I had to do it, I just had to. I stopped by Rheb's today. To be honest, I am not sure why I never did. Whenever I mention Rheb's, my mother always brings up the fact that her mother (God rest her soul) used to work there, but that was sometime in the early 1950's. And yet, we always wind up buying Whitman's instead.
No more, betch.
I heard that about two weeks before Christmas it gets crazy-packed. Maybe that's the Lexington Market location they're talking about. I went to the Violetville one - that's where my Grandmom worked. It's the one just a hop, skip and a jump from Cardinal Gibbons High School and right across the street from St. Agnes Hospital (perfectly situated for that inevitable heart attack after finishing off that third pound of Rheb's candies).
When I went in it wasn't too crowded. I got a number and waited, but it turns out I didn't need one after all. This is the type of place where everyone still says "Sir" and "Ma'am" - which makes sense, as I was almost the youngest person in there and despite a few other folks in their 30's and 40's the median age seemed to be about 60. It is indeed a Bawlmer institution, no?
Their regular candies go for about $13 per pound, their sugar free ones for about $15. Since most of my family is staring down diabetes, but I am not, I got half a pound of each. I got a pre-assortment of the sugar-free, and the woman behind the counter helped me pick the rest:
- vanilla butter creams
- chocolate butter creams
- sponges (actually very hard, but it looks spongy in the middle, more like coral)
- almond paste candies
- pecan turtles
- coconut bon-bon
Wouldn't you know it? I broke into the neatly-wrapped package (not the sugar-free - the other one) and sampled a vanilla butter cream.
Holy butter creams, Batman! I have a friend, Jim, that I stay with out in Yucaipa, CA, when I visit SoCal. We went to this French restaurant once (stay with me here - I'm coming back to the candies). Jim acted all pretentious while we ate, saying his French onion soup was (molto sotto voce) "Exquisite!" His quail was "To DIE for!" He stopped before I dumped his creme brulee on his head. But the point I am making is this: those irritating things he said (just to rile me up, mind you) was exactly what was going through my head when I ate that vanilla butter cream. I could hardly keep myself from eating three more on the way back to the parents' house. Even their sugar-free candies tasted good, not odd like most sugar-free candies.
My word, I now have a reason to go back! Thanks, Grandmom - maybe you told me, from beyond the grave, to go there today!