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Author Archives: Bluejeanfoodcritic

Spaghetti Under the Stars

Catelli Dou and Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation have created a new charity event for the Voorhees Town Center called Spaghetti Under the Stars. It will be August 20th from 6:30pm to 10:30pm.

For the menu click below:

spaghetti under the stars

To buy tickets CLICK HERE

Porky’s Point – Philadelphia, PA

Porky’s Point – Philadelphia, PA

I love the other white meat, pork. I also loved my visit to Puerto
Rico a few years ago with their love of pork on almost every menu.
Well Puerto Rican pork is alive and well sitting in the Hunting
Park section of Philadelphia with Porky’s Point (PP). PP may be
located in a rougher area of Philadelphia than most are comfortable
to visit, but they are serving some of the best pork around.

As soon as I walked up to PP’s windows to order, I knew I was in
the right place for me with a sign that states, “We do not sell
lean pork”. What they do sell is tasty pork, as well as many other
specialties like tostones, mofongo, pastellios, rice and beans,
relleno de papa, and platano con carne. My order would be a pork
sandwich with hot sauce.

porky's point

The roll was fresh with a nice crisp exterior that enabled the
interior to suck up all the pork juices and hot sauce, while the
roll did not become soggy at all on the outside. The pork was a
mixture of pieces from all over the hog, skin and all, then put on
a butcher block and chopped to perfection allowing each bite to be
uniform with very generous serving of pork in the sandwich. The
hot sauce gave the sandwich just that extra flair, while not
overpowering the pork’s fantastic flavor.

Service was very friendly, but the menu seemed a little erratic in
a mix of some things only listed in English and others only listed
in Spanish with some items crossed out on both and additional
signs dotting the windows of other options to possibly order. The
prices were very reasonable and line moved quickly at the rush of
a lunch crowd. If PP could put the time into making two excellent
signs of their menu offerings, one in English and one in Spanish
to hang in the windows, they could really help out a lot of
prospective customers to choose wisely and returning customers to
try new things. I would not recommend a night-cap at PP to give
them a try, but a mid-afternoon lunch should be a must for any
pork lover out there.

Overall
Three and a Half out of Five Stars

First of its Kind “Bacon and Beer” Festival in South Jersey

Get your tickets ASAP, almost SOLD OUT!!!!

Press Release:

Local Charity- Crossroads Programs in Willingboro – stages “first of its kind” Bacon and Beer Festival in South Jersey

To Raise Funds for Foster Care.

 

South Jersey…Wanting to do something different to raise public awareness and funds to support foster care homes.  Crossroads Programs in Willingboro decided to stage a “first of its kind” event in South Jersey – the South Jersey Bacon and Beer Festival.

The Willingboro based charity which serves most of New Jersey and has strong roots in Camden and Burlington counties, is holding the festival on Thursday, August 14 at the Collingswood Scottish Rite Grand Ballroom in Collingswood, NJ. The event will run from 6-8:30pm and offer beer and food tastings from 9 local breweries and 20 local restaurants.  The cost is $35.00 per person and offers multiple food and drink tastings from each vendor.

“We decided our message would get to more people if we offered it on a plate,” jokes Crossroads CEO Michael Snyder.  Restaurants are asked to prepare bacon inspired dishes and breweries will share tasting size samplings of their beers. “Our local breweries and restaurants are doing this for us free of charge, so both Crossroads – and the kids we serve – are grateful to be the recipient of this event.”

The event’s promoter, Eat Boston, holds similar festivals across the nation, typically in metropolitan areas, where the event typically sells out in seconds.  In Philadelphia, 300 tickets were sold in 30 seconds and in Boston 1500 tickets sold out in 45 seconds.   Nationally the festival has raised over $160,000.00 for charity.  “This is a first for South Jersey,” says Snyder.  “And we fully expect to do it every year.”

Participating restaurants are:

 

The Tortilla Press

Tortilla Press Cantina

The Pop Shop

Keg & Kitchen

Braddocks Tavern

Otts Tavern

Bistro Di Marino

Inde Blue

Andreotti’s  Catering

Crux Cafe

Blueplate

L’Oceano

Flemings Steak House

Georgetti Pasta & Catering

Filomena’s of Almonesson

DiBartolo’s Bakery

Tavro 13

Aunt Berta’s Kitchen

The Little Tuna

Whole Hog Cafe

 

Participating breweries are:

Weyerbacher

River Horse Brewing Company

Saucony Creek

Yards Brewing

Sly Fox

Pinelands Brewing

Flying Fish

Rinn Duin

Evil Genius

Tickets are available online by CLICKING HERE

 

 

Phoebe’s Bar-B-Que – Philadelphia, PA

Phoebe’s Bar-B-Que – Philadelphia, PA

Phoebe’s Bar-B-Que (PBAR) claims to have been serving Philadelphia some of the best bbq and “Ribs with Attitude” since 1994. With such claims a visit was in order for a certified bbq judge like myself. PBAR is a take-out only location as it is so tiny; it was tight quarters with only one other person there picking up their order. Once to the counter my order would be a rack of ribs mild.

The first thing I noticed is that the staff seemed to be bothered just to take an order. The gentleman behind the counter gruffed, you need to make large orders in advance. I would not think that one rack of ribs would be considered a large order for a bbq destination, but who am I to say. He asked if I could come back in two hours. I did indeed come back. It might have been better if I did not.

phob

The ribs were handed to me wrapped in tinfoil and cellophane. No bag, no carry-case, no napkins, no forks, no anything to make it seem like I was purchasing a meal at all. Once the package was opened carefully so not to have any juices or sauce drip anywhere, it was one of the saddest appearing set of ribs I have seen in a long time. I have been to backyard bbq’s with better presentation than what PBAR is putting out. Hoping that the looks were deceiving was dashed as soon as I bit into the first rib. It was rubbery, tough, bland, and a sad excuse to be called bbq. PBAR has been around since 1994, and they intrigue me on how. Should I have ordered pork or maybe the chicken? Then again, maybe if I ordered differently maybe I would not have thought of the counterperson as rude and gruff. Those are all maybes and what-ifs, and I have to judge PBAR on what I experienced, and what I had was something I will not be going back for anytime time soon or even at all with the only thing having attitude being the employees.

Overall

Half of a Star out of Five Stars

Downtown Market in Downtown Hammonton – Peach Party “Perfect Peach Pie” Contest

peachATTENTION – ATTENTION – EVENT IS NOT AUGUST 2nd ANYMORE – NOW AUGUST 23rd

 

ATTENTION – ATTENTION – ATTENTION -

Peach Party cancelled Saturday, August 2nd due to bad weather forecast!!!!!!!! Mark your calendars, new date is Saturday, August 23rd.

For Immediate Release

What:        Peach Festival

Where:       Downtown Market in Downtown Hammonton

When:        August 23, 2014, 10 am to 1 pm

Peach Queens visit the Peach Party on Saturday

In the 50’s and 60’s, peaches were still an important crop in Hammonton and it was an honor to be the Peach Queen or part of her court each summer. Some of these lovely ladies will visit the 2nd Annual Peach Party on Saturday from 10 an to 1 pm. They will be hosted by Inferrera’s Market where there will be many memorabilia to enjoy about the peach queen heyday era of the 50’s and 60’s in Hammonton. “I loved sharing our history of this interesting era of Hammonton with the people who attended the festival last year and have even more to present this year,” said Dot Orlandini, owner of Inferrera’s Market, a 60 year old Italian Market.

The NJ Peach Council will be sending this year’s 2014 Peach Queen to meet her Hammonton Court and help promote this important state-wide fruit. NJ ranks 4th in the country in peach production after California, South Carolina and Georgia with an average of 64,000 pounds of peaches picked by hand across the state. For more information about NJ peaches and the Peach council, please visit www.jerseypeaches.com . Local peaches are supplied by the 100-year-old peach farm, Pastore Orchards who will be setting up their beautiful booth again this year.

There will be plenty for the family to enjoy this year. Live Bluegrass Music will set the stage with a performance by local group, Home Cookin’, who serves up a blend of bluegrass and traditional country music. There will also be complimentary family pictures sponsored by Ivy Cottage booth where they will provide a beautiful peach backdrop around an antique tractor. Your free picture will be developed and sent home with you that day!

Also look for complimentary face-painting at the Sassy Sweets booth, a peach toss game at the Toy Market booth, several peach contests and give-aways at the AtlantiCare booth, and a Best Peach Fuzz Baby Contest sponsored by Behind the Moon. Enter your one-year olds or younger in this contest and be one of three winners based on the cutest fuzzy head!! And of course, plenty of peaches from Pastore Orchards, peach pies, hand pies, iced tea, funnel cake, pancakes, jams, jellies, refrigerator oatmeal, cobbler, and many more peach products! And don’t miss an opportunity to enter the local contest for the Perfect Peach Pie where the local winner will win a basket of prizes from the vendors worth at least $150, and then is invited to enter the state-wide contest to be held at the end of August at the Fox TV news station in Philadelphia, for a chance to win an overnight stay and dinner in either Atlantic City or Cape May.

The Peach Party is sponsored by MainStreet Hammonton’s Downtown Market and by the corporate partnership with AtlantiCare who continues to make healthy living part of their commitment to South Jersey. “We are pleased to sponsor and participate in another Peach Party in Downtown Hammonton as it promotes local, healthy eating and family-fun activities,” said Glen Stoll, Director of Regional Business Development for AtlantiCare. “The morning is sure to please all peach lovers and families looking for a fun morning,” says Linda Cashan, event coordinator, “and you can plan to eat your breakfast or lunch at the festival or one of the nearby downtown restaurants, just steps away!”

For more information, please visit

www.facebook.com/atlanticarelifecenter

www.facebook.com/downtownhammonton

www.facebook.com/kitchen19ccc

www.facebook.com/downtownmarketofhammonton

 

PHILLY’S COFFEE SCENE IS HOT & STRONG

Press Release:

PHILADELPHIA, July 30, 2014 – The wave of coffee enthusiasm is clearly here to stay in Greater Philadelphia. La Colombe plans to open a 15,000-square-foot outpost in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. Housed in a former distillery, the new spot will produce rum—yes rum—infused with coffee, in addition to serving food and its signature coffee, of course. The second annual Coffee & Tea Festival, to be held November 8-9at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, will celebrate local love for the mighty bean with exhibitions, tastings, classes and more.

The region’s java scene has been percolating for years now: Cafes roast their own signature beans, baristas specialize in perfectly engineered espressos and coffeehouses use one-of-a-kind La Marzocco machines. From an Australian flat white to a Chemex-brewed cuppa, the possibilities for delicious caffeinating are endless. Here’s a look at some of the favorites:

Signature Beans & Brews:

  • Offering its own fair trade-certified organic beans roasted in-house, Newtown Square’s Burlap and Bean distinguishes itself as an ambitious independent spot with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. 204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, (484) 427-4547,burlapandbean.com
  • Patrons can catch a whiff of caramelizing beans in the upstairs roastery at Chestnut Hill Coffee Company. Downstairs, the coffee bar turns out well-pulled shots and elaborate swirls of latte art. A second location in East Falls has brought the winning blend to a new neighborhood. 8620 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-8600; 3300 Henry Avenue, chestnuthillcoffee.com
  • The tiny Locust Street shop that GreenStreet Coffee Roasters inhabits is emblematic of its ethos: small and sustainable. The single-origin, responsibly sourced coffees are roasted in the company’s Alter Street headquarters. 1101 Spruce Street, (610) 504-3934greenstreetcoffee.com
  • Celebrity chef Jose Garces is as serious about coffee as he is about his food, so it’s no surprise that the signature roasted beans atGarces Trading Company lend themselves to a memorable French press. 1111 Locust Street, (215) 574-1099,garcestradingcompany.com
  • A New York roaster with a solid presence in Philly, Joe operates two locations—one in Rittenhouse Square, the other in University City. Both serve the House Selection, The Waverly espresso and other delicious blended and single-origin options. 1845 Walnut Street, (215) 278-2454; 3200 Chestnut Street, (215) 240-4577joenewyork.com
  • Inarguably the originator of Philly’s first wave of coffee, La Colombe remains the go-to spot for rich Italian-style espressos and excellent machiattos. Restaurants and eateries around the city pour the beloved blends. A new Fishtown flagship location joins the Center City outposts this year. 130 S. 19th Street, (215) 563-0860; 1414 S. Penn Square, (215) 977-7770lacolombe.com
  • With three high-traffic locations—one in Old City, plus two booths in Reading Terminal Market—Old City Coffee has produced fresh, tiny batches of high-grade Arabica coffee for more than 25 years now. 221 Church Street, (215) 629-9292; Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 592-1897oldcitycoffee.com
  • In the town of Kennett Square, Philter owner/barista Chris Thompson serves handcrafted drip coffee to his loyal customers in his relaxed, welcoming coffee shop. Also on the menu: hand-bagged loose-leaf tea from nearby shop Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop and food using ingredients from local producers and farmers. 111 W. State Street, Kennett Square, (610) 444-7687philtercoffee.com
  • A roaster with national recognition, ReAnimator Coffee serves its own beans in espresso drinks and pour-overs at a sleekly minimalist Fishtown café.1523 E. Susquehanna Avenue,
    (215) 425-5805, reanimatorcoffee.com
  • Amid the well-documented Shepard Fairey mural, thrift-store furnishings and vegan snacks at Fishtown’s Rocket Cat Café is a worthy fair-trade espresso roasted by Norristown’s Fonseca. 2001 Frankford Avenue, (215) 739-4526
  • Saxbys Coffee, a locally based café with nearly a dozen locations in the Philadelphia region, takes special pride in its Cold Brew Iced Coffee. The smooth, sweet, rich drink is made by a unique method that involves steeping ground coffee in cold filtered water, which slowly coaxes flavor from the beans. Multiple locations, saxbyscoffee.com

Coffee, With Music To Match:

  • With an emphasis on coffee and community, Green Line Café serves its patrons not just fair- trade coffee and healthy fare but also a friendly space to hear live music. 4239 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 222-3431; 4426 Locust Street, (215) 222-0799; 3649 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 382-2143; 136 S. 15th Street, (267) 639-2531, greenlinecafe.com
  • Serving up house-roasted, organic coffee along with a weekly schedule of independent musical acts and open mic-nights, Wayne’sGryphon Café keeps its visitors awake and entertained. The café has opened a second location in the South Kensington Oxford Mills complex. 105 W. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (610) 688-1988; 100 W. Oxford Street, gryphoncafe.com
  • Melodies Cafe pleases the Ardmore crowd with its Counter Culture coffee, veggie-friendly meals all day and live music. 2 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 645-5269, melodiescafe.com

Coffee, With Food To Match:

  • The Rival Bros. coffee at Midtown Village’s Cake and the Beanstalk can be expertly matched with Franklin Fountain ice cream for an affogato, or with the homemade red velvet cake, blondies or vegan chocolate chip cookies for the ultimate mid-day break. 1112 Locust Street, (215) 592-6505, cakeandthebeanstalk.com
  • The organic, fair-trade espressos and lattes at Chhaya complement fresh meals of seasonal salads (peach and fig with honeyed walnuts), sandwiches (prosciutto, apple and mozzarella panini) and creative waffles like Nutella/strawberry and veggie chili/cornbread. 1823 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-1000, chhayacafe.com
  • Federal Donuts is perhaps best known for its inventive fried chicken and donuts, but the house coffee, a proprietary blend from PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., is an equally delicious reason to visit—particularly in the warmer months when it’s cold-brewed with a Japanese siphon tower. 1219 S. 2nd Street, 1632 Sansom Street, 3428 Sansom Street, 701 N. 7th Street, Citizens Bank Park Section 140, (215) 665-1101, federaldonuts.com
  • Its espressos have been given top ratings, and the three locations of High Point Café in Mt. Airy boast a mean menu of quiches, baked goods and crepes of the same high quality. 602 Carpenter Lane, (215) 849-5153; 7210 Cresheim Road, (215) 248-1900; 2831 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 519-0984; highpointcafe.us.com
  • Neighbors of Menagerie Coffee in Old City come for the full espresso bar, hand-poured coffee from a variety of brands and locally sourced small eats. 18 S. 3rd Street, menageriecoffee.com
  • GimmeCoffee and Counter Culture supply the beans for Town Hall Coffee Co., and pear and chocolate scones, croissant bread pudding and New York-style bagels make for the perfect accompaniment. 834 Chestnut Street, (267) 687-2384

Excellent Espressos:

  • The eco-friendly reclaimed wood paneling and cool marble countertops are only a backdrop for the main event at Elixr Coffee:the superb Synesso Hydra-brewed espresso. 207 S. Sydenham Street, (239) 404-1730, elixrcoffee.com
  • University City coffee lounge Lovers and Madmen offers short-pulled espressos from its La Marzocco FB/80 in a friendly, collegiate atmosphere. 28 S. 40th Street, (215) 243-9851, loversandmadmencoffee.com
  • Between its Stumptown and PT beans and specially created La Marzocco machine, Queen Village’s Shot Tower Coffee turns out impeccable espressos. 542 Christian Street, (267) 886-8049, shottowercoffee.com
  • Its espresso was rated best in the city by Craig LaBan and best in the country by The Daily Meal, and rightfully so. Ultimo serves Counter Culture Coffee, perfectly ground and brewed to order—for serious coffee lovers only. 1900 S. 15th Street, (215) 339-5177; 2149 Catharine Street, (215) 545-3565, ultimocoffee.com

Sustainable Sips:

  • At Bodhi Coffee in Society Hill, the space makes use of salvaged materials, the Stumptown coffees are available in pour-over and drip styles, and the food is fresh, organic and local. 410 S. 2nd Street, (267) 239-2928; 236 S. 10th Street, bodhicoffeephila.com
  • Fair trade and certified organic coffee is the foundation at all three locations of Good Karma Café, and owner David Arrell’s takes best-practices philosophy to an even higher level, with green construction and corn-based plastics. 331 S. 22nd Street, (215) 546-1479; 928 Pine Street, (267) 519-8860; 2319 Walnut Street, (267) 239-2068, thegoodkarmacafe.com
  • The vegan lifestyle is celebrated at Grindcore House, a Pennsport hangout where coffee drinkers can choose from a variety of non-dairy creamers (soy, rice, almond, coconut) and a meatless, eggless, milkless menu of pastries and sandwiches. 1515 S. 4thStreet, (215) 839-3333, grindcorehouse.com
  • Fairmount hangout Mugshots Coffeehouse maintains a commitment to sustainability via recyclable packaging; vegan, vegetarian and organic snacks; fair-trade coffee; and local-food offerings. 1925 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 514-7145, mugshotscoffeehouse.com
  • Built from reclaimed wood and tile, Northern Liberties’ expansive One Shot Coffee showcases its socially conscious heart with Stumptown’s direct-trade coffee and seasonal organic fare—of which some ingredients are grown in customers’ gardens. 217 W. George Street, (215) 627-1620, 1shotcoffee.com

International Brews:

  • Curious about Australian coffees? Ants Pants Café in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood is a great place to be indoctrinated into flat whites and long blacks—not to mention iced coffees made from espresso ice cream and whipped cream. 2212 South Street, (215) 875-8002, antspantscafe.com
  • Dark and sweet, pot-brewed Turkish coffee is on offer at the charming Café Fulya, and the Turkish pastries and specialties like manti complete the Ottoman experience. 727 S. 2nd Street, (267) 909-9937, cafefulya.com
  • A Chinatown institution serving Hario siphon brews long before it was trendy, Ray’s Café & Tea House pairs its wide selection of international coffees (Jamaican, Brazilian, Kenyan) with snacks like dumplings, noodles and iced jellied cappuccinos. 141 N. 9thStreet, (215) 922-5122, rayscafe.com

Roving Cups:

  • What began as a moving enterprise now also boasts a bricks-and-mortar establishment. HubBub Coffee pourssteamy cups of Stumptown at both its flagship cafe in Center City and its University of Pennsylvania campus truck. Truck: 38th & Spruce Streets,Monday through Friday; Cafes: 1717 Arch Street, (215) 665-1982; 232 N. Radnor Chester Road, Radnor, (610) 687-1710,hubbubcoffee.com
  • What happens when a chef and a coffee roaster (lifelong friends) join forces for the good of coffee drinkers? Rival Bros. is what—a coffee truck serving its own roasted brews, featuring both single origin and blends, Monday through Friday. A full-service café in Fitler Square now keeps the brews flowing daily until 7:00 p.m. Truck: 33rd & Arch Streets; Cafe: 2400 Lombard Street,rivalbros.com

Royal Cracovia – Magnolia, New Jersey

Royal Cracovia – Magnolia, New Jersey

Situated on the White Horse Pike is Royal Cracovia (RC). I do not know the ethnic ratios surrounding the area, but driving around it did not seem like the region of the world RC’s menu is mostly suited towards lived near this dining destination. That is not a bad thing, and I am always the first to say the American diet needs more diversity, but I think where RC may have went overboard was with the building of RC. RC is a mix of a beautiful palace and fancy Jersey diner. The second you step inside RC you wonder if you are visiting royalty. With the ornate painting, pictures, chandeliers, masonry, and woodwork surrounding the place, but then reality sets in as soon as you are seated as some of RC’s bar clientele has some rough edges, the dining area is half turned dark due to not enough patrons, and the market and bakery are not stationed and mostly bare showing that RC had big ambitions that obviously have not panned out. It is a shame as I can only imagine what a lively and fun place RC could be with a packed house. The service was friendly and courteous and my order of the day would be their nine piece pierogi platter.

royal

The pierogi platter consisted of potato and cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, and meat and onion pierogis topped with caramelized onions and accompanied by carrots and broccoli. The caramelized onions were nice, vegetables were a little on the bland side, and out of the three options of pierogis the sauerkraut and mushroom were the best, but a tad greasy. The dish was good, but not grand nor the best pierogi around especially for the price point. I understand why RC’s prices are the way they are. They wanted a certain atmosphere with an upscale flair to the menu and presentation of their food. The only problem is I do not think they set up shop in the right market for their product as the old saying location, location, location. RC is a nice change of pace for the area they serve, but I think they would have been better suited opening a much smaller place, giving it a mom and pop sort of feel, let word of mouth about the new type of food in the area spread, and then if all went well expand the empire. As it stands now, RC has a castle, they just do not have any villagers to call their own.

Overall

Two and half Stars out of Five

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