Custom Search


Welcome to my blog!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Devil's Den | South Philadelphia

I remember almost two years ago I was planning on going to Grid! Alive one May evening (May 10, 2013 to be exact) and I was looking for a new place to have dinner. I was in my Latina Chick Lit class one day and decided to ask one of my classmates. I knew he was from Philadelphia and I decided to ask him for a restaurant opinion. That was really my first time talking to Louis - he suggested Devil's Den.

On May 10, I arrived at Devil's Den at around 3:30 pm and I was so happy to see absinthe on the drink menu. I remember ordering the absinthe and a Buffalo chicken sandwich. The bartender gave me the little water jug and sugar for the absinthe and I poured it over the absinthe spoon  with the cubed sugar (because that's what you're supposed to do). The sandwich was really good. The guy bartender at the time was also really nice and I met a really nice patron that evening. He was older and we talked for a good 30 minutes before I had to leave for Grid! Alive. I really liked my first time at Devil's Den.

I went again on June 15, 2013 with Louis. We had small finger foods because by that time it was around 9:30 or so. I remember the finger foods being really good and I had white sangria that night, which was also delicious. It was my first time having white sangria with peaches - I usually drink red sangria - and although the white wasn't as sweet as the red, I really liked it.

Yesterday I decided to have lunch at Devil's Den because it had been a year and a half (okay, 21 months to be exact) since I've gone there. I wanted to get some pictures of the place and try some other foods because last year when I tried to write a review, I had limited experiences. I really had liked the two other times I've gone and I wanted to go back.

After finishing a commintment in Center City (15th Street), I walked to City Hall and went down a flight of stairs to take the Broad Street Line to Ellsworth-Federal Station. Devil's Den is located on 1148 S. 11th Street, which is 11th and Ellsworth Sts. It was only a 10 minute ride, then another 10 minute walk.

I arrived at about noon and at that time I was the only patron. I chatted with the bartender, who introduced herself as Sam. She was really friendly and nice. I ordered an absinthe, but it was made wrong. I didn't get the little water container or sugar. I told her it involves sugar and water, but she made it almost like an Old Fashioned. She mixed the water and sugar together inside of the absinthe instead of with the spoon. That's alright - it still tasted good.

I ordered the Falafel sandwich and that was tasty, though a bit spicy. I like Middle Eastern foods and I thought it was made better than some of the Falafel sandwiches I've had in different Middle Eastern restaurants. I ordered the French fries instead of the salad and the French fries were hand cut. I love fresh food and I was so happy that the French fries were fresh. They were cooked perfectly and spiced to perfection.

By the time I was ready to go, more people were coming in for lunch (closer to 1 pm). Devil's Den has a really homely atmosphere and it's very welcoming. They also have a fireplace and logs stacked - I love the scent of fresh wood and the smokiness when a fireplace is burning. There was a slight scent of that and I just loved it. Yesterday was also chilly; Devil's Den was comfortably warm.

The next time you visit Philadelphia, I'd recommend going to Devil's Den. I've never had a bad experience there - the food is awesome, the staff is friendly and attentive, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and it's not too badly priced.

They can be reached by the following:

Website: Devil's Den
Twitter: @DevilsDenPhilly
Phone: 215-339-0855

Address: 1148 S. 11th Street | Philadelphia, PA 19147

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#tbt: Orgy Concert 3/26/2013

As I was taking a walk this afternoon, Orgy's "Fiction (Dreams In Digital)" played on my iPod and I remembered seeing them two years ago at the Note in West Chester! I remember the day like it was yesterday: two weeks prior to the concert, I won the tickets from the college radio station Christina DJs for. It was right before her show and we were sitting outside the radio room working on homework (the night before: Friday night - Christina always hosts her show on Saturday - we went to see Aaron Carter free of charge... I went along with Christina to be a good friend). The DJ announced if someone called in, they could win two free tickets to see Orgy at the Note.

Orgy, like Twiztid, has been a favorite of mine since middle school. I actually got into the two groups at the same time. I whispered to Christina, "it would be awesome if I could win!" She replied back, "why don't you call? Just walk out the door and call." So, I did and I won the two tickets. I asked Christina if she wanted to go and she came along.

Sadly, my DSLR camera battery died and had to use my cellphone for pictures. My cellphone never took good pictures in low light, especially with motion. Although the pictures aren't the best, I had a blast. I loved the opening bands: My Parasites and another group with Vampires in the name. Davey Suicide (who know plays with Twiztid at some shows... ironically) was pretty good too. He signed the CD I bought from him. However, Orgy was the best. They were making a comeback and they put on a really good show. Even Christina enjoyed it.

It was also nice spending time with Christina and just chilling out in the lounge of the Note. The way the Note was set up, there was a bar area and a dance floor on the bottom level, then on the top floor there was a lounge. The lounge was a balcony overlooking the stage. It was comfortable. However, it was closed and when I was in West Chester in January, it was something else. Orgy was my last concert there and it was such a great memory.

Although this wasn't from the Orgy concert, this was from when Christina and I went to see Aaron Carter. One of his opening bands - Petrel - was pretty good. The drummer was cute. When I was sitting at the bar while Christina watched Aaron Carter, I saw the drummer. I went over to him, introduced myself and he introduced himself as Nick. We talked for a bit and then I asked if I could get a picture with him. Of course, it was no issue. :)

Thankful Thursday 3/26/2015

As I posted yesterday about the Germanwings crash, it was released this morning that to co-pilot crashed the plane intentionally. Of course they're still looking into his background to see if he was related to terrorists; I doubt it as terror cells instantaneously take credit for their acts and it didn't happen in this case - unless he's involved with some French terror cell, I think he was just someone who was suicidal because most of the time when someone is successful in suicide, they say everything is fine and they appear happy - they're not agitated or depressed on the outside (like many people assume).

Looking at some of the people killed on the flight, they were very successful people and very well liked. At that moment of hearing the news, I had wishes. They say before your time on Earth is over, there are signs pointing to it; that you know it's your time. I don't know why I was given another chance. Then I got angry with the pilot because how dare someone who is suicidal be so inconsiderate that he murders others. He should have just left others alone - there is no reason to harm other people when you're feeling terribly.


And it reminded me that although there are bad days, no one's life is so unimportant that we should wish or resort to hurting ourselves and others. We all go through hard times and we shouldn't fall apart because of them... though I know some days that's easier said than done. After I read that, I remembered little things I have done over the years that were important to people. Like getting lost in Switzerland and using my language skills to ask locals for directions - I was the one who wasn't afraid to go up to strangers and ask in German for directions. Although the end result was getting directions in English, I helped find the way back to our hotel in Switzerland. I've done nice things and helpful things for people I have worked with over the years as well. I'm sure there are other instances, but I can't think of them right now. Although there are days where I feel hated and I hate life, there are still people who like me.

I think we were all given a purpose in this life and we should be thankful for the purpose we are given. Times may get hard, but that's life, and in the end: when we fall and how we handle that fall only make us stronger.

However, I'm also thankful for this brief moment of sun we're experiencing now. It rained earlier while I was at work and it's supposed to be rainy and cold tomorrow, but the sun is nice now. The crocuses are loving it and I enjoyed my walk - I'm also feeling better. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tristesse en France/ Traurigkeit in der Frankenreich/ Sadness in France and Fear of Flying While Traveling

I'm sure everyone is now aware of the flight that went down along the French Alps on Tuesday morning (10:30 am, European time). If you're not, you can read the story here: Plane crash kills 150 people in French Alps; black box found. They ID'ed two Americans (Yvonne and Emily Selke - mother and daughter, which according to NPR... Emily graduated from Drexel University - a university in Philadelphia), sixteen German students and their two teachers, 3 opera singers, two Iranians, and an Israeli. In total there were 72 Germans, 35 Spaniards, two from Australia, Argentina, Iran, the U.S., and Venezuela; one from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, and Israel. There were 150 on board.

Chancellor Angela Merkel commented that she didn't want people speculating what happened because the crash is still under investigation. She doesn't believe it was terrorism, but it can't be ruled out. Although Chancellor Merkel says she doesn't want people speculating until the facts come out, Yahoo and NPR have been abuzz with speculation.

On Yahoo last night, someone commented that Airbus planes have a system called fly by wire, which was responsible for other crashes that resulted in total losses of lives. I'm not a pilot, so I had to research what exactly fly by wire is. According to Wikipedia:

Fly-by-wire (FBW) is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires (hence the fly-by-wire term), and flight control computers determine how to move theactuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response. The fly-by-wire system also allows automatic signals sent by the aircraft's computers to perform functions without the pilot's input, as in systems that automatically help stabilize the aircraft, or prevent unsafe operation of the aircraft outside of its performance envelope.

Although Wikipedia claims that fly by wire is safe, I found some sources that say otherwise. For example: How Lousy Cockpit Design Killed 228 People. An excerpt:

At heart, the problem was one of feedback. In a world of flight dominated by computers, Airbus designs its planes with less tactile response (in the name of pilot comfort) and less potentially overwhelming information (in the name of clearer pilot decisions). In the case of Flight 447, some of the plane’s ducts froze up, removing the information of airspeed, and forcing the plane out of autopilot. In response, a pilot named Bonin pulled up on his stick, gaining a bit of altitude to, presumably, safely keep the plane in the sky.
This stick is of particular note. It’s fly-by-wire technology, meaning that there’s very limited tactile feedback. If a pilot sets the plane to a 10-degree pitch, they can move the stick 10 degrees once and remove their hand from the controls entirely. Furthermore, co-pilots don’t feel any sort of feedback in their controls, meaning that as Bonin was making this momentary adjustment, the only way his colleagues could know was by looking right at his hands.
I found it interesting, but if any pilots read this blog... feel free to comment to explain how this really works to me. I'd like to be educated.

I'm actually terrified of flying. Unless I really have to fly, I prefer to take a train or bus. It's not only flight anxiety for me, but I get headaches in the air. With a crown now and fillings, I can't chew gum. Gum or chewing in general never really helped me anyway. These headaches will usually happen on descent and last for two hours afterwards. I do like taking Amtrak, but I know there will be cases when flying is necessary.

I've been to Germany before and I've been to the Austrian Alps. I was 17 (3 months shy of 18) when I went to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with the high school German club. Of course I was nervous about flying, but reading and sitting next to my German teacher on the flight helped. Also with foreign flights, people can get up and move. Since it was an eight hour flight, I did talk to some other friends on the flight. That helped.

I also remember the Alps. We took a bus into the Alps and I remember the altitude of the Alps and the weather. We went at the beginning of April and it was snowy. The altitude was like a typical mountain. It was gorgeous, but I felt stuffy with the altitude change. Also, the bus driver had to be careful driving up into the Alps because of the snow. I'm sure flying has similar precautions when encountering the Alps. It was a fun trip and great memories. However, despite getting on flights when the need arises, I am still terrified of flying.

I feel sorry for all the lives lost in this plane crash. I see all types of crashes as very sad, but I feel this one is sadder than usual. I really hope this wasn't an act of terrorism and if it was a case of Fly By Wire malfunctioning, I hope Airbus takes into account of fixing the Fly By Wire system. There were already accidents with it and it's time to change that system to save lives! If that's the case, Fly By Wire reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Travel Writing with a Type Writer

As I posted on my Secret Life, a few weeks ago I learned the library has a public typewriter. Today after work I decided to type some more travel pieces. I caught a cold; needless to say, I wasn't very successful today writing. As I was trying to write about the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, an immigrant I'd say is from Slovakia (she had an Eastern European accent) was asking me about the type writer and watching me type in amazement. Before I started typing, I warned her that the typing can be a little loud since she was working on the computer. She okayed it, then when I started she took interest.

I ended up throwing the Memphis piece out. I started typing about arriving in Detroit for the first time, then Motown Coney Island. Needless to say, I didn't get far with that either (I hate being sick and I hate when I'm stuffy). This is what I wrote so far and I will go back when I feel better:

I separated from the woman I just met at the Toledo bus station and talked to for a little bit on the way to Detroit. After she introduced me to her family after we stepped off of the bus, I asked them where this one cafe was that someone told me about on City-Data. Her daughter pointed to a big brick building, but the bright Michigan sun shone in my eyes. I thanked her and walked along West Baltimore Avenue. The May sun was warm - though the sun felt good after sitting on Amtrak for 17 hours. I decided as the sweat dripped from my forehead that whatever eatery I came upon first, I'd eat there. I felt lost in a strange land, although Detroit wasn't as bad as I imagined it. There were still buildings intact in the Downtown area and the Midtown area. I just felt dizzy as I explored without many street signs. 10 minutes into my walk and still unsure where I was, I saw a sign for Motown Coney Island. I decided to have breakfast in there instead of exploring some more for this other cafe; I was starving since I hadn't eaten since before the Amtrak train arrived in Pittsburgh (around 7:30 pm). It was almost 10 am and I needed food before I could venture this new land some more. Motown Coney Island was an older building, but it had a nice familiar feel to it. It was like other cafes I've visited before elsewhere. Although the gentleman I sat next to kept falling asleep. The waitress wasn't too friendly, but she was attentive.

Good God! I seem to ramble when I'm not feeling well. I'll be playing around with this in the future...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party 3/16/2015-3/22/2015

Monday, March 16

Tuesday, March 17

Thursday, March 19

Friday, March 20

The library has a public typewriter! After work, I typed a travel piece.

Snow on the first day of Spring - and last fire for the season.

Also, Happy International Day of Happiness! I made a video through Pharrell's foundation of me dancing for International Day of Happiness: here.

Saturday, March 21

Mom said of this picture: "the veggies are on the loose!"

Saturday, March 21, 2015

International Day of Happiness 2015

Yesterday was International Day of Happiness; which is also the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. I hope everyone had the chance to celebrate. So, what makes you happy? How can International Day of Happiness help discover what makes you happy?

This day has its own website and I decided to read about what the International Day of Happiness is all about. If you're interested, you can view it here: Happy? There are 10 different actions that build happiness. The actions are:

  • Giving
  • Relating
  • Exercising
  • Appreciating
  • Direction
  • Resilience
  • Emotion
  • Acceptance
  • Meaning

I think this list is important and over the past year, I've seen this list personally. Although I came down with a cold yesterday, I still celebrated International Day of Happiness. Yesterday it snowed in Pennsylvania and it made me happy. Going to work made me happy, as I like helping the patrons and talking with the patrons. I also like my co-workers and spending time with them. However, there was something that happened yesterday that was really nice and their happiness/excitement made me really happy.

I follow someone on Instagram who is a pretty friendly person. Times have been tough economically for a lot of people. He posted a wish list on Amazon and I fulfilled two items on it. They weren't really expensive - a few dollars each (after all, I'm watching my budget) - and I figured I'd like to help out. The friend received it yesterday and they were so happy. They said I made their day. That made me really happy. Although I'm not a vaper (I think that's the new smoking craze), this friend builds them. They were telling me what they planned to do and they were so happy explaining this to me. Although I'm not familiar with it, I listened and smiled. It was nice seeing someone so excited and happy.

And I think that's the whole point of happiness and the whole point of International Day of Happiness. Yes, we should be happy ourselves... but I think we should share our happiness with others as well. Or help someone when they are down. In fact, the site I shared here shows that "Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it's not all about money - we can also give our time, ideas and energy."Do you agree? Disagree? Please share your thoughts.