Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Chrismas to Everyone

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Everyone

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Philadelphia Visit

Another trip, it is. On December 4 we boarded a U S Airways flight from Tampa to Philadelphia to visit our good friend Deirdre who lives in Newtown Square outside of Philadelphia. She had arranged a visit to Longwood Gardens situated in the Brandywine Valley in Kennett Square, PA, for the evening of Dec 5th. Susan, another friend from my working days at CIGNA joined us for the Gardens and dinner. It was a perfect evening, with clear cool weather. The Christmas displays outside and inside in the Conservatory were as beautiful as you will see in the photographs which I will leave to speak for themselves. We were very fortunate as this was the best weather of the trip, a large portion of displays of decorated trees is outside. 

After the visit to the Gardens we enjoyed a lovely and tasty dinner at Half Moon Restaurant in the old Downtown of Kennett Square. The menu included standard fare such as, say, Bison, Kangaroo, Caribou Hot Dog, Gator Gumbo and other wild game options. They also served a mean Smokey Exotic Mushroom Bisque which was to die for, OMG. I'll take more please. But none of us ordered any of the exotic items from the menu but opted for the more traditional items. Frank and I had perfectly cooked and marinated Flat Iron Steak, Susan enjoyed a brie stuffed wood smoked chicken, avocado salsa sandwich, with avocado, while Deirdre, being the adventurous sort had, a basic hamburger (passing on the buffalo burger).

[Historic Aside: "Kennett  is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World because mushroom farming in the region produces over a million pounds of mushrooms a week." from Wikipedia.]

The next evening Deirdre, Frank, I and a friend from Prague, Vaclav, met in the University City district of Philadelphia for a great dinner at White Dog Cafe. I met Vaclav on my first trip to Praha and the Czech Republic when another friend suggested I consider using Vaclav as my tour guide for my three day stay. He is currently studying for a Masters Degree and attending the University of Pennsylvania. The White Dog Cafe focuses on locally source products. Frank and I both enjoyed "the Spicy Lamb Bolognese Sweet Stem Farms Ground Lamb, Severino Rigatoni, ‘Jersey Fresh’ Preserved Tomatoes, Organic Baby Spinach, Shaved Grana Padano, Whipped Basil Ricotta" *extracted from the menu. It was very tasty however just a tad spicier than I like. But I did lick my plate clean. Vaclav ordered a Hamburger with sliced pork tenderloin stacked on top. (I frequently use the menu on the restaurant site to aid my memory, but I was not able to find this on the currently posted menu. So just imaging a very nicely prepared tasty sandwich). Deirdre opted for the same sandwich but with only the sliced pork, omitting the burger. Maybe Deirdre, Vaclav or Frank can fill in the comments section for me due to my lapse of memory.

One night Frank prepared his "always good" and tasty Tilapia Meuniere. Yummy. 

The next day we visited the National Constitution Center across from Independence Hall. It was interesting multi-media presentation of the founding of our country. While interesting and educational it would not be in my "A" list of sites to visit when in Philadelphia considering the other places to see.

Finally, after forcing you to read through all of our activity and eating, here is a link to the photographs - primarily of the Longwood Gardens. The only regret was that Deirdre's adorable dog, Barney, didn't get to go with us to the gardens - he would have had hundreds of acres to play in.

Click on the photo to view the album in Picasa.
Philadelphia, PA Dec 2012