Loic Barnieu, the executive chef at La Belle Epoque, entertains taste buds of all types with authentic French cuisine for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Dormant appetites awaken to sizzling soupe a l'oignon, the chef's adaptation of french onion soup blended with swiss cheese and gratin toast. Tempting entrees fill the expansive lunch menu, such as the delectable french dip, stuffed with thinly sliced roast beef and served with a side of au jus for dipping or dabbing on as cologne. Savory La St. Jacques crêpes warmly envelop pan-seared scallops, prepared in the Brittany tradition with buckwheat flour and a leek-sauce reduction.
Founded in 1994 as a recording studio, the MilkBoy brand has since burgeoned into two bustling cafes and an all-ages venue for live music and artistic events. MilkBoy Coffee's multifarious menu brims with snacks and drinks for vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. Morning munchers kick-start the day with a big breakfast burrito, packed with scrambled eggs, black beans, sausage, sour cream, cheddar, and yawn-eradicating salsa ($5.95). For lunch, hands can happily encircle the bruschetta-chicken wrap, with a savory sleeping bag of shredded chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta ($6.25), and teeth can burrow into the herbivorous depths of the veggie burger, served with a vegan thousand-island dressing, named for the number of islands ruled by Oprah ($5.25). MilkBoy’s PB&J sandwich whisks customers back to a simpler time when blanket capes were de rigeur ($3.95). To drink, sip on a steamy café au lait ($2 for a small) or a frosty mint-chocolate-chip milkshake ($4.95).
Since it was built in 1890, Cynwyd Station has survived three fires, water damage, and even a nest of Richard Geres in the walls. Thanks to the renovation efforts of the Lower Merion Historical Society, it has found new life as a sustainable storm-water reclamation site and education center—and an undeniably quirky cafe. As a nod to its home's heritage, Cynwyd Station Cafe and Tea Room is filled with steampunk-tinged Victorian imagery, a playful and boutique twist on the culture of a bygone area. It also has an eye on the future, relying almost entirely on biodegradable materials, composting, and recycling. This environmental focus also spreads to the seasonal menu.
Artificial ingredients are nowhere to be found in the nearly 20 loose-leaf teas that range from the traditional but complex to more adventurous, spicy blends. Six rotating ice-cream flavors go into old-fashioned ice-cream sodas and chocolate-egg creams, as well as European-inspired sundaes and pockets. Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin would swell with pride at the whimsical shop of curiosities, such as Fee Brothers botanical waters and handmade wooden games.
Saxbys' rich array of caffeinated ambrosias, crafted from grade-one arabica beans, joins a bevy of teas and smoothies on the shop's extensive menu. Espresso drinks ($1.70+) include exotic cinnamon lattes and basic cappuccinos, which can be cloaked in frothy crema and 18 dulcet syrups. Two seasoned brewsmiths forge Saxbys' wide selection of roasts from single-origin, fair-trade, and organic beans, which undergo a European roasting process that pampers future mug fillers in cast-iron air-cooled cylinders, preparing cocoa-noted Tanzanian peaberries and italiano blends for beverage Valhalla. Frolattes ($3.70+), a frozen breed of latte rarely found in nature, exist in such flavors as white-chocolate mocha and flank a throng of teas ($1.30+) and fruity smoothies ($3.45+). Stomach-equipped cyborgs can bask in the soothing aura of the shop's free WiFi while noshing on one of the café's fresh pastries or paninis (food is not included with this Groupon).
Inside a historic warehouse lies East Falls Fitness, a 10,000-square-foot facility that features three fitness rooms, rows of cardio and strength equipment, and full-service locker rooms with showers and saunas. The gym’s high ceilings hover above such back-to-basics exercise apparatus as stationary bicycles, pull-up bars, weight racks, and personal cheerleading squads. Group fitness programs strengthen bodies and social ties in spin classes, yoga classes, and Latin-inspired Zumba classes. The certified trainers get members off to a running start with a free health assessment before leading them through a high-intensity regimen tailored to their individual workout goals. Post-workout, members can wipe their brows with complimentary towels, visit the smoothie bar for a fruity blend, coffee, or snack, and impress passersby outside by pulling out of free parking spaces.
Knowledgeable, friendly locals enlighten visitors on their city's rich history, art, culture, and dining scene during Philadelphia Urban Adventures' informative walking excursions. Following a philosophy of responsible travel—which aims to support local businesses whenever possible—the guides steer sightseers through intriguing neighborhoods and districts such as Center City, the 9th Street Italian Market, and the campuses of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. Along the way, they make pit stops at local pubs, cafés, galleries, and food trucks, working to cultivate an authentic experience for all guests. They also dispense helpful tips, such as how to talk to locals and where to find good views of cheesesteaks in their natural habitat.