Thursday, May 31, 2012

One of these days, I'm gonna slip away...

It really isn't any coincidence that I'd be most likely to jaunt off to Italy for a few weeks if someone happened to offer me an insta-vacation to anywhere I wanted. It's led to accusations being leveled at me that I'm a little boring, but all the top slots on my must-travel-to-soon list are taken up by destinations in Western Europe. I am, believe it or not, kind of a history nerd, and I think almost before anywhere else I'd really like lick my tongue into some old, semi-forgotten corners of Rome or Milan or Venice (not that anyone's likely to have forgotten about any of those places, but you get what I mean).

As many Italian (and Italian-ish, for better or worse) restaurants as I've worked in, I'm not at all going to pretend to really know much about the history or various regional characters or ANY of the language...that's exactly WHY you would travel somewhere, right? I'm a big advocate of the idea that traveling and education go hand in hand.

Also, I have to admit that one of my major culinary goals--as an eater, not a cook--is to sit for a good, slow meal in which most, if not all, of the ingredients have come from the same soil, where the grass that fed the beef grows on the same stony mountain that fed the wine grapes and the asparagus and the arugula and maybe even the olives...for sure you can have meals like that in the States, and without a doubt I hope to really soon. But it seems like maybe it'd be even better if I have to suffer some good-natured ribbing for mangling the local language while I try to order from the menu.

Is it obvious that I've been daydreaming about taking a vacation? Yeah, probably. Soon! Best friend's getting married in a couple of weeks and then some familial shenanigans, all of which will be unconditionally awesome. But I haven't yet gotten to take that proverbial backpacking-through-Europe-with-a-train-pass adventure that I've always wanted, so I've got at least one entry on my bucket list. 'Til then, though? Sit in the sunshine and pretend I'm somewhere else, I guess. Music goes a long way...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The best sorbetto in all the land

I had the very best surprise when I came in to 20th Street today. My most favorite sorbetto, Lemon Opal Basil was staring lovingly at me from behind the glass of the gelato case. I almost cried. This has to be the best day ever. We have three types of strawberry flavors (Strawberry Tequila and Strawberry Tarragon sorbetto, and Strawberries & Cream gelato), and now my top pick?! If you've never tried our Lemon Opal Basil, please, I urge you to come down immediately. We all love our famous Limone sorbetto, as well as our Basilico gelato. This is the best pairing of both. The lovechild of sour and savory, of whimsy and mirth. Seriously, get some before I eat the whole lot.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


It looks like I finally got my thunderstorm today though it went by rather quickly and wasn't the most satisfying.  The cool air does feel very nice after the heat of the last few days.  Our first (or second didn't it get hot in february too?) days of summer are here!!!

In other excitement I saw some flowers in the kitchen today and they aren't just for lookin' at!

It appears that we have a fresh supply of Nasturtium (literally "nose twister") flowers for gelato.  We should have a fresh batch made up tomorrow and you should come by and give it a go.  It has a peppery taste and is similar to watercress and they are also quite pretty and enjoyable to look at.

We will most definitely have this at 13th Street for the next few days so get your butts in here and try some before it's all gone!

Friday, May 25, 2012


It hot, it's humid, tarragon season is upon us.
 Other names include: dragon's wort, dragon herb, little dragon, and silky wordwood - pretty cool. Related to wormwood, tarragon has that potent liquorice/anise taste that apparently woodland critters, especially deer, hate!

I'm curious how our kitchen will be utilizing this lil leafy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oh hey whatcha doon tonight?

Is it seriously almost June? It seriously is. Seriously. Can't help but think that today's the day when we finally well and truly tip over from warm to hot. kinda my least favorite day of the year. BUT! Warm late spring/early summer evenings? Time to get out and about!

We've been doing more events this year than probably ever before, taking the gelato to where the people are. And tonight we're at the first Night Market of the year in Northern Liberties! Some of the best ethnic food and food trucks in the city will be there, and I have to admit that there's a truly dizzying array of meats in tube form impending. And live music and awesome art and, y'know, us, because it's not so much that we're always where the cool kids are. It's more that the cool kids show up wherever we are.

The best part is that the Night Markets (there's another in June on Washington Ave and pretty certainly more to follow after that!) are organized by The Food Trust, so by coming out tonight to eat awesome food and drink beer and watch live bands, you're helping support people that believe in bringing real, wholesome food to real, local neighborhoods. So food with a mission! But there'll be beer and cocktails and hopefully many, many sausages, so no one's going to get too pedantic. It'll be a good time!

So come find us! The festacularities will be on 2nd Street between Fairmount and George Streets and run from 7 to 11. weather music. Come out tonight!

Memorial Day

Just so everyone knows, we will be opening at 9am on Monday, in observance of Memorial Day. This federal holiday has been around since after the Civil War, and was created to commemorate fallen soldiers and those who have fought in the United States Armed Forces. However, like most kids, I grew up waiting patiently for Memorial Day because it symbolizes the beginning of summer. It was the time that we would stop taking school seriously, because we knew that the few remaining weeks of class would be filled with field days, relay races, and watching movies in classrooms instead of learning anything real. Our teachers were just as eager for the last day of school as we were, and would often doze off at their desks while we listlessly worked on silly art projects.

The most important aspect of Memorial Day, with the exception of gorging oneself on hot dogs and hamburgers and getting a three-day weekend, was the reminder that FIREWORKS existed. All of the firework stands would go up immediately after Memorial Day weekend, and we would start the backseat begging. Every stand would try to out-boast the next, claiming the largest rockets or the most dangerous roman candles. Even sparklers became a competition, at one point roadside stands were selling sparklers that were over six feet long. My parents would usually withstand about a month of psychological torture from my brother and I, until they would finally break down and buy us what they deemed to be the safest fireworks arrangements. Little did they know that we had secretly been stockpiling M-80's, smoke bombs, and bottle rockets the whole time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Where was that thunderstorm today?  I feel a little let down.  I was promised a thunderstorm and mother nature has let me down.  Well, I guess she didn't let me down so much as the forcasts got my hopes up.  Since I was little I always loved and looked forward to loud, dark, scary thunderstorms.  I used to build a fort in the middle of the living room floor and watch the lightning through the window.  I loved loud crashing thunder.  The louder the better, I love when it feels like the earth itself is being split apart.  It always interested me that it's all just caused by different masses of air rubbing together.  Kind of mind blowing how energy is in the air.   I don't build forts too often anymore but I do still love to watch the whole explosive thunder and lightning show and we could really use some more rain before the heat of summer gets to us so we can get lot's of local fruit, herbs, and other produce.  I'll be patient and give the rest of the week it's chance to bring me an exciting storm.

 Long time Capo13 barista Nelson is leaving us to run away to Austin, Texas.  We'll miss his goofy antics and dance parties.  If you see him around make sure to wish him luck and make him feel guilty for leaving us all. 

Bye, Nelson!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You got booze in my juice!

RIGHT, so eating breakfast late in the morning (or early afternoon) is definitely the way to be on the weekends, which is why, with your best interests in mind, we rolled out our new crepes a couple of weeks ago. And they're going crepe-ily! If that's a word. (It's probably not a word.)

But seriously, Sundays? Let's not kid ourselves. You don't really have any genuine expectations of getting anything accomplished, do you? I mean sure, a nice stroll is...nice. You should do that, particularly now that it's May and thus neither bracingly cold or blisteringly hot. But you know. Housework? Chores, even? C'mon. You got better things to do. Which is to say you should clear your decks and not have anything to do. Practice Restafarianism! Embrace your inner sloth!

What I'm getting at is that while you're forking into your crepes, you should be having a delightful cocktail. A savory cocktail. Perhaps a bit spicy. People, you need a bloody mary to mellow out your Sunday afternoons.

Vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, warchester woostisher wurchestusher that know what I'm talking about. I like Bloody Marys. I'd have one right now if I knew I could take a nap afterwords. And yeah, you're looking for a Bloody Maria (tequila, not vodka)? Sure! Bloody Margaret (gin)? You betcha! A Bloody Fairy (absinthe)? No, dude. Probably not that last one. I mean, I guess it's a thing but it sorta sounds gross. Absinthe and tomato juice? Takes all kinds to make the world go around, I suppose. But that's not for me.

Sundays. Sundays are nice! Let's not ruin them by writing up with some huge to-do list, huh? Unless that to-do list consists solely of 1>Go to Phillies game; 2>get a light sunburn.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Capogiro - perfect shelter during a zombie attack

In case you haven't been paying attention, the Zombie Apocalypse is close at hand. It could really happen any day now. The Center for Disease Control even has an official "Zombie Preparedness Guide" on their website. Seriously, check it out, it's wild. Of course, the best place to be during Zombigeddon would be in some mountaintop bunker, armed to the nines and well stocked with supplies and ammo. But who really plans that well? Most of us will be caught completely unawares, and will have to make a swift decision as to where we want to hide from the undead hordes.

My suggestion? Capogiro! Just think about it, other than having glass windows everywhere, we are the perfect place to be trapped during a zombie attack. We have tons of food (fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and tons of dry goods) and medical supplies (i just refilled our first aid kit).There are also loads of pointy knives here, and metal pans that can be easily pounded into body armor.Our stock room could double as a cage to lock up zombie prisoners. If all else fails and doom is inevitable, there is an abundance of alcohol in the back kitchen as well, which we include in several flavors of gelato and sorbetto. Also, everyone knows that if there is any justice in the world, the first place the zombies attack will be Starbucks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Better know a fruit: STRAWBERRIES!

Strawberries: great fruit, or greatest fruit? We honestly look forward to strawberry season all year long (the anticipation for blood oranges runs a close second). When it's manky and cold and drizzly in January, we console ourselves by remembering that we're probably closer to strawberry season than we are far away. And since we're so vehement about only using the best berries we can find, strawberry season can be kind of a disappointment--like last year, when it seemed like we could only get our hands on quality strawberries for about 17 minutes...and then they were gone. Sadface.


 >>Strawberries and cream is pretty much THE snack of choice when you're watching fuzzy yellow balls zip around at Wimbledon. SORRY. "The Championships, Wimbledon." Don't neglect the comma or counter-intuitive word order. Brits: pretty much sticklers for their preferred titles. Visitors plow through upwards of 20 tons of berries over the two weeks or so of the tournament. That's very nearly as many strawberries as we put in one pan of sorbetto!

 >>There's a particular cultivar of strawberry called the "musk strawberry." Very popular in France, they're more aromatic and the flavor is more complex than that of the garden strawberry more common in the States. Really the only reason I'm mentioning musk strawberries is that they also go by the name "hautbois," and I know there are a bunch of you out there who are going to deliberately mispronounce that in your head and then spend a few minutes daydreaming about being fed berries on a chaise lounge in the company of some Adonis. Which is fine! You do you. Go ahead, I'll wait here.

 >>There's a whole segment of Lepidoptera (you know, moths and butterflies) that are notable because their larvae primarily eat strawberry plants. (Must be British! There they probably go by something like, "Lepidoptera, strawberry-eating.) These include the ghost moth (spooky!), the juniper pug (it's a gin-smelling dog with a proboscis!), and the common marbled carpet (the name of which, you might guess, is pretty much the impetus for this whole paragraph.)

Strawberries! We got them in pretty early this year...which maybe means they'll be around for a good while? Let's hope. Sorta can't get enough strawberry stracciatella.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Mother's Day is almost upon us (it's on the 13th, in case you didn't know). Like many of you, I'm not exactly sure what I should do for my mom this year. I'll most likely just call and tell her I love her, then feel guilty for not sending her flowers or going to visit. I am still not the bad kid though, because my brother once showed up to a fancy Mother's Day brunch after consuming a whole lot of hallucinogens. A whole lot. He will always be the one who ruined Mother's Day.

However, I am not without fault when it comes to making my mother's life hell. There was a famous incident when I was about four years old and we were all at a toy store at the mall. I really didn't want to leave, so I started screaming, "She's not my mom! SHE'S NOT MY MOM, SHE'S TAKING ME!!!!" Apparently I had already learned about stranger danger in preschool, and decided to utilize the unsuspecting public to aid me in my toyshop scheme. All of the other adults immediately rushed to help me, even though my brother was wailing that I was, in fact, my mother's child. He was also punching me in the arm while doing so, which didn't really help his credibility. Long and short, my mother had to wait until security came and I calmed down. My mom almost went to mall jail, but I eventually relented and confessed to the mall cop that I was her daughter, and he let us leave. My mother had never been so embarrassed.

In any case, no matter what you've done to terrorize your mother, you should bring her some gelato. Or better yet, spend the day with her and bring her down to Capogiro. We promise not to play any heavy metal music and we swear that we will always say "please" and "thank you".

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


During the evening shift people frequently ask what time we open in the morning and are often shocked that we're open at 7:30am. 

"Do people really buy gelato that early?" they ask. 

"No, but we serve pastries, oatmeal, bagels, and of course our delicious coffee." is my answer. 

For those curious our gelato and sandwiches typically starts rolling out around 10am and we should have just about everything ready at Noon for lunch time.

We very proudly serve La Colombe Torrefaction coffee.  (torrefaction is french for roasting)  La Colombe is a local roaster and they are known for rich, bold, dark coffee. 

We serve Corsica as our drip coffee.  It is a blend of beans from Colombia, Honduras, Brazil, and Mexico.  It is definitely one of the best dark roast coffee's I have ever tasted and I've been working in coffee for close to a decade now.  Richness is Corisca's middle name, or would be if it had one.  Every step from bean selection to the darkness of the roast was carefully chosen to bring out the intense, full flavor profile of the beans

Next up is our Iced Coffee.  We are now in full swing with our iced coffee and I have never seen iced coffee as popular as it is at Capogiro.  I think it's our cold brew method that really makes concentrated, strong, tasty, NOT bitter cup of icy cold coffee.  For this we use Phocea, which is also highly recommended for those who like to use a French Press at home.  Phocea is also a dark roast but less so than Corsica and it has a more earthy flavor.  We grind each batch on course and let is steep for a whole 24 hours to make sure we get every bit of flavor out of those beans.  These beans originate from Ethiopia (The motherland of coffee!), El Salvador, and Brazil.

The backbone of any Italian cafe is Espresso.  It's name is Nizza.  This is an awesome medium blend most widely used for espresso brewing but can certainly be enjoyed with any brewing method.  It has notes of caramel and nuts.  The beans originate from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Ethiopia.  It is roasted for sweetness as espresso should NOT be bitter and unpalatable.  A properly pulled shot should be slightly sweet and intense.  We take great care in pulling the best shot every time so you can get a taste of what espresso in Italy is like.   Anyone can make coffee but "good" coffee is a craft and it takes time to learn and perfect.  It also takes a good consistent machine.  This past summer our 13th and 20th street locations both received new La Marzocco espresso machines.  These babies are amazing.  If there is one thing Italy can make it is a stellar espresso machine!  And they're pretty too, we had our painted orange to match the stores. 

And last but not least is our Decaf.  While I am not a personal fan of decaf in general I understand that not everyone can have, handle, or want caffeine but that they still might want a tasty cup of coffee.  We use Monte Carlo as our Decaf.  We do not brew decaf as a drip coffee simply because it would mostly go to waste and wasting coffee is blasphemy.  We do offer it in espresso form.  you can have any espresso drink made decaf or even half-caffeinated if you would like.  If you were really dying for a drip coffee just ask for a decaf Americano.  That's two shots of espresso poured over hot water and it is damn good!  If you have ever traveled outside of the US and ordered drip coffee it is likely that this is what you actually got.

That is the end of my tour through coffee land and I know I only touched on each one briefly, but if you have any questions about our coffee don't hesitate to ask.  I love talking about coffee and tea and would love to share whatever I know and find out the answer to questions I might not.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

gozo del vivre

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Have a beer for independence! Wait..what? No, that's not right..Mexico's independence day is September 16th! And it's actually celebrated throughout Mexico - unlike Cinco de Mayo.

So, what makes today a day I wanted to request off of work for? Well..

Formally known as El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, May 5th, 1862 marks the French invasions retreat from Puebla, Mexico with nearly 3,000 more men and like %400 more casualities. It was a symbolic victory and provided a boost of morale during Mexico's time of bankruptsy.

The capital was however captured soon after by the French until the United States Civil War ended in 1965, providing aid against the French ruling.

It has been hypothesized that the Battle of Puebla actually slowed the French down from joining forces with the Confederacy in the south. Actually, in 2005 the U.S Congress called upon a proclamation to nationally observe May 5th. Well hot underdog! Cinco de Mayo is about freedom, chance, and decision - gozo del vivre!

In any case, I couldn't take off work. But, you know I'll be suggesting Mexican (spicy!) Chocolate gelato paired with our Champagne Mango sorbetto or perhaps you'd prefer Golden Margarita and Lime sorbetti paired with Sea Salt gelato. ( ;

hasta leugo

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Warm sweet brunchy stuff at CapoPenn! Delicious, delicious crepes...

(As we've been working on getting these up and running for y'all, there's been this little niggle in the back of my head...something about one of my high school English teachers describing Charles Dickens' Miss Havisham as crepey...I'm not at all sure it's relevant to this. In fact...I'm pretty sure it isn't. Just one of those things I felt like I really needed to express, so thanks for listening.)

So we're doing buckwheat crepes every Sunday! They're sweet-ish and on the substantial side and awesome brunch fare. We'll top them with gobs of Nutella if you like (my favorite) or you can keep it simple and have them sprinkled with lemony sugar. OR go whole hog and add some gelato! A scoop of bacio, maybe? Or you could unapologetically gild any number of lilies and let some sweet, sweet chocolate peanut buttery goodness melt and ooze and self-drizzle all over your plate. Yeah? Oh yeah. So there you are. Another undeniably awesome reason to stop by and see us on Sundays!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Things that happened this week

 Strawberries came!!! These beauties are a little early this year, so we were pleasantly surprised when they hit our kitchens. They're fantastic. We've already been featuring Strawberry Tequila sorbetto and Strawberries & Cream gelato, with tons more berry flavors on the horizon.

 Apparently staff member Caitlin needs to get to the Renaissance Fair more often. After she gets back from her wondrous travels to France, she hopes to work part time as a bar wench at Ye Olde Meadery.

Customers love us! A very nice gentleman snapped a shot of our lovely Kami and Sam on Friday night, and was kind enough to send it our way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day!!

It's today is the first day of May and thus May Day!  May Day was a pagan holiday celebrating the rebirth of nature and the return of crops, flowers, and greenery.  Originally part of a celebration to worship Flora, the Roman Goddess of flowers it was later secularized as a celebration of youth and spring after Christianity spread throughout Europe. 

Annual festivals are held throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere each year where young people dance around the May Pole and elect a Queen of the May to be the representation of purity, youth, and the renewal of nature.

Here at capo we are celebrating spring with one of our all time favorite fruits....  Strawberries!!!!  All of our store should be well stocked with mountains of delicious, bright red, sweet, amazing strawberries.  Strawberry gelato, sorbetto, granola coppa for breakfast,  STRAWBERRY ALL THE THINGS!!!  Strawberry season is FINALLY here!!!!