Tag Archives: travel

Philadelphia, PA

As I mentioned in a recent post, Sam and I visited Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago!

The reason behind this trip was run the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.  The run was planned for Sunday, September 16- so with some friends we decided to make a weekend getaway in Philly!  Five of us ran the race (there were 3 first timers that did fabulous) and we had an amazing cheerleader/photographer!

Truth be told, we really didn’t do much research on what to do and where to eat in Philly.  So we walked around, explored different areas, and ate some great food!

Philly is best known for its cheesesteaks, and we definitely wanted to try some.  Now for those that are not familiar with it- it’s a combination of frizzled beef, onions and cheese on a roll.  The cheese used is usually provolone, American, or Cheese Whiz (most popular)- and everyone does have their preferences.

Since we didn’t do much research about this, we asked for some recommendations in a bar and ended up going to:


Jim’s Steaks!  The original shop, owned by Jim, opened up in 1939 in West Philadelphia.  The location where we stopped by was on South street- the 2nd location which opened up in 1976.  The four of us chose and shared 2 different cheesesteaks:

And:

We also enjoyed great German beers at Brauhaus Schmitz:

This place had an excellent German beer selection.  Sam and I recognized many beers from our trip to Oktoberfest last year.

The next day we stumbled upon the Reading Terminal Market– which we all loved!  If any of you are visiting Philly, definitely stop in here!

It was established in 1892 at 12th and Arch Streets, and is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s market.  There is a variety of cuisine available, from soul food and Asian food, to Philly Cheesesteaks and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare.

On Saturday morning we enjoyed a perfect breakfast sandwich from one of the Amish merchants:

The Amish bring their farm-fresh products (meats, milk, eggs, etc) and distinctive dishes to the market 4 days a week (Wednesday thru Saturday).  Today the market has about 80 different merchants, of which 2 are descendants of the original stand holders from when it originally opened.

The rest of the time we spent enjoying the great sights of Philly and the wonderful weather we had that weekend!

Where else did we stop in?
Lulu’s Pizza Bar: quick by-the-slice pizza bar
Pietro’s Pizza: great pasta/pizza location for carbo-loading before a 1/2 marathon, also very family friendly Italian restaurant
McGillin’s Olde Ale House: great place for a beer; oldest continuously operated tavern in Philly

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Visiting Boston, Massachusetts

This past weekend we went to visit our friends in Boston.  Other than taking the tour of Sam Adams Brewery, we also enjoyed some great food!

On Friday evening we stopped by the Cheers Bar in Beacon Hill.

Of course, this is where Sam found out that I had never seen even one episode of Cheers.  I know, that might be shocking since they had many reruns on Nickelodeon while I was growing up.

We walked around downtown Boston and saw

the Union Oyster House, which is the oldest restaurant in the United States.  Prior to being a seafood house it was a fancy dress good store, and during the Revolutionary War it was the location where Federal troops received their wages.

Fun Fact: The toothpick was first used here!

This is a menu at Atwood & Bacon’s (the name prior to Union Oyster House) from the 19th century.  All of the prices are in cents- most of the oysters were between 10-40 cents, while a milk or coffee was 5.

And looking at all those oysters in the window, we had to stop for a snack at the Farmer’s Market:

Lot’s of seafood to choose from!


And we decided to have some fresh Cherrystone Clams:

They were some of the the most delicious I have ever had!

After some more walking around we decided to stop in one of the many restaurants in the North End.  We chose Rabia’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, an Italian restaurant.  A group of us had a lot of good food, to give you a little taste:

we had to have a bit more oysters!

This was the Fradiavolo Alla Mediterranea (baby octopus, shrimp, scallops, calamari, clams, mussels, linguine, fire roasted tomato).

Linguine Alla Vongole (Cape Cod littlnecks, assorted mushrooms, garlic, linguine)

Fettuccine Con Aragosta (Fresh Maine lobster, fresh egg fettuccine, Vermont butter)

Lobster with butter!

After looking through all those photos, I now want to make some pasta and seafood.  Yum!

One last Boston tip!  We went to brunch at The Regal Beagle, which had a great atmosphere- very laid back and great for a Sunday morning.  This will be a bold statement- I had the best BLT sandwich I have ever eaten.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo (next time?)- but if I will ever be back, I will definitely get this again.

Good-bye Boston, we’ll definitely be back soon!

Travel Photos- Warsaw, Poland

I know, I’ve been back for almost a week and I’m only putting these up now!  Slightly delayed, but I haven’t forgotten.

Some factoids to start off the post: Warsaw (in Polish, it’s Warszawa) is the capital of Poland and the largest city in the country.  During World War II, Warsaw was destroyed and had to be rebuilt, so many of the architecture is much younger than other cities in Poland (ex: Krakow).  Some of the historical buildings have been reconstructed, however, many structures are from the Cold War era.


This was the view from my hotel room, but here’s a better picture of the tallest building in the city:

This is the Palace of Culture and Science, the Soviet Union built this building in the mid-1950’s.  Currently, it’s a convention center, and holds offices, cinemas, theaters and museums.

This is Warsaw’s Old Town, which has been reconstructed after WWII.  The orange building is the Royal Castle and the tower to the left is the Sigismund’s Column.

This is the Market Square, which looks very bare without the Christmas Market- when I was here about a year ago!  The current buildings were reconstructed during the late 40’s and early 50’s, as they looked in the 17th century.

I also took a longer (and much colder) walk to the Royal Baths Park (Łazienki Park).


Walked past the Chopin Monument to Łazienki Palace.

It was wonderful, although very cold!  While I was there, it was -8ºC!  Brrr!  In the summer, this park will have wonderful green colors- perfect for a nice run.  Next time?

To end my trip to Warsaw, I stopped by the Warsaw Uprising Museum.  It’s a historical museum (opened in 2004) dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.  In the fall of 1944 the Polish Resistance Army was fighting to liberate Warsaw from German occupation.  If any of you ever get a chance to stop by, please do.  Although the topic is not particularly happy, it does show a part of history which many of us don’t hear about.

I did get a chance to see a 3D movie which is shown there, illustrating Warsaw after the uprising, and bombing, of the city.  Check out this video.

This is a food blog, so if you’d like to know what kind of food I had it Warsaw, check out this post.

Travel & food- Warsaw

I’m currently on a work trip, and still have a couple more days to go until I can sleep in my own bed.  Until then, I’m living off restaurant dinners, airport snacks and cafes.  Just thought I’d show you guys what I’ve been up to ’till now!

During my layover in Munich, I had this great sandwich from Dallmayr Cafe.  It’s a family-owned company which began as a small grocery store.  The bread was delicious- very fresh, and I loved the flax and sunflower seeds.

It was simple sandwich, but very tasty.

Of course after a long flight, a cappuccino was needed!

I’ve spent the last couple of days in Warsaw.  Remember when I was here in December 2010?  Well, I’m visiting this city again.  Between some work appointments, I did get out to try some places in the city:

Some espresso is definitely needed for the jet lag!

I stopped at a cafe for some tea and tiramisu.  It was great to enjoy some time while warming myself up- today it was -8ºC!  Brrrrr!

Although this beef tartar wasn’t as cute looking as the one we got in Vienna, it was just as delicious!  It came with onions, pickles and pickled mushrooms.  My favorite was the alfalfa with the tartar, a great addition.

Lastly, I had this fantastic, and gorgeous, soup at La Bodega.  It was a creamy potato and vegetable soup, with a piece of fresh salmon (the pinkish little blob in the middle).  The soup was hot, and cooked the raw salmon.  It’s also a wine bar, with some tasty Spanish wines, so if you pass it- stop in.

I wish I could have taken more pictures of the food that I have eaten.  But when you meet new co-workers, especially on the other side of the world, I’m not sure if they’d feel the same about the photo-taking!  =)

More to follow in a couple of days…

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Happy New Year Everyone!  Thank you for all of your support with this blog in the last year, it has been wonderful to document all of our culinary adventures.  We’re looking forward to a delicious 2012!

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s there is a relaxing pace in all of our lives.  People aren’t stressed at work and are enjoying the extra time with family and friends.  We have more time t0 read, sleep and relax.  I always look forward to this quiet time of the year.

In year’s past, Sam and I have gone out to a nice dinner on New Year’s Eve.  This year was similar, but rather than going out, we had two of our friends over for dinner.  While Sam had made the entree (filet mignon, roasted broccoli, shrimp and grits), our friends brought over a cream cheese soup and poached pears with cardamom cream (both were finger licking delicious- I can’t wait to try out both recipes).  It was a peaceful evening: wonderful conversations, mouthwatering food and amazing company!

Everyone has a list of resolutions as a new year begins.  There is something nice about starting with a fresh, new calendar.  Rather than resolutions, I make goals.  I was thinking about the goals I had for this blog, for our kitchen, and I decided to write them out for all of you to see them- then you can hold us accountable!  (these are in no particular order)

1. Make more breads from scratch.  Although we had made some breads (Double Rise Wheat Bread, Dinner Yeast Rolls), I’d like to make them more often, rather than buying.  This includes making bagels from scratch, it’d be a fun weekend project.  Any recommendations on good bread books?

2. Make more pasta from scratch.  Takes times, but it’s well worth it.  Any good recommendations for pasta cookbooks?

3. Try to make some Polish dishes, for example I’d love to make pierogi’s or gołąbki.  I’ve seen my mom make them, and they taste significantly better than store-bought.

4. Have less kitchen waste.  For the most part, I think we’re pretty good, but I would like to have a compost pail.  The problem is that I don’t know where we could drop off our compost (here in DC)- anyone have any ideas?  It’s definitely something I’d like to look into.

5. Take a food photo class.  As we make more recipes, I want them to look as appetizing and gorgeous as they taste!

6.  Try making a yogurt or cheese from scratch.  I’ve seen kits to make various cheeses- has anyone ever tried it?  If so, I’d love to hear recommendations!

7.  Travel more!  I actually make this a goal every single year, but it’s a good one to keep reusing.  What does it have to do with food?  You get to try new dishes, new flavors and enjoy every single bite!  Although it’s only January 1st, we have a couple of trips planned, they are:
a. Boston, MA
b. Charlottesville, VA
c. the Outer Banks (NC)
d. honeymoon (TBD- we’ll keep you updated, but it’ll be someplace warm!)
e. Philadelphia, PA
So if you have any suggestions/recommendations for things to do, places to visit, or foods/restaurants to try, we’d love to hear them!

8.  Grow our readership and community!  Check out our Fifth Floor Kitchen Facebook page!  We hope to do some updates to the blog, which is a day by day learning adventure.  Remember, we’d love to have feedback if you’ve tried a dish, made changes to a recipe, if you have questions or just want to say hello!  The three favorite blog posts from 2011 were: Blueberry-Rhubarb Crumble, Zucchini Enchiladas and Carmel, Pretzel and Nutella Bars (so if you haven’t tried one of these- definitely make them soon)!