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.

A Typical Tuesday

So…my birthday just passed this Tuesday. I’m 21 now! I can drink. I can club. I can legally enjoy the music that I’ve listened to since middle school, because all of my favorite artists play in bars. When I was a kid, I used to think my birthday was September 18th, because my party would usually end up on the 18th for some reason. I still remember the day my mom shattered my reality and  told me my birthday was really the 16th. I was so disappointed. Eighteen is just such a cooler number than sixteen. And c’mon, wouldn’t you rather share a birthday with Xzibit over Nick Jonas? Actually, there are some freaking awesome people on my list, I’ll keep it. Happy belated birthday B.B. King and Amy Poehler!

Anyways, I had quite a nice birthday. Nothing extravagant, I mean it did fall on a Tuesday this year after all. I had class in the afternoon, and I got to campus early to have some coffee and conversation with a friend, which is becoming a nice part of my new semester routine.

 

Any coffee adicts at Temple should definitely check out Cloud Coffee outside Tyler by the way. It’s delicious, and Matt and Kristin are super cool people.

So we chilled with out lattes outside and chatted, and then went to class, where I discovered that I’m not as lost and helpless as I believed I was. In fact, I was further along than most by a smidgen. After class I had plans to meet up and study Japanese with a classmate. On my way too meet up with her, I get a call from a friend near hysterics for fear of failing this media class. So I invited her over to our break out room to get her project settled and assure her that she’ll make it through the class. She came by and my other friend and I both help her. I’m glad she could help too, because I was rendered useless with my phone ringing every time I put it back down. I guess I failed to mention to them that it was my birthday. It wasn’t pertinent to anything going on, so whatever.

When I was finally able to rejoin the group, they seemed almost offended that I didn’t tell them it was my birthday. They found it so shocking that I was so willing to give them my time. And people had been asking me all day why I even came to school. I’ve never understood that mindset. I mean, I guess I do, but I’ve never really applied it to myself. I don’t even make any declarations of my birthday, whoever knows, knows. Those who don’t, I’m not going to try and make you care. It’s just another Tuesday. Which is why I don’t get why it’s expected of me to use my birthday as an excuse to be a wad to everyone just because. Yes, I was born, and I do quite enjoy being alive for another trip around the sun, but what’s it to anybody? I’m not suddenly removed from society for 24 hours. The world keeps doing what it always does, with all it’s cultural customs and national laws.

I’m not saying all that to be depressing or to suck out the joy of birthday celebration. Much to the contrary, with that in mind, I’m incredibly appreciative of the wishes sent to me and the lengths my friends and family go to show that they care about me. September generally signifies the beginning of the school year. I’ve moved every few years since I started grade school. So by the time I made friends and reached that level of “hey, let’s do something for your birthday because we’re fwends now,” mine had long passed. It’s always been pretty low key for me.

But back to Tuesday. After helping my friends out with studying, or at least attempting to, I went to my Bible study group on campus that meets every week. When everyone got there, suddenly cake appears and everyone is singing happy birthday to me. I was not expecting that and it was the sweetest thing and the cake was tasty and I was happy. I really appreciated that. Come to think of it, my friends from church baked a little cake for me last year too, and I had just recently met them then.

Later that night, I headed down to dinner, which my  uncle invited me to. I was just expecting him and his girlfriend. But we get to the restaurant and my grandmother, aunt, and a bunch of friends were there waiting. It was a Colombian/Cuban restaurant, and I swear that place made this one dish SPECIFICALLY FOR ME. It had steak, salad, rice, FRENCH FRIES, and eggs! Just all of my favorite foods, all on one plate. I was sooooooo excited. Twas amazing. The rice was cooked all perfect, with butter and just, yes. I really love rice. It’s a problem.

Then they sang to me. A Spanish rendition of happy birthday complete with maracas. Yeah, that was a thing that happened. But it was worth it when they handed me that tres leche cake. Which was amazing and so…hydratedAnd of course, being now 21 and all, I had to consume some spirits. But I was with family, so I let them pick some drink for me, lest I order a shot of whiskey or something. So I had a pina colada. And it was an all around great night, I enjoyed seeing everyone that came through. And it was a lot of people.

It’s Friday now, and I have yet to cease celebrating my birthday. My best friend got me the best gifts and gave them to me yesterday! I am now the proud owner of Hyperbole and a Half THE BOOK, and the cutest owl mug. And considering I have family scattered all over the country and we all fail pathetically at punctual postage, I’ll more than likely be celebrating my birthday until Christmas.

So thanks for the birthday wishes and gifts everybody. I appreciate it and love you guys. It’s the weekend now, and it’s time to turn up! I’ll be in NYC, so yeah, fun times.