Saturday, March 01, 2008

PHILADELPHIA: Boar Meat, Brussel Sprouts and Searching for the Mildred Street Mosaics

ALTHOUGH I HAVEN'T spent too much time in Philadelphia, on a recent weekend, I got to take in quite a lot of Center City hanging out with a Michigan Daily alumnus who lives in Queen Village, not too far from the heart of South Street and Jim's Steaks, the cheesesteak emporium that sadly, I wasn't too impressed with. (Sorry, It's Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia.)

For a city that I normally pass through on Amtrak on the way to New York, I had a great time exploring that is one of the nation's most walkable places, though I'm told that Philadelphia residents hate to walk and would rather drive, despite the congested colonial-era streets and scarse parking.

Two highlights from my visit:
» Up in the Northern Liberties, I had one of the best brunches in quiet some time. At the Standard Tap, I ordered the boar meat and brussel sprout baked eggs, paired with a nice beer. Philly, to my surprise, has plenty of places that put a lot of time and effort into their beer lists, much of it comprised of local brews. It'd be nice if D.C. had more local breweries, but alas ...

» My mother told me that a few years back, she and some of her mosaic tile artist colleagues had worked on an installation on Mildred Street. When I told my friend that my mom had worked on the famed mosaics in the blocks near South Street, he got all excited. There are tile installations in odd places making explorations in the tiny alleyways a fun afternoon activity. But over the course of two days, we were having trouble finding Mildred Street. Philadelphia's Center City, for being on a grid, is also made of up of many tiny alleyways and side streets off the grid, like Kater Street, pictured at right. Mildred — a most dreadful name — is another. We eventually stumbled upon it, coming across three tile installations, one partially deteriorated and vandalized with tile debris on the sidewalk.

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