My second day in Philly was definitely more of an on foot exploration than a destination based exercise. But I did have a few places on my mind when I headed out.
In the morning I walked over to The Academy of Natural Sciences (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA), snapped a few photos, picked up a couple of postcards and squished a penny as is my tradition (and slight obsession.)
The Franklin Institute (222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA)is just a short walk away, and the Ben Franklin Memorial is in there. I’ve already seen the Leonardo featured exhibit they had going on (at the OMSI in Portland, OR), so I decided to just enjoy the free parts, and skip the learning adventure. It was cool to visit my first Presidential Memorial site, though of course, there were a lot more to visit when I visited DC.
I was a bit hungry, so a friend and I went over the the Reading Terminal Market (51 North 12th Street Philadelphia, PA) I wanted to get Philly cheesesteak sandwich from Basic 4 Vegetarian Cafe, because everyone was raving about the “vegan” philly cheesesteak on yelp, but I’m not really sure the soy cheese they use is vegan. It isn’t marked as such on the menu, and I couldn’t get a straight answer from the person working there. I opted to leave, because I didn’t feel like spending 10 dollars buying a sandwich from a rude person.
I’m glad I did, because instead of that place, I decided it would be a good time to check out the gluten free vegan bakery, Sweet Freedom (1424 South Street Philadelphia, PA)and I found out that it’s always a good time to visit Sweet Freedom. I ordered a donut, how could I not try the caramel chocolate one? and a double mint chocolate chip cookie, which ended up being my favourite (as evidenced from three encore purchases over the next two days). They are really close to Lombard-South Station on the Broad Street Line via SEPTA, but I just walked over from downtown.
I had wanted to visit the Polish American Cultural Center (380 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA), but by the time I got there, they had closed. It was interesting to find out that Philadelphia has the fourth largest population of Polish people in the United States. Maybe next time I’m in Philly I’ll get the chance to do a walk through.
Conveniently, the Chemical Heritage Foundation (315 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA) was right across the park, and had extended hours for First Fridays. They had a special exhibit of chemistry related art and the opening reception was the day I visited. Since chemistry was my focus in university and I love art, it was especially exciting to see a artistic visual and creative representation of certain concepts. The information book to the exhibit was worth picking up, because each page had stories from the artists but it also had a perforated section where you could detach a postcard with one of the pieces of art on it. Loved it so much I might have picked up two…
After the chemistry excitement, I was done for the night. I debated ordering delivery from New Harmony restaurant, for the novelty of being able to order vegan delivery (which, besides pizza is not really an option in Toronto). But walking over to Govinda’s Gourmet to Go (1408 South Street, Philadelphia, PA) won out. Govinda’s Gourmet to Go is a vegan friendly restaurant/take out place conveniently located near Sweet Freedom, so I picked up another one of those delicious double mint chocolate cookies, and bought a giant chicken cheese sandwich on a hoagie roll from Govinda’s. (a hoagie roll is a word that originated in Philadelphia, and is used chiefly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to describe a sub, torpedo, etc sandwich on an oblong piece of French or Italian bread. I didn’t know the etymology of it, so I had to look it up and share it.) They are also a good source of desserts from Vegan Treats, but I felt like I had indulged in sweets enough for the day.
The Chicken Cheese sandwich was really tasty. It’s easy to see how every vegan I asked suggested going there. And people with a thing against fake cheese can get dairy cheese if it makes them happy. Though the vegan cheese sauce is actually really really good. The addition of Follow Your Heart mayo really gives it a nice creamy hearty flavour. I was glad to have given it a try.
Then I was off to check out the last few remaining hours of Saturday’s Philly Tattoo Convention, and back to my temporary home to rest up for the next day.