Giving Back 2017

Oh this year. Time to buckle down and do what I can to give back. Like last year, I'll be donating all of the profits from the map sales to local nonprofits from Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday. That means that your purchase of a map will help to support all of the following organizations: Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Marian Anderson Historical Society, SEAMAAC, Red Paw Relief and Students Run Philly Style (more about the nonprofits below). Last year we raised Read more

#whyilovephillyarts Launches

It's official, the first #whyilovephillyarts, featuring Sean Martorana, is now live! Check out the prints below and purchase one of the 30 limited edition prints online. This is the first collaboration that aims to build a body of Philly-specific art across a variety of mediums for people to purchase with 100% of the profits going to the artist (along with a full commissions and licensing Read more

Sean Martorana x Philly Love Notes

The best part about running Philly Love Notes and making maps is the opportunity to connect with, spotlight, and help build the Philly community (see Giving Back This Year -- news about 2017 soon, #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign, #whyilovephilly parties, Philly Love Letters). So... I'm very excited to announce the new project, #whyilovephillyarts, a series of collaborations aimed at showcasing the amazingly talented artists and makers we have here in the city.  The Concept - Commission a piece of art from a variety of painters, illustrators, graphic designers, Read more

food

Love Note #120: Gluten be damned. Polly Math’s love note to South Philly Tap Room’s grilled cheese

Polly Math
Favorite Spot: South Philly Tap Room
Neighborhood: Newbold
Address: 1509 Mifflin St.

I am: A Central Jersey transplant who is happy to call Philadelphia home. When I’m not out exploring the city, I can usually be found putting things together such as furniture, food, parties, and words. I am healthysapien. I am also ridiculous.
Years in Philly: Part time starting in 2003. Full time since 2007
Current Home: Grays Ferry

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in South Philly Leave a comment

Love Note #115: Lansie Sylvia and Andrew Panebianco on their unrequited love for Cafe Lutecia

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

Lansie-and-Andrew-Cafe-Lutecia-2

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Rittenhouse Square Leave a comment

Love Note #111: Marisa McClellan, cookbook author and canning guru, loves Sue’s Produce off Rittenhouse

Marisa McClellan
Favorite Spot: Sue’s Produce
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
Address: 114 South 18th Street

I am: A food blogger, cookbook author and canning teacher.
Years in Philly: It will be 11 years in January.
Current home: A two-bedroom apartment in a Rittenhouse Square high-rise.

Marisa-McClellan-Sue's-Produce-3

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Rittenhouse Square 3 Comments

Love Note #109: Cindy and Mark Baum-Baicker spread their love across three Chinese food restaurants

Cindy and Mark Baum-Baicker
Favorite Spot(s): Square on Square; Charles Plaza; Han Dynasty
Neighborhood(s): Rittenhouse Square; Chinatown; Old City
Address(es): 1905 Chestnut St (Rittenhouse Square); 234 N 10th (Chinatown); 108 Chestnut St (Olde City)

We are: A professional couple, 59 and 60 yrs old, who have lived and loved Philadelphia for 37 years. We live on Rittenhouse Square and in Upper Bucks County

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City, Rittenhouse Square 2 Comments

Love Note #100: John Paul Titlow loves Little Pete’s in Center City

John Paul Titlow
Favorite spot: Little Pete’s
Neighborhood: Center City
Address: 219 s 17th St

I am: John Paul Titlow, a journalist focusing mostly on technology trends and new media. I write for ReadWrite, Philadelphia Weekly and others. I also help media companies with digital publishing and related geekery. Other areas of expertise include drinking milkshakes and owning multiple cats. I also play drums in Harsh Vibes, a psych rock band based in Fishtown.
Years In Philly: Grew up in King of Prussia. I’ve proudly resided within city limits for eight years.
Current Home: Kensington

John-Paul-Titlow-Little-Petes-3

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 7 Comments

Love Note #99: Looking for something delicious? Swabreen Bakr recommends Stateside on E. Passyunk

Swabreen Bakr
Favorite Spot: Stateside
Neighborhood: East Passyunk
Address: 1536 East Passyunk Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19147 – (215) 551-2500

I am. A social media consultant, I also work as a freelance photographer and writer for Phrequency.com, and am the founder and editor of iPhotoPhilly.com and URBSVOX.com.
Years in Philly: 11 years
Current Home: Love South Philly forever
Swabreen-Bakr-stateside-philadelphia-1

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in South Philly Leave a comment

Carmen’s Country Kitchen

Shorts
I tried out Carmen’s Country Kitchen for the first time on Friday morning.  These days I have the luxury of being able to sit for an hour at breakfast before “work” (read: internship) starts.  The person I was supposed to meet never showed, which turned out to be a small blessing in disguise.  

I spent the next hour chatting with Carmen herself. She is an amazing woman, full of great stories, neighborhood gossip and advice. There is no need to go into the food here on this blog — enough has been written about it on Yelp. The reviewers are right. It is indeed delicious and massive. 

Unfortunately, Carmen’s will be closing in December.  A neighborhood staple will be replaced by a pizza shop, and Carmen will be moving down to the Carolinas to be closer to her grandchildren.  Her hours are pretty crazy before the move date, but if you get a chance, go before it’s too late

(note that this is only half of the order)
Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in South Philly Leave a comment

Love Note #88: Albert Lee, Mr. Philadelphia himself, continues to spread the love. Part 2 of 3 — Reading Terminal Market

Albert Lee (Part 2 of 3)
Favorite Spot: Reading Terminal Market 

Neighborhood: Chinatown
Address: 12th and Arch

I am: I’m what you call “Philly homegrown.” Born and raised in the 215, I spend my days entertaining tourists and locals at the official visitor center of Philadelphia.
Years in Philly: 32
Current home: Chinatown


My love note: 
Ah. The Reading Terminal Market. What hasn’t been said about this amazing space? That it’s on everyone’s must-see list? That you can eat through all of Philadelphia’s tasty traditions with one visit? Or that its storied history is shared amongst thousands of those who proudly call Philadelphia home.  A resounding yes to all that and more.

Located on the intersection of 12th & Arch, it’s impossible to miss. Once home of the Reading Railroad, yes Monopoly, it now stands as a farmer’s market. Quincy Market in Boston, eat your heart out!

Sure, I can rave about sinking my teeth into a roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich from DicNics or take on the challenge of eating a slice of Pummel Cake from Flying Monkey Bakery (Google this if you don’t know what  I’m talking about), but it’s much deeper than that.

The reason why I declare my undying love to the Market can be summed up in chicken bones and blueberry bread.  Yes, chicken bones. No, not a cheesesteak or chocolate chip cookies, but the hollowed out bones of some fine poultry.  You could almost use the cliché of “Chicken soup for the soul.”

Growing up in a Chinese family in Chinatown, no food ever goes to waste. What is defined as the term “foodie” now would have certainly made our household legendary. “Hunger never saw bad bread” and neither did we. If you can cook it, you can eat it especially when it came to chicken. Feet, gizzards, heart. I’m amazed I didn’t have feathers growing out of me. What I did have was homemade chicken soup made lovingly by my late grandmother. Throughout my adolescence, my grandmother (a native of China) would go to the Reading Market to GodShall’s Poultry and ask for a bag of chicken bones. She couldn’t speak much English but she knew how to say phrases like “Bob Barker”, “Come on down” and of course, chicken bones. And make no mistake, just because she couldn’t speak English didn’t mean you could cheat her. If you were off by a single cent, she would call you out on it.
So she would make her travels to the Market to get her bones for her soup. Through mountains of snow or torrential downpours, I could always look forward to arriving home with a big bowl of love waiting for me.
And as far as the blueberry bread goes, let me take you back to the days of Nintendo, specifically the “Game Boy” because that’s what I carried with me when I wasn’t holding bags of groceries from the Market. My mother and I always made our visits on the latter part of Saturday afternoons. Why you ask? Well, at about 5 p.m. every Saturday (almost like clockwork) we would group together with a sea of ladies hovering over the baked goods aisle at the Amish stands at the market. There I was, all squished in wondering why no one was moving. My mother says to just wait. Minutes pass. My feet are achy and my battery in my Game Boy is dying. Finally, I hear the sound of an Amish merchant saying everything on this side of the counter is $1.00. Whoosh!!!! As I was almost bowled over by the “Running of the Bulls”, my mother grabs a loaf of blueberry bread that is amply priced at one dollar. “Enjoying that dollar blueberry bread, aren’t you son?” as I happily chew away at the plump blueberries with my GameBoy safely tucked away.
Although we no longer go wait in the aisles for bread or stop in for chicken bones, we do make our weekly visits and grab whatever we can to use for now or later. It touches my heart to see the ads that say generations have come to this market to shop, laugh and of course eat. It is where culture and commerce meet and nowhere else in the city have I seen tourists, locals, and conventioneers come together and leave with nothing but a smile and a full belly. May it never change….


(See Part 1 here)
Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 3 Comments

Love Note #87: Experience nacho nirvana at Jose Pistolas in Center City (Fidel Gastro)

Fidel Gastro
Favorite Spot: Jose Pistola’s
Neighborhood: Center City, east of Rittenhouse but west of Broad
Address: 263 S. 15th St. It’s next door to McGlinchey’s, another favorite of mine.

I am: One of the few non-Mormons who called Utah home until I turned 18. Somehow I managed to get into Penn (probably my triple minority status of being a poor Mexican from Utah), so I headed east for school and never really looked back. Right now I split my time between being a father, husband, writer, construction manager, and beef jerky proprietor (shameless plug: Side Project Jerky).

Years in Philly: 4 years for school then a brief stint in New York and now back for another 4.
Current Home: Chestnut Hill
My love note:
Dear Jose Pistola’s,

If nachos were an event in the Olympics, yours would win gold every four years. You are the Michael Phelps of making nachos, which is ironic because I am certain the pork that rests atop the amalgam of crunchy chips and melted cheese is cooked low and slow. And it’s not just the pork. Everything about your nachos is perfection. I dream about the pickled red onions and want to make them at home, but I’m lazy and scared that they would never be as good as yours. Where other nachos show up at the table looking haphazardly plated, each ingredient on your plate exists in perfect balance. I suppose this isn’t a love letter to you, but rather your nachos, although without you, I may never have experienced such nacho nirvana. Thank you for that.

Love,
Fidel Gastro

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 1 Comment

Love Note #84: DJ Suga Shay got her start at PYT in Northern Liberties

DJ Suga Shay (Shaina Robinson)
Favorite Spot: PYT
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties

Address: 1050 N. Hancock St.


I am: Local DJ and vegetarian foodie
Years in Philly: born and raised



My love note: PYT has many different interpretations – Pay Your Tab, Pick Your Toppings, and yes, Pretty Young Thing – and means many different things to me. Tommy Up, a close friend of mine and PYT’s owner, has had a huge hand in my success. I had my first formal DJ lesson in the infamous Backroom, my first weekly residency in the tent, and my first party, Brass Knuckles, at the front bar. PYT is home to America’s Craziest Burgers and it’s eccentric staff reflects that envelope pushing, colorful business model. They make me feel like I’m always welcome. I can walk in at any time, any day — even just to stop by and sit outside for a while — and it’s like I never left.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Northern Liberties Leave a comment