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Author Archives: Bluejeanfoodcritic

Little Spoon Café – Philadelphia, PA

Little Spoon Café – Philadelphia, PA

It is well documented that people go “GAGA” for Little Spoon Café (LSC) breakfast and brunch. I am not a huge fan of either, so of course I would try them for lunch. LSC is a very quaint dining destination, but they pack people in to every spot available while a line to order was long, yet calm and quiet. I would order their Braised Pork Sandwich with chips and homemade dip.


Let me start out by singing the praises of LSC’s homemade French onion dip. I could easily eat this stuff buy the bucket load and be pleasantly plump and happy. You are sorely missing out on a delicious treat if you do not order the dip on any visit to LSC. I cannot believe they are not pairing the dip with homemade chips to go with it. The braised pork sandwich on the other hand was good, just not great. It was braised pork shoulder, with fontina and braised greens on grilled artisan bread. The combination was nice, but was much too salty, greens were bitter, and bread was very greasy. These are all things that are easily fixed, and as busy as LSC is they just need to take the time to execute a little better. I enjoyed the LSC experience; it just did not “WOW” me. Maybe next time I will try them from breakfast or brunch.


Three out of Five Stars


Ginza Japanese & Asian Restaurant – Runnemede, NJ

Ginza Japanese & Asian Restaurant – Runnemede, NJ

While driving on the Black Horse Pike many times, I passed Ginza Japanese and Asian Restaurant (GJA) many times not thinking much of an unassuming looking restaurant in an old and well-worn strip mall. One day stuck in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic, I decided to give GJA a try. I pulled their website up on my phone and ordered in advance for a take-out lunch order. Well GJA certainly fits the bill of do not judge a book by its cover. Stepping inside, GJA is a nicely decorated, clean, and a stylish little gem in this part of Jersey. The staff was beyond friendly and talkative, service superb, and lunch prices were very affordable. I would order Unagi, Philly Roll, Red Snapper, and Yellowtail.


Everything was fresh and delicious, and even though this order was the basics of sushi, I usually make sure a place can do the basics well before I put my trust in them to try other things. Next time I am near GJA I will keep in mind how nice my take-out meal was and make sure that I dine there instead to try a little something more than the basics.


Three and a half out of Five Stars

Penn Jersey Roller Derby

1 derby

(The following is a special series on written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

The Penn Jersey Roller Derby is a spirited organization based in North Philadelphia that features co-ed skaters competing in a league with both flat and banked roller tracks.  On Sunday, November 8th, an open house and skate was held at the home warehouse of the league, and I got to check out the action…

Located just a stones throw away from the Temple University campus, the warehouse will soon hold two large tracks to host all of the league skates.  On this day, a scrimmage between the She-Devils and the Hooligans was taking place, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the organization.  The “Donut Rollers” event served coffee and donuts to all guests who came out for the event, followed by an open skate.

1.5 derby

Many times when you live in a sports crazed town such as Philadelphia, you can take for granted all of the different kinds of club sport that actually exist besides the big four.  One of the most impressive things I took from my visit was the sheer athleticism that the skaters of both genders showed, along with some incredible grit and toughness.  The participants are willing to completely sacrifice their bodies to not only compete, but to win.  In a world where sports has become a war over contracts and stature, these athletes are simply having the time of their lives, and the results are very entertaining.

2 derby

The members of the PJRD show great pride in their venture.  Jamyra Perry, better known in the local skating universe as Kandi Krush, explained the game and operation to me glowingly.  Dudley Do-Wrong, the club president, was thrilled with the turnout for something that he helped to launch a decade ago (and obviously proud to see it grow as it has).  The derby events are held roughly every month, and the full schedule of upcoming games can be found at  If you are a sports fan, think outside the box and attend a game soon to see a fast paced alternative to a day at the ballpark or a football Sunday.

See you there, and around town…

Together for a Better Gloucester City Event

Hey everyone there is a really cool event happening on the Delaware River Waterfront this Saturday at Proprietors Park in Gloucester City, New Jersey presented by Hearth Community Fund with acclaimed New Yorkartist Winter Willoughby-Spera the editor of FAD MAGAZINE for the Horace Mann School. And FREE wine sample for those 21 and over. With this event many things are happening in Gloucester City like the soon to open Chubbies Steakhouse within the next few months with Executive Chef Neil Elshon. Check info below and be sure to share!!!!

For Immediate Release

Contact: Thomas Monahan


Date: October 28, 2015

Web Site:

Together for a Better Gloucester City Event

November 14, 2015

The Hearth Community Fund announced today that the organization will be sponsoring a Together for a Better Gloucester City Event from 1 PM to 3 PM on Saturday, November 14 at the Betsy Ross Pavilion in Proprietors Park (King Street & Jersey Avenue) in Gloucester City. All community residents, young and old, are invited to roll up their sleeves, grab a paintbrush and personalize their own wooden fish sculpture.

Community fish sculptures will be included in the new Hearth Community Fund’s sponsored “Wave Wall” which will be located next to the Pavilion. New York artist, Winter Willoughby-Spera, is the Artistic Director of the “Wave.” Winter will be on the premise to supervise the project and to share her award-winning plan for the upcoming exciting improvements to the Park. The plan reflects exciting changes to the existing Betsy Ross Pavilion. A glass wall with the architectural blue prints from old Gloucester City will be incorporated into the pavilion.

According to Ms. Willoughby-Spera, once the project is completed, visitors to the Park will be able to look through the glass wall to see what old Gloucester City looked like in the forefront, with the skyline of modern Gloucester City’s harbor front in the background. This installation, created by the community, will make a lasting contribution to the Park. Ms. Willoughby-Spera said “I love this interactive approach. It celebrates the talent of residents as well as reinforces Gloucester City’s proud history as the fishing village.” The city has a long history of attracting famous artists and was once the source of inspiration for the celebrated painting, “The Shad Fisherman” by the well-renowned Thomas Eakins.

Food and drink, including a complimentary tasting of top-notch Russian River Valley and Napa wines, will be supplied by Max’s Seafood Café at the “Give it your Max” tent. Music will be provided by local Gloucester City musicians. Thomas M. Monahan, Owner of Max’s Seafood Café and President of the Gloucester City Business Association (GCBA) said “We have a great city and I hope many of our residents will come out and artistically demonstrate what Gloucester City means to them. We are grateful to the Hearth Community Fund for providing this artistic opportunity which will enhance our waterfront and reinforce our community pride – all while having fun!”

The Hearth Community Fund is a non-profit, 501 C3 corporation that seeks to serve Gloucester City by creating community improvement initiatives that enhance the beauty and attraction of the City’s downtown and waterfront. Revitalization projects in these important areas help create jobs, support home values, and foster neighborhood pride. Please feel free to contact us with questions by emailing Trustee Tom Monahan at or visiting our website

Donations are always welcome towards future grants!

Pizza Fanatic – Philadelphia, PA

Pizza Fanatic – Philadelphia, PA

Being a student or resident in and around Temple can be rough not just because of the neighborhood, but your dining options surprisingly are pretty limited as well. The chain restaurant eateries seem to thrive and besides the lunch time food-truck scene surrounding the campus, dinner time can be a challenge. Well I happened to spot Pizza Fanatic (PF) in the chaos. The inside is pretty basic and is set up for quick dining. The service was below average as the staff was not too interested to take my order as I just stood at the register waiting by myself or knowledgeable about the menu when asked. I would take a chance and go with the Teriyaki chicken sandwich with pineapple and fries.


To start things off, the roll was as stale as a Bill Cosby joke. The chicken was the standard pre-marinated pizza joint chicken breasts that are seasoned for Italian dishes, but PF decided it would be a good idea to throw some teriyaki sauce on top of that Italian seasoning mix creating two contrasting flavors that in no way should be combined. The fries were below average since they were overcooked almost drying them out completely.

I commend the staff at PF that while working they are pursuing a degree of some sort, but any restaurateur should know it is not rocket science to offer fresh ingredients and basic flavor components. I have the ability to drive away and get better, but sadly most of the students at Temple do not, and they deserve better as does the neighborhood.


One and a half stars out of Five


IL Fiore Restaurant – Collingswood, NJ

IL Fiore Restaurant – Collingswood, NJ

The game of Eeny Meeny Miny Moe usually lands you a decent place to eat on Haddon Avenue in Collingswood, New Jersey. I have had a few duds here or there, but for the most part, I enjoy stopping by this dining destination of a town and just choosing at the last minute anywhere that fits my fancy. The latest adventure would be IL Fiore (IF). IF has always been jam packed whenever I have been around, but I decided to go early and was able to grab a seat. IF is tiny on the inside, very tiny. The décor is average and seating makes you get to know your dining neighbors very well as they squish as many people in as possible. I would start things out with the Funghi Gratinati.


The dish consisted of baked porcino, shiitake, and portabello mushrooms, shrimp, bread crumbs, garlic and olive oil. I did not have any expectations, but I must admit the dish was delicious. It was the perfect combination of flavors and mixture of mushrooms and shrimp were a nice touch and cooked just right. I would go with the special fish of the day branzino for my entrée.


The fish was just was slightly overcooked, sitting on top of carrots, broccoli, and string beans in a white wine fresh lemon sauce with capers. The veggies were fresh and crisp, but presentation could have used some help. The dish was good overall; it just did not stand out in any way. For dessert I would go with tartufo.


The outer shell was nice and ice cream inside was decent, but when I think of tartufo I usually think of more than just a plain vanilla. I will commend IF though for the attentiveness and the quality of their staff. Everyone was very friendly and service went smooth and quickly for how busy they were. IF also surprised me with their very affordable prices. IF is not by far my favorite Italian style restaurant, but with their low prices, good service, and tasty meal I will certainly be dining their more often.


Three and a half out of Five Stars

Kunkel’s Seafood and Steakhouse – Haddon Heights, NJ

Kunkel’s Seafood and Steakhouse – Haddon Heights, NJ

Driving down the stretch of road called Kings Highway in Camden County starting in Brooklawn until you get to Haddonfield a little place called Kunkel’s Seafood and Steakhouse (KSS) sits. It is very unassuming and really comes out of nowhere since there is not much around them, but once you step inside you are transported to a very nice dining destination. I would stop there for lunch and with the name Seafood and Steakhouse listed, I was looking forward to possibly one or the other. When the menu was handed to me, I chose neither. Their lunch menu only consisted of nine out of the forty-five selections containing a seafood item and out of the nine, seven of them were either an appetizer or salad option. So only five percent of the menu had a seafood entrée, which was even better than the steak option as that had only the filet as its only choice equating to only two percent of the menu. So I went with the Cajun Crusted Pork Loin Sandwich.


Even though I was disappointed at first not seeing many seafood or steaks options, I must admit I really enjoyed my lunch. The meal consisted of Pork loin seasoned with Cajun spices and then slow roasted and served with au jus, topped with roasted red pepper and provolone cheese on toasted ciabatta bread with a side fresh cut potato wedges. The potato wedges were delicious especially dipping them in the au jus, the bread was a perfect match, and the pork was moist, plentiful, and seasoned beautifully. My only complaint would be the roasted red pepper seemed like they came out of a can. It would really be an outstanding sandwich with fresh roasted red peppers or fresh sautéed long hots. The service was friendly, décor may be a little dated, but overall KSS was a pleasant surprise. Unless they add more seafood or steak options, they may just want to be known as Kunkel’s.


Four out of Five Stars



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