Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sugar Rush

An unknown author once commented, “Stressed spelled backwards is dessert. Coincidence?” The folks at University City’s newest food truck, Sugarcube Philly, think not.

Sugarcube Philly, the brainchild of Penn grad Franklin Shen (SAS ’03) and Drexel grad John Suh, is a gourmet dessert food truck which offers patrons a sweet form of stress relief. Head chef Daniel Tang whips up chocolate bread pudding, peanut panna cotta, pear almond tart, vanilla crème brulee, crème fraiche cheesecake, and spicy Mexican chocolate layer cake, each of which can be enjoyed for only $5.

Despite a morning of incessant rain, and some initially malfunctioning kitchen equipment, Sugarcube had its official launch on Monday afternoon. Sheila (yes, the truck is named Sheila) was parked at the corner of 36th and Walnut, where Sugarcube began serving the line of eager eaters at 1:15pm. Though initially only the crème brulee and the peanut panna cotta were available, the gang was serving up a full menu by the end of the day. Shen estimates that nearly 100 people snagged some sweets during Sugarcube’s first day of business.

For those of you concerned about the carbon footprint your eating habits leave, Sugarcube may be a good option. Sheila runs on compressed natural gas, and all desserts are served with cornstarch rather than plastic utensils. Sugarcube’s offerings will rotate seasonally, so hopefully we’ll start to see some local ingredients popping up on the menu.

Overall, Sugarcube seems like a great place to satisfy your sweet tooth. The crème brulee Penn Appetit sampled was a solid option. The custard was excellent, with a strong but not overpowering vanilla flavor. The caramelized sugar was a bit thick, and therefore hard to break, but it was entertaining to watch them torch it in the truck.

Sugarcube won’t be on Penn’s campus every day, but when they are, they’ll be on Walnut Street between 34th and 36th. Sheila will be roaming between her Penn, Drexel, and Center City locations on a regular basis. Check out their website,, for a weekly schedule.

Photo Credit: Dana Robinson

Ed. The food truck is now called Sugar Philly.

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