First, I'm not sure what cruise the other person was on, but it certainly was not the one I was on. It has always been my experience that unhappy people tend to be unhappy no matter how good or bad an experience was. Perhaps you need to reflect on all of your negative experiences and relationships and see that the only constant in all of them is you. With that said, on to the cruise. I was visiting Philadelphia from the Boston area with my wife. The person at the front desk of our hotel suggested we try the new Philadelphia Belle. We were told that it was a four course meal with live entertainment. It sounded similar to a cruise we had taken last year in Boston on a ship called the Odyssey, so we decided to give it a try. We called to make reservations, and I spoke to a reservation person named Diane. If they need to improve on anything it would be the people who are answering their phones. She lacked the polish and professionalism I would have expected from an upscale dinner cruise. I was looking to make a reservation not look for a new best friend. When we arrived to Penn's Landing we found parking to be easy and straight forward, although a little pricy. Any issues with the price of parking disappeared when we saw the ship, and I do mean ship. What an amazing sight. The Philadelphia Belle will take your breath away with her size and elegance. It looked so well maintained, when they said it was built in 1994, I did not believe it. Getting our tickets was a quick and easy process and then it on the gangway, no wait. Very efficient. They also did not have the annoying camera people trying to squeeze a twenty dollar bill out of you for a picture I could take myself for free with my phone. We saw the captain and the his crew as we boarded. We entered into a well decorated lobby are where directed up a grand staircase to the third deck. Upon entering the dinning room we where in awe again. It was such a vast dinning room, with three chandleries. This made the Other ship we had been on, the Odyssey in Boston, look like a row boat. Everything look so wonderful. The lighting was just right, and the music was that was softly playing was just perfect. We where shown to our seat and our waiter came over shortly after. We ordered a signature drink at the suggestion of our waiter ( I can't remember the name), and we where not disappointed. My compliments to the bartender, a wonderfully balanced cocktail. We ordered our meals and where pleasantly surprised at the speed and efficiency of the food service. Our appetizers where very good. Our main courses, however, were outstanding. I had the chicken and my wife had the salmon. The level of quality of these dishes would be hard to match even at a land based fine dinning restaurant where you would pay twice as much and not get a lovely cruise included. They where both perfectly cooked and super flavorful. I am getting hungry just remembering it. Our desert was good, after the dinner, was tough to impress us. The entertainment was excellent, although the volume was a little high. We got up and danced for a while, soothing I had not done in years. We also checked out the upper deck, and although it was cold, the views did not disappoint. In too soon we where pulling back in and getting off. It seemed that as we left everyone on the boat thanked us for cruising with them, even the Captain was at the gangway thanking everyone as the left. What a great last impression. I thought the cruise was great, and I would defiantly do it again.
We decided to try the Ashburner out for dinner because the menu looked great. So many choices led the 2 of us to pick 1 appetizer and 2 entres, all to share. First - quesadillas. Amazing. They had the perfect proportion of cheese to meat/tortilla, contained corn and were speckled with the tiniest bits of peppers, which gave the perfect amount of oomph without being overpowering. Second - White pizza with spinach and tomatoes. The tomatoes were a great sized chunk and despite loving garlic, I used non because this pizza had its own unique almost buttery richness. Third - Bacon cheeseburger - cheddar and medium well. The perfect burger! Came with a few delicious fries, was cooked exactly how we ordered and let me tell you about the bacon. I rarely eat it and when I do, its usually a fake piece with a burger. This bacon was so flavorful, I almost ordered a side. Next day - we had enough leftovers to each enjoy the pizza and a small slice of quesadilla, which we looked forward to all morning. Very very impressed. Also, the bill came to $26 (we didn't drink but they did have a fabulous martini offering) and the restaurant itself was nice inside. Will be back for sure!
I just bought a place a couple blocks from Caffe Valentino. When I moved in, I thought, great, when I'm hungry and have no food in the house, I only have to walk a couple blocks. My first weekend in the neighborhood, my friends and I decided to try it out, because none of us had ever been there. When we got there the place was pretty busy, (which surprised me because I hadn't heard of it until I moved up the street). Once we sat down, we were eying up the tables around us to see what they were eating. Everything looked and smelled great. We all got different stuff, and loved everything. I got Gnocchi with Red Sauce. It was clearly homemade and light. Probably the best I've ever had, and I love gnoochi. My other friend got the pasta special, which was Black Fettucini with Shrimp in a spicy red sauce. He said it was great. For dessert we had Tiramisu, also excellent. The service was friendly and accommodating. Any foodies who that haven't found this place yet, should go check it out.