Eat: Beau Monde, The Franklin Fountain & Monk's Cafe in Philly

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This is part 4 of my Weekend Trip to Philly series. Previous posts include Philly Cheesesteak in Philly (Pat's vs. Geno's)Best of Philadelphia: Reading Terminal, DiNic's, Famous 4th St Cookies and Tinto Restaurant by Iron Chef Jose Garces.

After our pre-brunch at Tinto, we continued our day eating around Philly. First, we had brunch at Beau Monde for crepes, then a stop at the classic ice cream parlor, The Franklin Fountain, and finally a pit stop at Monk's Cafe for some mussels and beer before heading back to the city.

Chorizo Crepes, Double Scoop Ice Creams, and the Beer Bible at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia

Ready to take a look at some delicious Philly food?


Beau Monde

I have to admit, Beau Monde was our third choice for a brunch spot and I'm glad we did. We tried making reservations at two other brunch spots recommended to us, Parc (swanky Parisan brunch) and Kanella (Greek brunch), but we couldn't get a reservation, so when Beau Monde said they would take a party of 8 at Noon, we had to go for it!

The creperie is located on 6th Street which is a street full of quirky stores - definitely fun to shop around. It was the perfect place for a low-key Sunday brunch. The brunch menu has a good selection of savory crepes. Out of all the ones I tasted, I thought the Smoked Trout crepe was the best - the mix with the leeks and creamed spinach was delightful and different than any other crepe I've tried before.

A cozy environment, totally family friendly and large enough to accommodate a large party

Andouille Sausage, Caramelized Tomato Sauce
& Goat Cheese with Sunny Eggs
RECOMMENDED: Smoked Trout, Leeks & Creamed Spinach with Poached Eggs

For something lighter, try the Grilled Pear Salad w/ French Blue, Candied Pecans & Five Spice Pear Vinaigrette

For dessert, there's sweet crepes. This delish Nutella crepe is only $3, what's not to love?

After brunching at Beau Monde, we made our way to try the another "famous" Philly cheesesteak at Jim's Steaks on 6th Street. You know, because grubbing on 6 cheesesteaks the day before at Pat's and Geno's wasn't enough. BTW, I still declare that Pat's is better than Geno's. ;) However, Jim's deserves another blog post, so you will have to wait for my final cheesesteak review.

The Franklin Fountain

The fourth stop of the day was The Franklin Fountain. We weren't originally planning on this, however after hearing rave reviews about the handmade ice cream here, we had to make a stop. The Franklin Fountain was founded by two brothers who opened this old fashion ice cream parlor on the first level of a cute house in Old City.

Surprisingly, there was a 20-30 minute wait out the door!
Fresh baked pies and old school workers

Flavored Syrups to make old fashion phosphate sodas, there's about 25 flavors here!

Saw a lot of customers eating their ice cream
out of a chinese take out box, turns out it's
actually the original ice cream carton!
All of their ingredients for their ice cream is locally sourced, from their chocolate chips to vanilla beans and even their milk and cream, straight from Lancaster county! Remember the best milk I've ever had at 4th Street Cookies in Philly's Reading Terminal? I bet they use that exact same crisp delicious milk in their ice creams!

When we got there, we were surprised to find that even in 30 degree weather, there's still so many people lined up in a 30 minute line to try their ice cream. Since the shop is quite small, with only 4 small tables lined up on the side of the bar, and 2 larger circular tables in the back, most people took their ice cream to go. That is dedication.

You can find a variety of old fashion soda/ice cream parlor treats here. Ranges from sodas made from syrup and soda water, to egg creams, milkshakes, sundaes and more!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the image on the right is the patent for the original ice cream carton, patented in 1894 by F. W. Wilcox?

Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream (that's not neon green) on the left, and Chocolate on the right

Double Scoops! On the top was butternut squash, my favorite, on the bottom is teaberry, rocky road on the right

So after a 30 minute wait outside in the cold, what was our verdict? The Franklin Fountain is worth the wait. Even though we didn't try any of the old fashion drinks, the ice cream is so fresh and creamy, and the unique flavor, butternut squash, was my absolute favorite. It was just the perfect amount of sweetness without being too overwhelming. I can only imagine how crazy the wait is in the summer!

Monk's Cafe

The fifth and final (food) stop of the day was Monk's Cafe, which is a Belgium beer heaven in Philly. It's known for having over 300 beers for you to choose from in their Beer Bible, and also for their pots and pots of mussels. We actually tried to go the day before, a Saturday at 7PM, and was told that the wait time would be 2 hours. Yikes! Not sure if it was just the holiday weekend, or if this is the norm, but if you want to Monk's Cafe on a weekend, I'd definitely go by 5-5:30PM if you don't want to wait.

Monk's Cafe is serious about their beers, as you can tell from their display - it is called the Beer Emporium afterall

Since we don't like to give up, we decided to make our last stop before heading back to Manhattan at Monk's. On a Sunday at 5PM, the place was still really really crowded, all tables were full. Lucky for us, we took the final table for a large party. Sadly, the hostess at the counter was a bit rude, and made it very clear to me that we had to order more than just some fries if we wanted to take the table. I almost had to beg her to give us the table, even though there was no one else waiting behind me.

Luckily, after we were finally seated, the server was a lot nicer and helped redeem my view of the staff there.

Pots of delicious mussels that came with the BEST fries on the side - actually it was the aioli that made the dish

Monk's is known for their mussels, so mussels we ate! Mussels are sold by pots: small for $10 or large for $20. We ordered 3 large ones for the 6 of us. Not wanting anything too heavy, having this be our 5th meal of the day and all, here are the flavors we ordered:

  • Brussels: white wine, tomato, fennel, herbs de proven├že & garlic
  • Red Light: white ale, toasted spicy chile de arbol peppers, chervil & garlic
  • Thai Curry: Monk's Flemish Sour, white wine, Thai red curry, garlic & coconut milk

A large pot of mussels is very generous and is easily enough for a dinner for two

Even with all the ingredients, most of the mussels tasted very light in flavor

All in all, I found myself loving the Red Light mussels for its bolder flavors and wish we had ordered some of the more robust mussels that involved cheeses such as the DeKoninck which was made with DeKoninck ale, apples, guryere, carmelized leeks & garlic. I guess there's always a next time.

Also, another thing I was surprised to find on the menu was buffalo frog legs! I've never really liked frog legs before, but someone else at the table wanted to order it so I had to try. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in this case, the frog legs really did taste like chicken as it was deep fried and covered in buffalo sauce!

Deep fried frog legs!

Then of course, there was the beer. How could I forget the beer? There were at least 10 high quality beers on draft - I ended up getting the Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux, a Belgium beer that's a holiday ale. If you don't find anything you like on draft, there's also a list of 300 beers that you can choose from, here's the complete list in case you're curious.

All in all, I was glad we made a stop at Monk's so we could see what all the hype was about. However, next time when I go to Philly, I will definitely have to give Iron Chef Jose Garces's Village Whiskey a try considering how much I loved his tapas restaurant, Tinto.

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Beau Monde | Yelp
624 S 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Neighborhood: Bella Vista
(215) 592-0656


The Franklin Fountain | Yelp
116 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Neighborhood: Old City
(215) 627-1899


Monk's Cafe Yelp
264 S 16th St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
(215) 545-7005

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