day 16: philadelphia to camden, nj
Whoa nelly Koch’s Deli!Â (That rhymes. I’m giggling.)
I don’t even know where to begin on this zany, crazy, fun, feast of a stop.
My “plan” for today (once again, plans when I travel seem silly to even bother to make most the time) was to explore at least a couple food spots friends and readers had suggested around the City of Brotherly Love before we hit up the Honda Civic Tour show. I usually like to eat a little here a little there- like a smorgasbord of a city so I can fit it a bunch in when I only have a short time in a place. Well, that was so not happening after our entire afternoon at Koch’s Deli in West Philly. (And I cannot tell you how 110% Ok I was with that!)
Let the best kind of madness began:
…and then we went inside:
Surprises left and right, me stuffing my face again, (Mom- aren’t you proud?) and so much happening I couldn’t keep my head on straight. (Actually, that’s probably because I was on a cheese and pickle high.) Ezra continued to stuff everyones face as he lovingly heckled not only us, but allllll the customers. We made friends with everyone around us including Brita in the orange sweatshirt who was, like my friend Jocelyn- a “virgin” first-timer to Koch’s:
In case you don’t know this, I can eat. (Review above videos and nearly every post I write.) I’m not afraid of some food and a 5 mile run after to work it all off, but my god I ate more food standing in line at Koch’s than I eat at Thanksgiving sometimes! I had about 62 kinds of cheese, 342 pickles and I’m sure equal amounts of meat. Ezra was scolding me to “eat, eat, eat!”- so I threw vegetarian life to the wind and went in head first in a carnivore-fest. I tried pastrami types and random beef something or other. Meats I would never ever usually touch, have never eaten before, or haven’t tried in 10 years. It was out of control and I was in the moment going all the way. At Koch’s there’s something in the air that makes you want to scream NIKE!- and just do it. So I did. The overall vibe and scene in this place is a come, eat, laugh, and whoop it up. You can’t be shy here. I love that. It’s very clear by the hundreds of photos and notes covering the walls that lots of others love it too:
I finally got myself organized from the sensory overload, to order my hoagie: Honey turkey, onion-cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, sweet peppers and oil and vinegar:
Did Ezra slice it right there and make me try with yet another pickle? You bet he did!
Then he gave me a smooch:
…and I gave him a blue lollipop:
Of course I left blue lollies for the other staff too. Barbie (who actually was the one who made my sandwich) and Bryce who was slicing and dicing behind the counter. When Bryce heard I was driving a Honda he grinned, piped up and said excitedly: “Hey! My first car was a 1991 Accord and it had 300,000 miles on it!” Meet Bryce, fellow Honda fan:
After meeting the whole staff, talking to the regulars, and eating what seemed like ten thousand samples of meats and cheeses, we collected our sandwiches, said our goodbye’s and out the door for a wrap up video. You guessed it, the surprises were not over:
Oh Koch’s- I will so be back! You might go down in history as my most favorite sandwich experience ever. Thank you Ezra, Barbie and Bryce for such a great afternoon.
Naturally I wanted to check out all the Honda stuff, so we wandered to where the Civic Si CoupeÂ giveaway was. (Custom designed by the guys of Blink 182):
Did I sign up to win it? Heck yeah! Then I got tattooed up for the night:
As we wandered the masses before the show started, I spotted this little rocker dude and had to ask his mom if I could take a picture. Meet Ricky:
How adorable is he trying to be all tough with his mohawk?!
We found our seats and the show was about to begin:
Opening act Matt & Kim came on and got the crowd riled up:
They were hilarious! A sassy duo you would totally want to hang with and get into a little trouble. There couldn’t have been a better opener leading up to the show, starting with My Chemical Romance:
This show was my first time hearing much of these guys. They were awesome, the crowd loved them, and was excited to find another band to be a fan of! Blink 182 still had my heart though:
(Crush time!) Yep, I am still carrying a crush I had over 10 years ago that started after seeing them at a music festival in Upstate, NY. I picked an old-school song of course, to go with my old-school crush.
The amphitheater was packed and the crowd was on their feet and just going nuts the whole show. (We were too!) It was SO MUCH FUN. Being there made me feel like I wanted to be a rock star and wonder why I don’t go to more concerts. Thanks Honda! The guys announced on stage that this was the biggest show crowd on the whole tour and I got to be there thanks to you- yeah!
What’s the best surprise after jumping around all night screaming and singing with thousands of strangers and being exhausted as you sit bumper to bumper trying to get out of an after-concert parking lot? Koch’s Deli leftovers to nosh on! Mmmm…midnight snack. We were so glad we had those. What a day. Talk about going to bed full, exhausted and smiling…
Tomorrow I head to NYC to be close to the ferry for my final day Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tour!
***Total miles driven today, day 16: 53
***Total miles driven since trip start (9/2/11): 2,661
***Total blue lollipops gifted/left behind since trip start (9/2/11): 25.