Breakfast, so they say, is the most important meal of the day. This is especially true when you’re going to spend the day exploring Philadelphia‘s historic sites or, say, visiting the new Museum of the American Revolution. Really, it’s important even if you simply want to have a relaxing morning. And starting this week, Philly’s Old City neighborhood has a new option for a morning meal at The Little Lion.
For a long time, I was reluctant to try Philadelphia’s City Tavern. I passed by it countless times as a teenager and during my college years. It was merely a landmark on my route to South Street or when I’d go to rock shows at the nearby Khyber Pass club (RIP). I thought of City Tavern as just another tourist trap. And while that is true to a certain extent, City Tavern has a lot more to offer than most give it credit for.
My husband and I somewhat spontaneously made reservations for lunch a few days before our visit to celebrate our anniversary. It seemed like a fun place to try.
It is simply amazing the lengths that some people will go to to escape. To escape persecution, fascism, war — the list of reasons, sadly, seems to have no end. It is difficult to comprehend what one human will do to another. Author Greg Mitchell focuses on a very specific period of history that is well known for escape attempts: the Berlin Wall in his latest book, The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill.
There is a bookshelf in my dining room that is home to cookbooks. I have bread cookbooks, pizza cookbooks, and more than a couple of German cookbooks. There is a German cookbook by a German celebrity chef. There’s a somewhat dated out of print German cookbook in English of traditional recipes. I’ve translated recipes from German language recipe sites and blogs. But the results are never to my satisfaction. Whatever I cook never seems to turn out quite like I hope. Then I got my hands on Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss. Weiss is a noted baker, not a native German, and she lives in Germany. I had high hopes that she would understand my plight of trying to make a foreign recipes “work.”
Seemingly every fifth article published on the internet is a vague account of how “easy” it is to live your dream and move abroad. You know: quit your job, cash in your retirement savings, sell all your belongings. Then move abroad to live in varying degrees of comfort depending upon the location and your skill set. But long before these hipsters started blogs to detail their travels abroad, there was Olivia de Havilland. The actress has won two Academy Awards with an impressive five nominations in all. You might remember her as the mild mannered, big-hearted Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind. But in 1962 the actress published a book titled Every Frenchman Has One, detailing all about her adventures of living in Paris, France as an American.
To celebrate de Havilland’s 100th birthday, publishers re-released the book.
Round these parts, we take our pizza very seriously. And I know what I like when it comes to pizza: thin crust that isn’t soggy or a cracker, a tomato sauce that is slightly on the sweet side and just the right amount of cheese. Everyone’s got their local pizza shop where they get a pie every so often. But there is a certain sense of satisfaction to making your own pizza at home. And, it can taste better, too. James Beard Award-winning author and chef Ken Forkish has recently released The Elements of Pizza to help us home cooks up our pizza-making game.
Maybe it is just me but when I travel or explore anywhere new I hate to be obvious about it. As far as I am concerned there is nothing worse than looking like a tourist. A recent guided tour in Nuremberg made me open up my mind a bit to the concept. But it’s still not at the top of my list despite how much great information you can get on a walking tour of a new city or even exploring your own backyard. So when GPSmyCity reached out to me about their app I was really interested.
GPSmyCity is a convenient and inexpensive app (each city costs less than $5) for your mobile device that offers self-guided walking tours on a variety of topics for nearly 500 different international cities. Using the GPS on your device, you can easily follow along the planned path and get from one important sight to another without getting lost. Available on both Apple and Android devices, the walking tours work offline so you do not have to worry about your data plan. You can even use the app to create your own walking tour. Not to mention that, because it is on your phone, it is discrete. No one need know you are a T-O-U-R-I-S-T. And because it is self-guided, you can spend as much or as little time at each spot as you wish.
Sometimes you are ready to cook. You are psyched. But what to make? Sometimes trying to figure out what to make can be the hardest part. And once you figure out what you want to make, you have to see if you even have all of the ingredients. That is why I like ingredient specific cookbooks. So even if you do not take time to pre-plan and organize your cooking, you can simply whip something up based on what you have available. It is “easy” to put together dozens upon dozens of recipes but to assemble a finely tuned and carefully focused cookbook is more difficult. That is what intrigued and appealed to me about Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson’s Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes.
Admittedly, I’m slightly late to the party here. If you haven’t tuned in for Deutschland 83 yet, so are you. But there is a quick solution: watch it. Usually I approach anything remotely related to the German language under the guise of it being educational. (And who is to argue that making Spezi at home isn’t good for you?) And Deutschland 83 certainly is: filmed in Germany in German with German actors. But it’s also just unapologetically entertaining.
Another year. Another group of books. Last year I tried to take a small break from German language books in order to give myself a mental break. This year the list is klein aber fein — or so I’m telling myself. I’m a little disappointed that my reading list isn’t longer. 2015 reading list count: 3 books.
But, as a non-native German speaker reading almost exclusively German language books, I learned something important. Don’t get stuck. I started 2015 off with Heinrich Böll’s Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum. For me and my skill level, the book is a little too, for lack of a better term, literary. I struggled to get through each page. I got so discouraged that I didn’t want to read. I simply didn’t pick up the book. Or any book, for that matter. (Instead I seemingly pulled the old school trick and saw the movie instead.)
Sometimes it’s better to put a book down, put it aside, and pick up another book instead. Keep your motivation up and your courage.
So, instead, I moved on. Here’s what I did end up reading in 2015.