Sunday, September 26, 2010

a visit to both raw can roll cafe and pure body wellness

As an ode to the raw food movement, Douglassville's latest addition, the Raw Can Roll Café, celebrates the organic and vegan lifestyles of those who love to plunge their palates in the finest and most subtle tastes of extremely seasonal foods.

With a grand opening only a few months back, on June 5 (my birthday!), owner Sheryll Chavarria decided that to complement her established wellness center devoted to natural healing practices, Pure Body Wellness, she would additionally provide locals with an all-natural food lineup—one that would encourage healthy eating practices and introduce her favorites found within her own raw food habits.

Continue reading the Raw Can Roll feature in news, not blues, here

And, this past weekend, owner Chavarria invited locals of both near and far to experience her fairly new spa and massage space, which you can see below. So, after devouring the Mexican Tostadas (as seen above) at her raw cafe, we skipped a few doors to the left, to encounter the world of cucumber facials, sea salt scrubs, knowledge of reiki and much, much more.
Raw Can Roll Café is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 38 Old Swede Road in Douglassville. Pure Body Wellness is located in the same shopping center, on the opposite end of the cafe.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

an abundance of brews at mccoole's fall beer fest

With a 43-beer checklist in hand, my friend, brother and I set out for McCoole's Fall Beer Fest in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. Packed with pumpkin pleasures I have yet to taste, aside seasonals including Oktoberfests aplenty, I was confident that I could tackle such a list in our four-hour session--no sweat.

Well, let's just say, I need to stop being so cocky. 43 samples doesn't sound like a hard task by any means, but after about half, many of the similar-conceptualized beers began to appear the same in taste. But that being said, I did pinpoint a bunch of favorites, and this was (of course) before my body was flooded with beer drinking silliness, as in, I swear I remember the exact characteristics of each swig.
As a fan of pumpkin beers done at their best, i.e. not overly spiced, right blend of flavors, I found that Uinta's Punk'n was bold in color and flavor, spouting an actual pumpkin taste, not a masked excuse for fall's favored forerunner. However, this Punk'n is incredibly crisp and thin, so if you're desiring a medium bodied beverage, this is not for you.
Other notables included: River Horse's Hipp-o-Lantern (another enjoyable pumpkin ale), Old Dominion Oktoberfest and Rogue's Double Chocolate Stout (like eating chocolate cake, no joke). For the full list of the beers offered during last weekend's beer fest, click here.
TorchBearer Sauces were also cozy at this fall's beerfest, and one of their sauce-creating crafters was smiling proud as he pointed out his cartoonish mugshot on his Zombie Apocalypse sauce (one of the hottest spiced sauces out there). While I honestly hadn't experience this mouth-scorcher, I did devour a couple mouthfuls of their black bean salsa, and MAN was it incredibly fresh! (TorchBearer sells at all PA-based Whole Foods and select Giant supermarkets.)
The enthusiastic male who invented "Puttle" was on site egging all beer fanatics to give his golfing game a go. Although I can't say I have a profound skill of golfing, I was able to nail the middle pin (main point of the game) in several swoops.
And, after four hours of hopping from one sample to the next, we couldn't deny that after all the slurps, Victory Village was by far teetering on the top of our lists.

For more information about McCoole's Beer Festivals, click here. There's two a year, so you get double the chance at not missing the next one!

Friday, September 24, 2010

peach paradise at jukebox cafe

As if I couldn't be anymore excited to wave farewell to the summer season, and also, praise the pumpkin pleasures that have already claimed a place in my everyday diet, I have to announce one last award-winner(s) for the steamy season.

Peaches are one of the most perfect fruits. Vibrant and fiercely fuzzy on the outside, juicy and deliciously fleshy on the inside, the locally grown peach nabbed a necessary place in my diet over the course of the last few months. 

While I typically enjoyed noshing on an individual round just as so, what I found pleasurable was the seasonal "Peach Mania" menu at my favorite brunch spot, The Jukebox Cafe.

From glorious peach muffins, to peach and bacon breakfast sandwiches, stuffed peach sticky buns, and my favorite, fresh peach french toast, the golden trophy of a fruit reached impressive lengths this summer season, and I couldn't ignore saying "BRAVO" to the adorable fifties-inspired eatery for embracing the gorgeous gem, aplenty.

Visit The Jukebox Cafe for yourself at 535 South Reading Avenue, Boyertown or call for some quick breakfast and lunch to-go at 610-369-7272. Although you may be too late for Peach Mania--don't worry. Fall's on the brim, and autumn's amazing assortment will easily satisfy your 'buds at this must-visit morn' munchies hotspot!

aetna and food network's healthy food fight

Aetna, along with the Food Network and The Culinary Institute of America, are sponsoring a “Healthy Food Fight” and they recently made a stop at the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival on September 11 and 12, as part of their 10-city cooking contest challenge.

The Aetna Healthy Food Fight is detailed as a cooking contest that’s making its way across the country to promote healthy eating and healthy cooking. People from all over the Delaware Valley recently submitted healthy recipes for a chance to bravely battle-it-out at the local 'shroom festival, with the weekend's winner being lucky enough to fly to LA for the finale with Bobby Flay.
Lucky for Chester County locals, Food Network's sassy star, Sunny Anderson, was one of the judges spouting her opinion at the recent weekend fest, aside WC Dish's Mary Bigham, cookbook author Cynthia Goch, Director of the Brandywine Chapter of Pa. Restaurant Association Dee Rogevich and myself. Not that any of us need a special occasion to lend our two cents on food creations, but we were honored to judge which local health-conscious concoction was worthy of conquering the finale all the way in California, and you can follow  here to see who was crowned the Philadelphia-based award-winning chef, plus recreate the recipe yourself. 

In our round of the healthy food fight, we sampled a four-plate lineup from home chefs, one of which included a Berks County resident, and detailed what we found best and of course, worst, in taste, texture and presentation.
While each local contender's plate boomed in one, if not all, of the categories, the dish that I found most impressive was the last platter of an Asian Market Salad with Quinoa, Watercress, Roasted Mushrooms and Pineapple, served with Toasted Sesame Oil Vinaigrette. Of course, as it must be told, this dish was prepared from my county's native, but it honestly was to me, the tastiest of the bunch. Light and refreshing, the garden-fresh assortment tackled pure sweetness and bitterness in one scrumptious swoop.

Also, not shy about honesty, that through the course of these health-conscious dishes, it seemed as though the go-to ingredient for the home chefs with the use of couscous and quinoa, which are both packed with nutrients, etc., although as seen below, we couldn't resist  afterward nabbing a mini-lamb panini (ashamed that it was not AT ALL healthy).
To read more about the national Healthy Food Fight, click here. Also, for more photos of the Kennett Square stop, click here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

step up to better beer at lancaster brewing company

My first visit to Lancaster Brewing Company was impressive, setting the bar for future brewery tours at an all-time high. As I documented here, we arranged to meet with Head Brewer Bill Moore and receive the play-by-play on their particular beer brewing, and as he was gloriously jolly and well-worth spending an afternoon chitchatting about beer with, I couldn't help but mostly gush over the idea of learning how one of my most-favored brews came about (Strawberry Wheat).

However, since that perfected pop-in two Julys ago, I do admit that that particular fruity concoction has slide slightly down my top beer selections, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a revisiting Lancaster Brewing Company at any hour, on any day!
When recently treading the pavement in downtown Lancaster, after a bust-of-a-visit to Mount Hope Estate and Winery at the PA Renaissance Faire, we decided what we needed was a pick-me-up and easily settled for the local brewing company. As I adore variety (I'm the girl who lives for mix-a-sixes), it was a no-brainer that we selected their available flight offering of every beer on tap (12 samples in 5 ounce tasters).

Incredibly in support of y'all doing just the same, we sipped amongst the varying golden lineup, chugging the concoctions we adored the most. Although I love when my dining/drinking companion admires the same blends as me, on this visit, my cousin and I worked well at favoring different varieties, which of course worked better for us both. 

There were a bunch within the flight that I had already experienced on multiple occasions, besides the Strawberry Wheat, including the cans of Kolsh, the Milk Stout, the Amish Four Grain, the Country Cream Ale, Celtic Rose, the Hefe and the Litening Lager. However, I never previously experienced the Chocolate-Covered Strawberry, the Gold Star Pils and their Oktoberfest, so the overall tasting was enjoyable to say the least.
Also, since we spent a large portion of our afternoon scoping out scenes of the local countryside, and since sampling tons of beers can make any girl hungry, we decided on a mini-finger food smorgasbord, enjoying some hearty Bavarian pretzels with cheddar fondue, a classic Margherita pizza and also, some mile-high nachos.
And, you'd think after all the bar food and petite beers that we'd be bursting at the seams, but no, we had a date with the destiny and by that, I mean the Carmen & David's Creamery.
Always hopping on week and weekend nights', the family-run homemade ice cream shop swirls some of the best flavors and blends that any sweet addict could dream of. Better yet, I spent um, 15+ minutes trying to decide on the best two scoop combo, and they so willingly supplied we with a sample of any creamed ice I requested. 
After what seemed like an eternity (hey, I had to let my dinner digest?), we both opted for the fresh banana blend cozy aside a dark chocolate concoction, which of course, was the sweetest of endings to an end-of-summer night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the best of pa dutch dancing at roots country market

Ever since my reemergence into Lancaster, via my lovely cousin, I have developed a knack for scooting up that way more than that I would have assumed. Although I equally appreciate urban and country settings, there is no reason for me to deny that I am slightly obsessed with comfort food, and it is obvious that that county is booming with some of the finest, country-inspired cozy cuisine.

On this recent excursion, we hit up Roots Country Market, popping by on a weekend that they were celebrating their arts and crafts' festival. While artisans flooded their outdoor space premiering everything from paintings, woodwork, old beer bottle crafts, and much more, what we found most enjoyable were the classic supply of whoopie pies, selecting a java-infused variety, as well as a pumpkin (thank god for fall flavors!).
 But, what we found best throughout the fair-like sights was an adorable dog treat setup, made available from the pup treat barkery, Pooch 'n Purr Pantry of Elizabethtown. With an adorable and humorous roundup of nutritious cake cones, poopie pies (think carob powder and cream cheese), couch potato sticks and brightly colored lollipops, how could you not want to snag these sweet treats that are so pup-appropriate. Better yet, as seen above, one of the men helping with the stand was also a pure ham, posing for a giggle-worthy muscle shot.
More information about the classic Roots Country Market, based in Manheim, may be found by clicking here.