Forget Philly cheesesteaks, if there’s a reason to drive down to Philadelphia, it’s Little Baby’s Ice Cream, the second coolest thing in town after this little baby.
I think I’ve found my favourite ice cream shop and it’s only on the other side of the world! I’m talking handmade small batch ice cream in inventive flavours like earl grey sriracha, pizza, cucumber dill, chocolate salt malt or my favourite, red hot cinnamon and an outlet with ice cream zines, a pay-it-forward board (leave a scoop for somebody you love), and a NerdsTM grinder.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream’s customer helpline also offers a magic 8 ball service that you can call/text your questions to which they respond to promptly. Look for the blue zigzag at 4903 Catherine St, eat their delicious ice cream and follow them on instagram (because they are so much fun).
More in Cedar Park:
I am all for dessert before dinner but if there’s another reason to get your butt to West Philly, it’s Guacamole Mexican Grill (4612 Woodland Ave). This cheap-as-tortilla-chips little yellow cantina and the wonderful gem of a woman that runs it will warm the cockles of your heart. Order the guacamole to share and get a mixed plate of soft shell tacos. It was easily some of the most generous, most lovingly prepared and most delicious Mexican I’ve ever eaten.
Shoutout also to Milk and Honey Market (4435 Baltimore Avenue). Their gluten free bagels made my morning. A great spot to get coffee and breakfast!
Lastly, a heads up. Look out for an awesome cultural event called the Baltimore Ave Dollar Stroll held once a year. You’ll find participating independently owned local businesses (of which there are plenty because Philadelphia is fantastic) offer their wares for only one dollar. From craft beer to injera rolls, look what was on offer this year.
I am in Goa. (Healing.)
This year, though I have been most fortunate and grateful to travel as much as I have has left me feeling rather drained and unlike myself.
Goa usually means north or south for me, with sun soaked days in Mandrem, visits to the ever festive Saturday night market and gorgeous meals at La Plage, or even spent in small rented cottages in Agonda with simple thali lunches at Fatima Store.
Not this time.
I’m happy to be here outside of season, lingering somewhere in between. I wasn’t meant to be back in India but here I am. I’m spending time with my grandmother (who is my soulmate), collecting shells on the beach as I always have done, reading and writing, breathing more deeply and finding myself enjoying being on this blog more than ever. I have so many stories to tell. Thank you for reading.
This is Max. He is 9. Max draws portraits for $1 on 2nd St. Max drew his first face before he was two years old and his enthusiasm never wavered so two years ago, Max began setting up his easel on the sidewalk outside the Arden Theatre Co (where his parents are the technical director and costume designer) on First Friday and drawing passerbys willing to shell out a buck for a signed Max original.
Of course my friend Raina and I couldn’t resist. Max likes to work with a brief so we asked to be underwater and Max turned us into mermaids paying careful detail to our hair and jewellery, and added masterful touches to his drawing. This is the result.
Then armed with our latest acquisition, we checked out some of the current art exhibitions in the neighbourhood. First Friday is a cultural event in which the galleries of Old City stay open late and host receptions for the general public. It’s coupled with a fantastic sidewalk artist’s and flea market where we bought prints, handmade and vintage jewellery, healing crystals and other lovely knickknacks. If you can time your Philly visit to coincide, I highly recommend checking it out.
Rome is outrageously cool. Like Paris, it's filled with unbelievable architecture (less tower, more dome), priceless art, delicious food and beautiful people.
After spending four consecutive years in India where one is unlikely to find people who share the same interests as me (and probably you if you're reading this) enjoying outdoor public space, it thrilled me to see the way Romans gather on doorsteps, in piazzas, around fountains to sip on Negroni and puff on rolled cigarettes.
I didn't spend too much time in Rome, but it blew me away. When I wasn't marvelling at the sights (history, architecture or archaeology enthusiasts, this is your city!), I was exploring these neighbourhoods.
Once you have made the token Colosseum visit, reserve the afternoon for getting lost in the sweet streets of Monti, Rome's hippest neighbourhood. Nora P is undoubtedly one of Rome's best design stores, and there are dozens more scattered around Monti especially along Via Urbana and Via Panisperna. Le Talpe is a small and eclectic boutique that stocks everything from artist commissioned chairs to bikinis to sculptures. If it's the weekend, drop into MercatoMonti, an urban artists market filled with independent designer boutiques, and lovely vintage finds.
Take a break and people watch at the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti then head to Ai Tre Scalini, a wonderful wine bar marked by a gorgeous cascade of vines. It's always jam packed and it's likely you'll have to stand but it's still worth a visit.
If you're alone, get a cheap and cheerful early dinner at La Carbonara for the hearty Roman specialties that are carbonara and cacio e pepe (pasta with pepper and cheese) done right. If you're visiting with friends, head to chic Broccoleti for a slightly more sophisticated meal.
Follow your meal with gelato at Fatamorgana. The quality is outstanding and you have to try the weird and wonderful licorice, fennel and honey flavour.
San Lorenzo and Pigneto -
Cheap pizza, street art, samosas. San Lorenzo and Pigneto have all of it. These two fun, slightly grimy immigrant neighbourhoods couldn't be more different from guidebook Rome and they're exactly where you'll find young locals and students enjoying apertivo, the amazing Milan-borrowed tradition of that allows you to enjoy a spread of free snacks and antipasti on the purchase of a single drink.
A little pastel neighbourhood that's too cute not to lose yourself in. Visit some of the shops, have a glass of wine in a cosy bar, admire the Basilica di Santa Maria. If you're hankering for a bite, Forno La Renella sells excellent pillowy pizza by weight with toppings such as sausage and potato and zucchini flowers. (When you go back home, watch To Rome with Love.)
- Visit the market at Campo dei Fiori.
- The Spanish steps, the Pantheon and the Trevi are as busy and tiring as they are lovely. Rome is filled with free drinking water fountains called nasoni. Stay hydrated and also pack a box of tiramisu to go from any Pompi.
- Make an afternoon porchetta pitstop at Er Buchetto which I wrote about here.
- Reserve a day for the Vatican. St. Peter's Basilica and the Musei Vaticani which houses the Michelangelo painted Sistine Chapel are stupendous. Head to the post office to send home a postcard from the world's smallest country.
For more Italy posts, click here.