Food & Spirits: Kennett Square Odds and Ends

Below are some food and drink-related odds and ends which did not make it into my restaurant reviews from Kennet Square, Pennsylvania the last few days:

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  • Longwood Gardens, as expected, was pretty great. Gardens aren’t really my thing, and walking around in the heat and humidity was a bit of a chore, but I enjoyed it. We ended up getting tickets to the Nightscape viewing too. They have about 10 different light shows coordinated with music set up around the park. They play on a loop every 10-15 minutes allowing you to see them all as you make your way around. I thought some of the effects were pretty weak, just because of how hard it is to project light and moving images onto a tree or shrub many yards away. There were some that were spectacular, though. The ones in the conservatory are a little smaller and in a controlled environment, and therefore more robust in color. There also happened to be a bluegrass concert going on in the beer garden. We stopped in to try the grapefruit beer on tap. It was made by local Victory Brewing and very bitter, almost like an IPA (which I don’t like). I didn’t enjoy it, but where that fell short, an awesome pretzel picked it up. No kidding, it was the best damn pretzel I’ve ever had in my life. Soft and hot on the inside, crispy on the outside, and packed with plenty of salt. For $6, it was a long braid and came with warm beer cheese, garlic butter, and grain mustard.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

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Food & Spirits: Half Moon Restaurant (Kennett Square, PA)

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Restaurant: Half Moon Restaurant and Saloon

Date: August 25, 2016

Location: 108 West State Street, Kennet Square, PA

After an abominable meal the night before, I desperately needed something good to bring me back. We visited The Mushroom Cap which is a store in town devoted entirely to mushrooms (and includes presumably the world’s only “Mushroom Museum”) and asked the worker what restaurant she recommended. She steered us over to the Half Moon, which specializes in exotic meats. They actually have a menu full of normal items, but when I have the chance to try something I probably couldn’t get anywhere else, I go for it. When we walked in, the place reminded me of the saloon in The Shootist, John Wayne’s final movie. Not western themed, just old school and classy. Everything from the floors to the booths, walls, and bar. It was beautiful, but when we were told they also had a rooftop atrium, we decided to go sit up there. With a view of Kennet Square and a clock tower in the background, it was a nice spot to have a drink.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Kildare’s Public House (West Chester, PA)

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Restaurant: Kildare’s Public House

Date: August 24, 2016

Location: 18 West Gay Street, West Chester, PA

It was a beautiful afternoon yesterday and although the inside of the pub was gorgeous, we decided to sit outside. The menu was full of contemporary American classics as well as old Irish favorites. As soon as I saw the full Irish breakfast listed, I knew what I wanted. I had never had one before. Pubs in New Jersey rarely serve them except as specials on weekends. Before the meal, we had an order of deviled eggs. I’m not usually a fan of them, but these were okay. The filling was light, and stabbed into the middle of each of them was a small piece of jerky to give it some added smokiness and saltiness. For drinks, Will had some tiny $7 cocktail which was sparkling wine over sorbet, filling up only an insulting half of a glass. I went with an easy one: Bushmills on the rocks, and later trying a Jameson Black Barrel. The whiskey selection was superb.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Longwood Family Restaurant (Kennett Square)

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Restaurant: Longwood Family Restaurant

Date: August 24, 2016

Location: 938 East Baltimore Pike, Kennet Square, PA

After going more than a year without visiting any horrific restaurants, I have now hit two in the last two months. I’m not even going to introduce the Longwood Family Restaurant with any pleasantries. This place sucked, plain and simple. I might have been able to find better cuisine out of the vending machine in my hotel. I laughed at the line on the bottom of the menu saying how they offer catering for large parties. Shit. I wouldn’t let this place feed their scraps to my cat. Despite recommendations of several good restaurants in and around Kennet Square, we decided to go to this trash bin instead. Why? I don’t know. It seems every vacation I take has one restaurant that was a bomb. This would classify as our Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and whatever is going to start World War III rolled into one.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Windmill Family Restaurant (Morgantown, PA)

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Restaurant: Windmill Family Restaurant

Date: July 24, 2016

Location: 2838 Main Street, Morganville, PA

Ah, the first restaurant we hit up on this recent trip is the last review I have to post. This time we stopped at one of my old stomping grounds on the way in last week. The Windmill Family Restaurant is a place that you can tell the locals frequent. It’s not exactly in the middle of the tourist area, which is actually a bummer for me. I have so many memories here (pretty sure my parents brought me here in a baby carrier back in the early 90’s), which hold up because the place has not changed at all. The restaurant itself has been in operation since the 1950’s. The food is still delicious, the service friendly, and the prices unbeatable for the portions. The only downside is that if you are staying in Lancaster, it is a bit of a hike (about 45 minutes). For this reason, I recommend you eat here on the way in for breakfast, or on the way home for lunch. Unfortunately, I have not been able to try the Windmill for dinner. If it was any closer, this would be worthy of multiple visits on each trip.

Read the rest on Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Manor Buffet (Lancaster, PA)

Photo courtesy of Lancaster Online.
Photo courtesy of Lancaster Online.

Restaurant: Manor Buffet

Date: July 25, 2016

Location: 2090 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA

Well Greg, we already ate pizza out in Amish Country, so why not Chinese food too? Yes, I was scared. A Chinese and Sushi buffet in Pennsylvania? Even in my home state I am sometimes skeptical, and we’re a lot closer to the ocean than Lancaster. Once again, I took one for the team. I put my life on the line so that I would have a different kind of experience to blog about. I truly believed that if I left the Manor Buffet without food poisoning, it would be a victory no matter how good or bad it was. As it turns out, I was totally wrong in all my assumptions. Dead wrong. This place was actually good, almost on par with the sushi buffet that I used to frequent near my hometown in New Jersey which recently closed.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Pizza City (Strasburg, PA)

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Restaurant: Pizza City

Date: July 23, 2016

Location: 6 East Main Street, Strasburg, PA

Did you really just go for pizza in the middle of Amish Country? I have driven past Pizza City in Strasburg for years. It sits in an unassuming building. You would probably miss it if you weren’t looking for it. Located in historic downtown Strasburg, it sits catty-cornered across the street from the Creamery. The sign is small; there is hardly any fanfare going on outside. No “open” sign. Do they even want you to know they are there? Online reviews are actually sparkling. But there is that age-old question for pizza made outside of the NY/NJ area: can it really be good or would it just be tolerable because there are hardly any other pizzerias around? Then there is the chance that it will be plain horrible. Of course, if you live where I do, we can be rather snobbish about pizza.

Read the rest on Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Cracker Barrel (Lancaster, PA)

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Restaurant: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Date: July 24, 2016

Location: 35 South Willowdale Drive, Lancaster, PA

The Cracker Barrel is a place you can’t go to unless you’re absolutely starving. Normally, I have an aversion to visiting chain restaurants while on vacation. However, it seemed like the right place and right time to check this place out. People have raved about it for years. Every time I have ever passed, the parking lot is full and people are waiting outside. One glance at the menu and its prices and you will realize why. This is down-home, artery-clogging southern cooking. With items such as a chicken-fried steak, classic fried chicken and fish dishes, and buttery biscuits, this is not a place you want to visit if you are watching your waistline. Hell, your cholesterol might go up just sitting in the parking lot before you even go inside.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Joni’s 340 Diner (Smoketown, PA)

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Restaurant: Joni’s 340 Diner

Date: July 26, 2016

Location: 2481 Old Philadelphia Pike, Smoketown, PA

I’ve discovered that every vacation, no matter how good or bad, will contain one restaurant dud. Well, actually, Joni’s 340 Diner would probably classify more as a bomb. We should have taken the warning sign that there was not a soul in the place that perhaps we should have moved on to greener pastures. Instead, we saw the rather lovely decor and decided it couldn’t be that bad. A few minutes later, another customer wandered in. Judging by his conversation with the one and only waitress, he was a regular. Like maybe a four or five times a week regular. I can only deduce that this man has no taste-buds in his mouth or is putting himself through some kind of excoriating torture slightly less painful than self-flagellation. The waitress was very pleasant and attentive. Offering refills several times and even asking if we wanted takeout cups for our drinks. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.

Food & Spirits: Customize Your “Flight” at Huckleberry’s

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I was just expecting to stop in for one drink at Huckleberry’s after a busy day on Monday. I ordered a Rusty Nail (Scotch and Drambuie for those of you who don’t know what comprises this classic yet forgotten cocktail) while Will pondered his options. The featured drink of the day was a “flight” of tequila. For $25, you get four half-shots of different tequila by Kah (a.k.a the ones in those beautifully decorated skull-like bottles) and then a quarter shot of their top Anejo, which sells for over $200 a bottle. It seemed too good to pass up, so he ordered that. The bartender, Heather, was so pleasant and chatted with us. We were the only two people in the bar at the moment. She brought over an endless amount of lime wedges and a salt shaker so he could get through his tequila. He loved it. Meanwhile, as I finished my drink, I pondered doing the same thing. I’m not much of a tequila guy, so I worried that the assortment would be lost on me. I then just happened to say, “You should offer flights of whiskeys too”. That’s when she said that they have multiple flights and could customize them any way I wanted.

Read the rest at Greg’s new food blog by clicking here.