It was hot here in Philadelphia today, but my family seemed to have made the best of it. I stayed away from the TV all day so I don't know exactly how hot it got, but there was some pretty intense heat and humidity. I made sure I got out early (6 am) for a seven-mile run, and it was already too hot.
Anyway, enough about the weather. Today the whole family took a trip into Philly for the Reading Terminal Market Sidewalk Sizzle and Ice Cream Freeze, an outdoor festival highlighting the market's merchants. While it is outside, the block it's on is thankfully in the shade of the large walkway that connects the market to the Reading Headhouse. So we enjoyed unbelievably tasty (and huge) BBQ pork sandwiches from Jack McDavid's Down Home Diner and the boys went in the moon-bounce, rode on a mini-train ride, and got airbrushed tattoos. The festival was one of those rare family events that lived up to the hype.
But the reason we went to this festival was not for rides or the tattoos or the sizzle (BBQ) but for the freeze. Reading Terminal Market is home to Bassetts Ice Cream, America's oldest and no doubt best ice cream company. Bassett's was hosting a ice-cream cone relay and an ice cream eating contest. The cool kind - no spoons, no hands.
The seven-year old was in the first heat. He was pretty good and seemed to have a big fan base, but missed winning by seconds. We could tell he had a ball because he didn't complain about losing. It was great to see him smiling so much.
Then it was my turn.
I strapped on my bib and took one piece of advice from the boy: forget licking, you have to suck the ice cream into your mouth. When the second (and last) heat began, I sucked it in and took large bites of the cold stuff, which stung my teeth and, yes, froze my brain. We were told we couldn't leave any melted ice cream in the bowl so when the time came, I lifted the bowl up with my teeth and let gravity do the rest.
And I won.
Say hello to the reigning ice cream eating contest champion of the Delaware Valley. Now bring on the Wing Bowl.