Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where's your food coming from, anyway?

So with all the shenanigans across the pond going on around horse meat, it's hard not to wonder about my own limits when it comes to how far afield I'll go to try new food. To me, the bigger issue about what's going on in Europe is highly-processed, commodity food: large-scale food producers are always going to have the profits foremost in their corporate minds, and that means they're going to chase the cheapest ingredients possible. Once a business starts moving down that path, it's a really slippery slope to unwholesome, unhealthy ingredients that rely on increasing amounts of technology to maximize return. Thus we end up with things like mechanically separated meat.

Then again, there are plenty of places where eating horse meat is common, just like there are plenty of places where eating insects or chitterlings or, yes, dog meat is common. So much of what we do and don't think is acceptable to eat is based on arbitrary cultural strictures that don't have any basis in nutrition or biology. I know for sure (I've considered it more than you might think) that I wouldn't eat dog meat. I'm a dog guy to the core, so I don't think I'd ever be able to get past an intrinsic revulsion to eating them as meat. But...why not horse meat? Horses and cows aren't THAT different, when you get right down to it. And I definitely love me some beef, so I think it's actually pretty likely that I'd give horse meat a shot--assuming that I knew ahead of time what it was I was being offered. Word is it's a little gamy, so I'm thinking something like an almond crust and a strong red wine and dijon reduction--which is a great preparation for venison tenderloin, incidentally.

But really, the larger issue to me is that the consumers in Europe were lied to by companies that were more interested in making money than in making a high-quality, well-crafted product. If you keep chasing down the cheapest possible ingredients, you're intrinsically going to sacrifice quality and ultimately you're going to be offering your customers, unknown to them, something that is far, far removed from what it is that they were expecting. And it's hard to miss the fact that we're talking about some enormous, multi-national companies that got busted in all of this. There were so many degrees of separation between where the ingredients were coming from and what actually ended up on store shelves that it seems inevitable that something was going to go horribly wrong. 

Which is why you should come hang out with us more. We know our cows' names. We know who's caring for them (Hi Mark!) and how invested he is in providing the best possible product possible. Because WE'RE invested in making the best product possible--for you. YOU! We're here to make for you the world's best gelato. We work hard at it, and we don't cut corners. 

So the weather's starting to turn, I think. Saw a little slant of sunlight today that made me think, "...August? August is a real thing, right?" Which does mean that our winter flavors are going to start slipping away, so you'd better come get your blood orange sorbetto this weekend. We'll be here! Thinking about our cows. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The weather has been grey and gloomy (for what seems like an eternity), but Capogiro13 knows exactly how to cheer you up! NEW PRODUCTS!! Here’s the scoop! (hahaha get it? scoop like gelato scoop...)


We know that our vegan population must truly be suffering in this weather (I heard vegans live off photosynthesis...) so we had our new baker whip up some vegan delights.  We have two different flavors:  Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake and Banana Date Pound Cake!  They are both tasty, I have already eaten enough CapoVeganCake to put Capo out of business.


For all you other people who aren’t vegans, we made you some new cake to eat too. The regular flavors are: Green tea with lemon glaze, Beet-Orange poppy seed with orange glaze, and Carrot buttermilk with cream cheese glaze.

Obviously our cookies are amazing and needed no editing.  What could we possibly do to make them better? So we just put them in a bigger stack with a pretty bow :)  They seem even more delicious than before.  We have a new flavor too!! In addition to our existing Chocolate Chip, we have a Peanut Butter Variety too :)

So don’t let the weather make you all grey and boring, come to Capogiro, eat our colorful, bright gelato, and try our happy new products !!!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meet Shamus...The Super Baker!

We have been making various baked goods at Capo for years.  We love baked goods, but we just never gave it our full attention and never met demand at any of the cafes.  We would start and stop, start and give up.  I get itchy during the winter and started to dream.  Wouldn't it be great if we had someone to just kick ass in that department?  We needed someone with talent and passion and who was dying to run with it and who we liked.  I put out an ad. Wow.  Double Wow.  The response I received was crazy.  I interviewed some wildly talented people.  Enter Shamus...  I wish I could say it was only his talent, but it was his bow tie that won me over.  I kid.  For the record, I am a sucker for a bow tie, but it was his passion, his ideas and his sense of humor.  He loves what he does, had great ideas, and would amuse me.  I like to be amused.

Shamus has worked at some fantastic restaurants and in his words wanted to try something new and was "ready to have the whole city taste my goods!"  So are we and so should you. This week at Capo, we are introducing Shamus' goods.  Sounds delicious, no?  His famous super moist and delicious buttermilk carrot tea cake slices will be available, vegan chocolate tea cake, vegan banana date tea cake, lemon poppyseed tea cake, tender tea cake, green tea tea cake.....  more will be arriving as he gets his legs under him.

Cookies are in the house!  Crispy Chocolate Chip, Chewy Peanut Butter and Vegan Cherry Walnut to start.  He plans on introducing Mexican Wedding Cookies.  John had a lovely high school girlfriend (hate to say it, but she was so nice) who's mom made these taralle cookies with a lemon frosting.  He is going to take a stab.  We have all our cookies available in 1/2 pound bags and in our Emergency Cookie packs (2 cookies).  For those in the know, they are called Emergency Cookies because when I am somewhere with my kids, one will say, whine really, "Mooooom-muh, I am starving!"  They will look around in a panicked, pained way.  I reach into my bag and pull out a pack of cookies.  I have them in case of emergencies.  Starving teenagers constitute an emergency in my book.  So when you find yourself starving, or annoyed, or craving something sweet, but you don't want to overdo it or spoil dinner or have teens who are unbearable when they are hungry and you need the whining to stop, get yerself some EMERGENCY COOKIES.  You're welcome.

Brownies, both chocolate and chocolate peanut butter made with housemade peanut butter. These brownies are dense and rich.  Blondies.  Remember those? Yup, TWO different blondies.  We have a Chocolate Chunk Pretzel Blondie and a Peanut Salted Caramel.  Sweet and homey and reminds you of granny.  A hip granny.

Energy Bars made with oats, coconut and nuts, both Vegan and not.

We are incredibly happy that Shamus is now a Capogirian.  Come into the cafes!  Check out his goods.  We are just getting started.  Tons of new products are on the horizon.  I am a little nervous, as I want to eat it all. So far, everything has been delicious.  I just ate all the buttermilk carrot tea cake edges.  Not too sweet, a little tangy with tons of carrots.  It was delicious.  They are being delivered today to the cafes.  Welcome home Shamus!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


They really are some of the stranger looking fruits out there, pomegranates. Labor-intensive too, but I guess most of the better things in the world are. And of course, given the magic of intertubes, I can present you a tutorial on how to free the little orbs o' goodness from their weird, fleshy imprisonment:

Dude for sure goes on a little long and is probably a little more excited than is strictly warranted, but this is exactly the method our kitchen staff uses when they're making our pomegranate sorbetto. Given that we need a BUNCH of pomegranate seeds (are they actually seeds? Hold on, we'll get to that) to make a pan of sorbetto for you, we definitely have to employ the most expedient method possible.

Hey pretty sorbetto, how YOU doon?!

So what's the deal with pomegranates, anyway? I'll tell ya, as I write more of these posts about some of our more esoteric ingredients I've learned that a lot of them are native to central Asia--pomegranates in particular are from what we call Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan these days. 

And the good stuff, the little juicy bits that we go through all the labor to procure? They are seeds, but what we're really after is more accurately called the arils, which, given the squiggly red line my blog editor has put under the word, is probably not a word most of us know. See, the aril is the fleshy part SURROUNDING the seed, not the seed itself. Pomegranates and the lychee have something in common! (Thus Rambutan too, but we all know how I feel about them.)

There are for sure different cultivars (read: varieties) of pomegranates, but they don't have the same diversity as, say, the apple family--meaning any pomegranate you find is going to taste by and large like a pomegranate. Some are going to be sweeter, some are going to be more sour (why not sourer? The English language is hard.). Mostly it has to do with the amount of tannins in any individual fruit. 

For sure pomegranates have been more on the culinary radar in the last couple of years, probably because someone (not going to name names) decided that they could make a ton of money off of them by citing some questionable scientific evidence suggesting that pomegranates are intrinsically better for you than, like, all the other fruits combined. Why does it have to be such a competition, though? Fruits are delicious and, by and large, good for you. So eat whatever fruit you like and however much you like of it without being so judge-y. Just eat it! (Little known fact: pummelos have, it'll surprise you to learn, shockingly poor self esteem. It's okay, pummelo, we think you're delicious too.) 

So. Pomegranate. Worth the work! Come and get some sorbetto soon, it'll only be around so long. Git on in here!

The Earth will be swallowed by the sun in about 4.5 billion years, so why not try cat poop coffee?

      I recently acquired a small amount of the infamous "cat poop" coffee.  No, it doesn't smell or taste like excrement. But yes, it is the cleaned and roasted end result of the Indonesian palm civet's lunch.  That lil' guy down there. Adorable, right?  Those black, empty, beady eyes, and Pennywise-esque teeth.  So not exactly a cat per se.
      Coffee "beans" are the seeds of the coffee berry, undigestable to the palm civet along with other wild animals.  When he eats coffee berries for lunch, he leaves little treasures for that nichiest of niche markets.  Demand is pretty high for this stuff simply because it's rare, not because it's delicious.  Some say it's nothing special, akin to any other regular cup of coffee, but others think the enzymes in the animals' digestive tracts keep the acidity low and the flavor smooth.  MMMM....smooth intestinal flavor!  I dunno. Not really enough for me to get past the psychological barriers.  I'm staring at it right now, imagining awful things not fit to print.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Deano's Fiery Hot Jalapeno Chips

You may have seen them on the counter at your favorite Capogiro and wondered what are these things?  They're awesome!!  Deano's are small batch dried jalapeno chips made in a cafe in Vermont.  They are really spicy so if you're a fire flavor fiend these are for you.  I highly recommend mixing them with some bread crumbs and breading chicken breasts or pork chops or whatever else you might want to cover in a crunchy spicy shell. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

We're nuts about bananas.

We really are! We use 'em in everything, dontcha know. Granola coppas and fruit cups and loose fruit and oatmeal with bananas and Nutella and of COURSE the myriad gelati we make with 'em.

(Just in time for Valentine's Day, of course.) Obviously we love our banana flavors. Chocolate banana is a staple; you'll see it a couple of times a week. Banana stracciatella if you're REALLY lucky. Bananas Foster and banana with dark rum...all of 'em good. Wicked good for the frappes, too! Especially with bacio, but I'm a sucker for any frappe with bacio in it, really.

It sort of goes beyond that for us, though. "Bananapants" can mean a lot of things around CapoPenn. Store's busy as all git-out? We're bananapants. You want to do what with the cocoa powder? YOU'RE bananapants. And we're healthy folk, so we'll each grab a banana and eat it out of hand more often than you might think. And there's a re-occurring character on our dry erase board named Captain Bananapants...sorta wishing I'd gotten a picture when I saw him last. He'll be back; he's one of our mascots. If you're wondering what our dry erase board tends to look like (it's usually at LEAST 17 percent work-related, I promise), this is about par for the course...

(The CapoPandas are permanent. Kaihly touches them up every now and again. And I'll not divulge who the pretty flowerpot is.)

So really--are you eating enough bananas these days? Are you sure? I mean, they're real good for you, obviously. You should come see us, we've got a TON of ways in which we can banana up your day. And you know what they say! A banana a day keeps, that joke's fizzling. Happens to the best of us. We'll see you soon!

(There's probably another blog post titled "We're bananas about nuts" somewhere in the future.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You had me at Spumoni...but then you lost me when you started adding all that extra crap.

Italians love a good layered dessert. Spumoni, Tiramisu, Neapolitan ice cream, and those cookies with a thousand names (Rainbow, Tri-color, Seven Layer, Italian Flag, etc.) But how many layers is too many layers? I fancy myself a baker, and in the unending battle of trial and error and error and error, I've learned that more is not always more. Three is the optimum, absolute limit. Any more than that and your treat starts looking like that Jersey girl at your friend's wedding that accessorized one sparkly headband too far.  CHOCOLATE/CHERRY/PISTACHIO done. CAKE LAYER/FILLING/CAKE LAYER done. CHOCOLATE/VANILLA/STRAWBERRY done. If you're that Jersey girl, you're doing two cake layers, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, pistachio, AND cherry. Now you're a hot mess. We Capogiroans are cool as cucumbers, and we know when to stop. Our Valentine's (or any day really) tartufi are 3 layers of perfect. Feast your eyes upon these beauties...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Our gelato case is bursting with icy pink love!  In honor of Valentines Day, our dedicated, ever-smiling kitchen staff (Natalia, Juana, Sofi, Vanessa, and Mariela) have been churning out bright pink sorbetti and carving the fruit into hearts!!  The case has never looked more adorable :) Our gelato and sorbetto are made in-store, bright and early, every morning by our kitchen staff, the beautiful unseen faces of Capogiro! These women do such a wonderful job and are so dedicated to bringing you the quality and beauty you have come to expect from the Capogiro gelato case.

Still need a date idea for Valentines Day?  Why not zoidberg?

I mean, Capogiro.  We have the perfect setting for all things date-related.  Our cafe is perfect for a one on one or group date and there are plenty of singles that hang out here too.  Each piccolo comes with two flavors so you and your sweetie can each have a pick.

Looking for something hotter?  ;)
How about a nice, hot, sexy, steamy....cappuccino? cioccolato calda?  macchiato??

For all of you people who are forever alone, come hang out with us!!
(There are plenty of singles about to share your love of Single Awareness Day)

<3 Tori

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's gelato sandwich time!

When was the last time you had a gelato sandwich? A week ago? Six months ago? Never?! Well I think it's about time you tried one! We have a variety of flavor combinations sure to satisfy your senses. I won't tell you what though, you have to come in and see for yourself. So I can trick you into buying all the gelato like an awesome meta-human would. My plans are beginning to take shape... Enjoy this joke about sandwiches while I retire to my lair.
A panda walks into a bar, sits down and orders a sandwich. He eats the sandwich, pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter dead.
As the panda stands up to go, the bartender shouts, "Hey! Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't pay for your sandwich!"
The panda yells back at the bartender, "Hey man, I'm a PANDA! Look it up!"
The bartender opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda:
"A tree dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves."

Television-based restaurants the world really needs

It's pretty much a given that I'm a restaurant GENIUS. I mean, obvs. And I'm feeling generous today, so for all you "restaurant consultants" (read: cooks and servers who can't actually hack it during service) here are some ideas for restaurant concepts you can pitch:

The West Wing--The servers stay put while all the guests walk around and eat. (I'm totally going to slip olives into Sarah's pocket one of these days.)

M*A*S*H--Lots and lots of ketchup.

ER--Lots and lots of SEXY ketchup.

Sportscenter--Everything's served in leather. (That's a deep joke.)

Honey BooBoo--Two items on the menu here--cheese-flavored butter and butter-flavored cheese. Not brie, though.

Battlestar Galactica--You only THINK the food is sourced from the States. Really it's all from Vancouver.

Rawhide--All jerky all the time. (Low-hanging fruit, that one.)

Pawn Stars--All the staff is wheezy and you're in constant negotiations over the price of your meal.

Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives--/rimshot

Hee Haw--Creamed corn, steamed corn, corn on the cob, corn flakes, and corn syrup. But probably not polenta, and DEFINITELY not tortillas.

Jersey Shore--Heat lamps and vegetable oil at every table. (The first one I came up with for this wasn' wasn't appropriate.)

Dr. Who--Every time your server comes by your table, he looks different...

Top Gear--The crew burns the restaurant down every third week.

Any soccer match ever--You only get one dish, it takes 87 minutes to arrive, and when your server drops it off he rips his shirt off in celebration while the rest of the staff dances around him.

Alright, I'll totally cop to this being the day before I head out of town for a long weekend. So I crowd-sourced some of this to my Facebook friends. The funny ones though...they're all mine. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Arttack of the Vegans!!!

Vegans... Vegans everywhere...

Lately there’s been a lot of talk in the cafe about being vegan.  None of the Capo13 employees are presently vegan but tons of our customers are and several of our former staff members were as well. Not everyone is aware of our many vegan options!!  I informed a customer I served last week that our sorbetti was vegan and she just couldn’t believe it.  So this blog is for all of you poor vegans everywhere who are under the false impression that you cannot enjoy any of our delicious frozen treats or beverages.  If you look in the case you will notice the flavor tags are color coded; blue for gelati (non vegan) and orange for sorbetti (vegan!!!).  Here are some of Capo13’s best in-season vegan sorbetti:

1.  KIWI!!! (by far one of the best things ever and we have it year-round)
2.  Grapefruit Campari
3.  Pomegranate
4.  Lime Cilantro
5.  Caribbean Sunrise Papaya
6.  Cactus Pear
7.  Pineapple Mint
8.  Heirloom Apple
9.  Apple Cider with Clove
10. Clementine/Mandarin
11. Blood Orange!!!

You must try these flavors if you are vegan, you will love them!!  

Not into frozen things??  How about a slice of our VEGAN CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE?!?!?  This cake is seriously some of the best I have ever had and you would NEVER guess that it is vegan (but it totally is).  Want a nice steamy hot drink to wash down all that cake and gelato??  We can make any drink with soy!! We can use Silk brand soy milk as a milk alternative to make a latte, cappuccino, cafe macchiato, hot chocolate, mocha, or any other drink!!

So vegans, do not fear, Capogiro has got your back when it comes to dessert :)

<3 Tori


This is how I feel when I wake up on Wednesday and realize we left y'all hanging for a Tuesday blogpost. 

Tori has something cooking and we will have it right up as soon as she is done slingin scoops and coffee for the day.  Stay tuned!