a big guy in a big city

Living in Hotels for 3 weeks… starting now

Posted: May 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia, Travel | No Comments »

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I moved out of my apartment on Sunday and into the Doubletree on Broad and Locust for a few days (tonight is my last night in Philly before going to LA). I got a room with 2 queen beds, which is unnecessary, but it’s nice to have a spare bed to lay clothes out on. The view is pretty sweet because I’ve got a 22nd floor room with a view of South Philly looking over towards the river.

Updates will be spotty over the next few weeks (more so than usual) because of the hectic traveling schedule, but I’ll try and update with a “hey, I’m here” post every so often purely to make people jealous.


Posh Lunch Monday: XIX at the Hyatt

Posted: April 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Philadelphia | No Comments »

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After a short break (the dim sum Tigg and I ate in New York the week before was nice, but it certainly was not posh), PLM made a triumphant return with a visit to the highest restaurant in Philadelphia (though I would guess that the staff-only cafeteria in the Comcast Center is actually higher), XIX at the Hyatt Bellevue.

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Despite the temperature being a sweltering 31c, I donned a short over my tee, which did garner a compliment from the hostess (she said I was handsome, and to be fair, she was right). I was offered table on the roof deck, which I gladly took even though no one else in the restaurant seemed to be that enamored with the thought of al fresco dining on the lunchtime sun. Obviously, there were umbrellas, so the sun wasn’t an issue, and there was a decent breeze as well, so the heat was a lot more manageable than you would imagine. The view was great, I could see the top of my apartment building (which aparently has a large mural on it, they haven’t opened the roof deck yet), and all the way over to the Delaware river.

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The lunch menu is either a normal menu where to pick appetiser, entree, maybe dessert, or the ‘express’ menu, which is 3 courses for $19 (including soft drinks or tea). The first course (above) is a buffet, there was a lot there to go at, prawns, salami, parma ham, salads, all good stuff. I could have got more, but I didn’t want to look greedy.

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You picked your main course from selection of five or so, I went with the flat iron steak in red wine jus with asparagus and fingerling potatoes. Whenever I’m served a steak which is pre-cut, I always just presume that it was an odd shaped piece of steak, which was too ugly to be served whole. It was okay, but nothing startling, I would have liked to get a couple more potatoes and asparagus spears, it seemed strange to get more meat than accompaniments, but it was still a well sized dish.

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The desserts were really fun. On the whole they tasted good but nothing amazing, especially considering all the great desserts I’ve eaten around town over the past few months. Desserts were a buffet affair again, so you could pick and choose from lots of different little desserts, I picked up 5, but there was quite a few others that I didn’t get, and a few bowls of cookies as well. I like getting a selection of desserts, since they’re usually a bit of a treat, so trying lots at the same time lets you experience lots of new things without feeling like you’ve eaten too much.

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I earned my treat

Posted: April 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Philadelphia | No Comments »

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On Saturday, according to Google, Philly was experiencing 99F. It sure did feel like it, so I spent most of the day in my air conditioned apartment, but with it looking so nice outside I decided to venture out for a walk. Wow.

I am not made for the heat.

I wandered around for almost an hour, going up to Logan Square and standing down-wind of the fountain, checking out Love Square, and at that point I felt like I’d had enough, so I headed back to Rittenhouse and got myself a fruit stick, which was just a pineapple fruit lolly with lots of real bits of pineapple in the juice. It was delicious, cooling, and healty. The perfect trio!


The camera never lies

Posted: April 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia | No Comments »

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I’m pretty sure the camera does lie, because I look pretty thin in this photo, but I don’t think that’s the case in reality compared to when I arrived in Philly. I don’t think I’ve packed on too many pounds, but with all the interesting things to eat here that are different from at home I’m still trying new things, and I’m sure that won’t change when I get over to the West Coast either.

Oh, and my new shoes look pretty cool, right?


Pasta? On a Pizza?

Posted: April 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Philadelphia | No Comments »

Pasta? on a slice of pizza?
On Friday I went to Zio’s Pizza (it’s less than a block from the office) and grabbed a couple of slices for lunch and took them back to the office. When I first got to Gyro I was worried about bringing back hot food because it would have more of an aroma than cold food, but since everyone does it I figure I should stop being silly and just eat what I want because none of them care what I bring back for lunch. I got a slice of pepperoni, because it’s awesome, but I also got a slice of pizza with pasta on it, because when when you see a piece of pizza with pasta on it how can you not want to try such a monstrosity? Technically it was a seafood pizza (there were prawns on it), but we all know that wasn’t the main attraction. It tasted pretty much like pizza… with pasta on it, which was actually pretty good, but I think I would have preferred it without carbs on my carbs.

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Since it was a hot day and I still had 30 minutes left of break I decided that I was definitely in need of a water ice run (pina colada, delish!), and to make myself feel better about buying the syrupy treat I got some for Percy too, guilt-free dessert!


Plans

Posted: April 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Travel | No Comments »

Making plans
This infographic/scribble should be useful for dedicated stalkers. With just over a week until I leave Philly (and now that Clare has bought her plane tickets) I’m firming up plans for the ‘holiday’ section of this American adventure. You can see which cities I’m hitting: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, back to Los Angeles, up to San Fransisco, then across to Boston, heading down to New York for a couple more days before having one last night in Philly before flying back to Manchester on May 24th.

It’s an unusual route, I’d have liked to take in more cities (Seattle and Chicago were top of the list), but when you consider that we’re doing all that in 18 days I really wanted to cut down on the amount of time that we spend in the air, because the way I see it every time you involve a flight you basically lose a day of holiday time. I’m even tempted to make San Francisco to Boston (which looks like a cheap route for flights, thankfully) an overnight flight to maximise the amount of useful time we have, that might be taking things a little far, though it would be a night we wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel for!

One region in which I’m struggling is car rental, the underage fees are almost as much as the actual price of car rental! The prices aren’t astronomical though, to the point at which even renting a convertible for our road trip along the coast road from LA to San Francisco isn’t entirely out of the realms of possibility.

On the social side I’ve already had a couple of offer from t-shirt people to hang out, and after meeting David from Seibei I think it would be cool to meet some more new people that I know as an e-mail address rather than a face.

The excitement builds!


As is the fashion, cheesesteaks at Pat’s

Posted: April 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Philadelphia | No Comments »

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When you come to Philly, you HAVE to eat a cheesesteak, there’s a whole form you have to sign at immigration and everything! No. Not really.

Tigg, Hillary and I were going to go for cheesesteaks after the Phillies came, which would have been the most Philadelphian experience ever, but since it was raining hard we literally gave it a raincheck until the next day. I don’t know how impressed Tigg was with his cheesesteak. It took me a couple to think that there was something to them, and I don’t think that this latest one was the best I’ve had, the one’s me and Neil had we the best so far (I say sounding as if I eat them every day).

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Because of the risky business of the ordering process, I ordered for both me and Tigg (“two whiz wit”) and after I paid the guy at the window looked to Tigg and asked him what he wanted, as if I could manage to eat both of them, I ain’t no Bob Shoudt!

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Rita’s Water Ice

Posted: April 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Food, Philadelphia | No Comments »

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On Wednesday Tigg and I were wandering along South Street, and despite having eaten a cheesesteak about 45 minutes previously, when I said “you want some water ice?” Tigg couldn’t resist. Water Ice is basically sorbet, I can’t really think of anything that separates the two. Sorbet is delicious, and so is water ice. I actually went out and bought some today during lunch for me and Percy since it was such a hot, beautiful day. They have a lot of cool flavours too, the pic above shows mango, and today I got pina colada flavour, which actually had little bits of pineapple in it. Tigg seemed confused by his icy treat:

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Adventures in NYC

Posted: April 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Travel | 1 Comment »

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Me and Tigg went to New York for the weekend and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. We met a guy I ‘know’ from the internet that makes some great t-shirts, and he joined us for a night out on the town, ending up with us at a house party in Brooklyn, or perhaps it was Williamsburg, I don’t really know where we were to be honest, I just got on and off the subway when I was told to.

Since we’d both been to New York before, we didn’t feel the need to do all the tourist-y stuff, though we did anyway since our hotel was 4 blocks from Times Square, and we got to check out some areas I hadn’t been to before, such as the East village, and since I wasn’t just there for the day and had a suitcase I could do some shopping for a change. I bought a pair of sneakers/trainers (the ones I bought in Hong Kong are just about worn through on the sole) by Adidas Originals, a pair of Oakley sunglasses from Macy’s (just 7 months after I was given money for my birthday to buy them), and a small vinyl toy from Kid Robot (it’s going to be the mascot of the US tour), and despite it being a 3 inch by 3 inch box they gave me a full-size bag, a bigger bag than the one for my shoes, ridiculous!

Tigg pretty much bought his body weight in Jolly Ranchers (amongst other things), I think he might actually have some kind of an addiction, someone back home needs to keep an eye on him. Okay, on with the pictures!

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Take me out to the ball game

Posted: April 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia | No Comments »

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Me, Tigg, and Hillary went to see the Phillies on Tuesday night. They were doing a 2-for-1 ticket offer, and whilst they weren’t the best tickets (up on the top level), but at $11 a pop we couldn’t complain, and the view was actually pretty good.

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Baseball seems to be a very sociable sport to go and watch in America, people go there to hang out and chat, almost watch the game, and drink some $6.75 beers. It’s pretty hard to follow what’s happening in the game, since it’s hard to tell a foul ball from a strike, but it’s still a lot of fun.

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Even though it was sunny at the start of the game, things took a turn for the worse around the 5th inning, and by the 7th it was raining so hard that they called a delay. Ironically, because we had bough the cheapest seats, we actually got a lot less wet than those that paid 7 times more. They put the Flyers (ice hockey) game on the jumbotron (who were playing in the Wachovia Center just across the Sports Complex), and it was pretty cool to watch the game with however many fans had stayed at the game, because they were actually chanting and cheering the team on, but we left after a little while thinking that they’d call off the game (though apparently they did finish out later that evening, around 11:30).


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