Monday, July 11, 2011

Philadelphia Day 3: Eye of the Tiger

Our morning started out the way most days do. Danny went to a different Crossfit affiliate and I pressed snooze on the alarm clock, warding off any inner urge to go run. This is vacation, I'm supposed to be lazy. It's a good thing that Danny wasn't in vacation mode, because he got a tip from a Crossfitter that Morning Glory was the place to eat breakfast.

Off to Morning Glory we went. Through the heat, humidity, and mist we forged on for the sake of a tasty breakfast. I would describe Morning Glory as glorious. Glorious is a word I reserve for things that are heaven sent. My dog (whom I love incredibly much) Tayler's middle name is Glory: Tayler Glory Lehr. 

Tayler Glory Lehr

The inside was cute, although not as cute as Sabrina's. I enjoyed the funky paint color on the wainscoting throughout the room, which was actually the color of a morning glory. We were greeted by a very nice waitress who served us giant cups of coffee in aluminium camping mugs. We were also given complimentary glasses of ginger lemonade, which sounds odd for breakfast, but was perfect in every way.

Ginger Lemonade,
notice the wainscoting?
 Again we asked the waitress what to get. She said that they were featured on the Food Network for their Monkey French Toast. While tempting, I was more in the mood for eggs. I decided to roll with the frittata thing I had going on and get the Sweet and Savory Frittata which has pears, brie, and bacon in it. How could that be wrong? Danny also kept with his theme of breakfast burritos and got one with sausage that is freshly made just around the corner from Morning Glory. He also ordered a pancake on the side. Like I said, the food was glorious. My breakfast came with this amazing homemade biscuit that I could not stop eating. While I'm usually a strictly butter girl when I do cross into carbohydrate territory, I tried some of the homemade jam on my biscuit and was pleasantly surprised. I also tried a bite of Danny's pancake with real, yes, REAL maple syrup and I was amazed. I usually find maple syrup disgusting and cannot tell the difference between it and a bottle of corn syrup, but real maple syrup is gold. In fact the waitress called it just that.

I'm thinking lunch is going to be light today.

Burrito woahito

It's 5 o clock somewhere? Just kidding,
a bottle of homemade ketchup!
Since we hadn't made it to the Masonic Temple the previous day, due to cameragate, we decided to go today. When we planned this trip I knew Danny had wanted to go to the Masonic temple. I agreed to this even though honestly, I knew very little about the Freemasons. I knew that they are sort of secretive, they've been around for a while, and there are a bunch of conspiracies out there about them. I asked Danny what he knew. His response was, "I think it's like a giant Moose Lodge, but fancier."

Fancy Moose Lodge
We arrived at the grand Masonic Temple, and bought tickets for a tour. We had some time to spare before the tour started, so we went across the street and played a giant board game.


Strong Woman

Deadlifting a Monopoly game piece

Care for a ride my lady?
The Masonic Temple tour started with the tour group waiting around in some fancy library/parlour. There was a picture of the current Grand Master Mason in the center of the room. I then looked around at the people who we were taking the tour with and noticed that the rest of the group had a good 40 years on us. I accepted this age discrepancy with an open mind.  It is well known amongst my friends that I am a little old lady at heart.

Our tour guide entered the room and looked very annoyed with all of us elderly people. He pressed a button in his hand and the room started talking. I could sense some confusion amongst my elderly comrades....Where was this voice coming from? Who was this person? Was it God or Morgan Freeman?

The tour guide then pressed his button discretely to silence the voice and described what we would see on our tour. There are 7 halls in the Grand Masonic Lodge of Pennsylvania. These halls are where the different Masonic Lodges meet. The 7 Halls are decorated in different styles/eras and look like they cost a pretty penny.  While the man was explaining what we would be doing he said that this was an architectual tour, however, if anyone had any questions about Masons he would answer them. Being that he is a Freemason who is pretty high up there on the Freemason scale, he knew what he was talking about.

Despite being annoyed, (he was kind of a pompous ass, which I realize makes me sound like an ass) the tour guide did answer a lot of questions about Freemasonry (without giving away any secrets). He talked so fast I couldn't remember everything he said. Here is what I can recall:

  • There are a bunch of conspiracies about Freemasons. He says that they are just a fraternity who spreads good will. Anyone who thinks anything else is silly.

  • To be a Freemason you must be a man (darn!), believe in a supreme being (but they do not discuss religion in the meetings), and  be of good morals and good reputation (whatever that means).

  • They are not allowed to discuss politics within the lodge. I find that hard to believe...Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Gerald Ford were all Freemasons and the list goes on.

  • The Freemasons donate approximately 2 million dollars to various charities a day. I also find this hard to believe. I don't know why, but I do.

There are lots of weird rituals and handshakes that go on. He said if we wanted to know more, we should become Masons. Since I'm not planning on becoming a man anytime soon, I'll have to live out the rest of my life wondering about these secret rituals.

Besides all this interesting secrecy, the 7 Halls are beautiful. If you are ever in Philadelphia you should check them out.

Oriental Hall

Gothic Hall

Ionic Hall

Egyptian Hall

Norman Hall

Renaissance Hall

Corinthian Hall

One of three banquet rooms. There is
a Turkey above the door, because Benjamin Franklin
(a mason) thought the Turkey should be the national bird.

Tom Thumb, also a Freemason

Even after going on a guided tour of a Grand Mason Lodge, I still am confused by the Freemasons. Are they a bunch of men in suits who know how to decorate halls and just want to have a good time or are they a super secretive fraternity of political and religious elitists? Danny is sticking with his "Fancy Moose Lodge" theory.

We stopped by the LOVE sculpture, which is a famous Philadelphia landmark. While we were taking pictures by the LOVE sculpture, we saw a man dressed in a dog suit. I was very confused and thought this man dog might be insane. Danny assured me that the dog man was promoting a new show on FX called Wilfred. Wilfred is about a dog and his neighbor. The neighbor sees Wilfred not as a normal dog, but as a man dressed in a dog suit. Last year when we wet to Chicago we saw Vince Vaughn... perhaps my brief brushes with stardom will continue on our next vacation.


Danny decided he was hot and thirsty so he suggested milkshakes. Even though I wasn't hungry, I know that the suggestion of milkshakes is very rare opportunity, and when it does occur, I do not turn it down. So we found Darlings Cafe which was on the way to our next destination. Darlings Cafe is known for their cheesecake along with other sweets. Danny decided we should try some cheesecake too, "Because you know Philadelphia is known for it's cheesecakes." I reminded him that it was known for it's cheeseSTEAKS not cheesecakes. We ordered a piece of their "famous" bananas foster cheesecake. Let me tell you, if every cheesecake in Philadelphia tasted like those at Darlings Cafe, it might just be famous for them too. Danny's chocolate milkshake satisfied his craving and my strawberry milkshake reminded me why I don't usually order strawberry milkshakes.

Darling's Cafe: Home of the original Philly Cheesecake
Our next venture would accomplish our third goal that we had set for ourselves while visiting Philly. Yes, we were going to go run up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps like Silvester Stallone did in Rocky. For some reason, Danny has a small obsession with Rocky movies...and Rambo movies...I guess it's more of a Silvester Stallone obsession.

I was a little nervous for this part of the trip. I mean, Rocky ran up those steps...what makes me think that I am physically capable of doing anything that Rocky has done? When we finally reached the great steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I started regretting my lackluster strawberry milkshake...and wearing jeans. Who wears jeans while running?  We stopped by Rocky's statues for a little inspiration:

Danny and his hero
I'm not saying a statue talked to me, because that would sound a bit crazy. However, he was definitely looking at me and I may have pretended that he said, "Yo Jessicaaaaaaaaaa, you can do it." Clinging onto Rocky's words of wisdom, I took a big gulp and looked up to my final destination:

Philadelphia Museum of Art


I pumped myself up by singing what few lyrics of the Rocky song Eye of the Tiger, I knew. I put one foot in front of the other and ran. "It's the eye of the tiger it's the end of the fight...."  Those are the only lyrics I know so I just sang them over and over again.....and before I knew it I was at the top. You know what? It was nothing compared to a Crossfit workout, heck it was nothing compared to my weekly jogs. I almost felt a little disappointed in Rocky.

Eye of the Tiger...end of the fight

Conquering Philly
Next it was Danny's turn. We traded the precious new camera and I captured his quintessential Philadelphia moment. Of course if it was easy for me, it would be a piece of cake (cheesecake?) for Danny.

Go Danny go

Get it
After sweating up a storm, (not because of the work, but because of humidity) we went into the art museum and bought tickets too see the various art pieces. I felt a little weird being in an art museum after doing something so unarty. The air conditioner outweighed my thoughts of irony.

The Philadelphia Art Museum is huge, however they were doing some remodeling while we were there so we did not get to see everything. Unfortunately I have been spoiled by the Art Institute of Chicago and didn't find Philly's to be as magnificent.  These are some of the pieces that I found exciting:

Thomas Eakins, The Concert Singer

Thomas Eakins, The Agnew Clinic

Degas, The Ballet Class

Rodin, The Thinker

Andy Warhol, Four Jackies

These are plaster casts of various people's belly buttons.
This is the only time I got in trouble for taking a picture...
go figure.

There was a nifty vintage pharmaceuticals
 poster collection

A very old French monastery in the middle of the museum...
pretty cool.
Knights in shiny armor
 artsy view from the museum

After the art museum, we walked around a bit and tried to find a place for dinner. We settled on Village Whisky. It's near Rittenhouse Square, (one of William Penn's five squares) which is a rather upscale part of Philadelphia. Village Whisky was just a hamburger/whisky bar joint, so we figured the prices couldn't be that bad. When we arrived at Village Whisky and placed our name with the hostess, I was surprised to find a familiar face asking how many our party was. It was the mousy cat lady from the chocolate shop. She recongnized us too, probably because Danny is the most recognizable man in the whole world. Yes, she was still wearing her cat glasses. Maybe she works two jobs to pay for such fancy specs.

Rittenhouse Square

I read online that the duck fat french fries were the best. I have never had duck fat anything, but I decided if I wanted to be a real foodie, I should. So we ordered those along with the King Whisky hamburger for myself and a bbq pulled pork sandwhich for Danny.  We both ordered Philly Pale Ale Yards to drink. I must say they were delicious. While scarfing duck fat french fries down my face I decided that I liked them, but to be honest,  I like regular french fries too. Maybe I'm not a foodie after all. The hamburger was outstanding. I even exclaimed, "I think this is the best hamburger I've ever had!" When we got the bill, I quickly refuted my previous statement, "This is not the best hamburger I've ever had."

Duck Fat Fries. A moment on the lips
forever on the hips

King Whisky

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

With our stomachs full and our wallets empty, we headed back to the hotel.....stay tuned for day 4!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if the lady in the Sparklet Nasal was the influence behind the scene from The Office when Dwight uses the tea pot Jim got for Pam to relieve his congestion by sticking it up his nose.

    I think I answered myself . . .