Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday thunderstorms

It was overcast in the morning, and as I type it's raining steadily with lots of claps of thunder.

We decided to try breakfast with the Amish at the Reading Terminal Market. The local Amish community run a few stalls, and their breakfast bar "The Dutch Kitchen" was very busy. The menu is way over the top - stacks of food and very cheap. I tried a dish called Turkey Scrapple - imagine a slice of terrine of turkey fried like a fishcake - which was okay, and served with toast, scrambled eggs and cheese. Lynda had the Apple Dumpling with cream. Neither of us made much of a dent in the breakfast - the "diners" serve lots on the plate. I noticed the thinner Americans tended to leave most of the plate, so there's no shame in being beaten by the meal.

The serving and cooking staff were Amish, in the lacy hats and sober garb. There were quotes from the more scoldy proverbs around the place, reminding everyone to be scared of God.

After breakfast we walked to the Italian Market, an area of town which was quite the Little Italy with excellent butchers and greengrocers. As we kept walking, it turned into Little Mexico with amazing wedding supply shops and one shop with live chickens, rabbits and other animals for the chop all complaining noisily.

From there, we walked (a bit too far) to the end of South Street to look at the street art and the shops - all a bit more arty and counter-culture. Lots of bong shops, comic shops, and interesting T-shirt shops. We stopped at the South Street Diner to be further amazed at American cuisine and how much is provided for $9.95.

On the way back, we passed by the Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital established in the United States, and by Benjamin Franklin no less. It's a prosperous University hospital now, set in an attractive suburb with Londonesque rows of townhouses.

We visited Macy's, the famous department store with the Philadelphia branch distinguished by an enormous pipe organ and eagle statue within an Art Deco monument. Clothes were a bit pricey by Australian standards, and the selection not much better than DJ's.

One place worthy of a mention is Di Bruno's, an established Italian merchant and cafe in several locations around the city. The first store, in the Italian Market district, is marked with a mural and the store is fabulous. The inner city one, just around the corner from my hotel, is a haven for coffee lovers and a severe cardiac risk with wholly extravagent cookies cakes and pastries.

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