I did it. folks. I survived Erin Express, and on my first try too. For those of you who didn’t read Part 1 of this survival guide, I’ll explain to you why it’s impressive that I survived Erin Express. Erin Express is an all day long pub crawl event where grown people wear head to toe green and get belligerent on the streets of Philadelphia. In pursuit or the truth, in honor of all of the gonzo journalists before me, I took to the mean streets of Philly to experience this tradition first hand. However, I did it with a little Lifestoned Adventures twist, here’s the recap of my very first Erin Express and some survival tips to keep in mind for next year.
Don’t Go Out The Night Before
I remember the days when I could go out two nights in a row and still give off a radiant, refreshed glow at Sunday morning brunch. But alas, those days are way behind me. I’m now a once a weekend, twice a month kind of girl and I have no regrets about that. So unless you are young at heart, not prone to hangovers, or can power through a hangover to continue drinking (in this case probably sit this one out anyway), I would not recommend going out the night before. Surviving Erin Express is all about prepping your body to be on it’s feet all day so making sure your feet are not tired is totally the key emoji to success.
Go Off The Beaten Path
Like I mentioned above, I’m kind of rusty at the whole going out thing. I blame it on the cold or even Netflix, but either way, for the last few months I’ve been participating in a lot of at home game nights. So jumping into the deep end of going out wasn’t exactly what my friends and I had in mind. So instead of hitting up the typical Philly watering holes, we decided to make our own path, which leads me to my next point. If you can’t handle the heat, cheat your way into staying in the kitchen. That’s how that expression goes right?
Cheat The System
Full disclosure here: what my friends and I did on Saturday was “technically” Erin Express because it was an all day event spent in bars and pubs. But “technically” we also cheated the system. If you’re following me on Twitter you saw my live tweets from all of the Philly restaurants we frequented that day. If you’re not, make sure you click on the links so you can take a bite out of some of the best places the Philadelphia’s food scene had to offer. But anyways, It’s important to note that our Erin Express was brunch themed. Yeah you read that right - but let me break it down for you. From 11 am to 5 pm, four friends and I embarked on an epic journey, a valiant crusade if you will, to eat and drink brunch cuisine and libations for six blissful hours. This seems like madness, this seems like malarkey, but trust me when I say that this is the best way to get your Erin Express on.
Get by With a Little Help From Your Friends
Erin Express: Brunch Edition or #Brunchaganza couldn’t be possible without the help and perseverance of my four friends Jackie, Max, Sarah, and Katie. You need a solid crew to keep you motivated through plates and plates of food because #Brunchaganza is best-experienced family style. Our first stop was Southern Eatery, and the place where roommate and #Brunchaganza member Jackie wants her ashes spread, Rex 1516. I almost don’t want to write about Rex 1516 because I don’t want to wait in a long line to get in because that’s how good the food and the service truly is.
We started our meal at Rex 1516 with hot coffee and drinks; some of my favorites being the Winter Shandy or the excellently mixed Bloody Mary. Then we wasted no time diving into this decadent yet approachable menu. Because we did this family style we settled on sharing three plates. The Chicken and Waffles Benedict, aka the best fried chicken sandwiched between a fluffy homemade Belgian waffle and a perfectly poached egg all with a healthy portion of sweet maple syrup in Philadelphia. Next was the Huevos Rancheros, a dish that is locally recognized for it’s out of this word flavor combination due to Rex 1516’s brilliant addition of crab etouffee. And lastly, the Creamy Chipped Brisket a BBQ Brisket and béchamel sauce ladled on pieces of melt in your mouth sourdough bread. Three dishes for five people doesn’t seem like an even ratio but when the food is that good and that hardy, three is the magic number.
Walk Around, Hydrate, & Continue to Carb Up
After devouring such heavy meal in no time we decided to take a lap around the block before heading to our next location. And let me say that I can’t recommend light physical activity after a meal and our next stop The Cambridge more highly. With one of the most beautiful restaurant fronts I’ve ever seen in my life, The Cambridge isn’t hard to miss and after you read the menu, you won’t want to miss it either. I’ve got four words for you: Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese. And if that didn’t sell you, here’s another collection of words that fit flawlessly together: Short Rib Poutine. If those two things don’t make you want to skip kegs and eggs then I really don’t know what to tell you. Luckily for us, creator or the themed hashtag and #burnchagranza member Katie, to remind us that balance is key so we also threw in the Challah French Toast with a Pecan Maple Bacon Syrup (Note: Not really my favorite texture of French Toast but the flavors were incredible). When it comes to drinks at The Cambridge, I would skip the lackluster Bloody Mary, for their extensive beer list, and at least, three glasses of water between every drink.
Know When To Call It Quits
By the time we made it Strangelove’s we were just about as carbed up as any adult human being should ever be. But after a wide selection of beers like the 2SP + Greenstreet Bean N' Gone S.I.P. and others which were highly recommended by beer enthusiast and fellow #Brunchaganza member Max and several hilarious games of MASH facilitated by #brunchaganza darling Sarah, we were ready to dive back in. Now down to two plates instead of three, we went with something sweet and something salty - french onion dip with crispy homemade chips and the peanut butter pie with caramelized peanuts on top. After a rich pie like that we knew that after our last round of beers, it was time to call it quits.
So what did we learn
If cheating means all day brunch then call me a cheater. In all seriousness, a little day drinking is good for both the soul and the local economy. So if you are scared to jump into the green remember that you have options but no matter how you celebrate remember to stick with your friends, keep moving, hydrate, and know when to call it quits.