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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Yellow Creek Inn

Yellow Creek Inn - Jackson Center, PA, United StatesYellow Creek Inn on Urbanspoon
Traveling north of the city last week, I came across a place on a country road that looked promising.  It was early and we were only the second table there.  The Yellow Creek Inn is converted from a small house to a restaurants.  It's warm and old time comfortable, and a quick look at the menu told me it's a meat and potatoes place, which is fine with me on a snowy morning.

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The menu had a nice variety of main dishes and sandwiches, but the Chicken Pie caught my eye.

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I've never had Chicken Pie, but they make it as a weekly special so I decided to give it a try.  As sides I chose a salad, and the recommendation from the waitress, mashed potatoes.  This may have been the least healthy meal that I've had in a long time (and that's saying something), but it was wonderful! The crust was crispy and help up to the gravy.  The potatoes were tremendous, and LOADED with butter.  The salad was as expected, if you know what I mean.

We were so enjoying our meals, that we didn't even notice the place had filled up while we enjoyed our meal.  The food here is good, but may not be for you if you are looking for healthy eats.  Our waitress was prompt and always smiling.  I'm sure we will be back.

The Yellow Creek Inn is located a minute or two East of Interstate 79, on route 62 in Jackson Center, Pa.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Soergel's Farm Market

I've visited Soergel Orchard's Farm Market hundreds of times over the years.  Soergel's has a large apple orchard, a pumpkin patch in the fall, corn roasts in summer months and a full service farm market and bakery.  While perusing this months Bon Appetit Magazine, a story on great varieties of apples caught my eye.  One of the recommendations is the Stayman Winesap variety available at Soergel's.  Of course, I had to try them!

The apples are truly remarkable.  Quite tart and a bit sweet with a nice crunch.  I'll have to go get more!

And, of course I had to get my go-to at Soergels...Chocolate milk.

Here's a picture of the year round indoor farm market selling fresh fruits and vegetables, apple cider and a variety of delicious pies.  They will even sell you a half pie if that better suits your needs.

Soergel's is located  at 2573 Brandt School Rd, Wexford, PA 15090.  They are just off the Wexford exit of Interstate 79, a bit North of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bruno's Old Style Hoagies, Lititz PA

Bruno's Old Style Hoagies on Urbanspoon

On a recent trip to Amish country in central Pa, we spent the night in Lancaster and of course, searched out the best local casual chow.  After a little research and a recommendation from a local, Bruno's Hoagies was decided upon.  The problem, we soon learned was that they keep very odd hours and close at 2:00 pm.  That's right, they are only open a couple of hours a day.  We then just found another unremarkable spot for dinner.  The following morning I had a meeting in Reading Pa, and found myself on the road just in time to get to Bruno's in Lititz before they closed at 2.

The menu is concise, with a nice selection of hoagies, a few sandwiches and a couple of salads.  The nice lady behind the counter recommended the Sharp Italian which is described as: Aged Sharp Provolone, Prosciutto, Capicola, and Genoa salami with lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and spices on your choice of a hard or soft roll.

The prosciutto was sliced paper thin and all of the ingredients were fresh and tasty.  The bread is sent in daily from Philadelphia (which is known for great hoagie rolls) and the oil and spice mix was a tasty topping.

The town of Lititz is really a nice day trip from any part of Pa, and is full of shops, restaurants, and is in the heart of Amish country.  Bruno's has four location, but the one we visited is located at 11 Kleine St, in Lititz Pa.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Waffles InCaffeinated

 Waffles INCaffeinated on Urbanspoon

With a broken refrigerator and no food to prepare at home, Stacy and I wanted to visit something new (to us) for breakfast this past weekend.  I'd heard of the WafflesINCaffeinated  restaurant in New Brighton Pa.  We've never made the trek because of the drive, but the newer location in the South Side made it an easy choice.

The restaurant is located on Carson Ave. in the Southside Works.  They have seating outside and the dining room is clean and pleasant although sparsely decorated.  We were seated at a two seat table that was very small (one of my pet peeves in restaurants) but that was the only misstep.

As their name imply's, waffles are the specialty but they also make a variety of other breakfast choice.  We both decided to try one of the waffle choices and Stacy went with the Souther' which is described as:

Some like it hot! waffle filled with chorizo sausage, fresh jalapenos and cheddar cheese, topped with fresh pico de gallo, a fried egg* your way and garnished with fresh cilantro.

I couldn't turn down the Benny, described as:

Classic eggs benedict with our own waffle twist! two perfectly poached eggs* nestled on top of a half waffle with ham, fresh hollandaise sauce. and crab meat!

Both were truly excellent!  My eggs were poached perfectly, and the waffle was a great compliment to the ham and hollandaise sauce. On top of that, the prices for each were quite reasonable at $8.95.

Without question, we will make this a regular weekend breakfast stop.  

WafflesINCaffeinated is located at 2517 E. Carson St in Pittsburgh.                                                             

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Alice's Restaurant

Alice's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

On our way to view a property in Washington County, we decided to choose a breakfast spot that we haven't visited.  After looking up a few different restaurants and reading a couple of reviews we decided to go to Alice's Restaurant in Canonsburg.

The place is small with only a few tables, all of which were full.  Luckily a couple was leaving as we arrived so the wait was minimal.  Stacy ordered the Western Omelet and I went for a standard breakfast of eggs over easy and hash browns.

The eggs were done perfectly and the hash browns were more like a pile of shoestring potatoes with onion and they were excellent!  Accompanied with a couple of thick slices of bacon and Italian toast this was a full meal.  The waitress was prompt and friendly and the prices were very reasonable.

Alice's is just a diner type of restaurant but the food quality is a notch above the average diner.  We both enjoyed our meals and if we are ever back in the area we'll be sure to stop again.

Alice's Restaurant is at 361 Euclid Ave in Canonsburg Pa.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Newberry Sub Shop, Williamsport Pa.

Newberry Sub Shop on Urbanspoon

After reading many accolades for sub shops in Williamsport, I was looking for a good excuse to visit.  Sure enough, I had a sales call there last week and decided to give these subs a shot.  Of course I couldn't remember any of the names recommend, but the nice young lady at the front desk at the hotel suggested The Newberry Sub Shop.  I'm glad she did.

Other than it being the home of the Little League World Series, I don't really know much about Williamsport.  Over the years I recall reading many stories about how great all of the sub shops are there.  The writers usually claim that the subs in Williamsport are even better than anything you can get in the large city's.

I went for a meat combo (and still added Canadian Bacon) which is several meats, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a great hot pepper oil, which tasted of chopped cherry peppers, oil and spices.  The bread was fresh and soft, but firm enough to stand up to the dressing.

This really is a good sandwich.  It may be the best sub I've ever had and I've had many great subs!  I'll be back in coming weeks and am sure to visit again.

Newberry Sub Shop is located at 2002 Newberry St, Williamsport, PA 17701.

Picked a few things from the garden today..

We have a tiny garden, but it's amazing the volume of tomatoes peppers and cucumbers that grow! The smaller red peppers are ghost peppers, so I'm open to any suggestions on ways to use them.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lawrence Park Dinor

Lawrence Park Dinor on Urbanspoon
I've spent a significant amount of time in Erie Pa over the years, for both work and pleasure.  This week I was looking for a good breakfast place and came across the Lawrence Park Dinor.  Yes, "dinor".  I don't really know why, but that spelling is used all over north western Pennsylvania.

The Park Dinor is a Silk City diner and was opened in 1948.  It has a counter with 16 stools and booths on the other wall.  The menu is typical diner fare, and the prices are great!  I had two eggs, with four sausage links, homefries, and toast, all for $5.29.  The place was clean and the server was very friendly.  This just might turn into my "go to" for breakfast when I'm in the Erie area.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Veggies!

This time of year in the Northeast, backyard gardens are flourishing.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers are picked.  Everyone seems to know people trying to find someone that can make good use of their excess.  Here are a couple of recipes that I really like to utilize these fresh garden treats.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
 1 cup vegetable oil
 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
 2 1/4 cups white sugar
 2 cups shredded zucchini
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
 1 pint fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
Bake 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Feel free to use frozen blueberrys, but you may need to increase the cooking time. Please note that the baking time can vary based on the size of the loaf.

White Pizza with Roma Tomatoes

I like to make a quick and easy white pizza using a white tortilla as crust, shredded mozzarella and then topped with sliced fresh tomatoes.  Add some additional flavor by sprinkling a bit of oregano and add some fresh basil from your garden. And yes, the edges of mine are burned...That's how I like it!

Stuffed Hot Peppers
I always grow banana and jalapeno peppers and one of my favorite uses is stuffing them with sausage and cheese.  Here's an easy way to do that.

1 pound ground pork maple sausage
 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
 1 pound large fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

Take about 8 or 10 peppers and either half lengthwise or if you prefer, slice lengthwise and gently open the pepper.  Remove the seeds from the peppers (tip: use gloves!).

Cook the sausage and drain.  In a bowl, mix with the Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese. 

Stuff the peppers and bake in a 425 degree oven 20 minutes or finish on the grill.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer All Clad Sale

This year the summer All Clad Sale is being held at the Washington County Fair Grounds just outside of Washington Pa. on June 6th and 7th.  For those that are close by, it is a worthwhile visit to get All Clad products at significant discounts.  They sell first run specials in additional to seconds.  I've had great luck with seconds as I can usually find pans with defects that I can't detect, or totally insignificant.  The seconds also include their lifetime guarantee.

The fair grounds are located just north of Washington Pa, off of Interstate 79, about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh.  If you go,  I would recommend that you do not go early either day.  The crowd are big, early but thin out significantly later in the day.  Stock is not depleted until late Saturday afternoon, as they continue to replenish product all day long.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Highland, again

I stopped in at the Highland Bar in West View again last week and had to follow up with a note about their specials.  I don't recall what day it was (sorry) but the food special was this:

A steak with potatoes, green beans and garlic toast.  That in itself is not so special, but the price was.  $5.00!  Now granted, the beans were canned (and probably the potatoes too) but what a great deal.  I admit, I increased the tab by ordering mushrooms and onions for a dollar more....

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bee'z Bistro and Pub

Bee'z Bistro is one of my favorite little restaurants in the South Hills, just outside of the town of Bridgeville. On my way back from a trip, heading north on 79, I stopped for lunch.  Bee'z is a comfortable place with a restaurant on one side and a full bar on the other.  If I remember correctly, the bar offers a great happy hour value, but on this trip I was there for lunch.

Bee'z menu is casual, loaded with sandwich's, pizza, wraps, and salads.  I decided to go with the Grilled Atlantic Salmon & Avocado Salad, which is listed on the menu as an Italian salad with avocado and egg.  It was excellent!

Bee'z is located at 3249 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA.  It's not easy to see from the main road, because it's located along with a few other businesses behind Portmans Farm Market.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Highland Bar

One of my regular stops (there are many..) is The Highland Bar in West View.  The Highland is a local's type place that is known for down right cheap food specials and very inexpensive drinks.  It's one of those old U shaped bars with red vinyl stools, a Formica bar top and knotty pine paneling.  Old School.
I stopped in on a Friday and decided to order a fish sandwich.  This is another good one!  A huge fish, with a choice of two sides went for $8+.  Take a look at this monster:

Please note that while this is an old place and on top of that it's a smoking bar, it's also very clean.  I'm not a smoker so sometimes these places bother me but I've never had a problem here. In the afternoon or around happy hour time the crowd is basicly older locals.  At night it get a bit younger (and louder).  The Highland is located on Route 19 in West View.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I was in State College Pa this week, and as I was about to leave, found myself in the middle of quite a snowstorm.  The weather report had called for only 2 to 4 inches, but within an hour it looked like they really missed on this forecast.  I love State College, so making the decision to stay wasn't hard!

One of the meals I enjoyed was a great lunch at Spats Cafe & Speakeasy.   Spats is New Orleans, cajun type food and they have always done it well.

I ordered a lightly breaded catfish served with tasty greens and very smooth grits.  My lunch partner chose the muffaletta sandwich.  A muffaletta is typically several meats with a spicy olive spread, served on a bread similar to a focaccia.  While I didn't get the chance to taste it, it sure looked good and got raves from my guest.

In addition to the great food, Spats also frequently hosts jazz bands on the weekends and has a comfortable bar if thats what you prefer.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Another reason that I love All Clad...

I've owned a lot of All Clad cookware for many years now, and love the way it cooks and it's durability.  I'm also fortunate enough to live close to the factory and have been able to take advantage of the factory sales that they hold twice a year which has allowed me to buy these at significant discounts.  At the sales they sell first quality and also factory seconds, although I've never been able to see the defects on any of the pans that I've purchased.  In addition, they provide the full factory warranty on the seconds also.

I had two sauce pans that had a non-stick coating which started to peel slightly around the top edges.  By slightly, I mean that the coating has peeled between an 1/8 of an inch to about a 1/4 inch in the worst spots, over about a ten year period.  I contacted the company and they sent me a prepaid postage label to ship them back.  A couple of weeks later, look what arrived!  Two new sauce pans, along with two new lids, which I did not even send to them!

I know that you pay for this service in the purchase price, but it's nice to see that they come through.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Stopped for lunch in Somerset...

at the Summit Diner and when the young ladies at the table next to mine left they chose to leave their tip in this fashion...

The waitress later explained that one of the girls was her granddaughter.  Quite generous too!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

Our wonderful neighbors came to the door with a New Years good luck pretzel.  While I've heard of this tradition, I think this is the first time I've ever had one.  I know that they are sold at bakery's all around Pittsburgh but am not sure where this tradition originated.  

The "pretzels" are made with a buttery bread dough and topped with icing, sweet dried fruit and maybe some walnuts or sliced almonds.

Tradition says that it will bring good luck and prosperity if you eat this at midnight on New Years Eve or for breakfast on New Years day.