Taco Time In Fishtown
Incredibly hungry at this point—after having stopped home to feed PL something a bit more substantial than dog treats—we headed to Fishtown to hit up what I assumed would be the most dog friendly stop of the day: Jeffe on Frankford avenue. A chill building in the air, we walked into the winterized shell they had around the benches immediately opposite the squat building’s takeout window.
I revisited a favorite: their beef cheek tacos, which exemplifies the slow cooked approach that you need for any good tacos—an approach that keeps me going back to Monsu and Paesano’s in South Philly.
Chef Peter McAndrews plays off the beef cheeks in the tacos, as well as the lamb bacon in a burrito with corresponding fatty elements; sharp queso fresco in the former and a fried egg and melted cheese in the latter. Both had their own chimichurri (red with the beef cheek; green with the lamb) and respective inflecting notes (plumb mostarda; pickled jalapeño) that were reflective of McAndrew’s approach of elevating cuisine with refined elements, his added twists that bring everything together beautifully.
A little bit of barking after an adult pitt walked off with it’s owner and my friend the photographer kindly took PL outside for a quick timeout while I hurriedly finished my burrito.
To round out the day, we headed over to the recently opened Martha in Kensington for a backyard space that reminded me of several places in Austin, Texas. Big wooden picnic tables were abutted by a concrete ledge that gave way to a bocce court whose subtle contours I tested—puppy in one arm—with a nicely weighted stone ball after PL pulled us into a friendly conversation with people lounging on that ledge.
I sipped what tasted like the most technically precise, pleasingly robust Old Fashioned I’ve ever had, with the locally made Kinsey rye and La Colombe rum beefed up by port and cut by noticeably refined bitters.
Similarly, the Calabrese salami stood out in an Italian hoagie served in a delicate and crisp baguette. Their warming winter soup with Calabrese sausage and kale came at the perfect time—right after I noticed Princess Leia needed my hoodie a bit more than I did. I had to down my herbal, medium bodied red quickly. The best Pennsylvanian wine I’ve ever had/the only impressive PA wine I’ve ever had, the Karamoor estate cabernet blend single-handedly removed my skepticism about the growing buzz surrounding PA wines.
I thought there’d be more. Much more. Maybe even a trip back to the aforementioned bar.
But remember that part about tiring out the dog? That helpful bit of advice that made PL much more manageable?
After passing out midway through an episode of Daredevil around 10:30pm, I woke up in the middle of the night on the couch with a puppy sleeping on my head.
Come here, and we went back to sleep.
Post-script Sunday afternoon
Around eleven, we hit up Shot Tower Coffee. The reception was pretty much the same as at Green Street, with the influx of people and dogs taking the communal table to another level.
“Can I pet her?” this girl seated by me excitedly asked.
“Yeah! I never ask,” I told her.
Lunch with the puppy at Los Cabballitos or Devil’s Den in South Philly got nixed (I also didn’t get a chance to sit opposite the fountain at Stateside’s pull-up outdoor seating). Intermittent light rain kept all the outside chairs and tables securely stowed away, and even with less of a chill than last night, Princess Leia was living up to her name.Walking?! Being lean as hell and being a puppy, she wasn’t having it.
So, she was more than happy to stay back home and warm up while my mother and I went to (of all places) Good Dog Bar for lunch (if you haven’t been there, no, you cannot take dogs inside).
Though a bit warmer when I got back, PL still wasn’t game for walking.
After cajoling a few blocks out of her, I carried her over to Tria on 12th & Spruce and grabbed a seat on the sidewalk next to a couple who admitted to nearly giving up on their dog until the right training (and time) helped them get through a trying phase of teething.
No sooner did I get my $5 Sunday School wine, did Princess Leia pee and drop a deuce in quick succession. I wish I could remember the provenance of that glass of red because something about the scent sure worked like a charm for her.
Then I was carrying her by the bar from yesterday, sweating profusely against the warmth and heft of a dog that was somehow shivering earlier in the day. I let the people who had just come from the bar, people who I otherwise never would have talked to and shared smiles with, pet her.
I wanted to go inside and grab a booth with her. But it was getting close to closing time for Morris Animal Refuge and Princess Leia had to get back to what is hopefully her home for a just a short while longer.
Maybe that couple would adopt her and I’ll her at the bar again sometime soon.
Vote for Morris Animal Refuge’s Bailey NOW in the Tournament of Tails.