Café Pier One
4505 Baltimore Avenue
With the smell of hot chocolate and fresh coffee lingering in the air, Café Pier One has the scent and feel of a cozy living room.
"I wanted this place to be an extension of my home," owner Pam Williams said, pointing to the African art covering the walls. "I brought some of those things from my house!"
Perhaps that's because Williams had no intention of starting a restaurant. After working as a social worker with sickle cell disease for twenty years, she was faced with her own personal crisis. "Something had to change," she explained. "I was given a second chance and I wanted to see what else I could offer."
Having no experience in coffee or restaurants at all, she was encouraged by a friend to use her love of design and talent in the kitchen to start a small business. "All I knew was that I wanted it to feel homey. It had to look a certain way and feel a certain way."
She pulled recipes together that she felt meshed with the West Philadelphia community around her. "This block is underutilized," she stresses. "People need to come and see all it has to offer." She points to a little bookstore across the street and urges me to help bring more students to the area. "I'll make them feel at home," she promises.
While you should definitely venture to Café Pier One, here's one way to bring her home into your own:
2 chicken breasts
3 big carrots
1 lb string beans
« small cabbage
2 garlic cloves
« cup chopped cilantro
2 cups chicken broth.
6 wanton wraps
Cut chicken into small cubes, shred carrots and cabbage, chop string beans, onion and garlic into very small pieces. Sauté chicken on low heat in frying pan with olive oil for 10 minutes. Add onion, garlic and cilantro; sauté for 2 more minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth, carrots and cabbage and cook 10 more minutes. Add another cup of chicken broth and string beans, COVER and let cook for 15 minutes. Prepare your wanton wraps and lay flat. Fill medium saucepan ¬ the way with oil. Drain excess liquid from food. Put half a cup of filling into each wrap. Fold and roll each wrap. On medium heat, gently drop each roll into the saucepan until golden brown. Let cool. Enjoy!