Rival Bros.

Rival Bros is one of my favorite coffee shops. I wish I could make it over to the store more often, but it’s a little out of the way, being located at 24th and Lombard and all.

rival store front

I discovered them at the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival, and the latte I got was fantastic. I was talking to the guys in the truck while they made my order as well and they were super pleasant and informative and whatnot. As I do with all of those food festivals, I followed them on all the social medias, and I later discovered that they were working on opening a store. I was excited to visit when they opened, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Coffee

As I already knew from the truck, the coffee is great. My latte is smooth with no bitterness, the vanilla is subtle but very…there, and the espresso is pronounced well and not overpowered by the vanilla or the milk. Look at me, trying to explain coffee like some connoisseur. I don’t really know what I’m talking about, and I don’t speak barista so don’t yell at me. The coffee is good. And their mugs are nice.

Service

The baristas who work there are friendly. I like harassing employees at food establishments, so I like talking to people, but they’re a little more to themselves except when conversating with the regulars. Nothing wrong with that, and it might just be me. I’m socially awkward even though I enjoy throwing myself into social situations. But yeah, I never got the vibe that I should attempt small talk with them. They are very informative and know their coffee though, and they are always helpful in answering questions and figuring out what it is you want when you don’t really know what you want.

Variety

Rival Bros has a decent menu. They have espresso drinks I’ve never heard of, mainly because I’m just barely past a Starbucks level understanding of coffee. Their menu is very simple, and they have more offerings than what is displayed, and if you ask the baristas about more things, like flavors for lattes and whatnot, they’ll tell you more. And they have food! And pastry! And it’s good. I had a chocolate croissant once and I was pleased. They have sandwiches and even ice cream! Well I don’t know if they’ll be serving ice cream throughout the fall and winter, but they might. Because they get their ice cream/ice cream sandwiches from Zsa’s Ice Cream, which if you haven’t had, you should have. Oh, and they get all of their foodstuffs from High Street on Market, so yeah. Good stuff.

Atmosphere

I get good vibes from Rivals. It’s a small space, but I don’t feel cramped unless there is a ridiculous amount of people who refuse to leave, much like myself. That happens, but not too often. There’s a decent natural light coming in, and they use darker colors, like navy and gray. It puts me in a more focused, but deeper mood, and if I get the idea to write about something more serious, I go to Rival Bros. And not necessarily more serious, but even just more peaceful topics with less tirades. I actually find it difficult to be funny there. Or at least not in the erratic direction my humor usually starts heading. It’s too sophisticated of an atmosphere in there, and if you have to think really hard to produce nonsense, it’s just not meant to be. My post, Nobody’s Immune was written at Rivals. So yeah. I have not fully evaluated the space, and I always end up sitting at the same table, but there’s an electrical outlet right there, so I always have power. I believe there’s an outlet by the couch they have as well. The seating is comfortable. And there is music, but it isn’t too loud. I actually haven’t listened to it much before putting on my own tunes, which is weird, I usually listen in. So I can’t tell you if the music is questionable with bizarre lyrics about counting freckles and eating mayonnaise, so sorry. I’ll pay attention next time I go. But me having no memory of the music should be considered a good thing, because oh my goodness some places and their playlists! It’s such a mess.

Restroom

Uhmmm, so Rival Bros’ bathroom is a freaking work of artness. It is beautiful. You almost want to walk somewhere else to another bathroom so you don’t make it less nice. I walked in there feeling like Doge.

Such toilet paper. Very soap. Much clean. Amaze.

It means nothing, but their bathroom has two trash receptacles. TWO TRASH CANS. I don’t know why I noticed or why I cared, but yeah. There’s two. And I never know which one to use. So I use both. Don’t judge me. So the bathroom is really nice, okay? Feel free to pee there. I’m done with my review. Go there. The end.

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Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival

I had a great weekend. The city is booming with Spring Festivals, and I am determined to hit up as many as I can. So I woke up Saturday morning and thought to myself, dang it looks perfect outside my window! Someone tell me there’s something to do and places to go! I took to the Internet, and BEHOLD, there was! So I went to the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival.

I should tell you, I am quite the foodie. And Philadelphia is just, the best place ever for all of my foodie desires to be fulfilled. Main Street was plastered with food trucks for blocks! Parked on both sides of the road, all kinds of food, desserts, and drinks. The lines for a lot of the trucks were crazy, but I still managed to get my fill. I knew I wouldn’t get to everything, so my main objective was to note all of the trucks I liked, and then find them on Twitter so I could stalk them later. I’m following about 20 of these trucks now. Yeah, my Twitter account is a hot mess. If you looked at who I follow, it’s almost exclusively music and food related.

Where’s the food?                                                

                                        Where’s the party?

^ Two of life’s most essential questions ^

I never cared much for it, but I can’t say I work for the Internet and not be able to navigate one of the most basic social media applications. I’m pretty sure the only reason I have one was because Charlie Sheen told me to. And I wanted to get free cupcakes from Sprinkles with their daily passwords they tweeted every morning. Yep, see there’s where food comes in again.

On a side note, you should follow me and talk to me so I can learn how to use the thing. Because I have no reason to use it at the moment. Thanks.

Sooo the Festival! Let me show you some of the amazingness that are Philadelphia food trucks. Now, of course we walk down the street past a dozen trucks and the first one I want to check out is the coffee truck.

Rival Bros Coffee

 

Rival Bros Coffee is quite delicious. I got a latte and it was simple, smooth, no bitterness, I was happy. You can usually find them over in West Philly at 33rd and Arch, and I will be visiting whenever I find myself over in that direction. I think they’re opening a cafe soon too.

Next up was The Dapper Dog:

the dapper dog

I was boring and just got a plain hot dog, but it was good. I’ll definitely be hitting them up over in LOVE park sometime soon for a chili dog or the Mack.

Speaking of mac, I really wanted to make it over to the Mac Mart Cart, but it was so popular, there was a 30 minute wait in line and by the time I was ready to wait, they ran out of mac and cheese. But I made some friends around the truck and they told me I absolutely needed to have some Mac Mart in my life eventually, and they suggested I order the Heart Attack.

macmart

 

I’ll be back for you one of these days Mac Mart…

Then we met up with a friend who swung through for one sole truck. And that truck was The Cow and The Curd.

the cow and the curd

Now if my friend hadn’t come  through, I wouldn’t have come up to this truck, just because I can’t stand the terms ‘curds’ and ‘whey,’ the whole concept doesn’t settle well with my mind. And how cottage cheese is sold as ‘small curds’ and ‘large curds.’ Just, NO THANK YOU. Keep your curds. Ew. But I got over it, and in a hurry. Because these guys at The Cow and The Curd batter and fry up Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds, and they are absolutely delicious. They’re out in the Navy Yard pretty often, so I’ll be making some trips when I get the craving for fried cheese, which is probably more often than what would be considered normal.

Mama’s Balls. This truck sells some pretty good meatballs. And they have a sense of humor, so I liked them a lot. My uncle got a meatball slider and they also gave us a free slice of strawberry pound cake. They’re out at the Navy Yard or LOVE park normally.

Then there were some pretty intriguing vendors out and about too. Like..

baconjam

Yes, that is really a thing. I’ve consumed bacon in all kinds of bizarre ways, but this was my limit, guys. I had to put my foot down here. They had samples, and I just couldn’t get with it. But it was pretty popular, so don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. I mean, this is probably the only time these bacon adventures have ever led me astray. So I invite all to try some bacon jam if you ever cross paths with some vendors.

D's Nuts

They sell peanuts. And you should buy a sack. I bought their T-shirt, I couldn’t resist. Now before you write them off for being ridiculous or crude, they donate ten percent of their sales to testicular cancer research. That’s their whole shtick. Buy  their nuts to save yours, guys!

And I ended my festival-going on that weird note. There are also a slew of fantastic shops on Main Street. I have a new coffee shop to visit that serves La Columbe, and a yarn boutique right next door that I see myself frequenting as often as I can. They have knitting nights every week, I’m super excited. And there were a ton of food trucks I didn’t manage to get to, but don’t underestimate my foodie frenzy. I will get to all of them in due time. Manayunk has their street food festival in the spring and in the fall, so I will be returning this year, and you’ll be hearing about this again. A note, I linked all of the pictures to the sites of the businesses, so you should definitely check them out.