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phdfoodie's Profile

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Berks County Upscale?????

Pappillion Brasserie in West Reading - food is excellent French Bistro fare. Atmosphere is more casual than Stokesay, but food is way better. It's BYO. Bistro 614 just reopened after a fire - used to be good, but don't know. Dan's is nice, but nothing terribly original in my opinion.

Jul 21, 2015
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Menus featuring ramps and morels right now?

Gorgeous morel dishes at Brasserie Pappillon in Reading!

May 12, 2015
phdfoodie in Philadelphia

Williamsport Dining Recs

I have heard there is a restaurant operated by the culinary school at Penn Tech.

May 12, 2015
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Great Meals in Bethlehem PA

Tulum for lunch is a must!

Sep 12, 2013
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

A new gem in LBI

Wish I had seen this last week. It seems like there were few really great places this year, especially north of the Causeway.

Our one standout was Black Eyed Susan's, which is now dinner-only. The meal we had there was spectacular! I had the best grilled octopus I've ever had, marinated and grilled to just the right consistency. Both the tuna and beef tartars and their accompaniments were delicious - especially an avocado mousse with the tuna, and a caperberry with grainy mustard with the beef. We also had the pork belly, which was crisp on top and tender below, and the lamb chops which were delicate and beautiful. The chocolate pots de creme was a bitter chocolate and a perfect end to a wonderful meal.

We probably made our last visit to L'Assiette. While the food was good, and sometimes inventive (eg, fois gras pudding), the service was terrible - two incredibly overburdened waitresses for the whole place (although both were doing a very good job, there was no way they could keep up with the crowd), and the "manager" careening around not helping at all.

La Spiaggia never disappoints!

Jul 16, 2012
phdfoodie in New Jersey

What is new on LBI?

Any new places to try on Long Beach Island? Breakfast, lunch and dinner, any price range, any cuisine. We have been going for many years, so just looking for new things or changes.

Jun 14, 2012
phdfoodie in New Jersey

Restaurants in/near Bethlehem

Tulum, a Mexican restaurant right near campus, is very very good. Their specialty is burritos, everything is delicious and fresh, and they make their own hot sauces which are amazing!!

Apr 16, 2012
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

The Yellow House Hotel

Muddy's Barbecue is a huge stationary food truck on Pricetown Road with some picnic tables. It is in its second year and the bbq is excellent. Yellow House is really nothing special - I agree that Landis Store Hotel is better. Vincenzo's is also pretty good Italian food closer to Douglassville (better than most of the others in the area).

Mar 22, 2012
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania


We went a few weeks ago. Some things were very good - the tandoori shrimp was one of the most amazing shrimp dishes I have ever had - forget everything you think you know about tandoori being dry! The Naan is delicious, but you do have to eat it fast, which is not a problem, b.c it does get cold and soggy, so if you are going to get multiple baskets of it, order it throughout the meal, not all at once. The service was abrupt, at best. We had done our homework, at this site and elsewhere, but he wanted to give us his rap and tell us when, and what, to order. He also seemed annoyed when we told him that we had theatre tix, even though we had almost 2 hours before we had to leave.

Feb 23, 2012
phdfoodie in Philadelphia

Gables, L'Assiette, other on LBI?

L'Assiette is the same team as Plate (we couldn't get a straight answer as to why they changed their name). We went last year and this year and thought it was very good, and had greatly improved from when it first opened. We also thought Cafe Auletta which is owned by the same people as Yellowfin, was very good Italian food. I had the pork chop with hot peppers, which was very authentic and VERY hot. Black-eyed Susan's was also good, but the menu is very limited and seafood focused, which was difficult for my allergic husband. It was a little difficult to get a res, so plan ahead.

104 24th St, Surf City, NJ 08008

Aug 17, 2011
phdfoodie in New Jersey

Long Beach Island, NJ?

Just got back from our annual vacation in Barnegat Light. We usually stay on the north end and have eaten at many of the restaurants there over the past few years. Here are my comments:
Kubel's - we always go the first night, because my husband likes it. I think it's adequate.

Mustache Bill's - never disappoints for breakfast, especially the omelettes, especially the Bleu Ribbon omelette with blue cheese, bacon and spinach. I think it is superior to Kelly's.

Off the Hook - white-tablecloth quality food for takeout (although they now have a few umbrella tables outside. Love the fishcakes and fish tacos. If they have the blue fish n' chips on Monday night it's a must.

Black-Eyed Susan's-Now largely a dinner place. Excellent food, mostly fish and shellfish, but a limited menu. Amazing bread pudding for dessert.

Lobster Claw-I know I will get slammed for this, but I prefer it to Harvey Cedars. Had a perfectly steamed lobster (OK, the water was a little oversalted, but it was cooked to just the right consistency). Service was good (we went early and had a res), salad was field greens NOT iceberg with a lovely dressing, fresh crusty bread. Last year my friend had dungeness crab, which she said was fresh.

L'Assiette (used to be Plate) - Same chef and menu as Plate, they just changed the name. Beautifully prepared and delicious food with lots of local ingredients. Corn chowder with peeky toe crab is wonderful. We had bleu cheese fondue for an app the night we were there and it was delicious.

Cafe Aletta - Italian place by the owner and chef of Yellowfin. Excellent and authentic Italian food. I had a pork chop with hot peppers.

Cafe Aletta
414 Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008

Off the Hook
1 State Route 36, Highlands, NJ 07732

104 24th St, Surf City, NJ 08008

Jul 18, 2011
phdfoodie in New Jersey

Good chow near Fleetwood/Reading?

Two good new places. Muddy's Barbecue is a truck with picnic tables on Rte 12/Pricetown Road. It's on the eastbound side between Mount Laurel Road and Rte 73. It is fantastic! Texas-style bbq - the brisket is especially good, and the sides are terrific. Sommeria is an Italian restaurant in "downtown" Fleetwood with nicely prepared Northern Italian food. Last time we were there, had carbonara with handmade pasta, and pork tenderloin with a red wine sauce and polenta. A little on the expensive side, but they have a liquor license and an outdoor deck.

In West Reading, Good Eatz has healthy food that is well-prepared and creative. Papillon has excellent French bistro food, and a new Banh Mi joint called Van's just opened.

Jun 30, 2011
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

NYC hound needs help refining my list of restaurants for LBI next week

If you are going to go all the way to the north end of the island for shellfish, I would choose The Lobster Claw over HC Shellfish. I think Lobster Claw is better-prepared food, less noisy, less smelly, less crowded. Plantation is really nothing special - Plate, Yellowfin, and Caneel Bay are much better. Mustache Bill's is definitely worth the drive for breakfast, but either get there early or be prepared to wait. FYI - they have a box of toys under the counter near the back room.

Lobster Claw
3 N Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008

104 24th St, Surf City, NJ 08008

Jun 24, 2011
phdfoodie in New Jersey

Anything new on LBI?

We will be returning soon and are looking for recommendations.

Jun 20, 2011
phdfoodie in New Jersey

The best pizza anyplace between King of Prussia and Pottstown?

Ice House (also called Little Italy) also has an amazing cheesesteak - it's made with a cheese sauce (not Whiz, it must be their own concoction). You can get it with or without tomato sauce. The clientele/atmosphere is a little bit dicey though. Definitely better for takeout.

Apr 23, 2011
phdfoodie in Philadelphia

Wedding Caterer in Berks or Scukyhill County

That is a tough one. We have used Ted & Carl for small dinners. The Butler's Pantry also is pretty good. There is a woman whose first name is Amanda (I can't remember her last name, but she was profiled in Berks County Living in February) who makes beautiful cakes with a decent fondant.

Oct 05, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Henry's in Pottstown

After a school meeting last night, we decided to go to Henry's for a quick bite of dinner - it is one of our standby places, and we brought along a couple of friends. When we got there, Frank, the chef, was in the parking lot, having closed early. He said he would open up and cook us dinner if we wanted, and sincerely encouraged us to come in.

So we had our own private "chef's table". We had the Salade Vert - a green salad with fresh corn, pieces of slab bacon, and an amazing blue cheese. Two of us had the mussels, which were the classic French/Belgian preparation, with a generous slice of bread for sopping up the broth. My husband had the cobia with three onions and three vinegars, and our other companion had a beautiful piece of roast chicken with olives. We had a wonderful evening, chatting with Frank in the open kitchen which is separated from the dining room by an old wooden bar.

We've always found Henry's to be a gem of a place to eat well-prepared French food in a fun and casual atmosphere, but just had to share our experience of such an unexpected treat!

Sep 24, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Volt Table 21 Dinner

All 8 of us were seated simultaneously. The setup was a low curved counter behind which many of the dishes we were having were assembled, and a couple of the appetizers for the general dining room were also being made. We were all served simultaneously (literally - 4 servers placed the 8 plates at the same time) and the dish was described by one of the servers. Although the chefs at the counter were friendly (we chatted them up a bit), no one from the kitchen really interacted with us otherwise, except the sommelier.

Volt Table 21 Dinner

In no particular order
Vetri (Philadelphia)
Le Bec Fin (Phila, when it was the prix fixe menu)
Beauvilliers (Paris 1998)
Restaurant Daniel (we had the 7 course tasting menu)

Volt Table 21 Dinner

Only to the extent that people who want to eat in the kitchen at a "chef's table" clearly have the expectation that they will get some insight into the conception and/or preparation of the meal, presumably from the chef himself. Also, it is just good business (and good manners) to say "thank you for coming" to people who are paying north of $300 per couple to eat at your restaurant.

With respect to the green apple sponge, it was not a highlight for me, to say the least, but when you're operating on the edge of the culinary spectrum, you're gonna have some misses. One of my companions loved it. Foodwise, the meal was in the top five I've ever had.

Volt Table 21 Dinner

Did Table 21 for our anniversary and the food was amazing - delicious, artistic, exciting food. Almost every course was perfect - the standouts were the goat cheese ravioli, tuna tartar, and a corn/crab soup, typical dishes recreated in completely new ways. A couple of dishes could have been better (I have had better sweetbreads, the "cheese course" of a cube of green apple sponge with blue cheese sprinkled over it was just weird), but hey, it's 21 courses. The only real disappointment was that Brian did not interact with us at all - not even a "thank you all for coming". He just stayed in the background, away from the counter we were sitting at. During what was an obvious lull between seatings in the big dining room (the other chefs were just standing around), he disappeared. Even when my husband told one of the servers how excited we were to be there, nothing. He did pose for pictures with everyone before we left, but it seemed forced. I understand that it's his restaurant and he's about the food, but it would have been nice if he had even introduced one dish and shared his thoughts about it, or even just welcomed us to the table. Let's face it, his "celebrity" is at least part of the reason the table is booked until Dec 2011, and he could have honored that.

New Reading Places?

Has anyone been to Building24 or Raw Can Roll yet?

Sep 09, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Best fish shack in LBI - Long Beach Island?

I think Plantation is expensive and overrated. If I were going to pick one place on the north side of the island for a "white tablecloth" dinner, it would be Plate right now.

Aug 09, 2010
phdfoodie in New Jersey

squash blossoms?

I can't find them anywhere, so I buy a small zucchini plant at the beginning of the summer and it produces flowers for most of the summer - usually 4-5 a week, if I water it enough. The plant is stressed by being in a pot, so it produces alot of flowers, but no zucchini. I fill them with herbed goat cheese, dredge them in flour, and fry them.

Aug 05, 2010
phdfoodie in Philadelphia

Plate and More - LBI Report

Returned to Plate this year because of the comments above and was very pleasantly surprised. Both the escolar and salmon we had were perfectly cooked. The crab and corn bisque was nicely flavored. Even the lavendar creme brulee, which could have been a disaster, was delicious and delicately flavored. I would definitely go back.

Black-eyed Susan's is a new place where Fat Cat's used to be in Harvey Cedars. It is great! Alot of vegetarian and vegan breakfast and lunch entrees. The only disappointment was the granola, which was not nearly as good as Fat Cat's was and was burnt tasting. We tried dinner there also, which they have just started serving. It was pretty good.

Otherwise, there is not much new. The Lobster Claw was very good again - my friend had fresh Dungeness Crab - she said it was not frozen, and it was a whole crab for $19!

Aug 05, 2010
phdfoodie in New Jersey

Raystown Lake/Juniata area

We ended up going to Boxer's Cafe. It is very small, really a bar with tables (only about 20 tables), but the food was very good. Highlights were the nachos (with that guacamole), the hand-dipped onion rings, the cheese fries with a very good cheese sauce. The burgers and sandwiches were all good. The waitress was a little harried, and it was hard to figure out what beers they had, but I would definitely go back.

Aug 05, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Raystown Lake/Juniata area

Any suggestions of places to eat near Juniata College or Raystown Lake in general? We have eaten at the restaurant at the marina twice before, and it's been terrible both times.

Jul 19, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Dinner Allentown/Bethlahem area

Glasbern Inn is nothing special - yes, they have locally raised/sourced food, but the menu is unimaginative and the preparation was just OK. For a great lunch, Tulum in Bethlehem has fantastic burritos and they make their own hot sauces.

17 W Morton St Ste Frnt, Bethlehem, PA 18015

May 28, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

Recommendations in Reading, PA

Depending on where you are coming from, most restaurants may seem cheap. Here are a few of our favorites:
Hong Tanh - Excellent Vietnamese, downtown
Thaiwat - Very good Thai (I think better than the other Thai place in town), don't be put off by the strip mall location
Cucina Mexicana - Very good Mexican - Kutztown location is better than the one in Temple (depending on what venues you are going to, it may be convenient), and they are both HUGELY better than Alebrije, which I wouldn't even set foot in
Good Eats - Excellent vegetarian, but they also have meat and seafood dishes (skip the brunch, not their best showing)

Mar 12, 2010
phdfoodie in Pennsylvania

It's so bad... and I love it!

Two words: Olive Garden.

Feb 24, 2010
phdfoodie in Philadelphia