Philadelphia: The conclusion

Thursday’s “Philadelphia Story” began with another visit to Rick’s Steaks, this time with Annette, who was deprived of the cheese steak experience the other day. In the spirit of variety, I followed Annette’s lead and had my cheese steak with “the works:” provolone, mushrooms, and sweet peppers (and steak and onions, of course). Again excellent, and a completely different sandwich than the one topped with cheez whiz.

Then we walked down to the Independence Hall/Liberty Bell area of things. Frankly, it was probably the dumpiest historic area I’ve been to in this country. I mean, the museum where they kept the Liberty Bell (which had been newly constructed, actually) was nice, but the grounds, Independence Hall, and the surrounding neighborhood was kinda seedy. Of course, we didn’t have the time or desire to go to the Constitution Museum, which was also brand-new and looked pretty cool. So maybe we just didn’t give it a chance.

Here are a couple of pictures:

This is Independence Hall just before we crossed the street to see it.

Here’s me with the Liberty Bell. “Where’s the crack?” you ask? On the other side, where all the people are. There’s something interesting about the fact tht what makes the Liberty Bell THE Liberty Bell is a big-ass crack.

Oh, and I bought a liberty bell snow globe, of course.

We had an early dinner at The Continental Midtown, which was right around the corner from our hotel. As the link here suggests, this was a kinda swanky/yuppie/tourist-y/manufactured hip bar/restaurant. The decor is “the 50s meets the 70s meets the 80s meets now,” complete with a thumping soundtrack that sounded a lot like space age pop music to me. We didn’t see the third floor mentioned in this web site, but we did sit in a groovy sky blue vinyl booth.

One of the things we found appealing was its tapas or “small plate” style of eating: you get something, put it in the middle of the table, and then everyone shares. Annette S. joined us for a drink before catching her train back to New York City, and she enjoyed some of the Continental Cocktail Food Platter, which included crab wantons, chicken and broccoli dim sum, and a couple other quasi-Asian appetizers. After Annette S. left, Annette (as in my wife) and I split an order of fish tacos and the Continental chopped salad, which was about a foot-high mound of greens in a light Greek dressing and dotted with some hunks of feta. If we were watching our money more closely and/or generally smarter, we would have gotten the version of the salad that came with chicken and then called it a meal right there.

But hey, when you’re a tourist, you indulge, right?

By the way, judging from the crowds I saw eating in there, the Continental Midtown hasn’t exactly caught on with the “jet set.” Sitting next to us was a couple in their mid-60s who seemed a tad confused with the food placed before them; in the big booth behind us, there were a couple of yuppie Moms and about 10 little kids who looked like they might have preferred Chuck E. Cheese.

One other Philly note:

Because Annette and I were in Philadelphia for a conference, we weren’t up for partying all night long, and because we’re basically old, we watched movies three out of the four nights we were there. We saw Anchorman (hilarious, laugh outloud kinda movie), Napoleon Dynamite (pretty good, but kind of a plain old weird movie disguised as “art”), and Team America: World Police (which was an interesting premise, but we thought it was just not funny, boring, and highly over-rated). So you get some film reviews there, too.

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