My Favorite Philly Brunch Spots

If you talked to me just a few years ago I would have told you that I absolutely hated brunch. You must be thinking I was crazy but the problem was I just didn’t like breakfast foods. The only time I ate anything more than a toasted English muffin plain with no butter and no nothing, was when my family traveled overseas. I just couldn’t get enough of that thick cut bacon in London! But back on American soil I was a strictly roll-out-of-bed and grab something quick and easy. I’m still like that on most days unless it’s a Saturday or Sunday. Those days are reserved for my growing brunch obsession.

There are some great places to go for brunch around my hometown (anybody ever wait in line for an hour or more at PJ’s?!) but if I really want to do brunch right, I head into the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. I’ve probably profiled a half dozen or more favorite places to eat in Philly by now but I wanted to dedicate a post entirely to my favorite brunch spots. Every time Nick and I hop in the car and head across the river for some delicious breakfast and lunch food, I feel like I’m going on vacation. If I could, I’d make it brunch-in-Philly day every day.

1. Standard Tap. Oh I love Standard Tap. Once you get past it’s sometimes pretentious hipster vibe, you’ll love it too. Located in the heart of Northern Liberties, it has a distinctly local feel cultivated by the farm-to-table food and local brews on draft. They make some killer brunch cocktails too but I’ve only heard that as you know I prefer my beer. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and they’ll be serving up some delicious pork chops or have an amazing omelette. While they do have some recurring items on the menu, Standard Tap’s commitment to using locally grown ingredients means that everything is fresh and new and so, so good. Also you have to check out their small side patio off the upstairs bar. It is perfect for all times of the day but especially for brunch drinks.

strangeloves menu

2. Strangelove’s. The thing that makes Strangelove’s perfect for brunch is that it feels sophisticated without being stuffy. It just feels right to head in there and plop yourself down at a table or at the bar for delicious huevos rancheros or, my favorite, shrimp and grits. It’s owned by the same person who owns Memphis Taproom, Resurrection Ale House, and Local 44 so it always has great beers on tap. Seriously though, the shrimp and grits. Also the artwork. And the beers. Okay, everything about Strangelove’s is amazing.

Brunch Places in Philadelphia

3. Parc. Want to have brunch in Paris? No need to head to the Philly airport, Parc has you covered. I’ve had every meal at Parc and it never disappoints. It’s situated right on Rittenhouse Square with a gorgeous view of the park and all the sophisticated (and not-so-sophisticated) Philadelphia residents walking their dogs and reading their Sunday papers. Parc makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a cozy bistro in Paris with marble topped tables and wicker chairs and delicious French food. It can get pretty loud inside and so far I’ve found it impossible to get one of those outdoor cafe tables but I adore Parc in spite of it. It’s the cheapest trip to Paris you’ll ever take.

Best Brunch Places in Philly

4. Jerry’s Bar. If you want to feel like you’re just a Philly native hanging out in a bar with a classy and delicious twist, head to Northern Liberties and Jerry’s Bar. It’s fairly new to the neighborhood but you wouldn’t know it by how comfortable it feels on its little street corner. It’s got a gorgeous marble-topped bar, our preferred seat for brunch, but there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Also they have a little sit patio area that is my other favorite place to sit. I have never ordered anything I don’t like at Jerry’s except that time I ordered an omelette as big as my face and couldn’t finish it. But I still loved it. My only demand for when you go there: order the walnut sticky bun. And then find out what day they’ll be serving it for dessert toasted with a side of vanilla ice cream. You’ll thank me.

5. North 3rd. Hipster brunch more your style? You came to Philly for the hipsters right? Well, head on over to North 3rd on, where else, North 3rd street in Northern Liberties. It looks like a dark creepy bar inside and well, it is, but it has some great food and great drinks too. Brunch is my favorite because I love their mimosas and also their crispy chicken sandwich is to die for if you don’t like the typical brunch foods. Last time we went my friend ordered blueberry pancakes and almost converted me over to being a pancake eater. It can also be highly amusing and/or awkward to eat at North 3rd if they choose to seat you in what Nick and I call “the Boobie bar.” Let’s just say the back bar has a lot of topless paintings which can make for an awkward brunch with your mom. Not that I know from experience or anything.

Kraftwork Philadelphia

6. Kraftwork. I think Kraftwork might have been the restaurant that converted me into a brunch lover. The menu is simple but the food is fantastic. I’m salivating over here thinking about my favorite mushroom grinder. Oh, mushrooms, spinach, and red peppers! Also the french fries! Do you still believe that I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle? No, well me neither. The thing that makes Kraftwork so much fun for me for brunch is the 21 or so beers on tap. You’ll always find something you like and if for some reason you don’t then just sip on a mimosa. Also if you’re looking for an industrial chic bar with no frills, this is your place.

Best Brunch Places in Philadelphia

7. Johnny Brenda’s. Johnny Brenda’s is such a mixture of places: a fantastic restaurant with outdoor seating, a corner bar with red vinyl bar stools and a pool table, and a music venue. I’ve never been to a concert there (concerts are held in a room upstairs) and I’ve spent a few late nights hanging out in the bar area but my favorite time at Johnny Brenda’s is always the brunch. When the weather is nice they open up their huge windows and you can watch the Fishtown people go about their business on Girard Avenue. The outdoor seats are also great for when you want to stretch brunch out into a day of drinking in the sun.

 

After looking over my list I realized I’m featuring a lot of bars in the Northern Liberties/Fishtown section of the city. I can’t lie that this is usually the part of the city that Nick and I frequent because there’s a bunch of bars in a small area, there’s plenty of free parking if you know where to look (and how to parallel park) and the food is never fussy and always good. Other runners-up for great brunch places in the city would have to be Good Dog Bar (center city), Smokin’ Betty’s (center city), Jack’s Firehouse (Fairmount), and Cantina Los Cabillitos (East Passyunk). Hope to see you this weekend in Philly!

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Wearing: Summer Scarf

Summer Scarf

Summer Scarf

Summer Scarf

top: f21 (similar), shorts: old navy, shoes: blowfish (similar), scarf: anthropologie (similar)

There is no season I love more (or talk about more) than summer. Right now we are in the perfect season. I don’t care for the humidity but the beach, sun, and shorts make up for that. Obviously my love for summer runs deep but…I miss my scarves. When fall rolls around in a few short months I will happily pull my stash of scarves out of my closet. I don’t know what it is about scarves but I probably have about 20 of them! On Saturday I was able to get my “scarf fix” when the weather took a turn for the cooler. I loved pairing it with my favorite tank and white shorts for a casual dinner with family. Sadly the scarf has been hung back up and is waiting for cooler days. No way will I be wearing that scarf in these 80 degree temps!

Speaking of 80 degree temperatures, it is supposed to be in the mid-80s, low humidity, and just all around perfect the next few days so you can find me at the beach. I really can’t believe that it is August already and back to school time is right around the corner. I mean kids in the South and Mid-West have already gone back! But I will make this summer last as long as possible (despite the scarf). Besides getting my tan on at the beach, I will be busy planning our trip to Austin now that summer school is out and I can spend more time on it. Anybody have any recommendations for must do/must see in Austin?

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We GoAfter we left the urban oasis that is the NYC High Line, we dropped right onto Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. I love this area because it reminds of an older New York when things were being shipped right off the docks on the Hudson to ports unknown and immigrants were bobbing past the Statue of Liberty en route to Ellis Island. There are still some cobblestone streets and huge brick warehouses. These warehouses have since been converted into some of the trendiest boutiques (think Gucci, DVF, La Perla) and some really unique restaurants. If you know anything about me, you know that the Meatpacking District is my kind of place.

Instead of choosing a restaurant right away, Nick let me drag him up and down a few streets to just take the city in. I popped into a few shops but I seriously felt like a total suburbanite. I got really excited by the Paige Denim store and the Levi’s location where you can “make” your own jeans. Oh well, it’s fun not to be jaded.

To The West Side We Go

Usually on a trip like this I over-plan everything with the thought that who knows when we’ll get there next. But this time I didn’t and it actually worked out okay. As we were leaving the High Line Nick spotted a restaurant right across the way. In the window it said “pit-smoked barbecue” and we were sold. Turns out the restaurant was Bubby’s High Line, an off-shoot of the famous Bubby’s in Tribeca. Bubby’s is by no means a bbq restaurant but a good spot for some American Eats. Besides having the most delicious pulled pork sandwich with spicy sauteed broccoli (that I’m working on replicating at home), they have all local NY brews. Keeping it local is definitely the way to my heart. That and the adorable attached ice cream parlor and outside sno-ball stand didn’t hurt either.

To The West Side We Go

bubby's high line

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

After we refueled we did two very awesome things: visited the Chelsea Market and got drinks at a beer garden. Let’s start with Chelsea Market: I have wanted to go here since I’ve been in high school and started watching the Food Network. In case you didn’t know the Food Network films many of their shows in studio above the Chelsea Market and I have watched countless segments they filmed there. Besides that Chelsea Market is just a food lover’s dream. From seafood to a crepe bar, I could have spent all day there. Even though I was full from lunch I forced myself to make a little room for hot sugar donuts from the Doughnuttery. No one can resist hot donuts!

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We Go

I would have loved to spend forever in the Chelsea Market but it was such a gorgeous day in NYC that we couldn’t spend all day inside. While we wandered up and down the streets, even stumbling through what I believe was a movie set, we happened on the Standard Hotel. This super trendy hotel sits kind of inside the High Line. They have a restaurant that is directly under the walkway and the hotel pushes up through part of the High Line. I’m saving my pennies to stay there one day.

Besides having a gorgeous restaurant that sits below the High Line (think French bistro/Sex and the City brunch hot spot) they also have a beer garden. I know, I know. I spend enough time at beer gardens in Philly. But I just couldn’t resist. We were directly below the High Line and it was an enchanting set up. They tried to make it look as much like a German beer hall as possible. The bars are a beautiful cream color with mirrors and sconces and striped awnings. I love attention to detail like that. All the beer was authentically German and they even had the big Bavarian pretzels hanging on a pretzel rack. I only wish it hadn’t been so dark so I could take better pictures!

To The West Side We Go

To The West Side We GoAfter a few beers and a trip to the bathroom which resulted in an expensive but totally worth it photo strip, we decided to make our way back to midtown and Penn Station. Rather than grab a cab we decided it was just so nice out that we could walk the twenty or so blocks back. That was a great experience in and of itself; Nick and I got to chat and window shop and feel a part of the city. I can’t say enough about getting to feel like a local in a big city. Of course that all ended when we got swept up in the chaos of midtown Manhattan but it was one wonderful and magical day in the city.

 

 

Monday Links to Love

High Above the City

* In the summer, ice cream is the best treat so I can’t wait to search for all the ice cream shops on this list

* What a wonderful and honest post from Katie of Katie Did What about when you simply have to miss one of those workouts

* No matter what you’re always a teacher

* Anyone else doing the eighty twenty summer reset? It’s just what I need right now

* Mindfulness is a powerful tool, especially for young students

* I’m just starting to dip my toes into the podcast waters so this list of great podcasts for your commute is helpful

* While I probably shouldn’t be shopping right now, you’ll never know when you’ll need a list of affordable places to buy dresses

 

High Above the City Streets

High Above the City

High Above the City

On the last Friday of July I convinced Nick to play hooky from work and join me on an adventure into New York City. We’d been wanting to take a trip into the city for awhile now. Over the winter holidays we pushed our way through the throngs of city goers with Nick’s family. The only benefit from that aggravation, besides spending time with our family, was they didn’t punch tickets on the train so we had round trip tickets to use any time we wanted. We said spring then maybe June but finally I said, let’s just do this.

Now Manhattan may be fairly small but there are a lot of places to chose from for an adventure. I settled on the High Line, a large “park” built on old train tracks that were elevated over the city streets. Some developers in Philly are thinking of doing the same thing with some old elevated railroad tracks so I wanted to see what it would look like. Plus I had heard tons of things about this amazing open space in New York.

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

I have a strange love for green spaces in city spaces. I love the juxtaposition of fresh and worn, gritty and clean. I was blown away by the beauty of the High Line. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. There were so many people strolling over the High Line boards but it felt calm, peaceful, and relaxing. The sounds of the city floated up and mixed with sounds of the wind through the trees and the buzz of insects. The gardeners of the High Line have done a wonderful job of making the park seem wild and untamed, just like the city itself. Wildflowers pop up among huge puffs of high grasses and trees straight out of The Jungle Book stretch up towards the skyscrapers.

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

If the wild life isn’t for you, maybe a little culture? Interspersed with the greens were some amazing art installations. From sculpture to murals, the art was a perfect compliment to the nature. The High Line was like the botanical gardens and modern art museum all wrapped up into one.

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

Nick and I decided to walk the entire length of the High Line from West 30th street to Gansevoort Street down in the Meatpacking District. I think the greatest part of the day was that we had no agenda. Part of this feeling was attributed to not paying for those tickets and part of it was that sunshine. While I love to spend any sunny day in the summer down the Shore, it was fun to experience the city in summer. We usually find time to make it into the city when it’s cold and let me tell you that wind around the city blocks is no joke. So while summer in NYC can smell a little (or a lot) like hot trash and feel about the same, there’s something to be said about experiencing the city without a coat.

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

At a certain point on the High Line it runs under a building and its been designated as a sort of “food court.” That’s a terrible way to describe the delectable little food stands but seriously, it’s food all in one place and since I grew up NJ that’s what it will be to me. Like I mentioned before there were a lot of people walking along and they all seemed to congregate around the food. While I wanted to try some Delancey’s BBQ or tacos or Terroir which had wine and beer, there were just too many people and no seats. I settled for some pictures anyway (of course).

High Above the City

High Above the City

High Above the City

On my little blog here I’m always writing about my adventures in Philly. Philly has become “my” city since Nick introduced me to it. But the best part of where I live is that I’m between two cities. While Philly may be the city of my heart (hello, I got engaged there!) New York City has a special place too. I will probably always be more comfortable with Philly since I’ve spent so much time there in the last couple of years but there’s something magical about NYC. The buzz and energy are tangible and Nick and I have talked about spending more time there in the future, after we save a little bit more!

Just in case you were wondering, I loved the High Line. Our little NYC vacation/adventure didn’t stop at the High Line. Nope, the High Line was just the beginning. But I’ll write another post since this one has gotten a bit long and picture-heavy. Stay tuned for more NYC adventures coming soon!

High Above the City

Wearing: Polka Dots for Life

wearing: polka dots for life

wearing: polka dots for life

wearing: polka dots for life

top: anthropologie (sold out), shorts: jcrew, necklace: f21, sandals: american eagle (similar)

This top: I’m in love. I stalked this top at Anthropologie waiting and wishing until it could be mine during their annual summer tag sale. I almost had a heart attack and cursed myself when it was sold out in my size online. Later I randomly visited my local Anthro and there it was: one left and in my size. It was definitely meant to be. Being on a budget can sometimes be stressful (really I have such problems). Maybe I should have titled this post “fashionista budget problems” though I’m not sure you’d call me a “fashionista”. But seriously, polka dots are my life. My love of polka dots cannot be confined to just clothes. In September I’ll post a picture of my classroom which I have decked out in polka dots. Nick and I are also registered for polka dot towels from West Elm. Seriously obsessed.

The only problem (if you can have a problem with such a beautiful polka dot top) is that the material is pretty heavy. I wore this top and shorts combo a Saturday or two ago when it was a pretty mild day. Actually this summer has been mild so far with a few humid days here and there. I, and especially my hair, are thankful for that. But this weekend, unfortunately, isn’t looking so great for summer fun. Humid, thunderstorms, and I’ve got a baby shower on Sunday. I love celebrating babies and all of life’s milestones with my friends but, without getting into it, this shower has been one issue after another. I’ll be happy the moment when we welcome the lovely lady and her bump into the party and get to shower her with gifts and can call it a wrap on this whole ordeal. Besides the shower on Sunday, I’ve decided to keep it low key and easy. Sometimes you’ve just got to take a break from life and be lazy. And wear some polka dots because they make life better.

Monday Links to Love…Tuesday Edition

grounds for sculpture

These summer days are just lovely and so lazy…which is why I’m posting my Monday links on a Tuesday. Now that wedding planning has hit a low, I feel like I’ll get back to my true loves: reading and writing. Oh and planning my classroom out like crazy! Sorry, sorry, I know nobody wants to think about September and back to school but a teacher’s mind never turns off. Hope you’re having a great week and a happy Tuesday!

* Thanks to The Happy Type for some inspiring words to start this week strong (even on a Tuesday!)

* Big cities may be my jam now but small towns have my heart, especially when they’re in Europe

* My new favorite online read is The Page Girls and this post perfectly encapsulates the love between girl friends

* Laughing and loving this checklist for opening a hipster bar

* Is it okay to buy yourself a summer hostess gift? Because I love all of these ideas from the Glitter Guide!