Friday, October 30, 2009

Sanbitter - The Mysteries Revealed

Here at CapoPenn, we have a display of all our bottled drinks in front of the register. Literally 1 out of every 5 people who come up to order or pay for something will pick up the small red bottle out of the display and wonder aloud: "what is this?"

"Is it strawberry soda?" they ask hopefully. Nope, we reply. "Is it...cherry soda?" their brow furrows with confusion and minor concern. Nope. "Is it...?" but then they trail off, because what else could this totally adorable bright crimson drink possibly be?

Well, we finally's sanbitter! which is an aperitif soda produced by san pellegrino, whom you probably know from their excellent sparkling water and elegant fizzy citrus drinks. Sanbitter, however, is not like any other: with very little fizz to speak of, it is, true to its name, quite bitter, with mineral, medicinal notes. This kind of bitterness is a flavor sensation that people either love or hate, and the italians just love it, especially before kicking off an epic meal. Have you ever tasted Campari? Sanbitter is kind of like Campari, but without the alcohol.

That's basically the explanation we give to customers, most of whom then gently set the bottle back on the counter, and order a diet coke or coffee instead. Even though I understand the wariness about this oddball foreign beverage (I'm a recent convert myself), I urge you all to try it at least once! Not only is it good to try new things, but because Sanbitter and other bitters are ubiquitous in Italy and many parts of western europe, it's a taste of another culture. Also, damn that bottle is cute.

If you are still not convinced, there are some ways to take the edge off of Sanbitter. A splash of fresh orange or grapefruit juice does wonders to tame the bitterness and add a bright sweetness. A customer recently ordered a Sanbitter and a small bottle of S. Pellegrino, and mixed them to make an extra bubbly and less bitter drink. And for those of you over the legal drinking age, our bar makes an unbelievable wine cocktail called the Maniago - crispy white wine with a big splash of Sanbitter and a fat slice of orange floating on top...basically the definition of refreshment.

So don't be scared! Do like the Italians do (cuz you know they do it better), and prime your palate and your belly with a zippy pre-meal aperitif - make it a Sanbitter!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Goodbye Sweet Summer, Time to Sleep.....

So yes dear friends, it is time for our little scoop shop in the village of Yunk to hibernate. No worries, we will return when the cherry blossoms on Kelly Drive are in bloom.

We planned on this when John was beckoned to come down South and look. Perfect spot, perfect hood, perfect neighbors...let's do a scoop shop!! With our family pics on the walls, it was home. We have greet peeps working there. No worries, they are off to other Capos in West Philly and Center City to return in Spring.

Please come in, have a gelato, a coffee and say goodbye to the conistas! This is our last weekend! November 1st! We cannot wait until spring!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey Punkin', How Ya Doin'?

Nothing stirs up good warm feelings of fall like pumpkin pie. Even better, pumpkin pie a la mode. We've one upped the classic combo in our Long Neck Pumpkin gelato. It's really what pie and ice cream want to be when they grow up and find their life passion. There's thanks to go out to our superior kitchen staff that prepares this autumn treat, but also thanks to the "pumpkins" themselves.

We play favorite when it comes to pumkin varieties, and only one shines in our eyes among the rest. Long neck pumpkins are hands down the best, and what's more, they're native to our area, so you can pride yourself in knowing you're feeding your growing locavore hunger. With their elongated features, weighing in at around 12-15 lbs each, they wouldn't be able to make the trek from Chile intact anyway.

Most of ours come from Glenn and Green Meadow Farm, and our weekly produce deliveries are chock full of these peculiar looking squashes well through Thanksgiving. Not only are they delicious when transformed into pumpkin gelato, but they're the easiest to prepare. Those pesky seeds with their slime and tendency to stick to the good meaty parts that you're after only reside in the tiny little bulb at the base of the squash. That extra long neck, is pure pumpkiny goodness, ready to be cubed and roasted and turned into something grand. The skin is smooth, so there's no gnarly ridges to work around, too. Gosh, I could go on.

Start your love affair with pumpkin gelato soon, so you'll be able to get your fill before the well is all dried up. Pairing ideas: Amaretto, Pecan, Dulce de Leche, Apples & Mascarpone, Apple Cider, Bourbon Butterscotch, just to name a few of mine... or when all else won't live up to it, a simple smack of fresh whipped cream does the trick.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pucker Up Cutie Pie!

My taste buds are a fan of the tart stuff. The serious stuff. I probably pop a bit of lemon or lime sorbetto into my mouth at least ten times a day. I just can’t get enough of the delicious, tart, citrus love-power.

‘But what’s wrong with plain ‘ol regular lemons?’ you ask. Nothing, my muffin cake, nothing. Meyer lemons are simply different. Special, if you will, and you know how we prize our special-ness.

Meyer lemons are native to China, and were brought here by a totally tubular dude named Frank Nicholas Meyer, in 1908. Meyer lemons are rounder than true lemons, and are thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. If you put a true lemon next to a Meyer lemon, you’ll notice that the Meyer lemon (when fully ripe) has a slightly darker, almost orangey tint.

The Meyer lemon has a less acidic flavor and some say it’s a bit sweeter as well. The skin is edible and surprisingly fragrant, so it’s great for zests and garnishes and whatnot. The blossom of the Meyer lemon is absolutely gorgeous. Check out the picture above. Meyer lemon trees are often used as ornamentals because of their smaller size. Come to think of it, I want one.

These are seriously some of the most beautiful fruits I’ve seen, and certainly a favorite citrus. Not only do citrus flavors cleanse your palette, they are jussssst delicious. Meyer lemons are coming into season, so be sure to check our flavors in the morning, or peek at the tweets for the day to see if and where we’ve got it.

For anther out-of-this-world citrus, check out Buddha’s Hand, a crazy looking citrus that is more skin and pith than pulp. One of the coolest fruits I’ve ever seen. And you can soak it to make one awesome tasting vodka. Maybe we’ll experiment with some of these babies and bring you yet another mind-blowing delight ;)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Creamery Pennsylvania

Many of you are unfamiliar with the workings of a real life dairy. Yes, Capogiro is a real live dairy. We source our own milk from an Amish farm, and we create our gelato and sorbetto with our own hands! Shocking, I know. We never outsource our gelato to some other dairy. We have purchased all the stuff necessary and have jumped through all the hoops to make the best product we know how to do. Why? Cuz we just don't trust anyone to do it "to our standards". We will manage our own standards, thank you very much. The result is that we know our farmers, we test the milk ourselves to make sure there are no antibiotics or growth hormones, and you can taste the difference. That difference is the freshest milk from cows grazing on grass in nearby Lancaster. The freshest fruit not grown with pesticides and other chemicals that is allowed to vine ripen. We can establish relationships with actual people, imagine that?!? I have visited these farms, pet the cows and have chased a little Amish 3 year old around the barn. I have asked for items to be grown from other farmers and BAM! the herb is planted just for me! Control!!!!

I know, being a control freak is not always the best thing, but you decide. Would you rather eat something that someone says is made to their "standards" in a far away place, they have never seen? A place that makes other products "to their standards" for many companies? Or, better yet, would you rather eat something that is grown and raised by farmers, who use the land like they always have for generations by natural standards. Farmers who refuse to go mass? Then the farmer's work is then used by people who love what they do and won't settle to just sit on the sideline, but like to roll up their sleeves and get to work? Wow. Talk about going on and on. Had to. Necessity.

Dan and I had to go to Creamery Pennsylvania a few weeks ago to take a test about milk testing. I got 2 wrong and Dan got 4 wrong. Sorry Dan. I would not have mentioned it, if you had not asked me to not torture you about it. I cannot mention nachos around you, so this had to be done. You know what I am talking about. Anywho, Creamery is everything you think it is. The Department of Agriculture is next to the 4H show grounds. There was a guy riding a tractor with no shirt on! Pinch me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Day in History

From the Journals of Friar Envictus, October 22, 1411

An epic journey awaits us. As we peer through the sightglass and regard the Obelisk, the temple priests construct a monument to our departure from discarded palletine. The astrolabe has been consulted, and the constellations yawn in indifference. Auspicious sign! Hooting from the ramparts, the Emperor's choicest courtesans sprinkle expensive oils onto the heads of our retainers and their pages, as a blessing. Fattened oxen are slain and choice barrels of ale are rolled forth from the storehouse. Tuns of the finest gelati and sorbetti are brought forth, spun from exotic ingredients donated by our most esteemed merchants and traders. Jugglers, bards, fools and kitten-headed children march through the crowds--amidst the chaos of a thousand revellers--singing merry songs and mewling ancient poems.

Who is that, there, sitting aloof on the bone pile? Is he a leper, or a criminal philosopher bent on denouncing our endeavor? Is he a sage or a mystic, drawing on the powers of death towards some vague prophecy? Nevermind: a large and ancient bird has just now swooped down and carried him off in its talons.

"When will the Unicorns return?" an idiot asks the sky, and those around him laugh while patting him roughly on the back. He looks confused at not being taken seriously, but does not continue his query. An old crone shambles around the periphery of the crowd, picking up chicken bones and sticking them in her hair. Occasionally, a cuckoo pops out of her empty eyesocket and pecks lice from her eyebrow. A group of children watch her, and begin to play a game based on aping her actions. Some drunken adults take notice and follow suit, becoming a bizzarre chain-dance of lurching revellers in hideous pantomime.

Camels and horses move into positions, with their monkey-grooms hurredly adjusting the animals face armor and checking that all the cargo straps are secure. Carts are attached to the leathery flanks of docile hippos. Winged waitresses fly by, breathing sugared fire in myriad colors to the delight of the assembled masses. Only one person, by some slim chance, sees the sinister rune carved in the the rump or the bluest waitress, and is transfixed. A figure in a dark cloak walks up behind him and gently places a hand on his shoulder. The man shudders briefly, but does not turn around, and is quietly led away.

The King's Vizier makes his way onto the bandstand and waves his hands in the air for the assembled throng to be quiet. After a long while, the yelps and shouts die down to a murmur and the Vizier speaks:

"People of Heyouse: listen to me! I have nothing to say, but you, and you, and you have--on your lips--the collected history of all the people who ever have lived. I won't ask you to recite it. But now, on the eve of this great adventure, I ask all of you to breathe in unison the dusty air of this hilltop and remember it forever. Breathe it into the mouths of your livestock and onto the plants in your fields. Make a pottery of it, and sell it overseas in the farthest-flung markets. Trample your gravel strewn pathways in search of a tiny speck of meaning, and let a beetle be a marvel unto you always. And now, with no commercial interruptions, is a message from our hero. Here he is."

A deafening applause roars up from the crowd and a man appears, materializing from thin air, onto the platform. He is magnificently attired in close-fitting breeches and a gaily colored blouse of fine cotton. Atop his head, like an acorn top, is a small-brimmed cap. Scanning the crowd for a moment, he chooses his words, and speaks.

"Hello. Well, thanks for coming out, and everything. I will let you know how it goes. Oh! check this out."

Suddenly, he is astride a two wheeled contraption. The crowd gasps as he momentarily loses his balance and only just manages to keep from falling. With supreme concentration, he remains upright and sits, perfectly still on his wheeled steed. For what seems an improbable amount of time he remains immobile; the only evidence of his labors the sweat beading on his forehead and his tensed muscles.

We stand, and watch, and are still watching.

This is it!

On Monday, October 26, we'll be holding our last showing of the season! We're sad to be going into hibernation for the winter, but not to worry, we'll be going out with a bang...well at least we hope so. We need your help! Our resident film buff Lydia, who's been handling the movie nights with such grace and poise, is super swamped with work and work and french classes and hasn't been able to choose the perfect ending to our summer fling with y'all.

So, here's where you come in. WE NEED YOU TO SEND US SOME REQUESTS! We're talking, your most favorite, most celebrated, most gets you excited film. We know we got readers, and we know you got opinions, and we know you like movies. We'll let you know what we choose as the best bet tomorrow evening. Send your request in a quickie e-mail to

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Party Time '09!

So you're at your usual office party or something. Did you hear what Kathy did with the Murphy account? Blah Blah Blah.......... BAM! All of a sudden you show up on a snow mobile blaring Huey Lewis and the News, holding one of these bad mamajama's. "Whoa! Where did that come from?" You'll start to tell about your cool new snow mobile, and how you got it up 12 flights of stairs, but you'll be silenced. The hoards will demand; "The cake! Its beautiful.......Where did it come from?" The Rittenhouse Capogiro will be the answer.

Pop into our store, and at the opposite end of the gelato case (hidden away to avoid freezing customers like deer in headlights) you will find a selection of cakes ready for you to take home. Today we have the Triangolo, our most popular cake. Cioccolato Scuro, Fior di Latte, and Bacio with a caramelized hazelnut coat. La Bomba is a dome shaped cake full of raspberry and kiwi sorbetti with a coconut gelato shell. Il Mattone, "The Brick," is layered with Toasted Almond and Mascarpone, then coated with nuts. The Della Signora has alternating layers of Pistacchio Siciliano and Burnt Sugar, separated by caramelized hazelnuts and adorned with lady fingers. I think this is our most beautiful cake.

Come in or call to ask about our other cake options. They are customizable to your liking. We ask for 48 hours in advance for any customized cake. We will put it in a pretty blue box with ribbon and bow, and surround your cake with dry ice. BooYow. Headline your train.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's “CHO CO LAH TO” Conrad... but thanks for the AWESOME video!

We love Conrad and will forgive him for the ugly American accent. We love you! The Cioccolato Calda con Panna. Have you met it? Italian Hot Chocolate served with Fresh Whipped Cream. Uh, did you just get tingly all over? I sure did. Dark cacao plus sugar plus milk plus a secret ingredient (aside from love) makes an incredibly delicious, thick, chocolaty, sweet, and heavenly concoction.

The Cioccolato Calda con Panna is the ultimate warm-you-up drink.
Consume as you please. Sips or spoons may be used, and while you may
be tempted, we advise against plunging your face into the cup in eagerness.

The cooler weather is moving in. We'd love to say it’s not so, but we're not too worried. You can rest assured that your fingers, toes, and taste buds will be deliciously toasty. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm busy making googly love-eyes at my beverage.

Check out the video! Consider it a generous preview of a potential new
love in your life.

Cioccolato Con Panna from Capogiro Gelato on Vimeo.

Monday, October 19, 2009


We have all been there at the power point presentation. The office’s fluorescent lights are humming, flickering and taunting you. Suzan from accounting has been tapping her god-forsaken pen on the table for the last twenty-seven solid minutes… The room is too cold or too hot. The seat squeaks, furthermore, you have to resist the urge to make it squeak.’s your presentation. You have to torture them, it’s your duty - you must. So, why not be a hero.....  
Let Capogiro Cater! 
You know and trust us for our gelato, but did you know that we take the same care in everything that we do? We use the freshest ingredients, both local and seasonal, and we create delicious healthy breakfast and lunch!   
For Breakfast!
Are you able to run and bake fresh croissants, roast La Colombe coffee and make your own granola parfaits in a single bound? No, of course not.  We can though and then you can take all the credit. We won’t tell....  Besides, caffeine will keep them alert! .
1 gallon of La Colombe coffee
(serves  up to 8 people, depending on the addiction) $17
3 gallons of La Colombe coffee (serves up  to 24 people) $60
Pastries from Au Fournil (Le Bec Fin’s former baker)
Yogurt Parfait, Pequea Valley Yogurt, House made granola
with seasonal fruit. $5 Per person
Small, serves 6 to 10 people $35
Large, serves 16 to 20 people $65

Times are hard, but don’t ignore reason and eat unhealthy food.  We can put together a healthy, hearty lunch for every budget.   
Individually packed lunches that are ideal for large groups on the move
BASIC – panini, beverage, biscotti  $14.50
UPGRADE – panini, beverage, popcorn, biscotti $15.50
DELUXE – panini, beverage, popcorn, biscotti, gelato $18.00
And for when you have really punched them in the proverbial gut, they will forgive you if you give them gelato!  Works every time like a magical serum! 
We can supply pre-packed pints, pans of gelato and sorbetto OR we can send our inPHamous gelati cart fully stocked, with or without a conista (that’s a “gelato scooper” for you non-Italians)….

Give us a call for a list of prices and seasonal flavors.
Give us a call to save your meeting your power point presentation and your sanity.


Crazy Weather, Crazy Kids and the PhilLEEs.

Can you believe this? All this rain is the worst! I love the Fall and it seems that we are not allowed to have one. We live in this old house (built when Abe Lincoln walked the earth) and it is like swiss cheese. Always cold, noisy and enjoyable when it is not too cold, not too hot. Fall! It is wonderful in the Fall!

This past week was a busy one. When the rain started, soccer was cancelled and I was forced inside all weekend. I decided to cook and cook. My youngest son turned 9 and my daughter fractured her arm at school on Friday while playing keep-away with a lime. Yup, definitely my daughter.

Being colder than usual, I am punching up the soups and this weekend was the perfect time to try some new soups. I made some delicious mushroom soup, a black bean and the classic onion soup, which took over 8 hours. I am about to head to the burners at CapoKitchen and start. Our cafes need more soup. I have heard you! It's cold, it's damp and we were cheated out of Fall! Let's make it worthwhile! We make our soups, like our gelato. By hand and with local ingredients. Local carrots, onions, potatoes, herbs..... Peasant hearty soups that warm your bones.

On a happier note, the PhilLEEs stomped on L.A. last night. The cold weather seems to affect some more than others. My newly 9 year old was only concerned with the hot dog blaster. They have this contraption that shoots hot dogs into the crowd. It is a complete mystery to him. "Do you get them hot? Does the speed crush them? Where do they put the mustard?" be 9.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Halloween Package!

Of course, the Irish...  First they have St. Patrick and now they can take credit for Halloween. Wonderful.... I was always under the impression that it was a Pagan ritual that had to do with the sun and moon and stars and fortunes to be told.  It is...yippee.  

Apparently, the Celts (in other words, the Irish) celebrated the festival of Samhain [pronounced: sow- wen] which was their new year on November 1.  This day marked the end of summer and the harvest.  This was a time of year that was often associated with human death, coinciding with the cold and dark. The Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.  Muhahahahhahaha!

Good times!  They dressed in animal skins and partied!  The best part is the jack-o-lanterns.  In order to frighten off bad spirits, they would carve rutabagas or turnips to resemble heads and place them in their windows and at their doors.  The head was believed to be the most powerful part of the body, containing the spirit and the knowledge.  Awesome.... 
This celebration was brought to the Americas in the 1840’s with the Irish immigrants. The pumpkin then replaced the turnip, sadly.  

Okay, let’s give it up to the Irish one more time!!  Please, no hate mail.  This is just a jab at Tacy and Tucker.  Hi guys!!  The Italian jokes are coming my way.  Bring it.  And bring Halloween!  

Fall flavors with a spooky twist!

ZUCCA – pumpkin gelato made with Lancaster County Neck Pumpkins

MINT STRACCIATELLA – mint peppermint patties!  Lancaster County Mint streaked with bittersweet chocolate

PEAR WITH BOURBON – Lancaster County Bartlett pears spiked with Wild Turkey Bourbon

APPLE MASCARPONE – The only scary part of this flavor is the ever nearing bottom of the pint!

APPLE CIDER WITH CLOVE – Heirloom apple cider from where, oh yeah, Lancaster County.  Delicious and spiked with cloves.  

CINNAMON – Spicy, sweet and wonderful.

No Halloween party would be the same without Capogiro!
Click here to order!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zuppa for your Soul...and your Belly

 I arrived at work today to find THE greatest thing ever. The soup warmer (that we hauled out of our storage room about 3 weeks ago) (we were eager!) was plugged in, turned on, and chock full of tasty hot soup! Now, I know what all of you are thinking, "But Capogiro is a gelateria, selling the finest frozens this side of the Atlantic, how does soup fit into that equation?" Well, first off, regardless of reason, the soups are out of this world. My excitement, as well as the rest of the staff's, can't even really be shared to it's fullest extent through words on the internet. You have to see it to believe it.

Second off, our soups are prepared in the tried and trued ways of the Italians in the countries mountainous regions to the north. Here's what gelato master and all around good gal Steph has to say about them: "Capogiro's soups follow the peasant tradition of necessity: you should use hearty, earthy ingredients that nourish, satisfy, and will improve with age. The people in of Italy's northern mountainous regions were often hard workers that didn't have very much, but ate well regardless. Ingredients were combined in the morning and set on low heat to simmer all day while the family worked." The idea being that by dinnertime the combination of simple ingredients would have had a chance to marry together to perform a super harmony worthy of American Idol judges.

Steph continues, (she has such a way with words, gush): This soup would sit on the fire for and serve as lunch and dinner for days until all of it had disappeared. Each passing day only improving on the its tastes, texture, and overall appeal. There was no room for waste."

Our soups are made fresh as needed, but trust me when I say it's better after it's been simmering away for a day or two, which rarely happens. Rich and hearty, with mega concentrated flavors, and as many local ingredients that we can get our hands on. We'll be serving our Vegetarian Lentil pictured above on a daily, with one other rotating every couple of days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Queen of the Morning

I cannot lie, I started this post penning drafts of haiku's praising the fall and the arrival of pumpkins and cider, but abandoned that idea by the time I'd begun to write the words "falling leaves".
I've been working in food service for so long I've nearly forgotten about what it's like to be on the other side of the counter. I know that when I was much younger, in my mind everyone who worked in a coffee shop had achieved the Ultimate Cool - their lives were shrouded in mystery and I desperately wanted to be a part of the club. Now that I'm One Of Them (just much less mysterious) I try as hard as I can to break down the wall between the counter and the customer. To that end, in the next few blog entries from 13th street, you'll be meeting our staff. Hopefully, armed with information and a sense of who you'll see when you walk through our doors, you'll be more willing to strike up a conversation with our crew.
For those of you who have made a habit of incorporating 13th street into your morning routine, firstly - thank you! But secondly, you've most certainly become familiar with one of our baristi, Ms. Anya. For the longest time, Anya's been our go-to steady opener, arriving with a sense of purpose and an ever longer list of things she needs to do once she gets off work. She's been with Capogiro for many years now, and is a veteran to the nuances that create a truly welcoming shop. What you may not realize, however, is that as soon as she steps out of those doors and into the world, she's not nearly through. Anya graduated from University of the Arts this past spring and works passionately for local theater companies. Though she's always backstage, chances are very good she's juggling two or three shows at once as well as keeping babysitting commitments as well as an eye on her friends and sisters back in Virgina. She hails from a multitude of cities across the US, but mention Alaska and her eyes will always widen with a smile - to really make her day all she needs is an Alaskan state quarter and a song to sing while she jets around the cafe.
So, just another reason to come by and see us here - and you were saved from any attempts at rhyming couplets.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I have been a fan of Brooklyn Brewery for a good part of my suds-swilling days. My favorite aunt and uncle, who've lived in Brooklyn forever, always have a six pack or two of Brooklyn Lager in their fridge. This became embedded in my teenage brain as a badge of a certain grown up kind of coolness.

So in my college days, whenever there was a celebration special enough to depart from the $5.99 12-packs of "Golden Anniversary" that I usually bought from the CVS (upstate New York is so great), I splurged on a case of Brooklyn brew.

During one of those rare quality purchases, I popped a bottle of Brooklyn's Pennant Ale. "What the what?" I thought, as the three deep malts washed over my amateur palate. I took another swig, trying to place the flavor. There was a lovely complexity to the beer, but not in a way that was too challenging. It just tasted smooth and amazing, deeper than other pale ales I'd tasted before. I sipped and sipped again, long into the night (I now know that grown ups called this "session-ing"). Even though my beer repertoire has expanded greatly since, I'll always remember my first enlightening encounter with Pennant Ale.

Imagine my delight, upon coming into work a few weeks ago, to see a big, white, baseball shaped tap at the end of the Capogiro bar. You see, we only have two beers on draught at a time here, picked wisely by our coffee/beer guru Chris, and our bartender Red. I always appreciate their thoughtful selections, but never has a Capo beer choice struck so close to my heart. Now, as a more educated drinker, I know that the "amazing" flavor of the Pennant Ale is the product of a supremely well crafted product made by a small, mindful company, committed to their mission (just like Capogiro!). The balanced nature of the four kinds of hops is what keeps the beer tasting nuanced, but not overbearing. The gentle 5% abv, and the Scottish Maris Otter Malt, well known for its toasty, biscuit-y flavor and smoothness, is what keeps that session going - you and your cozy companions cracking those bottles open long after you should have gone to bed.

As the fall rolls around, and the oppressive summer heat wanes, things feel new again. We unpack our sweaters, we re-connect with friends, we feel refreshed and ready for anything. Maybe it's the collegiate in me, but I always embrace the autumn with great gusto. Pennant Ale is the beer for early October, through and through. Plus, it's named in honor of the 1955 World Champion Dodgers, and the thrill of hometown baseball pride is something many people in our fair city are digging right now. So in the last few nights warm enough to sit outside, come try a pint of the Pennant Ale (on tap at CapoPenn for a limited time only!), and relax in the courtyard, a scarf around your neck and a smile on your face.

Ciao, Professore!

Ah, cultural differences. While they often cause tension and drama in our everyday lives, when put on film, and starring primarily potty mouthed 8- to 9-year old school children, they sure can make us laugh. Paolo Villaggio stars as a school teacher from northern Italy (that's where we modeled our gelato style!) who is transplanted to a town in the south and must adapt to those cultural differences as well as some really truant children. And by truant, I mean downright filthy. Let's just say it's a good thing the translator for the subtitles knew his share of four letter words. I think I may have learned a few new ones myself.

As usual, movie night is at the 'Yunk (and only for a few more weeks before we hang out gelato scoops there for the winter!) and starts at 7PM. You know you've nothing better to do on a Monday night.

Here's a scene where Paolo's character Marco Sperelli bumbles around the village collecting all of the schoolchildren who are doing anything and everything but attending classes. Props to the gelateria in the very beginning!


Disclaimer note: all of the fantastic baristi at Capogiro are of legal working age. Except RJ, who's actually an ageless wood nypmh.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Day in the Life of Bill

This morning at 20th street, after trying our panna, Bill says to me, "I hope you like whipped cream...... cause this is all they serve in heaven." Bill is everyone's favorite customer over here. You can spot him in any number of cafes around Rittenhouse. The guy carrying around the mini dolly and a cup of coffee. He'll probably be striking up conversation with one of the baristas, or anyone he thinks might be interesting. He loves classical music, but is hip to much of the music us whippersnappers dig. Not because he wants to stay hip, he's just open minded and a cultural sponge. He would describe himself as a jaded old dude, though he is anything but. He is 82, spry as a mountain cat, and one of the coolest guys on the planet.

Bill is always in high spirits, and on the rare occasion he has a complaint, it is always followed by, "it is through pain, that I have learned true understanding." When I thought I'd been poisoned by a group of Colombian rebels, he drew upon his extensive life experience to help me identify the poison sumac I'd encountered. Bill is an artist and a former jewelry maker. You can see some of his beautifully intricate drawings at the Square Peg, a boutique/gallery across the street from our Rittenhouse location. Or you can just ask Emily to see her tattoo.

A large amount of the employees of Capogiro have been here for years. I think It's largely due to the great collection of crazy people that work here, and the folks we meet along the way. Its a great place to come hang out and meet interesting folk over coffee and sweets. Plus......... now we can get booze at 40th street! Headline your own train.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Capogiro Book Report

So I moved this weekend, and for me the biggest tribulation of moving involves packing and hauling my books. And they're heavy. And inevitably, whenever I pack them I end up sitting and flipping through them for a while, reminiscing about what I loved about them to begin with.
On this occasion, one in particular struck me - a book by a woman named Melanie Dunea, called "My Last Meal: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals". The book is a collection of portraits of famous chefs, and their responses when asked to describe their last meal on Earth. I know, I know, it sounds morbid, but it's a beautifully photographed and put together collage of how some of the greatest chefs alive today really feel about food, and what they conceive to be the ultimate dining experience.
What's surprising and endearing about the book is how simple many of the chefs envision their last meal to be - Eric Ripert, for instance, said his would be comprised of a bottle of Bordeaux with fresh country bread and shaved black truffle. Ferran Adria desires only Japanese food, while Wylie Dufresne wants only "eggs eggs eggs", prepared as his mother taught him. Nearly all of the chefs reminisce upon meals shared with loved ones, food they were surrounded with as children - ones that fill them with memories, and nearly all the meals are purely ingredient based. Fresh, simple flavors that stand alone and elicit emotional responses.
I got to the store this morning and began brewing coffee and realized that for me, a last meal without espresso wouldn't be complete - a realization based solely on the smell of the beans. I posed the question to Dawne and Laci here at 13th street later on in the afternoon and they both got day-dreamy and started talking about peach and apple pies, and macaroni and cheese and bacon. Nothing fancy, but routed somewhere special for each of them. One of the great things about working at Capogiro is the passionate people you're surrounded with - all of them with strong feelings about food.
So what would your last meal be? Who would you share it with? Maybe it involves gelato.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feeling Frenchly Fine

Gosh, we promise this will be our last Frenchie. Our film selector extraordinaire has been taking these French classes weekly and I think she has fallen under the spell of "oui oui's" and "croque monsieur's please". Don't worry though, your Italian gelato will get along splendidly with the French fare. They are neighbors and good friends to boot (no pun intended regarding Italy's shape from the sky). Check the photo:

Again, from the desk of our resident film buff Lydia:

This week's screening at CapoYunk is none other then Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless"/"A bout de souffle." The film was shot in 1960, and has a running time of 87 minutes. In brief, the film is about a young man who comes into trouble with the law, bunks up with his girlfriend to wait out the search party, and what happens when the two of them are forced to stay inside-with each other- for what comes to be too long a time.

Michel, the young man, is a theif who has found himself completly broke and turns to his girl for help. The girl, Patricia, is an American living in Paris. Michel is obsessed with Humphrey Bogart, and this contradiction of character is quite humorous when watching Michel and Patricia's forced interaction in her tiny, quaint Parisian studio. Clueless as to what is going on, Patricia tries to figure out the puzzle pieces while Michel tries to seduce her and keep her occupied. This chain of events unfortunately pushes Patricia in a doubtful direction which leads to...WELL! You're just going to have to come and find out the ending for yourself!

Breathless will be screened this Monday, October 5th at 7pm. Hope to see you all there!

A Meditation on Scooping Gelato

As with any activity, a certain amount of preparation is involved. The athlete stretches the body. The musician tunes his instrument. The chef sharpens his/her knife. Scooping gelato is no different, my friend. Like a ninja with his throwing stars, a cowboy with his gun or a blogger with his keyboard...the individual must become one with their instrument of choice. For me, it is the scoop. The the vessel which brings our artisanal gelato to cup and then to you, dear reader.

I approach the gelato case with ease. I stand in front, taking in the beauty which rests in front of me. Swirls of creamy goodness peppered with bits of local mint, decadent caramel and a hint of alcohol every now and then. With my feet grounded into the Earth, I breathe deeply, filling every cell in my body with sweet sweet oxygen. Friend, I imagine breathing in every bit of the gelato that lies ahead of me. First it fills my head making me a bit dizzy and then swoops down my spine and into my limbs finally crashing into my feet and down into the Earth below me. I am now prepared.

I eye the scoop. Breathing in, my right arm extends toward the case and firmly, yet delicately grasps the shiny silver of the scoop. Instantly, the scoop becomes an extension of my right arm, no, friend, an extesion of my whole self. Now begins the amazing dance, the swirling of the gelato in a wonder of circular motion until the perfect egg shaped ball of gelato is positioned precisely on the edge of the scoop. With cup in left hand and gelato in right, a duet of amazing proportions occurs. It's as if Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire have taken over my limbs as they dance toward each other into a beautiful embrace. Gelato has now become one with cup. And the delicate dance goes on and on.