Philadelphia Trip – In the Beginning – Govinda’s and Sweet Freedom
We arrived in Philadelphia bright and early on Saturday morning, taking the overnight bus from Toronto starting at 7pm. After successfully navigating the transit system to our hotel downtown, checking in, and showering – JC still made it to his card game nerd festival (okay it was the Magic Grand Prix, and I think he did quite well.) And I began plotting my day.
First stop, a cup of tea and a bath.
Next I plotted out my way to Sweet Freedom Bakery and Govinda’s (both happen to be on the same street.) People were walking around in full costume – since it was almost Halloween, there was a brewers conference happening, AND there was an open house at the art institute. So walking down S. Broad street was a total treat.
Much like Toronto, Philadelphia has a vibrant street art collection, but in the form of sanctioned murals (and minimal graffiti/street art.) You can see this all over the city, and across from Sweet Freedom Bakery at the World Communications Charter School was the beginning of The Roots Mural Project. The project is in honor of (Philly’s own) Award-winning music group, The Roots. I thought about them when the wind and rain started to pick up, hopefully they still managed have a great time while they could.
I visited Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South Street, Philadelphia, PA) the last time I was in Philadelphia, and it was pretty great, so I had to visit again. It’s still the nice little cozy cafe, friendly service, free wifi, gluten-free, vegan, with a collection of desserts and savory items. This time I was just popping in to take away a small box of treats for JC (and me) to share, since he would be tied up at his nerdfest till very very late in the day.
But… I couldn’t resist taking a moment to sit in the cafe, and have one of the chocolate mint cookies I’ve loved in the past, and loved again on this visit. They’re chewy and rich and delicious, and exactly how I remembered them the last time (and the time a friend visited Philly and was kind enough to bring me back a dozen. Lucky me.)
I also took two Salted Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes. It grabbed me with the name, and I was intrigued. They were tasty, and had a caramel-ish filling. They were good, but like I’ve said before, I’m kind of over cupcakes. My one regret is not diversifying my selections a bit, but that’ll have to wait on another visit.
Next stop was Govinda’s Gourmet to Go (1408 South Street, Philadelphia, PA). It’s a vegan friendly (though not 100% vegan – it is lacto-vegetarian.) take out spot attached to the sit-down oriented Govinda’s Gourmet. Ordering was super slow, and they were super busy, but service was friendly. Luckily I wasn’t in much of a hurry. I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak and a Chick’n Cheese-steak sandwich to take out and share with JC. Even after about an hour of being wrapped and tossed around in a take out bag they survived quite well and were oh so tasty. I think the Chick’n cheese-steak sandwich on a hoagie roll.
This time around I also tried something different – the fried “shrimp” and “scallops” just because I could. They came with a BBQ dipping sauce and a Follow-Your-Heart Veganaise based cilantro sauce. Do not let these leave the restaurant. Eat them! Also they were delicious, even after sitting around in my bag, but I know they would have been crispy had I indulged myself a little earlier.
I spent several hours just wandering around the city, and visiting the old not-so-familiar sights and sounds. Later we planned on going to The Vedge Restaurant (and in short – it was amazing) but I’ll write that up in a day or two!
I’ll be visiting family and friends in Philly in Dec. and am keeping a list of places I want to visit. I think Sweet Freedom and the Vedge should be on the list.
Vedge is so worth going to, I can’t say it enough. New Harmony for Dim Sum would be worth it too! 🙂