Philly, New York, Chinatowns, Trains and Busses...
I've been hired to work as 3rd camera operator for a documentary on a two-day shoot in Philedelphia! I've never been north of like, Oklahoma, (or I guess techinally Joplin MO) so I'm a little lost and VERY excited! The shoot is Sept 18 and 19 and I get to do whatever I want on the 20th and 21st. I was thinking about taking the bus/train/whatever from Chinatown to New York, but I have NO IDEA what I'm doing and am TOTALLY CLUELESS. My paternal family was from Brooklyn and The Bronx but I know as much about that side of the world as I do about, I don't know, Bangalore. As in, not much.
What do you think?? Any primals up there? Anything not-to-miss? Anything to surely avoid??
Oooo! My favorite part of the world! I live in Philly now, but I grew up in North Jersey, just outside NYC. There's a ton of great stuff to do in both cities. What sort of stuff are you interested in? Site seeing? Eating? Outdoor stuff? History? Arts and culture? Museums? Nightlife? Also, what kind of budget do you have, and where in Philly will you be staying?
As for transportation, there are a couple ways to get from Philly to NYC and back. Amtrak is the fastest, but also the most expensive. Regional rail (SEPTA to NJ Transit) is less expensive and slower, and you have to transfer. The Chinatown bus is super cheap, but can be a bit shady. There are some new bus companies (like Bolt Bus and MegaBus) that are a bit more expensive than the Chinatown bus, but have added amenities like WiFi.
I would say, if you really want to get to see both, it'll be hard. There really are a million things to do in each city (grew up just outside of Philly). Are you a history buff, or more of a 21st century excitement person?
Or, if you're really into gardens or nature, there's lots of stuff in both NJ and PA to see, too.
Basically, you can see or do almost anything from looking at Valley Forge to seeing a Broadway show.
Odd though it may seem, I'm going to recommend avoiding the Statue of Liberty. She's fabulous, but takes so much time, you won't be able to see much else. You'll see her pretty well just from the Staten Island ferry. Ellis Island, by itself, is still pretty darned cool.
Go Amtrak - it's more expensive, but a heck of a lot nicer.
I'm interested in the outdoors (a good hike or something? I don't want to bring my camping gear), other cultures, and food!!! I'm enthralled to go to Chinatown! Do you have restaurant recommendations? What are the tricks of the trade as far as primal eating? (Like, 'always eat ____ at a greek place,' 'always avoid _____ at a chinese place,' 'try the _____ at the restaurant on the corner of this street and that street...')
My budget is like-- uh-- as little as possible! I'm not much of a 'shows' kind of person (thanks though!) and I'm definitely not a club/bar person. I love the water.. um... OH BOY I'M EXCITED!
I do like the idea of Amtrak-- not because its nicer, but because I love trains and have never been on a 'real' one, other than the one that goes between Dallas and Fort Worth.
If you go to Chinatown in Philly, I recommend eating at Vietnam Restaurant (http://www.eatatvietnam.com/vietnam_restaurant.php). Their food is crazy fresh and delicious, and they have a ton of primal-friendly options. Just stay away from the rice, noodles, and spring rolls, of course!
Otherwise, Philly has a great food scene and there is a ton of interesting stuff to eat. One thing that I found here that I'd never encountered before was the high concentration of Ethiopian immigrants and Ethiopian restaurants, particularly along Baltimore Ave. in University City. My favorite is Abyssinia at 45th and Locust, which is an easy trolley ride from Center City. It isn't the best Ethiopian food I've had, but it is definitely the best in that price range. Every dish is served over and eaten with injira (flat sourdough bread made from teff), which isn't primal, but many of the foods that are on top are. It is very easy to just eat around the bread. Mr. Holla loves the gored gored, which is basically raw beef in butter, as well as the lamb. Most of the side-dishes are legume-based, but the ye'atikilt wot and ye' gomen wot are both primal. As an added bonus, if you sit in the bar, you will usually meet some very interesting people.
As for the outdoors, New York's Central Park is amazing. Plus, the Museum of Natural History is right on the park. I love seeing all the skeletons of prehistoric mammals, and trying to imagine living in that world. Yum...giant ground sloth for dinner!
Philly's Fairmount Park is less centrally located, but there are a ton of small parks throughout the city. If you like the water, you may even think about "Ride the Ducks" which is a tour of the city in an amphibious vehicle. Yes, it's silly, but all the people I've talked to say it's fun.
Anyway, feel free to message me if you have any questions about specific places, restaurants, etc. I'm always happy to talk about Philadelphia!
I have a couple primal eating "tricks of the trade" for when I'm out and about. But, in the interest of full disclosure, I've pretty much concluded that eating out will never be 100% primal, thanks to vegetable cooking oils, traces of gluten, and who knows what else. So, I just do my best. So, here are a couple I go by:
Greek: You can usually get a Greek salad with anchovies, eggs, kalamata olives, feta cheese (if you do dairy), and various veggies. For dips, avoid the hummus (made with chick peas) and go for the tzatziki (Greek yogurt with olive oil and cucumbers) instead. Baba ganoush is usually primal, but is made from eggplant (a nightshade) which some people prefer to avoid. At nicer Greek places, you can often get a piece of meat with vegetable-based sides. Also, there is a good probability that they cook in olive oil, which is a nice plus.
Mexican: At taco/burrito-type places, I usually just get tacos and don't eat the tortillas. Grilled meat topped with pico de gallo and guacamole is totally primal!
Japanese: You can't go wrong with sashimi and a salad topped with avocado and carrot-ginger dressing. The biggest issue would be gluten in the soy sauce. If you are concerned about that, you can bring your own tamari, which comes in gluten-free varieties. The pickles (including pickled ginger) are delicious, but generally contain added sugar. Also, make sure you choose some of the fattier fish (salmon, fatty tuna, mackerel, tuna belly, etc) since there are very few added fats.
Thai: Yay coconut milk! Choose a creamy curry dish with meat and vegetables. Don't eat the rice. There is often some added sugar in the sauce, so skip dessert.
Indian: Ideally should be cooked in ghee, but who knows for sure? Meat from the tandoor is the least likely to have questionable ingredients, but may have artificial food coloring. I prefer to take my chances on the creamy curries anyway. They're just that delicious. Raita is a tasty condiment made from yogurt and cucumber.
Soul food: Choose baked or grilled meats, to avoid breading. The most primal sides are the greens, which are often flavored with pork or turkey. Skip the yams, since they usually have a ton of added sugar.
Whoaaa! Thank you! So much good info!
My heart is pounding. I'm ready to leave! I can't believe I'm going up there...