don’t favor one over the other.  I live in Roxborough, and my wallet is loyal to Dalessandro’s.

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Food & Drink

Lemon Sorbet

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Ahhh summer.  One dessert I can never get enough of is sorbet.  I love, love, love the perfect combination of cold and citrus on a hot day.  The best part is sorbet is super easy to make and only requires ingredients I always have on hand.

I like to serve the sorbet in the lemons that I hollowed out.  It’s such a cute way to serve this simple dessert.

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Lemon Sorbet

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium-low heat.  Cook until sugar is melted.  Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.  Let mixture completely cool.
  2. Pour in ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Food & Drink

No-Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecake Cups

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I LOOOOOOVE no-bake desserts.  Especially when the heat is high in the middle of summer, no-bake desserts are the best.  Lately, I’ve been on a citrus kick, and I’ve been experimenting with the jar of lemon curd I made a week ago.

Coincidentally, I’m also cleaning out my pantry at the moment, and I found a sleeve of graham crackers that I need to eat before it expires.  I started experimenting with combining the two to make a no-bake dessert.  After some brainstorming, I came up with a really simple, lemon cheesecake cup.

The base is just like a regular graham cracker crust.  It’s very buttery and has a lot of bite to it.  The filling is not as dense as a cheesecake, but it’s nice and fluffy, which will give you serious lemon meringue pie vibes.  I topped the whole thing with a generous layer of lemon curd and voila!

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No-Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecake Cups

  • Servings: 24
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Ingredients

  • 16 graham cracker sheets, crushed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd

Method

  1. Line the 24 cavities of a mini-muffin tin with paper liners or grease with butter.  In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers and butter.  Stir together until it forms a crumbly mixture.  Divide and press evenly along the base and sides in mini muffin tins.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream with granulated sugar until it reaches stiff peaks.  Fold in the whipped cream cheese until well-combined.  Spoon approximately 2 tsp of cream cheese mixture in each cup (leave a little room on top).
  3. Spread a thin layer of lemon curd on the top.  Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Food & Drink

Lemon Curd

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If you know me, you know that my favorite desserts come from the citrus family.  And because I love citrus things so much, when it comes to lemon curd, the more the merrier.  I like to spread lemon curd on basically anything – scones, crackers, I can even eat it by the spoonful.

But I think the thing I love the most about lemon curd is how easy and simple it is to make with ingredients you probably already have at home!  Lately, I find that a lot of my desserts that I’ve been experimenting either uses only egg whites or egg yolks.  So I end up having to shift my cooking based on what I have in my fridge.  Since I had an overage of egg yolks last week, I decided to whip up a quick batch of lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 12 oz
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Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine all the ingredients.  Using a whisk, whisk the mixture gently until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a heatproof container and let it come to room temperature.  Refrigerate before serving.

 

philly

Philly from the top

The thing you need to know about me is I really enjoy a good observation deck.  As much as I have a fear of heights, I absolutely love staring down at a cityscape and taking it all in.  Sure, it’s a bit “touristy”, but it’s always on top of the list of any city I visit.

Six years ago, Ian and I had just started dating, and I was visiting him for Christmas.  We did a day trip to Center City in Philly, and one of the things we did was go to the observation deck inside city hall.  Although Philly has another really famous observation deck (One Liberty Observation Deck), my fond memories really tie me to the OG city hall version.  In fact, every time I have out-of-town visitors, I make sure to take them to the observation deck.

If anything, the experience is kinda fun.  You have to go through a metal detector (like at an airport).  Then you get to walk through parts of the city hall.  Finally, to reach the top, you ride in a teeny tiny elevator that only holds about 6 people.  On the elevator ride, you can look out to see all the constructions of the building.  It’s quite neat!  On the observation deck, you are boxed in with glass windows, so there is no worry about being too windy or cold.

Click here for ticket info, hours, and location.

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Food & Drink

Cranberry Walnut Scones

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Cranberry Walnut Scones

  • Servings: 24
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tb water

Optional icing

  • 1-2 tsp milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until mixture resembles dry crumbs.  Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter.  Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir in cranberries and walnuts.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, and milk.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir with a large spoon until no more flour is visible.  The dough should be quite sticky.
  4. Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and transfer the dough to the work surface.  Knead a couple times until it forms a smooth ball.  Divide dough into 4 (or 2 for larger scones).  Roll each portion into a ball, then gently flatten into a disk.  Cut the disk into 6 triangles.  Place each triangle on the baking sheet.  Whisk together ingredients for egg wash and brush a thin layer of egg wash over each scone.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.