Twenty years ago, Marc Vetri came onto the scene with an Italian restaurant for the ages. He taught us about the magic of braised goat, and he spooned puffy clouds of Swiss chard onto our plates and convinced us they were gnocchi. He proved to us that Italian food can look a certain way – a way we weren’t yet acquainted with, but a way we should get used to. Now, practically every restaurant in Philly braises goat and makes homemade pasta. But for whatever reason, none do it quite like Marc. 1312 Spruce Street , Philadephia, PA 19107, vetricucina.com/.
There's a reason why when you cross the border into certain distant exurbs, every other car on the road is sporting a trunk magnet with the double-R logo of Railroad Street. This place has everything you want in a great beer bar -- a dozen-odd rotating taps, a huge bottle list packed with weird stuff, a staff that actually knows about all that weird stuff, some salty things on a menu that's better than it needs to be, and a back room filled with vintage pinball machines to play when you're drunk. 36 Railroad Street, Linfield, PA 19468, railroadstreet.com/.
Because he's always here -- either walking the floor at Vedge or tinkering in the kitchen at V Street -- we tend to forget just how important Landau is in this very vegetarian moment we're living through. In the national conversation, Landau's Vedge has already redefined the way that a lot of young chefs look at vegetables and meatless flavors. And now, with V Street, he's proven that his vision for a kinder, greener cuisine can be fun, too -- which is one of the many things (interesting, innovative, delicious) that vegan food never was before he came along.
Where else to go but Fishtown? Start with the $2 tacos and tasty $4 margaritas at Loco Pezs lively happy hour (5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 3 p.m. on weekends; 2401 East Norris Street, 267-886-8061) before challenging your date to a few rounds of Asteroids and Donkey Kong (and beers, of course) at Barcade (1114 Frankford Avenue, 215-634-4400). If things are going well, proceed to nearby Kung Fu Necktie (1250 North Front Street, 215-291-4191) for some affordable live music many shows are just $10. 00000,
Even non-foodies can appreciate the love and attention the folks here put into their culinary landmark. Upstairs from the market lies the converted barn room, with wide-planked floors and a Last Supper-like table that fits 20. Thats where youll settle in for an hours-long sustainable, local, seasonal seven-course eating extravaganza, feasting on dishes like delicate asparagus soup served en crote, thin slices of beef tenderloin topped with a blue cheese sabayon, and crme frache cake with rhubarb. All with congenial service, of course. It doesnt get more worth-the-drive than this. 1805 Unionville-Wawaset Road, West Chester, PA 19382, northbrookmarketplace.com/.
It’s the makeover straight out of a ’90s rom-com montage: Get a facial, a massage and a body wrap, plus have your hair, makeup, brows and nails done, all in one Old City spa. 219 Cuthbert Street, 6th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106, victoriaroggiobeauty.com.
After you check Bewellphilly.com (ahem), your daily Internet procrastination routine should include a stop at this terrific local race site, which features the who, what, where, when and why for upcoming races in our area, along with neat tools like a pace calculator and articles from local wellness experts. 00000, runtheday.com/.
Tatyanna Nance of Germantown’s Aunt Tot morphs colorful materials into funky two-piece (matching crop top and flared pants) and three-piece (matching socks and bags) ensembles that Whack and her DJ regularly don onstage. Instagram.com/aunt.tot. booktatyannanance.acuityscheduling.com.
We've been a fan of the 34-year-old Swarthmore grad since her debut with Pig Iron Theatre Company in 2001. She dazzled us in Pig Iron's Shut Eye (as the distressed sister of a man in a coma), The Lucia Joyce Cabaret (as a drum-playing mental patient) and the Obie-winning Hell Meets Henry Halfway (as the ice-queen protagonist). But the obviously versatile Sanford proved her independence from the charmed group last spring with her successful directorial debut, dance-theater piece Appetite, and we look forward to seeing more of her own work as well as her appearance next month in Pig Iron's Welcome to Yuba City at the Live Arts/Fringe Festival. 00000,
I remember the first time I went to McGlinchey's, the notoriously divey (and smokey) dive bar on 15th Street. It was just after my 21st birthday (I'm 39 now, egad!), and I heard that the beers were some of the cheapest in the city, which is all I needed to know. Given that these were the days before Philadelphia was Beer Town U.S.A., I ordered a Rolling Rock. Within minutes, I managed to get screamed at by the prickly bartender and have a beer spilled on me. On a later visit, a blonde bartender pegged me in the eye with an ice cube, and a girl puked on my shoes. Little has changed. Unlike most dive bars in Philadelphia, which go through waves of cliques and trends (Bob & Barbara's is a good case in point), McGlinchey's is still the same old school McGlinchey's it was back in the good old days when every bar in the city allowed you to light up. And the cast of regulars that bellies up to the bar each night hell, each lunchtime, at this place is a study in colorful characters, so much so that Philadelphia photographer (and former McGlinchey's bartender) Sarah Stolfa won a New York Times photography contest for The Regulars, her series of pics of some of McGlinchey's most dedicated drinkers. You can have your gastropubs and trendy dive bars that have to actually try to be dive bars. Gritty, no-frills McGlinchey's is the real deal. Oh you can find all sorts of fancy beers here now, that's true... but don't worry; they still have the $3 Rolling Rock 20 oz. draft. And the jukebox is now one of those irritating play-anything models. But the bathrooms are still filthy and graffiti-covered, with barely enough room to stand up and pee (and God forbid you have to do more). You can still get a 75-cent hot dog from a crock-potted pool of questionable liquid. And if you so much as let a finger dangle into the waitress's service space at the bar, she will put a verbal beatdown on you. But that's okay. It's McGlinchey's. It's always been that way, and I, for one, hope it never changes. 259 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, mcglincheys.com/.
At some Chinese restaurants, there are two separate menus the one given to American diners, and the secret one reserved for Chinese-speaking patrons. Not here: All diners get the same menu, which has both Americanized kung pao and lo mein and bona fide dishes you'd actually find in China. While you may find comfort in ordering your tried-and-true dishes (and they're great here), good things happen when you leap over that Great Wall to the other side of the menu. Cases in point: perfectly snappy shrimp in a hot pepper sauce, sizzling beef with charred scallion, and tea-smoked duck that'll have your taste buds on the road to Shanghai. 260 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, PA 19341, handynasty.net/.
Pennsylvania was home to the country’s second drive-in movie theater, and we once had more drive-ins than almost any other state. And then drive-ins kind of evaporated, leaving a couple of generations never having experienced them. But that all changed earlier this year when traditional movie theaters were forced to close and people rediscovered (or, in many cases, discovered) the drive-in. The gold standard is the Mahoning Drive-In Movie Theater, about 90 minutes northwest of the city. It’s worth the trip, since it’s the rare drive-in theater that solely screens classic movies — on film, no less. And the characters who run the place are as entertaining as the movies themselves. Just watch the documentary At the Drive-In, which is all about the Mahoning. Bonus: You can camp overnight. 635 Seneca Road, Lehighton, PA 18235, mahoningdit.com/.
Yes, it’s obvious. And yes, you have to dodge hordes of hyperactive children and hawkers slinging overpriced Gatorade. But the best place for an alfresco sweat session in this city will always be the Art Museum steps, 72 tiny limestone mountains that will kill your calves and tone your butt. At the bottom, you roll your eyes at the selfie-taking out-of-towners. On the way up, you curse the goddamn class trips blocking your ascent. But once you’ve made it, you turn around – legs aching, lungs burning – and look back over the city and feel like you’ve conquered it. And that will never not be a rush. So go practice yoga on some fancy rooftop, or do your Pilates in the park. As for me, I’ll be running the Art Museum steps with the tourists. See you at the top. – Gina Tomaine
From Front and Callowhill to 7th and Lombard, there are more than 20 historic churches, synagogues and Quaker meetinghouses. (For a complete list, visit ushistory.org.) And unless your prospective mate is an avowed atheist, touring them is a beautiful, quiet, even romantic (just not too romantic, people these are houses of worship) way to kill a few hours before contemplating life's meaning over cheap drinks and a cheese plate at Farmicia's weekend happy hour (15 South 3rd Street, 215-627-6274, farmiciarestaurant.com). 00000,
Robin Raskin, Bewellphilly.com weight-loss blogger: Dr. Charlie has helped me completely rethink my approach to healthy eating. He got me away from the scale, focusing instead on how my clothes fit. The best part: When I couldnt get to his Center City office, we set up Skype meetings so we could touch base no matter where I was. 1601 Walnut Street, suite 810, Philadelphia, PA 19102, .