Came back to Philly and it’s still Spring!

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May 2015: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

The big news for this month is that Tom has a new job! Since the weather’s been mostly pleasant, we’ve been going out more, which is a nice change of pace. For Mother’s Day, we went up to Fox Chase to help Tom’s mom plant this year’s vegetable garden.

Mother’s Day gardening

May is the month for Plazapalooza, the only local festival we like going to because it’s small and mellow and not too crowded. We enjoyed a couple pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches from Vernalicious, as well as some beers, and listened to some music before heading back home.

Plazapalooza 2015
pulled pork grilled cheese from Vernalicious

Farmers Markets

May is one of our favorite months for farmers’ markets, mostly because it’s the month of asparagus! It also marks the return of Headhouse Market, which is one of the better markets in town. We had occasion to go to Headhouse a few times this month when our regular farmers’ markets were canceled, so that was a treat.

Headhouse Farmers’ Market take

Dining In

We did a log of great cooking this month, much of it inspired by all that asparagus. It also helps that I bought a whole bunch of rosé.

One of the highlights was ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and prosciutto:

We had a lot of fun asparagus-related breakfasts, too, including duck eggs over asparagus and bacon on toast:

Dining Out

Tom was out of town at the beginning of May, so I took myself to Rival Bros and tried some of their new cold brewed coffee served on a nitro tap:

nitro cold brewed coffee and toast at Rival Bros

I also had some lovely shakshuka hummus from Dizengoff:

shakshuka hummus from Dizengoff

We also hit up brunch at Jet Wine Bar for some chilaquiles:

chilaquiles at Jet Wine Bar

We got lucky on Tom’s last day of work: SpotBurgers was on campus, and serving lobster rolls!

lobster roll at SpotBurgers

After work on Tom’s last day, we had a date night at Audrey Claire. Despite the fact that we live nearby, it was our first time eating there. It certainly won’t be the last! Everything was delicious, and it was way cheaper than we expected.

Audrey Claire photo by Tom Ipri

Books

I finished reading Stonewielder, book 3 of Ian Cameron Esselmont’s Malazan Empire series. It’s the first Esselmont book I actually liked; there are big improvements in his writing over Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard. It still doesn’t come close to Erikson, but it’s a good addition to the Malazan world. I’m actually looking forward to the next book, which has taken weeks to ship, so I won’t start it until June.

I also read If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth, which is a young adult book about a Tuscarora boy attending an off-reservation junior high school. Wow. If you liked Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you should read this book. If you hated True Diary, you should read this book (I think it’s better than True Diary). Anyway, comparisons aside, If I Ever Get Out of Here was a great story, and I especially enjoyed all the music references.

Another book I read this month was This One Summer, a graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki. The art was great, but the story didn’t do it for me.

Finally, I read Nocturnes, a short story collection by Kazuo Isghiguro. It was a quick, easy read, and quite enjoyable. Each of the 5 stories is somehow tied to music, which was the main reason why I picked this out from the used bookstore.

On SuperPlus Eats:

On Tom’s Blogs

Last Month’s Update

April 2015: The Month in Tom and Holly

Life in Philly

OK, NOW it’s finally Spring!

Spring 2015 in Rittenhouse Square

Television

I’m not huge on television, but we have a new streaming set up that is pretty sweet. Tom got us MLB.TV, which is perfect for Spring, it’s so fun to be able to watch baseball! We are blacked out of the Phillies games, but we’re able to watch the Dodgers (my team), which is awesome. On top of that, I decided to take the plunge and buy an Apple TV unit so we could get HBO NOW and stream Game of Thrones, legally. It’s seriously one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Between Netflix, Hulu Plus, MLB.TV and HBO NOW, we are set.

Dining In

One of our cooking highlights for the month was Stir Fried Clams with Black Bean Sauce, which Tom made twice. There is this awesome black bean & garlic sauce that I used to use all the time, years ago, that we bought for the recipe, and it’s so great to have it around again.

Stir fried clams with black bean sauce

For Easter dinner, we made Shore Catch scallops with farro and kale pesto. It was still too early at that point for any spring vegetables (have to wait for May for those), but the kale pesto was a nice touch.

Scallops with farro and kale pesto

I’m always looking for new ways to cook cod, since it’s one of the better kinds of local fresh fish we can get here in Philly. I adapted a trout amandine recipe for cod and it was delish.

Cod amandine

Toward the end of the month, one week we got chicken breasts instead of legs for a change of pace. I made Middle Eastern Chicken and Couscous Wraps with Goat Cheese, which is a total keeper of a recipe (sorry, no good pics). It made fantastic leftovers, which Tom was able to take with him on a plane trip to Denver.

Dining Out

The new Tria opened in Fitler Square, which we had been highly anticipating since the previous restaurant in that space, Dmitri’s, closed. Within its first week of being open, we must have been 3 times. It’s definitely our favorite new place in the neighborhood!

Tria Fitler Square

Later in the month, a friend was visiting from out of town and fortunately was adventurous enough for us to head down to East Passyunk to finally try Brigantessa. While we didn’t have any of the “rare” pizzas (this time), we did have a lovely spring pizza with ramps & burrata, as well as several delicious homemade pastas, and some excellent Italian beers. We look forward to getting there again soon.

Brigantessa

Books

I completed my re-read of Steven Erikson’s Tale of Malazan Book of the Fallen series, finishing Dust of Dreams (book 9) and The Crippled God (book 10) this month. When The Crippled God first came out in 2011, I rushed through it, skipped to the end to see what happened, and didn’t really ever absorb the whole thing because it was too intense and I didn’t really want the series to end. This time, I really took my time, and man, what a way to end a series. The entire 10 book experience is so rich, I’m left feeling like I want to start all over again and uncover even more. I’m actually surprised it only took 4 months to re-read all 10 books; I was thinking it would take me all year. Though I wish it included spoilers, I also really enjoyed Tor.com’s Malazan Reread of the Fallen as a way to get additional commentary and perspective along the way.

This month I also read My Name is Not Easy, a fantastic young adult fiction book based on the experience of Native Alaskan youth attending boarding school in the 1960s. Though I completed coursework for a MA degree in American Indian Studies, as well as a minor in American Indian studies for my BA, I was unfamiliar with many of the events of this book that were specific to northern Alaska. Overall this was a compelling read, and I recommend it for both adults and teens.

On SuperPlus Eats

No posts on our food blog this month! Hopefully next month one of us will write something about asparagus recipes and other Spring goodness.

On Tom’s Blogs

Last Month’s Update