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.

plcb rebrands shop designs, tasting bar now included

If you live in Pennsylvania, or you've hit up a liquor store while visiting friends in my dear Keystone State, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (PLCB) shop designs are antiquated and we are surely in need of a recess from them. 

However, great news: The PLCB has heard our pleas. As part of its ongoing efforts to reform state liquor stores, the agency has re-launched approximately 18 stores throughout the commonwealth that now flaunt spacious, swanky interiors.

Read the full scoop on the new features — all of which is making booze shopping a bit brighter — in my  article I just scribed up for Drink Philly, available by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

dish tripping through los angeles, california

Call me a country-wide traveler as of late, but I was lucky to hit the West Coast (for the first-time ever, by the way) to explore the fine eats and drinks of Los Angeles, California. 

Full stop-by-stop, bite-by-bite adventure (which was mostly tackled in 24 hours!) is available here.

LA visits included: The StandardThe Roger Room, Sweet Lady Janeink (Top Chef's Mike V's haunt!), PinkberryThe Terrace CafĂ© in Venice Beach &  Napa Valley Grille.

More peeks after the jump from our whirlwind WC adventure below. Also, it's important to note that next California go-around, I am not missing the cupcake ATM.

Monday, September 3, 2012

summer recap: philly's forum of the (brewing) gods

While we have just sped into September 2012 (fall's a-coming—hallelujah), I'm itching to take a lil' breath and get reflective of what threw down these past warm-weathered months.

Perhaps I shall begin at when I caught some of the US of A's Brewing Gods file into a beer-savvy forum early June, as part of Philadelphia's Annual Beer Week celebration. Of course, I'd be giddy over catching any creditable brewmaster chit-chat about what he (or she) does best. But, at this particular forum, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. was part of the festivities. (Did you know, he's an “it” advocate for better beer? Truth!) 
Click here to read the full skinny about what Greg and his brewing god-like comrades discussed during the summer beer talk. For the record, the mid-week round-table featured a role call of Colby Chandler of San Diego’s Ballast Point;  Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant;  Rosemarie Certo of Philadelphia’s Dock Street;  Paul Kavulak of Nebraska Brewing Company;  and of course, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Company.

Fair warning: There was a hilarious bit during the few hours about marijuana-infused brews. (Say, what?) 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

dish tripping through asheville, north carolina

Atlanta wasn't the only southern city I hit to tackle a lil' Dish Tripping action as of late, Asheville, North Carolina was included in this delicious mix too. 

The beautiful, free-spirit city—one nabbing the title of “Beer City USA" for three years running—offered us up a memorable brew-infused getaway, which my dear traveling comrade Sarah recaps the whole imbibing journey, pint-by-pint here.

Brewery & beer-centric pub visits included:  Nantahala BreweryPisgah Brewing Highland Brewery Oyster House Brewing Company Lexington Avenue Brewing Barley’s Taproom & PizzeriaAsheville Brewing Company

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

dish tripping through atlanta, georgia

Earlier this year, our gang at Dish Trip flew down south to chomp through Georgia's cultural and culinary capital of Georgia—Atlanta!

The whirlwind, food-loving trip hosted more than 9 delicious stops, which are all lined up over on Southwest Airlines' Nuts About Southwest Blog. Oh yes, and there is a video recap (seen below), as well—which, I suggest, you should watch especially since I become one serious zombie in it!

Click here to read our stop-by-stop play-by-play. 

iron hill brewery & restaurant host first-ever culinary battle

My dear friends at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant hosted their first-ever culinary cook-off mid-August, and it was a total pleasure to make the quick trek to their Wilmington, Delaware location to judge the kitchen battle.

Click here to speed over to their website to read my guest post where I recap the full competition. Don't skip watching the below video either, as crafted by my talented friend Gary Colyer (of Mizfam Photo.Video.Design).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

join me on pinterest!

Since we converse on here, why not chitchat and share elsewhere, no? Let us start pinning. Find my boards and I here. Like you may expect, a majority of my boards circle back to food & drink (duh!).

verlasso salmon hosts culinary cook-off, chef shola crowned champ

It goes without saying—but I must—that it is always a pleasure to spy Chef Shola Olunloyo concocting his next culinary masterpiece. 

The most recent mingling occurred at Samuels and Son Seafood's Gourmet Kitchen, when Verlasso Salmon hosted their sustainable seafood-infused Chef Challenge.

Who did Chef Shola battle-it-out against, you ask? Chef Terence Feury—who is also—another local culinary heavy-hitter that constantly wows are tastebuds.

Full tasting and cook-off report here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

a visit to the chestnut hill cheese shop

I recently spent a summery weekday morning haunting around the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop. The operating duo (Daniel Weiss & John Ingersollare the kind of gentlemen you want slicing and shaving your cheese — friendly and knowledgeable, respectful of the product and incredibly helpful in pinpointing what you’re looking for.

Click here for my full tasting report of my recent visit. Be warned—co-owner Daniel does tip you off to many of his cheesy favorites.