Philadelphia, United States
Marie-France, 52
Finance nerd yet Culture Freak
see her Philadelphia city guide

ask Marie-France about

cocktail bars museums chef restaurant value for money bistro music venues rooftop bar

What do you do and why do you do it?

In the current part of my life, I help non profit organizations in the Arts and Culture Industry with finance management. If have also worked in the crazy New York fashion industry and dabbed in the travel industry for a while as well. I really like what I do now because I love to be surrounded by amazing creativity and it makes me feel good that I can support the arts, which is SO important to our happiness!

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

I'm a pretty positive person but the heartbreak playlist would be pumped up songs running the gamut from Led Zeppelin to Beyonce! AND the best song would be "Don't hurt yourself" .

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Well... I guess I would classify best TV shows of all time, programs that I watched religiously! So that would probably start with Moonlighting in the 80s, Absolutely Fabulous, The X-Files and South Park in the 90s. Then I had kids so I probably watched way too much Sponge Bob Square Pants, but enjoyed it more than I probably should!

Name some spots in Philadelphia that are good for a Tinder date.

I would say that Spruce Street Harbor Park would be a good spot because you could be totally casual and eat at one of the container restaurants and get more cozy in the hammocks should you get to that point :)

Who’s your hero and where in Philadelphia would you take them out for a serious hang?

Too many amazing people in this world to just pick one! But for any heros be it a public school teacher, Obama or Stella McCartney, I would definitely take them to the Ranstead room.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

Like a lot of folks, I buy online way too often, but my most cherished pieces are from this little store in the Chestnut Hill Area of Philadelphia called Roots. The owner has a way to pick the best pieces of designers like Scotch & Soda, Splendid and make it all work together in simple but timeless outfits.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

That I know for sure: In line to have my picture taken with the Rocky Statue

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Usually, when I love to do something, I do it! So I will say that I love to go to First Fridays but don't go as often as I wish I could.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Philadelphia and where did you get it?

If you get to eat at Laurel on Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, the ENTIRE meal is decadent! But I have to say that during that meal I ate a melon/raw tuna dish that had miniature snowballs sprinkled over. I never got over the fact that a chef was able to serve snowballs on a dish. Simply amazing!

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Philadelphia that you particularly like?

My favorite hidden swanky bar is definitely the Ranstead room. But as far as a hole in the wall bar that I love to go to often, that would be McMenamins.

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Philadelphia? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

Usually, the most decadent meal becomes officially your most expensive meal. So that dinner at Laurel would make the cut. It was probably around $150 per person without wine. When you eat there you get the chef's 7 courses menu which changes with the season but is always amazing! Too many dishes to write here!

What restaurant in Philadelphia looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

I think that if a chef cares about the food, the restaurant's look won't be that crappy. I know several crappy looking restaurants where the food is very good but I would not necessarily call amazing. YetI have to say that a restaurant that serves amazing food but the decor/location is a little on the "simple" side would be Bacio in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Chef/owner Jay services just simply delicious/comfort Italian dishes.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Philadelphia? Which one do you like?

Philadelphia is known for its celebrity mixologists so there are LOTS of places for best cocktails. Lately, my favorite has been the cocktails at Wm. Mulherin's Sons. They have a vodka, grapefruit rosemary cocktail that is perfect on a hot summer night.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Since moving to Philadelphia, I found out that pork rinds is a favored snack in these parts. I would not necessarily recommend it but it's worth trying at least once!

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Philadelphia?

Hmmm....if you want to know about an overrated restaurant, I'm sorry to say that I do believe that Vetri is. That restaurant is revered in this town but it really was too "Disney" for me. The prix fixe menu includes over 10 courses which is way too much and they give you a gift bag at the end with the menu! Odd...

What are the Philadelphia spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Philadelphia abounds with history so a first-time visitor must be ready for a full agenda! I would say some spots not to miss would be the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Museum, The Betsy Ross house, Ben Franklin's grave, the Liberty Bell, National Constitution Center, Independence Hall. If history is not your thing, The Mutter Museum and the Franklin Museum are great if you are traveling with children.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Philadelphia. How do you spend it?

If tomorrow was my last day in Philadelphia, I would probably go do one last shopping spree at Roots and then would have a very long lunch at Parc Restaurant on Rittenhouse Square. I would ask for a table on the street to do one last people watching session to make sure I remember this great, diverse city.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I have yet to go to all the cities I want to visit in this world. But for a quick long weekend vacation I would probably go to London. I love the vibe of that city, the mix of modern and old, the diversity of its food option. Just writing about it makes me want to go now!

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