Saturday, November 17, 2012

visiting chicago's sprout with the dish trip team

Last month, our Dish Trip team hit Chicago for a lil' culinary exploration. While the full scoop on that portion of the trip is a-coming, as part of our stay, we attended one of Southwest's exclusive Cardmember Dinners at Sprout Restaurant.

I scribed up the experience over on Southwest Nuts' About Southwest Blog (which you can read HERE), which includes our in-the-kitchen interview with Chef Dale Levitski (yes, of Top Chef fame).

If you tune into the below video, you'll catch the chef whipping up a superb Pumpkin Soup — one of the five courses we tried that night. The pumpkin soup was a pleasant seasonal surprise, with elaborate textural components like seasoned mascarpone cheese, Honeycrisp apples and unexpected pumpkin seeds — which gave a final, crunchy punch. Love to revisit that slurp one day again soon — and, Sprout as a whole.

celebrating cafette's holy grail of fried chicken

It started with the fried chicken. Once a week on a Friday night, Cafette featured their signature crispy skinned chicken, a salty, savory dish that through the years — twenty to be exact — developed a fiend-worthy following. But, just because the offering would sell out before every Friday night’s end, they never extended their offering — it was meant for a Friday night, and that was the official plan.

So, when Cafette established their twenty year anniversary menu for last month, you’d expect the notorious seasoned bird to gracefully find its place in the lineup — you know, only on the Friday nights that the month-long, celebratory menu was offered.

Since I am one to release a few chicken-fried hallelujahs when they are due, I decided an appropriate crunch time to visit Cafette was during their twenty year anniversary month. It was a most important sojourn to see what all the fresh-out-of-the-hot-skillet fuss was about, and to gobble up what is said to be the area’s holy grail of flaky crust, flavorful meat, and overall, comfort food bliss!

Continue reading  my article HERE, on

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

pescatore's italian restaurant's autumn craft beer dinner

It's always an exciting victory of mine to tackle a (new-to-me) spot that's rocking an impressive craft beer list, but also has a food menu that matches up nicely with the beauty of the beer stock.

Recently, the Town Dish team was invited to attend Pescatore's Italian Restaurant's (of Glen Mills, Pa.) Autumn Beer Dinner. I've heard brief bits about how they were rocking a pretty craft arsenal, but never had I had the chance to explore it myself.

Credit: Nina Lea Photography

That's me above — obviously, I was enjoying this recent experience, sipping Finch's Golden Wing (love this Blonde Ale). I did a full-blown, course-by-course dinner recap over on West Chester Dish, which you can read by clicking HERE.

And, trust me — don't skip a beat next time you hear they're hosting a beer dinner. It was one of the best I've been to in a long time, and they're so popular that each one sells-out the restaurant and it is open only to beer dinner attendees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

apple picking at frecon farms

Frecon Farms has always had a sweet spot in my heart. Situated in my hometown, apples were a major part of my diet — well, that and the fact that I worked my mid- to late-teens across town in another prosperous apple-focused company, at Bauman's Apple Butter.

So, ever since B and I started dating, I've raved about all things apples, apple butter, apple cider. I mean, the word "apples" are in my blog's name — you get it. But, we've never actually went apple-picking, which happens to be a popular sport around Berks County, especially for any Boyertownian.

Taking all of the above into consideration, B and I hit Frecon's on the first day of their  pick-your-own season — which debuted two weeks earlier this year due to the warm winter we had along the East Coast. Since it was the fresh end of pick-your-own, only McIntosh, Gala and Jonathans were deemed pickable in the vast orchards, but we had no beef with that, and each made out like bandits.

Scenes from our fall-infused excursion are viewable below.

Learn all you need to know on picking your own at Frecon Farms of Boyertown, Pa. by clicking here. You can also PYO pumpkins — which, I'm gearing up to do just that very soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

chit-chatting with mark weinmann of great lakes brewing company

In the midst of Oktoberfest season, we have been flooding the air waves with interviews of beer-savvy individuals. Recently, I chit-chatted with Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s Mark Weinmann and you can dive into the full Q&A HERE.
We explore the eco-conscious background of the Cleveland-based brewery, how they're celebrating their upcoming 25th anniversary and who they may be brewing a collaboration beer with, and also, why you should already get excited about their Christmas Ale (which is slated to hit the markets soon).

recapping historic kennett's 15th annual brewfest

Living in the Greater Philadelphia area, a notable craft beer destination that hosts a thriving, up-and-coming lineup of start-up breweries, you’ll easily find a new friend over a pint of craft beer. While staying close-to-home for beer exploration is simple enough in this area, sometimes you want to broaden your horizons, and Historic Kennett Square’s annual Brewfest was (and always is) the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Continue the full tasting report by clicking HERE. 2012's top picks include: Evil Genius Brewing Co.’s Trick or Treat Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Manayunk Brewing Co.’s Yunkin Punkin, McKenzie Brew House’s Saison Vautour, Hill Farmstead’s Vera Mae and Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co.’s Leon Russian Imperial S’mores Stout.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

summer recap: zombie-infused feast unfolds at zahav

This summer, James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Solomonov hosted his annual“Down the Shore” soiree, where he—for 2012—transformed his restaurant, Zahav, into a night of the living dead party with blood thirsty guests and more importantly, an incredible lineup of Philadelphia acclaimed chefs. 

I recapped this forever-memborable bloody bash over on OpenTable (click here to read the full scoop), where I may have forgotten to mention that the deadly affair concluded with zombie "burlesque" dancers (read: strippers; yes you read that correctly).

While I apologize for not snapping shots of them (I'm lying), I will leave you with some glimpses from the living dead party below.