Kitty Café, Poutine, And Lots Of Ice Cream

Tobey says this was the best Thursday EVER. An hour petting the kitties and sipping  lattes at the Kawaii Kitty Café (759 South 4th Street):

2 ice cream treats – a bourbon peach pie milkshake from Magpie (a piece of pie blended with vanilla ice cream – way better than pie a la mode – 1622 South Street) and a Salted Pimp cone (vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche, sea salt and a chocolate coating) from Big Gay Ice Cream (521 Broad Street):

And a new (to us) food – poutine – a Canadian fast food meal of French fries, gravy, cheese curds – ours topped with BBQ pulled pork.  From Smokey’s Poutinerie (411 South Street).

Plus, a mini-photo shoot by one of South Street’s fun murals:


First Friday: Throwing Pots, French Pastries, The Science of Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” And (Of Course) Galleries and Shopping

First Friday in Old City is always busy-especially during the warmer months.  August’s adventures included: free pot throwing at the Clay Studio:

A demonstration at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on the electromedical experiments that influenced Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”


A sighting of the cutest little Chihuahua in the Impact Imports store window (she has her own Instagram account @tiny_lasi):


Plus, interesting art,:

Shopping at small, independent stores (Tobey’s refurbished picture frame mirror from Jules Goldman Books and Antiques- 29 N. 2nd St.),:


AND French pastries from the tiny, walk-up bakery, Tartes (212 Arch St.):

Philly Ice Cream Treats – From Traditional To Trendy To Unusual

We love ice cream and Philly has great ice cream.  From the traditional scoops at Basset’s in Reading Terminal and the retro soda-fountain vibe of Franklin Fountain (if available, try the Honeycomb flavor, made with honey from Philadelphia bees):

frank ftn

Fresh Peach & Honeycomb

To the inventive ice cream sandwiches from Weckerly’s (available in their shop or various grocery stores in Philly, including Di Bruno’s):


Sweet cream with peach butter on soft & crunchy cobbler cookies

To the unusual soft-serve at Big Gay Ice Cream (1521 Broad St.):

big gay1

The Salty Pimp – home-made vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate.

But, if you want something more adventurous try:

The pie milkshake at Magpie (1622 South St.).  A whole piece of pie (we got bourban peach) blended with vanilla ice cream.  Better than pie a la mode!


Thai Rolled Ice Cream – an ice cream dessert made with milk poured on an iced grill, mixed with various ingredients on the ice-pan, then rolled and served in a cup with toppings. We go to Frozen in Chinatown (938 Arch St.), where our favorite flavors include Key Lime and S’Mores.


Ice Cream Mochi (Whole Foods, various locations including: 2101 Pennsylvania Ave.) – a small, round dessert ball consisting of a soft, pounded sticky rice cake (mochi) formed around an ice cream filling.  They have about 10 flavors, including our favorites: coffee, vanilla and strawberry.


Affagato (espresso & gelato) from Capogiro– which we discussed in a previous post: “A Farmer’s Market And The Best Dessert Ever”


Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream from Happily Ever After Dessert Cafe.  Super creamy.  We got lychee flavor – but you could be more adventurous and try tomato basil or potato chip.


The Top Place In The World To Eat Ice Cream


# 1 on National Geographic’s “Top Ten Places to Eat Ice Cream in the World:”



“Made with the freshest ingredients (such as milk from Amish grass-fed cows), the artisan gelatos and sorbettos handcrafted each day at Capogiro include flavors not seen anywhere else—Madagascar bourbon vanilla, melograno (pomegranate), nocciola Piemonte (hazelnut), Saigon cinnamon, Thai coconut milk (with a dash of rum), and zucca (long-neck pumpkin).”

Family favorites include: cioccolato scuro (dark chocolate), dulce de leche (sweet cream with caramel swirl) and stracciatella (Italian chocolate chip).  The fun is picking 2 complimentary flavors to mix (in the small cup).

The difference between gelato and ice cream? The ingredients are similar, but because gelato uses more milk and less cream and fewer or no egg yolks it is much lower in fat.  Additionally, gelato is churned at a much slower rate, incorporating less air and creating a creamier texture.

5 locations in Philadelphia.

A Farmer’s Market And The BEST Dessert Ever

13 year old girls like to drink a lot of (sweetened) coffee.  Not me, but love coffee ice cream, so today we tried a new-to-us dessert – affogato – from our favorite ice cream store Capogiro (the best ice cream in the WORLD according to National Geographic). A shot of espresso poured over a scoop of gelato.  Any flavor: Mexican coffee, dulce de leche, cinnamon, vanilla….



After this discovery, we headed to the farmer’s market at Jefferson Hospital for picnic supplies.  In addition to a quart of strawberries for lunch, we took a chance on a new-to-us fruit – sour cherries.

What to do with sour cherries? Using our (very) limited baking skills, Tobey and I made our first sour cherry pie:



Sour Cherry Pie (modified from


1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

5 cups pitted sour cherries (about 2 pounds un-pitted)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 pie crusts (home-made or store-bought)

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Transfer filling to the pie crust.  Slice second crust into strips.  Weave over top the filling into a lattice pattern.  Place on baking sheet (important – it will overflow!) and bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 50 minutes.  Cover crust edges with foil if browning too quickly.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Serve with ice cream!

Gold Nuggets, A Stagecoach And The Latest Addition To A Philly Restaurant Empire

Just 2 blocks from City Hall is the 1928 Beaux-Arts building that houses the Wells Fargo History Museum.  This small (free) museum has videos, displays and hands-on exhibits detailing the history of Wells Fargo and Westward Expansion in the 1800’s.

Highlights include a replica stage coach (great for photo ops):



Tobey and PopPop


And a display of gold nuggets:


If you have any actual banking to do, the teller area in the lobby is gorgeous and has an authentic Concord city-style stagecoach:

Today’s restaurant adventure was The Rooster Soup Company – the latest addition to Michael Solomonov’s Philly restaurant empire, which includes (among others): Zahav, Federal Donuts, and Dizengoff .


This luncheonette serves a rotating menu of soups made from spare chicken parts left over from Federal Donut’s fried chicken (we had cauliflower and smoked matzo ball with dill), sandwiches (a BLT with pickled green tomatoes and a potato pancake) and an incredible coconut cream pie (sadly, no photo – we ate it too quickly).  100% of the profits go to support vulnerable Philadelphians through the Broad Street Ministry’s Hospitality Collaborative.


Wells Fargo History Museum:

A Room With A View And A Famous Food Market

Tobey’s favorite place to bring friends is the viewing deck at the top of Philly’s City Hall.

city hall 3

For $8/adult and $4/student, a maximum of 5 people squeeze into a tiny elevator and head up to the platform just under William Penn’s feet. Enclosed by glass, but open to the elements, you get a great view of Center City Philadelphia.



Who Knew?

*City Hall held the title of world’s tallest occupied building from 1901-1908.

*With almost 700 rooms, it is the biggest municipal building in the United States.

*Made of over 88 million bricks, marble and granite, it is the largest masonry structure in the world.



*Alexander Milne Calder created over 250 sculptures that decorate the building (including the sculpture of William Penn). His son, Alexander Stirling Calder, created the fountain up the Parkway at Logan Square.  His grandson, another Alexander Calder, has one of his famous mobiles (“ghost”) hanging at the end of the Parkway inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


*In the 1950’s the building was considered so ugly that plans were made to tear it down.

*(X-rated) Tip: viewed from the left (north) side, William Penn’s extended hand looks like an entirely different part of his anatomy – giving the statue the nickname “Willy’s Willy.”

Just 3 blocks away, Reading Terminal Market is a great place to eat when everyone is in the mood for something different. Tobey’s favorite is a grilled cheese sandwich (with brisket and mac&cheese) at Valley Shepherd:


My favorite is the roast pork (with provolone and hot peppers) at DiNic’s:


And (of course) it’s required to finish up with the world’s best donuts from the Amish bakers at Beiler’s:

City Hall Tower Tour Information:


Becoming A Detective… With Popsicles


“Two intriguing exhibitions; one immersive theatrical adventure in investigation; a once-in-a lifetime chance to uncover the art of crime and detection”

The Free Library and the Rosenbach have concurrent exhibits detailing the evolution of detective and crime stories running through September 1st, 2017.  Original manuscripts by Poe (Murder in the Rue Morgue – considered the first detective story – written right here in Philly!):

poe murder

and Stoker (Dracula -at the Rosenbach), plus lots of other artifacts:

Including a mention of the latest Sherlock: (love the Philly connection of this clip!)



Lemony Snickett fan? Listening to the free mobile phone experience GUMSHOE, as you walk from the Free Library to the Rosenbach (.9 miles) gives the experience of living inside a Lemony Snickett novel – with all the cleverness and confusion.  Even if you are not a Snickett fan, the experience is a fun way to explore some little known Philly history (

And the popsicles? The Lil’ Pop Shop & Café (229 S. 20th St.) is right on the walk between the two libraries.  This one was honey lavender.  It was a tough choice between that and spicy Mexican chocolate or fresh blackberry or minty peach…