55+ Travel and Food Bloggers Who Refuse to Grow Up

We LOVE Philly!

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Old City Philadelphia - Independence National Park - Washington Crossing the Delaware River

 

Chuck and I are both originally from Philadelphia. He grew up just across the bridge in South Jersey and moved into Philly right out of high school, and I grew up in the northern burbs, moved around after college, and moved back a few years before meeting Chuck.

We really miss Philly food, there are just some things you can’t get here in Florida.

So recently, I had a client hosting an industry event, who flew me in for the event. I added on an extra night to explore our old stomping grounds in South Philadelphia, and then another on the end to spend with family.

 

Bella Vista

The Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia is in South Philadelphia, south of South Street, and encompassing the iconic Italian Market. So there is fantastic food to enjoy everywhere you look.

Rather than stay in a larger Center City hotel, I chose a quirky boutique hotel called the Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista. It’s a cluster of townhouses whose owners had an antique shop, and all of the rooms are decorated in unique, curated collectibles.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Bella Vista - Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista

The hotel offers suites, rooms with private baths and rooms with shared baths.

I chose the City View Room on the third floor, a room with a queen bed, a shared bath, and a shared kitchenette. The room was decorated in a Caribbean vibe, sunny peach-toned walls with ocean blue accents and nautical-themed décor.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista - City View Room

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Philadelphia Hotel Bella Vista - City View Room kitchenette

The room also had a balcony that overlooked the Center City Philadelphia skyline, while it was a dozen or so blocks off in the distance, it was nice to sit, relax and take in the views.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Philadelphia skyline

The hotel was very quiet, once I booked I was emailed an access code for both the front door and my room as well as a phone number and email in case I needed anything.

 

Italian Market

The hardest part of the trip for me was exploring the Italian Market and knowing I wouldn’t be able to stock up and take much home with me.

The market is now a mixture of Italian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian grocers, stores, and restaurants, so there is a lot to explore.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Italian Market8-Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia9-Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia

I made a beeline for Isgro’s Italian Bakery for a freshly filled cannoli. We lived a few blocks away, and this used to be a regular occurrence.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Isgro's Italian Bakery - Italian pastryMark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Isgro's Italian Bakery - Italian pastry - cannoli

During my 24 hours in Bella Vista, I also had dinner at Ralph’s, the oldest Italian restaurant in the country. A tiny little row house that makes ‘GRAVY”, not sauce has incredible homemade meatballs served with a bit of South Philly attitude and delicious home cooking.

I had delicious lasagna, the rich, dense kind with plenty of ground meat, ricotta cheese, and gravy.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Ralph's Italian Restaurant - tomato gravy - lasagna - Italian food - Oldest Italian Restaurant in America

I also came back past Ralph’s the next morning to hit up Sarcone’s, known for their incredible bread and tomato pie.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Sarcone's Bakery - Philadelphia's Italian Market - tomato pie - Italian bread14-Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia

South Philadelphia tomato pie is different from southern tomato pie, which is more like a quiche with fresh tomatoes. This is expertly made bread dough, baked in a large shallow rectangular pan, and topped with rich, chunky gravy; and a little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

It’s AMAZING, and while to some, it resembles a pizza, it’s just not the same.

 

Old City

Bella Vista is walking distance to historic Old City, and the Independence National Historic Park. I got up early and headed to Old City before the crowds.

I saw children from nearby St Mary’s school walking to go see the Liberty Bell, something I think I last did when I was about their age. So, I ducked in and looked on in awe like I had years before.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Old City Philadelphia - Independence National Park - Liberty Bell

I wandered around Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, the First Bank of the United States, and the new Museum of the American Revolution.

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Old City Philadelphia - Independence National Park - Independence Hall

 

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Old City Philadelphia - Independence National Park - Carpenters Hall

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Old City Philadelphia - Independence National Park - First Bank of the Untied States

Mark and Chuck’s Adventures – Travel bloggers – Food bloggers- Philadelphia - Old City Philadelphia - Independence National Park - Museum of the American Revolution

More Time

Even though we were both raised in the city, we have talked about heading back for a week to just explore new restaurants, eat some iconic foods at little hole-in-the-wall places, and see some new museums and historical sites we hadn’t explored in ages.

Be sure to check back to find out about my visit with two fantastic foodie friends impacting the Philly food scene.

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