cheflynnie's Profile

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Jenkintown/Abington/Glenside/Willow Grove

Tiffin also opened an Indian restaurant on Huntingdon Pike in Huntingdon Valley (next to Tavolo - formerly Stephano's). That might be a little closer than Elkins Park, depending on where you live.

May 21, 2012
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

Nice place to go! [Bravo! Cucina Italiana]

I'm usually a tough critic when it comes to dining out, but I have only nice things to say about Bravo!, the new Italian restaurant next to the Cheesecake Factory at the Willow Grove Mall, in Willow Grove, PA. Although I suspect it's a "chain restaurant" (like C.F.), it was actually very nice. The decor is lovely, warm colors with what appears to be high-end finishes. The staff and wait service was extremely nice. And the food was good. Granted, how hard can it be to mess up pasta, but I had Pasta Fra Diablo (spicy pasta) with shrimp. There were plenty of shrimp on my plate and they were cooked perfectly. I started with a Cesaer salad which was quite good, and the pasta was a hit. Wednesdays is "$5 martini night" so it was nice to start off the meal with a reasonably priced cocktail. It's an open-environment, including being able to see into the kitchen. Although it should be loud, I personally didn't find it overly loud in the restaurant. Maybe because it wasn't crowded the other night. Or maybe the high ceilings and drapes helped to buffer the noise. Regardless, it was a nice night out.

So you're asking yourself - if I liked this so much, why did I not give it a 5-star? Well, that's a good question and one I cannot answer. I have to be totally blown away by a restaurant to earn my 5-stars. There's only one place so far that has done that, and that's in Stowe, VT. I would definitely return to this restaurant again, whether it's with girlfriends, the hubby, or family. It's nice to have a new place to go in town. Now only if we can get some good BYOB's in the Willow Grove area.....

Jan 13, 2012
cheflynnie in Chains

what's your go-to impressive, but not tedious, dinner?

2 lb. boneless pork roast (not tenderloin), 1 32 oz. can of sauerkraut and one 16 oz. can of sauerkraut (do not drain), 1/2 c. natural applesauce, 1/4 c. brown sugar. Put pork roast in crockpot, add both cans of sauerkraut with their juices, mix in apple sauce and brown sugar. Cover and cook on low all day (10+ hours). When you're ready to eat, just shred the pork with two forks and mix well with the sauerkraut. Serve on top of mashed potatoes and a side of pickled beets and listen carefully for the horse & buggies to be showing up outside your house. Yummy!!!!! If you make this, please let me know. Be warned, however, your house will smell like sauerkraut for at least 24 hours after you finish dinner - it is quite pungent! :-)

Jun 14, 2011
cheflynnie in Home Cooking

When you grocery shop, do you buy...

I have a "write-on/wipe off" board on my countertop. Each week, before I go to the grocery store, I look at what's on sale, and then plan my menu for the week. I'll write down things like, "Monday - Pasta & Meatballs", "Tuesday - Chicken Fahita Salad", "Wednesday - soup night", etc. This way, I know what to make each night when I get home, I can plan my shopping for ingredients and my husband knows what NOT to have for lunch that day (to avoid any duplication between lunch and dinner). It's been working for 15 years for me! :-) If you come up with any ideas, please post them! :-)

Mar 29, 2011
cheflynnie in General Topics

Timber Wood-Fired Grill, Abington, PA

This new restaurant (formerly Inn Flight on Route 611 in Abington) reopened in July 2010 with a new menu and new decor. We were there Friday night and had a very pleasant meal. The prices are a little high for the neighborhood ... appetizers range from about $7-$13, entrees run between ~$16 - $25 (higher for the daily specials), and desserts are all price fixed at $7.

We split the scallop with risotto appetizer - which was absolutely delicious. For $13, though, they could have given us 4 scallop (instead of 3) and a smaller amount of risotto. Even though I only ate half of it, I was getting full and we hadn't had our dinner yet!

I had a pasta with shrimp and fennel entree ($18) and my husband had the 16 oz. rib eye (strip steak?) - which didn't look like the 16 oz. steaks I buy. I can't help but wonder if it was 16 oz. before they removed the bone. His entree was close to $30. The steak came with asparagus and truffled potatoes which were also very good. My pasta was very tasty, although it was a slight departure from typical pasta. I'd classify it as more "gourmet".

We split a key lime cheesecake, which was also great and just the right size for us both. All in all - the dinner and tip, without cocktails was $75. For a Friday night out, it just seems a little high.

Service was decent, although we had trouble getting beverage refills. Our waitress was very pleasant, but she seemed to disappear after our entrees were served. We could have used a drink refill, but she was nowhere to be found. Finally one of the maitre-d's saw us looking around and came over to see what we needed. I have to knock off a point or two for the lack of attention by our server. I could understand if she was swamped, but the restaurant was only about half-full.

I'd definitely return to this restaurant, only try to steer away from the daily specials and the most expensive appetizer on the menu (although it's definitely very good!).

Oct 25, 2010
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

what's your go-to impressive, but not tedious, dinner?

You can never go wrong with a good ol' mashed potato with this, too! All this food talk is making me hungry! :-)

Oct 25, 2010
cheflynnie in Home Cooking

what's your go-to impressive, but not tedious, dinner?

Definitely boneless top loin, is what I use. Shoulder would work better in the crockpot ... I have a great recipe for that, too - if you like pork and sauerkraut - it's 4 ingredients and tastes like it came from Lancaster, PA (Amish country). Yummy!

Oct 25, 2010
cheflynnie in Home Cooking

Good bakeries in the burbs?

I know this isn't exactly what you're looking for, but if you ever need a truly special occasion cake, I have to recommend Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (yes, the "Cake Boss" from TV). I ordered a 1/4 sheet cake for a bridal shower, and it easily fed 40+ people, and was, by far, the best tasting cake I've ever had! Granted, it's a serious drive (I live in Abington) and it's super expensive, but it's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime place to get a cake. Take a weekend road trip up there and get a few things to bring home. You won't be disappointed. I'll have to read the other recommendations in the area, because I, too, haven't had much luck finding a really good bakery in Montco.

Oct 25, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

what's your go-to impressive, but not tedious, dinner?

Maple glazed pork roast - take a boneless pork roast (about 1-1/2 lb.), trim excess fat. In a separate bowl, mix approx. 1/3 cup of maple syrup (use the real stuff, if you can!), 2 T. of soy sauce, and 2 T of dijon mustard. Add some dried oregano to the maple mixture.

Take a large onion and chop it into big pieces - placed chopped onion on botton of baking pan. Place roast on top on onions - pour maple mixture over roast. Bake in the over at 350 degrees for about 1-1/4 hours (basting every 20 minutes with the maple mixture). Increase the maple ingredients a little bit to have plenty of left overs to pour on top of the sliced pork roast.

You can also put some baby carrots around the outside of the pork roast and glaze them with the maple mixture, too.

This is so yummy and super simple! Enjoy! :-)

Oct 19, 2010
cheflynnie in Home Cooking

Simple Soups?

Tomato Tortellini Soup - open 2 cans of your favorite condensed tomato soup - stir in milk instead of water, add frozen tortelli (meat, cheese or spinach), some dried basil, garlic powder and oregano - heat through thoroughly and enjoy with a loaf of crusty bread. It's doesn't get much easier than this! :-)

Oct 19, 2010
cheflynnie in Home Cooking

Ristorante Arugula's - Huntingdon Valley, PA

Formerly the Huntingdon Valley Diner and then the Olympia Cafe (corner of County Line Road and Second Street Pike), there's another Italian restaurant in town, called Ristorante Arugula's. It just recently opened (perhaps in the last week or so). At first glance, the restaurant has gone through a mjor (and improved!) transformation. The entire restaurant has been gutted and redone - with attractive natural earth tones. The kitchen is now "open" for everyone to see and there are plenty of tables throughout. The menu has been completely revamped too - it's much smaller than its predecessor and the choices are few and simple.

Pricing is reasonable for the area - soup is $5, salads run $9-$12 (and they're huge!), other apps (such as calamari) will run a little higher. Entrees average between $14 and $20, with a nice selection to choose from (pastas, veal, chicken, etc.). They also have about 5 different individual pizzas to choose from ranging about $10-$12 each. They're very big, so if you're thinking of any apps before dinner, split a pizza with a friend!

Now for the pros and cons:

Pros - beautiful decor, very clean, nice selection on menu, reasonable pricing, nice portions. Oh, and it's a BYOB which is a welcome addition in Huntingdon Valley.

Cons - the restaurant is loud due to all of the hard surfaces and nothing to buffer noise (I could barely hear my husband talking and the restaurant was only 1/4 full). waitstaff could use a little polishing ("are yous ready to order?"...) and could do a better job checking on the table (i.e. for water refills) (I suspect some of the servers are fairly new to this business). The manager should also use a little discretion when speaking with his servers - the customers can hear what he's saying, and while he seems to be running a "tight ship" - perhaps his conversations with the servers should be held off the floor. A small complimentary house salad would be a nice touch to accompany entrees.

Overall - it's a nice place and I'm sure as time goes on, the service will continue to improve. I'll be curious to read what others think.

Sep 28, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

Villagio in Lahaska

I had dinner at Villagio's last evening, and although the food was very good and the service was attentive, I found the prices to be a little expensive for what you received. I had ordered the grilled shrimp and scallops over spinach for $22 (for 1). The plate came out with 4 scallops and 4 jumbo shrimp and a mound of spinach. While everything was very tasty, the price seemed a lot for just that. It would be nice if a small house salad were included. Or, lower the price to about $15 for this meal.

They must have done away with the olives, roasted peppers and mushrooms, because we did not receive any of those items that "raisse" above mentioned. The bread, however, was very good. They also did not change out my silverware. In fact, I was missing forks at my place setting and had to ask for them.

I also found the restaurant to be very loud since it is all hard surfaces (wood floors, brick walls, exposed wood ceilings, no curtains). The restaurant was only half full and I could hardly hear my family sitting across a small table from me talking. I will probably not return. For the price, I'd rather go across the street to Sweet Lorraine's - you get a much nicer meal there.

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Villagio
9233 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19114

Sweet Lorraine's Cafe & Bar
Street Rd, Lahaska, PA 18931

Aug 23, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

Roller's at Flying Fish

We joined friends at Rollers at Flying Fish on Valentine's Day 2010. What a pleasant surprise this place was. Although it was modestly decorated, the food was delicious! We had several people waiting on us, and although one waitress wasn't overly "happy", the other young lady was terrific. I had "Mom-Mom's Brisket" ... yummy! The owner stopped by to say hello which was also a nice touch. I'd highly recommend this place.

Feb 18, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

BYOB Recommendations - Plymouth Meeting, King of Prussia area

Thanks! I'll check these places out! :-)

Jan 21, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

BYOB Recommendations - Plymouth Meeting, King of Prussia area

I'm looking for a nice BYOB to meet some friends for dinner in the King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting area. Steak, seafood, Italian, American-fare - something along those lines. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!! :-)

Jan 21, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

City Tavern, Phila., PA - Fine Dining at its Best

My husband and I returned to the City Tavern for the first time in many years and we had a wonderful dinner. This restaurant is very charming, located in a historic building on the corner of 2nd and Walnut in Philadelphia, PA. The restaurant appears to have a number of small dining rooms, which allows the restaurant to manage crowds in each dining area. In our room, there were only two other couples which made it for a nice, quiet atmosphere.

The only downside to our meal is that we were sitting right outside of the kitchen, so there was lots of people walking past us. Of course, the pro's to this is that we were able to see and smell all kinds of wonders coming out of the kitchen!

The wait staff dresses in colonial garb which makes for a nice touch. We found our waiter (server?) to be extremely pleasant and highly attentive, but not in a way where we felt like he was part of our party! Courses were timed well so you never felt like you were waiting a long time for any food. Breads on the table were delicious. I had the soup special (lentil soup) and Hungarian Goulash which was absolutely delicious (a little spicy, though!). One of our dinner guests had the pepper pot soup which was divine! All of our meals were very good, and the portions are very generous. You certainly won't go hungry.

For four people, two glasses of wine, two beers, 3 soups, 1 salad, 4 entrees and one dessert (with 4 spoons!), came to $220 (including tax and tip). A tad bit pricy but not ridiculous.

This continues to be a great place to go. Especially if you like history and food with a "German" flair - the chef/owner (Chef Straub) has been seen on various tv shows (PBS, I think) and offers a great menu.

I'd give this meal a 5 star rating. :-)

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City Tavern
138 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Jan 19, 2010
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

"New" Jarrettown Hotel

I went to the new Jarrettown Restaurant on Wednesday evening (January, 2010) and left somewhat disappointed. The restaurant itself was pretty, but the food was average. The Cesear salad had too much garlic in it (IMHO). I ordered a chicken and vegetable dish, and the chicken had a "charred" taste to it - which took away from the normal flavor of chicken. If there was a seasoning of some type of it on the chicken - I missed it. The chicken dish was $17.99, plus an extra $3.00 for the salad. Add an iced tea, and I split a piece of creme brulee pie (that was actually pretty tasty!), and dinner set me back $36 just for my meal (tax and tip included in that total). Our waitress was very pleasant, though. I was generally underwhelmed and would probably not return.

Jan 15, 2010
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

Du Jour Restaurant - Two Commerce Square - 20th & Market St., Philadelphia, PA

Just to be fair - I wanted to add that Du Jour is open for breakfast - starting at 7 a.m. - they close at 6 p.m. I haven't had breakfast there yet, but I wanted everyone to know they do open fairly early. Thanks!

Jan 12, 2010
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Du Jour Restaurant - Two Commerce Square - 20th & Market St., Philadelphia, PA

I haven't had Mama's falafel, but their hummus is awesome! I happen to like Coventry Deli - they have great salads (and huge!!) and awesome sandwiches. But Du Jour is a nice change of pace for something new. And I work in their same building, so I didn't need to go outside! Plus ... I'll admit it - Du Jour's thai salad was really, really yummy - the only place around that sells something similar (thai peanut salad) is Elephant and Castle and that's too far to go on these cold Philly days! (Global warming, huh??) Who knows, maybe one day the Asian-fusion place will actually open where 20-21 was... We can only hope!! ;-)

Jan 06, 2010
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Du Jour Restaurant - Two Commerce Square - 20th & Market St., Philadelphia, PA

A new restaurant just opened in Two Commerce Square located at 20th & Market. "Du Jour" replaces the old Salad Works which unfortunately closed a couple years ago. I have mixed feelings about this new restaurants - so I'll highlight my observations below.

Pros: It's a new restaurant in an area that doesn't have a huge selection of places to eat.
I had the Thai Noodle Salad, which was absolutely delicious. One of my friends had the house salad with chicken, and she said her salad was very good. Another friend had a flat bread (pizza) and he enjoyed it, although it came with peppers and onions on it, and he's not a vegetable fan. The menu didn't mention anything about the veggies on the flatbread.
There's a fair amount of seating and fortunately we didn't have to wait for a table.
Waitress service is always appreciated (our waitress was very sweet) and something the other nearby restaurants (Paganos, Au Bon Pain, Coventry, Kennedy House) don't have.
Seating is comfortable with some nice booths, and the restaurant appeared to be clean. The kitchen cooking area is open for all to see, as well.

Cons: Expensive. $8.95 for a hot dog and chips (seriously!). Granted, the thai salad was "only" $7.95, but add a couple more bucks for chicken add-on. Figure a minimum of $10-$12 for a lunch, per person.
Plastic drinking cups. With a wait-staff service, nice big white plates and stainless steel silverware, I'm not sure they they've opted for plastic cups. That seems to take away from the more "upscale" ambiance they're trying to project.
Noisy. Maybe it's just the building - glass walls, hard tile floors - nothing to absorb the noise. It's a little hard to hear others at your table talking. Tables were also pretty close together.
Temperature. Granted, it's 30 degrees outside today and there's lots of glass walls, but the restaurant was definitely chilly. They did keep one of the entrances to the restaurant locked to help minimize the cold air coming in, which was definitely appreciated.
Limited Menu. Hopefully they'll add more items to the menu - maybe I'm being a tad bit critical since they've only been open for about a week or two.

All in all, it's not a bad place to go. The food was good (or at least what we had was good!) so that's definitely a great starting point. It's just a shame they haven't set themselves apart much from their competition. They would probably do much better if they were a couple dollars cheaper than Paganos and/or had an area dedicated to take-out service. They could also have a bigger menu and be open for breakfast (at least I don't think they're open for breakfast yet). While take-out is probably available, there really didn't seem to be a place to hang out.

I certainly wish them much success and I'm sure I'll be back.

Jan 06, 2010
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Na Brasa....how is it?

Thanks - this is helpful. I'll definitely add this to the "must try" lists. We're actually going to try a place out in Skippack - the Roadhouse Grille - it has a nice looking menu (not overly creative!), so we'll see how that works. Thanks again!

Nov 05, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Melting Pot, Warrington, PA

My concern is the "patience" factor, for sure. This is very helpful. Thanks for the insight. :-)

Nov 05, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Na Brasa....how is it?

Does NaBrasa take reservations? What's the atmosphere like? Crowded/loud? Intimate/quiet? Somewhere in between? I'm looking for a nice restaurant to take my husband out for his b-day next week. Thanks!

Oct 29, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Melting Pot, Warrington, PA

Has anyone been to this restaurant yet? I'm looking to take my husband there for his b-day, but I don't know if he'll enjoy it. He's a "meat and potato" kind of guy with a relatively big appetite - I wasn't sure if this would fill him up. Plus, can anyone describe the atmosphere of this restaurant? Loud and crowded? Intimate? Other?? Thanks everyone!

Oct 29, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Where does one draw The Scrapple Line?

Of course, you realize what sCRAPple is, don't you? If not, it's basically all the parts of the pig that should have been thrown away. I won't say anything more than that because my husband and his family love the stuff. I'm a native NY'er by birth - so maybe it's something you have to be born in Philly to appreciate. Good luck with your searches! :-)

Oct 05, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Tavolo, Huntingdon Valley

Has anyone eaten at this new restaurant yet? This is a new Italian restaurant where Stefano's used to be, on Huntingdon Pike (Second Street Pike/Rt. 232) in Huntindon Valley (near Red Lion Road), PA. I'm trying to find a menu to get an idea of dining options and pricing. Thanks!

Oct 05, 2009
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

Iron Abbey in Horsham

I went to the Iron Abbey last week with some girlfriends. It was actually very nice, although I thought it was a little loud (we sat at a high-top table just as you walk in). Plus, I think the air conditioning was broken because it felt pretty warm inside. My friends all enjoyed their food, and I thought my dinner was delicous, but it could have used a little extra with it. I don't remember the name of it, but it was a little casserole dish with beef, chicken, shrimp and clams in a Portugese sauce. That's it - a bowl full of meat. No veggie. No starch. Just meat. I should have ordered a side salad to go with it. I'll know for next time. All in all, the food was good, our waitress was very helpful (I'm not a beer drinker so she was very kind to help me with suggestions), and prices weren't terrible. I loved the decor of the place. They obviously spent a lot of time and money to redo the place. I'd go back.

Jul 07, 2009
cheflynnie in Philadelphia

Toscana 52

My husband and I went there for our 2nd time on Saturday night. The first time I went with some girlfriends, I had an issue with the waiter (he wanted to go home for the night, but we wanted to sit and chat for a little bit). But since I thought the food was good and the atmosphere was much nicer than Olive Garden or (now defunct) Macaroni Grill, I opted to try it again.

My husband and I met another couple here on Saturday, and to my pleasant surprise, we had a very nice time! ! :-)

The restaurant is very pretty inside, and the food is very good (how bad can pasta/Italian be??). Prices are modest to slightly high (soups are about $5-$6 (pasta fagilio is very good and a big portion!), small salads with entree cost $3.95, and figure about $16-$25 for most entree (some run over $30, but there are some under $15, as well). The portions are all good sized.

Our waitress Saturday night was excellent. She was very pleasant and personable, very attentive and never left us sitting unattended to. Drinks were replenished regularly and she was always checking in to make sure we were okay. If you have a sweet tooth, save room for dessert. We didn't have any, but they looked scrumptious on the dessert tray!

The only downside, IMHO, is the place is a little noisy (it could have been the big party (about 10 people?) that was next to us).

Another bonus is they will take reservations for parties of 5 or more, which is nice, because most other places (i.e. Olive Garden, etc.) will not take reservations.

I'd definitely recommend this place. :-)

Jun 15, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania

Crab Trap, Somers Point - disappointing

For years, my husband and I would take our annual pilgramage to the "Jersey Shore" and stop for dinner at a local seafood restaurant, called the Crab Trap - located in Somers Point, NJ (just outside of Ocean City, NJ). While in prior years, we've thoroughly enjoyed our meals, I wish I could say the same for our visit this weekend.

For starters, we've noticed a significant jump in prices. Granted, everything has gone up, but meals have definitely become more expensive. I had two deviled crabs ($17.95) and my husband had the "Second Mate" (mixed seafood) platter which set us back $31.95.

Not to be total doom and gloom, the Maryland-style crab soup is still to die for! It's so good, but a small bowl is now $4.95. Ouch. My deviled crabs were very good, but my husband was disappointed with his broiled seafood platter. He had one (1) shrimp on his plate, (1) deviled crab casino (or so we think that's what it was), a very small piece of fish (we think it was flounder), maybe 4 small scallops and a half of a lobster tail with claw. My husband claims his food was all over-cooked, somewhat tough, and very salty. I suggested he send it back, but he's "too nice" to send food back.

I also noted that none of the tables had oyster crackers in a bowl together with a jar of horseradish is long gone. Perhaps a sign of the times - sanitary purposes or simply a budget cut.

If you like a crowded place, typically with a long wait, then by all means - visit the Crab Trap. I guess they're doing something right, though, considering how crowded the restaurant was.

May 26, 2009
cheflynnie in New Jersey

Olympia Cafe, Southampton, PA

As a follow-up to my previous post - I was at the Olympia about a month ago and learned that the previous chef that ran the kitchen is no longer there. There is a new chef now (who used to work for the old chef) and IMHO, is an even better chef than his predecessor. And best yet ... he WILL make substitutions to the daily specials!

It's interesting how even the servers seem more upbeat since the departure of the previous chef.

Why go anywhere else - this place is a "win/win" for good food, great service and terrific prices in Montgomery County, PA!!

May 26, 2009
cheflynnie in Pennsylvania