Resting Gift Face
When coronavirus dried up their busy season, publicist Kylie Flett and event designer Donielle Powell pivoted to a new venture: rad gift boxes filled with ways to pass the time during the stay-at-home order. Their first run-through sold out, as did a second batch dedicated to moms, but the just-released ’90s kit (pictured here) is designed to make a Zoom or socially distant happy hour as fun as, well, the real thing. restinggiftface.com.
Di Bruno Bros.
Sande Friedman has bought and sold a lot of wine as the Di Bruno Bros. wine buyer. Now, in collaboration with some of her favorite wineries, Friedman helped create two new bottles — a barbera-zinfandel blend from La Clarine in California, and Rosé of Carmine, with WayVine Winery & Vineyard in Chester County — with stellar results. 1730 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, dibruno.com/9th-street-bottle-shop.
Because sometimes all the people you know are busy or awful or both, there's DanDan. The menu features a long list of small plates, soups, noodles and vegetables that encourages grazing, and if you're looking to be left alone, the far-less-crowded upstairs dining room will give you space to enjoy your own company. Who knows? Maybe you'll meet some better friends while you're there. 126 South 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, dandanrestaurant.com.
Chick & Nello's Homestead Inn
For decades, you had to rely on the waiters to recite what's available. Now they've finally gotten menus, but don't bother: We'll just tell you that you want linguine with the "primo" sauce (a combination of pork ragu and oil-and-garlic sauces), some baked clams, an antipasti salad, and a veal chop cooked on a real charcoal grill. Or, if it's Wednesday, ask for the whole veal breast special, something we can't even find in Philadelphia. 800 Kuser Road, Trenton, Trenton, NJ 08619, homestead1939.com.
The food court at Whole Foods
Sure, Whole Foods has its problems. But it’s hard to argue that the new Center City store’s Restaurant Row is anything but amazing. After all, you can get ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar, hummus from Dizengoff and okonomiyaki fries from Wiz Kid in one place (plus some local beer to wash it all down). 2101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, wholefoodsmarket.com.
Some advice: Don't tell your kids that this year-old theme park is for children, or you'll have to fight them for the wheels of the real backhoes, dump trucks and excavators that can be driven and operated in a giant dirt pit. Instead, send them off to the rides, through the ropes course or to the stunt show, and catch up with them later. 100 Pinedge Court, West Berlin, NJ 08091, diggerlandusa.com.
Of all of the theater groups in Philadelphia, it was Seth Rozin's 27-year-old company that was the most ambitious and thought-provoking last season, which featured only world premieres, including Christopher Chen's Caught and Jen Silverman's The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane. Then there's the exciting news that InterAct is getting a new home inside the Drake on Spruce Street. Interacttheatre.org..
If you want to play a little pool while you drink with your friends, go to Buffalo Billiards. But if you want to master the art of pool and compete with some of the best players in the region, head to this formidable hall in South Jersey. As for the beers, you can BYO and stash 'em in the house refrigerators. Bonus: Play is incredibly cheap just $5 an hour on Friday and Saturday nights. 600 North White House Pike, #1, Somerdale, NJ 08083, facebook.com/FatAlbertsBilliards.
Hoping to erase or at least shrink that post-baby bump? Head to Lithe's Cinch class, during which haramakis (belly bands) worn around the waist help new moms focus on their core while keeping the entire midsection compressed during an hour of transformative bar and mat work. You'll tighten, tone and slim the entire area between the ribs and hips. Screw you, mom jeans. Lithe Method; see website for locations, 00000, lithemethod.com.
Hop Sing Laundromat
Youve heard the hype, the rumors about mysterious owner/operator Le, the jokes about the dress code and the hidden door. But forget about that. All you need to know is that in an age in which the mustachioed and be-vested cocktail slinger has risen to the same level of cultural importance as the celebrity chef, Hop Sing Laundromat opened as one of the best cocktail bars any of us had ever been to, anywhere. And since then, it has only gotten better. 1029 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, hopsinglaundromat.com.
The $12 Sunday evenings start with ballroom dance lessons where you get the hang of the footwork required to make your waltz graceful, your rumba saucy, your tango smoldering. After that, the dance floor turns social. But what we truly appreciate is the group's dress code "Positively no jeans or shorts or grungy sneakers permitted" which makes the whole affair more A-list than DWTS. Grace Church, 19 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033, dancehaddonfield.org.
Its big. Its jubilantly gaudy. Its Pepto-Bismol pink. Its loud, its young, and its walls sparkle with glittery wrestling masks. You can literally swing from the rafters. (Some seats are actually swings.) Yes, its sensory overload especially the too-good-to-be-true steak nachos but Jose Garcess foray into the street food of Mexico City is also the most fun weve ever had in a restaurant. 3945 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, philadelphia.distritorestaurant.com.
At the new Fishtown Seafood, owner Bryan Szeliga only stocks thoughtfully sourced, chemical-free fish and shellfish, including small-batch East Coast oysters dug up from Jersey to Maine. His Monday classes will teach you the fine art of shucking for just $20 — and send you home with 15 oysters so you can hone your skills in your own kitchen. 339 Belgrade Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125, fishtownseafood.com.
This quirky shop owned by a former DJ is all that and a bag of chips — the best place to relive your misspent youth or buy some gifts for the millennial in your life. Browse a curated selection of vinyl records (from Britney Spears to Das EFX) as well as items like custom bath bombs and turntables. In true ’90s fashion, there’s a listening station at the front, so you can try before you buy. 1502 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147, Shoplatchkey.com.
Red Top/Green Top Farm Markets
These side-by-side farmers’ markets along Route 70 have been run by two different families for almost a century. Green Top leans more toward the home gardener; Red Top is there for the tourists who want local goat-milk soaps and a couple pints of fresh strawberries. Bop back and forth between them to load up on everything from fresh flowers, blackberry cider and homemade preserves to local honey, herb starts, bags of clams and tiki statues. 1801 and 1811 State Route 70, Vincentown, NJ 08088, redtopfarmmarket.com.