Monday, October 31, 2016

Philadelphia: Harry Potter Festival

Happy Halloween! What a fun and appropriate day to share this post. Last weekend, I went to Philadelphia because there was a Harry Potter festival. Apparently it's an annual thing now and it was awesome.

I'm a major Harry Potter fan. The books became super popular when I was in junior high; basically, I began reading them when I was eleven, which was how old HP was in The Sorceror's Stone so I feel like we're peers. I have the e-books on my phone, I have the hard copies on display in the living room, and I love the movie marathons on television. And of course, I'm a member of Pottermore (I recently found out my patronus is a Siberian cat).

I took the sorting quiz on Pottermore years ago and found out that I'm a Slytherin. I didn't want to go all out with a costume (that's just not my style) so for this trip, I just threw on my favorite 'Slytherin Seeker' tee.
Although, it didn't really matter what i was wearing because it was a little chilly, which meant I kept my jacket on the whole time. But I appreciated the autumnal nip in the air after a week of temperatures in the 80s.

philly weekend: harry potter festival
We hopped on the SEPTA - which was pretty awful and crowded but we had to do what we had to do - and took a journey out towards the suburbs of Philadelphia.
What should have been a 30 minute journey ended up being over an hour, made worse by the fact that the train was delayed.
It was great pulling into the Chestnut Hill West station, which was renamed 'Hogsmeade' for the weekend.
I would love to have Harry Potter for president.
I don't know if this guy was supposed to be a goblin (with silver skin) but since he's working at Gringotts, one would assume he's a goblin, right?
We spotted a Weasley!
We didn't actually get to try the butterbeer (they were sold out everywhere) but we spotted several people drinking them out of adorable bottles. It was fine because we made our own butterbeer cocktails when we got home later that evening.
This guy was dressed as a Nimbus 2000.
The festival was madness. There were so many people, they ran out of butterbeer by noon (and the festival started at 11), and the queues for everything were endless. It was definitely great for the businesses on Germantown Avenue, but I think next year they need to ticket the event or be better with organization to reduce the lines and crowds.
We stopped by the little food court on the 8200 block of Germantown to get something to eat. We ended up getting Chicko Tako, which was great, Korean-inspired comfort food for a drizzly afternoon.
We took the parallel street back up to the train station to avoid the crowds. Along the way, we saw a "small business" selling butterbeer and trinkets. It was a cute setup.
The train back was just as bad; it was delayed, it was slow, and it was overcrowded. But, we made the most of our time, chatting about fun things and joking around.
Because our snack hadn't quite sated our hunger, we headed towards Philly's Chinatown, then a few blocks over for some Japanese ramen.
We went to Terakawa Ramen, where there was a bit of a wait, but it was totally worth it.
We got a mini karaage curry rice bowl, which was awesome.
We also got the charshu onigiri, which is just a rice ball seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, and roast pork, wrapped in seaweed, and served with spicy mayo.
And for our third app, we got the takoyaki, which is octopus wrapped in a potato batter and fried, topped with mayo, Japanese barbecue sauce, and bonito flakes.
S got the Terakawa signature ramen. She let me have a taste and the broth was incredibly rich and flavorful.
The rest of us each got the spicy ramen (on the special menu on the back). It was really flavorful, though not as spicy as I liked, and the noodles were deliciously chewy and the pork was super tender. It totally hit the spot, especially after we endured a morning of drizzling rain.
After ramen, we went home to hang out with kitty and to make butterbeer cocktails and bake an apple crisp pie. The butterbeer cocktails were great (made with butterscotch schnapps and whipped cream vodka) and the pie was pretty good too. It was a great dessert.
After an evening of playing games and hanging out, we went to bed.

The next morning, we got up bright and early to make liege waffles. They were chewy with a crisp exterior and the bits of crunchy sugar were so good.
After breakfast, we headed out to do a spot of shopping (we scored some great deals at Anthropologie) and then went to Fogo de Chao for lunch
Fogo was great - the tenderloin in particular was the standout - and it was a lavish and awesome lunch. We left full and happy.
It was a really fun weekend, despite the craziness at the HP Festival, filled with great food and great company. I cannot emphasize to you how awesome and fun Philadelphia is. If you get the chance to visit, do it. There's always something fun going on (uwishunu is a great resource) and there's so much delicious food and it's an easily walkable city.
xoxo.

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