Dishes 133 & 134: Lemon Butter Cookies and Roasted Potatoes at Southwark, 4th and Bainbridge, http://www.southwarkrestaurant.com
Dear Fair Citizens of Philadelphia, I have spotted a disturbing trend. You see, I have a beautiful rusty red beach cruiser named Hampton Classic, and Hampton and I have many qualities in common. We both enjoy sunshine, gently rolling hills, and obeying traffic laws. We both dislike foods that are bubblegum flavored but are not, in fact, bubblegum. We both appreciate a fine jort, or jean short. But most importantly, we both understand the importance of safe transport. So under certain conditions, such as inclement weather or lateness of the hour, I leave Hampton out to fend against the elements, and I choose a separate method of transportation to return to my apartment. And then I return to him the next day. And, without fail, there are goodies in his basket.
What kind of goodies, you ask? Oh, it varies. Beer cans are a favorite. Inexpensive books. A loaf of fresh bread tied shut with a telephone cable. I had noticed that most Philadelphian bicyclists do not have baskets, but Hampton and I find it essential to a young woman whose clothing rarely features pockets. And so on each occasion that I dare leave him on the mean streets weaving Rittenhouse Square, I leave with a conscience weighted by the concern for his welfare and the questions left unanswered. Why is there a dearth of recycling facilities for the Philadelphian nightcrawlers to dispose of their empty brews? Who no longer needs their copy of “Around the World in 80 Words”? What about a rusty beach cruiser convinced a do-gooder that I was in need of carbohydrates, and why whole-wheat?
It was with the burden of these thoughts that I checked my watch as I left Southwark; considered the hour and the sky, the potatoes seasoned ever so ideally, the butter cookies so rich they hurt my molars, looked both ways for manic taxicabs possibly committing us two to an untimely death, hopped on my bike and rode away. Mysterious gift-givers, consider yourselves thwarted, at least for tonight.