Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Rocket Cat Cafe, Philadelphia PA

A fun, relaxed coffee-shop on Frankford Ave in the "Northportfishington" section of Philadelphia, The Rocket Cat Cafe offers more than just coffee and tea.

They have a wide mix of sandwiches and soups, including a number of gluten-free and vegan options. On a recent morning, I tried their sweet potato hummus with fresh avocado on a cinnamon raisin bagel.

I was a bit unsure of the flavor combination, but the cinnamon raisin worked perfectly with the slightly-sweet, slightly-spicy tones of the hummus.

They had chai hot apple cider listed on the menu, but unfortunately were out of apple cider. Being in a bit of an adventurous mood, I asked the barista if it might be possible to substitute hot chocolate instead. Thankfully she said it was because, wow, talk about delicious. Chai hot chocolate tastes slightly like a Mexican-style hot chocolate, with subtle notes of cinnamon and ginger, but is not as overwhelming. The flavors roll gently over the taste buds instead of full-on body slamming them.

Beat & Honey Cream Cheese
One brunchmate tried the honey-beat cream cheese. The beat flavor was extremely minor, if it was even there are all, and mostly just lend a nice pink hue to the delicately sweet cream cheese.

Another brunchmate went with the egg & cheese sandwich. A simple breakfast classic done right.

egg & cheese sandwich

The atmosphere in the cafe is calm and comfortable: many people are settled down with laptops plugged in, others seem to be enjoying deep conversations. In the corner there is an old computer, circa 1999, that looks available for computer-less customers to surf the web. There is a shelf of books with a possible game or two on it as well. The Rocket Cat Cafe offers good food & drinks along with some friendly neighborhood charm.

If you go:
  • 2001 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Phone: (215) 739-4526
  • They accept credit cards
  • Open daily until 9PM
  • Rocket Cat Cafe FB Page

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Federal Donuts, Philadelphia PA

Federal Donuts Serving donuts, coffee, chicken, and tee-shirts, Federal Donuts has landed. Despite being a new kid on the block, Federal Donuts is iconic South Philadelphia and feels like it could have been here for years. Down the block from the Mummers Museum, it's a great stop for tourists, old-school neighbors and new-school hipsters alike.

If you want to try the fancy donuts, there will be no sleeping in. While it depends on how many early-risers there are, most days the Fancy Donuts ($2 each or $20 for a dozen) are gone by 10 or 11am. Flavors change, but the combinations are always bizarrely delicious.

dozen donuts

razzberry balsamic donuts

On a recent visit I tried Razzberry Balsamic, which oddly reminded me of sweet & sour chicken. It probably would have tasted even more like sweet & sour chicken had I had paired it with some of their actual chicken.

s'mores donuts
The S'mores was super sweet, with bits of marshmallow actually baked into the donuts and then topped with graham cracker and chocolate sauce.

The Grapefruit and Brown Sugar had a sublet hint of coffee flavor to it and, while not my taste, seemed extremely popular with only one left by the time I arrived.

Grapefruit & Brown Sugar Donuts

Halvah Pistachio

Caramel Banana has a gentle caramel flavor. The bite-sized crunchy banana chips create an interesting mix of textures. The Halvah Pistachio combines two unlikely nutty flavors into an old-world/new-world donut explosion.

Pina Colada Surprisingly, my personal favorite was the Pina Colada. The sweetness of the coconut and the tartness of the pineapple create a perfect mix. While all of the Fancy Donuts are super sweet, the Pina Colada is more mature in flavor. The older sibling of S'mores and Razzberry Balsamic.

All the fuss is on the Fancy Donuts, but I found the true hero to be the hot donuts: moist, warm, melt in your mouth airy goodness. They come in three flavors: Indian Cinnamon, Appolonia Spice, and Vanilla Lavender. All three are reminiscence of home cooked meals, imagined holidays, and big bear hugs. In other words, total comfort junk food. Perfect for dunking in coffee.

hot donut 1hot donut 2hot donut 3

If you go, get there early before they sell out. If you're going for chicken they start taking orders just before noon. Chicken is served either dry or glazed ($9 for 6 wings, $17 for 12). Flavors include Za'atar, Buttermilk Ranch, Chile-Garlic, Honey-Ginger, and Harissa.

Whether you're going for donuts, chicken, or both, unless it's a tee-shirt you want plan to arrive early.

If you go:
  • 1219 South 2nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19147
  • Phone: (267) 687-8258
  • They accept credit cards.
  • Open 7am-3pm weekdays, 7am-7pm weekends or until they sell out.
  • Federal Donuts