Tag Archives: Food

Back to School Lunches – Lancaster Style!

Hey Lancaster locals – with the kids going back to school at the end of the month, it’s time to gear up for another year of learning. Once you’ve collected your school supplies, stock up on great lunch ideas to keep your kids full and focused.

If your goal for this school year is to break away from the PB & J, try packing some of these local items in your child’s lunch for an authentic, nutritious, and most importantly, kid-friendly Lancaster County mid-day meal.

1] Rolling up turkey or ham is a great alternative to PB & J, and easy for little ones to eat.
(Stoltzfus Meats & Deli)

2] Cube cheese into bite-sized pieces for extra calcium and protein
(September Cheese Farm)

3] To add a crunch to their day, pack an individual size bag of Herr’s chips.
(Herr’s Snack Factory)

4] Not a chip fan? Pretzels are another salty alternative. After all, they are practically their own food group in Lancaster County with so many varieties to choose from.
(Julius Sturgis or Hammonds)

5] A piece of fresh, locally-grown fruit, or vegetables cut up and served with hummus make a healthy and colorful snack.
(Local farm stands)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a special day like a birthday or just a TGIF treat, add in a mini whoopie pie from Shady Maple, some Wilbur Buds, or a treat from Miesse Candies.

Another easy way to brighten their day is to include one of our Lancaster County lunch box notes. Simply print them out at home and slip one in their lunch box.

 

 

Tomato Pie Café

Have you ever wanted to be transported to Luke’s Diner in Stars Hollow, or the lunch counter of a Norman Rockwell painting? Try eating at the Tomato Pie Café in Lititz! This quaint eatery is a favorite watering hole among locals and visitors alike. No matter what time of day, it is always busy. Once inside amongst the delicious smells and cozy atmosphere you can’t help but feel a little cheerier; the perfect atmosphere for catching up with a friend.

Everything on the menu is delicious, but a slice of tomato pie is their specialty. Tomato pie, the namesake of the café, is an original family recipe consisting of seasoned red tomatoes baked in a flakey pie crust and covered with a cheesy topping. Slices are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and makes a savory meal for any time of day. The café also has a full expresso bar with a selection of coffees, lattes, smoothies, and teas. If you haven’t been tempted so far, just wait until you see the dessert counter- everything is baked in town at the Bakery at the Cupboard. In additional to the standard menu, specials change monthly so there is always something new to try.

Next time you are in Lititz be sure to stop by, but allow for extra time to be blocked out of your schedule- you will end up staying for a while.

Hours:

Monday – Saturday: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm

Sunday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Things to Do in February

The winter chill is still in the air, but that doesn’t stop the fun in Lancaster! From two exciting festivals to the first Mud Sale of the season, you’re sure to find something unique to make your trip one to remember.

Festive Festivals

Lititz presents their Fire & Ice Festival over President’s Day Weekend (February 17-20) featuring ice sculptures, great food, live entertainment and activities throughout the weekend. To contrast the frosty ice sculptures, a Chili Cook Off is held on Saturday alongside the Winter Wonderland Carnival and Vendor Fair.

The sweet, sweet sounds of roots and blues music will fill the air of Downtown Lancaster during the three day Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival, February 24-26. The 2017 lineup includes over 50 artists performing at 8 venues throughout the city. A variety of ticket options are available, from one to three day tickets along with VIP and Under 21 options.

Dinner with Your Sweetheart

To celebrate the day of love, join the Vineyard at Grandview for a five course wine pairing Valentine Dinner that will infuse your holiday with romance. Delicious dishes are paired with the vineyard’s wines made on location. Mark your calendars for February 10 and reserve your seats today.

For the craft beer lovers, the General Sutter Inn presents a Beer & Food Tasting dinner featuring Founders Brewing Company on February 27. For $38 per person, you’ll enjoy courses paired with brews that will have your tasty buds buzzing. With the popularity of this event, reservations are required.

If PA Dutch style cooking is what you’re craving, Bird-in-Hand Fire Company is hosting their first Chicken Pot Pie Dinner of 2017. They are serving up all-you-can-eat chicken pot pie, peas, pepper cabbage, rolls, desserts, and more from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM (or until they sell out) on February 25. It’s the perfect PA Dutch meal to fill your belly on cold day.

Bring Your Boots

Mud Sale season kicks off on Saturday, February 25 with the Strasburg Mud Sale. Whether you’re looking for great bargains on antiques, crafts, furniture and quilts or spectating and enjoying the wonderful food, be sure to remember your boots. These events are classically muddy as they are held as the ground begins to thaw.

Gimme Some Sugar

So sweet – it’s time for Maple Sugaring at Lancaster County Park. On-going demonstrations in the sugar bush of the park will be held on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26. Learn about the process from tree tapping to boiling to making the sweet product into candy. Maple products will be on sale for you to take tasty treats home to share.

Arts & History  

Browse Charles Demuth-inspired art at the Demuth Museum’s annual exhibition featuring Lancaster area artists. “Valentines for Demuth” invites Lancaster area artists to create works inspired by his work, 1896 Valentine. Works will be on display from February 4 to 26.

Rock Ford Plantation invites children ages 4 and up and their parents to celebrate the first President of the United States, George Washington. Enjoy cake and ice cream with Mr. Washington, enjoy crafts and games, and learn why we continue to celebrate his birthday. Reservations are required for this February 26th event.

For a complete list of events in February and beyond, click here

What Exactly is a Long John?

While browsing the bakeries, sweet shops, and market stands, you may come across a doughnut that looks a lot like an éclair – but with a different name.

In Lancaster County and various areas across the country, these bar-shaped donuts are called Long Johns, and boy are they delicious! Not to be confused with the long undergarment worn on cold days, Long Johns are rectangular, yeasted doughnuts that are either filled or unfilled and topped with a variety of icing flavors.

If you’re looking to sink your teeth into one of these tasty pastries, you can find one (or a dozen) here:

  • Achenbach’s: Dubbed the “Home of the Long John,” Achenbach’s is celebrating over 60 years of baking goods from scratch. Choose from vanilla, chocolate or peanut butter icing or even a Long John cakes for special occasions. Stop by on your birthday for a free Long John – sweet!
  • Shady Maple: If you happen to be at Central Market or at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, a unique Long John is just steps away. You’ll find the sweet and salty Maple Bacon Long John, topped with maple icing and strips of smoky bacon, and the straight-up-sweet Better Cream Long John, filled with light cream.

Bon appetite!

Sources: Eater.com, “Everything You Need to Know About the Great American Doughnut” 5/28/2015

Recipes to Inspire Your Holiday Baking

It’s the holiday season, and whether you’re baking cookies for a cookie swap or for your family to enjoy, we’re sharing some Amish and Mennonite-inspired cookie recipes to add to your recipe box.

From the seasonal favorite, sand tarts, to the unique Amish cookies, we hope that you’ll find a tasty treat or even a new Christmas tradition!

cookies1 cookies2 cookies3

Recipes from: Good, Phyllis Pellman, and Rachel T. Pellman. From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens. Intercourse, PA: Good, 1984. Print.

What Exactly is Chow-Chow?

Chow-Chow, not to be confused with the breed of dog hailing from China, is a sweet and sour mix of pickled vegetables often served as a side dish next to PA Dutch classic cuisine.

Not only is chow-chow delicious, it’s also a resourceful use of odd amounts of vegetables left at the end of harvest, giving it the nickname “end of season relish.” Left-over carrots, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, corn, peppers, beans, etc. are canned together with a sweet and sour pickling liquid.

While the origin of the name isn’t officially known, there are a few theories. Some believe it comes from the French word for cabbage, Chou. Others say it comes from the Indian squash, chayote, which is also known as chow-chow.

Regional flavors and variations do exist, including the less-sweet southern version and varieties that are chopped and shredded.

Pick up a jar of the Pennsylvania Dutch version and try it for yourself! Find chow-chow along with many other jams, sauces and pickles at Intercourse Canning Company.

Thank you to Intercourse Canning Company assisting with the chow-chow facts.

A Romantic Leap Get Away!

Whoever gets paid makes that plans. That’s the deal Cheryl and I have for date night. I got paid so I made the plans. I wanted a quiet get away. A place where we could have a fabulous dinner and hear each other talk. Casual elegance is a good description for what I had in mind. In addition, I wanted to be able to walk to dinner and back to our room where ever that may be.

We’d been talking about Cameron Estate Inn and Restaurant in Mt. Joy because our daughter will be getting married at the estate next January. We’d been there for dinner a couple of times and after each visit I thought it would be wonderful to be able to simply walk upstairs and spend the night. I called, made a dinner reservation for Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and booked the Donegal Garratte room on the third floor.

We arrived just before 6:00 p.m. At check-in they let us know our dinner table was ready and that we could come down at any time. We meandered upstairs, changed and made our way to the restaurant. The Inn, an early American mansion set on a 15 acre estate is absolutely adorable. It’s decorated with antiques and feels like a step back in time. There’s a sense of authenticity about it.

The hostess who was also the waitress remembered us from the last time we’d been there and that was some time ago. She seated us at a corner table in the sunroom so were surrounded by windows on two sides. Our view looked out over the estate. We got to watch it get dark and the lights around the mansion come up. It was awesome.

We started off with a ten year old 2006 Kendal Jackson Reserve, a Cabernet Sauvignon. The menu was incredible, as always.  From past experience we knew whatever we chose would be wonderful. The hostess recommended the pepper encrusted Lamb Porterhouse and the crab cakes. I got the lamb. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. It came with roasted vegetables and an unbelievable cherry reduction. Cheryl had the crab cakes. She loves crab cakes but these were over the top. I wrapped up with Crème Brulee and Cheryl had a hot chocolate spice cake that was to die for.

As the sun went down and the lights came on the estate took on a romantic glow. There was just enough light for a walk. We strolled along the foot paths and stopped momentarily on a small bridge to watch the light bounce off the stream and the water rush by.

We collapsed in a high four poster bed in our room at the end of the hall on the third floor. The next morning breakfast; a choice of quiche, pancakes and yogurt parfait was served at 8:00. Afterward we took another walk around the estate, we put our things together and made the 25 minute drive home.

It was a wonderful overnight stay. We didn’t go far. The Estate was both historic and romantic. There were people around but it wasn’t crazy. The staff was cheerful and engaging. Whether you are local or from out of the area a stay at the Cameron Estate Inn and dinner in the restaurant is a perfect choice for an overnight get away.

A Tuesday Tradition

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday… All are names for the day before the first day of Lent.

Here in Lancaster County, we celebrate this Tuesday with FASNACHTS, delightful treats that aren’t your run-of-the-mill doughnut.

This tradition stems from the need to use up the lard, sugar, butter and eggs prior to the beginning of Lent since these lavish items were typically given up. Not to be confused with a standard glazed or powdered sugar doughnut, many fasnachts are made with mashed potatoes and fried in animal fat making them less sweet, but extra delicious!

Growing up in Lancaster County, I fondly remember the days of coming home from school to see a box of fasnachts on the kitchen counter, never really understanding the rhyme and reason behind them. Now, much like pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, this is a tradition I can’t pass up. I stopped by Lancaster Central Market on my way in to work for my fasnacht from one of the bakery stands who were displaying rows and rows of fried perfection. It was just as delicious as I remember – slightly crispy on the outside with a fluffy center. I prefer ones rolled in powdered sugar, but am sure other variations are just as tasty.

Bakeries and churches across the county will be making fasnachts for the occasion including Oregon Dairy, Achenbach’s Pastry, Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Shady Maple. Stop by and try one for yourself!

Happy Fasnacht Day!

A Prince, a Fox, and a Queen Walk Into a Room

I am currently working towards my Ph.D. in American and Urban Studies and I spend a lot of time writing, photographing, and (most importantly) eating my way across New York City, the subject of my dissertation. I have a go to restaurant in most neighborhoods – establishments at all price points that feature every type of cuisine imaginable. One of the greatest myths is that dining in Manhattan is expensive; it doesn’t have to be.  All of this to say… I like food, a lot! I am willing to try (just about) anything once.

Don’t hate me, but I will be the first to admit that I was slightly hesitant about the available options for dining in Lancaster. Where would I find that magical spot with character and coffee to write? Who would do brunch well? Who would not only have fresh food and craft cocktails, but would also offer great happy hours and affordable dining options? Little did I know that some of my favorite culinary spots would turn out to be right here in my own backyard!

My Prince
Starting with the Prince Street Café. Have you ever sat at one of their window seats on a snowy day? Have you ever left with a piece of art you just had to have from the
6 x 6 show by Infantree? Have you ever had an unforgettable meeting there that turned out to be about much more than the coffee? (You will want to answer yes, yes, and yes by the way.) My daytime drink of choice is a London Fog (warm or iced) – Earl Grey tea steeped in vanilla steamed milk. While it sounds like a simple concoction, no one makes that drink the way that Prince Street can and no one makes it well iced. Believe me, much to the chagrin of my friends, I have asked baristas all over the country to try and replicate it.  Nothing can come close. So, good coffee (and tea)… check. Character… check. Spot for potential romance…check.

The Dapper Fox 
Now to brunch!  How does candied grapefruit with whipped Mascarpone and blackberries, chicken and waffles, and a Bloody Mary sound? Not hungry yet? How about a Crab Benedict and a Pear Bellini? Aussie and the Fox does both brunch and cocktails extremely well. As a matter of fact, some of my most memorable cocktails have been mixed there. You will discover that I have a weak spot for anything with Gin, St. Germaine, or Chartreuse in it. I still reminisce about both their Berry Basil Smash and their Frankenstein. Their offerings change seasonally and incorporate the freshest of ingredients. Plus Aussie and the Fox now features occasional movie nights and a cozy atmosphere, perfect for snuggling up and sharing a plate with someone on a cold winter night.

Fit for a Queen 
Since I like to do a lot of my work from cafes, I have had the pleasure of experiencing breakfast, brunch, and lunch at Commonwealth on Queen. However, it was a special experience on a Saturday evening with Chef Nick Furrow this past fall that really “wowed” me. The restaurant, which is typically closed for dinner, opened its doors for an Italian pop-up dinner event, “Mangiare Bene.” Chef Furrow personally greeted each table and explained his menu choices.

Plus the event was BYOB as is their weekly Sunday brunch. Red wine, fresh local food, and good company, there is simply nothing better. The Commonwealth on Queen team is also fabulous at photography. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to check out their Snickerdoodle Belgian Waffles and other fabulous drinks.

Just like photography, food (and drinks) will play a major role in this column each week. I will return to these favorites in much more detail, but will also feature some of my other beloved haunts such as Sa La Thai, Checkers Bistro, and Pour in future entries.  While admittedly I am a city girl, I also promise to include culinary choices throughout the county too.

http://urbansocialblend.org/2/category/aussie%20and%20the%20fox/1.html

Shoofly pie. Shoo-fly pie. Shoo fly pie.

No matter how you spell it, it’s delicious!

Shoofly pie is a fluffy molasses pie that’s a traditional dessert here in Lancaster County, PA. The pie got it’s name because the molasses in it attracts flies, so when you’d sit the pie on the window sill to cool, you’d constantly be shooing the flies away.

Most people eat “wet bottom” shoofly pie, which differentiates from “dry bottom” shoofly pies because there’s a gooey bottom layer that forms when the pie bakes. “Dry bottom” shoofly pie is more cake like.

You may already know all of that, but did you know that now when the Amish are having a large picnic, they sometimes will bake extra shoofly pies to put around the perimeter of their picnic, so that the flies are drawn away from their food? Maybe that’s a trick that I should try at my next picnic!

Here’s a great recipe for some delicious shoofly pie!

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • FILLING:
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup molasses
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup boiling water
  • TOPPING:
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • Dash salt
    • 6 tablespoons cold butter
 Directions
  1. Line pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove foil; brush crust with egg yolk. Bake 5 minutes longer; cool on a wire rack.
  2. For filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, molasses, egg, flour and baking soda; gradually add boiling water. Cool to room temperature; pour into prepared crust.
  3. For topping, in a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and filling is set. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.
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