Food & Drink
How Many Bottles of Beer on the Wall?
The Fridge is a testament to revitalization and reinvention. Opened in August of 2011, it has been more successful than the owners, Kevin and Linda Brown and James Futty, could have believed. Brown and Futty had both lost their jobs in the recession, but they knew there was an opportunity and a need for something like their concept. So they took their love of craft beer and now share it with a growing community of fans in a garage-turned-beer-oasis tucked away behind the Lancaster Arts Hotel. And we’re so glad they did.
Bet you wish your fridge was stocked with over 400 bottled beer varieties. The Fridge is. But don’t just go for the beer–even though you can create your own six packs to go or get growlers filled from 10 different drafts, including one on nitrogen. Go for a quick lunch or a family dinner and try chef Zach Miller’s creative pizzas. Formerly a chef at John J. Jeffries, known for its emphasis on sustainable local ingredients, Miller uses many of the same producers at The Fridge. “Sustainability translates to more than just fine dining,” he adds. “If it’s not grown here, I’m getting it organic.” Plus, he uses meats you can trust, like humanely raised chicken and grass fed beef. Ingredients from Expressly Local, Lancaster Farm Fresh and Sweet Annie’s Produce are just a few area stars on his slices. “Where and whenever possible, we’re sourcing local,” says co-owner Kevin Brown. “Obviously olives don’t grow around here, but we’re getting them from Mandros, supporting local business.” One of Miller’s favorite pizzas that shows up on the menu: Edamame hummus with Asian slaw, a vegan cheeseless pie. “It screams summer,” he says. When we visited, the pizza selections ranged from Sweet Stems Farm ground pork with caramelized onions, mashed yams, mustard greens and smoked cheddar (it was unbelievable) to Portabellas with seasonal field greens, gruyere and a suggested pairing of Bell’s Oberon (all pizzas come with a beer suggestion). There are, of course, the standards of pepperoni and fresh mozzarella and a margherita pizza, as well as salads and daily soup specials to add to your meal. They’re also in the process of adding gluten free pizzas to the menu. But like any good spot, The Fridge is known to sell out over busy lunch and dinner rushes, so get there early for the best selection.
The Fridge // 534 N. Mulberry St., Lancaster // 717-490-6825 // www.BeerFridgeLancaster.com
While we do our part to buy farm fresh local ingredients, for the rest of our grocery shopping, we love our neighborhood Giant Food Stores. Particularly the Simply Enjoy line for gourmet treats and entertaining, as well as the Nature’s Promise line of organic foods. This summer, try grilling up some of the Nature’s Promise uncured, nitrate free beef hot dogs (we like them served in locally made Martin’s potato rolls) and serving a side of the deli’s Amish macaroni salad. Also don’t miss Simply Enjoy’s Blood Orange Soda and raspberry sorbet, and say hello to summer.
Giant Food Stores // Regional Locations // www.GiantPA.com
Bangkok Comes to Mechanicsburg
Readers raved and we listened. And what we found was not only authentic and stylishly presented Thai cuisine, but a great story. Owner Chris Kijcharoen never imagined his life would lead him here to Harrisburg, after growing up in LA and having a fast paced career as a financial adviser with Fortune 500 company Morgan Stanley. But when his partner had an opportunity to relocate, he discovered his true passion for cooking and sharing his family’s recipes and began to embark on the dream of opening his own restaurant, Chalit’s Thai Bistro. Enjoy classics like the national dish of Thailand, pad Thai, and the unique flavors of tamarind and lime with crushed peanuts over thin rice noodles and vegetables; as well as homemade curries; house specialties like “crispy catfish cha cha,” tapioca breaded filets served with red curry sauce; or broiled Chilean sea bass with ginger and wasabi sesame soy. Health conscious diners will also appreciate the homemade brown rice. And don’t forget to try a Thai iced tea or coffee–perfect on a hot summer day!
Chalit's Thai Bistro // 5103 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg // 717-695-9879 // www.ChalitsThaiBistro.com
Scooping Up Summer
Rebecca Wattenschaidt turned what was a summer job all through high school and college into a complete career change. She worked at the original location of Meadows Frozen Custard in Holidaysburg, which she says is still run by brothers Dick, Jay and Joel Meadows. Her brother and she worked there together. He went on to open a franchise in Chambersburg. She went on to teach high school business in Maryland. “I didn’t know then I’d be practicing what I was preaching,” she says with a smile. Tired of the commute from York and the toll it was taking on her family, including her toddler daughter (and now another one on the way), she and her husband Ryan decided to take the jump into the business and will celebrate a year in business in October 2012.
Inside their York location, the 22nd of a chain primarily located in Pennsylvania, cheery yellow walls, a retro vibe and a sweet smell greet guests. Meadows history adorns the walls. There’s a newspaper clipping of Rebecca serving ice cream as a teenager in Holidaysburg, and even a photo of the couple kissing in front of the original location on their wedding day! It doesn’t get much sweeter than that. Except maybe the delicious creamy original recipe custard they’re serving up.
“We use the same recipe they used decades ago,” says Rebecca. The custard, unlike ice cream, is dense with butterfat flavor because it’s not full of air, she explains. Open daily 10am to 11pm; follow their Facebook page for daily flavor specials, or stop in and try the menu standards: Cups, cones, sundaes, shakes, Frosts so thick you need a spoon, Arctic Swirls made with your favorite candies, and even fat free Italian ice, gelati (original custard layered with over 10 choices of Italian ice flavors) and smoothies.
Meadows Frozen Custard // 1193 Loucks Road, York // www.MeadowsFrozenCustard.com
Baked to Perfection
Owner and baker Marc Jalbert’s European village style baking has made the short drive to Biglerville just outside of Gettsyburg worth the time (in fact, it’s a destination for some). If you go, try the Seeded Twist, and get one to go. One of their most popular breads, it gets its unique flavor from sesame and poppy seeds. Other varieties include: Adams County Sourdough, Rustic French Loaf, Apricot Almond Loaf and Cinnamon Raisin Brioche. Check the website for availability. Just be sure to save room for a pecan sticky bun; you won’t regret it. Other sweets include the Almond Snail, a Danish pastry with a warm vanilla finish called the Morning Roll, apple hand pies with Adams County apples (of course), plus plenty of cookies and biscotti to suit any sweet tooth.
The café is open for brunch (Saturdays only from 8am to 2pm), lunch and dinner. Check the website for hours. Of course, when in Biglerville, you must have the baked goods, so go for a sandwich like the open faced Rueben on cider rye or the veggie club on Pomona’s multigrain. For dinner, choose from small plates, soup and salad, or heartier options from ribeye and crab cakes to pasta with grilled eggplant. Brunch specialties include: Roasted squash, mushroom and gruyere strata and breakfast pizza topped with eggs, tomatoes, spinach, sausage or bacon and cheddar.
You can also host your own pizza party at Pomona’s using their handcrafted oven. Or gather your own ingredients from Pomona’s Pantry—such as breads, pastries, pizza dough, cheeses and meats, as well as house-made soups, tapenades and roasted sweet peppers—to host your own feast at home.
Pomona’s // 213 East York St., Biglerville // 717-677-7014 // www.Pomonas.com
From Pop Culture to Pop Rocks
How does a former pop culture and women’s history professor end up opening a candy shop in downtown Carlisle? Her sister-in-law’s last words to her husband were one of the reasons. She told him not to wait to experience what he wanted out of life. So Stephanie Patterson-Gilbert and her husband Harlon embarked on a dream.
The store is named for Stephanie’s mother Georgenne, Harlon’s mother Lucille, and his sister Cynthia Lou. Each day in the shop, Stephanie is amazed at the joy these nostalgic candies bring to shoppers. “Boomers are so nostalgic for their candy. I hear stories every day. I’ve had people sing me the jingles,” she says with a smile. “This is why we opened.” She witnesses couples sharing oral history–sometimes stories they’ve never told each other–all because of candy.
“Candy is an incredible memory for me. My grandparents always had a candy dish full of candies that they loved, like spearmint leaves and ribbon candy,” Gilbert recalls.
“It’s a simple thing. And it doesn’t cost a lot,” she says. “We have stuff that costs a dime, so kids can come in and buy their own candy.” Georgie Lou’s also carries handmade truffles, homemade marshmallows, gourmet chocolates and popcorn balls. But it’s the hard-to-find, often-forgotten-till-you-see-them candies that we think make this place so special. Take Turkish Taffy: Gilbert says it was the number one requested candy by people coming in. You have to slap it on a hard surface to break and eat it, but it’s quite tasty. Other stock includes really retro candies like Clove or Black Jack gum, candy cigarettes, wax bottles and Necco Wafers as well as more current favorites like Zotz, Pop Rocks, Fun Dips, Nerds, Runts and everything in between you can think of. Gilbert's favorite: Swedish Fish. (Did you know? They’re the only gummy candy that’s vegan.)
Georgie Lou’s also carries retro cards, gifts and accessories and caters candy buffets. They’re open Tuesday through Thursday noon to 6pm, and Fridays and Saturdays noon to 7pm.
Georgie Lou’s Retro Candy & Gifts // 22 N. Pitt St., Carlisle // 717-243-1002 // www.GeorgieLous.com
After years of drinking bad coffee on the road with his band mates, Aaron Carlson, his wife Kara Garcia, and a few employees opened Little Amps Coffee Roasters in October 2011 after returning home to Harrisburg a couple years prior. The name was inspired by the little portable amps the band used to carry, which they still have in their rock basement, where folks can “rock out,” as owner Aaron Carlson puts it.
Folks in the know get 12 ounces of freshly roasted coffee delivered right to their door for $14.85 with the Fortnightly is Alrighty Little Amps Coffee Club. Little Amps’ website offers several delivery schedule options. The coffee is shipped the day it’s roasted. If you live (or work) within the city limits of Harrisburg, they’ll save you the shipping and deliver via bike—how green! It doesn’t get much fresher than that.
Try varieties like Autumn Sweater Blend, inspired by a college memory of the song, “Autumn Sweater” by Yo La Tengo, flying frisbies and leaves falling on a 1997 nostalgic day. New for this summer, Carlson explains, “The Cold Jar is our take on the Italian ‘Shakerato’…basically we pull a shot and then shake it in a mason jar with a touch of brown sugar and ice, and top with milk, served in the jar. It's nice to sip the frothy espresso out of the cold jar.” Also don’t miss Little Amps’ version of iced coffee, New Orleans Cold Brew: A heavily concentrated blend of Dark Star with a touch of chicory root that sits for 14 hours before serving. “The result is a viscous black concentrate that we top with milk and a touch of simple syrup,” says Carson.
Little Amps is open Monday through Friday from 6:45am to 2pm and Sundays 8am to 2pm. Plus, enjoy matinee style music every Saturday at 1pm.
Little Amps Coffee Roasters | 1836 Green St., Harrisburg | 717-695-4882 | www.LittleAmpsCoffee.com
The Breakfast Club
One of our favorite breakfast spots, especially coupled with a trip to Central Market on Saturdays, is On Orange. Owner Melissa Watro took what was a Lancaster institution and made it her own in September of 2010 with old and new favorites that have folks flocking. We continue to go for the formerly famed Wish You Were Here’s Swedish pancakes and waffles (made with a hearty, oatmeal-like dough) and the not-for-the-faint-of-heart Indian omelette filled with a tangy, spicy pepper relish and sharp cheddar. But Melissa’s chilaquiles are so popular, she told us she’s had customers call in to find out if she still has them (as they’re a long process, she makes them ahead, but tends to sell out) just before she ran off to the kitchen to shake her potatoes (get the medley with roasted tomatoes–delish). Just be sure to save room for the homemade cookies or mini muffins that come out with your check.
On Orange // 108 W. Orange St., Lancaster // 717-299-5157 // www.OnOrange.wordpress.com
A York tradition since 1921, Wolfgang Candy makes life in the Susquehanna Valley sweeter. We love the nostalgic Das Sweeten Haus Chocolate Shoppe and the ice cream soda fountain you can visit at the factory. Be sure to take a free tour while you’re there! You can also find Wolfgang’s candies at York area farmers markets and fairs, but the majority of the company’s business continues to be through fund raising initiatives by churches, schools, day care centers, sports organizations and charitable organizations.
Wolfgang Candy // 50 E. 4th Ave., York // 717-843-5536 // www.WolfgangCandy.com
John Zuwiala’s family was always in the food business; in fact, he worked with his grandfather, and namesake of Joe’s Famous American Kitchen, on a mushroom farm. He then went on to become a classically trained French chef at the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, Vermont, and has since worked all over the country, including as the executive chef at the Four Seasons Palm Beach’s Sailfish Club. And you can have this renowned chef cook you up the guaranteed best burger you’ll ever eat–right in Lancaster, PA!
When he opened his burger joint with a retro nod, he says he went for “an Americana feel…Something people can connect to.” And who doesn’t love a good burger? (Even vegetarians rave about Joe’s.) Local meats, Le Bus rolls and artisan cheeses all add to the taste that raises the bar on your average burger.
Gourmet burgers like the Baja Skirt, topped with tomatillo jalapeno sauce, pickled red onions, avocado mayo and a cheddar cheese skirt, and the Red Fire, basted with spicy chipotle and topped with cheddar, avocado and cilantro lime mayo, are both inspired by places he’s worked and traveled, like Phoenix. Meanwhile, the cabernet red onion jam on the Metro burger topped with gorgonzola, bacon and horseradish and The Standard with Swiss, caramelized onions and rosemary garlic aioli showcase his classic French skills. We love the Farm Goddess turkey burger with avocado, Swiss, tomato, romaine and herb sauce and the Faux-lafel house-made garbanzo bean patty with yogurt dill sauce, pepperoncini, cucumber, tomato and romaine.
Dine in, take out, sit outside, just go. Order from the menu board, pay at the register and take a number (oh, and BYOB if you so desire). If burgers aren’t your thing, there are salads, dogs and Meltz (fancy grilled cheeses like the Salty Caramel filled with brie, sea salt caramel and Fuji apple). Hand-cut fries come with creative dippers like spicy peanut sauce, pecan smokehouse barbeque, and new mango habanero, chipotle banana, curried honey ginger, bloody Mary and cabernet raspberry. Or try the Toasted Sweets: Sweet potato fries with toasted marshmallow topping.
Wash it all down with a specialty shake. Just save room for Joe’s jumbo cupcakes (don’t miss the popular blackberry merlot flavor) and handmade truffles (all from their sister location Haute Chocolate in West Reading).
Joe's Famous American Kitchen // 608 Richmond Drive, Richmond Square, Lancaster // 717-517-9172 // www.JoesFamousAK.com