I Don't Hate You, Philly

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‘Merica, Plantains and One Angry Old Dude: The National Constitution Center and Cuba Libre

As August drew to a close, two friends and I decided to check out the National Constitution Center. A word to the wise: befriend Philly transplants. They know everything good about the city that you should know, but don’t. These non-natives are in perpetual tourist-mode, stocking up on useful tidbits about the newest restaurants opening, where to find the best microbrews, and free and/or discounted Philly-exclusive activities. For instance, Irene, who hails from Massachusetts, tipped me off to the local deal site Funsavers. It’s a weekly e-newsletter with marked down event tickets.

It’s times like these where I read what I’m typing and realize I sound like a no-nothing city local. I’ll chalk it up to my father’s belief that Philadelphians, at least old-school ones, are notoriously bad at exploring the city. The same man who brags about not being able to turn on a computer is also pretty sure he’s never seen the Liberty Bell in person.

So, I departed from Market East Station and walked to the Constitution Center at Independence Mall. In its ninth year, I remember seeing news coverage of the opening back on July 4, 2003 (I was shocked I couldn’t find any video of the

Constitution Center

Hangin’ with Ben and the boys, you know
Photo credit: Kelsey Leljedal

loose scaffolding that almost fell on Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on that opening day, but it happened). We took advantage of the last “5 after 5” deal where you pay $5 for admission after 5pm. We began with Freedom Rising, a 17-minute, actor-led multimedia telling of the constitution. After that, we took advantage of the election setup where you could cast your ballot and watch video of the US presidents being sworn in over the years. We read up on history of all kinds, including girl scouts and the very important story behind thin mint cookies, and signed a mock constitution. I’m absolutely fascinated with America of yesteryear and enjoyed all the exhibits.

After the CC, we walked to Cuba Libre on 2nd and Market. It’s a self-described restaurant and rum bar. This was my first encounter with (well, Americanized) Cuban food.

Cuba Libre PhillyAn aside, this past summer I went to Tampa on business and visited the historical neighborhood of Ybor City. It has Cuban roots, and my boyfriend and I dined at Columbia, Florida’s oldest restaurant. Solely based on the fact we did not eat plantains, I’m declaring a mulligan.

Too late for dinner and happy hour, we each ordered a cocktail and shared appetizers. I had the “sunburn” with rum and pineapple juices, and had the plantain and malanga chips, which included hummus, rum-cured smoked marlin salad and salsa. Everything was delicious.

As for the “angry old dude” quip, I got home just in time to watch the Republican National Convention with Clint Eastwood having a conversation with a conspicuously absent President Obama. If you forget what went down, it went a little something like this.

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One comment on “‘Merica, Plantains and One Angry Old Dude: The National Constitution Center and Cuba Libre

  1. Pingback: 33 Reflections on the 2008 Phillies World Series Win | I Don't Hate You, Philly

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2012 by in cultural/historical, food/drink and tagged , .
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