My favorite part of a recent evening--next to Cochon's braised pork belly over sweet corn salad and fingerling potatoes--was just walking around checking out menus. Being in South Philly I thought of la passeggiata, the Italian tradition of the evening stroll.
Stroll west to Distrito at 39th and Chestnut, where Jose Garces spins classic Mexican dishes and features more than 60 tequila varieties. Get in before you have to fight off Penn students for a seat in the booth crafted from a Volkswagen Beetle, a take on Tattooed Mom's bumper car.
It's also a good time to stroll the newly revived historic New Market at Second and Lombard. Philly's Farm to City hosts a local food and beer tasting on Saturday. Proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Convivium of Slow Food. Tickets at www.farmtocity.org.
On a Thursday head over to Zahav for a weekly prix fixe chef's tasting menu served in the restaurant's intimate dining space called the Quarter.
For the taste of the shore without the traffic, head to one of seven Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant locations for their Summer Lobster Bake. All day every day through August, Iron Hill pairs seasonal brews with a hearty seafood bake of Maine lobster, PEI mussels and littleneck clams.
Atlantic City's food scene keeps getting better. This month Michael Schulson of Style Network's Pantry Raid opens Izakaya at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Schulson is calling his cuisine Japanese pub fare.
On Aug. 1 local establishments like Bar Ferdinand, Caf� Estelle and Franklin Fountain participate in the first Bust Out! Fundraiser--a benefit to honor breast cancer survivors and raise funds for research--by donating 50 percent of proceeds of select dishes to local org Living Beyond Breast Cancer (www.lbbc.org).
At least once this summer, take my all-time favorite summer stroll: the ice cream crawl.
Start off at Rita's on 15th and Spruce and get the kid-size frozen custard twist with rainbow sprinkles. Head toward the Square for a Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia fix, then on to Scoop Deville to make your own soft ice cream blend (I'm fan of the chocolate ice cream/Nutella combo).
Complete the circuit with a loop around Chestnut to the Rittenhouse Capogiro where each week they feature new flavors from hand-picked seasonal produce. This week I polished off a double scoop of ananas con menta (golden pineapple with meadow mint) and mirtillo con crema (blueberries and cream). If you're walking while eating ice cream, it doesn't count.