Cantina Los Caballitos
Not everything on the menu at the Cantina is cheap, but many of the best basics are, like the giant bowl of citrus-tinged guacamole ($7), the massive, overstuffed Tex-Mex-style burritos ($8 to $11), and the real-deal tacos ($8 to $11), all of which come with a healthy dusting of cilantro and a lime wedge for squeezing. After one bite of the menu stars the crunchy-soft fried plantains with melted cheese ($6), and the tamarind barbecued pork ribs paired with pickled jalapeos ($12) you'll forgive this hipster hang in South Philly for its long waits and too-cool-for-school crowds, and just order another $6 frozen blood-orange margarita. 1651 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, cantinaloscaballitos.com/main.html.
Philly may not have a repertory cinema, but the weekly screenings at this University City complex for students come pretty close. There are fun flicks, such as cheesy sci-fi tales (Star Trek III: The Wrath of Khan, 8/23) and bad 80s movies (The Legend of Billie Jean, 8/30), foreign classics (The Red Balloon, 8/10), and more serious and obscure diversions, like the upcoming Jacques Rivette (9/5-7) and Sergei Parajanov series (9/14-17). I-House, as it is known, is for the film fan who is just not satisfied by Netflix. 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, ihousephilly.org.
The hours are spotty. The location doesn't seem like a sure thing. That tropical-scene-splashed circle skirt you just have to have is missing its price tag. And everything seems to bear a subtle trace of eau de ashtray. But odors come out at the dry cleaner, and nowhere will you find a deeper selection of well-preserved versions of things your Madison Avenue Nana wore in her day, from ladylike black dress suits (so Sterling Cooper) to jewel-adorned clutches to Mrs. Robinson-esque lounge-about-the-pool wear. 1034 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, .
This cavernous steakhouse feels like it hasn't changed since Truman was in office and yes, we mean that as a good thing. A throwback in the style of the old Zaberer's in North Wildwood, it has a basic salad bar (iceberg and bacon bits) that beckons; a luscious, fatty rib eye that comes with jus to spare for the huge foil-wrapped baked potato; and no-nonsense waitresses who don't flinch should someone at the table ask for his meat medium-well. The Pub's got ambience and steak (and onion rings!) in spades all for a third of the cash you'd drop at your typical Center City steakhouse. 7600 Kaighns Avenue, Pennsauken, NJ 08110, thepubnj.com.
Eli Collins, A.Kitchen
In a restaurant world roaring with egos (excuse us, personalities), Collins quietly lets his food speak for itself. Since 2017, A.Kitchen’s executive chef has been flexing his talent and imagination sub rosa, evolving new recipes and techniques for his ever-changing menu at this Rittenhouse cafe. You can see it in the smallest details: the dab of made-from-scratch date mustard that comes with the chicken liver terrine, the delicate tortellini hand-filled with chevre from a local farm, the mussels with broth built from ramps and pickled long hots. What’s missing from the menu is any shred of ego. Instead, every dish gets to be the star. 135 South 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, akitchenandbar.com.
What began as swirly stress relief has become a creative career for this West Philly artist. Her emotional pieces have simple silhouettes drawn in colored lines and squiggles that never touch yet all come together cohesively. Her preferred drawing instrument? The Sharpie. “You can see those perfect details, the shape of the body, the curve of the hair,” says Spicer, who’s also a full-time photographer. Her first exhibit is via Fitler Club’s artist-in-residence program; those of us who aren’t members can browse her work online. lovesickartgallery.com.
David J. Witchell
Remember the montage from Pretty Woman where Vivian goes from gaudy to glam in a Beverly Hills minute? Had she been in Newtown instead, she could have come here for a soothing scrub in the grotto-like spa, a conditioning treatment and blowout in the bustling salon (if David's booked and he always is request Jack), a whirl through the lovely makeup bar, and a twirl into the super-secret upstairs boutique, which she'd find stocked with essentials from Theory and James Perse, plus the show--stopping frock required for her night at the opera. 25 South State Street, Newtown, PA 18940, davidjwitchell.com.
Post-game press conferences are where original quotations go to die. Not so with Maxey. In January, the point guard showed up after a victory and started singing the Sixers fight song. Then, when the soporific sportswriter hive failed to react, he asked them: “Why y’all always so serious?” That joyful spontaneity is what makes Maxey such a compelling player on the court, too — and why we’re starting to think he’ll have plenty more singing opportunities in years to come. Clap your hands, everybody …
Thanks to Cope's corn ravioli a mashup of old-school Lancaster dried corn, chorizo, and hearts of palm soaked in lime juice the most riveting pasta in town is no longer Italian, but Mexican by way of the Pennsylvania Dutch. 604 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, serpicoonsouth.com.
This Newtown company has been in the solar game for years, helping thousands of Pennsylvania and New Jersey homes convert. In addition to homes, they hook up solar pool heaters. 1655 Fairfield Road, Yardley, PA 19067, exactsolar.com.
Her Place Supper Club
What began as a temporary deal in a shuttered pizza joint is now a full-blown, deeply personal restaurant. Amanda Shulman has transitioned Her Place Supper Club from a short-term project to a permanent operation while retaining its sublime French and Italian-ish food and a human touch so integral to the original concept. Coming here feels like having dinner at your cool new friend’s house — if your friend made the best steak tartare and fries in the city, always seemed to keep a truffle hidden somewhere in her kitchen, and had a wine and cocktail program crafted by Julianna Bursack. Her Place may have started as a pop-up, but lucky for us, it’s not going anywhere. 1740 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, herplacephilly.com.
Trolley Car Diner
Running a family-friendly dining spot is harder than it looks: Cater too much to the kids, and parents want to blow their brains out; cater too much to the parents, and parents still want to blow their brains out (because if the kids ain't happy, ain't nobody happy). This neon-bright '50s-style Mount Airy spot gets the blend just right: The kids' menu (which comes on an old-school Viewmaster cool!) offers up crowd-pleasing kid fare like chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese, while the regular menu has enough ambition and variety (including great veggie options, like an eggplant grinder) to make grown-ups happy, too. Mom-and-dad bonus: great craft beers and boozy adult milkshakes. 7619 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, trolleycardiner.com.
If you're losing your matches (and your pride), the handsome Riley and his TeamRiley can get you some topspin. The nine-time world-ranked ATP player who 20-some years ago was the number one player at Penn coaches some of the world's best (Lisa Raymond, Zachary Fleishman), youngsters on their way to collegiate tennis stardom, and local power types like Dennis Alter and lawyer Dan Berger (as well as the editor of this magazine, whose serve remains hopeless nonetheless). Even if your court movement is more Andre the Giant than Andre Agassi, Riley can firm up your fundamentals and play patterns to a plateau that will have you calling everyone for rematches. Call or see website for consultation, 00000, teamrileytennis.com.
Shroomwit at Frizwit
The meatless cheesesteak — treated as an afterthought in most Philly steak shops — is given the reverence it deserves at Frizwit in Pennsport. The mushrooms are local (from Mycopolitan, a mushroom farm that supplies some of the city’s finest chefs) and the cheese is made with local Abundantly Good cheddar (a do-good cheese that benefits Philabundance), and along with some onions, it’s all stuffed into a hoagie roll baked by Merzbacher’s in Germantown. Most importantly, the shroomwit eats like its meaty counterpart: unabashedly greasy, impossibly cheesy, and as junky and delicious as it ought to be. 100 East Morris Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, frizwit.square.site.
Friday-Morning Eagles Tix
Before you drop major dime on a sold-out Eagles home game again, know these three things. 1: For each home game, there are seats set aside for marketing purposes and for the visiting team. 2: Its rare for all of these seats to be used. 3: On the Friday morning before a Sunday game, the surplus seats are sold for face value on Ticketmaster. We found last-minute seats for several games last season. Fly, Eagles fan, fly! 00000, ticketmaster.com/Philadelphia-Eagles-tickets/artist/805999.