Philadelphia: Stories Abundant at Festive El Vez Bar

It’s hard to say whether the fact that we didn’t eat lunch was due to a lack of hunger or a failure to find a lapse in conversation.

Last week, I went into Philadelphia and met my friend at El Vez, a Mexican restaurant at the corner of 13th and Sansom. Taking it in upon entry, I immediately recognized the bike that dazzled at the center of the circular bar, the flair of the place.

I really appreciate restaurants and bars that go all out, that make you feel like you’re entering a different world, especially in a big city with all the noise going on outside. We showed up around 1 p.m. and the tables and booths were crowded and there was a buzz in the air, but we lucked out and found two seats at the bar.

I had a feeling it would be an interesting reunion – my friend has been traveling quite a bit as she pursues her career in international business consulting. We ordered a Margarita and got to sharing our adventures, the places we’ve been and the stories we’ve acquired.

She most recently spent a few weeks in Santiago, where one afternoon while hiking she was approached by a man with a knife who asked for her purse, but instead of handing it over, she began overhead two-hand tossing large rocks at the assailant.

I had to laugh. First off, that’s an amazing thing to picture. Second, it’s truly the best reaction I could possibly think of, and the man eventually had enough of her resilience and took off. I can’t say I blame him – he obviously picked the wrong woman.

I shared some of my stories – some petty and others fortunate – and we ordered up some chips and guacamole. The guac and salsa were both good, although I concede those two particular items are difficult to review, very dependent on a person’s personal taste and preference (much like beer and wine).

I will order again when I go back – there’s something about Margaritas with chips and dip that I can’t pass up, especially at a nice restaurant where the spices of the guac and salsa are conveniently cooled by the salt of the Margarita. The bartenders were very friendly and calm, allowing us to relax and sip rather than hurrying us along during the lunch-hour rush.

Good times, for sure, but next time I’m going with someone I see more often – this way I can shut my mouth long enough to try the food.

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