I got hooked on Office Cents when I used to get 10% off coupons at school, but I still go even though I can't find those coupons. Even though it's right across from Staples, which is larger and in theory has more selection, I would choose Office Cents over Staples any day, and the reason is because of the customer service! The staff is so nice and helpful, while at Staples I can never find anything or anyone to help me. Office Cents carries a full range of office supplies, including generic brands that usually only companies have access to, but they sell here at lower prices than the name brand. I've always found what I need (or the salesperson was able to find it). They also sell office chairs and fancy pens (if you're looking for a gift), and some greeting cards. Definitely check it out!
We "purchased" this room through Priceline for a friend who was visiting from out of town, but then didn't stay overnight, so we stayed there instead. It was a fun getaway in our own city! The Priceline cost was $80-90 (I don't know what the regular prices are). The reception is on an upper floor, which has a nice feel to it. The room was very clean, although it was small and tight. I've been to hotel rooms in New York City before, so I wasn't too surprised--urban hotel rooms seem to run on the small side. The shower was the best part, with an untraditional shower and no tub, but it had a great spout (I think one of those rain shower heads) and a stone wall separating the shower from the toilet. The bathroom was also very roomy. The staff was very polite also.
Scoop Deville has a great atmosphere of an ice cream parlor, in contrast to Capogiero, which has a more modern feel (both are nice, and it's nice to have options!). They have seating both inside and out. They also sell chocolates by weight, and have these amazing looking pastries. I feel that Philadelphia doesn't have enought dessert places, so I'm glad Scoop Deville is around! It's just down the street from a lot of shopping (Daffy's, Liberty Place mall, Chestnut Street) so it's a great place to stop in when you need a break.
Sue's Produce consistenly has fresh produce. Sadly, Center City doesn't have that many places to get fresh produce, but Sue's is one of them (I also recommend Maxx's on 20th and Spruce). The little store has been so popular that they have moved a couple times and renovated the space so that now the store is ever so slightly roomier and with a nice atmosphere. It's in an area with other shops and restaurants, so you can get a few things done while stopping by Sue's Produce.
I love Thai food but have been disappointed with the Thai food in Philly. Now I have found a restaurant with excellent Laotian food, and it has a similarly tangy spice to satisfy my cravings for Thai food! Also, they have Thai items on their menu too, but I haven't tried it yet. They have items that range in price on the menu, and you can get a dish for around $10. I highly recommend the calamari (not breaded and fried like in Italian restaurants, I think it's grilled?) which comes with a delicious dipping hot sauce. Their coconut rice is so good, although it seems more like dessert. The ambience is very nice, much nicer than the Vietnamese restaurants across the street, and can make for a very romantic date.
Commonly known as TLA (not to be confused with TLA video), this venue features all sorts of bands and artists. Recently I went to see Beth Orton for only $20! The inside is a little rundown, and I wouldn't want to see it with the lights up, but the space is relatively small so you know you'll be able to see the performer even if you're in the back. If you get there early, and are over 21, you can go to the bar areas--upstairs and to the side--where they have stools. Unfortunately, there aren't many so I've always had to stand, the area in front of the stage is just a big empty space. Since it's located on South Street, you can grab a bite to eat before or after (I recommend Jim's Steaks nearby--definitely hits the spot after listening to some awesome music). TLA definitely fills a niche in Philadelphia, providing a forum for us to listen to some of our favorite bands and artists!
TLA is the best video store I have ever rented from! They have a huge selection, including excellent foreign film and gay and lesbian sections. They also have a porn section if you're into that. Movies are $4 to rent for 3 days (I think, maybe more?), and 5 days for older releases, and when you rent 2, you get a 3rd for free. They have a new policy where if you return a movie the next day, you get a $1 credit. The staff is very knowledgeable also, and there's a section of staff picks that is fun to browse. Unlike other video stores, all you need is the name of the movie you want to see. The only downside is that sometimes movies are out since they might not have as many copies as the mainstream video rental places, which can be maddening if you've been looking forward to seeing something! I suppose that's what allows them to carry so many movies. TLA is frequently one of the locations where you can buy Philadelphia Film Festival tickets. They also have a small store in the front where DVDs are for sale. Note that they have a few branches in addition to this one, in the South Street area, the art museum area, Chestnut Hill, Bryn Mawr and New York City.
The Pearl of the East I'm writing about is the one on Chestnut, but around 17th Street (not sure if these 2 are related). The store is chock full of Asian furniture, in particular Chinese and Korean. The prices are decent for the quality of the furniture, and they are willing to negotiate (especially during a sale). A friend of mine got a fantastic antique chicken coop cabinet at a steal. They also sell futons and futon frames and some non-Asian furniture.
Deborah Finn sells high end jewelry, especially diamond jewelry. I personally can't afford anything in the store, but I love looking in and drooling. The designs are simple yet interesting, very modern and contemporary. She also sells engagement rings. I found Deborah Finn very nice and friendly, and she appeared very knowledgeable. If you are in the market for some special jewelry, then I definitely recommend this store if you want something distinct and unique.
Papyrus has an excellent selection of cards for every occasion. The cards tend to be more distinctive than the Hallmark/American Greeting type of cards, ranging from handmade to classy to funky, but at the same price. They also sell cards in boxes, and some stationary and wrapping paper. In the back is a small table with chairs, intended for those who are designing stationary for special occasions, but handy if you're waiting for a friend to finish up her selection (as it's difficult to choose among so many beautiful cards!). The staff is very nice too.