Lovely Saturdays

I brought a visitor to market with me this weekend – my Mom! My parents were visiting and I showed my mom around downtown.  She loved it! It makes me really happy to share the places I love with the people I love. The weather was a little dreary but we still had a great time walking around.

I had a great Saturday last weekend as well… I have been feeling like this lately:

*letter pressed post card created by Moxie House and available at FIG Central.

Let me tell you about last weekend…

Last Saturday I went down to Central Market as usual. My intent was just to run down and get some veggies, make my way home and get some house work done. Instead I ended up spending all afternoon downtown enjoyably wasting the day.

The day started off pretty gloomy and rainy. By the time I was ready to leave the house it started clearing up so I decided to take my chances and walk downtown. It turned out to be a beautiful day! The sun came out – it felt so good! We have been having so many rainy days lately it was nice to be outside as the summer days are turning into fall.

I wandered in and out of a few shops along King and Queen Streets. I stopped in Fig central and Party Perfect, Zanzibar, Festoon and a few more places. I like to go in and out of the downtown shops from time to time just to see what’s new. I usually don’t end up buying much but it’s pretty fun to look at all of the odds and ends that are hidden inside.

Market was hustling and bustling. All the vegetables are starting to change. The bounty of summer is becoming the harvest of fall. Which is ok with me, it just means warm comfort foods will start being made in my kitchen. For a few short market days, you can get the last of the summer veggies and the first of the fall veggies at the same time.

I bought my last box of local multicolored cherry tomatoes last week, along with my last bunches of local basil with giant leaves. I didn’t find any of them at market this week. I am sad to say good-bye to some of my favorite ingredients but happy to start buying squashes again.

There is a pepper boom right now. Everyone has homegrown peppers. One thing that I love about the homegrown peppers around here is that they are always a mixture of colors. The yellow peppers are always yellow and green, the red and red and green, and the green are green and purple! Peppers are also really cheap right now (3 for $1!) so I bought a bunch and decided that I am going to make stuffed peppers this week.

I made a very welcomed discovery while inside market… there is a stand that carries local garlic! I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it until now. I always wanted a steady source of local garlic at central market. Occasionally, the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative carries local garlic, but it sells out quickly and it’s not there all the time. I was really happy to find that Rafiki’s Deli had a special table dedicated to garlic from Promised Land Farms.

I chose to two varieties to try: Artichoke and Siberian. They are both really fragrant. I definitely notice a difference between the local garlic and the varieties imported from California and China. There is so much more flavor! One thing I can not understand is why we import garlic from so far away – It seems really silly when you think about how much it must cost to ship it that far.

I was meeting Janeen for lunch and I decided to wait outside for her since the sun was shining. I sat looking at market alley wishing that someone would put some tables out there…

They already block off the entrance so cars can’t drive down here. And what a prefect place for tables! You would be able to get food inside of market and sit outside, enjoying your lunch in the fresh air. It would be awesome! A restaurant could even take over that area. I would love to have a good lunch with a lunch-time beer outside.

We had lunch at Spring House Brewery’s TapRoom. Which is inside, but there are a lot of big windows so at least it was sunny and bright.

We tried the Mango IPA and Braaaiiins (pumpkin ale). The mango IPA was fruity but not too sweet. I thought it was going to be too flavored for me but it was delicious, a really nicely balanced fruit beer.

I always like a good pumpkin ale, so I was hoping Braaaiiins was a good one. Spring House’s version of pumpkin beer tasted like pumpkin pie, nice and spicy with a hint of nutmeg. Not my favorite pumpkin beer (more on that one at a later date), but I have to say, Braaaiiins is pretty solid. It will probably be my beer of choice whenever I go into the TapRoom this month.

This was my first time eating lunch at the TapRoom. I’ve had a few bar snacks there at night like the pulled pork quesadilla. I was never disappointed with the bar food so I assumed lunch would be pretty good. I had the split pea and ham soup and a garden salad. Both were good and the basil balsamic dressing on the salad was excellent.

Visit The Brinery!

If you live in NYC or are visiting the Big Apple this week I think Bowery Whole Foods is the place to be tomorrow night (Thursday, Sept 13th, 2011). I totally read that wrong, it was tonight. Please excuse me, I work with middle school children all day, I am exhausted by night time.

Well… I would visit there anyway. I am most definitely going to check it out next time I go to NYC.

They are opening a new specialty department called The Brinery – a whole department dedicated to all things pickled! They are having tastings of pickles, cheese and beer at the opening event.

One of my favorite pickle vendors, McClure’s will be featured in the tastings. They make great garlic and dill and spicy pickles. They also make potato chips (which I have not tried yet but I have read awesome reviews) and my favorite Bloody Mary Mixer made with their spicy pickle brine.

Here’s one I mixed up… I put a pickle in it along with my celery for an extra salty garnish.

Here’s how I mix my Bloody Mary:

McClure’s Bloody Mary  Mixer

Lime juice (from half a large lime)

dash of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp of horseradish

1 shot of good quality vodka (I like Rain Organics Vodka)

Put it all in a cocktail shaker, shake it up and pour over ice, garnish with a pickle and a stalk of celery.

I have been a little obsessed with pickling in the past few months… I have pickled all kind of vegetables this summer. I have tried making my own pickles out of several types of cucumbers, with success! Other veggies I have been successful with include: okra, carrots, yellow beans, green beans, onions, and asparagus! Look for a new blog post for a recipe and pictures of all my pickled veggie adventures.

A rainy day experiment at central market

I went down to central market really late yesterday. I don’t really like going later in the day because a lot of the items I want are sold out. However, sometimes going late pays off and you get a bunch of good deals. Some of the vendors will throw a few extra veggies in your market bag because they want to get rid of things before they pack up and head home. You often get half price bread if there is a lot left and it is nearing 2pm. You can talk to the stand holders a little bit longer because they are not as busy. I guess it is pretty nice and relaxing to show up late sometimes.

Yesterday was dreary and rainy so there was still a lot left at market by the time I arrived. Hurricane Irene was moving up the coast and I think many of the regular market goers stayed in. I did notice a surprising amount of hustle and bustle in the market area even though it was pouring outside. Millersville University has been bringing their new freshman class into the city the weekend before school begins for the past two years. There were MU tour groups entering and leaving market getting a glimpse of downtown Lancaster. I enjoy seeing them out in the city. I actually really wish they brought me in to town when I first arrived at Millersville. It took me a while before I discovered the greatness of downtown Lancaster. Venturing out of campus wasn’t really encouraged or advertised when I attended school as an undergrad. I’m happy they are making more of an effort to introduce new people to downtown. It is a great place to visit and spend your time. I like it so much I decided to call it home.

I was really pleased with my shopping trip. I didn’t buy a ton of stuff but I went home feeling like I got a great amount of veggies for a great price. I feel like that every week when I buy lemons and limes that are 3 for $1.00 and then I see then in the grocery store at crazy prices, like lemons for $.89 each!

I decided to have a sandwich for lunch from Delgiorno’s Italian Specialties.

I chose the “Laundry List” sandwich. I also picked up an iced Chai from Mean Cup and was lucky enough to find a table to sit at and eat.

As I sat and enjoyed my lunch, I wondered how much all of my veggies would cost at the grocery store. Was I really saving money by shopping at market? I certainly know that the veggies are higher quality. Even if I wasn’t saving that much money, I knew that I was getting better, mostly organic, homegrown stuff. I would probably pay more for it anyway. I decided to figure out the math and see if I was really saving money.

Here’s what I got:

From Sweet Annie Produce: small red onions, cucumber, parsley, and a little piece of thyme (all homegrown, organic) – Total $5.00

From Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative: Bok Choy, yellow wax beans, green heirloom beans, purple pepper (all homegrown, organic) – Total $7.50

From Meck’s Produce stand: red, yellow, and green peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, jalapenos (all homegrown), cilantro, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, sweet onion (not homegrown) – Total $11.20

My grand total from market was $23.70!

I went to Giant to price the veggies. The total for all of these veggies if I purchased them at the local grocery: $30.97!

So it was a comparable difference. I definitely think I am getting a way better bargain at market. This was kind of a light shopping trip for me this week. I usually purchase a lot more things like eggs, bread, and tomatoes. I will probably do another comparison with some of those items next time.

I would also like to add that I did notice that Giant was carrying some local produce. As you walked in the door, they were advertising tomatoes, zucchini, and green peppers that were all from Lancaster county – nice to see!

 

Vacation Eats – The Epic San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market

Since returning from vacation, I’ve already visited my local farmers’ market in Lancaster twice. I have stocked up on fresh summer veggies and have been having some amazing salads and pasta dishes. I wanted to tell you about a farmers’ market that Janeen and I discovered in California that you must not miss if you are driving on the west coast.

After our adventure in Morro Bay, we drive back inland to San Luis Obispo for the Farmers’ Market that was advertised to happen ever Thursday night from 5-9pm.

We did not know what we were in for… this farmers’ market was epic! It happens every week… I couldn’t believe it. It was five blocks long – they shut down five blocks and the side streets in the busiest part of town for the whole evening!

There were a ton of different vendors selling anything you wanted. There were vegetable stands, local goods like honey, jelly, and canned veggies. There were crafty vendors and a vendor selling shoes. There were A LOT of food options… everything from Korean BBQ to American BBQ 🙂 and plenty of dessert options. There were performers at ever cross street; including rock bands, street performers, and this guy:

We got lemonades from F. McLintocks. There was a line that stretched well past the block where their barbecue stand stood. I wanted to see if it was really worth it but I was starving and not sure if I could wait an hour for food. They do have a restaurant right there that is open as well, so you could try their food anytime. I think the barbecue might be a special for the farmers’ market because they were smoking it right there on the street. Luckily, the lemonade was in the express line. Check out the giant specialty-built box they use to contain the lemonade.

We decided to try the noodle bowls from Mee Heng Low Noodle House. I have had this hunger for some kind of noodles the whole time I was in LA, so I think that’s why I gravitated towards this choice. The name was pretty funny too… I didn’t really notice until the second time we walked by.

Here’s our noodle bowl:

I got the chicken and veggie. It had cabbage, red peppers, scallions, carrots and mushrooms all mixed up in noodles similar to Udon noodles. There was a thin brown sauce coating everything. I thought it was good, but not awesome. It definitely satisfied me but it didn’t really stand out as something special. I think I might be able to do better at home, I think that my bowl just had way too much sauce because it pooled down on the bottom. Next time, I am going to stand in line at the barbecue place, or the Korean barbecue place..

We also made sure we had dessert! As we walked around, we couldn’t help bu notice this mini doughnut machine:

It was retro and oh-so-cool! The silver funnel held the batter and dispensed it in perfectly shaped mini doughnut rings. They took a float in the long fryer and this little scooper flipped them over half way down the line. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see half of the little doughnuts look cooked and the other half look very light colored – that’s right before they get flipped over. The doughnuts are dumped in the pan at the end and then coated with sugar.

And they are oh-so-awesome! A delicious treat… I would love to own one of these mini-doughnut makers. What a fun thing to have for a party. I guess they got started with a mini doughnut truck in Denver, Colorado and now have a spot in California. It’s a great idea, the doughnuts are great street food.

There was a really nice park with a creek and pretty flowers right behind the street where the farmer’s market is located. The restaurants all had decks and outside seating along the creek. It was a very nice spot to hang out and have a drink. The temperature outside was cool and refreshing. Right across from that was the old mission of San Luis Obispo.

Right before we ended our walk around town we remembered a touristy attraction that we read about and wanted to have a look for ourselves at the weirdness that is called Bubble Gum Alley. People have been sticking their chewed up gum all over this little alley’s walls for over forty years!

I didn’t think I would be grossed out by this but it was pretty disgusting. I definitely did not want to touch it.

Vacation Eats – Tar Pits and Hitting the Road

Back to the California trip… It’s about time for a famous eatery stop. So on Wednesday (August 3rd) we had hot dogs for breakfast.

We choose Pink’s Famous Hot Dog Stand on LaBrea Avenue in Hollywood. Pinks has dozens of condiments and topping combinations on their famous dogs. The specials are named after famous stars, chefs, TV personalities and landmarks.

I chose the Emeril BAM! Dog. Emeril has a new show called The Originals that featured Pinks on one of the episodes about LA. It airs on the Cooking channel if you’re interested in finding it.

This special dog had cheese, jalapenos, mustard, onions, bacon, and cole slaw. I had to take a lot of the jalapenos off because there were so many they were falling out of the bun. I also am not a huge fan of pickled jalapenos, or bacon for that matter, but the cole slaw pulled me into picking this dog. The combination overall was BAM good, I would get it again!

Janeen got the Pastrami Reuben Dog, not named after any celebrity but I think it was famous all by itself. it was loaded with sauerkraut, pastrami, swiss cheese, and mustard. I tried it and it was a mouthful of meat. there was so much pastrami on it, it was falling all over the place. It was a fine dog.

With our bellies full of hot dogs we drove through Miracle Mile and into the La Brea Tar Pits. I’m kind of a science nerd so I thought this stop was great. The Page Museum held a lot of the fossils they excavated from the tar pits. There are also open sites that they are working on that you could observe.

We drove back across Hollywood into Echo Park to eat a late lunch at The Park restaurant, which the wonderful Erin caters to the lunch time crowd. Janeen and I had an identical lunch today. We both got Lucifer Ale, a nice light Belgian with hints of apple.

The Park has sandwich specials that all looked so good it made it really hard to choose just one. I went with some thing kind of light because I ate the hotdog for breakfast… I enjoyed the avocado and Gruyère sandwich piled high with avocado, Gruyère cheese, tomato, and lettuce. I added crispy onions, as per Erin’s recomendtion and spread some Dijon on the grilled whole wheat sourdough bread.

It was nice light and delicious, perfect after a morning of looking at gas bubble out of pits of black asphalt smelling pits.

So we headed out late that afternoon to drive up the coast. We had one perfect stop as we made our way North. I was reading “taste of Santa Barbara” magazine in the car and telling Janeen about this amazing looking Gelato in Montecito. A little bit later she noticed that we were passing Montecito on the highway and said “wasn’t something in Montecito? oh yea, isn’t the Gelato place there?” So I checked the magazine and yes! So we pulled off the exit and 2 minutes down the road we were stopping at Here’s the Scoop for a Gelato dinner.

This place it definitely worth the stop! They let you try any flavor you want and they make everything with local ingredients. Yes, I realize I keep writing about these places using local, organic ingredients, but I am drawn to that so I am either a sucker for people writing local on everything or I just pick really awesome places… probably a little bit of both. Anyway… The gelato and sorbet are out of this world awesome at this place.

I tasted the lavender lemon flavor which was crisp and refreshing but I ultimately decided on one scoop coconut, one scoop chocolate strawberry in a waffle cone. Janeen got Italian chocolate chip (which tasted like cannoli filling) and espresso in a chocolate waffle cone.  All flavors got my stamp of approval and left me wanting more.

Vacation Eats – Santa Monica and Venice Beach

On our Tuesday (August 2) in California, we headed down to the beach towns. We strolled along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica in the morning to window shop and have brunch. We chose a little french cafe in the middle of the promenade called Monsieur Marcel. We sat outside watching passer-bys. I ordered the Benedict Marcel- poached eggs atop a buttery croissant with smoked ham and Hollandaise sauce.

It was good, a solid take on eggs Benedict, but not the best I have ever had… Janeen asked me where the best eggs Benedict was and I immediately replied two places… The Nodding Head Brewery in Philadelphia (they have sunday brunch with excellent bloody marys) and this little shack (can’t remember the name of it) beside a river in Connectitcut that I stopped at on the way back from cape cod.

Janeen had the souffle french toast. I tried it – it was super-good! It was so good I wished I had gotten in. It was soft, fluffy, buttery and it had a slight citrusy taste to it. French perfection, that’s what I would call it. If you ever find yourself eating brunch in Santa Monica, I highly recommend it.

We checked out the pier and rode the ferris wheel to get a birds eye view of everything.

Then we took a tip from Erin’s friend and went to The Lobster for a large bloody mary with a giant prawn and olive attached to it. It was a good bloody mary, kind of mild but really impressive looking. It was a nice break from the sun and we got some post cards written.

We rented bikes and rode the sandy bike trail down to the complete spectacle that is Venice beach. We locked the bikes by the skate park where skaters were zooming around the concrete learning tricks. The two headed turtle was out in front of the freak show and it seemed all the usual buskers were out.

We stopped into a cafe that was set back a little from the boardwalk. They advertised Peach Chai, which sounded good, so we decided to try it. Not really that great, it was ok but I would def not go there again. Janeen got an iced vanilla latte that was so sweet she didn’t even really drink it. I can not remember the name at all but I don’t think I’ll be going back.

We walked the whole ocean front, headed back to our bikes, and rode back to Santa Monica. On our way out, we knew there was going to be a lot of traffic and it was going to take a long time to get back, so we got a snack. We sampled the frozen yogurt at PinkBerry. It is all fat free and made with ultra fresh ingredients.

We both got waffle cones. I tasted the salted caramel, a great little bite but a bit too rich to eat a whole cone. I went with pomegranate and mango swirl with strawberries in the bottom of the come. Janeen stuck with the strawberries and got chocolate and original side-by-side in her waffle cone. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I know some people love Pinkberry and some people don’t. It is a chain that I usually only see in big cities, I think they have a good business plan. I thought it was tasty, but wait until you read what we had on Wednesday…

We had to rush once we got back to Erin’s place because we were going to her comedy show in Downtown LA and we didn’t have much time. Erin was nice enough to make us dinner. Arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette with little cukes and avocado slices.

She even cut up some pickled cauliflower (from giardiniera) and added slivered almonds. Great salad Erin! We also had pasta with olive sauce that we got at Global Gardens on our wine tasting adventure.

Erin’s comedy show was great! It was at a theater called the Downtown Independent. Finally a place with some Sierra Nevada! Good beer, good laughs. Thank you Erin for a wonderful evening!

Vacation Eats – Malibu and Jeff Goldblum

We have been having some jam-packed days here in LA! I have been so busy that I hardly have time to write. On Monday (August 1st), we headed to Malibu for some beauty and beach time.
We started off the day right with a good breakfast. We went to there’s no place like Home restaurant in Los Feliz. I went here once before when I was in California. Last time, I had the breakfast burrito. It was giant and really good. Erin got the breakfast burrito this time (I think it is her favorite). This place has a good deal on breakfast. There’s a special before 11am – $6.50 for any of the starred menu items – what a deal! And all the starred items looked like they were the best things on the menu to me.
I couldn’t decide what to get so I shared two things with Janeen. We ordered the California breakfast sandwich. It had eggs, two kinds of cheese, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and chipotle mayo on sourdough bread. I ordered the side of fruit. It was fresh and full of watermelon, honeydew, blackberries, and cantaloupe.

We also shared the Pomodoro Omelette. It was filled with tomatoes, basil and feta cheese. It also came with sourdough bread and a side of Spanish style home fries that were kind of like short french fries with peppers and onions. I haven’t eaten lunch or dinner here, but I give this restaurant a big thumbs up!


We took highway 101 to Malibu Canyon Road and drove through a deep cut canyon into Malibu. We stopped at a grocery store to get some supplies called Hows Market. Unfortunately, it is going out of business so I don’t know what will be there in the future but it was a deal for us because everything was 20% off. We packed a cooler with goodies and headed to the El Matador state beach.
You have to climb down the cliffs to get to the beach, but it is totally worth it! The beach is rocky and beautiful. There are large outcrops of rocks jutting up out of the water.

There were numerous professional (and unprofessional) photo shoots happening. We took a bunch of pictures and relaxed on the beach.

It became rather windy just as we decided to bust out our discount goods to eat. We made some salami and cheese sandwiches, and I mean SAND-wiches. We also noshed on olives, pickles, and Trader Joe’s black bean dip… awesome beach snacks.

We headed back down to LA after a great day on the beach. We didn’t have that much time to get dinner so we went to Leela Thai, right by Erin’s house in Silver Lake. There are countless Thai places in LA. There are probably two or more per block in some places! So I’m happy we had some since it is so abundant.
Leela Thai is a nice little restaurant with outside seating. I ordered a Thai Iced Tea. Thai Iced Tea is usually too sweet for me but this one was pretty good, it was sweet but not overly done. They also brought us our water in small metal cups that seemed to keep the water ice cold (with no ice in it) the entire time we were eating.


I had the Pad Thai with chicken. It was pretty standard but really good. It really hit the spot after a sunny beach day.

So… we went in to Hollywood for the evening and what we saw was pretty amazing. We walked into a guest only event at Cafe Was… The Jeff Goldblum jazz ensemble. yes, that is correct, Jeff Goldblum has a jazz band, and he plays piano. He is also extremely excited and animated while he is playing the piano.

One thing I noticed about Hollywood places is that they really don’t have a good beer selection. Either people don’t like good beer around here or they are just really into wine and cocktails (probably the latter). We did get to meet Jeff Goldblum at set break. He was pretty excited to take a picture with three hot girls. That was beautiful, yes, thank you…

Janeen had her first In-n-Out Burger experience after the show. We went to the location in Hollywood that was packed late at night. I thought it was pretty funny that we went when we were all dressed up!

We ordered a standard cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, ketchup and their In-n-Out Burger sauce. While I didn’t love it, it was definitely better than the Whopper/Big Mac. It at least had a real toasted bun and way better lettuce and tomato. People really love In-n-Out Burger here. I don’t know how often I would eat it but I have a feeling I would stop here more then McDonald’s or Burger King, it is way better than those two places. I think we might give it another shot while we are out here and try ordering from the “secret menu” next time.

Skydiving Sandwich

Yesterday we went skydiving with Skydive Philadelphia! It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I actually set everything up for Dan’s 30th birthday last year but we never cashed in the certificates. After almost a year, and one failed attempt because of clouds, yesterday was finally our day. We drove up to the tiny town of Perkasie, Pa to make the leap.

We still have to wait for the video and pictures from the skydive company. I can’t wait to see them, I am sure we probably both look kind of crazy. I yelled the almost the whole way down…not because I was scared, but because it was awesome!

Dan went out of the plane first. I was watching him get ready to go, scoot to the edge, and get ready next to the door… one second I was looking at him and not even a second later he was gone. It was like he got sucked out and went straight down. I didn’t see him again until I was almost landing. Here he is getting closer to the ground:

I thought the free fall felt like plunging through water. It was so exciting to see the ground below me and not be in an airplane. I thought I would be scared but I felt like I was floating and not scared at all. It was like the very first little part of the hill on a roller coaster but it lasted a lot longer.

Once the parachute opened it really felt like I was floating. I could see the Philadelphia skyline from where we were, which was pretty cool because we were about an hour away from there. It was also pretty surreal floating above houses, rivers, and a lake getting closer and closer to it all and then being on the ground before you know it. I think it’s the closest I’ll ever be to being a bird in the sky. That’s me landing in the photo above.

We survived and had a really great time!  After all of that jumping out of airplanes and free falling we worked up quite an appetite. We went to this really great breakfast/lunch place called The Down to Earth Cafe. We it found last time we were in Perkasie about a month ago. We attempted to skydive last month but there was a thunderstorm in the morning and the clouds never cleared, so we didn’t get to jump… but we had a great lunch.

The first time we ate here we both got the special panini made with ham and brie. It was really good and made with very fresh and high quality ingredients. The Down to Earth Cafe uses as many local, organic ingredients as they can. You can tell they really pay attention to quality. They also have a list of daily specials that use in-season ingredients. I wish I could come here of breakfast because all of the breakfast choices looked amazing. They also have a lot of really great drink choices that are made with real sugar and interesting ingredients. I tried this sipp ginger drink that was really good.

This time Dan ordered the fish tacos (one of the signature dishes). They looked nicely put together with flour tortillas, House-made red cabbage cole slaw, deep fried seasonal fish fillets, and slices of tomato and avocado. I actually didn’t taste them, which is weird for me because I always want to taste everything… I must have still been over excited from the fall and wasn’t thinking. Dan said they were really good so I’ll have to trust him.

I got the panini special again. This time it was sautéed spinach, white beans, feta cheese and grilled artichoke hearts all squished between two slices of rye bread. It was a really nice combination. I only added a little bit of salt and pepper. It also came with a side of red potato salad, which was one of the best potato salads I have ever had. The potatoes were cooked perfectly and the dressing was just right, not overly seasoned and not too heavy of the mayonnaise, just a little bit ( I really hate when there is too much mayo on food, I think the consistency is gross).

I also got a side of sesame noodles because I didn’t know I was getting a side of potato salad. The sesame noodles were also really good, with just the right amount of dressing and seasoning to coat the noodles.

Overall, this place is great! I would go back here in a minute if I am ever in Perkasie again. If you find your self in upper Bucks County, it is definitely worth a stop.

Beer Taste: Summer Love

Dan really loves beer, which is probably why I really love beer. We are always on the look out to try something new. I am all about tasting new things-  so I never get too disappointed when Dan wants to find local breweries or restaurants with extensive beer lists when we go places. I’m not a beer expert or anything, but I do like what tastes good and I’ll try anything. I’ll be giving you my opinion and some basic info about the beers I feature on here.

Let’s get started…

I’m starting my beer reviews with one of my favorites beers appropriate for the season: Summer Love from Victory Brewing Company. Summer Love was once only available at the brewery in the summer, but it is now conviently available in bottles this year… and often served in my backyard.

I first tried this beer during a brewery visit with a few of my girlfriends. I am pretty lucky because the brewery and brew pub aren’t too far from where I live.  It’s a great spot to catch up with some of my college buddies that live scattered over central PA. I am also pretty lucky that my college girlfriends like great beer.

Summer Love is a light ale with bright and clean flavors. Grassy and Lemony, it’s everything a summer beer should be. It looks like a pilsner when you pour it but it definitely has the bolder flavors of an ale. It’s lightly hopped with American and German whole flower hops. It starts off light and finishes with a little hop kick you can taste at the back of your tongue. The ABV is 5.2%, not terribly high- making it a good beer to choose if you are going to be barbecuing all afternoon.

This beer is part of the “With Love, Philadelphia XOXO” campaign. So if you are from afar and you are visiting Philadelphia, you’ll be able to find it all over the city this summer. Or you can pick up a case! It’s Perfect for summer outdoor gatherings, packing in a cooler, tailgating, baseball games, and beach going.

I am currently planning my wedding right now and I am always on the lookout for food, drinks, and fun things that I could include in the party. I would love to feature this beer at the bar. How often is there a local beer with love in the name that I love to drink? I know it’s a little bit kitschy or cute… but I think this beer will make the cut.

Washington Boro Tomato Festival

One of my favorite things about summer is tomatoes. You really can’t get anything better than a late summer tomato. They always have amazing color and flavor that just can’t be matched any other time of year. My favorite place to get tomatoes is the tomato barn in Washington Boro, Pa.

I went for a ride the other day to pick up their famous Jet Stars. They claim to be “the sweetest tomatoes on earth” and I believe them. They are sweet, juicy and that bright red that reminds me of the fourth of July. I love seeing the tomatoes and other veggies all lined up together in the barn. I couldn’t help taking some pictures.

I always end up buying the “seconds” tomatoes. They aren’t perfectly round and they have some lines across the bottoms that I guess make them less desirable. I kind of like the messed-up look to them and for some reason I think they taste better. They look like a lot of heirloom varieties that grow in all funky sorts of shapes. They are also cheaper… you get a big flat box for $5!

I am going to use most of them to make sauce and salsa… I think they have character.

I noticed that the Tomato Festival was this Saturday! So of course I had to go, it’s one of my favorite events of the summer. There is something about eating a tomato sandwich on a grassy hill across from the Susquehanna river that makes it taste like no other tomato sandwich that you could ever make at home.

 

Jet star tomatoes, squishy white bread, lettuce, onions, mayo = the tomato festival sandwich.

I don’t know how I love these so much. I don’t normally eat squishy white bread or mayo… it must be the magic of the river or something.