The food was great, the beer was better, the company was excellent

Last night my friends Chef Jared and Natalie Lamos and I tried out the Station Taproom (207 W. Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335) because we’ve all heard such great things. My friend and realtor Joey Frey even says they have the best brunch around so I’ll be back soon to check that out. This place has been on my list for years and honestly I don’t know why it has taken so long to get here. Feel free to point and laugh…

The food was great, the beer was better, and the company was excellent! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and some deep conversation over incredible food.

Jared is the sous chef at Brandywine Branch Distillers in Elverson and was previously a cook at the incredible Wyebrook Farms (I am probably going to do a blog post for them soon). There he worked under the talented Chef Eric Yost, owner of the new Suburban Restaurant & Beer Garden in Exton (next on my list!)…so suffice it to say he knows good food!

Appetizers

He and Natalie split the whipped ricotta (above) which was unreal. I HATE ricotta…well I don’t hate it but I actively avoid it. And after trying this I was like “are you going to lick the plate or should I…” it was that good. Picture cannoli filling with honey and almonds on top and crispy bread to scoop it up with. I’m taking my mom back ASAP for this, she’s going to love it. (NOTE: it is listed on the menu as an appetizer but is way more of a desert, order it after your meal and you’ll be in heaven)

My good friend and beer/wing connoisseur (thank you spell check) Mickey Herley commended the wings to me and man was he spot on. The wings were super crispy, like you can hear them crunch from across the room in a loud crowded bar kind of crispy. We got the honey jerk seasoning and it was really tasty, sweet and tangy. Fun fact, if you eat dinner with a chef he will try each sauce individually and try to detect individual ingredients and tell you how it is made which is both fun and educational.

Main courses

Everything was really, really good. Everything. My friend Fred Donaghy makes fun of me because I always say everything is the best I’ve ever had, like “this is the best meal” “the best beer” “the best cigar” etc, but I really just try to soak everything in and fully enjoy myself. Which is exactly what we did.

I went for the special which was a braised short rib quesadilla with goat cheese. Anytime you say “pork belly” or “braised short rib” my reply will be “I’ll take two”. Again I avoid strong cheeses but Jared convinced me to try it with the Goat Cheese and BOOM! It was dynamite. Sweet and sour dipping sauce? I considered drinking it through my straw.

Jared had a house made ramen. I know…bar food…and they have ramen? But they did, and Jared, a trained and seasoned chef, said it was the best Ramen he can remember eating in a long time if not ever. The poached egg…perfection. The broth…deep and complex with an sneaky hint of lime which gave it a brightness without being overly acidic. Two thumbs up!

Natalie has been eating healthy and losing weight like the rest of us wish we could so she opted for the Zucchini noodles with pine nuts and blistered tomatoes. Being healthier didn’t mean less flavorful in this case because the whole dish was delicious. The zucchini noodles were like perfect al dente pasta without all the carbs. My friend Michele Mancini first turned me on to the idea of eating veggies like pasta and after I said “we’re cant be friends anymore” she convinced me to try it and she was spot on. Zucchini pasta, spaghetti squash, delicious and carb free.

Another thing I really appreciate is their focus on locally sourced ingredients when possible. I love seeing Conebella Farms on here because I grew up just down the road and Wyebrook makes the list too, really neat.

The Beer

Oh me oh my, the beer list was not huge but man was it solid. I had (get ready for it Freddy…) the best beer I can remember ever having. Stone “Wootstout” Imperial Stout was ridiculously delicious, roasty and malty and rich. 13% ABV so buckle up buttercup! It was so delicious and fun to drink, I actually texted Fred right after and told him “I never want to drink any other beer again”. Of course…I will…but still, this was ridiculously good. It will remain at the top of my list for a long while I am sure, but I welcome contenders : )

The Company

This post is already pretty lengthy so I’ll just end by saying I’m always thankful for good food and good friends and last night I got to enjoy both! Food is fuel and sustains life but it is also a vehicle for community and pleasure and the enjoyment of life and people. We all share the commonality of eating 3 (sometimes 5 or 6) meals a day. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with these guys, talking faith, beer, food, family, and everything I between. Looking forward to the next one.

BONUS: Next door to Station Taproom the owners opened up The Bottle Room where you can sit and grab a beer, buy a bottle, a 6 pack, or fill a growler or crowler. I took home a bottle of Avery Coconut porter I’m excited to try.

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today…”

J. Wellington Wimpy of the Popeye comics said “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”. Although they won’t let you wait until Tuesday to pay, you will definitely be glad to pay for a cheeseburger at Wimpy’s in Pottstown.

Never heard of it? Me either…until Ally Antonini told me about Wimpy’s and their delicious burgers so naturally I broke the diet to check it out.

This hidden gem is built in to what I’m guessing was an old garage and only has a few tables but I saw several people getting their dinners to go. That may be a solid option if this place gets too crowded but there are a few games to play while you’re waiting.

The food was soooooo good! Great, greasy, scrumptious hamburgers on toasted homemade buns. The “cowboy burger” had two crispy crunchy onion rings on top and a BBQ sauce and weighed as much as Adelle did when she was born.

Mom and I both agreed that we were done eating about 3/4 of the way through…and somehow we both finished them! They were that good : )

The cheesesteak was good and extra cheesy but I would probably just stick to burgers, they were really really good.

Next time I want to try the “Cyclops Burger” with a fried egg in top!

The girls really enjoyed their French fries, hamburgers, and “puppy dog” hotdog. The onion rings were a big hit too!

The final verdict:

Go check them out!

“As good as breakfast gets…”

Dad and I had a chance to swing by The Classic Diner in Malvern today. The verdict: "as good as breakfast gets…" according to pop.

Larry's meal

  • Sunny side up eggs
  • The BEST gluten free toast according to him
  • apple sausage (with a hint of…cinnamon?)
  • Home fries

The gluten free toast we found out comes from Taffets Bakery. We'll be checking them out soon, good gluten free bread is hard to find.

My meal:

  • Eggs Benedict with Taylor Pork roll instead of Canadian bacon!!! SO Good
  • Lavazza coffee

Shoutout to Amy "The Schrilligan" Milligan for introducing me to the salty delectable treat known as pork roll. You've truly touched my life in a way most people could only dream of.

It's no secret that Classic Diner has tight parking and tight seating but it is well worth it. I have honestly never had lunch here because the breakfast is so darn good, why do anything else?

Try the eggs Benedict, you won't be disappointed. If I wasn't so excited for the Taylor Pork roll I might have gone with the eggs Benedict with Crab or with Asparagus, both are phenomenal twists.

Until next time…

Famous Toastery with Ally Antonini


Photo: Ally patiently waiting to dive in

Today my friend (and fellow foodie) Ally and I ate at The Famous Toastery for the second time and man oh man, was it good. It is a rainy day as I'm writing this some some good comfort food sounded like it would hit the spot. And coincidentally I made it to the gym this morning so I was famished…simply wasting away 😂


Photo: Jasmine green tea

Shauna was our waitress and couldn't have been more fun. Ally and I decided to play my favorite restaurant game called "Surprise Me" where I tell the wait staff to "just surprise me!" I am rarely disappointed, sometimes the waiter or waitress comes back with the $45 lobster stuffed filet mignon…but mostly they pick their personal favorites. Often times you'll even receive something "off-menu" or a combination of a few things so I HIGHLY recommend asking the wait staff to surprise you, if you're up for that kind of adventure.


Photo: Turkey, cranberry, and Brie melt with Gruyere and Parmesan mac and cheese

Shauna brought us out a few winners and had a blast getting to pick for us:

– turkey, cranberry, and Brie melt
– gruyere and Parmesan mac and cheese
– cucumber salad
– crab roll

Everything was delicious. The mac and cheese was really creamy, the melt was so crunchy, the crab roll was really light, and that cucumber salad was super refreshing. I have really enjoyed everything both times I ate here so if you get a chance go check it out for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, I suggest you give it a shot.

Follow me, leave a comment, suggest a restaurant, or just go about your day as if this never happened 😊, the choice is yours. Until next time…

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

I have never written a blog before and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I love eating food, making food, talking about food, watching tv and movies about food…pretty much anything related to food makes me happy. I've been posting a lot of pictures on Facebook and people love commenting so this right here…is for you. Whoever you are that might be reading this, I'm glad you're here.

I wanted to make something for dinner tonight that I could eat all week so I decided to make a grilled Caesar chicken salad. The ingredients were pretty basic

  • Loaf of French bread
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Romaine lettuce hearts
  • Chicken tenders
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, garlic salt

Homemade croutons: I sliced up the French bread, mixed in melted butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Laid it out on a cookie sheet, baked it at 425 and about 10 minutes later BAM:

Then I grilled the chicken tenderloins, real simple just salt and pepper and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

PRO TIP: don't knock it till you try it…grill your lettuce. This is a little tip I picked up from the Brasserie in Lancaster. Slice the Roamine hearts in half and grill them cut side down for just a few minutes. It adds a nice flavor and if you eat it right away (I'm chowing down as I write this) everything is nice and warm.

Dice up the lettuce, dice up some chicken, ythrow it together with some crispy crunch croutons, add a little Caesar dressing (I actually used a Parmesan Peppercorn dressing but don't tell anyone) and voila. Best chicken Caesar-ish salad around.

So, I have no idea how this went…someone drop me a line and tell me how this went. I'm sure there is a way to comment here, or hit me on Facebook, or send a carrier pigeon and let me know if this was the most boring thing you've ever read or if I should keep at it.