Monday, October 18, 2010

raved roadside retro: the jukebox cafe

Jukebox Café—since 1995—has put chrome-trimmed, elvis photo-decked diners to shame. nestled on a bend of south reading avenue, the nostalgic, above-average café celebrates all-day-breakfast in a snappy setting specked with leather-lined turquoise booths, pink countertops, an old-fashioned bubble jukebox, and of course, pin-ups of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Conceptualized by Sandy L. and John E. Hilbert, the area's 15-year-old go-to breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot has been a constant hustle since opening day, when the managing couple premiered their soda shop-inspired eatery to the Boyertown crowds, mashing their love for coffeehouses with the simple structure of a retro diner.

The black-and-white checkerboard-floored space opens everyday, Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., slinging original, luxe updates of fifties comfort food, while celebrating the best of the season peppered through various selections. For example, as fall is prime apple and pumpkin season, items like hot apple stuffed french toast, apple bread french toast, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin pancakes currently line their regularly-updated menu of specials.
Previous seasons also followed suit, including their attractive “Peach Mania” roundup as seen this past summer, that roundup, as seen this past summer with fresh slices pressed into sandwiches. 

Family-run and friendly, Jukebox Café also encourages visitors to savor bites at their counter space, available in addition to their up-to-four sleek booths and tables, for an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink omelet or a piping bread bowl flooded with one of their homemade soups, available also in to-go quarts. With well-done mainstays served aside continuously-new varieties, like Hungarian mushroom, tomato bisque, baked potato, italian wedding, and vegetarian chili, this nearby establishment swirls cordial soups on-par with grandma's best.
Considering they spout a moniker which marvels in the glory days of sock hops and triple-thick milkshakes, Jukebox Café also trots a classic assortment of burgers, fries, and meat and non-meat eater sandwiches, including melts and BLTs. Proud to not pack any of their menu items with canned creations, the always-fresh ingredients are locally-sourced, including goods found next door at Frecon Farms.

Better yet, if you have come to satisfy your sweet tooth, you may easily slip into a sugar coma. with this step back into the fifties, they bake all of their own perfectly-pinched pies, fruit-topped cheesecakes, traditional sticky buns, and multiple-flavored muffins.

Jukebox Café is no secret, as the lines for weekend brunch attest, and the service—manned by attentive, favorable females—leaves cozy diners dashing to squeeze more and more pop-ins into their wild work weeks.

Jukebox Café is cash-only, located at 535 South Reading Avenue in Boyertown and can be reached by phone at 610.369.7272. Operating hours are as follows: Monday—sSturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take-out is available, as well, during operating hours.
(Also published on news, not blues. Swing over there to enter yourself for a free slice of pie from the Jukebox Cafe!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

saturday splurge at the brooklyn flea market

On a recent rendezvous in the 'hood of Brooklyn, what appeared top on my lady friends and I's must-visit lists was the Brooklyn Flea. A perfect mecca of vintage, independent street foods, artisan crafted eats, all things hand-picked and easily appealing to the eye, and much more, we trotted around the various vendors for a nice chunk of our Saturday morning, living to tell our favorite lunch bites we tackled in our weekend day away.
First thing, after a quick drive from the Philadelphia area, we had to grab some grub and half of us gravitated to the AsiaDogs due to their unique, appealing concoctions. Whether you prefer to load your bun with Chinese BBQ pork belly in plum sauces (I sure did, as seen on the WangDang) or, for your day away, crushed chips are in order (as seen on the Mash), these pups are the gorgeously delicious, and a refreshing picnicking treat.
Although we hadn't scarfed shaved ice from People's Pops, I sure regret not doing so. The huge slab booming from their booth is an attractive set-up, and do suggest any flea visitors to not repeat are lead, and suck down one of these frozen, fresh juice marvels.
Other notables, without a doubt, were McClure's Pickles' garlic dills, and after tasting a quick cube on a mini-stick, I know that their recipe is by far, one of thee best. (I also wish the flea was opened until late into the night, so I could have stocked up on armfuls of those zinging jars.) Of course, the perfect concluding treat, prior to having another chocolate tasting at Mast Brothers Chocolate, was a slew of samples from Fine & Raw Chocolate, who celebrate the amazing creaminess of raw chocolate mashed with the best use of ecology. 
With a mission to use blue agave nectar, with palm sugar, coconut oil and Himalayan sea salt, and "save the world through silliness and chocolate," I'd encourage everyone to experience Fine & Raw -- you're in for an incredible treat!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

iron hill brewery's oktoberfest

Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant recently celebrated their first-ever Oktoberfest celebration at their Phoenixville location, on Friday, October 1, fully equipped German beers aplenty, plates popping with bratwursts and Wiener Schnitzel, and even, German polka music and dancing!
Sure to be a great night out on Bridge Street, the Dish team (myself, included) decided an evening where local gents get donned in lederhosens was a "must-attend" in our books,  and we rolled out our red carpet to capture all the glamored Germanesque guests in their night's finest. (Scope out if we nabbed your mug, too, by clicking here.)
 Iron Hill's President & CEO Kevin Finn & I
On the same day of the festival, Iron Hill tapped the seasonal pumpkin ale, and we couldn't help but snap some video of us raising our pints to experience such a seasonal concoction. Although we are rather silly in the video, Head Brewer Tim Stumpf's concoction was a crowd-pleaser. As a light, but nicely spiced blend, the Pumpkin Ale is ideal for a fall session beer.
Brick Oven Bread and Cheese Shoppe, located in the same structure as Iron Hill, was also celebrating the German season, preparing gorgeous soft pretzels baked in their hand-constructed brick oven. They couldn't help but also encourage diners to devour their homemade pizza, and nothing is as perfect as a toasty round out of our town's famous oven!
More information about Phoenixville's Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, click here. More info on Brick Oven Bread and Cheese Shoppe, click here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

sip of the season: bauman's apple cider

( also published here, at news, not blues. head over there to enter yourself in a drawing for a FREE gallon of the best pressed cider around! )

It's that tantalizing time of year again—where wooden crates are crowded with an overflow of just-picked scarlet, yellow, and green apples, stacked snugly into pick-up trucks and shipping cars from as far as Maryland, and soon, packed into Bauman's Apple Butter factory, of Sassamansville, where their cider mill produces the freshest pressed cider.
From September to December, their presses are plopped with the fruit's brilliant spectrum of fall colors, producing the rich, golden drink around the clock, Monday through Friday, including evenings, and on Saturday mornings, too.

The local, yet nationally-known, family-business first premiered over a century ago, in 1892 by John W. Bauman, who first purchased a cider press and appropriately operated it with a steam engine that was nestled inside his carriage manufacturing shop. Quickly, the apple-intensive side project replaced Bauman's carriage cobbling, as it continued to be mastered throughout the family line—now owned and operated by his grandson, Harvey and his wife, Kathy.
With the capabilities to press over a thousand gallons of cider a day, the Bauman family takes advantage of their production space and, as their name assumes, additionally produces a wide array of apple and fruit butters in beautifully intoxicating quantities.

Notorious for their low-fat, health-conscious jarred creations of naturally rich-and-sweet spreads, the entire process begins through their flash pasteurized apple pressing, with the tastes of the juices always important, for a substantial portion is used within their apple butter.
The autumnal routine, in simplest terms, starts with dozens upon dozens of apples being flooded in from an outdoor chute, which allows them to be barreled indoors, becoming finely chopped and then squeezed in the generously-sized press, extracting the apples' juices. Immediately, the cider is pumped into refrigerated tanks, where it then will be stored and bottled.

Of course, apple butter making is more extensive than cider making, and is jumpstarted by waltzing whole apples into waist-high cooking barrels and stewing cider among the rosy rounds, for about four hours. Eventually, the darkened fruit creation is screened, removing apple skins, stems, and seeds, and cooked for additional hours to hone in the perfected taste and texture.

The marveled Montgomery County business also bravely acts as a warehouse, a bottling and jarring factory, and distribution center, allowing the bauman family and their trusted employees to maintain their business at a one-stop-shop—and yes, there's a country store, too.

As a local, rural enterprise praising pure, all-natural creations from the season's sweet and savory fruit, there is no better way to toast your autumn day away than with a flooded glass of Bauman's Apple Cider, perfectly paired aside a wheat cracker topped with a dollop of apple butter—fall's finest creations found victoriously in your backyard.

Bauman's Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Butter is located at 116 Hoffmansville Road in Sassamansville and can be visited during operating in-season hours Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Besides apple butter and cider, their inventory is packed with homemade butters found in flavors like pumpkin, pear, peach, apricot, strawberry-rhurbarb, and sweet tomato. Visit Bauman's online at or by phone at 610.754.7251.