If your neighbors' verdant window boxes make you and your scattering of marigolds feel inadequate, consider a subscription from Bucks County-based Enliven Planters. Their garden designers — the same brains behind the beautiful boxes at Vedge and Russet — will come at the start of every season to create a customized box or planter that can hold its own against any of the other stunners in your neighborhood. enlivenplanters.com.
Despite all the excellent beers the mad geniuses of Ardmore-based Tired Hands Brewing Company come up with, we always find ourselves returning to this one. It's a crisp, refreshing American pale that drinks like a perfect sweet summer beer, without any unnecessary complication to the flavor save a mild undertone of pine needles. tiredhands.com.
There isn't a dance floor in the whole place, and drag-queen sightings are rare. But that's exactly what's so great about the bar formerly known as Uncles. (Well, that and the studly bartenders.) U Bar stands apart from other Gayborhood watering holes as a no-fuss, no-'tude, unpretentious spot to grab a strong drink or two and gab with friends. 1220 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, ubarphilly.com.
We're not sure if it's the relative bargain of the $56 beef roast for two, the succulent meat and accompanying Yorkshire pudding, or the homeyness of Stephen Starr's ode to British pubbery that makes this the ideal way to wrap up a weekend. But we can tell you that any more than three of the English cask ales might make that Monday-morning schlep a bit schleppier. 124 South 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, thedandelionpub.com.
Whether you want a date or just some friends with alfresco interests, the Philly branch of the social networking group Urban Escapes organizes trips for young -professionals generally between the ages of 25 and 35 to the Poconos for whitewater rafting, to Bucks County for a wine tasting, or even to the Yucatan Peninsula for snorkeling. Each itinerary has one goal: to get you out of the city bubble and in with a crew of new faces. Good luck finding that on Match.com. 269 South 10th Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107, .
There are bad locations, and then theres JG Domestics location on the first floor of the Cira Centre, directly across the street from the train station cab stand. The place has virtually no visibility from more than 10 feet away. Its hard to find, and difficult to get to. And yet, the facts that 1) people who know good food still go there, and 2) some of us go out of our way to go there a lot, really speak to the amazing things the kitchen at JG Domestic is capable of. 2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, jgdomestic.com.
Some of the Shore's best surf-fishing is at Townsends Inlet on the southern tip of Sea Isle, where you'll find plenty of good-sized stripers and flounder. Because this is saltwater fishing, you don't need a license and you can actually eat what you catch, though you'll have to draw straws to see who gets to do the cleaning. See website for tackle shops, 00000, hookandbullet.com/fishing-townsends-inlet-avalon-nj.
Is it a gourmet grocery? A BYOB? A coffee shop? Who cares? Customers can't get enough of the convenience of a PLCB wine store plunked directly inside this market/cafe or of Jose Garces's pan-European fare. Could this be one tiny step for the modernization of the state store system and one giant leap for wine-lovers (and diners) in PA? Here's hoping. 1111 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, garcestradingcompany.com.
After a long night of drinking, gambling and partying in our own Sin City, it's good to put good food in your belly. Lucky for you, Caesars' Asian noodle bar-which makes some of the best and most consistent Chinese food in the entire region, let alone Atlantic City-is open until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 a.m. Fridays, and 6 a.m.(!) Saturdays. 2100 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, caesarsac.com/restaurants/kwi-restaurant-and-noodle-bar.html.
Head to Franklin Square (historicphiladelphia.org/day/franklin-square) for a round of mini golf (about $30 for a family of four), a spin on the carousel (about $10 for a family of four), and some free-play (literally, free) on the playground and around the fountain. Warning: If your tykes are geocoding-savvy and figure out the Franklin Fountain (116 Market Street, 215-627-1899, franklinfountain.com) is nearby, you might go over budget. 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19106, historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square/what-to-see.
In a business where customer service typically leaves plenty to be desired, this Delaware County branch of the national chain is a beacon of hope, with friendly, expeditious employees eager to make sure you're happy behind and beyond the wheel. And should you leave your E-ZPass in one of their cars (as one Philly Magger did), the branch manager just might drive to Collegeville to retrieve it for you (as the branch manager here did). 706 Garrett Road, Upper Darby, PA 19082, enterprise.com/car_rental/deeplinkmap.do?gpbr=1742&bid=004&cnty=US.
Weve come to accept the fact that New York has better bagels. They just do. But this South Street institution is the closest weve found to New Yorks greatness nice and crispy on the outside, just the right amount of soft chew on the inside and the $7.75 lox special on a toasted everything with pickles on the side will sustain you for most of the day. 613 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, southstphillybagel.com.
Kenney is bringing new meaning to the term “lame duck” as he comes up with increasingly lame and uninspired ways to duck any kind of public scrutiny. Refusing to meet with a Democratic state Senator, forcing that Senator to resort to a sit-in outside Kenney’s office? Check. Publicly stating he’s looking forward to the day he’s no longer mayor? Check. Who knows what new, magical disappearing acts Kenney will pull off in the 17 months between now and Inauguration Day 2024?
Remember the utter shock you felt the first time you tried to have a beloved band poster professionally framed? Nothing, you thought, will ever be worthy of hanging on a wall at that price. There’s an alternative. Opened in 1953, Kent Studios is still offering top-notch framing with thousands of options for frames and matting, and the prices still feel fair. So top-notch and fair, in fact, that customers and designers come from New York, New Jersey and Delaware to get their artwork (and band posters) custom-framed. 190 Fairview Road, Woodlyn, PA 19094, kentstudios.net.
Buying wine (or any alcohol, really) in Pennsylvania is generally a pain in the butt. The Di Bruno Bros. Bottle Shop in the center of the Italian Market sweetens the deal with a curated selection at a range of price points, all of which can be opened and glugged across the street in DBB’s sunny piazza. Bring takeout from any of the surrounding restaurants, or grab some chips and tinned fish from Di Bruno’s shelves. 920 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, dibruno.com/9th-street-bottle-shop.