Lansie Sylvia and Andrew Panebianco
Favorite Spot: Cafe Lutecia
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse/Fitler Square
Address: 2301 Lombard Street, Philadelphia PA, 19146
I am: Lansie – A nonprofit fundraiser from Vermont who loves making cocktails and occasionally hangs jellyfish from trees. Andrew – A writer, teacher, storyteller, and maker of fine salads.
Years in Philly: Lansie – 4. Andrew – 13
Current home: Lansie – Rittenhouse Square. Andrew – Collingswood, NJ
Our love note:
Dear Cafe Lutecia,
Oh, unrequited love! Never have we loved a place so much that’s loved us so little. Your surly French owners have only ever regarded us with a languid disregard, like a fly that keeps landing in the brioche batter that they’ve decided to swat later, yet we come back again and again because your wobbly wooden tables and perfect cafe au laits feel like home…home if we lived in Paris, and always had the weekends free to read back issues of the New Yorker, and only ever ate our quiche lukewarm.
One needs only remember that balmy, August mid-morning where we met the gentleman with the perfectly pressed pants and the two large shotguns to know that this place is a home for wayward travelers and regulars alike. From the woman who wrote a book about her piano-playing cat, Nora, to the man whom we are convinced is European but has no traceable accent (He only reads the Wall Street Journal! And has impeccably tailored, sumptuous white t-shirts! And wears such bespoke driving moccasins!) we’ve often found ourselves happily ensconced in a delightful crew of patrons who all seem to know each other, and who all seem to hide a really interesting story, right below the surface.
Perhaps this is why we love you so much, Cafe Lutecia. Similar to Philadelphia, you offer us a spot that we can begin to understand, but barely ever know, not truly, not until we’ve been here a good long while…but it’s certainly fun to sit back, watching so many individuals greet each other, and smile, knowing one day we’ll be a part of it all as well.
One day we’ll get you to laugh, surly owners, and that day with be The Best Day. But we know, like Philadelphia, you don’t give your love easily, and you might be holding back some great little secrets, if we’re just patient enough to get to know you better.
So see you next Saturday. We’ll be the loud couple in the front, hopped up on espresso, covered in croissant dust, narrating the inner monologue of every passing dog. We hope that the green lentil coconut milk soup is on the menu, and we can’t wait for our favorite waiter with the mellifluous voice to tell us about the daily specials.
Lansie and Andrew