Don’t Be a City Dwelling Snob

I love cities. I work and play in the city (Philadelphia). But I live in the burbs.  I still may live in the city someday, but not a city in the Northeast because I hate the extreme cold in the winter. I’d have to have a place to summer.  Maybe San Fran or Austin though. I chose to live in the burbs to raise a child. Not that there’s anything wrong with raising a child in the city. It’s just easier in the burbs and private school tuition isn’t necessary.

Many of my friends and coworkers live in the city. Sometimes I am hulk-green with envy. Then I get one of those snide comments about suburban dwelling and become defensive. You know the comments I’m talking about:

“I couldn’t live in the burbs. Everything’s vanilla.”

“It’s all the same no matter what town you’re in.”

“You have to drive everywhere. I’d miss walking to a restaurant or pub.”

” There are no indie places, just chain stores and restaurants.”

Oh yeah? Like Philadelphia is absent of Chili’s, The Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, Starbucks, Papa Johns, Manhattan Bagel, The Gap, Banana Republic, Express, Victoria’s Secret, and Williams & Sonoma?  In the burbs, there are plenty of Indie places. A few of my local faves include:

Cous Cous– Moroccan cuisine and hookah lounge in Cherry Hill, NJ. Lots of pillows and the best mango smoke this side of the world.  Plus the weekend DJ plays some tripped out house that just makes your shisha head feel like you’re dancing like a sugarplum fairy.

Myung Ga – Korean restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ that even invented the Koagie[TM], a Korean hoagie. I heart the Chicken Dolsot that comes in a piping hot stone bowl and if you leave the rice on the bottom undisturbed it caramelizes and forms a crispy crunchy rice cake sorta thing.

Melange Cafe –  Louisiana cuisine with a touch of italian thrown in.  Who needs Emeril’s or K Paul’s when you have Chef Joe Brown in the hood. The best gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice are really found in Cherry Hill.

Grooveground – Totally rad coffee shop/art gallery/music venue/gift shop in Collingswood, NJ. Spend a weekend morning or weekend evening here. Arresting ambiance. Great Bean. Good vibes. (PS: if you live in Collingswood, you can walk to Grooveground and all of your favorite stores and restaurants. Just like in the city.)

Joeys Boutique – Clothes, jewelry and accessories for chicks who rock. Very Cali. In fact, the merchandise is like the stuff worn by Karen on Californication but found here in Marlton, NJ.  So hip they don’t have a website yet, but I’m linking to a couple reviews.

Moore Brothers Wine Company– Unbelievable selection of Euro wines. All hand chosen by the owners. The incredibly grape-savvy staff are eager to help and don’t oversell. Moore Bros.  even lets you set up your own wine portfolio so you can track what you’ve bought and liked. But my favorite place on their website is “BYOB.” It gives you a list of Philly BYOBs and the wines they recommend you take with (for those like me who dig playing in the city).

Speaking of shopping for food and wine … guess where some of my snootiest city friends buy their groceries and spirits. They pay the $4 toll to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge in their Zipcar just to come to our Wegmans, Whole Foods, Total Wine, and Moore Brothers.  Face it, state stores suck and we have plenty of parking.

City living is the coolest; I would never knock it. Just don’t cop an attitude about the burbs. It’s not all that ticky tacky.

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  1. January 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    To be fair, Jerse burbs have way more indie stuff in them, because many of them are actual small towns – instead of just outlying areas of a larger city. Philly burbs are a totally different (and snob-worthy) animal, in my opinion.

  2. January 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    love this! first, i love karen from californication. love grooveground. and! melange cafe is on my list to try. heard great things from many people about that place.

  3. Ethan
    January 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I back the ‘burbs 100%. There’s no awesome Tom Hanks movie called ‘The City’ is there?
    I did my time living in the city, it’s fun, total sensory overload everyday. But I grew up in the suburbs and I’m back now and probably in the snobbiest of the Philly burbs. I’m a total fish-out-of-water but I love it. I can see trees from my front door!

  4. skullboy
    March 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah the things I love about the burbs are worrying if I can get to work because it’s snowing, being stuck in the house without bread, eggs, milk, booze and not seeing anybody until the freeze if over, being tied to my car because it’s too fucking dangerous to walk or ride a bicycle to the strip mall, and of course all the really cool places to go see live indie bands or catch a gallery opening. I love not knowing my neighbors because they hide in their backyards on their decks drinking their amstel light and chardonnay cooking on their gas grills and having Friday night cocktail parties with other parents they know from the little league. I am yawning while writing this… wake me up when the lawn service arrives

    • March 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      well color me redneck cuz i aint never been any place cool to see an indie band or a gallery opening, what with living in the burbs and all.

      and i guesses me none of you city folk have ever been struck by a car while walking or riding your bikes. must be so safe in the big city.

      yeah them there backyards suck for drinking. we could hang out in the bars on friday nights. then we could get to know the other barflys, i mean neighbors, in the hood.

  5. skullboy
    March 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    i never have to hear about little league from the people in the hood, thank god! just don’t be killing any innocents when you are driving home from those wild cocktail parties. but when you all do come over to act like city people, please keep it to the places we have designated for the suburban types like Old City, South Street and Manayunk. we’ll keep the good places to ourselves.

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