Braving the flu with hikes, Greek food, and movies from the 1980s

One of the unexpected challenges to living in a small apartment is the cyclical nature of colds and flus. Just when one of us starts to feel better, the other starts displaying symptoms. The bags of cough drops, boxes of Kleenex, and plastic cupfuls of Nyquil move from one nightstand to the other, and back again. It’s been a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching few weeks of limited rest coupled with important work deadlines.

Despite this, we’ve enjoyed a few new places in Philly worth sharing. Our neighbor recommended Kanella to us, and last Friday night we finally gave it a try. We started our meal with Bureki (fillo pastry parcels stuffed with feta and thyme, drizzled with thyme honey, and served with roasted beets) and a less memorable roasted pumpkin appetizer. The Bureki was so amazing that anything standing next to it was bound to be forgotten.

Our entrees were vegetable moussaka and a goat stew with fried okra that was “smack yo’ mama” good! Definitely a great night!

Luke enjoying the Goat Stew

We also took another afternoon hike, this time along the trails of Ridley Creek State Park.

Sunny fall day

Friendly Monsters

Last bits of changing leaves

Other than a not-very-well-organized running event, the trails were empty. This meant that we not only felt like we could happily lose ourselves in the woods, but that also we’d occasionally encounter a neon-wearing athlete looking confused and exhausted. It was fun to watch them approach from far off, and disappear equally fast over the next hill. It reminded me of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, popping onto the scene just long enough to announce he’s late before hurriedly continuing on.

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

As a side note, does anyone remember the 1980s TV version of “Alice in Wonderland? The cast was incredible – Carol Channing, Sammy Davis, Jr., Scott Baio, and (my favorite) Lloyd Bridges as the White Knight? Amazing. If you saw it as a kid, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, there is no point watching it now. I’m sure it will just seem silly and outdated.

It’s sometimes hard to introduce something you loved as a child to your adult friends (and husband). I saw The Goonies about nine blu-gillion times growing up, and so whenever I think about it, I’m transported back to that happy place of Chester Copperpot and inhalers. Whenever I try to encourage Luke to (finally) see it with me, though, I know in the back of my mind that it won’t be as meaningful to a 30 year old as it was to a 12 year old. He won’t develop a secret crush on Sean Austin, think Martha Plimpton’s wit is so great that it requires rewinding (yes, rewinding) and repeating until you’ve got it perfectly mimicked, or be absolutely terrified of playing the wrong key on the skeleton piano before Mama Fratelli’s boys grab you.

Photo credit: Nerds at the Cool Table

I’ll still watch it, though. Especially on sick days, with my go-to blanket and a big bowl of soup. Or popcorn.

When a friend comes to town

One of the best parts about moving to a new city is having your old friends visit you. This weekend Luke and I were lucky enough to have our first house guest – our good friend Andy. Seeing Philadelphia with fresh eyes, spotlighted by bright sunshine and brought to life with a fall breeze, gently reminded us to appreciate our picturesque neighborhood.

It was also the perfect opportunity to visit a lot of places we’d dog-eared for “some day.”

Dinner at Lemon Hill on Friday night was the perfect spot to settle in for comfort food, delicious cocktails, and long overdue catching up.

We kicked off our Saturday with $2 bloody marys at 12 Steps Down, a great local bar adjacent to the Italian Market.

Photo credit: Philly.com

After meandering through the Italian Market, sampling cheeses and daydreaming about kitchen equipment we can’t afford, we made our way to Taqueria La Veracruzana for an amazing lunch of chilaquiles, tacos de jalapeƱos rellenos, and burrito al pastor.

Photo credit: Dine Indie

Shopping on South Street is always an adventure, but I can’t believe it took us this long to step into Wooden Shoe Books & Records. I made a beeline for their section on Revolutions in Latin America, and will definitely be back when prepping for my class next semester.

Photo credit: Wooden Shoe Books

After dinner at Karma in Old City, we strolled across town to Rittenhouse Square and back, zigzagging between historical walking tours, frat boys on a scavenger hunt, and girls hobbled by their (too) high heels.

For a nightcap, we went into Tattooed Mom, a nearby two-story bar with pool tables (finally!) and stiff drinks.

Photo credit: Drink Philly

None of us remembered our cameras, but it was almost better that way. It was a lovely weekend of shared new experiences with lots of great conversation and being in the moment.