Sunday, November 25, 2012

Creative Inspiration in Philadelphia

Bread at Di Bruno Bros House of Cheese

I love getting out to visit places to spark my creativity.  We took a little trip to Philadelphia the weekend after Thanksgiving and here are some photos of my old favorite places and a few new ones that have me itching to do some creating.  I love to visit the Italian Market to gather ingredients and equipment for culinary exploration.  Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese is an experience not to be missed.  The aroma is intoxicating, and every ingredient you need to create an Italian culinary masterpiece can be found here.  They will give you a sample of any cheese or cured meat you like.  It's crowded but orderly as people shout their orders to the staff and it's a delight to walk out with your treasure wrapped in butcher paper just like I remember when shopping with my grandmother years ago.

Cheeses, pickled vegetables and olives on display at Di Bruno Bros.

Outside on the streets of the market, you will find every kind of produce you could want.   I also always make a stop at Fante's Kitchen Store for any kitchen gadget or equipment one might ever need or not even know you need until you see it there.  It's worth battling the crowds just to stare at the displays of gadgets and cookware which gets me daydreaming about whipping up something tasty.

 Produce for sale at the Italian Market

My trips to Philly always include a stop to browse in the quirky boutiques along South Street with a visit to the Philly AIDS Thrift Shop a must. There are always unique treasures to be discovered and the proceeds go to a good cause.  I scored these practical, but funky ballet flats for $4.

Thrift tore find

Also in the South Street area is the Magic Garden which, at this time, is the largest public mosaic installation in the world. The longer you look, the more interesting things you find embedded in the artwork.  Maybe I can make something for my garden with the fun colored bottles I've collected.

 Magic Garden entrance

Mosaic detail in the Magic Garden 

A great place to get a bite to eat is the Reading Terminal Market.  You will also find produce, teas, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar bar and other culinary related items packed into this historic market.

 French bakery display at Reading Terminal Market

Nothing but cookbooks at this stall in the Reading Terminal Market

And finally, I discovered that Philadelphia has many more healthy options for dining out than I remember from my previous visits.  We had an excellent veggie burger and salad at HipCityVeg and for brunch we found a cute vegan cafe called Miss Rachel's Pantry where the food was delicious and the decor got the wheels turning in my head about some thrifty decor to add to my own kitchen and some recipes to experiment with later.  

Farmhouse table made of 2x6 lumber at Miss Rachel's Pantry

Creative chandelier made from a produce crate, canning jars and off the shelf pendant lights

BBQ seitan with slaw and fresh lettuce

Vegan breakfast burrito

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was full of inspiration, and I am looking forward to working on some new projects over the cold, dark winter months.

Thanks for reading!

Fall sunset

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