This 38-year-old Northeast native's debut work, a memoir called The Removers, is dark and bleak and funny and utterly Philly. The down-on-his-luck narrator joins his sad dad, a disgraced former La Salle prof, in the business of making house calls to pick up corpses for local funeral homes. Between encounters with the dead and those they leave behind, he meanders in and out of love affairs, observes the dissolution of his parents' marriage, and ponders why he can't seem to gain any traction. A tour de force that should be the hands-down choice for the next One Book, One Philadelphia campaign. andrewmeredith.net.
If you haven’t ventured far from Philly since the pandemic started, you may be out of trip-planning practice. Philly-based travel agent Alexis Rich Chami will help you pinpoint the best place to spend a long couples weekend or a winter break with extended family and plot out a personalized itinerary to make the most of each day. It’s how, on your next trip to the Yucatán Peninsula, you’ll find yourself feasting on home-cooked mole chicken and honey liqueur in a welcoming family’s front yard, far from the crowded cenotes. palomartravel.com.
She’s the chef Philly needed before we even knew we needed someone like her. In the Before Times, she opened Kalaya, a heartfelt Thai BYOB where the kitchen scratch-made everything on an unapologetically authentic menu. In the dining room, she was an undeniable presence, seeming to know everyone who’d ever eaten a meal there and exactly what they needed most. And then, when the plague came, rather than retreating or folding, she kept Kalaya open to serve local industry workers for free. In a moment that sometimes seems woefully short on heroes, she is ours.
After weeks of protests, a new group founded by Germantown activist and artist Sudan Green sought to heal the Black community through yoga and meditation events in poignant locations, like where the Frank Rizzo statue once stood in front of the Municipal Services Building and, on Juneteenth, in West Philly’s Malcolm X Park. The events were free, came with gratis yoga mats, and were taught by notable local instructors, including Jean-Jacques Gabriel and Adriana Adelé. Future plans include a brick-and-mortar location and sponsored teacher training for Black yogis. spiritsup.life.
Thanks to the moxie of Heidi Grunwald, an avid biker and a deputy director at Temple, a corner of Fairmount Park (near the Mann) is now a BMX-style course with more hills, bumps, turns and dirt than any kid could wish for. But there's more to this year-old spot than just good biking: It's a free place for kids to get some fresh air, make new friends and accomplish goals. You'll find a fleet of high-quality bikes and helmets for the borrowing, knowledgeable staffers, and programming like the "Ladies Only" Sundays, when girls and women can ride without the boys. Phillypumptrack.org.
Babette Josephs vs. Gregg Kravitz
State Rep Josephs accused her primary challenger, Kravitz, of only pretending to be bisexual so he could pick up some, uh, swing votes. "I outed him as a straight person," she boasted, forcing Kravitz to insist on his bi bona fides. The twist on "Don't ask, don't tell" (nobody asked, nobody cared) drew bipartisan mixed reactions, with Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal noting, "We've hit a new high point when candidates are accused of pretending to be gay to win a seat." Whatever Josephs crushed Kravitz in the primary. 00000,
It's just so freakin'cute. Seriously like,How could I swing moving here? cute. But besides the ridiculously charming, friendly, bucolic atmosphere along Kings Highway East, the shopping is simply divine. There's everything from kid stuff (Pipsqueak) to women's wear (Maxwell James) to sporting equipment (Haddonfield Running Company) to jewelry (McNelis and Sherry) to art galleries (Accent Studio) to gifts (Serendipity) to home furnishings (The Upholstery Shop) to lingerie (Georgie Girl Boutique) to music (Siren's Song) to spas and salons (Salon M Design) to ... Oh, we're tired. Just go, already. 00000, shophaddonfieldnj.com.
Bright white marble surfaces, lollipop-red Saarinen stools and pristine Florence Knoll armchairs make this medi-center feel more like a medi-spa. It's not. At year-old Deme, you can meet with co-owning dental gurus Thomas and Cheryl George, have your face-lift fixed with fresh-from-the-Upper-East-Side surgeon Kevin Cross, get the best clinical facial in town from beloved former HUP aesthetician Betsy Rubenstone, and sign up for some serious massage therapy. If that's not spa-like, we don't know what is. 2200 Arch Street, #102, Philadelphia, PA 19103, demeonline.com.
If you haven't had success losing weight, kicking the cancer sticks or getting over your fear of flying, it may be time to try psychotherapist Rosenberg, who will hypnotize you on your first visit and send you home with a CD recording of your session that speaks to your subconscious, upping your willpower while you snooze. "I lost 65 pounds in six months," says one Bucks County devotee. "I went in with the mind-set I couldn't be hypnotized, but after three sessions, it really worked." 8080 Old York Road, Suite 206, Elkins Park, PA 19027, .
Carousel Farm Lavendar
Close your eyes, take a deep whiff of your favorite lavender-scented sachet, and multiply that smell by about a million. That's what you get at this organic lavender farm in Bucks County, home to more than 15,000 plants. Visitors can take free self-guided strolls through the garden every Saturday from March through December, or guided tours ($10 per person) from June through September. Either way, the intoxicating scent of thousands of live lavender plants is guaranteed to help you find your Zen. 5966 Mechanicsville Road, Mechanicsville, PA 18902, carouselfarmlavender.com.
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.
The Railroad Street Bar and Grill
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.