The Friday Five

What I’m Listening To: Philly artist Son Little has been on my radar for a little while now, and I’m thinking about checking him out next week at the World Cafe Live. Not even sure how to categorize his music. Sort of an indie/soul/R&B/ rock mix. Mostly originals (check out Alice and O Mother), but his occasional covers show off the breadth of his influences. Check out his Zeppelin cover here, and a Drake cover here. Great stuff, great voice. Been listening to it all morning.

Piping hot steamed dumpings at Chinese Restaurant.

Where I’m Eating: I tried out Chinese Restaurant (Tai Jiang) this week, and it may be the least pretentious restaurant in Philadelphia. It’s basically three small tables and a handful of stools in front of a tiny counter. The menu is a piece of paper taped to the wall. The only sound in the room was the iphone of the guy sitting behind me watching a show in Chinese. I ordered the steamed dumplings, and in literally 5 seconds they were in front of me, piping hot. And really good. Got a piping hot bowl of wonton soup too. All for $6.50. The cuisine served is from the Fujian province, and the tiny spot is reminiscent (apparently) of restaurants in Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian. I then watched this vid and learned more about Fuzhou, a place I had never known existed until this week. This is not just a “Chinese Restaurant”, it’s a portal into a place I’ll probably never get to visit. But thanks to the people running this restaurant, I’ll get to try to cuisine every bit as authentic as that served in Fuzhou. For a mere $6.50. How awesome is that?

Where I’m Shopping: Last week the fam and I took a short road trip to Media. Fun little spot to hang out in for a few hours. One of the highlights was a walk through Deals, a large general store on West State Street. Took me back to being a kid and hanging out at Connie’s Corner, the old general store in Nassawadox that shut down in the early 80s. The creaky floor, the overwhelming size of the place, the old school toys all took me back to a time when I was my son’s age. He decided to get a ball that you could mold into different shapes but which when you were done would also resort back into being a ball. He had a lot of fun with until it exploded in the car. But even the exploding ball couldn’t spoil the trip down memory lane I got by walking through Deals. Neat place.

My wife and what was left of the exploding ball.
Photo courtesy of Billy Penn.

Where I’m drinking: My son had a karate demonstration in Mount Airy last weekend, and as a fan of historic taverns, afterwards we just had to grab a quick drink down the street at McMenamin’s. (Well, my wife and I did. My son didn’t. He’s 6.) It is a refreshingly diverse bar, just as Mount Airy is a refreshingly diverse neighborhood. And the area is just far enough away from the city to lose a little bit of the city’s edge. You can feel it…people let their guard down a bit out there. Conversation spilled from table to table. Just a really warm, friendly place. I suspect it also has that homey, comfortable feel because it’s been owned by the same family since 1936. I came away feeling the same way that Danya Henninger did about the place a couple of years ago: I left McMenamin’s not just happy that I grabbed a beer, but thinking about what life would be like out there permanently.

Where I’m Eating, Part 2: This place hardly needs any more hype, everybody know how insanely good it is, but my God: the roast pork sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe at DiNic’s at Reading Terminal might be what I’d want for my last meal. I had one this week and it truly made my day. Warren Zevon famously said, “Enjoy every sandwich”, so follow his advice and go to Dinic’s. Perfection.

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