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Roadtrip from MA to SC

Oooh! What a trip!
I am a true-blue foodie, who loves to plan trips around food, but sadly, sometimes don't have a say in my desitinations. But, we can always make the best of any trip, right!

So, our family vacation to Myrtle beach, my husband and I made it a challenge to ask all the locals their favorite NON-TOURIST place to eat. The GREAT news is that we had the BEST BBQ I have ever had after asking this question. The coffee shop worker told us to go to a place called "Little Pig" about 10 minutes from Broadway on the Beach. After driving away from the "pretty" section of Myrtle Beach, we ended up at a place that looked like a renovated gas station. We weren't even sure if we should go in. But, boy! are we glad we did! Seriously, the best carolina pulled pork sanwich I have ever had! spicy vinegar sauce, with coleslaw and sweet tea! YUM!

Sadly, I don't remember how we got there, but that is not the point of my story. The point is - ASK the locals were they LOVE to eat. And, try to avoid all tourist restaurants.

Good luck on this Loooong trip. Can't wait to check back to hear your stories.

Jan 31, 2010
armartin in Southern New England

Lancaster, Pa for dinner Saturday night

I REALLY like the Belvedere! Usually, I try whatever they have as a special - it will be great! Just plan ahead! Even for a party of two, it is impossible to get a reservation the day of your meal.

I also love John J Jeffries. The chefs focus on local, sustainable foods - great in Farm Country! Terrific service. A little more pricey than Belvedere once you add in your drinks. It will be easier to get a reservation here!

Not as big a fan of Fenz. Really neat ambience - fun (can be loud), but the food is just OK.

Have fun! Please don't forget to visit the city, especially if you will be in Lancaster on Saturday morning. Central Market and downtown Lancaster have really become a nice place to enjoy!

Nov 17, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Lancaster: Polenta (pref. Golden Pheasant brand)?

Yes, you must check out the Stauffer's on Roherstown road. They have a terrific grains/flour aisle that should do the trick!

Plus, I 2nd Cocina Mexicana! It is wonderful. Best guacamole in town, too! Not to mention their tacos are the best in Lancaster! The closest thing I have had to California tacos.

Nov 17, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Best Restaurants in Rehoboth/Bethany Beach?

FINS is our one of our new favorite rehoboth beach restaurants. The fish specials are plentiful and always delicious. Plus, if you like raw oysters - you can't beat their selection and knowledgeable staff.

Having said that, to echo S. Woody, Espuma is not only one of the best restaurants in rehoboth, it is one of the best restaurants I have been to (including multiple upper end Philly restaurants). Jay Caputo has a magnificent talent for using local, fresh ingredients. The bartender does lovely flight of wine and even mojitos. It will test your wallet though, so you might want to save it for a special night. Having said that, I hope you go!

Enjoy your trip!

Jul 12, 2009
armartin in Mid-Atlantic

New Restaurant in Lancaster City: Penn Square Grille

For anyone looking for new places to try in the area, Lancaster has just opened its latest restaurant: The Penn Square Grille at the Lancaster Convention Center. The doors opened this past Friday. I have not eaten there yet, but article link below has a hint of what can be found on their menu. Looks like they are going for upscale local cuisine.

http://articles.lancasteronline.com/l...

Jun 21, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Get excited with me! Vetri and Reading Terminal Market

oooooh! I will be there on Wednesday! I have read about the Dutch Eating place - YUM! Thanks for the tip!

May 22, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Get excited with me! Vetri and Reading Terminal Market

Hi, y'all! I live in Lancaster, so only get to come to Philly for special occassions.

I have talked my dear and generous husband into a Philly trip for my birthday (this coming Tuesday). We were lucky enough to get reservations to Vetri (Yay!!!) and will be staying at hotel VERY close to the Reading Terminal Market. Can anyone say breakfast???

Dream with me! What should I eat?? What are your favorites?

May 22, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Vetri: Reservation Quest

thank you for your responses! I am happy to report that my husband was able to get us a reservation! I am sooooo excited!

May 06, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Vetri: Reservation Quest

I have been dying to go to Vetri's for years, but haven't been able to get a reservation. This year, I have talked my husband into taking me to my special birthday dinner on the actual day, Tuesday, 5/26. Even though I am way beyond the 2-months-out for a Vetri reservation, what do you think the odds are that I could get in?

Do they have a waiting list? On their website, it says they accept walk-in's - does this really work?

I would hope that a Tuesday night would be easier than a weekend.

Wadda ya think? Any advice would be much appreciated!

And, while we're at it, if there is no hope for Vetri's, what would be your second choice?

May 05, 2009
armartin in Pennsylvania

Upscale Grown Up Dining in Lancaster

Strawberry Hill: http://www.strawberryhillrestaurant.c...
Very creative and tasty menu items, especially seasonal appetizers. Not sure there is anything vegetarian though. Best known for their amazing wine selection. My husband and I love it here, and frequent it, although it is a special occassion place where we usually fret about how much is leaving our wallet.

Gibraltar:
It is one of my favorites, although they haven't changed their menu (significantly) in over a year. Very nice "gourmet" appetizers, and the fish specials never fail to be delicious and well-prepared. We also very much like their bar -nice cocktails. Service can be hit or miss, but one of our very favorite waiters in the city works here.

Fenz
Yep - I think it is too loud. We much prefer the after dinner bar scene here, than the food. Having said that, the food is above average. My husband drools over the steak diane. The crowd is becoming increasingly blue-hair around dinner time.

The Belvedere Inn
Another one of our favorites. Might struggle with the vegetarian. Their menu changes frequently to match the ingredients to what tastes best. We love their soups. I almost always order their specials, knowing that they will be very tasty (although usually the most expensive option). The service is very nice, and the atmosphere is lovely, decorated in rich tones and dim (although not too dim) lighting.

JJJ (John J Jeffries
)Our favorite thing to do here is to get several small plates and some organic cocktails. The atmosphere is a little to open and loud for a romantic meal, and you may have trouble hearing the person who is furthest from you in a group of 5. I am surprised to hear that another poster doesn't think they have vegetarian food. Get 3 small veggie only plates. You won't be disappointed. Best known for their local/sustainable menu. They have great relationships with local farmers and purveyors. We never miss the cheese plate (surprising how good local cheese can be), and if they have the mint chocolate homemade ice cream - DO NOT SKIP IT! (We may be addicted). Another nice feature is their reasonably priced tasting menu, which you can pair with wine or beer. Kinda cool, huh? And, great waiters!

Dec 27, 2008
armartin in Pennsylvania

Restaurant Recommendations for Lebanon/Hershey PA

One of my very favorite restaurants within a one-hour radius of Lancaster (my home) is called Piatto's. Piatto's is located in Carlisle, PA, which is ~40 minutes west of Hershey.

It is a family run BYOB, with terrific regional Italian food, lovingly prepared. YUM!
Their gelato is amazing, as is there homemade pasta! Plus, on a cold day, the osso bucco makes me sooo happy.

Here's the website: http://www.piatto.com/

The only other place that I frequent when I am in Hershey is Duke's bar and grill. Obviously, more casual - people rave about the beef brisket sandwich. Here's a link to their menu: http://www.dukesbarandgrille.com/menu...

Dec 27, 2008
armartin in Pennsylvania

York, PA chow

Sorry this is too late for your request, but my favorite in York (we make special trips just to go to this restaurant) is The Left Bank.

Here's the website:
http://www.leftbankyork.com/

Oct 17, 2008
armartin in Pennsylvania

Lancaster - any word new restaurant GUSTO?

Hello!

Gusto has just opened in Lancaster city (as of 10/7, I believe).

Has anyone checked it out yet? My husband and I figured we would give them about two weeks to work out the kinks, but I am getting anxious to try it!

Here's a link to the Lancaster Newspaper article, if you haven't heard about it:
http://articles.lancasteronline.com/l...

Oct 17, 2008
armartin in Pennsylvania

Lancaster Weekend

RJJR -you have a very ecclectic set of restaurants recommended here. If you provide more specifcs (price range, cuisine, ambiance, etc), we could do a better job of pointing you in the right direction. I personally avoid the "authentic" Amish places, and prefer to find places that can wine and dine me like a Philly-restaurant. But, that's just me. Hope to help!

Jan 09, 2008
armartin in Pennsylvania

Lancaster Weekend

Yep! I'll second the rec for Gibraltars. Very fresh, delicious fish. They have great cocktails. Their desserts are some of the best in town. And, hands down, the best espresso.

Jan 09, 2008
armartin in Pennsylvania

Dutch County

The smorgasbords are a truly Amish tourist experience, you may want to consider one of the family style, PA dutch cooking attractions: 'Good & Plenty' or 'Plain & Fancy.'

http://www.800padutch.com/z/goodnplen...
http://plainandfancyfarm.com/

The food is really down-home farm cooking, including buttered noodles and mushy vegetables. But, if you want to immerse yourself in the experience, it would be fun. And, no alcohol.

On the other hand - being a hound - I HIGHLY recommend Doneckers, although it may be a drive. Another place that looks promising (I have not been since the change in managment) that is closer to the tourism location is the Netherland Inn and Spa Orange. Here's a link to their website: http://www.netherlandsinn.com/

Enjoy your trip

Feb 26, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Osteria Yet?

Oh boy, oh boy! Thanks for the update!

Feb 13, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Osteria Yet?

Has Marc Vetri's newest restaurant, Osteria, opened yet? Any inside scoop available?

Abby

Feb 12, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Reading or Morgantown, PA

Let me first say that I do not spend much time at all in Reading. But one Saturday during this past summer, I was looking for a day trip to Reading. And, in researching a restaurant, the following three were my top choices.

http://www.speckledhenpub.com/
http://www.judysoncherry.com/
http://www.alpenhofbnb.com/

We chose the Austrian pub! And, let me tell you, it was a hoot! Now, it is not gourmet cuisine by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a fun experience! The woman who took our reservation just barely spoke English. There is a strolling accordian player that takes requests (we heard Edelweiss a million times!). They have traditional schnitzel and cabbage and buttered noodles. And, after dinner, you can visit their gift shop and buy yourself some lederhosen with a matching hat!

If you are looking a for a different type of fun and laid back experience in Reading, this may be it!

Abby

Feb 12, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Finally tried Xochitl

Oh! Thanks so much for the review. I am a huge guacamole girl! I'll have to get there soon!

Abby

Feb 12, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

New Lancaster Restaurant - Effie Ophelia

Update: We made it there on Friday!

Sadly, spyturtle, not vegetarian-friendly.

Here's the scoop:
Reservations: still fairly annoyed at the way they handle "reservations." Basically, they call it "Call-ahead" seating. Here is how it worked for us. We called at approximately 7:00 for a desired 7:30 seating time. They told us they would give us a call back when a table would be opening up in approx half an hour. Half an hour passed, and no call, so we decided to call back. At this time, they told us something would be opening in approx 15 minutes. So, we quickly got ready and raced out the door. This is similar to what happened a week prior. They told us we would get a call back... and nothing. I hope they figure out a way to improve this process soon!

Ambiance: the walls are painted a deep shade of chestnut brown. They have dark wooden tables that are close to each other. Lots of candle light. At the back of the dining room is a bar (Seats three) overlooking the tiny "kitchen." This is where they sat us. This kitchen is where the chef/owner does the cooking. It seems that there is a prep kitchen further back in the building. Overall, very appealing to look at, but too noisy to be "romantic."

The food: The menu has approx 8 appetizers and 8 entrées, plus our waitress offered two specials. There are several vegetarian options within the appetizers. My husband got the goat cheese and root vegetable gratin - AWESOME. This was diced root vegetables, including beets and yams, with goat cheese lightly browned on top. The sweetness of the vegetables and the tartness of the cheese was out of this world. I ordered the sweet potato gnocchi. The gnocchi was perfectly dense (I don't like little light clouds of dough!), and had a grilled flavor. It was tossed in an intense sage cream sauce, that was a little too salty - until you paired it with the toasted pecans and arugala that came with the dish. Together, the taste was incredible, a terrific balance of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy.

For our entrées, my husband had pork served with red cabbage and fingerling potatoes. I have to say, this was the moistest pork I have ever had. Very nice! And the the cabbage had tasty big chunks of apple. It was a nice play on the traditional PA Dutch cooking of the region. I had coriander-rubbed mahi-mahi served with citrus and black strap molasses. This was the least impressive of the dishes... but, I have to wonder if it just a matter of how much you like molasses. The flavors just didn't jive for me. On the other hand, the fish was done perfectly - flaky and tender, very moist. For dessert, we shared a chocolate pot de creme. Very, very rich and creamy. Sadly, I was too full to enjoy it; my husband didn't complain a bit for having to eat my portion too!

Drinks: it is a BYOB - we enjoyed an '03 California Malbec with all of the courses. Coffee is french pressed, and they had a nice selection of teas to choose from.

So, overall - we are definitely going back. The way that Chef Howton courageously matches flavors makes it a unique dining experience in Lancaster. The hip interior is the closest thing we can get to a big city without driving over an hour. Hope you all enjoy the experience as much as we did!

Abby

Feb 12, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

New Lancaster Restaurant - Effie Ophelia

We are going to try to go tonight.

Now, I am still leary of this call-ahead seating. I can't understand why they don't have a better system for reservations than this...

I'll let you know about the vegetarian options!
Abby

Feb 09, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Is Wine included in the Doneckers tasting menu?

Oh! You know I googled him as soon as I heard! (Love the internet!)There used to be a Ben Ash Deli in New York, but I couldn't determine if it is the same man. Nothing else, though. I'll probably get out there in the next month or two. I will report back!

Abby

Feb 08, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Is Wine included in the Doneckers tasting menu?

He has accepted an offer to work for the company that owns Alouette cheese, Bongrain Cheese (out of New Holland). I assume that he is their personal recipe advisor... Sad day!

Feb 07, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

New Lancaster Restaurant - Effie Ophelia

Hey, hounds!

A new BYOB opened in January on Prince street across from Senorita Burrito. Here's a link to the article that appeared in the Lancaster newspapers: http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/29242

Has anyone checked it out? Our landlord says it is very romantic, and the posted menu looks right up my alley (focus on seasonal). We tried to call for a reservation last Friday night, but apparently they don't take reservations, just call-ahead seating (???) And, when we tried the call ahead thing, we were told they were too busy, and that they would call us back (no return call). Unfortunately, it didn't fit our plans. We'll have to try another time.

Curious to hear if anyone has tried it.

Abby

Feb 06, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Le Bec-Fin Review (long)

Just my two cents... I planned my honeymoon around a trip to LBF. It was to be the tasting menu on new years eve. The rolls were stale. The wait staff made us feel foolish for not using the right utensils, literally glaring. They didn't offer THE dessert cart (no warning). It made me sad. And, for the price, there are many other glorious restaurants on the planet that we would rather try, instead of going back to give them another chance.

Feb 06, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Is Wine included in the Doneckers tasting menu?

Oooh. I had one more thought. You may have already seen this, but Doneckers posts their current tasting menu on their website. Here is the link:
http://doneckers.com/restaurant/tasti...

Also, on Fridays (and possibly Saturdays??), they have a pianist that is just wonderful! Completely makes for an awesome night! Last time we were there was the night of tree lighting in Ephrata, end of november-ish. My husband and I go for the tasting menu a few times a year, and have been doing so since 2002.

Abby

Feb 06, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Is Wine included in the Doneckers tasting menu?

Yes. Wine is included. Keep in mind, there are two optional courses that you can get in addition to the standard $65 meal. (approximately $20 to add) They are definitely worth it! They are the fois gras course and the cheese course. Yummo!

Please let me know if you go. Chef Greg Gable has left his post as executive chef and has been replaced by Ben Ash. Heidi Gable (Greg's wife) is still the sommelier. I am wondering if the quality will still be as high as it used to be under Chef Gable.

Abby

Feb 06, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Harrisburg Recs?

Jeremy - so sorry I didn't see this post until today. I usually struggle to find a place to eat in Harrisburg. One of my favorite close-to-Harrisburg spots is called "Piatto" in Carlisle, PA. Seasonal, fresh italian food at a family-run BYOB.

All the hot spots in Harrisburg seem to be on 2nd Avenue. There is Haydn's on Pine (a steak house) that I have been wondering about. Sounds like it would be very good.

Where did you end up eating?

Abby

Jan 29, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania

Loie: The Best Brunch Bread/Pastry Basket

Ha! That is great! Sounds delicious!

My husband and I visited Loie for the first time just two weeks ago, and when our waiter brought out the bread for our dinner, he commented, "I love our pastry chef!" Always a good sign! Was it crowded at brunch time?

Abby

Jan 29, 2007
armartin in Pennsylvania