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Where to avoid the crowds, park for free, and have a great view of the Tall Ships Festival

GCBA Parade of Tall Ships Press Release

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Press Release

June 19. 2015

Freedom Pier Best Place to View Parade of Tall Ships

The Gloucester City Business Association (GCBA) believes Freedom Pier is South Jersey’s best vantage point to view the Parade of Tall Ships on Thursday, June 25.  Freedom Pier is an awesome 2 acre facility jutting into the Delaware River where you Visitors will be able to watch 12 majestic tall ships plus the world’s largest rubber duck (6 stories high) sail by.  Best of all the vantage point and parking are free thanks to Gloucester City Mayor & Council.

The Grand Parade of Tall Ships is scheduled to begin at 1 PM on the opening day of The Philadelphia – Camden Tall Ships Festival (June 25–28) which is the largest sailing event in North America.  Ship arrival times are subject to change with information updates available through Twitter @TallShipsPC.  Additional information can also be found on the event website –http://tallshipsphiladelphia.com/.

Freedom Pier located is located at the foot of Monmouth Street and is home berth to Gloucester City’s 75 foot schooner Northwind which will also participate in the Tall Ships Festival.  The pier is outlined by a 1,200 foot public access walkway complete with teak benches but visitors should probably bring their own lawn chairs/blankets.  Two GCBA members, Art’s Deli and the King Street Pub will provide reasonably priced food and soft drinks during the Parade of Tall Ships.  If visitors wish to stretch their legs, Freedom Pier connects to Proprietor’s Park and the Gloucester City Marina via a brick promenade along the Delaware River.

After the Tall Ships pass by, visitors are welcome to stop by nearby restaurants and bars such as the King Street Pub, Max’s Seafood Café, McMichael’s, the Whiskey Barrel, Tavern on the Edge and Bayer’s Tavern that are within walking distance of Freedom Pier and Proprietor’s Park.  Many GCBA members will be offering post Parade dining and happy hour specials.

The Gloucester City Business Association (GCBA) is composed of 80+ businesses that employ local workers and continually invest in Gloucester City projects and organizations.. GCBA can be reached at (856) 742-8011 and gcba@comcast.net.

Good Stuff Eatery – Philadelphia, PA

Good Stuff Eatery – Philadelphia, PA

The burger craze seems to have slowed down a bit in Philadelphia. Good Stuff Eatery (GSE) joined us a little while ago, and on my visit they had a decent sized lunch crowd. The interior is bright, modern, and seating is on the second floor. The area to order was a little packed as there is not a lot of wiggle room if a few people are in line at once as the condiment bar is directly behind where you order as well. Service was just about average as the staff seemed a little unfocused at times. I ordered a burger and fries.

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My meal would be the Colletti’s Smokehouse burger which is Applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, fried Vidalia onion rings, and topped with chipotle BBQ sauce with an order of their Sunny’s handcut fries topped with sea salt. The meal was soggy on all fronts, but had decent portion sizes and flavor profiles. The burger was juicy and cooked well, bacon nice and thick, just the right amount of onion rings, sauce added a kick, and the cheese was good and gooey. I would have preferred if the fries were a little more on the crispy side as they were very limp and may have even been a tad undercooked.

GSE was enjoyable, but they are just missing an “IT” factor for me to say they are a must visit burger destination. If you are in the area and need a burger, they certainly fit the bill. I feel if they can work a little on the staff’s focus, maybe move the condiment bar to another location, and keep an eye on the fries they could elevate to a higher standard and go from having “Good Stuff” to “Great Stuff”.

Overall

Three out of Five Stars

 

Banh Mi Cali – Philadelphia, PA

Banh Mi Cali – Philadelphia, PA
Sitting on the corner of 9th and Arch Streets is Banh Mi Cali (BMC). The interior of BMC is the size of a walk-in closet, but has an unmeasurable charm. The service was very friendly and homely. I would go with an order of Bbq pork with crispy onions, steamed white rice, fresh veggies, spring rolls, and Vietnamese yogurt.
bahn mi
The sauce was sweet and tangy, pork sliced thin with a decent amount in the platter, and rice was nice. The spring roll was better than most places, but have had better. The yogurt was slightly below average flavor wise, but everything was very tasty and fresh. They offer quite a nice variety of menu items and I would glady give BMC another visit.

Overall

Three and Half Stars

Steve’s Prince of Steaks – Philadelphia, PA

Steve’s Prince of Steaks – Philadelphia, PA

The word Philadelphia to many people around the world just means to them cheesesteak. They may not know where in America Philadelphia is or its history, because to them, all we are is just a cheesesteak. I know this for a fact by the many people around the world I have met. The only thing they know about where I am from is this sandwich. With this being said, competition is tight and everyone claims to have the best cheesesteak. Strolling around City Hall one day had me stop by Steve’s Prince of Steaks (SPS). I found the name to be amusing, as you would assume they would want to be king, but who I am to argue. The interior is a basic as it comes, crowded the day I visited, and music was loud.

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I would go with a cheesesteak with fried onions, mushrooms, and American cheese with an order of spicy fries. The one thing that threw me for a whirl were the different windows to order sandwiches and French fries. I ordered my sandwich and then had to wait in line again to get fries. This caused my steak to be called first and then had to wait a few minutes longer for my fries. Why not just have one order and pick-up window. As far as the meal went,  the meat was sliced not chopped and a decent serving size was given. It was a tad thick and had a chewy spot or too, but for the most part the meat was nice. The roll did not stand up well though. It got pretty soggy, pretty fast and started to fall apart causing the meat to fall out of the bottom. The fries were cooked nicely,  seasoned well, and were good. Just not great.

SPS was better than average, but by far not the best around Philly. With this being said, I guess being a Prince is not a bad position to be in a city with such high standards for cheesesteaks. The search for a King continues.

Overall

Two and half out of Five Stars

Bobby Chez – Collingswood, NJ

Bobby Chez – Collingswood, NJ

Their are so many dining options in Collingswood, New Jersey I always found it amazing how long and poplar a take-out restaurant could be there. That take-out restaurant is Bobby Chez (BC). I have seen the advertisements of how famous and great his crab cakes are supposed to be, but for some reason I would either forget about BC when I was in or around Collingswood, or it was because I wanted to dine-in and not eat at home. Well the time finally came for me to give BC a try. I got their around 5pm and they were sold out of nearly all their sides. Being my first time at BC I was asking a few simple questions, but the gentleman behind the counter seemed to become very irritated with my questions, answered them quickly and rudely, and huffed and puffed the entire time. I did not realize that BC was a re-heating operation. You order what you would like, and then you are handed a list of temperatures and times to reheat the food for at home. I would go with crab cake, chicken croquette, butterfly shrimp, mac and cheese, and spinach.

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I had high hopes for BC, but I soon turned as agitated as their employee. The spinach was as salty as his demeanor. The mac and cheese had such a strong flavor of mustard it almost seemed like they forgot to add the cheese and just used mustard instead. It did not have a cheesy element to it at all. The chicken croquette was adequate, but again the salt was very heavy handed. Things started to get better with the butterfly shrimp. It was a really nice size for the price, but it lost a little something with the reheat as it was a tad chewy. I am sure fresh it would have been amazing. What about the famous crab cakes? Well, they must have been great at one point or another, but something was missing in mine. They provided a decent amount of crab meat in it, but the one I had, the meat took on the look and taste of freezer burnt seafood. All of the usual juicy and sweet notes of crab meat that I love were missing completely. The meat was dry, chewy, and the filling did nothing to enhance the dish at all. Again, maybe eating their product fresh, BC would have something to brag about to me. It took me a long time to visit BC, and it may be even longer until I go back. I just wish I had the chance to taste what made BC so famous in the first place.

Overall

One out of Five Stars

*(Update on 05-28-2015)

Just got off the phone with Bobby Chez and we had a very nice conversation regarding my review of Bobby Chez Inc in Collingswood. He apologized for my experience and stated he will take corrective actions on the things I mentioned and he strives everyday for every customer to have nothing but an outstanding experience and meal. FYI, unlike I was told, they will cook your food for you instead of you having to go home and heat it yourself. GOOD TO KNOW and after the talk, I will have to give them another chance. Kudos Mr. Chez for being a professional.

 

Audabon Bakeshop – Philadelphia, PA

Audabon Bakeshop – Philadelphia, PA

I must admit that I am a beginner at Macarons. After stopping in Aubabon Bakeshop (AB) I am willing to learn more, much more about them.  AB is very cozy and relaxing unlike the hectic convention center and Chinatown streets surrounding them. The woman behind the counter somehow I sensed could feel my newness to the macaron game and instantly offered me a free sample. There is no better way for a business to set you at ease then to know they have so much confidence in their product, they are willing to let you try it first. AB had me hooked after the first bite. I went on a shopping spree.

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I ordered bourbon, banana, blueberry, and peach macarons as well as a cup of old-fashioned banana pudding. Every single macaron was a delectable delight, with the bourbon and blueberry truly being the shining stars to me. They are very affordable and bite sized wonders, and I cannot wait to go back to try even more flavors. My only gripe would be the cup of banana pudding. The bananas were very nice in the pudding, but it was SUPER sweet and a little too pasty and not creamy enough for my personal tastes. I would rather buy four-five for more macarons for the price I paid for the pudding. I was hesitant to try AB, but next time I will be running through the door for more.

Overall

Three and Three Fourth stars out of Five

Square 1682

(The following is a special series on Bluejeanfoodcritic.com 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”)

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Square 1682, located in the lobby of Philadelphia’s Hotel Palomar at 17th and Sansom Streets, celebrated the return of spring with an outdoor party that featured food, drink and games.

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The head chef, Caitlin Mateo, unveiled her seasonal menu with hors d’oeuvres for everyone to enjoy.  Among the items on the menu were deviled duck eggs, crab and avocado toast, calamari and mushroom pate.  Head bartender Daniel Kulisek enjoyed making an eclectic group of cocktails for the attendees, and there were numerous wine offerings for us to sample.  Larger than life sized versions of our favorite games that we played as kids also were onsite to keep the crowd entertained.

Square 1682 seems to lean towards fresher and healthier foods, as well as having steak, poultry and seafood.  Brunch and breakfast choices, such as the omelette of the day and chicken and waffles, will attract the early crowd and hotel patrons.  Some of the more unique selections for lunch and dinner include a vegan chili, black bean chickpea burgers, mushroom ravioli and even a raw juice selection.

This location is becoming an increasingly popular area within the city and  I would recommend trying Square 1682 to experience something new and hip, as the just the menu in itself is very intriguing.  See you soon “around town”…

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