Sunday, November 22, 2009

Run to Brunch, Philly-style

Sunday November 22, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA started off a little chilly, but with a few extra layers it was the perfect temperature to start the Philadelphia half-marathon. As the race was underway, the sun came out and it was a beautiful running weather. I had decided to run this as a "fun run" so I took off slowly, making sure to take in the course. After seeing friends at mile 1, the course became a bit boring so I turned on some tunes and glided through the next few miles. The crowd on South Street was electrifying and I took off my headphones to soak it in. By mile 7, my body had forgotten the plan to "run for fun" and I was flying by the cheering Frat boys of Drexel U, the Philadelphia zoo and into a pretty park that had what felt like a mile-long hill. A few miles later, I happily crossed the finish line. Post-race treats were plentiful including chicken broth (none for me, thank you), oranges, bananas, juice, granola bars, and my favorite...a Philly Soft Pretzel. After showering and packing our bags at the lovely Sofitel Hotel (wins my vote for the best hotel bed!), my friends and I met up for brunch at the aptly named Marathon Grill.

After gulping down a few glasses of water, I was ready for something with more substance. I chose an egg white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and Gruyere...delicious. The portion was generous and arrived with half of the plate full of greasy fried potatoes and 2 pieces of whole wheat toast.
For the table, we also ordered a dark chocolate chip cookie dough can one pass that up!?! Such a treat, but we were glad that we only ordered one. A satisfying meal after a satisfying run in a great city...what a day!

Run to Korean

On a recent misty Thursday evening with the temperature hovering around 50 degrees, I met a few friends in Central Park for a 4-mile loop run. With the winter approaching, it grew dark pretty early so it felt safer to have the company. There were more runners out then expected and the police presence was also greater than usual. We exited the park on the South end and then ran down 5th avenue to our destination Han Bat Korean restaurant on W. 35th Street.

No need for ordering appetizers at this generous restaurant (though the scallion or seafood pancake is the best that I have ever tried) because you get a spread on the house. The dishes have changed each time that I have eaten there but Kimchi is always included. This time, we also had string beans, cucumbers in spicy sauce, salad, scallion pancakes in spicy sauce and two others. Then to my favorite dish.... the Hot Stone Bi Bim Bab with veggies and tofu.

This dish is a sizzling combination of white rice that crisps up after a few minutes, loaded with vegetables and tofu. I mix mine up with spicy red sauce and salt, which adds flavor and replenishes the sodium that I lost on my way to dinner. Not only a tasty dinner, but healthy one too!!

Run to Brooklyn's History

Saturday November 7th was a gorgeous day. Sunny skies and crisp air made for a perfect day for a running adventure to Brooklyn. A Manhattan landmark, the United Nations, was the starting point.

Then down the East River running path, through the streets of lower Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Once in Brooklyn, we made our way to Flatbush Avenue and after a few miles, into Prospect Park, past the market and to the running loop. The grass was bright green and foliage beautiful as we ran down the west drive, across the central drive and north on the east drive.

Once out of the park and past the droves of strollers, we continued East and then a few blocks North to our destination, Tom's Restaurant.

Tom's is a neighborhood institution which has been around since 1936. I hear that the lines are typicalon the weekends as we experienced (see the picture) but they move pretty quickly and you are treated to delicious snacks...first sausage came by, then strawberries with fresh whipped cream, then cups of coffee, followed by chocolate chip cookies and lastly orange segments...all while waiting to be seated.

The menu was friend and I finally settled on two orders of eggs with grits and a pumpkin nut waffle to share. A hot cup of endlessly filled coffee warmed us up while we waited. The portions were substantial and the food was deliciously tasty and freshly cooked. We were given three types of butter- brown sugar, citrus and strawberry (my favorite) which I used not only on the waffle, but also on the crispy whole wheat toast. All of this food for extremely reasonable prices! The staff was also very friendly, despite the subtle and not so subtle hints to leave once we finished eating. So if you need or want to get in a long run, part of a run, or just a delicious Brooklyn brunch....this is the place!