NFT Philadelphia Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill

The Hill is a cobblestone mix of New England-esque shopping (white, cute, and useless) with breaks along the way for some exceptional eats. The beautiful old houses with gardens that tumble onto the sidewalk will inspire you to get your stroll on.

With quaint cobblestones and established shops that sell re-imagined kitsch (or art gunk), it's New England without ever leaving Philly. The Chestnut Grill is a great place to grab outdoor seating when the weather's right. The Schmitter at McNally's Tavern, meanwhile, is a must, and there's yet another Metropolitan Bakery up here, too.


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Posted By:  Virginia Blond
Photo:  Virginia Blond

If I could, I’d have a room in my house that was just like Cake—except without so many tables, or counters with tons of cup cakes. OK, maybe I’d have the tons of cup cakes. But I’d have to get a house first. So until then, Cake will have to do. It’s a breakfast and lunch café in a former greenhouse that is, pretty much, still a greenhouse. The deserts are fantastic (cake!) and I’m told the real food is excellent as well. Which means, yes, it ain’t cheap. Still, add in a wonderful wait staff and you can’t beat the atmosphere. Get a latte and a tasty treat, enjoy the fountain, and drink in the sun. It’s good for you.

Posted By:  Virginia Blond
Photo:  Virginia Blond

If you saw High Fidelity this place is a little like John Cusack’s store but without Jack Black. Or John Cusack. (If you haven’t seen it, go see it then read this again). The place has a collection of high quality vinyl and posters, many hard to find elsewhere, that a true music snob would appreciate. Being a snob, they’d find much lacking, but that’s a given. For the regular person, it’s a great place for used CDs or a DVD of Reefer Madness and the like. It’s heavy on the rock and roll but has all the usual genres. Personally, I’m not going to pay fifty bucks for a poster or more than a few bucks for a record. But if you’re in to that kind of thing, this place is worth checking out. If you just like to look, but you feel guilty for not buying something, check out the post cards. They’re cool and they’re a buck. I’ve got a bunch of them. Haven’t sent one. Damn, I could’ve bought a poster.

Posted By:  Virginia Blond
Photo:  Virginia Blond

Chestnut Hill Coffee Co.
Not coincidentally, Chestnut Hill Coffee Company (CHCC) is the perfect coffee shop for Chestnut Hill. But don’t let that keep you away. For one thing, you’re not going to pay more for your coffee drinks and tasty baked goods than most elsewhere; you’ll just look like you did. Even without uncomfortable, mismatched, old furniture, with stained glass behind the counter, beautiful wood floors, and large bay windows on both floors CHCC manages to be big yet comfy and non-corporate. That said, for me the baristas make the place; although with turnover what it is, I can’t guarantee you’ll feel the same. They tend to know the many regulars by name and often provide what I like to call ‘witty banter.’ Oh, they also make great drinks and know their coffee stuff. I don’t know much coffee stuff myself, but coffee snobs can brag that CHCC roasts its fair trade beans on the premises. Add to the damn good coffee some really damn good hot chocolate, some fancy pastries, and the fact that it’s dog and kid friendly, and you get the picture.

Posted By:  Mary Gaston
Photo:  Mary Gaston

Metropolitan Bakery
There are gastronomic lines of conversation—tidbits about how we relate to food, and ultimately, about human compatibility—that arise time and time again. Are you a person who lets different foods mix on your plate? What rules do you follow for the refrigeration of borderline perishables like ketchup and bread? And, are you a texture person? Oatmeal: heaven or anathema. Hummus: friend or foe. I am an avowed defender of texture. Give me a shock of shape and feel in all this culinary uniformity! (Right??) I am also an enormous fan of locally-made baked goods—so trust me when I say that years of testing have gone into the following claim. The two absolute most wonderful and yummy, locally-baked snacks in Philly are…1) The Slow Rise Bakery’s Four Seed Cookie–sweet but subtle, truly superb and available at the Green Line Café(s), Satellite Coffeeshop, Mugshots, the Farm Stand at Reading Terminal Market, and so on (use our database, folks). 2) Metropolitan Bakery’s millet muffins–What the hell is millet? I don’t know. (Wikipedia indicates something along the lines of a corn-family grain.) This muffin is the tapioca of baked goods, the bubble-tea of breakfast foods, nourishing, sweet, literally bursting with seedy goodness.

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