So, the pope was in town.
Holly and I were both off on Friday and planned on a nice quiet weekend at home. We assumed that we would more or less be stuck inside with the city on full pope duty. Although the crowd was significant (860,000 people came to the public mass on Sunday), it was a far cry from the 1.5 million people that some were predicting. Which meant there wasn’t any spillover into our neighborhood.
A lot of locals headed out of town to avoid the craziness, so things were actually very quiet in our area. We took advantage of the long weekend to have some fun adventures eating in and out.
Friday, we started the day with breakfast at one of our favorite local spots, Café Lutecia. Holly and I used to go more often when we worked together and walked past it every morning, so going back after a hiatus was nice.
Holly had egg, ham and brie on a marble bagel, and I had egg, ham and swiss on a baguette.
Despite all the times we’ve been there, we’ve only been for breakfast. We really need to change that since we follow them on Instagram and they post very tasty looking food from their lunch menu as well.
After running an errand to Di Bruno Bros. to pick up some fish for dinner, we hung out on the patio of our apartment building with a pot of coffee and our books.
Since it was a day off from work, we felt we owed it to ourselves to indulge in some day drinking, so we headed off to Jet Wine Bar in the early afternoon. Many places were considering the disruption caused by the pope’s visit as something similar to a snow day and heading to Jet on a snow day has become something of a tradition for us.
We tried some new wines (Jet reliably switches up their wine list and there are always fun and exciting new wines to taste) and shared their veggie burger and muhammara, which is a delicious red pepper dip.
At night, we baked the coho we had gotten at Di Bruno Bros. earlier. We kept it simple so as to not overwhelm its flavor and served it with zucchini stir fried with gochujang and sesame seeds.
Saturday morning, we stayed in and made baked eggs over tomatoes with garlic and parmesan cheese.
We didn’t know what to expect with the pope’s first day in the city, but things looked quiet in our neighborhood, so we ventured out and took a pleasant walk to East Passyunk to finally get to Bing Bing Dim Sum. We’re big fans of Cheu Noodle Bar by the same owners and have been eager to try Bing Bing. It did not disappoint. We got the Roast Pork Bao, the Scarlet (Beet) Dumplings, the Crispy Cumin Lamb Rolls and the Shrimp Dumplings. All were delicious, but the Roast Pork Bao was out of this world: soft prezel bao filled with roast pork, greens, long hots, and provolone.
After lunch, we walked by Stateside and saw there wasn’t a crowd, which is pretty rare in our experience. We couldn’t resist stopping in a grabbing a couple of seats at the bar. Holly had a Sazerac, and I had a Noah’s Mill neat.
After our big, late lunch, we weren’t all that hungry, so we made a light dinner of spaghetti squash and zucchini served with tomato sauce, cheese and pine nuts.
On the way home, we passed by South Broad Street where the city had set-up a few Jumbotrons. They were projected the beginning of that evening’s concert for the pope, so we hung out for a while to watch the festivities, which included seeing the pope riding around waving to the crowd. Seeing the pope on the Jumbotron was as close as we got to him but that was fine with us since we didn’t have to deal with a huge mass of people. We hadn’t been all that excited about the pope’s visit, but we were glad that we hung out and caught some of the vibe since this was such a big event for Philadelphia.
We stayed in again Sunday morning. Holly took the leftover squash mixture and made fritters and served those along with fried eggs and leftover polenta and chili we had in the fridge. It was quite the feast!
Later in the afternoon, we went to Tria Fitler Sqaure, a new-ish addition to the Tria family that is super close to us. It has quickly become a favorite place, especially on lazy Sunday afternoons. We had the heirloom tomato salad and the cheese from their “Sunday School” menu, which was Bianco Sardo. The Tria locations, except Tria Taproom, have a Sunday special on one beer, one wine, and one cheese. Both Holly and I tried the beer, which was La Trappe Quadrupel. Holly also had the Sunday School wine, Abbazia di Novacella Kerner, while I tried an Allagash Hugh Malone. As always, everything was delicious.
That night, we made a simple dinner of white beans, brocolli rabe and homemade mustard.
Considering we had low expectations for the weekend, we really did make the best of an uncertain situation. As always, our neighborhood did not disappoint. It was a nice taste of things to come since our usual August Staycation has been put off until the end of October for a variety of reasons.