Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First Water Ice of the Year!

Wow, what a difference a day makes. Today was the epitome of winter; grey sky, about 40 or so degrees and rainy. Yesterday though, it was nothing short of heavenly! There wasn't a cloud in the sky, which was bright blue. The temperature felt like spring and as I walked home from work, people were jogging en masse, playing tennis in the local park and riding bikes all over the place.  No matter yesterday's weather abberation, we can't kid ourselves here as today is the last day of February. Yup, definitely still winter.

As I exited the subway yesterday I spied something out of the corner of my left eye: Pop's Water Ice was open for business! For about five seconds I wrestled with myself on whether or not to buy any of the tasty semi-frozen treat. Desire won out. I HAD to feed the need. Winter or not, Pop's was open due to a freakishly warm day and that was all of the excuse I needed.

I know that just before spring comes, the workers at Pop's are likely readying their shop and working up their plethora of flavors so it came as  no surprise how limited the selection was on this special day.  All I know is that a large cup of Blueberry was calling my name.  After two women and six children exited the line ahead of me, it was time to trade off my money for blue deliciousness.  This was an awesome way to end a work day, I'll tell ya that!


There are two places in South Philly that sell great wate ice; Pop's and Italiano's. Just three city blocks separate them and their tastes are similar but I'll have to admit to loving the later-opening Italiano's just a wee bit more.  I've eaten from both on a consistent basis all my life so if you're wondering who is better, try choosing between to things you absolutely adore. My friends, this is a win-win situation! Each shop has the traditionals (cherry, lemon, chocolate) as well as their own modern additions, two of which I'll name here.  Pop's has a mind-bogglingly incredible Dark Chocolate and though both do an Iced Tea flavor, I find that Italiano's quenches my thirst much better.  Try your own taste test and debate which does the Ginger Ale flavor best.  I promise you won't be disapointed by either! 

These places have spoiled me, so naturally, like anyone who experiences the best on a regular basis I've become a water ice snob.  Sorry folks, Rita's just don't exist in my world. That stuff is just way to sugared up for me.  I want my thirst quenched and I found that after tasting Rita's a time or two I needed to drink water directly afterwards.  Those rock hard Italian ices in supermarket frozen dessert sections just won't do either.  I don't have the patience to scrape, scrape, scrape my snack onto a spoon.

Once the warm weather hits and you happen to be in South Philly, give these places a look.  Clicking the two links above will provide the addresses and then you'll be all set. There really isn't anything better in the summer than stopping by Pop's or Italiano's before (and sometimes even after) a Phillies game for a near-freezing cold treat to beat the heat and they're both about five minutes from Citizens Bank Park.

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