So this past weekend was a little getaway for me, much to the CGP’s dismay. I truly relish solo travel on occasion. It’s nice to get up when I want (usually much earlier than him), eat when I want (again — different biological timetables), and see/do things that would bore him silly. So when I had a weekend where a friend’s college graduation party coincided with a WordCamp, and the CGP was in the trenches at work, well, I was ALL over it!
So Friday afternoon, I made the uglier-than-expected trek from Annandale up to Pottstown, PA. Pottstown is a small town of 22K residents about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. My dear friends Paul and Hillary live there — and Paul is the aforementioned graduate. That evening we headed out for Hibachi Teppanyaki at Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse. I’m a huge fan of the Japanese Steahouse experience — I love the interaction, the variety of food, and the flavors I can never quite reproduce at home. This one was pretty much in line with others I’ve been to, so I’m happy to give a shout-out to a local business!
Saturday day was all about WordCamp. So what is a WordCamp? WordCamps are conferences for users of WordPress, one of the most widely used softwares for building websites. Yes, I use WordPress for this blog (there’s a parenthetical reference in the footer somewhere), but you can also develop full-on e-commerce websites as well. I’ve heard the stat that over 20% of all Internet websites were built with WordPress. WordCamps generally have something for EVERY WordPress user, from the most casual to hard-core developers. Last fall I went to WordCamp Baltimore 2013 and most recently, WordCamp Philly 2014. My friend Bev did a great write-up of our day at WordCamp on her blog, oneweekcloser.
Sometimes lunch is provided at WordCamps. This one did not, so Bev and I just took a short walk around the corner from the University of the Arts venue and stumbled into Giorgio On Pine, a sweet little Italian cafe. She and I each had the sausage and polenta appetizer, not realizing it was practically an entree! Beautifully grilled sweet Italian sausage served alongside grilled and slightly-charred polenta cakes. These were dressed with a mild vinaigrette and served atop fresh baby spinach that wilted ever so slightly from the heat. We then split the calamari appetizer (previously ordered and too late to cancel) and to our surprise, because I guess we didn’t read the menu carefully, it was a mixture of calamari AND shrimp, and rather than breaded and fried, it was gently poached and then tossed with cannellini beans in a light dressing, served over arugula. What a surprise restaurant find — just a non-descript little restaurant on the corner of a couple of one-way streets in downtown Philly.
Saturday night was Paul’s college graduation celebration at the SunnyBrook Ballroom in Pottstown. The other guest of honor was a pit-roasted pig. We had a grand time with that guest — I even got to bring some home for the CGP. SunnyBrook was built before WWII and is one of the few remaining dance halls of that era. We partied outside in the pavilion to 80s music and a keg we didn’t quite empty. We are all very proud of our new graduate. We hit SunnyBrook again on Sunday morning for brunch. A small brunch, in terms of items offered, but all very tasty and the service amazingly friendly.
Before I left town for good, I had to hit Corropolese Bakery and Deli in Douglassville for some Tomato Pie (I actually bought a cooler and ice at the Pottstown Wal-Mart so I could transport it home). Tomato Pie isn’t really pizza but it isn’t really pie. Imagine a lightly-cooked foccacia with a 1/4″ layer of the thickest tomato puree imaginable. And the barest sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I bet it’s divine warm — but I’ve only had it room temperature (after transport from PA) or straight-out-of-the-fridge cold the next day for breakfast. It’s crazy crazy crazy good. The tomato puree is addictive. It’s thinner than tomato paste. Thicker than sauce. REALLY intense tomato flavor. Sweet, but not too sweet. Again — just crazy crazy good. Yes, I ate TWO slices in the parking lot before heading out. No Shame.