April 28, 2007
Cuisine: Delis, Eastern European
700 S 4th St, Philadelphia 19147
At Bainbridge St
Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1.35)
The summer of 2006 marked the beginning of my love affair with chocolate chip cookies. Prior to last summer, Chips Ahoy (Regular and Chewy) and poorly executed Toll House was more or less the extent of my chocolate chip cookie repertoire. As a result, chocolate chip cookies never ranked high in my book. But all this changed last summer after two events:
1. As I sat patiently on my flight from Philadelphia to Milwaukee on Midwest Airlines, the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies wafted in the air. Unlike the trolls at American Airlines, Midwest Airlines still care about customer service and show patrons by serving two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on every flight. These cookies are baked on board and are so good—warm and melt-y and the anticipation of their arrival makes them even better. Talk about friendly skies!
2. The second event that changed my outlook was at a work-related retreat. These gatherings are notorious for overfeeding attendees in order to increase alertness and participation. Every afternoon, way too soon after lunch, a tray of cookies would be delivered to our conference room and passed around multiple times until dismissal. I grabbed a cookie each time the tray came by; chocolate chip was always my favorite. These cookies were big, moist, and slightly crispy in all the right places.
Which brings us finally to the cookies at Famous 4th Street Delicatessen. With my new found love of chocolate chip cookies in hand, I made my way down to South Street to sample Philadelphia’s best (or so I’ve heard). There is a satellite location at the Reading Terminal Market that sells only cookies, but I wanted the real deal.
The cookie was about 2.5 inches in diameter and contained chocolatey goodness in every bite; a definite plus. Also, the cookie is made with pure butter and not with trans-fat-laden Crisco. The only factors going against the cookie is its size and temperature. I like really big cookies with soft middles and crisped edges. A small cookie does not vary much in texture. I also prefer freshly baked cookies with gooey chocolate chips; Famous 4th’s cookie was at room temperature.
Famous 4th produces a good cookie and maybe even the best in the city, but I think this town can do better.