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Rockhill – Cherry Hill, NJ

Rockhill – Cherry Hill, NJ

Cruising down Route 70 West in Cherry Hill, New Jersey I spotted a building that did not look like a restaurant, but had plenty of signs on the lawn screaming the destination had food there. Once I pulled into the parking lot, you could see indeed Rockhill (RH) is a full-fledged restaurant, but roadside it was tough to tell. The interior of RH is very bright, modern, and slick. The staff was upbeat, friendly, and professional. I started things out with what the menu stated was a soft pretzel with white cheddar beer sauce.

prez bite

I was imagining a large soft pretzel, but what appeared were pretzel bites. The sauce was very nice and warm with a good consistency and decent beer flavor to it. Sadly, the pretzels lacked any sort of pretzel texture, consistency or flavor. Instead they tasted too much like bread bites and plain ones at that. They should update the menu to state they are bites and may want to work on the recipe for the pretzels or outsource for them. Moving on I would go with a cheesesteak.

hill steak

I ordered the Kennett Cheesesteak which was supposed to come with Swiss cheese, gravy, caramelized onions, and topped with fresh sautéed Kennett Square mushrooms. What arrived was a cheesesteak with American cheese sauce, onions, and mushrooms. Whether the mushrooms were of the Kennett Square variety I do not know, but what I do know is that I ordered was not what I received. Not wanting to wait for another or cause a ruckus, I decided to eat. I must admit that what was brought was tasty and better than your average cheesesteak, and the mushrooms were fabulous. One thing that was very noticeable though was the meat was chopped up so much it immediately fell out of the roll as it turned more into ground beef instead.

RH has a little bit of a rock to move and hill to climb. Many aspects of RH confused me on their missteps. The service was so friendly and seemed efficient so where did the order mix up happen. Did the kitchen not read the ticket properly as there was no one else to blame for the extremely chopped steak, or was it a system error. Either way, RH has a beautiful place to dine in at, a staff that seems willing and ready to provide outstanding service, and a unique and higher end twist on the tried and true pizza shop menu. Now if they can get a little better signage out front to let drivers know about RH and a refresher course on techniques in the kitchen, RH is posed to go from a rock to a mountain for the competition.


Two and One-Fourth Stars out of Five


18th Annual Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch – Meals on Wheels Delaware

This is an AMAZING EVENT and a must attend for any foodie!!!!! I will be there covering the event, so join me.

Press Release:

18th Annual Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch will be Sunday, April 19th from 11 am to 2 pm at Hercules Plaza in Downtown Wilmington. The Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch showcases epicurean delights from highly acclaimed chefs from across the United States and beyond. In addition to decadent food, wine and specialty cocktails, our guests enjoy a silent auction featuring high-end culinary items, travel packages, one-of-a-kind experiences and luxury gifts.

Check out the chef lineup, event information, and to buy tickets CLICK HERE

Paesano’s North – Philadelphia, PA

Paesano’s North – Philadelphia, PA

When you live in or around Philadelphia, you have certain expectations of what a sandwich is or should be. We are a spoiled bunch, but I am happy we demand so such. With a tiny little store on Girard Avenue that only has room for six bar stools I visited Paesano’s North (PN) with high hopes. I would try their Zawzeech sandwich.


The Zawzeech is sweet Italian sausage with roasted peppers, sautéed onions, and sharp provolone cheese on a seeded roll. From the first bite till the last it was simply delightful. The roll became a tad bit soggy, but other than it was top-notch.

The interior of PN is nothing to write home about. The employees seem a little rough around the edges in a good way. The menu is diverse, and try to order in advance as the place is so tiny any more than four people there at any given time is a tight squeeze. All in all PN is a gem and if you have never been, you should really give them a try at one of their locations.


Four and a Half Stars out of Five is on the radio weekly!!!

HUGE NEWS! has a weekly segment airing on 610 WIP WTEL AM radio Philadelphia, for Beasley Broadcast Group highlighting restaurant, chef, and food news for the Philadelphia, Western South Jersey, Eastern Pa, and Northern DE areas. Please email , post, and share any hot news or happenings you know of around the area or looking for possible coverage to me and please share this info!!!! The show I am on is the award winning Ed Hitzel “Table For One” which is syndicated on Wond Radio Station 1400AM Atlantic City Longport Media, TuneIn Radio and SNJ Today 1240AM Millville. Be sure to listen!

Derek Timm
Owner/Operator LLC
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Osteria Moorestown Mall – Moorestown, NJ

Osteria Moorestown Mall – Moorestown, NJ

Marc Vetri has stoked a fire in the food media world. He has said that full fledged staffed “food critics” like Craig LaBan are no more important than “food bloggers” such as myself. Well I would like to thank Marc for thinking so highly of me, and apologize to Craig for dragging his profession down.

I have been a long time supporter of Marc Vetri. When I visited his flagship restaurant Vetri, it was one of the most transcendent food experiences I have ever experienced. I agreed with the high cost, the setting, and not having a set menu. Yes, yes, and yes, I would like more and anyone who said otherwise was just uneducated on what good food is.

Well it has been awhile since I visited Vetri or any of his other establishments. With good tastes floating around my head’s memory banks of his food, I decided to venture to his Osteria Moorestown Mall (OMM) location.

I have to say, I can not remember the last time I have visited the Moorestown Mall, let alone even thought about it. So with that in mind, I must commend those who thought about putting “high-end” cuisine at a mall to get me near one as I avoid them at all costs.

When I parked the car, the exterior of OMM is not all that exciting, and had second thoughts about my choice. Once inside though, OMM erases any notions that you are at or near a mall. The hostess was very friendly, coat check was handled promptly, and seated immediately upon arrival. The décor may be a little over the top, but I get where they are going with the theme, and the music and its volume level were right where they should be.

After seating though, it was like a rush for each employee to come over. Water filled, silverware put down, and then waitress comes over to hand an IPAD to me and give a ten minute dissertation about how to use it and what it is for. It is just to browse the drinks selection. It would have been a nice touch if I was able to see a different picture for all the cocktails listed as I was not familiar with most of them, but sadly it was the same generic picture when I clicked on the more info tab for each one. After ordering drinks and able to relax after the deluge of staff upon me, I ordered some pasta to start things out.

vet app

It was robiola francobolli “postage stamp ravioli” with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme. Oh, Marc how I love your food. Once the food came out and with my first few bites, things started out just the way I remembered them. Tasty and delightful. The ravioli was so delicate, yet flavors exploded with every single forkful. It truly was a masterpiece. My mood would change quickly though. The train of staff and servers came out of the woodwork again. “How is the meal” was asked from four different employees within only a five minute period. Then a few minutes later the water is refilled and again asked how is it, followed by a “are you happy with everything” with the person standing next to me for almost a full two minutes after a yes reply. I felt like how the animals in the zoo must feel with everyone staring and yelling at them non-stop. I was able to allow such invasion of my privacy with such delicious morsels in front me, and was eagerly awaiting more with my next plate coming up.

app 2

I had the mozzarella in carrozza with olive oil poached pear tomatoes and capers. Once again after the plate was sat down and a few bites in, the staff and server parade of parades would occur again. This time it was not as easy to swallow as what I was served in my opinion was nothing more than two giant fried mozzarella sticks for twelve dollars. This may be an acceptable dish at a local pizza joint, but not somewhere you except to be a little more sophisticated. It was beyond greasy, entire dish lacked any sort of seasoning or flavor, and for the first time with Vetri, I felt priced gouged. Everyone is entitled to a mistake here or there, so I was hoping for a rebound on my main entrée.

vet pork

The night concluded with various spit roasted pieces of a pig with roasted potatoes. Again I would be disappointed. The pork was well overcooked and burnt. They should not have even dared to serve this dish. To boot, it was tough, dry, chewy, and the only obvious flavor was salt. It was so salty it tasted like someone dropped an entire salt shaker on my meal. As if it was not bad enough, the potatoes were even dry and lacked any flavor at all. I could only muster my way through less than half of the dish. There was no need for a water refill as my tears filled the glass with how much I was looking forward to this meal after my past Vetri experiences to prove Marc right and the critics wrong. If I had only eating the first course served at OMM, everything would have been fine.

Times change as well as circumstances. Marc now oversees an empire. There is nothing wrong with this, but one person can only do so much. I have no doubt if Marc was in the kitchen, I probably would have been served one of the best meals of my life again. The problem is, he has to delegate the work now and trust others to uphold his name. At OMM they are currently slacking. Not only in the front of the house with the overbearing staff and pointless tablet fiasco, but kitchen personnel should take a long hard look in the mirror and realize their failures and the opportunity they have in front of themselves. Having the name Vetri on a resume carries a lot of potential. This will not always be the case if everyone does not start to pull their own weight and have Vetri’s name become mud. As it stands now, you may make out better eating at the mall’s food court instead of going to OMM. Marc may be right about a lot of things, but currently fighting the media is not where his attention needs to be. He may be one of the most talented chefs Philadelphia will ever have had the privilege to know and eat his meals, but if he does not get those under his command under control first, we may all lose focus on what the name Marc Vetri really meant to the culinary world.


One and Three-Fourth Stars out of Five

Shanks Pier 40 – Philadelphia, PA

Shanks Pier 40 – Philadelphia, PA

With a dining location on the banks of the Delaware River you would think you have hit gold. Shanks Pier 40 (SP) does indeed have a riverfront location, but unfortunately the scenery is completely missing. It is just a tiny little building and a parking lot. For what they lack in scenery I had high hopes for the food from SP especially after touting accolades from the New York Times and Esquire magazine as well as SportsRadio 610WIP’s Winner of Best Hot Sandwich Award. I would order their award winning sandwich chicken cutlet italiano.

pier 40

The chicken cutlet italiano included broccoli rabe with sharp provolone and I ordered a side of fries as well. I must talk about the fries first as they really surprised. They were a fantastic shoestring fry and cooked to perfection. They were nice and crispy and just the right amount of salt added to them. Best shoestring fries I have had in a long time. The sandwich was very good also as I really enjoyed the way they finely chopped the broccoli rabe and it was seasoned beautifully. They also had just the right amount of cheese and the roll stood up well. The chicken was good, but was just missing something for me whether it is in the breading or not, that I have had just a tad better cutlets other places. What SP has going for them is the all-around quality when you add everything together food wise. They do dreadfully lack an ambiance or any feeling of a waterfront attraction. If SP lucks out one day and gets something like Race Street Pier or the pop-up Spruce Street Park you may finally get the best of both worlds at SP, but until then you should still visit there, just know it is only for the food.


Four out of Five Stars

Brunch in South Jersey


Independent Restaurants Sing the Praises of Weekend Brunch


(Chef Mark, Tortilla Press Cantina, with Huevos Rancheros)

South Jersey…At once comfortingly familiar and now replete with exotic additions, Brunch has become a tantalizing way for independent restaurants to showcase some of their best and most inventive dishes. While major chain restaurants offer traditional brunches, many small, independent restaurants in South Jersey are ready to show the public that brunch is no longer breakfast at the diner. Chef Mark Smith, owner of The Tortilla Press in Collingswood and Tortilla Press Cantina in Merchantville calls it “my go-to meal of the week. It’s immensely popular and unfailingly draws a crowd every Saturday and Sunday.” Smith, who offers a brunch with both American and Mexican classic dishes, has now opened his Merchantville restaurant, Tortilla Press Cantina, to the brunch crowd. “What could possibly be better at brunch than a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary?” he says. Like The Tortilla Press in Collingswood, Cantina is offering Huevos Rancheros,Breakfast Enhiladas and a Mexican version of French Toast which uses sweet cream topped bread drizzled with caramel syrup.

French toast PS

(French toast, Connie Correia, the Pop Shop)

While offering standard egg dishes, many restaurants are delving into gourmet specialty areas. Collingswood’s Pop Shop offers seven different kinds of Eggs Benedict as well as plate sized pancakes that come with toppings ranging from chocolate peanut butter chips to Oreos.


(Breakfast burger from Kevin Meeker, Keg n Kitchen)

Kevin of Keg n Kitchen in Westmont offers a hearty Breakast Brunch Burger as well as a special Grapefruit Brulee. And Chef Jim Malaby of Mullica Hill’s blueplate admits, “I go a little overboard…I love the idea of doing fun things with breakfast foods.” Malaby says brunch is one of Blueplate’s most popular meals. “The love affair many of my guests are having with brunch inspired me to create some new dishes.” Blueplate offers Shaved Porketta and Eggs, Breakfast Risoto and Malaby’s own creation, Breakfast pizza – a think crusted and crispy pizza topped with potatoes, bacon “To compete with the chains, independent restaurants have to offer their culinary skill to transform brunch into a unique experience.” says Malaby.

blueplate breakfast pizza

(Breakfast pizza, Chef Jim Malaby, blueplate)

Small restaurants recognize that the key to their brunch success are dishes offered at the right prices and an atmosphere that allows both adults and children to enjoy their meal. “If they come for brunch and like it, they’ll come back for dinner,” explains Tortilla Press’s Smith. “There’s just something magical about the meal and it sets the tone beautifully for the rest of the week.”


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