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  • By Susan Welsh

Friday, Saturday, Sunday


Cocktails on Wednesday at Friday, Saturday, Sunday is always a good idea. For me, a Paper Trail, naturally--tequila, Bonal, Punt e Mes, lime, grapefruit and club soda. For Steph a Cheap Suit--gin, lemon-coriander shrub, and Cocchi Americano.

The thing about ordering a cocktail in an artisinal bar like FSS is that you'll also get a guided tour in the art of mixology and cool facts about the art and craft of spirits to jot down on your cocktail napkin.

Madi, our bartender extraordinnaire, let us sip and sample and gave us invaluable tips on places to eat and things to see in the City of Brotherly Love. Hearing us debate the pronunciation on the label of a bottle of Becherova, Madi pours us a sample and the taste of spicy-honey-clove-ginger- cinnamon subtly warms throat and palate. I taste Dentyne and and the herbal roots of my Slovak heritage. My ancestors are the Bachars, just a vowel's distance away from Becher, the namesake of Becherovka, originally formulated in1807, one of the most popular exports of socialist Czechoslovakia by 1960 and owned by wine and spirts giant Pernod Ricard since 2011.

A few drinks, a dozen oysters, and some caviar later we found ourselves at Vernick, where we scored one of the best tables in the house, center open window on a perfect summer night, old cathedrals and colorful flowerboxes for a view. We shared a variety of plates large and small, but the standout was the smoked pork chop Milanese with napa cabbage salad and sesame & black garlic.

A weekend later our culinary palates are once again delighted by our friend Roz's bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese and grilled lollipop lambchops-- all served al fresco while we bake in the sweltering sun and 87% humidity of early evening, waiting for nightfall and The Riverside Symphonia's traditional Concert Under the Stars.

A little heartfelt patriotism is needed these days. A reminder of what we always believed America was founded on, represents, is. . .

Dig if you will a picture of a night sky, twinkling stars and the first boom and flare of fireworks. Then, the anthemic melody of Tchaikovshy's 1812 Overture, a masterpiece he wrote to commemorate the Battle of Borodino, the "bloodiest" battle of the Napoleonic Wars and for Russians, and a symbol of national courage.

Of course no celebration is complete without champagne. We have our favorite chilled and ready for a toast to America. From the City of Brotherly Love to the banks of the Delaware River, here in the heart of America's birthplace the stars and bubbles fizz and pop and, the words of Walt Whitman, " I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear. . ."


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