The Airborne Toxic Event

It’s been a pretty phenomenal past three years for alternative-rock band The Airborne Toxic Event. Following the release of their debut self-titled album in 2008, the group skyrocketed from a MySpace band to number one on the Billboard charts.

Thanks to their hit single Sometime around Midnight, and other popular tracks, the band is making a name for itself worldwide. And with the U.S. release of their second album, All At Once, on Tuesday, Airborne shows no signs of slowing down.

The Airborne Toxic Event’s history hasn’t always been so easy, however. The band was formed to help lead singer Mikel Jollet cope after he had a break-up, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in a one-week period. Their unique name was fittingly based on a section of the novel White Noise, as a chemical spill caused the protagonist to analyze his own mortality.

Although many bands would bask in temporary celebrity of their successes, bass guitarist Noah Harmon finds the best part of his career thus far is the fans. I really enjoy getting to be able to meet people of all walks of life, he said. We meet people daily from so many countries—Belgium, Germany and others.

Although the band’s sound is particularly hard to classify, Harmon said people will still try to make their own comparisons. You are not The Clash until you’re the Clash, he said. [You may get compared to] the legendary [bands] who cast big shadows, but you have to take it with a grain of salt.

The band’s unique sound is often called orchestra rock as they have collaborated with many orchestras in the past. The Airborne Toxic Event’s viola player, Anna Bulbrook, helps create that creative aspect of Airborne’s music.

Harmon describes the band as total headphone music, particularly on the latest album.

[All At Once] is really a complete work. It is… a series of questions, statements and big moments in life that change the way you see the world, he said. I can’t say enough about how it’s really a whole piece and a really coherent album. It’s best listened the whole way through.

It’s definitely all of our best efforts, he added. There aren’t any songs that any of us didn’t love.

As the band anticipates the album release, the Airborne Toxic Event also finishes their tour in Europe and begins their US tour dates, including two at the Trocadero in Philly—one on May 7th, which is currently sold out, and one on May 9th.

Harmon says that fans definitely have a lot to look forward to at these upcoming shows. We have a lot planned, and more acoustic [songs] than before, he said. Every tour has to be better than the last.

Tickets for The Airborne Toxic Event’s Philadelphia shows can be purchased on Trocadero’s website.

Danielle Miess can be contacted at Danielle.Miess@Temple.Edu

Band-a-monium

Philadelphia has an awesome music scene, and many of the city’s local bands are gaining or have gained national recognition. Two local favorites are Suzie Brown and Samantha Aurelio.

Suzie Brown

We’re bombarded with stories about actor-turned-singers, and singer-turned-actors, but how about a cardiologist-turned-singer-songwriter? Suzie Brown is just that—a practicing cardiologist who gave up a research career in order to pursue her passion for music.

After Harvard Medical School and a residency in Boston, Brown came to Philadelphia four years ago to work on her fellowship and earn a master’s at the University of Pennsylvania on a medical research track.

Though she only began writing songs two years ago, Brown has already made a name for herself in the New England area, performing in notable Philly venues such as the Tin Angel. In August 2010, Philadelphia Magazine named her in its “Best of Philly” music section.

Her debut album, Side Streets, was released to a sold-out crowd at the Tin Angel last fall, and Brown has been touring across the country in support of the record. The album has received regular airplay on Philly’s WXPN station, as well as several other local radio stations.

Brown’s sound is a mellow, blues-folk hybrid, with a great use of subtle vocal harmony. Her bluesy voice and use of good, old-fashioned guitar picking evokes that of a calmer, smoother, more polished Janis Joplin—especially in her song, “Round the Sun.”

Though it may be easy for the media to relish in her unique cardiology background, audiences can immediately hear the down-home intimacy in her music and songwriting.

This fall, Brown will gear up to return to the studio and record her sophomore album with producer Barrie Maguire, whose credits include Natalie Merchant, Amos Lee and Rickie Lee Jones.

Songs to check out:

“You Can Lie”

“Round the Sun”

Samantha Aurelio

Though Samantha Aurelio is only 21 years old and stands at only 5’ tall, she’s got a big voice and a passion for music comparable to artists who are seasoned veterans of the music business.

Aurelio studies at the University of the Arts in Philly, in addition to having studied music abroad at the Conservatory of Music in Groningen, the Netherlands.

In an interview, Aurelio said her first musical memory was singing Disney songs while her dad played guitar. She was supposed to sing the solo to “Tomorrow” from Annie when she was in 4th grade, but she got scared, causing her teacher to eventually direct more girls to sing in order to help her out.

Judging by her recent success, her luck in the music business has begun to turn around.

In the same interview, Aurelio said she doesn’t have a specific method for writing songs, that “either a whole slew of words will come to [her] at once, or the music and the words will come together.”

Despite her age, Aurelio has already sang on a Grammy-nominated album, having recorded with Blue Note records as a back-up vocalist for Joey DeFrancesco’s new album, Never Can Say Goodbye.

Though she has accomplished quite a lot for a young singer, she still has her music idols, naming Sara Bareilles, Bruno Mars, John Mayer and Michael Buble as some of her favorite musicians.

Aurelio’s big voice and soulful piano melodies evoke the likes of British singer Adele; both have a kind of “heartbroken soul” sound. This young star has seen success at an early age, and it appears she will see much more in the near future.

You can see Samantha Aurelio perform live at World Cafe Live on May 3rd.

Songs to check out:

“In a Sentimental Mood”

“Tell Me”

You can contact Stephanie Zrebiec at szrebi01@villanova.edu.

: Photo: © http://a4.l3-images.myspacecdn.com

Diversify Your Palette

If you’re like many students, you dream of the day you can visit another country, but simply can’t afford it. Or, perhaps you are from outside the United States and miss the unique flavors of your own country’s cuisine.

It’s completely possible to escape the lulls of dull American food and indulge in something a little more extravagant, without ever leaving Philadelphia. With the multitudes of different nationalities that reside in Philly, delicious ethnic foods can be found around the city for a cheap price.

For fans of spicy food, Lovash Indian Cuisine (236 South St.) is a great place to start. Most entrees are moderately priced at $10 or less, and it offers a multitude of appetizers for those who like to try a little bit of everything.

The early birds who make it to lunch (prior to 3 p.m.) are given a lunch menu, with nothing priced over $8.

For first-time Indian food eaters, the vegetable samosa appetizer is a pastry filled with peas, potatos, herbs and spices—the perfect introductory dish. Chicken tikka masala, a chicken breast cooked in a sun-dried tomato base, is another favorite among guests, as well as naan, a type of bread made with unbleached flour.

According to Temple University sophomore Hannah Brown, the real delight in Lovash is the experience.

I feel like it’s a really good deal for how much food is offered, she said. The food is fresh and delicious—especially the naan and spread. The inside decor was also interesting, and the owner was really friendly and came out to talk to us.

Want to see what Indian cuisine has to offer but can’t make it to South Street? Lovash also delivers, and it has a food cart at 37th and Spruce sts.

For those interested in Middle Eastern foods, Alyan’s Restaurant (603 S 4th St.) is ideal. For fewer than $10, one can sample the best of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

Visitors can try their favorite dishes, including lentil soup and Middle Eastern renditions of burgers and fries. In particular, the restaurant’s falafel and hummus are highly recommended.

With many cultures in Philly, why not give others a try, as well? Almaz Cafe not only serves coffee, but offers a delicious assortment of Ethiopian foods.

The firfir is a particularly interesting treat. The meal is described as enjera moistened with deliciously tender cubed beef simmered to perfection in berber sauce with garlic, Ethiopian spices and side of vegetarian sampler.

Almaz Cafe offers a variety of dishes for its vegetarian customers, as well. This includes the misir, which, according its website, is split red lentils cooked in berbere sauce and fine herbs blended with chopped onions.

No matter what culture you experience, be sure to go outside your current one and see what Philly has to offer. Who knows—maybe you’ll find your new favorite food!

You can contact Danielle Miess at danielle.miess@temple.edu.

Photo: © http://www.expressentree.com

The Centerpiece of the City

As you drive into the heart of Philadelphia, the great figure of City Hall, topped by William Penn, stands as a beacon.

This beautiful white granite structure is a masterpiece to behold up close, too. The 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts(PIFA) is highlighting the art, sculpture and aesthetics of City Hall.

City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States. Construction began in 1871, supervised by the architect John McArthur Jr., and the massive building took 30 years to complete. It is covered in intricate sculptures and engravings, which were all designed by Alexander Milne Calder (including the William Penn statue).

Anyone who has ever walked around the building knows that it’s like an I spy game, looking at the different animals, plants, masks and figures carved into the exterior walls.

If it’s possible to make this building stand out any more, PIFA is doing it this year with its Styling a Second Empire: A Light and Sound Experience. Color changing lights and designs will enhance the beautiful structure of City Hall, as well as 14 other buildings along the Avenue of the Arts. Original music composed by students of the University of the Artswill complete this :ballet of light. The light display will brighten the city from dusk until 1 a.m., from April 15th to May 19th.

City Hall has a deep connection with the 2011 PIFA’s Parisian/Frenchinspiration. The building itself was designed in the French Second Empire architectural style, making it just one of the many connections Philadelphia has with France.

This connection is being highlighted with another PIFA event, City Hall: The French Connection. This exhibit is an introduction to the architecture and art inspired by this building. It will run from March 14th to May 20th in The Art Gallery at City Hall, which is in room 116, East Portal Market Street Entrance. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Guided tours of City Hall are at 12:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday, the observation deck is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday thru Friday and tower tours are also available with limited times on weekdays. Go to room 121, located on the East side, for tours and ticketing.

There are lots of ways to absorb and appreciate the beauty of City Hall. It has been a filming location for movies, including Philadelphia, Trading Places, Twelve Monkeys and Law Abiding Citizen. It has captured the interest and eye of tourists and city dwellers alike.

One thing is for sure: City Hall is one of those buildings you can truly fall in love with. As the French would say: Je t’aime City Hall!

You can contact Emily Heller at emilyheller@temple.edu.

Photo:

Blooming Community Gardens

Spring is a time of birth and growth in nature—something that can be directly observed in any of Philadelphia’s 400-plus community gardens. But these gardens are not only blooming with fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers; they also cultivate and nourish the communities they sprout from.

Some people may be amazed by the types of things springing up from the city’s soil. Community gardens successfully grow fruits of all sorts, from simple strawberry patches to large, coiling melon vines, as well as plenty of vegetables, ranging from tomatoes to squash to potato patches.

Typically, the food is shared among the gardeners and community families, donated to local charities or sold in local produce stands or farmers markets, such as the one on Cecil B. Moore Avenue that sells Temple Community Garden’s bounty to North Philadelphia residents and Temple University students.

Temple Community Garden was founded in August 2009, when Dan Seester, a senior sculpture major at the Tyler School of Art, wanted to begin growing his own vegetables. The club started with five members and has grown from there. It now has between 30 and 45 members, plus two gardens—one for vegetables and food production, and one for teaching and community development.

It’s amazing how quickly these gardens transform the neighborhoods they are planted in. They become places of learning, fun and family.

”We like to keep the family feel to the club. It helps leaders to develop and help new people along,” said Yuan Huang, President of Temple Community Garden.

Community gardens serve many purposes, including a good deal of hands-on learning. Adults learn new gardening techniques and healthier eating habits by swapping ideas amongst other gardeners in the city. Most gardens also hold weekly events or clubs for children and students, including activities like flower-pot painting, salad making and, of course, planting.

”Besides being attractive, these serene spaces promote health and nutrition, improve local economies, and allow neighbors to come together for a common interest,” explains the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) on its website.

PHS is an important partner and sponsor of Philadelphia’s community garden efforts.

Community gardens bring people together over a common interest and goal. The spirit of gardening has a tradition of experimentation and innovation—a spirit that is essential to urban agriculture, in particular. Community gardens are constantly developing new, better ways of utilizing their limited space, as well as attacking specific issues, such as where to access water, how to combat the shade from surrounding buildings and what types of fertilizers and infrastructure to use in a particular space.

One of the largest issues facing Philadelphia community gardens is a lack of stability. All gardens need good, strong roots; although these gardens have become deeply connected to their communities, they are not always granted the support they need to truly flourish. Temple Community Gardens is currently facing this issue as its plot, located at 11th and Berks sts., is being threatened.

“They’re supposed to move us by this summer, which is a huge deal for us and an extremely stressful situation,” Huang said. “It’s a huge upheaval for us.”

Yet, Huang understands that this is a common issue for community gardens. Space within a city is limited, and sometimes the immediate needs of humans, for shelter or restaurants or parking, overshadow the deeper need for fresh food and community development.

There’s also an issue of ownership. Just because a group plants seeds on a lot doesn’t necessarily mean the land is theirs. Huang and the rest of the Temple Community Garden family are working hard to remind their community of the importance of their project, and are hoping for Temple’s support of their club.

Anyone looking to get their hands dirty is welcome to dig into community gardens. There are lots of information available on the web, through PHS or the Neighborhood Garden Association.

Community gardens are volunteer based, and you can participate for as little as a few hours each week.

You can contact Emily Heller at emilyheller@temple.edu.

Photo: © http://people.bu.edu/strubsa/garden.htm http://www.flickr.com/photos/amandafiles/4652652679/

Phamous Philly Foods

Philadelphia has a rich culinary history, mostly due to the city’s melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Certain foods have become so popular that they have become iconic, and have eventually come to represent the city. The famous Philly cheesesteak is, by far, the best example—it’s known across the country as one of our city’s best offerings.

There are several other delicious treats, however, that originated in Philly.

In addition to the cheesesteak, Philly is also well-known for its soft pretzels. These pretzels are different from your typical bag of hard pretzels sold in grocery stores; Philly pretzels are fresh, soft and chewy, and are sprinkled with salt. They are usually bought from a street vendor, and come in a slab in which several pretzels are stuck together.

Though the pretzel itself was born in Lititz, a town in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania Dutch country, South Philadelphia is considered the birthplace of the American pretzel industry.

Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation’s pretzels, and according to the Pretzel Museum, the average Philadelphian consumes about 12 times more pretzels than the national average! Though it is no longer in existence, the privately run Pretzel Museum opened in Philadelphia in 1993. In 2003, Governor Rendell even declared April 26th National Pretzel Day, to acknowledge the importance of the pretzel to the state’s history and economy.

Another Philly favorite is the Italian hoagie. Though many other states have various forms of this sandwich, the hoagie is said to have been invented in Philly. Around World War I, Italians working in a Philadelphia shipyard introduced this type of sandwich by putting various deli meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes and onions between two slices of Italian bread. This sandwich came to be known as the “Hog Island” sandwich—hence, the “hoagie.”

Around the same time, a baker from Pittsburgh and an egg salesman from Boston came to Philadelphia with the idea to make baked goods using only the freshest ingredients—real milk, Grade A butter, farm fresh eggs and natural flavorings. After trying some of the samples, the baker’s wife remarked that they were tasty—thus, Tastykake was born.

The cakes were sold for 10 cents each; the men made $28 the first day, and $222 the first week. By the end of 1914, they had made $300,000. From the very beginning, this snack food was a huge success!

Now, Tastykake is a household name along the East Coast. At its peak, Tastykake baked over 4.8 million cakes, donuts, cookies and pies per day; the most popular is the Peanut Butter Kandy Kake—over 500,000 are made a day! Other favorites are the Butterscotch Krimpets and Tasty Pies.

Tastykakes have always been manufactured in Philadelphia, but because of financial troubles, the company’s future is uncertain. Nonetheless, Tastykake has become synonymous with Philly, and along with the cheesesteak, the soft pretzel and the hoagie, is an integral part of the city’s history.

You can contact Stephanie Zrebiec at szrebi01@villanova.edu.

Photo: © http://www.justborn.com/peanut-chews http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/stromboli-m456364.aspx

The City of Light Comes to Philly

If you’re dying for a cultural experience, look no further. From now until May 1st, Paris will overtake Philly’s streets for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), which will bring more than 30 Parisian-inspired lectures and salons to the city—many of which are free.

The inspiration behind the 2011 festival is Paris from 1910-1920—a decade in which Parisian painters and performers were redefining art, and Paris was becoming the epicenter for culture and creativity. Lecturers will offer insights on the people, trends and originality of that highly innovative decade, discussing how it has shaped art culture across the world.

In addition to the arts, Parisian tastes and styles will also converge in Philly. World-renowned chefs from Paris will whip up new recipes with the help of local chefs. Along with the food, a lineup of national and local designers will present their newest runway styles during PIFA’s Signature Fashion Event.

The action will revolve around the Kimmel Center, which truly represents the festival’s themes of collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Visitors will be able to gaze in wonder at an Eiffel Tower replica in the Kimmel Center Plaza, which will amaze viewers with a light show every night. In addition to the culinary arts and artistic performances, visitors will be able to experience an abundance of Paris-inspired dance, visual arts, theater, fashion, circus arts, architecture, puppetry and film.

The finale of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts culminates in its Street Fair on April 30th, when Center City will essentially be transformed into Paris. Visitors will be able to enjoy a Ferris wheel in the middle of Broad Street, Parisian food vendors and street performers, two stages for musical entertainment and beautiful public gardens. Guests will even be able to shop as if they were in a Parisian marketplace.

The fair concludes with a spectacular routine by La Compagnie Transe Express, as they perform 100 feet in the air.

Along with the Parisian-inspired cultural performances, additional highlights include a rare collaboration between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Ballet, and The Roots as they perform with a French chanteuse, or singer.

According to the PIFA Fact Sheet, the goals of the festival are to celebrate the quality, breadth and diversity of Philadelphia’s arts and cultural resources, to create opportunities for arts and cultural organizations to offer collaborative, creative and innovative programming, to develop opportunities for residents and visitors and, finally, to promote awareness of Philadelphia’s arts and cultural resources and their contribution to the region’s quality of life.

According to a press release, PIFA Artistic Producer Barbara Silverstein states, “We programmed this festival not only to entertain, but to inspire… which is why we’re looking beyond observing – removing barriers to participation and replacing them with opportunities to engage in many ways,” with the overarching goal being to “inspire PIFA-goers to get more involved in the arts.”

For a complete list of events, visit the PIFA website.

Tickets for select performances are available here.

You can contact Stephanie Zrebiec at szrebi01@villanova.edu.

Photo: © http://pifa.org/

Give These Fitness Tips a College-Try

With spring’s promise of warm weather comes the prospect of shorts, tank tops, bathing suits and other apparel that reveal slightly more than the sweaters and parkas of winter. With the stress of the semester in full swing, you may have backed out of your New-Years-resolution-for-better-fitness entirely. It happens.

But, fear not—there are plenty of convenient ways to sneak simple toning exercises into your daily routine.

Students tend to spend a large chunk of their days seated at their desk—whether pouring over their studies or updating their Facebook statuses. This type of sedentary habit can damage your body over time. Swapping your desk chair for a stability ball makes sitting at your desk a constant core workout.

Stability balls can be used to improve posture, balance and core strength. They can even boost your mood—how can you be upset when perched atop a colorful, bouncy ball? As an added benefit, stability balls are much cheaper than the average desk chair, running about $7- $15. They are available at City Sports and Modell’s, just to name a few.

Studies show the average college student takes about 7,500 steps per day. This is above the average 3,000 – 5,000, but still slightly below the recommended 10,000. Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you may think to sneak in those extra 2,500 steps. < align=justify>The added access to restaurants, shops, sights and attractions for Philly students is further incentive to stretch your legs as you explore the city. Besides walking to and from classes, plan your transport via your own two feet—rather than by public transportation or driving. There are tons of obvious benefits that come with a good stroll, including extra time to socialize with friends, exposure to new areas of the city and sunshine and fresh air.

Still not convinced on the power of pedestrianism? Consider this: If you walk from City Hall to Pat’s King of Steaks (1237 E. Passyunk Ave.) or Geno’s (1219 S. 9th St.), and grab a cheese steak (wiz wit, of course) from your chosen proprietor, you’ve just consumed around 1,500 calories. However, during the 30-minute walk, you’ll burn 200 of those calories off.

This may not seem like a lot, but compared to the amount of calories you’d burn sitting in a taxi or on the subway, it’s a lot. Plus, if you share the walk with friends, you’ll be having too much fun to be conscious about working out. Walking also saves money that you may have spent for transportation.

You can also build muscle during normal daily activities. Anytime you lift something, think of it in terms of building muscle. Pick up that 10 lb. backpack, and put it back down five times in a row; guess what, you just did a set of bicep curls! You can do this with gallons of milk, water or juice, laundry baskets or whatever you happen to be picking up. Once you begin, you’ll start to see how your daily routine can—with slight tweaks—become quick, easy workouts.

Don’t forget your campus gym, which is a great resource for information specific to college students, such as tips for work-outs that fit into your hectic lifestyle. Most campus gyms also offer a wide array of equipment and fitness classes, so if you have time for a full workout, that’s the place to be.

Philadelphia Runner also has fitness information on its website, including information on tons of fitness events going on in the city.

Remember: you should never begin or alter a fitness routine without consulting a doctor or expert. Follow all safety guidelines (such as pre- and post-workout stretching), and be careful not to overdo it.

Working out can be fun and easy way to get outside and enjoy the nice spring weather.

You can contact Emily Heller at emilyheller@temple.edu.

Photo: © http://www.livestrong.com/article/95579-routines-exercises-hand-weights/ http://www.fitnesshealthzone.com/exercises/want-to-increase-abdominal-and-core-muscles-go-for-stability-ball-workouts/

The Fine Art of Martial Arts

When you made the decision to attend college in Philly, your parents probably worried about you being on your own for the first time—even though you’ve assured them a million times you will be safe.

Maybe you’d like to be a little stronger, though, and make your parents feel a little safer in the process. Or, maybe you would like to find a new way to work out. For those that would like to burn some calories while learning how to stand their own ground, Philadelphia has a plethora of self-defense classes for you.

Red Tiger Taekwon-Do (1912 Welsh Rd.) features a wide variety of self-defense classes. This school specializes in Taekwondo, which is a South Korean method of defense—a combination of karate and meditation.

For beginners, your best bet is “Cardio-Kick.” This class combines the ancient form of Taekwondo with traditional martial arts, putting it together with music, to create a fun workout. No uniform or experience is necessary, and the classes are usually priced at $7 per class, or $45 a month.

For those looking for a more advanced and serious workout, Taekwondo classes are available for children and adults.

These Taekwondo classes gradually teach a student to stand up to an attacker, if one happens to get close enough to the student. This method includes using the easiest but most effective pressure points, or spots that will cause pain if manipulated in a specific manner, to ward off an attacker.

The Urban Defense Center (725 N. 6th St.) in Northern Liberties is a specialized martial arts program for urban life. Created in 1996, Urban Defense Center describes itself as “a total martial arts program that helps individuals strengthen their minds and bodies so they can achieve their personal best.”

Some of the Urban Defense Center classes include martial arts, kickboxing and cardio. For beginners, the “Tai Fit” class is ideal. This program teaches the basics of boxing and kickboxing, and specializes in punches, kicks, knees, elbows, blocks and evasion. It is also offered for all ages and skill levels.

For $65 dollars, the center offers an unlimited amount of classes each month. For those interested in giving the program a try, one-time classes are only $15. In addition, the center also offers a free week of classes for new students.

For those who would rather stay on campus, many colleges include local weekly self-defense courses at its gym, sometimes for free. Community centers also may offer free self-defense classes.

The sense of security found in your own strength is the real payoff of a self-defense class. Red Tiger’s website puts it best: taking a self-defense class will produce “a well-trained and conditioned student [who] will feel confident and prepared to defend themselves in any situation.”

You can contact Danielle Miess at danielle.miess@temple.edu.

Photo: © http://www.rc2010.com/usroyal/b1.php http://www.kickboxing.com/styles/taekwondo.html

Philadelphia Loves Froyo

As the weather gets warmer, think about frozen treats as a way to cool off. Instead of regular water ice, try a new Philly craze: froyo.

For the uninitiated, froyo is a spin on traditional frozen yogurt. It’s a healthier, tarter and hipper alternative. Froyo is low-fat, low-calorie and high in the same digestive and vitamin benefits as yogurt—so it’s a guilt-free treat.

Plus, going to a froyo store is an experience in itself. Most shops are set up in the same way—you grab a bowl and make your own! This self-serve system means you can take a little of five different flavors, or taste before you buy.

Then, add your own variety of toppings (again, take lots of different things!). Froyo is generally paired with fresh fruit to make a deliciously healthy snack.

Be careful how much you add, though—especially with toppings; froyo is often priced by weight. That means prices climb quickly, so be prepared.

Though froyo got famous in California with Pinkberry, Philadelphia has caught the froyo bug. 13th street alone has three froyo places! But who can boast the best froyo in Center City?

Tutti Frutti (1315 Walnut St.)

Tutti Frutti has the best variety of flavors and toppings, and that just can’t be beat!

Variety of flavors: 24 tart flavors (like strawberry and papaya) and 19 creamy flavors (such as cookies ‘n cream, coffee, strawberry cheesecake and banana pudding)

Variety of toppings: 17, including fruit, yogurt chips and Fruity Pebbles cereal

Price: $0.49/oz

Nutrition facts: range from 90 calories and 3g of protein for triple berry, to 160 calories and 4g of protein for peanut butter (for a 1/2 cup serving); no sugar added

Yogorino (233 S. 20th St.)

Open: Mon. – Thurs., Sun. (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.); Fri. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Branching out to Philadelphia from Italy, this franchise knows its froyo. Yogorino lost points for high prices and small cups, but its unique sauces are delicious. Plus, cups and spoons are bio-degradable!

Variety of flavors: a decent variety of froyo flavors (including dulche de leche), yogurt ice cream and burger ice, a sweet hamburger filled with yogurt, hot and cold sauces

Variety of toppings: fruit sauces, cold sauces and hot sauces (including chocolate and pistachio), plus the traditional fruit and ice cream toppings

Price: pay by the cup, from $3 for a small cup to $6 for a large one

Nutrition facts: 131 calories per six-ounce serving, 1.8 grams of fat and no added sugar; sauces can add up the calories fast, though

Sweet Ending (1800 Chestnut St.)

Open: Mon. – Thurs., Sun. (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.); Fri. – Sat. (10 a.m. – 2 a.m.)

This healthy treat comes in especially unique flavors!

Variety of flavors:18, including mango, peach, ginseng, pomegranate and cream cheese

Variety of toppings: traditional fruit and ice cream toppings

Price: $.049/oz

Nutrition facts: 100 calories and 4g protein for a 1/2 cup serving; fat free

Yogurt City (1306 Chestnut St.)

Yogurt City has the smallest variety of flavors, but the fat free yogurt and unique toppings make it a great treat!

Variety of flavors: 12, including strawberry, cheesecake and cookies and cream

Variety of toppings: small selection of fruit, sprinkles, cookie dough bits and brightly-colored tapioca balls (like you’d find in bubble tea)

Price: $.049/oz

Nutrition facts: fat free

Now that you know where to look, treat yourself to some Philadelphia froyo!

You can contact Rachel Taube at rtaube@sas.upenn.edu.

Photo: © http://zairahman.blogspot.com/2011/02/our-experience-with-tutti-frutti.html http://www.wetalkshop.com/blog/free-pinkberry-frozen-yogurt-in-orlando/