The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Philly, Day 1: Gelato Night at Capogiro

Note: This entry originally took place on November 7.

Welcome to Philadelphia!

parking lot

Here's a parking lot!

As I have no sense of Philadelphia's geography and only had a google map print-out to guide me as I got off the Bolt Bus (which I highly recommend taking), I had no idea where I was. At 10 p.m. on a Friday night, the 30th Street Station felt like it was at the edge of civilization, where the roads were wide, clean (coming from the perspective of a New Yorker, at least), and alarmingly quiet. People walked by every now and then, but their presence felt out of place. I waited on a bench in the 30th Street subway station for Alex to rescue me...and help me carry my bags.

There's more than this. Oh yes.

As always, Alex was in top notch recuing form—he took me straight to famed gelateria Capogiro for my first bite of awesomeness during my weekend in Philly. Unlike 30th Street, Capogiro was crowded, more specifically, crowded with young people. People younger than me. I forgot that Philadelphia was full of universities and thus students who like to do things on Friday nights, like eat gelato.

I felt...old. And I'm only 23. It'll only get worst after this.

So, back to gelato. There aren't any places like Capogiro in New York City for god knows what reason. Do we have too much other good stuff, meaning that we have to sacrifice in the "frozen desserts" department? Poop that. Washington D.C. has Dolcezza; Philly has Capogiro; NYC has Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Grom, and L'Arte del Gelato, none of which is really comparable to Dolcezza or Capogiro in terms of flavor creativity and diversity. L'Arte del Gelato is my favorite in the city, but I don't think they're going to ever make Heirloom Apple Cider with Clove Sorbetto. (On that note, I tried a sample of that flavor; it was quite nice, but I wouldn't want to eat a whole cup of it.)

pumpkin and pistachio
My cuppa

I ordered a small cup of pistachio and pumpkin. Pistachio is a given; the only question I have to ask myself is, "What flavor will I get in addition to pistachio?"—easy to answer since I heeded the recommendation for pumpkin.

Pumpkin was not of the autumnal, pumpkin spice sort, but just pure squashiness. Alex pointed out that it had a buttery, toffee flavor as well. Definitely one of the most unique pumpkin flavors I had, although a little smidgen of nutmeg or cinnamon and the like wouldn't have hurt. The first few bites of pistachio were blissful, until I realized it wasn't completely smooth and the flavor, while purely pistachio, didn't sustain itself for very long. Keep in mind that I'm unfairly using impossibly high standards of my favorite, buttery, warm pistachio-bullet-to-your-face gelato in Italy based on memories that have festered in my mind for over a year. What could live up to that? Nothin'. Capogiro's pistachio gelato is very good, but I feel like it could be better. Not that I have any idea how to make it better.

Hello, Alex
Alex nom noms

Alex got a cup of pear sorbet and chocolate gelato. Some variation of chocolate, at least. I remember the pear much better than the chocolate; it was like biting into a fresh, juicy pear—especially with those granular pear bits in every bite—with less chewing required.

We turned in early that night back at Alex's house-like apartment, which is shared between five people (helloooo, cheap-ass rent!). Or rather, he turned in early and I stayed on the Internet for a few hours before drifting off to sleep on the futon to the melodious sounds of the seemingly neverending scratchings and shuffings of the rabbit in his cage across the living room. I find rabbits adorable...except when they're doing that.


117 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Another location at:

119 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107


Sammy / November 21, 2008 3:14 AM

Oh my... I'm 23 as well and feel your pain. *hugs*
This post tugged my insecure/old heartstrings so much that I came out from lurking.

Mmmm pumpkin gelato? Makes me want a pumpkin pie... all to myself.

Gillian / November 21, 2008 5:46 AM

I'm 23 as well, it's the age to be!

It's also much better if your boyfriend is 5 years older, than you as you can ask helpful questions about what life was like in the 1800's. Great for the ego and it NEVER gets old.

yoko / November 21, 2008 8:30 AM

Hooray- a Philly post!

If you really want to feel like you're on the outskirts of civilization, try coming into the Philadelphia International Airport sometime. A veritable wasteland awaits you.

Oh, weird- I think I've seen the woman behind Alex in your photo before. Small town!

Mike / November 21, 2008 9:45 AM

Not sure how current your posting is but make sure to have pork sandwiches at the Reading Terminal market. Dinic's is certainly good and everyone goes there but my favorite is Salumeria - get it with greens...New York just doesn't have pork sandwiches the way that Philly does.

roboppy / November 21, 2008 10:16 AM

Sammy: It's a weird age when..we're not that old, or young. Still closer to 20 than 30. By a bit. ;_;

Gillian: HAHA, I'd definitely do that if my bf were that much older. And now all the 28+ guys back away slowly..

Suze: Oh my god I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR A CHEESE STEAK but next time, I swear. This was my "warm up" weekend.

yoko: Wastelands! My favorite!

Maybe you'll see Alex roaming around Philly next. :D

Mike: I've started putting notes in the beginning of my entries to tell you when they took place. This entry is from two weeks ago, unfortunately. :( I wanted Dinic's but was too full. You'll see why in the next entry, ha ha. Next time I'm definitely getting a pork sandwich!

Mila / November 21, 2008 10:19 AM

Ah Capogiro! I spent a lot of money on several cups of gelato there in 2004. They had a blood orange gelato, a vodka meyer lemon sorbet, and honey-goat cheese gelato. Glad to hear they are still as good as ever.

Julie / November 21, 2008 10:30 AM

I like the gelato I've had here in Phoenix. I'm sort of afraid of ever trying very great gelato, because then I'll have that standards thing, too. =\ What if the memory of that Italian gelato is slowly getting better than it actually was? Eep!

Christina / November 21, 2008 10:31 AM

You know, I feel that way, too. I'm somewhere, in walks a group of teens, I just stare at them (with no valid reason), then I realize that now I'm older than all of them. And I'm almost 21.

That sounds really good. All of it. And it's interesting how the pumpkin gelato isn't really pie flavored, but more "pure". But the pear sorbet, that was a wonderful description.

Nathalie / November 21, 2008 11:52 AM

Glad you got to try the pumpkin =D I can see what you mean about the spices, but when my sister tried it she paired it with cinnamon gelato, so we wouldn't have noticed what you did as much, I think ^_^ It's a really good combination

Kate / November 21, 2008 12:14 PM

Mmmm pear sorbet...I read the whole post...and what do I remember? Pear sorbet. I can actually imagine it melting in mouth in a divine peary-ness.

Haha. Divine pearyness.

Sounds like the god of gelato and sorbet.:)

Liz / November 21, 2008 12:50 PM

I used to go to an awful school nearby before transferring to NYU, and I also was excited to try Capogiro. It was pretty good: sweet potato and tahini. I recommend Bassett's, but I'm sure you're three steps ahead of me:D

Gina / November 21, 2008 1:52 PM

I put the gelato I had at Capogiro on par with the gelato I had in Italy and France. Their pine nut was extraordinary, as was the cinnamon. My friend is a Philly food blogger, and it's one of the places she insisted on going. I would *almost* say that it's the second best iced dessert variety thing I've ever had, after lavender at Berthillon.

Amy / November 21, 2008 3:05 PM

I was about to comment on the flavor marked "Pear Wild Turkey" and how I couldn't fathom a flavor such as that and then I realized it's not wild turkey the bird but wild turkey the bourbon.

Me stoopid.

sarah / November 21, 2008 3:28 PM

uh, dudes and dudettes--i'm almost 28. it's all relative, kids. i like to think that i'm at the height of my magical powers though. magical powers directly related to my gelato consumption.

roboppy / November 21, 2008 5:53 PM

Mila: HONEY GOAT CHEEESE? That sounds awesome.

Julie: I really liked Arlecchino in Phoenix. That seems to be the most Capogiro-esque place over there? But more traditional, perhaps.

Christina: ALMOST 21...people called me a baby back then. Haha. :P

Nathalie: Oo, that's a great idea! Pumpkin and cinnamon...maybe next time.

Kate: I keep forgetting how good pears are. Normal, not gelato-form pears. I don't eat enough fruit. :(

Liz: AHH WUT I NEED THOSE FLAVORS. And yes, I went to Bassett's! That'll be in..the next-next entry.

Gina: Pine nut! Okay, I need to try that too. I think I'd always go to Capogiro on every trip to Philly. Now if only I could get Berthillon's lavender...

Amy: Haha, I've had those moments of confusion as well. I think I'd rather try turkey-flavored gelato than bourbon-flavored. Even though they'd both taste gross.

Sarah: I can't wait to experience these magical powers when I'm 28!

Angeline / November 21, 2008 7:38 PM

I'm the same age as you Robyn and the other day I had a serious old person moment. I went to the mall at around 5:30 after work, and the mall was crowded with teenage boys "leaning against things", and the stores were crawling with teenage girls shopping in big groups. The final blow was when I went to a store I figured was targeted towards my demographic (it wasn't expensive, but not as cheap as say Old Navy or H&M) and there they were teenagers shopping for high school semi formal dresses.

roboppy / November 22, 2008 1:27 AM

Angeline: PEOPLE LEANING AGAINST THINGS! AHAHAH! Dude I felt weird around those people when I was still in high school. It's not that I felt old then though, just out of place. :[

Jessica / November 22, 2008 10:48 PM

does that say Pear Wild Turkey? is that one flavor or two? yikes.
I haven't even experienced gelato yet - I need to get to Philadelphia, it seems!

Marie / November 22, 2008 11:34 PM

Philly now makes me think not of cheesesteaks, but Tastykakes (a grad school friend would bring boxes of these back with each trip home). Talk about super sweet... you could potentially pull a face muscle at the reaction to the intense sugar.

Steph / November 23, 2008 7:39 AM

You think feel old?? Get this: while I am not currently dating or actively looking for someone to start a serious relationship with... my parents are still asking me when I'm going to get married and give them a grandchild.

By the by -- I'm only going to be 25 in January.

My ex used to study at the Philly campus of the Art Institute, so I've spent a lot of time there... and yes, you're right in saying that it lacks the grittiness of NYC. And while some may say that I'm just bitter because of a bad break up, I have to say that the brusque nature of NYC makes it that much more special.

I know, I know. I'm rambling. I think I'll end things here before I embarrass myself further. :)

- S

PS: Happy early Thanksgiving!

Jesse / November 23, 2008 7:43 PM

Aww, we're both 23 and we're both crusty old grammas already... =(

When are you coming to Oxford! I'll put you up in my room, I need some manatee monching time!

roboppy / November 24, 2008 1:17 AM

Jessica: It's alcoholic pear! ...nom?

Marie: I think I had a tastykake once. Yes, scary sweet.

Steph: I am so glad my parents don't do that. Or I WOULDN'T LOVE THEM.

I'm a fan of NYC as well. ..But..Philly = cheaper! I guess most of the rest of the country falls into that category. I like NYC for the diversity. :)


Kim: I whine like a baby! Go mee!

Jesse: If the eats are good in Oxford, you make a tempting offer. And I can stuff Little Manatee in my bag!

Omar / November 25, 2008 9:42 AM

My current favorite place to eat in Philly is Honey's Sit and Eat .

Tiffin is one of the best Indian restaurants I've tried (comparing against many in NYC), but newbie Ekta has been making all the foodies go nuts . If you do end up going to Tiffin, try their Kulfi.

If you are craving more dessert check out Naked Chocolate .

Sodas at Franklin Fountain are amazing. My two favorites are Ladies' Choice and the Japanese Thirst Killer. I've heard they have a winter menu that I haven't gotten a chance to check out yet.

I actually prefer Sabrina's to Morning Glory . The lines tho... the lines are way too long!

I recommend the Spicy Tuna Taretare @ Vic .

For coffee check out La Colombe Torrefaction 130 S 19th St Philadelphia, PA 19103 and Ray's Cafe & Tea House ... their ice coffee is cold brewed for 24 hours. Because it's cold brewed, it's amazingly strong w/o being bitter.

Hope this helps.

PS being old just means you've gotten to eat more food :D

SuperChomp / December 7, 2008 4:40 PM

So colourful! *coughtBritishUcough* I like the entirely ornamental giant chunks of fruit on top as well. I wonder if they'd give it to you if you asked for it. Hmm.

Library Chick / January 23, 2009 9:19 PM

I had a pumpkin/pecan gelato combo at the 13th & Sansom location after the Phillies World Series victory parade. I don't know if it was the excitement of the day, but I thought that the pumpkin gelato was indeed spicy and flavorful. Perhaps it was more "in season" in October than in January? At any rate, glad you enjoyed your visit. Glad to know we have something special with Capogiro.

princessa / November 3, 2009 2:08 PM

Capogiro is by far the worst gelato I've ever had! I dont know if it was just the day I went in, but I will not be going back. It wasn't creamy enough and I had ice stuck in it, something I have certainly never seen before. Maybe it's because I grew up on homemade gelato. I really dont know. But if your looking for REAL gelato in Philadelphia, try Bon Bon on 2nd and Market, they also have a large selection of pasteries that are AMAZING! Try the Nutella or Triamisu flavors, they're out of this world! And the gelato spots she mentioned in NYC are something I dont recommend either. Best gelato in NYC is from the street vendors in Little Italy.

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