Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Resolutions Worth Keeping

I mean, we all want to start the year off with the best of intentions, right? I'm totally going to keep a budget! And lose ten pounds by March! And start writing thank you notes for holiday and birthday gifts! YEAH!

Sure, dog. GOOD LUCK WITH ALL THAT. I don't really get why we collectively decide that it has to be January 1st before we'll start taking all those steps to make the good changes to our lives. (Don't get me wrong, I'm TOTALLY as guilty of this as everyone else.)

So why not set yourself up for success? Pick resolutions that won't be so onerous to keep up with that come February 9th you're already feeling guilty. (Look out, some of these might actually be serious suggestions.)

#1: It's high time you did the Mummers. Yeah, I'm lookin' at you. You've lived in Philadelphia for HOW LONG? And you've never rousted your butt out of bed on New Years Day to join your fellow citizens in conspicuous public daydrinking? C'mon, man. I promise the intersection of Broad and Washington is never more cheerful. (I'll cop to maybe contributing to a distinct LACK of cheer at that intersection when I'm on my bike. It can be a little adversarial some days.) Fortify yourself with a substantial breakfast--it's pretty much THE day for scrapple and pork roll--and hop on the BSL with the rest of us. It's your duty as a Philadelphian! I'll save you some (scandalously) cheap sparkling wine and we'll meet for a late Mexican lunch.

#2: Eat more avocado. Jeeeeeeeez our avocados are so good right now. I mean, we're pretty adept at managing avocados generally, but it's more difficult than you might think. Seriously, though. Our avocados are right in that sweet spot, so you should come in today for a bagel. Today! I can't make promises about tomorrow. (We'll still have plenty of delightful avocados tomorrow.)

#3: Adopt a fugly dog. Loogit this guy:
      I'm not going to take the easy way out and tell you that's a face only a mother could love (though...crikey. That's a mug, inn'it?). My point is that there are a ton of dogs and cats out there who aren't altogether the most aesthetically pleasing little boogers. But that's not important to you! You're only motivated by giving some poor but lovable (and loving!) little beastie a good home. Right? Right. So. Do that! They'll love you forever.

#4: Play bingo with our seasonal flavors. Like, if you time it right you can probably get persimmon knocked off early without having to wait until next December. And think of the fabulous prizes you'll get when you win! (Suddenly occurring to me that I now need to come up with fabulous prizes for this game. Also...maybe something like a bingo board. Lemme get back to you.)

#5: Help me make 2013 The Year Of The Sausage. Bacon had its moment, and that was fine. It's a tasty meat, I've nothing against it. But I never really understood the bacon fixation (the baconation, if you will). Even bacon as awesome as ours is pretty one-dimensional. But sausage! SO MANY SAUSAGES. Blood sausage! Breakfast sausage! Hot dogs! Hot Italian! Knockwurst! Mortadella! Kielbasa! Seriously, why let bacon be the pork fat standard bearer? It's time to expand our sausage-y horizons. I'm not talking about gimmicky weirdness like sausage-flavored mayonnaise or lip balm or any of that nonsense. But how about a bloody mary with a summer sausage swizzle stick? Or a pizza with a sausage-stuffed crust? BLOOD SAUSAGE CORN DOGS. (For the vegetarians out there, if you want to make it the year of the nut loaf you have my full-throated support.)

#6: Keep a $5 Wawa gift card in your pocket. For my part, I am actually going to try to do this. I'm a pretty soft touch, and when someone on the street asks me for some help getting something to eat, I want to be able to respond. But then there's the whole debate about, if you give them cash, what they're actually going to spend the money on. So: give them a Wawa gift card (and eye contact and a smile).

So. All in all, do whatever's in your power to make your 2013 better than your 2012, regardless (actually--ESPECIALLY) if your 2012 was pretty awesome. From us and ours to you and yours, Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo, best warm wishes, and ever a hope for peace.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

This? Just my soapbox. Gimme a minute...

Listen, I'd HAVE to get on a soapbox to read off the list of reasons why you should only patronize independent espresso bars. It'd be one of those scenes where I'd untie the scroll and it'd roll past my knees, past the soapbox, and into the (hypothetical and unlikely) crowd gathered around to hear my screed.

I've worked for Big Coffee before (not entirely voluntary. Long story). It wasn't altogether the most uplifting experience. For one thing, I died a little inside every time I had to make a non-fat decaf caramel macchiato with extra syrup and whipped cream (oh, can you make that sugar-free?). I could never remember if I was supposed to swirl the caramel sauce (distinct from the caramel syrup) or draw a cross-hatch pattern. So when I came on at Capogiro and found out that they (we) only serve a traditional, simple Italian espresso menu, it was like a ray of sunlight beaming down on my otherwise relatively curmudgeonly heart. 

(Another major plus is that I can randomly drop videos of bulldogs bouncing on trampolines into my blog posts without any real rhyme or reason. Bulldog on a trampoline!)
And then, you know. I was living and making espresso in Seattle, and the organization for which I was working decided that the best course of action over the long term would be to shift all their espresso bars from using real espresso machines to fully automatic espresso machines. IN SEATTLE. Still haven't really gotten over the wrong-headedness of that. We take our espresso seriously at Capogiro--you know that. We put a lot of time, thought, and effort into training our baristi. It's difficult and it's on-going, but it's worth it. We'd rather give our baristi the training, tools, and ingredients to make awesome, real drinks. To actually CRAFT something worth savoring for a few minutes, as opposed to hiding your mediocrity under a blanket of corn syrup and artificial colors. For sure it can take a newcomer to one of our stores a minute to adapt.

But really the inspiration of this blog post--what I'm up on my soapbox about today--is this. What you've got there is a story out of Seattle about how a regional coffee chain there is looking at a hostile takeover (my interpretation, maybe not entirely accurate) by a group of out-of-towners who's mission is to have their crews dress trashy. Now, listen. I've got nothing against people dressing trashy if that's their wont. You do you! No issue with that. And trashy is for sure subjective, and my trashy might be your subtle. It's fine! Really. Really!

But when your employer EXPECTS it of you? Who gauges your value as an employee based on your perceived attractiveness and tendency to put yourself on bodily display? I sort of can't go any further with it because it leaves me pretty grossed out. I'm a son, a brother, an uncle, a boss, and a friend, and I wouldn't want any of the women in my world to work there. (Do applicants have to do a cat-walk strut as part of their interviews? The mind boggles.)

Listen, you can trust that the people that head the CapoCrews are very serious about making our workplaces welcoming and safe for the people who work for us. We respect and value our crews at least as much as we want them to respect and value themselves. We want individuals working for us, and we want them to feel like they have a fair degree of latitude in expressing that individuality.

Ok. Stepping off of the soapbox. The whole "I'm your boss and I need to you turn around so I can decide if you're dressed trashy enough" thing definitely gets my (Scotch-) Irish up. So degrading, and so indicative of the challenges women STILL face in this world, in the 21st century.

But hey, guess what time it is!




Y'know, I'm a little concerned I might not get to watch ANY of A Christmas Story this year, given my impending travels to see family. Which is not the greatest sacrifice an uncle can make. If you've already had a holiday, I genuinely hope it was full of warmth and joy, and if yours is coming up, I hope that it will be.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Capogiro. The world's a better place with you in it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The King is Here!



While aesthetically it apparently resembles a scene from a b-list horror movie (it's crime scene appearance might accentuate the broken glass of our gelato case, soon to be repaired!), King Leo Stracciatella could be one of the best Chrismas-centric culinary creations to ever grace my pallet....

The recent staff Christmas party really got me in the Christmas spirit and reminded me of how thankful I am this year!

Thankful that I'm in Philly and very thankful I work for an independent cafe - a world-renowned one at that! Thankful for the artistic freedom, the ability take care of staff and patrons alike with stories worth hearing. I feel that in larger corporations an element is lost - mainly the human element. In many of the corporate environments I've been employed, in people get lost, you lose the license to provide people with what sociologists call a 3rd place. A venue outside of work and home life where people can know and be known....where "everybody knows your name." Which, in a city such as ours, is a rare and beautiful thing, in a culture where people crave connection and  authenticity it is a necessary thing. Call me an idealist...you can take  the boy out of a small Oklahoma  town but I'm proud to say it's harder to eradicate the small town values of genuinely caring about your neighbors and patrons, and the assumption that ever one who is willing to give us patronage is worthy of a genuine smile, an attentive ear and heartfelt attention. Values which I am proud to say we have the ability to exemplify at Capogiro.

So whether you need a warm reprieve from the shopping insanity or a last minute dessert for your get together, drop by and stay a while - there's always a place at the counter for you!

From the bottom of our hearts thanks for making us apart of your tradition and giving us the pleasure of serving you!

Merry Chrisma-Hanna-Kwanzika!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Festive (and corny) Adaptation of a Christmas Jingle

I was feeling particularly festive and merry after the Capogiro Christmas party last night and composed this silly tune.  Unlimited free samples to whoever comes in and sings it from memory.

Sung to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus”

Here comes Santa Claus Here comes Santa Claus
Right down 13th Street
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer
hungry for a treat
Samplers are sampling, Ron is singing
The gelato case is lit bright
So take a sample and try some flavors
cause Santa Claus eats gelato every night!

Here comes Santa Claus Here comes Santa Claus
Right to Capogiro!
He’ll comes around when there’s gelato in town
and Dulce de Leche’s out!
Peace on Earth will come to all
if we eat gelato under Christmas lights
So let’s give thanks to the lord above
that Capogiro is open tonight!!






 







by Tori Styner

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TEN YEARS, BABY!

Guys, I hafta say. It's with overwhelming pride that today we celebrate 13th Street's TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY! And because restaurant years are kind of like dog years, this is a seriously big deal. Come see us, come celebrate with us, come share your stories and memories with us. We have gotten here today with the help and love and support of all of you. Could never have done it without you. Gonna get all emotional, so just listen to birthday songs. xoxoxoxo, All of us, to all of you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Global Warming = Perfect Excuse for Awesome Gelato!!!



While today was slightly cooler, I can't seem to get in the mood...the mood for Christmas, that is. When I think of Christmases past, memories of snow, snow fights, snow men, and other absurd and ludicrous winter activities come to mind.

This year, however (much like last), seems a bit out of pocket. Warmer weather and fall leaves still clinging to the boughs of trees gives way to worries that maybe there is something to this whole "global warming" thing...or perhaps as per the Mayans, the world might just end!

My resolution: love life, enjoy gelato and let the chips fall where they may. And at the end of the day, isn't this mild winter a great justification to enjoy the best gelato in the world?

And if you need some help getting in the holiday mood there are some amazing Christmas-centric flavors lurking about like egg nog, chocolate mint and coming soon King Leo Stracciatella! (Italian chocolate chip with the best peppermint candy we could find.)

And if the Mayans and the homeless man on the corner are correct and we all go out in a blaze of glory on the 21st, it's been a fun ride. Don't forget to drop by and get one last pint of your favorite.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The holidays are coming fast!

We are dashing through the Holiday season.  Today is about mid-way through Hanukah and exactly two weeks until Christmas.  If you are like me then you can’t possibly squeeze enough Holiday activities between Thanksgiving and New Years. 

What am I doing tonight? Baking cookies and watching White Christmas!  Tomorrow?  My annual Philly Christmas tour with my beautiful mother where we do all the silly holiday things in Center City and have a few spirited beverages along the way.  This includes the Christmas Village in Love Park, Macy’s Light Show, Comcast LED Holiday Spectacular.   We’ll also be going to all my favorite shops on 13th Street.   Steve at Duross and Langel has me hooked on these little beauties that need to be gifted to many people I love.  Of course, no holiday fun day is complete without checking out the seasonal selections at Capogiro.
 
Next week I’ll probably take a drive down to South Philly to see all the festively decorated neighborhoods and have dinner at a restaurant with a fireplace like Beau-monde.  I hope to get together with friends for some wassailing about the town next weekend. 
So, if you need more ideas about what to do to get into the holiday spirit, come talk to me.  I’ll make you a cappuccino and put some Bing Crosby on Pandora.



-Melissa

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We're pretty happily not the only awesomeness in town, you know.

You know...we try to be pretty humble. We really do love the food that we serve, and we take real pride in it. For me it really comes down to the milk we use for our gelato. SERIOUS milk, that. If you know from food, our milk checks off so many of the things that really matter: grass-fed cows, no hormones or antibiotics, super fresh and local from our friends just up the road at Wholesome Dairy. And it shows in some really interesting ways--if you've been here for as long as I have, you notice that the color of our Fior di Latte changes throughout the year. It tends to be a bit yellower in the warmer months and a more pure white in the colder months. It's because of the chlorophyll in the grass, don't you know. Warmer months means more sunlight means darker, greener grass, and then that shows up in the color of our gelato. Wicked.

(One second for an inside joke, please.)


But we're hardly the only respectable place to eat around here, and of course Tony Bourdain (who we really do like a whole lot) finally premiered his Philadelphia episode of The Layover this week. It wasn't at all perfect. (Why did he keep calling it "City Center?" And...brother. The Mutter Museum is decidedly NOT in Mantua. Blame it on the interns, it's cool. That's what I'd do, anyway.) 

I'm sort of relieved about the places he DIDN'T mention, though. Don't get me wrong, Marc Vetri is, I'd argue, maybe the number one chef in this town that's not only leading the way on great food for us locally but also really helping Philadelphia get the culinary respect it deserves. But one of the worst things that can happen to your favorite jawn is for it to get so famous that, like Yogi Berra said, no one goes there anymore because it's too crowded.

And Capogiro...we seem really lucky to end up near other amazingly good restaurants. Vintage is just south of Capo13 on 13th Street, and it's just one of those prototypically great places for a glass of wine or three (also a blind date, but that's neither here nor there). More on the topic of actually being a grown-up: I finally did figure out only a couple years ago that white wines are actually just as interesting as reds. Who knew, right? And Vintage pretty reliably has one of my favorite whites--a Vinho Verde from Portugal. Semi-dry and with such a high mineral content it almost seems carbonated. It's also...nearly cheap! I hate to call it cheap. But it's not a budget-breaker--further proof that you don't have to spend a ton of money for good wine. 

But all in all...look. If you found me guilty of all my emotional crimes and sentenced me to eating only one more restaurant meal in this town...man, I'm going to Good Dog. Totally a comfortable walking distance from both Capo20 and Capo13 (and I sure did walk there more than a couple nights after closing!). Solid beer list, really well-done food, great, great crew....when my favorite people come to town, it's where I take them. Which...holy pants can that be a gamble. When one of your best friends comes to town, and she brings someone you don't know, and you take them to your local...Sarah (not that Sarah) is one my favorite people, and she's a traveler. Knows how to absorb local culture without stomping all over it, can get along with most anyone, doesn't get freaked out in a proper city despite being a mostly a small-town girl. But her friend...man. The first thing he did (I'm hesitating a little because I'm still so embarrassed)...you know what's coming. He didn't even look at the menu. Just drawls at the bartender, "Y'all got any Philly cheese steaks here?!" 

Listen. I like cheese steaks. I do! They for sure have their place, and I could go down the whole pantheon of cheese steaks. But...he was that guy. Straight tourist. Actually got into a pretty heated argument with one of the Good Dog bartenders, exclaiming that there isn't any real difference between bourbon and whiskey and you're obviously a terrible bartender it you think there is, etc, etc. I really was embarrassed. Tipped excessively and conspicuously well and hustled out. Went back (alone, though at the same time during the week), apologized profusely...and again tipped excessively well. 

Anyway. I got rambling there. Blah, blah, blah, Philly's a great restaurant town...you know that. You're probably reading this within a four mile radius of me and you've probably got you're own favorite haunts that you'd rather not tell anyone about. But if you haven't gone to Good Dog or Vintage yet, you really, really should. Just....just don't ask for a cheese steak, man. C'mon. You know better than that.




(Yeah. I'm drinkin' deep of the HomerAde today.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ancient Pomegranate

People have been eating and cultivating pomegranate for about as long as history can remember.  They originate from the Middle East and are a staple of many different cultures cuisine from Iraq, Iran, China, India, and Pakistan all the way to Mexico.

The French word for Pomegranate is grenade.  Soldier noticed the similar shape of the small explosives they they were issued and thus the common name we all know stuck.  Grenadine syrup used to make Shirley Temples at a bar is sweetened and thickened Pomegranate juice also deriving it's name from the French term.

In Japan and Korea it can also be found used in Bonsai as the twisted trunks and ornate blossoms are very desirable.

In India it is frequently used in medicine for treatments ranging from indigestion, tonic for the heart and throat, nose bleeds, and even sagging breasts.  

In the west Pomegranate juice has been found to be rich in antioxidants which in addition to it's sweet and slightly bitter/astringent taste have brought about it's popularity in recent years.

All of these uses aside we love to make a delicious Sorbetto out of our pomegranates.  Sweet and tangy and slightly tart it is a perfect compliment to our Cioccolato Scuro or paired with almost any of our fruit flavors.  I have even seen a number of people ordering it as an Affogato with espresso poured over the top a few times.

If you haven't yet stop by and give it a try.  If you have never had pomegranate before we can give you a great introduction to a long eaten and widely enjoyed fruit rich in history, flavor, and antioxidants.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Taste the frozen rainbow!

cranberry apple cashew quince seville oranges Everyone's got their favorite gelato season, for sure. It's hard not to love the summer, when we're rolling in wicked fresh local melons. For some folk, strawberries probably qualify as their very own season--maybe for blood oranges as well. These days though, we're probably just past the point where we're loving the local squashes--meaning that the zucca and acorn squash are probably off to bed until next fall. "But it's still fall!" I hear you saying. I know, I know. But we're super-dependent on the harvest cycles for our local produce, which is why some years we only have strawberry sorbetto for approximately 17 minutes. But! Myself, I've been loving our cranberry-apple sorbetto.

(And HOLY COW it's only now that I'm realizing that I got NO cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving! NONE! Being the only restaurant professional in a family means that when Thanksgiving dinner goes sideways and needs rescuing, the burden falls on you. Annnnd...sometimes you don't even really get to sit for dinner. The older I get, the more empathy I have for my mother).
Sorry! Got off on a tangent there. Perhaps even a bit of a rant. But you've really got to try the cranberry-apple sorbetto if you haven't. If you only know cranberries from the (obligatory--nay, essential) can-shaped wiggling mass on our Thanksgiving tables or as a "juice cocktail" or whatever, you really should branch out. I promise the one, most notable, most widely known cranberry company who shall here remain nameless is NOT the final arbiter of what we're all allowed to do with cranberries.

And we're positively LOUSY with quince (quinces? dunno...) right now! For the uninitiated, quince(s) is (are) a vague relation of apples and pears, so it's got that familiar snap to it but also a really appreciable funk or earthiness. Funk is good in food! I like the low end. We should talk about the proper way to sauce a pig's ear sometime.

And it's cold out, so we all know that the blood oranges can't be far off. Best color of any sorbetto, you ask me. Well, maybe pomegranate, which we've also got these days. Can't wait to satisfy your odder orange obsession, though? There's always the Seville oranges for you. As a sorbetto they're super tart, a little bitter, right tasty and, before we get our paws on it, a notably ugly (not ugli) fruit. Seriously, I'm not posting a picture of a Seville orange. They're not photogenic at all.

What I'm saying is that we've for sure got some tasty sorbetti for you, if you happened to be fretting that it's cold out and we wouldn't be able to find any awesome fruit. C'mon, man! This is what we do! We're experts at finding awesome.
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's beginning to look alot like...



Cooler temperatures have ushered in short days, brisk wind,  ugly Christmas sweaters and most importantly amazing palate enticing gelato flavors! Oh as well as amazing candy c/o Shane's confectionery.

And for an added bonus around 20th street a combination of mother nature, gravity, and unknown forces (Aliens?) have led to the spontaneous combustion of a few panes of out  gelato case glass. Which needless to say has turned a few heads.....a majority of whom have complemented on the abstract and seemingly ice like appearance noting that it blended in with the Christmas decorations. So while scramble to find replacement glass, we can at least play it cool through the winter, however worry not! Being that it is double pane the delicious contents of the case are completely safe for enjoyment!

A few things worth noting!

While the main event is always the rotating, awe inspiring gelato this month in particular we have  spectacular supporting cast. Large in part due to our teaming up with Shane's Confections from old city. So while perusing for gifts, stocking stuffer, or guilty pleasures drop by for all the classics: candy canes, chocolate covered espresso beans, almond bark and even clear candy toys produced in 100 year old locally made molds in a plethora of unique shapes and sizes! Clear candy toys...for us non-locals are a Pennsylvania-German tradition dating back to the 1800's, and resurrected by these intensely artisan confectioners!

More over there are some great and truly special gelato flavors surfacing...not the least of which being Seville Orange and Egg Nog.

All of that to  say I hope you're all having a great start to the holiday season! Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A rant about why asking me my favorite flavor is a BAD idea.

OK you asked for it! Well, when I was just a fangirl and not an employee it was Thai Coconut Milk. I
LOVE all things coconut. Paired with Amaretto, it’s as good as an Almond Joy bar times 1,000. But since
we have it every day and I’m here five days a week, Thai Coconut is just too available. I sideline it like
that sweet nerdy boy in class who instantly disappears next to that dream boat hipster boy artist.

But today is November 25 and it’s getting COLD outside. Warm me up with Saigon Cinnamon. On the
other hand, take me to a warm paradise and give me some Caribbean Sunrise Papaya!

I’m never as truly happy as when we have Sweet Potato Praline.

And my man was singing showtunes in the shower this morning while I was sleeping (I HATE ‘Cats’) and
and relationship strife can only be cured with chocolate. Give me Cioccolato Scuro NOW!

Anything with herbs is DIVINE and very well may lead to enlightenment. I consider myself a spiritual
person so maybe Pineapple Mint is my favorite?

-Melissa

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble Gobble!

It's the busiest travel week of the year in the US and everyone is rushing back to wherever home or their hearts are at to visit loved ones and share a wonderful meal of tranquillizer laced (naturally of course) bird, cranberry sauce, pie, squash, wine, and every family favorite you could ever dream of.

We here at Capogiro are also quite excited to go see our loved ones as Thanksgiving is one of the few and very special days when we will not be behind the counter slinging you tasty treats but at home with our loved ones.  Eating of course....and probably drinking a little bit too.

I had a pre-Thanksgiving diner party at my house this past Sunday and it was amazing.  I think we have enough mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, turkey stock (the bird itself has flown the coop due to a horde of hungry friends :-) and desserts to last us through the Mayan doomsday.

All I think myself or anyone else here has on their mind this week is food.  I think that might be one of the best things about this holiday.  It's all about having good company and sharing delicious food!  And Autumn is such a perfect season for food.

I could go on and on and I have a bad tendency to ramble.

We have some great new flavors rolling in now.  We have Pomegranate, Egg Nog, and today I even spotted some Persimmons in the kitchen today.  So even after Thanksgiving we will keep the wave of seasonal flavors rolling all through the holidays and the rest of the winter.

Happy and Safe Holidays to everyone.  Please travel carefully and safely.  And don't forget to stop by tomorrow for your Thanksgiving dessert pints.  Gelato is so much better than ice cream on warm Apple Pie (and half the fat so you can eat more pie!)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

So it's Beaujolais Day. Should we care?

It's the third Thursday in November--you knew that, right? Every year on this day, the new harvest from the Beaujolais region is uncorked all over the place, giving people their first chance to taste the new vintage.

Thing is, though...it seems like it's mostly a marketing ploy, but one that's been successful. I'm hardly a wine expert--seriously. I mean, if you stick a pinot noir and a pinot grigio in front of me, I can (probably) figure out which one is which pretty quickly, but it'll take me a hot minute.

I'm kidding, of course. Learning about wine goes hand in hand with learning about what makes food real and what makes food...something else. Honestly it probably has as much to do with growing into an adult as anything. Everyone starts off drinking all the vodka from the parents' liquor cabinet in high school because it mixes easily with sweet, fruity stuff and doesn't really taste like much at all. It isn't until later that we figure out that gin is awesome. Gin is where it's at, but when you're a kid you think it smells weird and gross. And why would you mix it with olive juice, anyway?! GROSS, MOM! (BRB, need a scandalously dirty martini.)

It's the same thing with wine. We start off thinking that we're the badasses on the block because we're down to drink jug wine out of a jelly jar. (Well, I mean. That's how we did a while ago. These days I think it's more about putting a bag of box wine in your Camelbak and going to a generic, over-marketed EDM festival in a football stadium where the DJs all have really, really bad hair. MAN I'm glad I've grown up.) Then, unless you actually had reasonably cool parents with a certain degree of taste, some time after your 21st birthday you actually taste wine that came from a bottle with a cork. And you think, "Hey. This doesn't taste so bad that I want to drink it on ice! Wine can taste like this? Who knew?!"

I think that's about when most of us discover Beaujolais--that's when my friends and I did, anyway. We were all waiting tables together and having far more fun than was called for after we closed our restaurant every day. And for one reason or another I ended up hosting the <restaurant name redacted> family Thanksgiving. It was a notoriously good time. SO MUCH Louis Jadot Beaujolais was drunk that day--for one thing, beaujolais does really go well with turkey. For another, it was the first real wine we knew and liked. It was a great time, and my clearest lasting memory (not a lot of them are that clear, really) is of my girlfriend reaching across the table, yanking off one of the turkey breasts with her bare hand, and gnawing contentedly away. This didn't strike any of us as at all odd. On one hand, we all knew Jess, and this was totally within her character. On the other hand...did I mention there was a lot of beaujolais?

Well. Now I've gone and made myself pretty nostalgic. Wine and telling stories will do that to you! I think I actually would go out tonight to one of my favorite wino-friendly establishments and have a couple of glasses, but my achilles tendon is ferociously angry with me. (Sarah says that running is the devil's work. Maybe she's right, man. Maybe she's right.) But I'm pretty sure that any beaujolais will be just as good tomorrow, or even sometime in December. And we're coming up to Thanksgiving, which is THE time to drink wine with your family, slip a little wine to your nieces and nephews, make new stories.

Who knew? Even writing about wine can make you a little wistful.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Kid on the Block!


Good Afternoon Gelato aficionados and Fans,

My name is Rance Loftsgard and I wanted to take a few moments to introduce my self as the new General Manager of 20th Street Capogiro. After  several years split between managing restaurants to traveling the world doing international relief and development I am excited and proud to have found my way to Capogiro!
I initially moved to Philly from the Midwest to open a coffee shop and a non-profit with some friends, and after realizing that we made better friends than business partners we parted ways. I however found my self  addicted to the weird, eccentric amalgamation of cultures, subcultures and amazing culinary and foodie scenes that comprise our beloved Philly and decided to stick around.


Intro's aside I am truly excited to join the Capogiro team and look forward to serving the best gelato in the world to the the best customers around.  Winter is upon us as will been exciting new flavors, my favorite so far has been the Pera ConWild Turkey Burbon. Feel free to stop by, say hi and checkout whats new at 20th street!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ordering In Italiano!!


At Capogiro, we run our shop like traditional Italian bar.  In Italy, a bar is not a place to get drunk, but a kind of snack shop that serves coffee, espresso, cappuccino, rolls and pastries, sandwiches, and often gelato and other sweets.

Colazione is the Italian term for breakfast.  Cappuccino’s are an Italian favorite and in Italy, it is rare that a cappuccino is ordered after breakfast.  Espresso is the preferred drink after breakfast.  So how do you order a cappuccino for colazione?

Dica (you say):

“Vorrei un cappuccino per favore!”            or        “Un cappuccino per favore!”

Pranzo is the Italian term for lunch.  Pranzare is an Italian verb that means to have lunch or to dine.  Lunch is a big deal in Italy.  It is typically for shops to actually close for lunch and reopen after.  Like Capogiro, many Italian bars have freshly made sandwiches that customers are able to order out of the case.   So how do you order a sandwich?

Dica:

“Prendo un panino per favore!”     or        “Vorrei questo panino!”

Cena is the Italian term for dinner and cenare is the verb that means to have dinner.  Dinner is considered the main meal in Italy, so you wouldn’t go to a bar like you would for lunch.  Dinners are usually sit down family events or outings to ristoranti (restaurants).

It is not uncommon to mangiare gelato (to eat gelato) at any time throughout the day.  It is typical to get more than one flavor, which is why all of our sizes (piccolo, medio, e grande) offer customers a combination!  So how do you order gelato?

Dica:

“Prendo un piccolo/medio/grande gelato con (insert flavor name) e (another flavor name.)

I am a barista a 13th Street Capogiro and I speak Italian, so if you want to come in and try out some Italian phrases I would be more than happy to converse with you or teach a few more phrases.  To any speakers out there that are more fluent than I am (and there are many) I always love to learn! 

-Tori

Friday, November 9, 2012

Raspberry and Spodee wine jam swirled into our fior di latte gelato. This is all I have to add. Happy weekend!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dear meteorologists: Fired. You're all fired.

Look, this doesn't actually have as much to do with my desire for mountains of snow as you might think. I mean, I DO want mountains of snow, and I'm fairly confident I'll get my wish this winter. (Ducks the various objects thrown his way.)

But between the complete fizzle that was HURRPACOLYPSE SANDY and this stupid little snigglet of a "storm" last night, the local weatherfolk have pretty well compromised whatever predictive credibility that they might have had. "Sandy! Fire, foe, calamity! She shall be the ruin of us all! The Schuykill will be in our living rooms! We won't be able to sleep in our beds because our beds will be full of displaced varmints and blown-over trees! Be afraid! BE VERY AFRAID!!!" and so on and so forth.

(Listen, this is just a goofy little blog post. I've got friends in New York City and my mom lives in Cape May, so I'm REALLY aware that Sandy caused very real heartache and loss, and there are plenty of folk that will need help for a long time to recover. Consider donating to the Red Cross, and our friends at Tattooed Mom's on South Street are hosting what's sure to be a LIVELY fundraiser and auction this Sunday. You should come by! Drink beer for a cause! You may well even run into some of your favorite CapoBosses.)

And then this little thing last night...whatever that was. "Five inches of snow!" they said! "It's gonna be a...thing! Freezing rain and ice pellets and probably frozen muskrats falling from the sky!!!" And what did we get? Cold, unpleasant drizzle and a wee little wind. It's not that I'm kvetching because I enjoy gnarly weather (ducks again). The meteorologists work themselves into a frazzled, over-zealous tizzy and the city can't do anything else but take preventative measures--which they well should, to keep everyone safe. But then when the weather's actually supposed to hit...you forecasters can't figure out that there'll be a layer of dry, warmer air that's going to seriously mitigate the effects of the storm? Didn't see that coming, huh? Strong work, chaps.

Anyway. The food! We're now making a RIPPIN' good new gelato pairing our Fior di Latte and a Spodee Wine and raspberry jam. S'prrrrreeettty good! Sweet and fruity and a little boozy. Our Fior is so versatile! Y'all get that it really is the foundation of all of our gelato, right? It's really the heart of what we do, and we're definitely proud of it.

So! Next time you see a meteorologist with his hair on fire, take it with a grain of salt. (Metaphorically. If you see ANYONE--not just a meteorologist--with their hair on fire, do the neighborly thing and help them put it out. It's sort of a thing. Humanity and all that.) But keep your boots handy. I'm guessing that one of these days they're going to totally undersell a storm and THAT'S the one that's going to pummel us.

S'cold out! Soup's on, c'mon in and see us.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So Long, Farewell



On this epic post-election Wednesday, it seems trivial to post a blog about moving away. To leave a city you've grown to love and friends that you'll have in your heart forever. I know that after a night of moving speeches and countless victory addresses, my thank you to Philadelphia and to Capogiro may seem a meager one, but I mean it with the utmost humility and sincerity.

This is my last week as the General Manager of Capogiro 20th Street. Next week I will be moving back to Richmond to work with some amazing people in a new venture and to pursue graduate school. I know I will be returning to Virginia a different, stronger, more educated and aware person because of my years in Philadelphia. I know I will treat my customers with greater patience and tenderness because of my time with Capogiro.

To our loyal Capo regulars, thank you. Thank you to the sticky-handed children with giant scuro grins, to the well-dressed lawyers who live on Pellegrino. Thanks to the med students who keep us company late into the night. Thank you to the throngs of weekend gelato fans who drive from almost everywhere to come and have our world-famous deliciousness. Thank you to Mario and Enzo, for showing me just how much espresso Italians can actually drink throughout the day. Thanks to the first-daters who come in for awkward conversation and late-night pastry. Thank you to the Village Whiskey drinkers, who never cease to amuse us. Thank you to the samplers, the aficionados, the ones who care about local ingredients and artisanal know-how. I salute you.

To my coworkers, thank you. You are truly the greatest group of people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. You are my family, my dysfunctional, weirdo relatives. I will miss you most. Thank you for the hard work, for the laughs, for listening to me, for caring. Thank you for your dedication to me and to this company. You are amazing. Ryan, you are the best, most reliable person to work with ever, and I wish you the world. Sarah, you have taught me so much through your dedication, perseverance, and ethos. I am honored to call you my friend.

John and Stephanie, thank you so much for this experience. I know you will have continued growth and success in everything you put your minds to. What an amazing place you have created.



Later, dudes!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Changing seasons, Changing hours


For those of you who weren’t with us last season, you might not be aware that we change our hours after daylight savings.  So be sure to note that we close one hour earlier everyday (Sunday – Thursday at 10:30, and Friday and Saturday at Midnight).

Apologies to all who missed our blog last week, although chances are you didn’t have power to read it anyway.  Everyone at Capogiro sincerely hopes that you made it through the hurricane okay!  We closed early last week during the storm and re-opened at Noon on Tuesday.  After opening the store last Tuesday, I had doubts that Capo would see a lot of customers but to my surprise the store was quite busy!  It seems even a hurricane can’t quell the thirst our customers have for La Colombe's awesome coffee.  Even in the cold and still rainy weather people were coming in for gelato.  All day I was swapping storm stories with Capo’s regulars as well as our lovely visiting customers.  It seems Philadelphia was quite lucky compared to our neighbors in New Jersey, New York, and Bucks County.  Capogiro sends all of you good energy and hope for a fast recovery!

Anyway, Capo is running at full capacity and even though the air has a wintery bite to it, we’re still serving our fall flavors.  These next few weeks will be the last chances to taste some of these flavors so make sure you come in and bid a proper adieu before they are traded in for our winter fare!   They are just as tasty and unique as the fall ones.  You can look forward to blood orange and pomegranate as well as a ton of other winter favorites.  We’ve had cranberry apple sorbetto all week and I have to admit that I am addicted to it already (it reminds Sean of his mom's homemade apple sauce!)  We hope to see you soon J



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Capo Happenings

Hey all! Wanted to say real quick, if anyone is listening from the NYC area, that WE LOVE YOU AND ARE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR FACES!! And other parts, but. Ya know. Grubstreet posted this super awesome ditty today about things you can do to help restaurants get back on their feet - the devastation felt by all up and down the East Coast corridor has my empathy in high gear. We've been up to some pretty fun things lately, though - my favorite project in a long time has been gelato for the University of the Sciences - here's a picture of chocolate covered crickets before they met their fate in marshmallow gelato.
We're also about to debut our gelato made with Spodee wine. We cooked up a silly good jam made with raspberries (HOW ARE WE STILL GETTING RASPBERRIES IN NOVEMBER!? I ASK YOU!? Crazy weather. Grumble.) and are going to spin it with mascarpone gelato. Look for it at Penn on Friday! Tomorrow! We're also having a ton of fun with Spodee cocktails at the bar - if you haven't had it yet, really...probably about time you left the house more. Just sayin. Also, on the horizon, CAPOGIRO IS ALMOST TEN YEARS OLD!!! This December marks a very important birthday for us, and we're so thrilled to share it with you guys. Any flavors you'd like brought back to mark the occasion?? Let us know. So lots of love from this end of the woods. Stay dry, stay safe, and keep your heads up.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So long, Sandy!

Well, we all survived Hurricane Sandy here in Philadelphia, and are wishing the best for our friends in New York and New Jersey in this soggy, dark time. We closed a little bit early on Monday but were back on Tuesday to sling gelato and pull espresso shots for the brave souls who ventured out into the fray, and were actually nice and busy last night. Thanks for coming out of your houses, Philly!

What got me watching the coverage leading up to and during the storm were all of the crazy Photoshopped pics people were creating to make the storm seem like the end was nigh for NYC. One Twitter user even cheated and just posted a photo from The Day After Tomorrow, with the Statue of Liberty engulfed in torrential waves. Although I do have to admit, this shark swimming through the waters off of the East River is pretty freakin' cool..

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weather's comin' Ma! Better bring in the cows!

So it looks like we're maybe in for a good solid blow late this weekend and into next week. Exciting! We're hardcore at Capogiro. Tough as postal carriers. We all have little plaques in the back of our cafes that say, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these baristi from the swift completion of your awesome cappuccino with a wicked little laurel." Or something along those lines. I'll have to check and get back to you. 

But really! You should plan ahead a bit. Stash a few pints of scuro and pumpkin gelato away in your freezer so you know that when the power goes out, you can say to yourself honestly, "Self, we simply HAVE to get down on this entire pint of gelato RIGHT NOW, else it will melt and we will be sad that this frozen awesomeness went to waste." It's totally justifiable.

Of course, the reality is that we live in a major metropolitan environment (you. Look at you! SO metropolitan!). Toss on your boots and go for a walk! I love walking around in gnarly weather. You have gotten yourself some legit boots by now, right? I mean, I know last winter was kind of a fizzle, but boots. They're for sure a must-have.

Else how are you going to troop yourself and a friend or seven to our store? And why WOULDN'T you? Come in the morning and congratulate yourself with some oatmeal. Hearty revitalization, that! And of course my most-advocated lunch for troopers such as you--soup and a strong beer! Good for the constitution. Just don't have so many strong beers that you decide Walnut Street would make for a pretty good impromptu slip-n-slide. I can't condone that. 

So embrace the weather and go for an urban hike! Assuming it arrives, of course. We all know how much those friendly, over-zealous meteorologists like to rile us up with threats of impending doom. Every now and again, though...they sure do nail it. Remind me sometime to tell you about the thundersnow in Seattle. Thundersnow! In SEATTLE! But rest assured that we'll be here for you. 'Cuz we're tough. 




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Actually Is Easy, Being Green

 New favorite flavor - Green Tea Gelato. It's amazing, it's stupendous! It's the best of East meets West. Subtle yet savory, Green Tea is my new official top pick. We haven't seen it around Rittenhouse for a while, but a customer requested it a few weeks ago and it's back by popular demand. Come in this week and try some, you won't be sorry.

In other green news, Stephanie's recipe for Cream of Broccoli soup is out of this world. It also just hit the stores, and it's going quick. Served with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar and a nice hunk of Metropolitan bread, it's the perfect precursor to a cup of gelato. Get here now before I eat it all. Sorry, vegetarians, it's not for you. We do offer plenty of other veg soups, like today's Beluga Lentil or our amazing Pumpkin with Coconut and Ginger. Yes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jeeper Creepers


To celebrate Halloween our wonderful kitchen staff has been carving fruit jack-o lanterns to spookify our gelato and sorbetto and each fruit has a different expression.  We promise you fun Halloween treats without any tricks.  Be sure to sample all the flavors with the fruit-o-lanterns, and definitely give our pumpkin gelato a taste if you haven’t gotten a chance.

Now I know many of you have been enjoying our late hours throughout the week and especially on the weekends but please note that our hours will be changing at the end of Daylight Savings Time.  Starting November 4, our hours are:

Mon – Thurs 7:30am – 10:30pm
Friday 7:30am – 12:00am
Saturday 9:00am – 12:00am  
Sunday  10:00am - 10:30pm

On another note, for our soup lovers, I spotted Cream of Broccoli being prepared in the kitchen! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Juuuust a quick update on what we've got going on 'round here...

Totally fall out. Totally! Love it. Definitely my favorite time of year. (I know, I know. It's a little on the warm-ish side today. And we're all bracing for thunderstorms tonight. Which, sure. I like a good thunderstorm as much as the next guy. But it IS the middle of October, and I'm on the lookout for snow. SNOW!) Late summer is probably our best season for sorbetto, when we're rolling through all kinds of awesome fruit. But fall? Fall's when we get acorn squash, and pumpkin (which, to get out ahead of it, tastes a lot more like pumpkin than it does pumpkin pie. We get asked a lot.), and now we've even got cream cheese gelato with Medjool dates. Those three are a medio cup waiting to happen if you ask me.

[A quick aside, acknowledging that I've had a problem with parantheticals for a long, long time: I went looking for a picture of Medjool dates and this popped up and totally distracted me:
Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo and gorgonzola. STOBBIT. BRB, copying recipe.}

And we've been blowing up our bar menu, too--it was definitely time to tuck away our warm weather drinks for a few months. You need something with a little more hair on its chest when the winds start blowing cold! So our mulled wine is back but no, we're still not going to share the recipe. Sorry! You'll just have to come see us for it instead.

We've added a few cocktails that are sort of already our favorites--the white manhattan for one. It's a take on a traditional manhattan using Philadelphia Distilling's Shine Whiskey. It's okay. Y'know. No great shakes or anything. (It's awesome. Come by for happy hour tonight and try it.) And we're still loving us some Spodee! So good in a chocolate frappe. Suddenly...suddenly I'm wondering about a frappe with Spodee and cream cheese and date gelato...might have to try that out when I'm done working later today. Also, for no other reason than I like it a lot, the John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale is back. If you haven't had it yet, it's a chewy, semi-sweet, super-strong sipping ale. One of the best beers I've tried in the last year or so. Definitely a favorite.

OH and SOUP! Soup's back. Gonna hold us in good stead through what rumor says is likely to be a gnarly winter. I LIKE gnarly winters. Everyone glares at me when I say that, and I sorta don't care. BRING IT. You're worried? Then you probably need better boots. So. You're coming in for happy hour for a bowl of soup with a healthy hunka bread, a white manhattan, and then a Spodee frappe for dessert. Yes? Yes.
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Politics, Schmolitics, Let's Eat Gelato!

In case you've been living under a rock, it's an election year! Last night's debate has the world of social media in a tizzy, and everyone is screaming their opinions from the rooftops about one candidate or another. Personally, although I love discussing current events with our lovely customers, I can't wait for this election to be over so that everyone on Facebook can go back to posting about their unruly cat's hijinks or what they ate for dinner. Also, relationship statuses, can't wait to get back to you.

If there is one thing in the world that doesn't care about politics, it's gelato. Gelato is the Great Unifier. Gelato does not care who you support or what social issues stick in your craw. It just wants to be enjoyed and savored for the delicious treat that it is. Can we all please take time out of our rants and raves and come together to share in the experience of gelato? I challenge you all to come down to Capogiro today and share a cup with a friend or coworker and try to see what you have in common, versus how you differ. I'm sure you'll both agree that gelato is delicious, and we should all have the freedom and economic stability to enjoy it on the regular.

Today is a great day for flavors - first day of the season for Caribbean Sunrise Papaya, always a crowd favorite. Also on the ballot there's Molasses, Zucca (longneck pumpkin), Lemon Basil, and Pineapple Mint, just to name a few. Lets all put our differences aside and have a cup togethe!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Soups and Flavors

First order of business, Soup’s on!  This week we’re serving Ribollita but I heard a rumor that our famous Spicy Tomato Soup will be making an appearance soon too.  For now, come in and enjoy a cup of our Tuscan Ribollita soup.  This hearty soup is full of Cannellini beans, black kale, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, garlic, and tomatoes that all swirl around in a steamy-hot beef broth.  ‘Tis the season of sniffles and sneezing, so come armor your body with a cup of hot, vegetable-rich soup or a cup of fresh squeezed orange juice!






Next  order of business, Mele e Mascarpone.  Mascarpone, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a sweet, light, traditional italian cheese that is made with milk and a citric acid.  It is an excellent pair for Heirlook Apple.  For those of you who know what Mascarpone is, I’m sure you are already on the way here.






Remember that we also have Apple Cider and other fall flavors!  In the picture above, you can spot our Bourbon Vanilla and our Zucca (Pumpkin) Gelato sandwiching the Mele con Mascarpone in the middle.  Why not get a medio with all three?

See you soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another of those instances wherein I've changed my mind

So I have to admit that after being subjected to one too many Thanksgiving helpings of candied sweet potatoes as a kid (they looked a lot like this:)



I definitely developed a pretty strong aversion to anything sweet potato. Fries, mashed, whatever that...creation...is up there...not really for me. For sure some of my favorite tippling locations pride themselves on their sweet potato fries, but they've always left me pretty underwhelmed. They're never as crispy as I'd like, and they seem to be more centered on being sauce delivery vehicles than most other appetizers. All in all I'd really rather just have, you know, a fry.

But then there's this:


That's our sweet potato pecan praline gelato, and it's pretty well entirely turned me around on the whole sweet potato experience. Definitely one of our prettier gelati, what with its powerful dark ribbon of praline twisted around the pastel hue of the sweet potato. It's another of our best flavors like tahini or avocado that do an awesome, unique job of balancing sweet and savory. And, of course, it's a flavor that you're not going to find at one of those establishments that deals in nonsense like fudge-covered peanut butter-filled pretzels or whatever. Know what I mean? You know what I mean.

And it tastes like fall in the best way. It tastes like the color of turning leaves smells. To me, anyway. It's here now! Hopefully it'll last a couple weeks; it pairs with our mulled wine really, really well. So come stop by!

Zuppa!



It's back! Yep, starting tomorrow, it's soup season again! Tell your friends, tell your coworkers, tell errybody! In the cooler months, Capogiro offers our beloved customers an array of simple and delicious soups, all made in the peasant style and served with a side of fresh Metropolitan bread. 

 Some of our favorites include Black Lentil, Tuscan White Bean, Cream of Tomato, Pumpkin, and my personal favorite, Potato Corn Chowder with Bacon (!). We've had a lot of folks coming in the past few weeks asking about our soups. Well rest assured folks, they will be piping hot and ready to serve to you this weekend. Yum.
Also, a shiny farthing to whomever can name this delicious fall flavor!