Tuesday, August 2, 2011

East Coast Road trip – Day one: Philly

My friend recently took his bar exam and has a few weeks of freedom so I am joining him in an 11 day road trip down the East coast from NY to FL. We have a unique friendship in that we are close, but also know very little about each other so this road trip is one of discovery. An example of these pockets of missing knowledge is he just learned today that I am (mostly)vegetarian and I learned that he may not want to be a lawyer. This makes the perfect companion for someone to spend 60+ hours with as all we know is that we get along great and will now have lots to talk about for the next week and a half.

We started from Long Island, New York and are stopping at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington DC; Charlottesville, Virginia; Warrentown, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Titusville, Florida.

I packed this morning as well as made some cheap, somewhat healthy, road trip snacks: sun-dried tomato hummus (forgot to take a pic), babaganoush and pumpkin spiced almond butter:
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I’ve never made babaganoush before, but it came out pretty good. I’m excited to taste it again tomorrow when the flavors have melded. I charred the eggplant on our open flame until blackened. My road trip bud came over and deskinned while I made the hummus and finished the almond butter. The food processor was smoking from all the use it was getting. Babaganoush is very similar to hummus but substituting the chickpeas for eggplant. Or at least the recipe by Ellie Kreiger I found was this way.
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I was excited to be able to use some fresh parsley from our mini herb gardenPhilly 011 Philly 013
In the mix for babaganoush:
1 large charred (or roasted) skinned and pureed eggplant
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 large garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
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Last minute decision as we were pulling away from my house I spotted an old garden g'nome that I have had since high school from some questionable after school activities my friends and I took part in. He has been in my car for over a year as I had planned to “gift” him to some unknowing home owners, but I never found anyplace that felt right. For the past couple of days he stood watch over my driveway, but now I’m glad it never came to be. We grabbed him and he will now be traveling with us and be photographed in very many states.

The Unnamed G’nome: TUG (so I guess kind of named)
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We took our time to Philly stopping briefly in New Jersey for some coffee and I broke out the sun-dried tomato hummus and carrots:
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Sun-dried tomato hummus:
1 can chickpeas
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste
oil to consistency
2-3 tablespoons of cold water to make it light and airy
2 matchbook sized sun-dried tomatoes

TUG en route to Philly activities:
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We went to the Magic Gardens, a labyrinth mosaic mural in South Philly. It was 5 bucks and very cool.
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It was also pouring. TV lied. It is NOT always sunny in Philadelphia.
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We took cover in a great restaurant recommended by our host called the National Mechanic.
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The bartender and local Philadelphian sitting next to us said that the restaurant has been there for five years, but has been many things before it including a bank, where it gets its name. I really liked the atmosphere of the place as well as the cute tatted bartender. The veggie burger was delicious. Travel bud got the beef burger and said it hit the spot.
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The guac and chips were yummy. I don't know if the chips are made on site but they came out super delicate and warm and crispy. Mm. mm.
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We spent three hours eating good food, drinking the local Yuengling and filling each other in on the last several years. He asked why I stopped eating meat and I wound up going all over the map telling him how it started, why I continue, why I think I’ll eat it again someday, everything I’m learning about in my classes. I get so worked about this stuff.

We then met up with our gracious host at her lovely apartment. I’m staying in one of the roommates rooms. It has a comfy bed, smells nice and comes with its own bathroom. Winning. I feel that these digs are spoiling us. I am up here doing homework while the two friends catch up on the twinkle lit porch below me. Life is good.

I will have a picture of the pear bread she shared with us tomorrow. I’ve never heard or had pear bread, but whew, delicious.

Tomorrow we hope to go for a long run along the river. I'm very excited. I love running in new places. And then to top it off after hearing about my interest in local, seasonable foods our Philly host decided she is going to take us to a nearby breakfast place with a seasonal, local mindset. I am excited. And a little sleepy. A little homework and then I’m off to bed. Overall an excellent day one.


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