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Archive for Restaurants

::eating out:: Cold Point Pub, Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting

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I recently had the opportunity to test out some of the new items that will be added to the menu at the Cold Point Pub in the Whole Foods Market in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Admittedly, I haven’t eaten in the pub too many times. Since I’m not a beer drinker, and then I was pregnant, and then subsequently had a baby, we tend to order our food from the Prepared Foods section. I’m also going to blame the delay of the write up on the baby. What can I say…he keeps me busy.

The new menu debuts tomorrow, and the tasting was a test to perfect things. I can’t guarantee everything here will be available or exactly the same, but I will pick up a copy of the menu next time I go shopping and post it. I do hope to test out more items on the menu over time.

Let me start by saying the chefs at Whole Foods are great. Please don’t think that because it’s a grocery store they aren’t dedicated to preparing restaurant quality dishes. They are. These guys are creating the amazing menus you’re seeing at the Cold Point Pub and the Blue Route Taco Truck. While we were there, I tried to convince Harry (the chef I spoke to at the tasting) to follow his aspirations to go on Food Network’s Chopped. Hopefully, we’ll see him on there soon!

Now to the food. I have a big stomach, but I could have tested far more while I was pregnant 🙂 Since I only had so much room, my goal was to order an entree that would be the opposite of anything I would normally order. So I went vegan. Luckily, I snagged a photo of our taste-tester-neighbor’s mac and cheese, and my mom came along to help test some things out. Some of the dishes were the best of their kind. At least in my humble experience.

The new menu is FAR more extensive than it was. Appetizers, entrees, desserts. The mac and cheese was described as a bit bland by our new friend. If it has the right consistency, I’m ok with that, but I have a feeling, it will change up a bit. The mac & cheese on the BBQ bar has always been great. Don’t worry, I’ll happily test out the mac & cheese in the near future. The sweet potato fries were the best I have ever had. Maybe that’s because I’m not a sweet potato person, but I liked them. And they were that perfect in between of soft and crunchy. Yum.

Side salad? Check. Comes with Wholes Foods house-made Balsamic Vinaigrette. Have you never had their dressings? GO! NOW! Now, the salad has an advantage. It is late summer. Produce couldn’t be more delicious than it is right now.

The onion rings were decent. Sort of a standard beer battered onion ring, but not the kind that the onion completely pulls out when you take a bite. These were cooked perfectly. I was a little disappointed in the paprika aioli. But again, I’m hoping that will be adjusted a bit. My main criticism was that it was a bit bland. A bit too much of a mayo taste and not enough paprika. I can only imagine it would seem more bland if I was eating it while drinking a beer.

On to the entrees…

As I mentioned previously, I love the Whole Foods made dressings. The Caesar is no exception. My only complaint about this salad is the cold chicken. When it is listed as grilled chicken, I prefer it to be freshly grilled and hot. I’m not a fan of cold chicken in general though. Other than that, it was a perfect balance of dressing to beautiful romaine, grape tomatoes, and croutons.

Next up, my vegan adventure. Vegan Pulled Pork. Honestly, I didn’t even know what seitan was before I got home and looked it up. It was good. Harry makes some AWESOME Carolina barbecue sauce. Seriously delicious. I need it to be described on the menu as just a Vegan BBQ Pork Sandwich though. When it said pulled pork, visions (?) of buttery, melt in your mouth, falling apart shreds of meat dance in my mouth… But I have had the pulled pork at Whole Food, I know it is good. I don’t need to taste test it. The vegan version was good. If I wasn’t eating meat, I would eat it again. If I want to go out and get something yummy on Fridays during Lent, I’m getting this. True to a BBQ sandwich, it was spilling over the roll creating a giant sweet + tasty mess on my plate. Meat lovers, you can’t deny…this doesn’t look bad at all.

My mom got the crab cake. The arugula and remoulade toppings were a great pairing with the sandwich. She was hoping for a lighter roll, but overall really enjoyed the sandwich. Not too much filler, and full of flavor.

My favorite part of the entrees was the cole slaw. I do not, I repeat, DO NOT like cole slaw. Nope. Never. Not happening. This was VEGAN! It was mayo-free. What don’t I like about cole slaw? It’s mushy. It’s picnic food that shouldn’t be. Something made with mayonnaise should not sit on a picnic table in the heat. Ew. It doesn’t help that I don’t like mayo. Vegan slaw, however. Crunchy. Tart. Perfect amount of vinegar and no fake mayo. I need to make some of this.

Most importantly…they have added desserts to the menu. A gelato trio, a cake pop trio, and apple pie a la mode. When I heard apple pie a la mode, I assumed a slice of the delicious apple pie you can purchase from the bakery. This was even better. Perfect size for two to share. The crust was thick, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, perfectly buttery without being too buttery. It and had soaked up the perfect amount of juices. The pie was fairly reminiscent of homemade apple dumplings. And not the crunchy baked ones, the steamed ones covered in sweet cinnamon sauce. Droooooooool. The more than generous scoop of vanilla gelato melts into the crumb topping to give it a bit of a saucy topping while still having just enough texture. Oh…did I not mention it was served, seemingly, freshly baked. I think I need to go get one of these right now…

Gelato trio… If you have never had gelato, crawl out from under that rock and discover Italy’s ice cream. Smoother, creamier, richer. Come eat it in a tiny chocolate dish. The dessert includes chocolate, vanilla, and the flavor of the week. Dessert garnish has always been a favorite of mine. I’ll never turn down a rolled stick of white chocolate.

Cake pop trio… I’m typically not a fan of cake pops. The consistency bothers me. They always seem underbaked. The trio is planned to include Carrot, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and again the flavor of the week. We tested out Carrot, Key Lime, and Strawberry Chocolate. I’m sad to say for the most part, these were no different than my experience with other cake pops. Although…the Starbucks ones did not agree with my tummy at all… The carrot cake was the exception. So good. Perfectly baked.

The prices in Cold Point Pub are great. Comparable (if not less) than some of the items would be by the pound in the Prepared Foods section, the cake pop trio is $.03 more than if you bought them from the bakery. But $.03 seems cheap for table service, vanilla sauce, and some raspberries. Nothing is priced over $10 with most items either $6 or $7. If you need a cheap date, this would be an amazing option. And yes, I would totally go to Whole Foods for date night dinner.

::eating out:: Louie’s Pizza, Rehoboth Beach, DE

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While we always go to Gus & Gus for boardwalk night in Rehoboth, it usually only gets two visits the entire week. The next restaurant on the list gets visits almost daily. Louie’s gets a visit from someone on boardwalk night, is the go to for pizza night at the house, provides a 2nd dinner on those nights when the kids all go to bed early and we want to eat again, and we’ll trek 6 blocks on the hot boardwalk to carry hot pizza back to eat on the sand when we need a beach snack (once barefoot, that was not good).

In a sea of Grotta Pizzas, Louie’s is another favorite owned and operated by the original family. Despite my love of all things Starbucks, Apple, and Whole Foods, I do have a huge soft spot for small family run businesses. The same rules apply at Louie’s as they do Gus’s. You either eat in with a waitress or you order from the walk up counter. You can’t mix and match! These are small establishments, please don’t be shocked when they ask you to not haul your double-wide stroller in. If this is the situation for you…get counter service and find a bench along the boardwalk. It’s not because they don’t want to help you. It’s because you annoy the other patrons trying to squeeze by you.

There isn’t anything extraordinary about the Louie’s pizza. I think that’s why I like it so much. Not too much or too little of any ingredient. They are fast. They are friendly. The pizza is very light on the greasiness. Not cheap, but not overpriced. It is like getting a pizza from your local pizzeria instead of in the heart of a tourist location. The steak sandwiches are the same way. They only thing I might say is that they seem a little empty. But, when I am used to overfull sandwiches that you need a fork to finish, having a sandwich stay in tact is a delight, especially on the beach.

And the flavor of their chicken cheesesteaks…might be perfect.

Louies Pizza on UrbanspoonMy, how I am getting excited for our beach trip this year… Still more to come.

Louie’s is located on the main strip, Rehoboth Avenue on the North side of the block closest to the ocean. You can eat in, take out, or just grab a slice and a soda at the counter. There isn’t delivery, but I will keep hoping…

Previously in Summer Eats: Gus & Gus, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

::eating out:: Gus & Gus, Rehoboth Beach, DE

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Well it is just the first day of June, but since Memorial Day was this past Monday, I’m going to go ahead and say it. Happy Summer!!! It is time to start enjoying the blazing heat by getting in a car with your loved ones for a few hours, fighting traffic, eventually crossing over the burning sand, and finally dipping your toes in the ocean! I don’t want to hear from the people that enjoy this weather year round. For the Northeast part of the country the beach/shore/Jersey is how many people spend their Summers. Along with any other town along the water, sand or not. Over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to share some of our favorite eateries that are always part of our Summer travels.

Every year, we spend a week in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with as many members of my immediate family as are willing to come. Of the now 24 of us, we usually average 12-14 people in the house. A few nights we spend cooking, one night we’ll eat out, one night we’ll bring home pizza from the boardwalk and couple nights we’ll eat on the boardwalk. This year is going to be our 5th year there and when we get boardwalk dinners, we have stuck to our favorites. Thrashers Fries need not be compared to any other. If you are at the beach in need of french fries, just go to Thrashers.

On “Boardwalk Dinner Night” number one, I instantly go to Gus & Gus found right on the boardwalk at Wilmington Ave (One block South of Rehoboth Ave).

If what you want is made on a grill, you’ll be able to get it at Gus & Gus. We did eat in one year, but with at least 14 people looking for food, the trend has become, grab your food from where you want it and meet back at this bench to share a meal. The service window at Gus’s is fantastic. You see your meal prepared exactly as you requested it. They are fast and always courteous.

Gus is a doll. I mean, look at him. How could you not trust a place where this is the man wrapping your steak sandwich? This year will be Gus’s 55th on the Rehoboth Boardwalk. I imagine the decor of the place has not changed since 1956 and I love that. It is the kind of place that you go because they aren’t trying to be fancy, so you know that they are trying to be good. Maybe it was the lack of neon that attracted me.

To the food.

Like I said, this is the place to go if you want something made on a grill. I stick to burgers because it is rare that I eat burgers, so I want them to have that perfect greasy salty flavor when I do. Gus’s never disappoints me. Nothing fancy, just a basic patty grilled up with the perfect amount of salt and pepper. I get mine with grilled peppers and onions. The best part? Maybe the buttered & grilled bun. Mmmmm Junk food at its best. The sausages, hotdogs and steak sandwiches don’t disappoint either. And I have had their fries, and they are great… but we aren’t in charge of the fries for Boardwalk dinner night  🙂

 
Gus & Gus Place on Urbanspoon

::eating out:: Blue Route Taco Truck, Whole Foods Market, Plymouth Meeting, Pa

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Last night, I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the Blue Route Taco Truck at the Whole Foods Market in Plymouth Meeting. Being that I love tacos, and I love free food, I couldn’t deny it. I even cancelled plans with friends. Yup, I am a horrible friend when it comes to free food. Consider that my blogger disclaimer. I did not pay for this food. But, if I am willing to admit I am a horrible friend, you can also trust that my opinions of the free food are my own. So enjoy 🙂

Pulling up to the Whole Foods, you might expect to see a taco truck in the lot. You would be looking for a while. This taco truck is on the roof! For a whole different perspective on the truck and some thoughts on the concept itself, head over to My Latest Distraction. I made PTB go along with me and he shared his thoughts on the “food truck”.

I’ve been excited about this truck for the months and months that it was sitting outside the store just waiting for the crane to hoist it to its new home at the Rooftop Cafe. The team that joined together in creating the menus and recipes for the truck were invested in the idea from start to finish. They visited Philadelphia and New York on a “tour of food trucks” to bring that grease truck feel to the newest part of their prepared foods family. A little thing I learned while there, this is the only Whole Foods to have a taco truck, and one of only 3 to have the burgers! Man, those are some good burgers.

The 3 Chris’s were our hosts for the evening. It was nice being able to easily remember the names of all the chefs! We have had Chris and Other Chris help us in the store before. Third Chris (not necessarily in photo order) is seen but rarely heard 🙂 They are all great guys and were amazing hosts answering any and all questions we had and visiting the tables in between order prep. The same friendliness you get from all the Whole Foods employees when you shop there was a clear part of this truck experience. A friend recently had her first Whole Foods experience (I like to convert people). When she told me about it her exact words were “I never smiled the entire time I was in a grocery store!”

Unlike a mobile food truck, the cab has been converted into an order window/cash register. While some may not like that this is different from a “real” food truck, I like paying with plastic as I rarely carry cash. The menu is short and sweet, and if they don’t have a beverage you want from the truck, try to remember to buy it downstairs first and bring it with you. Tacos are $2.50 each or 3 for $6. Cans of beer are available for $2.99 along with soda, tea and water.

Ordering is done in a similar fashion to the custom burgers inside. Pick up a slip, fill in the quantities you would like and put your name at the bottom. The slip does note that they will make no ingredient substitutions. To keep things quick, this makes sense and I would much rather have it on the order slip than have a cook yell at me. Once your order is ready, they will call your name. Easy enough. The beer list is obviously not as extensive as the options in their pub, but there was a decent variety and I was happy to see Phoenixville’s Sly Fox Brewery represented. I haven’t had my first post-baby drink yet though, so I stuck to soda and water. Oh – and I know I haven’t mentioned this before. The 365 Sodas are awesome. They are made with natural cane sugar and so yummy. The Black Cherry Soda is my favorite, but it might just be because it is clear. One issue I had with the menus was a bit of a discrepancy on Figi Water listed as $1.39 on the paper menu but $1.89 on the board.

Onto the food! While the guys do have the full store at their disposal for whatever they may need, all the ingredients are prepped on the truck. I love that all the ingredients are the same items I would buy in the store. Although, they may change later in the Summer as they are hoping to grow their own jalapenos and cilantro on the rooftop. I went down the menu in order trying each of the tacos, before I got to the vegetarian option I had snuck onto the truck for some pictures and saw the veggies being grilled…I couldn’t wait to get to that one!

First up Carne Asada with Queso Fresco (above left), Yellow Spanish Onion, Cilantro and spices. All the tacos were served in soft shells. The spices on the carne asada were great. The beef was tender and delicious. Overall, it was a people pleaser taco. Not too season-y, not too bland, simple but delightful.

Next, Pork Carnitas with Tomatillo Sauce (above right). This salsa was fresh Tomatillos, Yellow Spanish Onion, Jalapeno Peppers, Cilantro, Green Onion and Lime juice. This was probably both of our favorites. PTB is typically not a pork fan, but he couldn’t resist the kick of the jalapenos in the salsa. I concur. The pulled pork was beyond tender and juicy. The salsa was chunky and cold and had the perfect bit of heat from the peppers. mmmmm

The next taco on the list was the Tecate Fish Taco with Chipotle Mayo. If you have ever paid attention to the “About Me” you know I don’t eat fish. But for you, I did. Just the tiniest bite. The nice thing was that this beer battered Haddock fillet was not fishy at all. Topped with a Curtido Slaw consisting of cabbage, carrot, lime and cumin, this taco reminded me of the Kimchee Quesadilla at Tyson Bee’s (post coming soon, I swear). Decent, but definitely not the taco for me.

PTB was sure the next taco would be his favorite. It wasn’t. He liked it, but it wasn’t as good as he was hoping it would be. Spiced Chicken Taco with Pico de Gallo. It certainly did look delicious. We are typically huge fans of the Pico de Gallo that Whole Foods makes. Consisting of tomato, yellow Spanish onion, cilantro, jalapenos, and yellow bell peppers, it is colorful and tasty. When we buy small containers of it to bring home, we go through it almost too quickly. Maybe the jalapeno in this batch was a little too bland for our tastes. Overall, the taco was good. The chicken was nice and juicy, but the pico was maybe too sweet for our tastes. I would say this is a taco anyone could eat and enjoy regardless of their taste for heat.

The last taco on the list was a vegetarian option: Grilled Vegetables with Black Beans and Jicama. This came in a close second for my favorite. And depending on the day could have possibly come in first. Notice, I got a second Carnitas along with the veggie to try and compare side by side. The vegetarian taco is filled with yellow Spanish onion, summer squash, red & yellow bell peppers, jalapenos, black beans, and topped with jicama and cilantro. The grilling spices used are so yummy and give an amazing flavor to the taco.

Some tacos were double shelled, others were not. According to Chris, this was something they were learning as they built the menu. Some just were too juicy to be handled by one shell. I would probably suggest double shelling in general. The only one that didn’t seem to need it was the fish.

I will definitely be going back to the Blue Route Taco Truck. At $2.50/taco I can’t resist. I have had a horrible tendency to grab some pulled pork and mashed potatoes on my way out of the store from the prepared foods section lately. It turned into a leftover habit from pregnancy. But at $7.99/lb… that is an expensive “snack”. Tacos may have to replace that habit 🙂

The Blue Route Taco Truck will debut this Friday, April 15th, during a day-long grand opening starting at 12pm. The truck’s menu will feature the five unique varieties of tacos pictured above. Ice-cold canned beer, soda, and water will also be available to wash it all down. Don’t miss the opening day festivities that will feature a 5-piece Latin Jazz band, maraca painting for kids and giveaways. No rain is scheduled and the high is 63. Sounds kind of perfect to me!

Whole Foods Market Plymouth Meeting is located at 500 West Germantown Pike at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in Plymouth Meeting, Pa 19462. Be sure to check them out on Facebook or follow on Twitter to keep up with all their latest offerings and specials. I’m personally looking forward to hearing about possible new offerings on the truck. There were rumors of tortas and fresh made chips and guacamole on the rooftop last night…Only time will tell!

Oh, and how could I not include this adorableness? Ben was a little jealous of the tacos getting all the attention from the camera. Look at him making eyes at me. Seriously.

And now that you have read one of my longest posts ever, go check out My Latest Distraction‘s article about the concept of a food truck on a rooftop.

::eating out:: Bobby’s Burger Palace

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After hearing a ton of chatter about the new burger shop in University City, I finally had the opportunity to check it out. To give you a quick summary:

– It was worth the hype.
– It may not have been worth spending $35 for two people.
– Looking at these pictures make me want to go again.

If you want more details, read on to see some thoughts and a collection of images that might make you want to check them out too.

First, let me start with the name. I really just want to call it Bobby’s Burger Place not Bobby’s Burger Palace. I do like the design though. It’s a burger 🙂 I have never been to any of Bobby Flay‘s restaurants before, but I did know that he was the Bobby involved in this venture, so I had high expectations going in.

The menus are fairly simple. There aren’t too many choices, but they all sound so good, that I still had a hard time deciding. This is not a traditional Bobby Flay-need a reservation-fancy pants-restuarant. This is decide your order while you wait in line-place an order-get a number similar to the system of Cosi.

Decor is retro and warm. You are surrounded by huge images of burger toppings. We chose to site at the bar rather than the long group tables.

Scattered throughout the tables are carousels of sauces. Traditional ketchup and mustard, chipotle ketchup, burger sauce (like a strong A1), and a jalapeno hot sauce. I think the chipotle ketchup was my favorite. The burger sauce was a bit strong for me, and the jalapeno hot sauce was good, but didn’t go with my meal.

We started with some milkshakes, and when I saw a picture of the onion rings on their website, how could I resist ordering those?! We went with dark chocolate and pistachio milkshakes. The dark chocolate was A-MAY-ZING. The pistachio was very good, but a bit overly sweet. We both agreed that we prefer the pistachio cardamom milkshake at the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. For the price, the shakes are certainly small, but they are filling. They are the kind of shakes though, that I would prefer be served with the food. I have a hard time resisting a shake before the meal comes and then i end up having very little left by the time I am eating. That makes me sad 🙁

I like to think that the fries and onion rings are enough for two people. I ended up bringing more than half the onion rings home. The fries come with BBP Fry Sauce. It is similar to the sour cream/ketchup/red pepper concoction served with bloomin’ onions/awesome blossoms/whatever you want to call them. I preferred the chipotle ketchup with the fires and the rings.

Finally!  The burgers! I ordered the Philadelphia Burger, medium-well. Yes, you can order your burger however you like it. And mine was perfectly medium well. Cooked all the way through, but still juicy. Perfect. I ordered my Philadelphia Burger with Provolone (you have the choice of Wiz as well). It was also topped with grilled onions and hot peppers. The best way I could describe it, is that it tastes like that glorious smell of food carts in Philadelphia. That smell that is so delicious, but you know the food is not that good. I am not a cheeseburger fan at all, but I want to eat this again.

PTB ordered the L.A. Burger. It was topped with avocado relish, tomato, cheddar, and watercress. It was so good. The avocado relish was not super relish-y. It was more of a guacamole with a bite. The tomato was perfectly ripe. I think my big issue with tomatoes on burgers typically is that they are nasty tomatoes. This was not the case. Despite my usual distaste for tomatoes, cheeseburgers, and cheddar, I would totally order this burger.

Last, I just wanted to talk about the onion rings a little bit more. I mean look at those things. Look at the perfect sea salt on them. They were amazing! My only complaint (which isn’t a complaint at all) is that I need someone to share them with. PTB does not eat onions. I can’t finish the whole serving at BBP. I brought them home, but they were fresh made, not some freezer variety. Why is that a bad thing? Because food that is fried right and fried fresh, is meant to be consumed right away. It is not meant to be stuck in the toaster oven and reheated. They didn’t do so well the second time around.

Bobby's Burger Palace on Urbanspoon

Right now, Bobby’s Burger Palace has five locations throughout the tri-state area. The University City location in Philadelphia is at 3925 Walnut Street. Check it out and let me know what you think. Now, I have to go figure out when I can go again.