Friday, March 12, 2010

Cheese Fixes on Girard Ave.

I’m keyed up about tomorrow’s cheese’n ale tasting. We got such terrific press that we had to set up two tastings at Quince. And we still had to turn people away!

I owe a special thanks to the folks at uwishunu and City Paper's Meal Ticket blog for spreading the word. I’m so grateful, too, to Joan and Nicole at Quince, who came up with the idea of teaming up to host monthly cheese tastings. Their little Spanish imports shop is the crown jewel of 2nd Street and Girard Ave., an area that used to be mostly check-cashing stores and bootie-jeans joints – not that I don’t like bootie jeans, okay?

Let me just wax poetic about Girard Ave., if I may. I know it’s riddled with Funyuns wrappers and cigarette butts, I know there’s a lot of graffiti covering the Girard El stop, but there’s a gaggle of business owners who are working hard to make Girard lovable, and I want to give them a little shred of cheddar.

So, if you’re coming up to the tasting or you find yourself living la vida loca up here some scattered aftynoon, here are 15 of my fave things to do along Girard Ave., most of which involve cheese:

1.     Stop into Johnny Brenda’s for a whisky doughnut on a Sunday morning. Their bagels and lox platter with cream cheese ain’t bad either.

2.     Eat a samosa and a dish of saag paneer at Ekta.

3.     Pick up a guitar strap at DiPinto’s Guitar Shop.

4.     Eat a blue cheese burger at Sketch and color on the chalkboards.

5.     Stop into Murph’s for local beer and crab fries with cheese sauce. You may even hear someone spinning old-timey gospel music on Sunday afternoons.

6.     Try on vintage boots and rhinestones at Reverie, a consignment store next to Quince.

7.     Get an espresso and talk smack with Derrick at The Coffee House – be sure to sit in the garden, which is tricked out like a gypsy caravan.

8.     Take up a bar stool at Paradise and eat a $3 grilled cheese, the best deal in town. Don’t let Club Ozz, the girlie bar next door, scare you.

9.     Head down 2nd Street to the Piazza, just off Girard, for their Saturday Farmers’ Market, where there is goat cheese aplenty. Shellbark Farms, anyone?

10. Get your chi aligned at Barefoot Acupuncture. Their sliding scale makes sweet needles affordable. The atmosphere is dreamy.

11. Kiss the statue of Don Quixote for good luck (2nd and Girard). Then get a rose/cheese tattoo at Poison Apple.

12. Buy some vinyl at Milk Crate or Tequila Sunrise. They’re within walking distance of each other.

13. Hell, as long as you’ve come all this way, head to Philadelphia Brewing Company or Yards, and slug back some local beer.  

14. Don't forget to eat the best meal of your life at Modo Mio.

15. If you can't afford Modo Mio, hit up its sister joint, Paesano's, for the Gustaio sandwich: lamb  sausage with sun-dried cherry mustarda, fennel, and Gorgonzola. 


  1. Yum. It all sounds delish. Sorry to miss cheese and ale, but hopefully it will be repeated soon.


  2. I'm not sure I've ever wanted to go to Philadelphia as badly as I do right now.