Walnut Hill and Knafeh are good for your soul

This past weekend we took a train ride down to 49th street and made our way to this little treasure I discovered with my roommate my freshman year. It’s an Ethiopian restaurant called Abyssinia that is warm, unassuming, and depending on what time you go, is either calming and quiet, or packed and alive with groups of people anywhere from 2 to 10. This is the kind of food that is meant for sharing. It’s also an incredible amount of food for an extremely reasonable price; I have never been there with anyone who has left still hungry. This is not a restaurant review (although I guess it kind of is), but the point I want to make is that this is one of many beautiful little places in Philly that you can escape to. Take your friends, leave your work, don’t think about this place. You are more than a student and you DO deserve a break and you DEFINITELY deserve good food (but no shade because let’s be real, Donnie is the only reason most of us come to school).  After leaving the restaurant, we took a walk around the corner and realized that there is a multitude of Ethiopian restaurants all clustered in that area; so if Abyssinia doesn’t do it for you – you have options.

Dusk is one of my favourite times to walk around a city. Things start to quiet down and come alive at the same time, the energy shifts and the light changes, and if I’m surrounded by good people, I always settle myself into nostalgic contentedness. We walked in and out of thrift stores boasting old board games and fake corn and what appeared to be a plastic jar of honey filled with dirt and rocks(?).

At home (the U.A.E.), large dinners are typically followed by sitting around and drinking Moroccan tea, smoking shisha and eating Arabic sweets. As we wandered the streets I started to feel homesick for familiarity and we walked into another wonderful place called Manakeesh Café Bakery. We ordered two pots of Moroccan tea and a plate of Knafeh (if you haven’t had Knafeh you’re not living, I can honestly devour BOXES of it). We sat at a little round table under string lights and ate, talked and poured tea and it felt good; we didn’t want to leave. So here’s my little plug again – there a
re so many magical, obscure, low key things to do in Philly and I love sharing them with you, and you deserve to take time off and experience them. Don’t let school take over your life. Fall break is so close friends! You survived half a semester! Celebrate it – that’s a lot, and you are resilient.


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