If you want to brag about what makes our city’s dining scene so juicy in a single restaurant experience, take an out-of-town pal to this family-run Vietnamese spot. What with drinking BYO chilled wine on the summer sidewalk, a calm but cool South Philly neighborhood scene, and some of the greatest vermicelli platters and sizzling catfish you’ll eat during your years on Planet Earth, Gabriella’s Vietnam makes us feel luckier to live in Philly every time we visit. 1837 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148, gabriellasvietnam.com.
It’s hard to stay a fan of the once-admired City Councilmember as he continues to battle federal bribery charges alongside his wife, consultant Dawn Chavous. A mistrial only left us with more questions than answers, and taxpayers now have to endure a retrial in the fall. If there was ever a time to reconsider your vote in the 2nd District next year, this might be it.
So you’ve been boycotting Chick-fil-A for God knows how long, but you’re really craving one of those fried chicken sandwiches and some waffle fries. You need to get to know this Delco spot that’s just over a year old. The food is strikingly similar to Chick-fil-A’s, but better. 27 North Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, PA 19050, crispchikn.com.
Nobody can question Johnson’s steadfast commitment to demanding change when it comes to gun violence. The Marine-turned-activist has staged a hunger strike, marched to Washington, and put his life and body on the line to urge the city to reverse its lackluster response to an epidemic that’s continuing to devastate. If “no-B.S.” was in the dictionary, Johnson and his unapologetic advocacy would be pictured there.
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 …
You’d never know this tiny, super-casual restaurant in a residential neighborhood was here. But now you do, and it’s worth the trip. If you’re only having one dish, go for the luscious beef or chicken stew, with lots of injera to soak up the spicy juices. Better yet: Assemble a crew of friends and order everything on the menu, which isn’t all that hard to do, since there are usually only a half-dozen or so entrée options. Call ahead and find out when the next buna — an Ethiopian coffee-roasting ceremony — is scheduled. 5532 Greene Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144, instagram.com/SalamCafePhl.
Sure, SEPTA’s stations are about as navigable as an M.C. Escher staircase. And sure, people are still getting trapped inside those stations, running into metal gates where there should be exits. But next time you get lost or stranded, take a deep breath and remember: You’re not stranded in SEPTA. You’re stranded in the Metro. Don’t you feel better already?
Some of us spent the pandemic honing our talents; others spent it learning the best times to access the state liquor-store website to place booze orders. (Hey, it’s a skill, too!) Miskel falls into the former category. After the New York Times announced an art contest — theme: “Coming of Age in 2021” — the teen from Bryn Mawr submitted a striking cartoon panel about loneliness during COVID that was one of just 25 winners selected from more than 4,000 submissions.
A three-act tale of Philadelphia government dysfunction: 1) City spends years researching bike-and-pedestrian-friendly redesign ideas for Washington Avenue. 2) City announces a “final design decision” (three lanes) preferred by a majority of community members, only to abandon it for a more car-centric version (a mix of three, four and five lanes). 3) City can’t even implement the revised plan because Kenyatta Johnson (see: Best Reason to Vote in the 2nd District) has unilateral veto power thanks to councilmanic prerogative, which means the portion of the road passing through his district will likely remain the same as it ever was — five lanes. Can we at least agree to fix the potholes?
Oh, sure, it’s easy to doubt the Republican senatorial candidate’s bona fides about his Pennsylvania residency when his social media accounts seem to indicate he’s still living in Jersey. But hey, he bought a house in Montco, didn’t he? He’s only staying with his in-laws in Bryn Athyn while the new house gets redone! The whole convoluted situation only got more dubious when Insider reported in June that the good doctor misspelled the name of the Montco town where he supposedly lives — on his declaration of candidacy form for the Federal Elections Commission. Yo dude! It’s H-U-N-T-I-N-G-D-O-N Valley, not H-U-N-T-I-N-G-T-O-N Valley. We bet you order Swiss on your cheesesteaks, too.
This West Mount Airy native, who graduated from St. Joe’s and went to grad school at Temple, last year was named athletic director at Drexel — the first Black woman AD at any of the city’s D-1 colleges. Stints at Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Bucknell prepared the mom of two young kids — her husband’s with Temple’s track and field program — for the role. “I know that my pathway was formed by others who have been first,” she told the Inquirer of her rarefied status. But there haven’t been many: Of 248 open NCAA college AD positions between 2010 and 2019, only 11 were filled by Black women. Go, Dragons!
It could have been a colossal failure: a workplace comedy (as if we haven’t had enough of those) set in an under-funded Philly public school (not an apparent great source of laughs) and broadcast on network TV (something people have been watching less and less of). “Oh my God, I really hope people like it,” Abbott Elementary creator and star Brunson told us just after the show’s debut on ABC in December. Well, they liked it. They liked it a lot. Thanks to the comic genius and marketing savvy of Brunson, who was raised right here by a mom who taught in those under-funded schools, the show proved a runaway success, earning well-deserved comparisons to The Office and killing it in the ratings — and making her an icon in the process. The show’s now been renewed for a second season; look for it on September 21st.
Unlike Ijames, Zauner, the lead singer of the band Japanese Breakfast, hasn’t stuck around these parts, having decamped to New York City. But we’re willing to look past that minor character flaw, considering how good her latest record, Jubilee, is, not to mention her many other Philly bona fides: working as a coat checker at Union Transfer, where the cloakroom now bears her name, and writing a New York Times best-selling memoir, Crying in H-Mart, in which the Elkins Park location features prominently.
Holmes is the rare triple-threat cinephile: founder of the BlackStar Film Festival; host of the film podcast Many Lumens; and — our favorite, though perhaps we’re biased — founding editor of the film journal SEEN, which publishes twice annually in a beautiful you’ll-want-to-keep-this-on-your-coffee-table print edition. Print: Still not dead!