Palomar Hotel Philadelphia: Luxury Living on a budget

30 10 2009

The Palomar in Philadelphia is luxurious without being obnoxiously over-the-top. Matt’s exact words were: “Now we get to see what it’s like to live in a fancy Rittenhouse Square condo for a night.” The staff is friendly and efficient, the decor is cool and simple, and there is an eco-conscious theme that permeates everything. This hotel makes me want to move away from Philadelphia just so I could visit and stay here more often.

Cool and helpful reception:

date night oct. 29 001

Clean room and comfy bed:
date night oct. 29 005

Relaxing and deep Fuji tub:
date night oct. 29 007

Nice and high view:
date night oct. 29 009

Fast and fancy elevators:
date night oct. 29 021

All for $129. Special deal. Loved it.

I loved the art deco in the lobby. I loved the clean designs and eco-friendly atmosphere. I loved the ofuro-style tub that melted away all of the stress I had accumulated in my body. I loved the animal print robes in the closet. I loved the central location close to Rittenhouse Square.

I want to live here forever and ever.

The (new) Stone Balloon

28 10 2009

The Stone Balloon. Ten years ago these words would immediately pop into my head when I heard this phrase: dirty, cheap, mug night. Everything an undergrad could want. You could go in and order a beer for $1 in your pre-purchased mug (I still have one of the old original glass mugs) at one of the seven bars strategically placed throughout the dark and winding space. You could hang out in the front to people watch or join the bouncing bodies at the stage as Burnt Sienna  or The Zone sang covers.

A few years ago I heard The Balloon was closing, and I was sad, but I was mature enough to realize that it was the end of an era, and it was probably violating hundreds of safety codes anyway. (See? Maturity.)  I was shocked to find out that it had been re-opened, with the same name, as a schwanky wine bar that has a decent wine list and good food. As my friend Hilary and I took the train down to Delaware last weekend, I was excited to see how the establishment could pull off schwanky, especially knowing the years (about 165 years, to be exact) of dirt and grime and smoke (and vomit) it would have to erase to make it at all enjoyable and palatable. Then Katie told me they had razed the building to build the wine bar and I had a moment of clarity.

When you walk in, you see a cute sitting area with wine available for purchase:

The bar is fun with light streaming in from the large front windows (notice Katie with her modernized, plastic version of the mug):

The wine list is extensive–about 14 pages long with over 60 wines by the glass (price range $2-$15) and reasonable 2 oz. flights.

Since we were really just going for a pre-drinking and eating celebration, we each limited ourselves to one drink and a shared appetizer:

We ordered the seasonal fruit (apricots) and fresh goat cheese with fresh local Honey Comb, Grilled Bread, and Back Yard Parsley. For $7 it was delicious, but we were ready to move on to more substantial (and cheaper) grub (see my Deer Park post).

The Stone Balloon used to invoke images of sticky floors and a smoky haze, but the new wine bar is classy and cozy with an admirable attempt at upscale dining in small-town Newark. Nice job. I’ll be back.

Breakfast…with turkey franks

26 10 2009

Matt went shopping recently, which means that he bought me some turkey franks because they were on sale. So this past weekend I made a hearty breakfast using the franks, some CSA asparagus and potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and eggs.  It turned out mighty tasty:



I’ve got to say that grilled up and slightly blackened, the turkey franks really made this dish. It was really easy, and could be simplified to just eggs and franks if you didn’t want to bother with any veggies.

I cut three small potatoes into small pieces and started to sautee them with the diced onion (one whole). After about 10-15 minutes, I lowered the heat so they could get nice and soft.

Cut the franks into bite-sized pieces and brown them in olive oil on medium heat in a second pan. Add the asparagus and cook until tender. At the same time you add the eggs to the pan, turn up the heat a little on the potatoes/onion and add some chopped mushrooms. Everything should be finished cooking at the same time. Should be! Serve all together and chow down.