Pittsburgh Food Diaries: Philadelphia Edition, Part II.

Last weekend, I pregamed in Philadelphia. Not the kind of pregame you know and love from your college days, but a weekend-long preview of this year’s annual Fourth of July vacation with some of the most wonderful people that exist in this galaxy.

We spent most of Friday night on Nate and Megan’s back porch with a bottle of wine and bubbling laughter, and I woke up the next morning with the sun and a hot cup of coffee. We started our long, sunny Saturday walk through town with a stop at Kite and Key before moving on to the Reading Terminal Market. We (obviously) picked up some donuts for breakfast before walking a few more blocks to Independence Beer Garden, an expansive garden overlooking the Liberty Bell and Independence National Historic Park. Decorated with reclaimed wood and distressed metals, Tivoli lights and every outdoor game you could think of, there’s no surprise why it’s the place to find anyone on a warm summer day in Philadelphia.

We made a few more stops along on Saturday afternoon (at places whose names I don’t remember) and hopped on bikes to zip home for a quick refresh before heading back out for the night. I have never laughed so hard or smiled so big or felt like my heart was going to burst with so much happiness from the joy that these people bring me.

At one point not so long ago, the five of us shared the small city of Pittsburgh. Now I’m the last man standing here, while Nate and Megan hold down Philadelphia and Kris and Rita are living the New York City dream. But when we all come back together, even if it is just a few times a year, it’s like nothing has changed at all. Kris is still a Sea Puppy and Nate’s still Two-Tooth. Rita will always have Baby’s First Brunch, and there will always be that one time with Megan and the paper at Belvedere’s. (And shoutout to Carl and Becky, who couldn’t be there with us this weekend.)

To bring our whirlwind weekend to an end, we all grabbed brunch at BlueCat on Sunday morning, a Latin infusion restaurant in Fairmount. We rolled up armed with a bottle of champagne, and a weekend’s worth of laughs between us.

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The waitress placed two small plates down on the table: an appetizer of jicama, watermelon, cucumber and a white vinaigrette, topped with cilantro. Delicious. Then, in my typical salty breakfast fashion, I ordered the breakfast burrito, which came served with fried plantains (stahhhhhp) and stopped speaking entirely in between my first bite and my last. Meg went with the huevos rancheros and, to no one’s surprise, Rita went with the french toast. Nate and Kris jumped on the burrito train with me, adding chorizo to theirs.

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Maybe it’s because I was starving, maybe it’s because I got less than 10 hours of sleep the whole weekend, or maybe it’s because BlueCat was actually that amazing, but this brunch was the best way I could’ve imagined ending a Fourth of Julancer pregame with these amazing people. It’s kinda like we run the world. La da dee da dee.

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