Have you ever gone out with a pimple on your face and felt mortified about the distinctly un-cute addition to your skin that still shined brightly despite all that concealer? Or headed to a bar for drinks while suffering from allergies and feared anyone noticing your red eyes would suspect you of smoking a doobie or bawling about that ex you're so over? These are times when the best thing you can do for yourself is to slink into a bar with dim lighting, where friends and strangers can make out your silhouette but not your facial details. At these bars, your aesthetic secrets are safe, thanks to the lights that seem to be practically engaged in a game of Limbo. You know ... how low can you go? (Photo courtesy of Pub on Passyunk East)
If you're one for always trying something new, we have a dare for you: try dining on dishes that make those with less pluck say yuck. While we don't support acting all grossed out by foods consumed by other ethnicities or individuals (unless we're talking about, say, cannibalism), we do acknowledge that certain foods (such as duck hearts at Zahav, left) are considered, um, a little ? icky by mainstream America. But what better way to bridge cultures and expand your mind than trying out a food that forces you out of your comfort zone. After all, taking a cab to Center City is a lot cheaper than taking a plane to a foreign land and can prove to be equally delicious. (Photo by Tara Nurin)
If you just can't leave Fifi behind when you leave home, bring her with you when you set out to spend a day or a weekend in Philadelphia. Many hotels and restaurants are dog-friendly, as long as your dog is friendly. And what could make a dog happier than spending time on the town with its owner? Yes, the knowledge that cats are not similarly invited.
Luge? Ice Dancing? Biathlon? It's time for some of those sports we barely even recognize to dominate the TV screens across Philadelphia. If you want to keep an eye on the Olympics, but also want to get out of the house, we've got some spots in mind where there are plenty of TVs.
If it's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner this year and you can't muster enough energy to do more than defrost a Stouffer's frozen dinner, maybe it's time to think about switching up the old at-home family tradition. At dozens of places around the city, you can pay chefs to cook up the turkey better than you ever could and you can even pay people to set up, serve it and clean up your mess. We almost promise that once the idea catches on among your relatives, you'll never have to fight traffic to schlep to Uncle Harvey's in King of Prussia again. But despite all of the gracious accommodations provided at these establishments we call "restaurants", there's one disadvantage you wouldn't encounter in the privacy of your home: there's probably no one on staff who will do much to keep your Grandma Lee from whispering loudly about the fat people dining at the next table.
Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, which means all sorts of jaded folk will likely whine about how it's going to be "amateur night" in the city. Don't let those misers keep you from having a good time: stock up on extravagant costumes, scare your little cousins straight at a haunted house, then party like a dead rock star (there's no shortage of those to dress as this year) at a Halloween bash. Have so much fun that next Halloween, you'll convince those naysayers to sincerely rise up out of their homes dressed as goofy cartoon characters rather than grumpily staying home and watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".
It's hard to admit this, but Philly doesn't have a lot of rooftop bars. Sidewalk cafes and open-window-side tables, yes. Room for mingling while taking in the fresh air and looking down on the city below, no.
But don't despair. This list of spots that do have rooftop decks--or something close to it--includes some of the best bars in the city, inside and outside. So next time you're craving a summer ale high up near the tree-tops, climb on over to one of these moonlit terraces. (Photo courtesy of Vango Lounge & Skybar)
Contrary to popular belief, barbecue is not strictly an American pastime, reserved for outdoor summer festivities and southern competition. No, barbecue is widely popular in many other regions as well, particularly in Southeast Asia. That's why today, in the spirit of cooking over an open flame, we are highlighting some of Philly's best Asian barbecue.
Cupcakes: they're not just for kids anymore. Across the Philadelphia area, adults are gobbling up these birthday party treats at rates previously unseen. And the more we're eating, the more bakers are supplying our fix. Call it a cheap treat or call it comforting emotional nourishment in an economic era when we're in definite need of both, there's little question that the recession is a factor in our craving. So go ahead, make yourself feel better. Light a candle, eat a cupcake and celebrate yourself. (Photo coutesy of Night Kitchen)
Graduate Hospital is a neighborhood in need of a boundary, an identity and even a name. Ever since the actual hospital closed earlier this decade, there's been no anchor and almost no definition to this section of blocks bordered by South, Washington, Broad and Gray's Ferry Ave. that some are trying to brand as G-Ho, So-So (South of South), or West Rittenhouse. Some neophytes even confuse it with the entirely different Gray's Ferry district. However, that absence of clarity hasn't stopped entrepreneurs from trying to make the 1500-2100 blocks of South Street into a destination for eco-conscious foodies, craft beer geeks and plain old drunks. (Photo of Novita Bistro by Tara Nurin)