National Hot Toddy Day and Farmer’s Market Adventures

11 January is National Hot Toddy Day. After learning that the Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit was sold out at the National Jewish Museum (today is the last day for the exhibit), I decided to check out Red Owl Tavern. I used to go there when I drank alcohol and ate gluten; I read in Metro that they were partaking in National Hot Toddy Day and I decided to go in.

I sat at the bar and the bartender greeted me. The bartender sounded like he was from Maryland or somewhere South because I heard a little Southern twang in his voice. I love Southern accents! I asked for a non-alcoholic Hot Toddy and he looked a little confused, “you don’t want brandy or anything in that?” I said, “No, I don’t drink anymore.” “Oh, okay. How about extra lemon and ginger then?” “Perfect!”

He brought out my non-alcoholic Hot Toddy, chai and spiced teas, ginger juice, lemon and clove. I was still stuffy and that opened my nose. It felt soothing to the soul. I wasn’t hungry, as I ate breakfast before and we were going to Texas Roadhouse and I wanted to save my appetite for dinner, but I asked him if they had gluten-free options.

His reply? “Most things on the menu can be made gluten-free and we have gluten-free breads too.” He handed me the menu and it did look delicious – it’s brunch for the weekends – and I think next Sunday after I ice skate, I’m going to Red Owl Tavern for brunch. The bartender didn’t charge me for the Hot Toddy, but I gave him a $3 tip for his help, service, and making the atmosphere pleasant for the 45 minutes I sat there, chatting with him and the other guests. I’m hoping Red Owl Tavern will become my favourite spot again, with my new dietary needs.


It’s unseasonably warm this weekend in Philadelphia and I thought about walking the ten blocks to Rittenhouse Square, but since I finally shook this cold, I didn’t want to overdo it. While I was feeling better, I was still stuffy, and I thought about my health. I walked a few blocks to the bus and took some photos of Independence Hall. I have been learning how to use the panorama view of my new phone and these were the photos I captured:

I hopped on the bus at 8th Street (I walked three blocks, not bad), exited at 19th Street, then walked four blocks down to M&T Bank, then Rittenhouse Square. Since it was 67 degrees Fahrenheit, the Farmer’s Market was crowded. Not as crowded as when I went in September, but it still drew in a good sized crowd.

I started to take pictures. As I was walking to find Amrynth, the awesome GF bakery from Lancaster, I was so focused on finding the stand that I forgot to take photos. I finally found the stand and I was overwhelmed by all of the options! Banana bread, raisin bread, GF pies, thumbprint cookies, granola, rolls, you name it and he had it. I would have loved to buy the whole table, but I knew I couldn’t. I settled on GF raisin bread, dinner rolls, and thumbprint cookies. I chatted with the guy for a little bit and they appear at all the farmer’s markets in Lancaster, Bryn Mawr, and Philadelphia. I might have to take a bus trip to Lancaster some time.

I decided to look at the vegetables and I knew I had to watch pricing. When I went in September, I paid $2.99/lb for butternut squash and paid $20 for two butternut squashes and two tomatoes. Trader Joe’s was selling butternut squash for $0.99 each. While the butternut squash soup turned out delicious and the veggies were super fresh, I am watching my budget. Yesterday, I only bought arugula at $3.99/bag.


I never bought fish from a fish monger and I wanted to try it. There was a fish monger at Rittenhouse Square and as I waited in line, I looked at the different options. I wanted to make a cod dish, but the cod was $16.49/lb. I’m used to buying a filet at Wegmans for $6.99 each. I wasn’t sure if that was expensive or not (I asked mom when I got home and she said, “it’s not cheap buying seafood anymore, but $16.49 seems a little high, but most likely because it’s at a farmer’s market.”), so I decided to ask the young fish monger what skate was. Skate was $12.49/lb and he explained that it’s from the sting ray, I can dredge it in flour, fry it with butter, lemon and capers. I said, “I can make it gluten-free!” and bought a piece of skate for $8. He put the fish on ice in a bag and said, “next week when you come back, let me know how it was!” Unfortunately, he probably won’t know for a few more months, but who knows! I’m excited to try it. I bought GF almond meal at Trader Joe’s that I’ll fry it in.

Forest and Main was also there. I love that restaurant/brew pub. Since I don’t drink, I decided to look at the books, tees, and bags they were selling. A crowd had formed to try the different beers, and as I was waiting I saw a little boy in a dragon coat who was waiting for his father. I told him I loved his jacket and that prompted him to tell me that he loved my Grinch bag. He chatted my ear off for fifteen minutes about how the big Grinch was mean, the baby Grinch on my bag looked nice, then told me the story about how mean Grinch turned into a loving Grinch at the end. He loved feeling the bag and sketching a baby Grinch with the twig he was holding. After his dad finished his sampling and purchasing, he realized that his chatty son was possibly holding me up (he wasn’t) and the father kept trying to pull him away from my bag. He resisted for a few moments, but eventually went with his father. The little boy was cute.


I just realized that most of the photos I took yesterday were of the fish monger. I captured the father holding the little boy while they were buying fish. I spent forty-five minutes at the Farmer’s Market and I decided to head to Trader Joe’s before I took the bus back to King of Prussia. On my way to Trader Joe’s, I met Sam and Kat and offered to take their photos. They were struggling with good angles with selfies and they loved that I offered. They loved the photos I took and I asked them for a selfie with me. They graciously agreed.


Yesterday was a nice day out and it cheered my soul. It made me feel even better too. There is just something fun about going to farmer’s markets and connecting with local businesses. I was chatting with someone at the library and the scheduling app deleted many of her shifts too, the app has a habit of doing that (shake my head), I’ll have to email. Part of me is sorta hoping I don’t get Saturdays back because I can start a freelance photography business through Air bnb on weekends.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

2 thoughts on “National Hot Toddy Day and Farmer’s Market Adventures”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Happy National Hot Toddy Day, dear friend! Thanks for letting me know about it. The alcohol free toddy you ordered at the Red Owl is, figuratively and literally, my cup of tea. I can understand how it would also ease your cold symptoms. Two other pluses: you learned that they can make most of the food on their menu gluten-free, and the bartender gave you the toddy free of charge, making Red Owl Tavern a promising destination for a meal after ice skating or any time at all. (It needs to be colder than 67 degrees for you to get in the mood for ice skating, I would imagine.)

    I like the panoramic views of Independence Hall. I’m happy to learn about the Amrynth GF bakery from Lancaster, my old stomping ground. Food is job #1 in Lancaster County. Seems like you did lots of smart and thrifty shopping as you made your way around and bought fish, almond meal, etc. You also had a pleasant encounter with that little boy who chatted up a storm. I admire the selfie you took with new friends Sam and Kat. With your keen eye for composition I can “picture” you having a freelance photography business on weekends.

    Have a great week, dear friend JM!


    1. Oh yeah, Tom. I ice skate outdoors mostly and when it’s 67 degrees, it’s not a good idea. While the River Rink has decent fridges to keep the ice, there are some melt spots. I fell three years ago and try to avoid outdoor skating when it’s above 45. There is an indoor rink in Oaks, but I have to pay $30 to get there and a $7 entrance fee. That’s a once in a while luxury. I haven’t skated in 3 weeks, it’ll be cold next weekend and I’m going to take advantage of it.

      Hope all is well with you, dear friend.


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