Fresh Life: Philly Adventures with Courtney Liu

Thursday before last, my first experience of “feeling 22” (ode to Taylor Swift), was spent in the “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia. My boyfriend, Will, and I drove from Baltimore through Delaware and finally arrived in Philly after just about two hours of driving. It was quite a scenic route as we drove on bridges over bodies of water and then finally reached the urbanity of Philly.

Hanging out underneath the statue at Love Park (L); Driving into the City of Brotherly Love (R)

Our first stop was the DoubleTree Hotel on Broad Street (where we stayed overnight) and after settling in, my boyfriend’s friend suggested that we satisfy our cravings for “Philly food” at the Reading Terminal Market. Luckily, it was in walking distance from our hotel so it only took about 10 minutes to get there. As soon as we stepped into the market I can say that I was overwhelmed…in a good way. There was food EVERYWHERE, making it hard to choose what lunch was going to be.

Wine tasting & more fun at Reading Terminal Market

After aimlessly wandering around what reminded me of the market on Granville Island in Vancouver, we stopped by a wine shop in the back and did some Moscato-tasting! While purchasing a bottle, I asked the cashier for her recommendations and she suggested MeltKraft, a destination for gourmet grilled cheese sammies. There, I ordered the popular “Valley Thunder,” which was listed on Buzzfeed’s ‘11 Best Sandwiches in Philly.’ It definitely lived up to the hype: the gooey-ness of the Mac & Cheese, the smokiness of the brisket and crispiness of additional bacon, DELISH. 

Savoring the 'Valley Thunder' sandwich at MeltKraft

Will decided to take his taste buds to Pearl’s Oyster Bar and later ordered my birthday cake from Termini Brothers Bakery – a dense treat consisting of chocolate chip pound cake with chocolate chip frosting.

Pearl's Oyster Bar & Sweetgreen

After lunch, we took a cab (although we could’ve easily walked) to Love Park where the famous “LOVE” statue stands in front of a picturesque waterfall. We also had the chance to walk through City Hall on our way out. We later walked through the city (which kinda reminded me of a not-so-crazy New York City, with the subway tunnels and abundance of restaurants). We passed by Sweetgreen, an East Coast salad joint, and although we didn’t go there for its lettuce creations, I picked up a refreshing cup of mint strawberry limeade!

Keven Parker Soul Food Cafe & hanging in the Old City District

Finally, to wrap up the day, Will, his friends and I headed to the Old City District to hit the bars (as we were celebrating my birthday and our friend, Kim’s graduation). We went to several but the ones that stood out to me were National Mechanics, with its grand entrance that’s reminiscent of the White House (it used to be Mechanic Nationals Bank), and Infusion Lounge, a hookah bar.

Before leaving this amazing city, we headed back to the Reading Terminal Market at Keven Parker Soul Food Café for a plate of fried chicken, Mac & Cheese and collard greens.

I had such a rich Philadelphian experience in even just a day and I definitely hope to return. If you’re headed to the East Coast stop by this city for an advench! Xx, Courtney


Courtney Liu is a Hawaii native in the journalism program at the University of Washington. She loves clothes and styling herself and her friends. She hopes to pursue a career in public relations or in the fashion industry.

Find Courtney on Twitter, and view all of her posts here.