Ivy Envy

On those days we wish we were still in college, we cross the Schuylkill and wander around the old alma matter. As you might expect, food is usually involved.

First stop: the MexiPhilly cart on Spruce Street just west 36th Street. Back when this lunch truck used to make us run late for out Food & Culture class in the far-flung Archaeology Museum, it was called MexiCali, but the sweet potato burritos are still exactly as we remember: soft, warm sweets topped with refried beans and queso and hot sauce. So are the lines. Pick your spice threshold: mild (salsa fresca), medium (smoky chipotle) or hot (habanero), and the owners tuck and roll the filling into a neat tortilla bundle that’s thrown on the flattop. A few minutes later, he slides the grill-blistered burrito onto a waiting sheet on tin foil with a long spatula, and his partner gives it a quick wrap. The sweet potato burrito is still among the best deals on campus: $3—$3.50 if you splurge for sour cream.

Afterward, we hit the new outpost of Naked Chocolate CafĂ©. The front window faces Walnut Street, affording glimpses into the frosting stage, where naked cupcakes on wire racks await icing in lavender ganache and Venezuelan chocolate fudge. Dad-and-daughter owners Tom and Sara Block make it seem easy. Open bottle. Insert lightening. The University branch is just as busy—hmm, maybe busier—than the Midtown Village flagship chocolaterie they opened two years ago. And what’s this new drinking chocolate we spy… Hawaiian? Swirled with caramel and dusted with black volcanic sea salt. We are all over that, yo. Un petit, please, Euro-style, of course. And yeah, we’ll take one of those flaky, squash-and-mushroom puffs too. Bummer Naked Chocolate wasn’t around when we matriculated. Then, again we might never have graduated.
Photo: blogalicious


mazza3 said...

mexicali must've just become mexiphilly in the past few months. it was there sporadically during the summer (last time i ate there was july i think, but i walk past there all the time) and i didn't know about the name change. mexicali is now a restaurant too on 38th street, serving the same fare. i wonder what happened.

and yeah, naked chocolate cafe near work is evil. delicious delicious evil but still evil. :)

Meagan said...

we at penn surely do miss you! there's enough sweet potato burritos and hemo's grilled chicken sammies to go around