Ditch your usual BEC for one with house-made pickles, herbs and eggplant pâté on a baguette, a.k.a. a banh mi op la. Come back again and again to this homey spot showcasing American Vietnamese breakfast comfort food, for the chao ga (a rice porridge dish with a poached egg, bits of crispy chicken skin and fresh herbs), Momma’s egg rolls, and Caphe Roasters Vietnamese coffees. 1500 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146, thebreakfastden.com.
You've probably never trekked to Spring City, a Chester County borough north of Phoenixville. But it's worth the drive for this small, spartan strip-mall hole-in-the-wall if you're looking to get your hands on some fried plantains, a killer mofongo doused with a sweet and blistering hot sauce, or fried mashed potato balls that are pure carbohydrate joy. 13 Riverside Drive, Spring City, PA 19475, facebook.com/TheLatinCorner.
The Los Angeles Times story in January detailing the racist/sexist culture promoted by some New York-based CBS executives aired a lot of dirty laundry about Philly’s CBS affiliate, much of which involved those execs’ despicable opinions of lead evening news anchor Ukee Washington. That Washington rose above the fray, summoning the love and support of the region, comes as no surprise to those of us who’ve adored him all along.
The first Saturday of each month during the spring, summer and early fall (and every weekend starting in late September and into November), this lovely farm in Plymouth Meeting offers a $2 hayride that doubles as a guided behind-the-scenes tour of a m-odern-day farm. After the 40-minute ride, be sure to buy some fresh produce, now that youve seen where it comes from. The pick-your-own flower fields are also a big hit. 2656 Narcissa Road, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462, mapleacresfarmmarket.com.
Musi’s menu ventures somewhere in between the familiar and the unknown, with dishes like kreplach stuffed with kale-purslane-cabbage kraut. The restaurant — which chef/owner Ari Miller calls “not totally Jewish, not quite Israeli” — is stretching the imagination of Philly’s fine-dining scene. Come here to be taken out of your culinary comfort zone or possibly just eat some pasta that the menu says has nothing to do with Italy. 100 Morris Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, musiphilly.com.
Convincing arguments have been made for the homey kitsch and time-honored cred of the 700, but we take umbrage with the relentlessly throwback soundtrack of the place. In the end, when it comes to a dance-heavy good time, the Barbary is a surefire bet. True, a select breed of douchebaggery occasionally infests this two-floor hipster haunt, but the place is big enough to avoid the types (both human and musical) you want to and still have room to spread out and dance. Check Facebook for monthly theme nights and special events. 951 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125, thebarbary.org.
London native Sam Jacobson has packed his tiny South Philly pie shop with nothing more than a sprinkling of tables, some mismatched spoons, free tea, and, oh yeah, two bakery cases brimming with flaky sausage rolls, an ever-changing roster of pastries and meat pies, and traditional beef pies with mash and parsley liquor, fresh from the bakers working in the back. It's the best thing to come from Britain since Kate Middleton's hair. 1838 East Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk, Philadelphia, PA 19148, facebook.com/StargazyPhilly.
Every year, come Fat Tuesday, Haegele's Bakery in Northeast Philly feeds a long line of indulgees their fair share (and then some) of the city's best doughnuts: airy ring doughnuts, perfectly sweet cream-filled doughnuts, iced cinnamon doughnuts, powdered jelly doughnuts, and, of course, fastnachts. Thankfully, we can go every other day of the year and, except for the fastnachts, gobble them up without a wait. 4164 Barnett Street, Philadelphia, PA 19135, .
If being at home with your kids 24/7 has changed your attitude toward screen time, it’s okay. We know you love those little rascals, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need some “me” time now and then. Allay your guilt (if you still have any) by registering for one of the many local kids’ classes that have popped up on YouTube and across social media. Settlement Music School is offering Settlement Kids Live (settlementmusic.org), with free music and dance classes for children streamed live on Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday. If your offspring have energy to burn, InMovement Gymnastics Education (phillyinmovement.com) has online tumbling, karate and dance classes. Pick the one that’s right for your little one, and you may actually get the chance to use the bathroom without being interrupted. And the Philly Zoo at 2 (philadelphiazoo.org) introduces kids to all kinds of creatures every weekday at 2 p.m. via Facebook Live — and keeps an archive of past videos for hours of educational streaming.
Noon: Start with Swedish potato pancakes or omelets at local fave Black Lab Bistro (248 Bridge Street, 610-935-5988, blacklabbistro.net). 2 p.m.: Take in a classic movie at the Colonial Theatre (227 Bridge Street, 610-917-0223, thecolonialtheatre.com). This month, look for a Harlow-and-Gable screening series; coming in September: the "Better on the Big Screen" series, including The Searchers (9/6), Lawrence of Arabia (9/13), and the supremely confounding 2001: A Space Odyssey (9/20). 4 p.m. (or later, depending on length of said movie): Roam the antique (and junk) shops on Bridge Street. Buy things you don't need. 6 p.m.: It's Sunday, so it's an early dinner. For burgers and beer, the call is Iron Hill (130 East Bridge Street, 610-983-9333, ironhillbrewery.com); for something a tad more refined, BYO Majolica (258 Bridge Street, 610-917-0962, majolicarestaurant.com). 8 p.m.: Remember that tomorrow is a workday, and make the long, sad journey home. 00000,
Sara Selepouchins brand-new shop has all those handcrafted party goods (charming banners, stripy paper straws) that make any party look pulled-together. Her great gift-y items like pretty greeting cards and housewares (napkins, dishtowels, totes, etc.), which feature her own darling illustrations, are only a bonus. 1825 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, occasionette.com.
Along with Jeff Goldblum’s filmography and the bathroom jokes in Ulysses, this apricot-adorned spot fits into the highbrow/lowbrow category that makes daily existence more enjoyable. Mish Mish doesn’t take itself too seriously — the wine list has tasting notes like “red silk pajamas” and “gabagoolian” — yet the hospitality is as finely tuned as at any upscale spot. So if you ever need to create the illusion that you’re chill and have great taste, book a table, order some grilled octopus with muhammara, then sit by the Singing Fountain and discuss your hopes and fears and the Jawn Morgan billboards on I-95. 1046 Tasker Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, mishmishphilly.com.
A warning: The first time you walk into one of Miss Marilyn’s music classes, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Babies are squealing and toddlers are dancing (the age-bracket sweet spot is newborn to about five years), and Miss Marilyn is bouncing around wildly and playing guitar, and you’ll come out wanting either a coffee or a cocktail. But loosen up and lean into it, and you’ll see what everyone else in Bucks County already knows: Miss Marilyn is the most fun person your kids will ever meet, and the single best way to get them to love music. (You might walk away with some cool new mom friends, too.) Follow her Facebook page for info on virtual class offerings. missmarilynkmr.com.
Sometimes, a new chef will arrive in Philly and bring an unmistakable energy — a sort of hyper-focused intentionality, a sense of I’ve got big plans for this city. Omar Tate was born and raised in Philly, and he worked in some of the city’s most ambitious kitchens before leaving for NYC to hone his culinary career. As he wove his way through kitchens, following the well-trodden career path of the modern professional chef, he began to explore and amplify Black American foodways — their tragic history, their uncertain future, their cultural complexities, and their constant erasure from the culinary pantheon. Honeysuckle — his NYC pop-up restaurant-turned-takeout operation — was the physical manifestation of his particular brand of culinary activism. Meals began with a glass of “Honeysuckle Red Drink” (his take on Kool-Aid, a staple of his childhood), and the to-go bags included samples of his own poetry. The coronavirus crisis brought him (and Honeysuckle) back to Philly, and he has big plans for this city — particularly in West Philly, where he’s envisioning a community center for which food will, of course, be the anchor. Follow @honeysuckle_projects on Instagram for information on future dinners and pop-ups. instagram.com/honeysuckle_projects.
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.