Although I love a good meal there are snacks that take the act of eating to a whole new level. Sure you might be hungry but you don’t have to be to have a snack. That’s what I like best about it, especially one that you have been dreaming about. Vacation snacking combines two things I love to do. Throw in a picture or two during and that just about describes my ideal day.
Here are some amazing snacks I have had in Philadelphia. I wonder which will grab your taste buds attention.
Max Brenner’s restaurant is also known as "The Chocolate Restaurant". This place is a great location to have a snack, share a meal, and especially to have dessert. The first time I ever had been to one was in Philadelphia. The location is great and creates an atmosphere of fun. The signature desserts they serve have created a word of mouth so that whenever you hear the name Max Brenner, you automatically crave sweet treats. All of the chocolate they serve and sell (yes there is a gift shop!) is made on the premises. So have some there and get some for the road. I especially liked their shakes, which is really just dessert without the fork. There are now locations in New York as well as other U.S. cities. I expect to make a return trip sometime soon just so that I can partake in their Ice Cream Sundae fondues. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Reflecting on my visits to Max Brenner reminds me of the infamous Jacques Torres (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2011/08/for-day-spent-under-brooklyn-bridge.html) and the magic he creates in his chocolate products. He is best known for his Wicked Hot Chocolate that has a little kick to it. It will for sure warm you up in the winter and it’s served on ice during the summer months.
Adam Richman of “Man vs. Food” fame brought this magnificent place to my attention. Of course it was a hit on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” (under “Best Thing I Ever Drank”) series. They were talking about the Egytienne Egg Shake. The more I learned the more I loved. This is a MUST every time I am somewhat near Philadelphia. The line is long even in the winter and there aren’t many seats but I would gladly give my right arm to have their homemade ice cream any day of the week. In fact it’s my favorite ice cream place of all time. I have tried many others but they always fall short.
Every ingredient you put on your sundaes has been freshly made there: brownies, pralines, and toppings. You walk in and it is paradise. Even if you get something as simple as coconut ice cream in a cone you will cherish every bite. That is what I ordered the last time I was there and if I close my eyes I can almost taste it.
Besides the sweets (like anything matters after that) Franklin Fountain proudly displays all things Benjamin Franklin as well as candies and drinks from years gone by. It is the most retro/modern ice cream parlor you will find. I beg of you if you go to Philadelphia for only one reason it most definitely should be this.
This complex came as a surprise to me while I was out exploring the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. It seemed too good to be true and I was sort of right. This beautiful building dates back to the 1890s and houses retail shops for souvenirs and a huge food court that stays open twenty-four hours a day to boot. To top that all off it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is always a signal to me of a good time.
I seem to stop in every time I am in the area. I love the stores “Destination Philadelphia” as well as “Making History”. I always manage to find a little something for myself. It is always nice to have a place to gather yourself as you prepare for the next portion of your itinerary, especially if the weather is particularly brutal outside.
When I heard that the best coffee in the United States was right there in Philadelphia not too far from the Rittenhouse neighborhood I like to stay in, I was beyond thrilled. I was eager to get out and start my morning there. I knew I would be tasting special coffee along with some amazing pastries that in one bite transformed you to Paris. Those croissants rendered me speechless. Although I love my Starbucks, there croissants are sad. They just create the illusion of a food I love but without the flavor. Here you could spend time eating your way through the glass cabinet on display in the front. It is a very low-key place, although constantly packed. But despite the crowds most people are on their way out so you can find a seat to savor every morsel of food and coffee you put in your mouth.
Every time I visited I bought coffee home so I could recreate at least half of this experience. Since my discovery there in 2009, La Colombe is now available just about everywhere as they opened several locations in every populated American city.
When you are near Eastern State Penitentiary (and you should be there at least once in your life, I have been there two or three times) you will find the area now is mostly residential. To see this big castle like structure with all the doom and gloom aging has brought, it seems like a movie set. When you leave hungry you only have to cross the street. Mugshot Coffeehouse is a place to retreat for refreshments, lunch, snacks, and smoothies. The coffee is of course a must as well. It’s no La Colombe but that’s not a fair comparison. I was quite grateful to stumble upon this place after the two-hour tour just to catch my breath and revive myself for the rest of the day. It was a lifesaver. There is something about eating a turkey sandwich while you look out the window staring at Eastern State. It is a feeling I know well just not well enough to describe in length. It is a surreal feeling for sure.
To conclude I would like to share a bit of trivia. Of all of the famous foods Philadelphia is known for (cream cheese is the most obvious) Peeps is not likely one you will come up with. Those marshmallow delights were created in 1953 in the City of Brotherly Love and now are available year round in just about every color and flavor.
Up next: For the City of Brotherly Love, Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross's House: Attractions.
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