Quick Trip Report - Kanella and Capogiro
My husband, my eight year old and I just returned from a quick trip to Philadelphia.
Two thirds of us thought dinner at Kanella was delicious. I wanted apps, so I had the halloumi and watermelon salad, then the koubes, then the boureki. My husband had a fried smelt special to start and then a whole dourade, which were also excellent. My son is wonderful with some cuisines and utterly not with others and Greek is not one of his good ones, so he had plain pasta with olive oil. When it came out it had some tiny white specks of something. I immediately thought "feta" and I immediately thought "oh no" because no way on earth am I getting my cheese hating child to go anywhere near feta. But I tried one and while it was the texture of my halloumi or a feta, it had absolutely no taste. Really, it was the most neutral, tasteless thing I have ever put in my mouth. Even my husband, also not a cheese person, said so. My son's big compromise was to be willing to eat the pasta if I picked off all the little white specks. He did like the lemonade, which was a too sweet for my taste, but I like my lemonade very, very, very sour.
The desserts sounded really interesting, but the poor boy had been imposed on enough already, so we headed to Capogiro for gelato instead. Well, we certainly won't bother with that again. I love gelato for the intense flavors and this didn't even vaguely deliver. My cream cheese gelato (an excellent idea) was slightly cream cheese flavored. My Italian cherry tasted of cherry only in the cherries themselves. Otherwise, it just tasted of sugar and cream. Similar stories for my son's bourbon butterscotch and cappuccino and for whatever my husband had, I've forgotten now. It's really a shame. There were a lot of interesting and creative sounding flavors and we do get to Philly every once in a while. But there was really no point to these. Between the 3 of us we had 5 different flavors and not a single one had that wonderful intensity of flavor we look for and get from Ciao Bella or Il Laboratorio del Gelato in NYC. Not even close.
There were also a couple of lunches in the 30th St. Amtrak station. Cosi is there, so it's possible to grab something perfectly decent. And my son and I had a pleasant continental breakfast at Hotel Palomar, where we were staying.
Thanks for the report, I love reading these. For future reference, Capogiro will let you try as many flavors as you want before you decide what to buy. They rotate their flavors frequently (daily, even) so it might be worth stopping in again and tasting until you find something you like. I've had some great flavor combos there, the most recent being sea salt gelato with sweet coconut.
I'm not sure if someone on this board told you that Kanella was kid-friendly - I would have said not-- on the other hand do you really want to plan your dinners around the likes and dislikes of an 8 year old? Feed him a slice of pizza before hand and let him bring his gameboy you can enjoy your dinner and not worry about his finicky tastes.
As far as Capogiro--I'm pretty surprised at your comments its just one of my favorite places. Though of course I can't compare it too the NYC establishments you are used to. I can only echo barryg's statement that they will let you taste as many flavors as you want before deciding so there is really no excuse for being disappointed here-- they will also let you mix and match flavors to your hearts content--I am very partial to a coconut-chocolate combination but I like to try different things- last time I had an orange cardamom sorbetto which was delightfully refreshing. I also had a taste of the avocado sorbet which was really unusual though I did not want a whole serving of it-I have taken my teen girls to Capogiro and they adored the gelato-at the prices they charge, though (amonst $5 for small cup) it would probably not be the place I'd go with little kids.
Sadly I have had several disappointing trips to Capogiro lately. In some cases the gelato has been too firmly frozen. At first I chalked it up to getting a fresh one out of the freezer but I think that they may not be making the gelato fresh every day. A few have been grainy which never happened before. Unfortunately they may have grown too big to keep the original quality.