Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Drinking Volcanoes at Rim Cafe

I’m not saying that we are the unofficial Philly hot chocolate judges, but…we’re kind of the unofficial Philly hot chocolate judges, so when I read that Philly Bite Magazine proclaimed that  Rim Café had the best hot chocolate in Philly, we had to judge for ourselves.

Rim Café is located down the street from the infamous Pat’s and Geno’s Cheesesteaks. It’s also an easy walk from the main shopping section of the Italian Market.

As soon as you walk through the door, you develop a case of the wandering eyeballs. There are clocks, sayings on posters, pictures, lights; it is a quirky visual delight.

There are magnificent sweet treats singing a siren song to you. 

There are cannoli, a variety of truffles, and hanging chocolate salami (named for their shape, not because they contain meat). 

It all looked delicious, but first, hot chocolate.

The hot chocolate at Rim Café is called a Volcano. It comes in a variety of flavors from espresso, to salty caramel, to my personal favorite, peanut butter.

Not only do you get a drink, you get a show as well. Renee called us forward to the chocolate lazy Susan and got to work. 

He made all four Volcanoes at the same time, spinning the lazy Susan as he went about adding the individual ingredients.  It was amazing food art. He is the Monet of chocolate I think. 

Renee talked us through the process, explaining things like how the peanut butter sauce, that is constantly churning, is made fresh in house starting with actual peanuts.

He topped the Volcanoes off with chocolate shavings, each drink getting its own custom flavor. 

We took our drinks and settled in the cozy corner by the fireplace. It reminded me of the type of cafe corner you would find Hemingway and Fitzgerald hanging out in, fighting over whether or not Zelda was crazy.  I imagine their drinks would be boozier. Maybe they should have switched to hot chocolate.

Seated upon leopard print, we took our first sips and declared that the drinks were heavenly.  The chocolate is so thick, that you really need to utilize a spoon to get through the initial layer. My peanut butter was perfect. Not too sweet, with a deep, rich, peanut flavor. The silky peanut butter sauce blended nicely into the chocolate. 

After savoring our final drops of chocolate deliciousness, we were tempted to go up and order another.

Instead of another Volcano, we got a peanut butter bar to go.  It too was exquisite. Not quite cake, not quite brownie, not exactly fudge, but it held aspects of all of these things.  It was substantial enough, and stayed fresh enough, to slice off little cubes and enjoy throughout the week.

Our verdict, the Volcano at Rim Café is indeed the best hot chocolate in Philadelphia, although we also agreed that the chocolate drinks at Sazon are also a best.  I don’t feel that there is anything wrong with having more than one favorite hot chocolate in the city. Indeed, I graciously welcome more establishments to apply.

A big part of the appeal of Rim is the entertainment that comes from watching your drinks being made.  Renee is a character.  While we were there he did a little singing, a little dancing, he is quite jovial and charismatic (of course there are times when other staff make the drinks and they are also cool folks).

I think that Rim Café is a must try whether you are a Philly local or a visiting tourist.  If you are a tourist and plan on visiting one of the dueling cheesesteak places, or you plan on walking around and grabbing a bite in the Italian Market (might I suggest Villa Di Roma), Rim is a great option to walk to for dessert. We will certainly be going back there again, and again, and again….

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