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::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 ūüôā 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 ¬†ūüôā

 
Gus & Gus Place on Urbanspoon

::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 ūüôā 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 ūüôĀ

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.

::saturday special:: Saxbys in Manayunk

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Let’s talk about this drink for a minute. ¬†Let’s talk about how delicious it was. ¬†I don’t think it is any secret what I like. ¬†Coffee. ¬†Chocolate. ¬†Spice. ¬†Combine these three things and I am happy. ¬†Add in ice cream (ok frozen yogurt) and it is even better. ¬†Perhaps unstoppable.

Despite my love of Starbucks, I was never a huge fan of Frappucinos. ¬†Something about them (the old formula) didn’t agree with me completely. ¬†Something about them (the new formula) scares me away from even trying them again (maybe the gum?). ¬†I do love milkshakes, but it seems to be difficult to find one that isn’t giant while you are out and about. ¬†Oh! ¬†That brings up another thing I have made clear that I love. ¬†Sitting outside to eat.

This post is more of a story than anything. ¬†I haven’t tried many things on the Saxbys menu. ¬†Yet. ¬†Let’s start at the beginning.

When I worked in Manayunk (a decade ago already!), I was a regular at Bucks County Coffee. ¬†There was something special about buying my coffee from a local company. ¬†At that point the most convenient Starbucks to my neighborhood was Plymouth Meeting, so Bucks County it was… I may have even applied at Bucks once. ¬†They only hired people with Barista experience?! ¬†Really? ¬†You don’t want to train people? You just wanted Starbucks sloppy seconds? ¬†So, I worked at Starbucks. ¬†For almost 6 years. ¬†No offense Bucks, but you lost a customer because you wouldn’t hire me. ¬†Free Coffee > Local Coffee. ¬†And my Starbucks family was pretty awesome.

Fast forward to sometime in the last 5 years. ¬†Sometime since I stopped working at Starbucks, moved back to the old neighborhood, and returned to Manayunk regularly. ¬†Sometime when Bucks County Coffees closed and were quickly replaced by Saxbys all over the Delaware Valley. ¬†It was like Bucks County Coffee. ¬†The chalkboard menus were still there. ¬†The comfortable atmosphere was still there. ¬†It seemed a little less coffee-snobby and a little more modern all around snobby (Just like me!). ¬†The chai latte’s were still good. ¬†They still burned my soymilk almost every time. ¬†And really, our visits to Saxby’s vs. Starbucks in Manayunk just depended on what end of Main Street we were parked near. ¬†Then the Saxbys disappeared! ¬†What the what?! ¬†Soon we realized it was reopening down the street. ¬†Closer to Starbucks?! ¬†Close enough that we hadn’t been there yet. ¬†Until yesterday.

Today I went to Manayunk to visit a friend. ¬†We were going to bake cookies and hang out for a bit. ¬†Awesome Star Wars sugar cookies to be exact. ¬†Sugar cookie dough, however, needs to be refrigerated for a few hours before you can cut it into awesome shapes. ¬†So we had some time to kill and it was a gorgeous day out. ¬†Off we go to Manayunk! ¬†Once again Colleen mentioned the FroYo at Saxbys and asked if we had a chance to try it yet. Of course I hadn’t, so we had a destination!

I told you this was a long story.  Trust me.
This drink is worth it.

So. ¬†On our way there, I am told about the Mocha Mexicana they have on the menu at Saxbys. ¬†Of course I want the Mocha Mexicana! ¬†Chocolate. Cinnamon. ¬†Coffee. ¬†Why wouldn’t I want that! ¬†Can I have it iced? ¬†Of course. ¬†Can I have it blended? ¬†Sure. ¬†Well. ¬†Maybe. ¬†I caused quite a ruckus in the Saxbys in Manyunk today apparently.

I was all hyped up about the FroYo I HAD to try. ¬†But then, a coffee drink sounded so delightful. ¬†So I asked if they would blend my Mocha Mexicana with FroYo instead of ice. ¬†Blended ice….bleh. ¬†I like my margaritas and all other drinks on the rocks if ice is needed. ¬†Oh man. ¬†You would think this was the scariest question these girls have ever been asked. ¬†One asked the other. ¬†The other asked me to repeat. ¬†Then she went to get the manager. ¬†And I explained it to him. ¬†Maybe a little more receptive. ¬†I’m not going to lie. ¬†Maybe a lot more receptive once I mentioned I had a food blog. ¬†Name dropper? WHAT?! haha.

So began the project.  I described what I thought it should be.  Testing ensued.  Below is Sample #1.  We started without the coffee.  Chocolate Frozen Yogurt and cinnamon syrup.  It needed a bit more cinnamon kick.  Sample #2 included coffee and more cinnamon.  AWESOME.

The final beverage was a full size version. ¬†Since they started with smaller portions, he doubled the cinnamon in the final version. ¬†It was a bit too much. ¬†But it was still pretty awesome. ¬†We decided on the final cinnamon to be in between. ¬†I won’t tell you the exact number of pumps. ¬†It’s officially a Saxbys secret. ¬†But isn’t the drink pretty topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon?

I was told this would be a special drink for the Summer at Saxbys in Manayunk. ¬†Maybe it will be named after Not Just Take Out? ¬†I have big goals! ¬†I will create a new recipe for them every week if they let me name them all ¬†ūüôā ¬†I do miss working in a cafe. ¬†Almost all the time. ¬†I especially miss concocting ridiculously awesome recipes. ¬†So long story for a short summary:

The team at the Saxbys in Manayunk is pretty cool. ¬†They aren’t afraid to try new things if you don’t give up ūüôā ¬†They do already have a huge menu though, so maybe you don’t need to be as obnoxious as I am/was. ¬†It is a super roomy space, so if you are looking to hang out for a bit, it is a way better option than Starbucks. ¬†They have a ton of outdoor seating which I adore!

They have a new Summer beverage! ¬†I can’t tell you for sure, but it might be named “Not Just Take Out” ¬†or maybe they’ll name it the “mrs ptb”? ¬†It is chocolate frozen yogurt, coffee, and cinnamon. ¬†It is pretty awesome. ¬†A perfect balance of smooth coffee, creamy chocolate, and spicy cinnamon. ¬†YUM!

Thanks to the manager (I think?) Scott for trying it out until it was perfected!  Now go try it yourself.  Saxbys Manayunk is located at 4343 Main Street, Manayunk, Phila, Pa, 19128.  Call for their daily hours.  267-323-2257

If this isn’t close by, check out their website to find a location near you. ¬†Maybe my recipe will go INTERNATIONAL. lol.

And lastly, one more awesome thing about Saxbys.  Check out the plastic to-go cups:  They are made out of corn, so they are biodegradable.  Very Cool.