Living in Philly (well, the 'burb sticks) there are pretzels everywhere. Delicious ones, even at chain gas stations (Wawa). There are soft pretzel chain stores like Philly Pretzel Factories which are in every township and brought to business meetings in lieu of doughnuts 'round these parts. For a minute, being so close to the pretzel capital of the U.S., killed my thirst for pretzel search. But it always happens when you're not looking for it.
This weekend I met up with my Jr. High School friend Minjung, who I hadn't seen since NYC circa 2010. We took cover from a chilly Philly faux Spring in the cafe closest to us, which happened to be Metropolitan Bakery. The whole wheat sourdough fennel pretzel was spotted and ordered - served toasted, sliced in half, with grainy mustard. The first bite said it all - a crunch of salt, a crunch of fennel seed, toasted exterior, soft, chewy innards. Mustard was not needed, although I love mustard too much not to. Bursting with sour, nutty and a pleasant herbal fennel punch - this pretzel was outstanding. The best I've had in a long while, and will make my way back for more on purpose in the future!
262 S. 19th Street