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.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.
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.
Within a warmly lit exposed-brick interior, the flavor mavens at Manakeesh Cafe Bakery prepare a bounty of Lebanese-American fusion dishes lauded by ABC-6 news and Philadelphia magazine. Halal meats share the menu with vegetarian and vegan options as well as savory starters. Freshly baked manakeesh flatbread sandwiches journey through an open-flame oven, allowing guests to detail each movement with their own suspenseful voiceover narration. Diners can opt for a yogurt-cheese-spread labneh sandwich or invite the shawarma, which tucks sirloin into a fluffy flatbread coverlet, to a mouth sleepover party. A piece of the café's signature baklava soothes sweet teeth, and a strong Turkish coffee can fortify an extended stay inside a Trojan horse.
Taking to heart the idea that three is a magic number, the owners of Mugshots CoffeeHouse dedicate themselves to a triple bottom-line business model that supports people, profit, and the planet. Organic direct trade beans constitute the whole of the steamy coffee and espresso drinks served by the baristas, and locally raised, earth-friendly foodstuffs comprise each hot sandwich found on the menu. Much of the money generated by the brisk bean trade goes toward charities of both local and international origin. When not welcoming community organizations for meetings or fundraisers, the venue shows off its artsy side with film nights, open mics, and staged readings of VCR instructions.