Alice Jones’ Favorite Philly Foods

One of the most fun things about setting the Alice Jones mysteries in Philadelphia is that she gets to snack on lots of delicious Philadelphia food. Here are a few of Alice’s favorites:

pretzel

Soft Pretzels (with mustard) – Soft and warm with big square salt crystals, there’s nothing quite like getting a pretzel from one of the many food carts around the city. Alice likes to add a bit of brown mustard to spice it up.

 

 

cheesesteakCheesesteaks – Probably the most iconic Philly Food. A cheesesteak is made of thin slices of grilled steak and fried onions on a soft roll covered with melted cheese (traditionally Cheez Whiz or provolone). Don’t forget your napkins!

 

waterice2Water Ice – Sort of like a very firm slushie, water ice comes in every flavor you can imagine and is way more refreshing than ice cream. I had to call it Italian Ice in The Impossible Clue, but everyone from Philly knows it’s really called Water Ice!

 

tastykake2Tastykakes – These mini snack cakes are made in Philadelphia and come in a variety of flavors. Sort of like twinkies, but so much better! I like the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. Alice prefers the classic Butterscotch Krimpets.

 

phoPho-Not a traditional Philly dish, but a growing favorite. Philadelphia has a strong Vietnamese community. Pho is a spicy noodle soup.  Alice and her dad enjoy seeing just how spicy they can handle their Pho

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A Day in Philadelphia

This summer I took a trip to America to visit my family on the other side of the Atlantic. We started in Maine and ended in New Jersey, but I had a day to do a whirlwind tour of Philadelphia, the home of Alice Jones.

drivingintophilly

A view of the skyline as we drive in, you can just see William Penn’s statue on top of City Hall.

When I was growing up, I spent most of my summers in Philadelphia with my dad and three of my four siblings. When I was very young (and still an only child), we lived on South Street right in the center of the city, surrounded by funky shops and artists. We lived down the road from Isaiah Zagar, an amazing muralist who decorated the walls of the city with found object mosaics. If you are ever there, visit The Philadelphia Magic Garden! It’s amazing.

Magic Garden by Kevin Burkett

A fork in the road at the Magic Garden. Someday I’ll set something here!

Later, when my siblings arrived, we moved out of the city. But we’d still visit all the time. One of my favorite places to go was The Franklin Institute an enormous science museum full of fabulous interactive exhibits. Alice, being a math and science fan, shares my love of The Franklin. 

Check out Alice hanging out on the steps outside.  And me trying to share a copy of The Impossible Clue with Ben Franklin. He wasn’t biting…

 

I also stopped by the Philadelphia Free Library to see the steps where Alice and Kevin make their first big breakthrough in the case of the invisible scientist. One thing this visit REALLY reminded me, was just how HOT Philly can be in the summer. I remembered the heat on an intellectual level, but I’d forgotten what it really felt like – the intensity and how sticky it makes you. Check out my frazzled hair as I pose!

 

A few more highlights:

One of the city’s many beautiful murals. A touch of history (note the flag). And, of course, a food cart like the one in The Impossible Clue where Alice buys soft pretzels and spots the mysterious silver Mercedes.

Philadelphia is a great city and it deserved more than just a day, but it was fun to go on even a short trip down memory lane with Alice. If you live in Philly or have visited, I’d love to see your photos and hear about your favorite places in the city!