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


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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.ย 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…ย 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.

::buy this:: Numi Rooibos


There are rules for while you are pregnant. Not too many apply to me. I don’t smoke or do any drugs (giving up Motrin for the occasional headache was lame, I don’t do Tylenol), I don’t eat lunch meat or raw fish. But I am a caffeine junky, and I enjoy a drink every now and then. Funnily enough, these are the “rules” that most people tend to not worry about. They give you a number for caffeine; 150mg. Alcohol still has the jury out. There is no clear amount that causes problems. And I can’t count the number of times that I was told “one drink won’t hurt, my ::insert random family member or friend:: drank ::insert random interval of time:: during their pregnancy and their baby was fine”. Same goes for caffeine.

Seriously though, it is 9 months of my life. A bit more if you add in the fact that I was giving up caffeine slowly in anticipation of “Bean”. I have survived those 9 months. I would say my total caffeine consumption through has probably totaled 150mg from the random sips of Cherry Coke and the mass consumption of chocolate. Ok…maybe the chocolate put me over…

While it isn’t necessarily the caffeine that gets me going in the morning, a cozy cup of something helps. Just when I was getting my taste for coffee back, my Breville Keurig broke. Horrible timing! Between moving and a mistake with the first replacement, it took a couple months before I had my coffee back. (Please note! I am not complaining, they replaced my nearly 3 year old machine! It was worth the wait.) In that time, I switched over to Rooibos tea. I had been enjoying the Tazo Vanilla Rooibos over the Summer as a cold treat and found a single tea bag of the Numi Ruby Chai in a cabinet. I am so glad I had it hiding in there!

Most herbal teas are a no-go while pregnant. Not enough research as to what damage they can do, etc. Rooibos is actually a legume, not a leaf (fun fact for the day…and who doesn’t like saying legume?). The Numi Ruby Chai has a perfect depth. More of a coffee flavor than tea, not quite as spicy as a black tea chai, but still wonderfully flavorful. Completely, and naturally*, caffeine free. The other bonus is it is a Fair Trade product.

~*Have you looked into how they decaffeinate some teas and coffee? Yeah, it’s gross. More on that later because I also have eliminated chemically decaffeinated coffees.

I am sure once the temperature drops again I’ll be enjoying this tea more regularly again. It is a great option for a late night cup of warmth. For now, I am not going to complain about the awesome warmth we have been having outside. Buy Numi Rooibos on Amazon and help support Not Just Take Out ๐Ÿ™‚

::buy this:: Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce

The first few months of pregnancy I was lucky enough to not get too sick. And really my cravings weren’t out of control. I like to think I was just really good at listening to my body. For the first few weeks I lived on pizza and curry take out. It was an expensive month. In my first few attempts to go to the grocery store, I wondered the prepared foods aisle and came across a curry simmer sauce I had not noticed before.

We have been crazy about the Chicken Korma from our favorite Indian place Tiffin. Eventually I will try to make some myself, but theirs is just so good. And driving to go get it makes it so easy. In the meantime, while my laziness is getting the best of me and the takeout bills are getting too high, I have been experimenting with anything Korma I can find in the grocery store. Let me just tell you right now, nothing has come close to Tiffin’s.

The Seeds of Change Korma sauce is a great starter curry. If you want to introduce someone to curry and their fears of it being too spicy or smelly or just gross in general… this may be the way to go. It is a sweet curry and very coconut-y. Not at all what I was looking for in my curry. For me it wasn’t the one. PTB still enjoyed it, but since we both have to eat, that may be a no-buy for us in the future.

Despite the unsucessful night with the Korma simmer sauce, I was willing to give Seeds of Change another chance. They had a Jalfrezi simmer sauce calling my name. With no promises to be sweet or mild this “Medium-Hot” sauce lived up to its description. Was it as good as making a jalfrezi dish from scratch… that could be arguable. It has been a while since I made jalfrezi. Was it beyond easy and so worth it? Yes.

When I poured the sauce into the pan, I was expecting a smooth liquidy sauce to come out. I was thinking, maybe next time I will pick up some peppers to throw in. Unnecessary. Peppers and Onions were in the sauce. It was incredible. My only recommendation would be to skip the sautรฉing the chicken first. Just let it cook in the sauce so it absorbs all the flavors.It oonly makes preparing this dish easier.

Now I need to find a store that carries their Madras and Tikka Masala simmer sauces and I will be set. Or I could just buy it on Amazon and have it shipped to me. Oh Amazon Prime, I adore you.

::eating out:: Bobby’s Burger Palace


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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™

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.

::kitschy kitchen:: Not Just Plain Vanilla


Last week I finally made the lavender cupcakes I have been dying to try. I don’t know why I was so excited about the idea of cooking with lavender. I had never thought of it as something edible, but it just sounded perfect. I found the Silver Cloud Estates Lavender Extract and I was on my way. Their extract is amazing. The flavor does not cook off or freeze away. This makes it perfect for baked treats or frozen delights (I can’t wait to have an ice cream maker!) Just opening the bottle is like filling your kitchen with a little bit of heaven. My favorite part of the cupcakes was that they were a huge hit, but no one knew quite what is what that they liked about them. Since it was such a different flavor, they couldn’t pick it out. The best was that it wasn’t overly obvious either. PTB was convinced the floral flavoring was from the purple icing. My sister-in-law thought the same thing, and thought the green ones tasted different ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, enough about those cupcakes! Have I said enough to make you want to try them yet?

Today, I returned to Village Spices and sought out more fun extracts. I narrowed down the choices to almond, coconut, and rosewater (the company sells cardamom extract too! but the store did not have any). Eventually I will have them all of course ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wish I could test them more easily. These 4 oz. bottles will last forever!

So today I bought the rosewater extract. I am envisioning a summer of Rosewater Lemonades and a variety of other new experiments. I am excited to make some cookies using the rosewater extract and some cardamom (PTB’s favorite spice). Rosewater is popular in Middle-Eastern cooking and in Europe for flavoring marzipan. I’m not sure why it isn’t a huge hit here. We seem addicted to vanilla extract. I’ll admit, I use vanilla in almost all my baking, but with my discovery of Silver Cloud Estates, that may be changing. For a simple recipe, just substitute the vanilla extract with any extract you like. Be creative, be daring, and share what you come up with.

If you have used rosewater extract before, and have suggestions, I am completely open to it. I can’t wait to get started! I just need to buy some lemons first ๐Ÿ™‚