Frangelli's Bakery- South Philly-5-Stars
Talk about a tiny hole in the hall joint. Frangelli's is tucked into the anchor spot of a building on the corner of Ritner and 9th in a traditionally Italian part of town. Frangelli's began in 1947 and has occupied the same space since 1994 (they were in their original location on 9th and Jackson from '47-'94) as such they are your stereotypical neighborhood icon such as the ones found throughout the Eastern Seaboard (everyone knows everyone and everything about everyone in the neighborhood). It is quaint, it is homey, it is warm and welcoming to strangers and obvious tourists.
As we approached the counter a lovely lady by the name of Candice asked if she could help us. Stating we were new in town, she proceeded to tell us everything, and I mean everything about Frangelli's and their menu. She knew the place inside and out and was very helpful as well as exceedingly polite. She said we should be sure to try their "Franoli" and their Hamentash. Taking Candice at her word, I asked for a Franoli, some almond cookies and Hamentash.
What exactly is a Franoli? Well, to put it mildly, it is the best pastry item in the Galaxy, if not the Universe. This little concoction of nummy for your tummy is a doughnut filled with cannoli filling. The doughnut is so soft and springy, it is almost like cake instead of donut and it is stuffed with the most delicate, sweet cannoli filling I have ever had. This is AMAZING!! This, alone, is worth the airfare.
Forcing my attention away from this Kingly food, I told myself that I had to at least try the other items, after all, I was "working" here. To that end, next up were the Almond Cookies. Have you ever had a Bear Claw? Have you ever had marzipan? If you have, imagine the two of them combining like Foles to Jeffery in last years Super Bowl. This is a match made in the heaven. The buttery goodness and subtle almond notes were just astounding. This is truly a masterpiece of a cookie. Finally, I turned my attention to the order of Hamentash. Hamentash? A filled triangular shaped cookie associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim, or Haman in a South Philly Italian neighborhood? I had to have my researcher call and ask about that one. Lauren explained to my lackey that back in the day the neighborhood was more mixed than it is now, with lots of Jews and Italians roaming the streets. Even today, they get a lot of Jewish customers walking over from 7th. As with everything else in the place, this too was made by hand. Hamantashen traditionally come in one of two forms, either soft and doughy or hard and crunchy. These were an exemplary example of the latter. The cookie was baked to the perfect doneness and while it was crunchy, it did not fall apart upon biting. Instead, it crumbled in my mouth like so much mana. The filling was delightful, obviously homemade and quite honestly blew my conception of a cookie right out the window.
Sadly, we had reached the end of our order and it was time to leave. Checking around one last time for any crumbs, we said our Goodbyes to Candice and exited onto Ritner. Taking a moment to savor what we had just experienced, I couldn't help but feel like one of the neighborhood for a brief second. OK, a microsecond as I was calmly asked to "move it fat boy" by a local passing by on the sidewalk. You have to love this city!!
The Big Boy says, "If you are anywhere near Philadelphia or the East Coast in general, make this a priority stop. Frangelli's is 5 star all day every day!" #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout