Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Can't Read My Polka Face

Yesterday I experienced my first Dyngus Day at Buffalo Central Terminal and The Adam Mickiewicz Library with my family and my love. Click on the links for more info on Dyngus Day and the history behind the two places we visited. But in a nutshell, think of Dyngus Day in Buffalo like a Polish St. Patrick's Day celebration. It's unreal! I hadn't been in either place before but I was so excited about going into the terminal! I wish there weren't so many cops around so we could sneak off and explore the rest of the terminal but just being in the main area of the building, even though it is completely run down, was breathtaking. Yes, even with non stop polka music from Those Idiots. I've had Polka Face in my head all day.

My mom found a picture of me and the boy on buffalo.com and I found us in the background of a buffalo news video too! Unfortunately, I can't find any footage of me sticking out my tongue in a lewd fashion behind my mom as she got interviewed from another news channel. Speaking of, more bad news: I forgot my camera. But thank goodness for cellphones! I was able to snap a few (crappy) photos inside Buffalo Central Terminal.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Philly or Bust 2011

The boy turned the big 3-0 a few weeks ago and I decided to surprise him by planning an overnight stay to see his favorite basketball team play and hang out in his favorite city the next day. Before we left Wednesday morning I wrote "PHILLY OR BUST" with my finger in the dirt on the side of my car. We stopped at the north end of Skeneateles Lake to take in the scenery. It was cold but such a beautiful day! The reflection on the lake seemed almost fake as we drove alongside. 

There were thousands of fish in the lake!
It seemed like forever to get there but we made it to Philly! I booked us a hotel room in New Jersey. So we had to drive through Philadelphia in order to get to our hotel room, but we were just a few minutes away from the city of brotherly love.
Yay Philly! Boo traffic!

This was our view from our hotel. Beautiful Jersey!

Benjamin Franklin Bridge...and mist.
We got a little lost going to the basketball game in Philly, and saw a hooker waiting for a trucker to step out, but we didn't miss too much of the game. We had awesome seats (second row, not floor) and even found some extremely over priced veggie burgers! A (crappy) veggie burger with fries and a rootbeer came to $17.50...and that was the combo deal. Ouch. When we came back to our seats we noticed that a mom and her two snotty pubescent kids had snuck down to the row in front of ours. I didn't care so much until the pizza faced little girl kicked my burger and fries. Luckily, I caught the burger and only ketchup and packets went all over (hey, the ketchup wasn't seventeen bones). This however angered my boyfriend as he's the one that was kicked and a pile of ketchup sat on his knee. He called those two kids curse words and the girl was embarrassed. I couldn't believe that the mother didn't get involved. Her daughter had jumped up and over seats and kicked someone's dinner and then put her head down out of what I assumed to be shame. And the little girl never apologized (nor did my boyfriend though for calling her and her family "mother fuckers"). I noticed the mother had a rock on her finger that couldn't fit up the common nostril so just assumed we were dealing with a bunch of rich snobs. It's too bad how some people think manners aren't necessary when money is involved. Towards the end of the game the girl turned around to me and asked what section we were sitting in. At first I thought she was going to apologize so I fumbled with my a words a bit until I muttered out the section number. Right after I told her the section my boyfriend told them to check their tickets (cue laugh track). Other than that bit of drama, and the Houston Rockets (boyfriend's team) losing to the 76ers, the game was fun! I'm not a basketball fans by any means and I have to suffer through many, many games on tv but going to a game and having cool seats made all the difference! I had fun taking pictures for my boyfriend so he could watch and enjoy the game. I'll say it, I'd go to another.
You could hear the swoosh

This was an obnoxious, hardcore Philly fan that entertained me throughout the game

The girl who kicked my dinner. Also known as "mole cunt"
The concert was in our section but we left before we got boxed in. I saw Matisyahu recently anyways.
We went back to our hotel in Jersey after the game to rest up for walking around Philly the next day. My boyfriend fell asleep almost instantly when he laid on the bed that we weren't quite sure was changed before we arrived. It took me a minute to drift off but after I finally rested my mind and assured myself that it was only for a few hours and I could shower first thing in the morning I fell asleep. However, I was awake most of the night from 2-4am, mainly the 3-4am hour though. That's where the action was at! I kept waking up to high heels clicking on cement, knocks on doors and men talking. When we got home from the game we realized our door didn't lock automatically like it should have but my boyfriend/hero fixed it before we went to bed. It's not that I didn't doubt he fixed the lock but I realized how shaddy of a place I booked and was a tad fearful of someone coming in during the night. We checked out first thing in the morning and headed towards downtown Philadelphia and South Street before heading home.

I stopped for gas before we entered Philly and paid only $3.33/gallon for gas! I couldn't believe how cheap gas was in Jersey (good for something)! When I handed my card to the attendant and said "fill 'er up!" he smiled an almost completely toothless grin and replied with something sounding like "yabba gabba." I'm not sure what his language was, but it clearly wasn't english. On the way home I had to fill up again...but this time at $3.67/gallon. Sigh.

Here's where the trip gets tasty! While checking out the sites and architecture downtown we walked to the Redding Terminal Market. The place was a food lover's dream with randomness strewn between like used book stores and incense shops. We grabbed lunch at a vegetarian place called The Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar. They had quite a few options and a hearty handful of vegan meals too. I've never been much of a meat eater before I was vegetarian so I had never had a philly cheesesteak in my life but thanks to seitan I enjoyed my very first philly cheesesteak...only vegan! They added peppers, onions and soy cheese making the entire hoagie smell, and look, just like all the other "real" cheesesteaks! I would imagine it tastes pretty close to the original cheesesteak. Anyone out there ever tasted both? I'm curious as to how close the two taste.

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak
After lunch we continued our venture in downtown Philly to check out a few historic sightings at the Independence Mall. We were strapped on time because of the lunch rush in the market but we were able to get in a few quick glances.The foundation to the President's House was on display in a giant glass case after having archeologists dig it up and that was pretty neat. On the way to the Liberty Bell my boyfriend decided it was a good time to practice healthy grooming habits and began clipping his nails, thankfully pausing while we were searched for weapons. The Liberty Bell was, um...liberty-like. I'd never seen the Liberty Bell before so that was cool too actually.
Liberty Bell. Go head, give it a ring.
After throwing a few more bucks in the parking kiosk we started walking towards South Street, a hangout street filled with shops, restaurants and art. We took a few pictures (mostly on film...still needs to be developed) and checked out a few record stores. My boyfriend got some records at Repo Records and I was able to snatch a few at Philadelphia Record Exchange. I was actually disappointed by the inventory at both stores but I suppose all the good stuff is already gone in the bigger cities. Focusing on our stomachs next we bought cookies from Cookie Confidential, a bakery focusing on cookies (obviously). They had two types of vegan cookies that day, key lime and chocolate chip. We bought one of each and realized probably at least three of each would have been better...maybe an uneven five. So good! 
Delicious cookies from @cookieconfident
We bought more vegan baked goods from Essene Market & Cafe. It was a great natural food store, similar to our local one, Lori's Natural Foods, but Essense has a vegan bakery! There were so many choices! Cookies, pies, pudding and cupcakes just to name a few. There were shelves lined with deliciousness! We ended up bringing home a fudge brownie, chocolate chip scone that looks more like a giant scoop of cookie dough and a banana pecan chocolate chip pound cake. We've only tried the brownie so far and it was good! It was a little more cake-like than fudge-like but I'd gladly take another one if offered to me with no complaints. The chocolate chip cookie scone was a little bland but it didn't stop us from eating the entire thing rather quickly. I think I would have liked it better with some tea. Banana pecan chocolate chip pound cake, you're next!
Chocolate Chip Scone...bigger than my fist.

Banana Pecan Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Fudge Brownie

We walked down to the end of South Street, Penn's Landing, took in the view of the Delaware River and started walking back towards the car. Our trip was just about over. We made sure to order a pizza from the all vegan pizzeria, Blackbird, but ordering was hard when there were too many good pies to choose from. Veggie Supreme seemed like a good one to try out...and it was awesome! We talked about maybe ordering with less cheese next time but honestly, we gobbled up our slices with no complaints and brought the rest of the pizza home with us for delicious left overs. Oh and remember the greenbox pizza box I tweeted about a while back? Blackbird Pizzeria uses them! I was so excited once I noticed the box! Blackbird Pizzeria fucking rules.
Blackbird Pizzeria and a stud reading the menu

Greenbox Pizza Box @greenboxny

Veggie Supreme Pizza from Blackbird Pizzeria
onions, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, red sauce, daiya cheese
So that was our mini vacation to Philly (and Dirty Jersey). We had a really great time and can't wait to go back! Next time I'd like to check out the zoo maybe. The ride home was amazing and perfect. I can't imagine being anymore happy than I am right now. Thanks to Brooklawn, New Jersey for letting us crash and for the cheap gas! And Philly...we'll be back.

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