I spent the long weekend in Philly with the boyfriend, as we clearly needed a vacation after a week off from work (or rather, we had this planned before this). Here are some recommendations based on our trip (limited obviously):

  • To eat: really, really, REALLLY enjoyed Tinto, a tapas/wine bar from¬†Jose Garces (you know, the newest Iron

    La Colombe

    Chef). The food was inventive and so tasty, the service impeccable and down to earth, the wine selection limited to Spain and wonderful. And after all the food we ate I was expecting the bill to be much higher, so I’m starting to believe friends that say Philly is one of the last affordable cities in the east. Also check out Parc (casual French bistro on Rittenhouse Square) and the huge Reading Market (as boyfriend described, Eastern Market on steroids).

  • To drink: La Colombe (coffee, not liquor) – this coffee is good. Really good. We went back twice after enjoying it. Ask for a recommendation if you don’t know what to order (there’s no menu, by the by). As for liquor, I thought you could still smoke in Philly bars, so I wasn’t quite excited to go in (found out later only some bars have smoking exemptions) and ended up just chilling at restaurants for my imbibing pleasure.
  • To see: architecture. There are a lot of great old buildings in Philly. Some of my favorite parts of our weekend were just walking down random streets and seeing a fabulous building, taking a picture, and then reading more about it.
  • To visit: art/literary museums. I like history and all, but I am not a fan of touristy stuff or tours around the

    Great architectural details

    Liberty Bell. Though our stay was short, I really liked the Rosenbach Museum, which houses the Rosenbach’s amazing collection of books/manuscripts (they were book dealers), furniture/knick knacks that would be worth a lot of money on Antique’s Roadshow, and some special exhibits. Also, Philly’s Art Museum has a great collection of American art, especially one of my favorite artists Marcel Duchamp (yes, his Fountain is there).

Check out all of my photos from my trip on my Flickr photostream.

The Manhattan, 14th and Florida

The Manhattan, 14th and Florida

Now that I’m living off of 14th street, I’ve been walking through different streets than I normally do. I couldn’t help but notice the fabulous looking building that the Meridian Charter School is housed in. The Manhattan, an art moderne structure, I learned with some quick Google searching, used to be a laundromat (what cool architecture for a laundromat!). It was built in 1935 and served as a laundromat through 1973, when it was abandoned. It remained empty and was nearly demolished, until the Meridian Charter School came along in 1987 to rehab the building and use it as their school.

I love the details and little touches of the water lilies above the window and the fact that the upper floor’s walls are actually small blocks of glass.

Meridian International Center

Meridian International Center

I had a day off today thanks to an awesome compressed work schedule. I had quite a list: go to yoga, bake, cook, do laundry, do dishes, and check out the Meridian International Center, finally. I’d been meaning to go, and after reading Prince of Petworth’s post on it a few days ago, I was determined to actually go.

To get there, walk up Belmont or Crescent off of 16th street. The Center encapsulates several buildings, but the White-Meyer house, at 1624 Crescent Place NW, houses the gallery. The buildings are beautiful,  great architecture, great details, I was in heaven.

The gallery currently has an exhibit on “Paintings in the Heart of Russia” featuring Nikolai Timkov’s paintings. It runs through March 8th. It’s small, but the exhibit is pretty great. Timkov was a painter during Soviet Russia, and he had to conform to the Soviet concepts of what “art” should be, though his painting style isn’t very typical of the realism that Stalin named the only acceptable form of painting. He focuses on landscapes, mostly of winter, with bright, beautiful colors, amazing textural canvasses, and impressionist touches. The paintings don’t feel like they were painted in the 20th century, but rather the 19th. There are touches of abstraction here and there, but mostly you can tell that Timkov really dug the French impressionists.

While the exhibit is open during very limited times, Wednesday through Sunday from 2-5 pm, you should go. The buildings are fabulous and the exhibit is very interesting, particularly if, like me, you know next to nothing about Soviet art.

Meridian House

Meridian House

The mission of the Meridian International Center is “advancing international understanding through public diplomacy and global engagement,” so it’s pretty cool they also host a well-curated art gallery, donated by the Caftritz Foundation.

The two buildings the Center are housed in have an interesting history: the White-Meyer house was built in 1912 and the original owner was Henry White, former Ambassador to France. The next family to live there were the Meyers, owners of the Washington Post; Katharine Graham grew up in the house. The Meridian International Center purchased the property in 1987. The Meridian House was built in 1920 by another Ambassador to Greece and Spain, Irwin Boyle Laughlin. The Center purchased the house in 1960, shortly after it was founded.

The garden also looks like it will be lovely in spring, and I hope it’s at least sort of open to the public.

Much more pictures after the jump.