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  1. Website - Location and Rates "Cambria Hotel" may not be a name you normally think of when searching for a hotel - mainly because it's a member of Choice Hotels: better known for Comfort Inn, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn, Quality Inn, etc. However, Cambria (and Ascend) are their two attempts at more-upscale hotels, and the Cambria Hotel in Philadelphia could not have a better location: On the Avenue of the Arts, just a few blocks south of City Hall, it's probably the best value in the immediate area. Always check AAA (and AARP) rates when you use this hotel group: An AAA rate (plus $5 given to the front-desk clerk - *always* do this before your room is assigned, trust me! Just say, "And that's for your trouble" - I've never been turned down yet, and have gotten some sort of upgrade, or free drink, or whatever, probably 25-50% of the time; the other times, the tip has been genuinely appreciated - five dollars to a hotel clerk is one of the best travel investments you can make (just don't expect anything in return, and be pleasantly surprised if something does happen)) anyway, this gave me some crazy price like $109 on a Sunday night, and there were extras such as "Buy one drink, get one free." The one drawback here is parking, and there's very little you can do about it - on Sundays, you may get lucky on the street, but you're essentially going to pay $20-30 a night to park anywhere around here. This is an oddly situated hotel: You come in on the ground floor, take an elevator up to the lobby, and then up again to your room. My room was unlike any I've ever seen: Here's the view you get upon entering: <--- I know, right? But once you're in the room, it's fine, and even pleasant in a quirky way: Not bad for the price and location, and if you're on any type of budget at all, I'd suggest at least looking at Cambria Hotel, which I'm rating 3 stars out of 5 (our star-rating system is explained here, and everyone here is encouraged to use it), and it's at the high-end of the 3-star range (i.e., I'm not giving it 4 stars, but I wouldn't cringe if someone did - it's new, well-situated, and the staff is very pleasant). I'd say it's about on a par with a typical Kimpton Hotel, except that I've stayed in some fairly grungy (i.e., "not well-maintained") Kimpton Hotels recently (that would be you, Baltimore). If anything tugged this up to 4 stars, it would be the location, and the perfectly good beds and linens.
  2. Here are scenes and some info from the ribbon cutting yesterday. "Del Frisco's Grille Ribbon Cutting" by Amaris Pollock on phillygrub.blog
  3. I may have the opportunity to write an collection of places not to be missed in Philly. With the wealth of the posters in this forum, I am asking for a little help. Please chime in where I should visit, and places that are not to be missed. The spots can range from where to eat, where to dine, where the best public bathroom is , think unusual, think funky, think like a local. Please and thank you for all your suggestions. Once I am chosen to write this book, I will personally throw a party and invite everyone to celebrate my very first publication. This is our opportunity to go public. It is with the support of everyone that I have met along the way, including a few of you in this forum, that will encourage me to crush this challenge. I plan on KILLIN' It. 1st time, kat
  4. Good tacos (non-traditional tacos), fantastic beer list, and they serve their entire menu until 1:30 am.
  5. Business lunch; four people, I only know one of them, but haven't seen her in awhile. Ideas?
  6. I would love some suggestions for lunch on a Saturday in early October. Four of us have tickets in the early afternoon to the Barnes Foundation on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and want to have an early lunch (11:30) somewhere between there and our hotel in Center City near Rittenhouse Square. Would prefer a casual sit-down place. Would also like recommendations for dinner on Saturday night. Our favorite restaurant in Philly is Amada, we've been numerous times. We've also been to Zahav and Cochon recently. We're looking to branch out with some place new to us. I should, perhaps, mention that on the Friday night of that weekend we are going to Vedge, the extremely popular vegan restaurant on Locust Street because our daughter really wants to dine there. We're fine with that, as it gets great reviews. Our daughter is not vegan or vegetarian, just fascinated with vegetarian food.
  7. What's good these days in, or within a short cab ride of, Center City for a solo diner? Looking for a place where I can sit at the bar and have a good meal. Any type of cuisine, nothing too outrageously expensive. Thanks!
  8. I attended a large business dinner at Urban Farmer recently. The hotel looks really nice and the restaurant has a good vibe, but the service was slow and generally terrible, the steaks (grass fed NY strip) were noticeably under seasoned, and the rest of the food was nothing out of the ordinary. I did have brunch here on a different occasion and had a much better experience.
  9. We were excited to try Brick and Mortar after Eater named it one its five finalists for Philly 2015 restaurant of the year - along with Aldine, one of our best dining experiences in the city so far. After dining there last night, I can tell you the inclusion on that list does Aldine a great disservice. Brick and Mortar is housed in the first floor of the Goldtex apartment building - it's an oddly shaped, generic space that is really devoid of any character whatsoever. There's an enormous TV that had sports on when we got there although to their credit they did turn it off once the dinner crowd really started to roll in. This restaurant continues an annoying trend of playing loud pop music while you're trying to enjoy dinner. They have a number of crescent-shaped tables that are totally awkward and make you feel like you entire party is sitting on the same side of the table - they tried to jam us into one and then made kind of a big deal about accommodating our request to sit at a regular 4-top. The food is your standard charcuterie, cheese boards, small plates, yada, yada that you see everywhere these days. I would say everything we ate was enjoyable though nothing to write home about. The oysters were just OK, the lamb was pretty nice, as were the rock shrimp. All in all, just not a standout restaurant - there are plenty of better places to go.
  10. The Restaurant Issue of Bon Appetit (Top 5 dining cities issue) was mentioned in another thread. Also in that issue was an article about Vetri. It sounded pretty amazing. The chef there beat out four of our own DC chefs for a James Beard Award (Best Chef-Mid--Atlantic). They made it out to possibly be the best Italian restaurant in the U.S. http://www.vetriristorante.com/ So, has anybody been? Is it worth a two-hour drive? Do tell!
  11. I haven't actually been, but will tell you that Talula's Garden was high on my list based on their website and recommendations from others, but alas, the rest of the folks in my group wanted to eat hand drawn noodles.
  12. Chifa Does Peruvian-Chinese sound intriguing? From my dinner last night at Jose Garce's latest restaurant, I can happily report it was tasty, unusual and more filling than what I had at Amada for the same money. The specialty chicken is worth waiting for: A riff on Peking duck Alas, the noise level was high as it was packed even on a Monday night. Why does trendy dining seem to imply deafening?
  13. Will be in Philly the weekend of 7/8, and am staying in the Rittenhouse Square area. I've searched for Philly food blogs, but have found them to be pretty scant. I'm hoping that some of you Smarties have had experience dining in Center City. I'm looking for somewhere that isn't a Stephen Starr establishment. Italian, French, or American preferred (but open to suggestions)....less than $100 per person, and preferably within walking distance of Rittenhouse Square. Anyone? Thanks in advance! Sorry...just saw that there is a thread specifically about Philly dining. Bump me if you must!
  14. Dutch Eating Place in Reading Terminal Market This Amish-run, counter-seating spot is probably the best place to grab breakfast in Philly. Oh, I love my diners (Little Pete's), but the food here can not be beat-nor the price. I enjoyed fresh orange juice along with an egg platter that included excellent scrapple; crisp on the outside and creamy cornmeal inside. Toasted rye bread was slathered with their homemade butter. Mr. MV ordered blueberry pancakes-3 large cakes that overflowed the plate. Service was incredibly friendly and the prices were very reasonable. Get there early on Sat. or be prepared to wait in line for a seat. DEP opens at 8am on Sat, closed Sun.
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