Philly and My Cheese Steak.

Each plane ride leads me to the next. Each trip, long or short, has me craving a new adventure.

I am always dreaming of that next departure.

I cannot be still and stay. My most comfortable place is the airport.

Last weekend was spent traipsing through Philadelphia with the one and only KB.

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Off we were to explore her new city and eat just about everything in sight. It was as we called it, a foodie weekend, with not much but food crawls on our  minds.

Naturally our first stop had to be a cheese steak.   I’ve had Pat’s and Geno’s on a previous Philly trip, so this time, we walked blocks and I mean like 6 miles to get to Jim’s Steaks.

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I made (yes made) KB order, as technically she had never ordered one before. Don’t worry, whiz was involved.

Our next stop was a jaunt to a pop up beer garden for happy hour. I could live in this pop up beer garden. Which by the way at the end of the season is stripped down to the bare parking lot that it came from. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society puts these on and it may be the best summer activity ever. Beyond jealous one is not on my street. Ahemmm Minneapolis….

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Post beer garden, you should probably head to Tria Fitler Square for you know… carbs and cheese.  The perfect “beer-soaker-uper”. Get the Truffled Egg Toast with Fontina Fontal. O my god this is the best toast or anything else that you will ever put in your mouth.  We also had the Pistachio Herbed Ricotta with Lavender Honey Bruschetta.  I plan to recreate this at home very soon. SO good. The braised beef short rib gnocchi was also to die for. All in all, carb heaven.

Naturally the next morning, we had to start brunch on the same carb and cheese train. Because we totally did not have enough the night before. AND we had trekked all the way to the new Century 21, meaning we had burned off at least half of the night’s delights.

Check out Zavino Wine Bar for seriously the largest meat and cheese tray ever.

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After more walking, exploring and a daytime cocktail or two, our dinner reservation at Mercato arrived. I’m told you are not to take photos here, and as I do not break the rules, I refused to do it. However others were doing it and KB demanded documentation. Somehow, someone managed to take the below………..

 

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(Shhhh!)

With my stomach and carb love full, off we went to wander the picturesque historic streets. If anyone would like to purchase the below home for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Then I could spend more time traipsing through the city and sampling the restaurants to my heart’s content.

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While I’m over here already dreaming of the next trip, I left Philly happy at a friend’s new home, happy for her next adventures and delighted to have met some of her new people;  amazed at her already amassed knowledge of the city and passion to explore.

(I’ll be over here eating salad all week)

Have you been to Philly?

How to Travel to Vietnam & Cambodia

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(on the cheap!)

 Though still very much jetlagged, we are back from our bucket list trip to Vietnam and Cambodia 🙂 It was nothing short of amazing. We packed our days exploring everything and anything we could. We were immersed in history, food and culture so unique to our own.  It was two weeks of trying the new.

Try it we did. Love it we did.

The verdict: Cambodia was our favorite, so much so we stayed an extra day and booked a brand new flight directly out of Cambodia. ( New flight… not on the cheap plan.) However traveling to these two countries can be done on a travel budget: heres how!

1) Flight:  We researched for months. In the end we used cheapoair.com, which saved us $500-700 over any other tickets we found. Just be warned, this service may change your flights on you! If you are willing to take the risk, it does provide a much cheaper option.

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2) Hotels: Hostelworld.com. Use it. Read the reviews.  And I’m not talking about hostels.  Check the hotels and bed and breakfast options.  We stayed for around $15-$29 a night. (These were not even backpacker hotels. Quite the mix of people) Breakfast included. Best breakfast Pho for days 🙂

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3) Food: Street food. Eat at the vendors pushing their carts, sit on the teeny tiny plastic stools and sip your dollar beers. The best and cheapest food we found was on the side of the road. It is the most authentic and will cost you around $5 for beer and multiple entrees.

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4) Tours: If there are day or overnight tours calling to you, book them through your hotel.  This will ensure they are legitimate and they may discount them for you as well (See saving more money).  Entry fees at most museums are not more than $2.  Google and find self guided tours around the cities.  There are also free tour guides available wanting to practice their English or other languages.  Check the day prior, as some start as early as 7am.  We had the most fun following a self guided tour through Hanoi, at our own pace, taking everything in.  We saw the things that “were once there” but no longer existed….. which of course only leads to numerous inside jokes. We got our bearings with the city and post tour got around walking just fine.

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When in Cambodia and off to discover the world heritage sites of Angkor Wat and the multiple temples; get the three day pass.  You will need more than one day to explore, and the sunset and sunrise tours are unbelievable 🙂

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5) Transportation: Cabs should only cost you a few dollars. It may be best to negotiate your price prior. Also, a word of advice, never sit in the front seat….. we had the most brazen robbery attempt by a cab driver I’ve ever seen/heard of. Tuktuks should also only cost you a few dollars. Negotiate with them. But really, see the cities by foot if possible! Grab a free city map. Your hotel will have one, with all the sights nearby pointed out.

6) Visas. If you have a US passport, you will need a Visa for both countries.  Apply early to the Vietnamese embassy just to ensure there are no issues.  For Cambodia, you can  buy a Visa upon arrival.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you saw some of the 1200 pictures I took 🙂 If you’re not following, lets be friends! Follow me at olivedoesthecity.

I’m sure another post or two on our travels are yet to come! If you are headed to either country anytime soon, I’d love to offer more tips, feel free to email me, found on my contact page 🙂