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    Carlisle, PA
  1. I'm looking for a recommendation for a nice restaurant in or around Carlisle for my anniversary. My husband and I moved here in November, and we've been completely underwhelmed. We are within walking distance to downtown Carlisle, which we were really excited about. We've been to California Cafe for lunch, Marketcross, Rillo's (way overrated), and a couple others, but have no desire to go back for this occasion, although they weren't particularly offensive in any way. I've read the menus for Cafe Bruges and Piatto, but I'm just not convinced about either one. We tend to lean towards places that are small and quaint, but have excellent food. We're both pretty adventurous eaters, as well. We're willing to drive a bit, but rather keep it on the West Shore if possible. However, if there is something in Harrisburg that fits the bill, we'd consider it. I'm tempted to just make reservations at Left Bank in York, but I'd like to see if I can find something closer to home.
  2. In an effort to live my life more simply and reduce the amount of purchased products that I use day to day, I've begun to bake bread. I've been making pizza for a while, but never loaf bread, so I started with Susan's Farmhouse White from her collaborative effort over at A Year in Bread. I love it and have been making it every 3 weeks, pretty religiously since I started. Knowing that I've been doing this, my mother picked up a copy of Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread, Soups, and Stews for me. It's just his two books combined into one edition, but with two separate introductions and indexes. The book seems to be informative, although both books have garnered some less than positive reviews on various sites, so I am a bit skeptical. However, I'd like to try some of the recipes before I purchase another ( and possibly repetitive) bread book. Anyway, I've been using instant yeast in my pizza dough for a while now, which worked out, because that's what the Farmhouse White called for as well. From Reinhart's American Pie, I know that 1 tsp instant yeast = 1.25 tsp dry active yeast, however, Clayton's book doesn't even use standard measurements for it. He just calls for # packets of yeast. I'd prefer to just use the instant yeast since I have a rather large package of it in my freezer. So, how much instant yeast should I use when his recipes call for 1 packet of yeast?
  3. Hi all. Although we had plans to go out with my in-laws tomorrow to Left Bank in York for about a week now to celebrate our anniversary, they called tonight and decided they do not want to do that any more. Instead, they said they are going to meet us half way; they are in West York and we are just west of Reading. They said that they want us to pick the place even though they are taking us out, so I figured we’d meet up somewhere near Lancaster. Here's the catch. My mother-in-law is THE.PICKIEST person I have ever met. Not only does she change everything she orders beyond recognition, she typically only takes 2 or 3 bites and then takes the rest home to the dog. She doesn't eat beef, pork, turkey, duck, fish, or seafood, which pretty much only leaves chicken, pasta, and vegetables. She doesn't like spicy, she doesn't like creamy, and I'm convinced that if a restaurant served boiled chicken with steamed vegetables and white rice she'd order it. I have found recommendations for plenty of places that meet the location requirements, but I'm afraid my MIL wouldn't like anything on the menu and just sit there and pout. Dining out with her, especially at a place she's never been before, is not a pleasant experience, to say the least. My husband can be adventurous, but is a meat and potatoes type at heart, I will eat anything that is put together well, and her significant other usually can find something to eat whenever we go out. I wish they would just pick a place, but are playing the "Oh, where ever you want to go," game. So, to sum up this ridiculous post, I need a recommendation for somewhere my MIL can play it safe, but everyone else can actually have a good meal.
  4. A little late to the party, but I've been living in the area (well Berks County) for about a year, plus 4 years of College in York. One interesting place someone looking for PA Dutch coking might want to try is Shady Maple. While I'm not wild about buffets, I had one of the best breakfasts ever here. I've been told their lunches and dinners are even better. Unlike most buffets, their food is neither cold, nor over cooked and rubbery. For breakfast there were 2 made-to-order stations, one pancake and one egg, and then a whole bunch of other carts, both hot and cold. I have not been there for lunch or dinner, but if breakfast was any indication of the other 2, then I definitely would recommend it. I'm assuming it's too late for you, Daniel, but it might help others that are looking.
  5. Today, just like almost every other day, I made myself coffee/espresso in my Bialetti Moka Pot. The difference was, that it started to whistle at a very high pitch. I went over, and saw some bubbling around the area where the two pieces come together. Now, I just replaced the rubber ring about a month ago, after the original was in there for about a year and a half, so I doubt it's that. Once it was cool, I checked it out and nothing seemed out of place. Could the threads on the two pieces be wearing down? What do you all suggest?? Has this happened to anyone before?
  6. Didn't the Bottle Caps used to fizz (kind of like pop-rocks or Alka-seltzer), or did I imagine that?? I remember getting them at the Children's Day Parade where my dad grew up and not liking them because of this. I bought a HUGE bag of mini Willy-Wonka candy for my students during finals week and I tried the Bottle Caps, and alas, no fizz. Did they change this???
  7. The one I've made is Paula Deen's, which can be found on FTV's site. It's not exactly figure friendly though. 1 fryer, 1 lb. kielbasa (or any other smoked sausage), onion, water to cover, spices. Once the chicken is cooked you take it out, and while it's cooling, you add the rice to the pot and let that cook. Shred the chicken, add back to the pot, and there you have it. The FTV recipe says it yeilds 4-6 servings, but we typically get closer to 8 or 10, and we're relatively big eaters. Pretty easy, pretty inexpensive, and served with a bottle of hot sauce, it's pretty darn good.
  8. Well, we went to Lily's tonight because I realized that I have a Master's class starting Tuesday. Some things we had were really good, while others were meh. I'm in the process of planning my wedding, so when we first got there all I wanted was a glass of wine. I chose a Fife L'Attitude, which I really enjoyed. It was a pretty complex red, and did its job to relax me so I could enjoy our dinner. It took us a while to actually decide what we wanted, but here's what we chose: SMOKED FISH SAMPLER Smoked salmon pastrami and Cajun smoked trout served with cucumber salad. This was a great way to start a meal. There were four wedges of grilled pita with a slice of salmon pastrami that was as large as the pita, and on top of that was a much smaller piece of smoked trout. There were drizzles of a white sauce (it kind of reminded me of a ranch dressing, but not quite...) in between the stacks, and in the center was the cucumber salad. The salad consisted of 7 or 8 cucumber slices, sliced white onions, diced tomato, and carrot, with a very vinegary dressing (if it was a dressing at all; I don't think there was any oil in it). I really liked the salad, but my SO didn't. The salmon and trout on the grilled pitas were awesome; both fishes were tender and buttery, and the spices used complimented each other very well. The only complaint I had was that the dressing from the salad made the tips of the pitas kind of soggy, but over all it was a great appetizer. Each of our Entrees was served with a mixed baby green salad. These were pretty gross. Both of us ate a couple forkfulls of them and pushed them aside. I picked out 4 pieces of dark slimy pieces before I stopped, and my SO picked out 2 or 3. Maybe we should have upgraded our salads, I don't know, but they were pretty sorry. Along with our salads came out a basket of bread. I typically don't eat bread at restaurants, because I'm often disappointed with the chewy, Wonder-Bread-Esque crap that's usually served, so I didn't open the cloth until I gave up on the salad, but I was pleasantly suprised. I found a warm, cranberry bread, that was not overly sweet and had a wonderfully crisp crust. My SO liked it so much we ordered another loaf to take home for him for breakfasts. My SO had BEEF TENDERLOIN TIPS & TOAST Sautéed filet tips, mushrooms and shallots, simmered in a Marsala wine sauce, served with mashed potatoes and grilled bread. He's a meat and potatoes kind of guy so this was perfect for him. He said they were tender and juicy, a little pink in the middle, and the sauce made them even better. I wouldn't know, because he ate it all before I could have a taste. The "grilled bread" was actually 2 fried waffle chips, which was fine because in the middle of the plate there was a heaping mound of smashed potatoes. My entree, on the other hand, was utterly disappointing. RASPBERRY CHICKEN Baked breast of Bell & Evans organic chicken coated with toasted almond breadcrumbs, topped with melted brie, served with mashed potatoes and Chambord sauce. I never, and I do mean never, order chicken in a restaurant, unless it's with something else (ie. a pasta dish, with seafood). However, I kept coming back to this dish. The waitress said it was their best selling entree, so I figured why not. I should have went with my instincts though. When the dish came out, it was visually appealing, with the chicken served on top of the potatoes, with a pool of the Chambord sauce, and a spring of rosemary (which was only there for appearance) and a very large raspberry. I think the most redeeming thing on the plate was the asparagus served on top of the chicken. The chicken by itself was pretty blah. Other than the almond bread crumbs, I don't think there was anything else on the crust. The Chambord sauce was laced with cream and was decent, but nothing fantastic. It made the chicken edible, but that's about all. I felt the mashed potatoes were out of place in this dish, and would have been perfectly happy if they had been left off. This dish, especially for their best seller, left me totally underwhelmed. The Fife did not go well with this dish at all. I kind of figured on that when we ordered our entrees, so I took a sip of my second glass with dinner (apparently made a funny face) and then saved it for after our meal was done. I ordered an espresso, and we both ordered desserts. The espresso was decent, but it came with an almond biscotti that was ice cold. It didn't matter though, because I was looking forward to my dessert and didn't eat it. My SO ordered a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (desserts aren't on the website), which he devoured. I'm not a fan of desserts like that because I often find them too sweet and too rich. The pie had a chocolate cookie crust, a thin chocolate fudgey layer, and a peanut butter layer about an inch and a half thick. It was topped with peanuts, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a peanut butter cup. It was also served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream along side. He said it was delicious, and I'm sure it was, but it's just not my thing. The only complaint was that the plate was warm, so when it was brought to the table, the ice cream was already partly melted. I chose the Coffee Trio for dessert. There was a "scoop" of tiramisu, a coffee truffle, and a mini coffee creme brulee, which was served in a demitasse cup. First of all, the ice cream sized scoop of tiramisu was disgusting. I'm 99.9% positive the creamy layer was made with cream cheese as opposed to mascarpone. Not a good substitution, IMO. Also, there is no way they used lady fingers. The cakey layer wasn't soaked in anything, as it was just a white cake (angelfood maybe?) and it was totally soft. It definitely wasn't soaked in a clear liquor either, because it was kind of dry. It was just bad all around. The truffle however was pretty good. At first I was disappointed because it had a milk chocolate shell. However, when I bit into it, I found that it also had a dark chocolate layer as well. The espresso ganache center was really good as well. Finally, the creme brulee was really good. Then again, I don't think I've met a creme brulee I haven't liked. The espresso flavor was a nice change from the traditional one, and if they offered this in a full dessert size, I probably would have gotten that. It was nice and creamy, and not too overly rich, and I'm glad I saved it for last. All in all, I would probably go back here again, due to the lack of other decent places we've found so far (I just wouldn't order the chicken). The service was great, as our waitress was very nice and on top of everything all night. We didn't feel rushed at all, and we stayed about 20 minutes after our dessert plates were cleared and our bill was paid so I could finish my wine. We went to the Ephrata location, but there is also one in Lacaster, on West James St. I am glad I told my SO not to wear short, albeit nice ones, because about half the men there were wearing jackets and most women were either wearing dresses or nice pants. I would recommend it to others, but I wouldn't go back there until I tried the others that have been suggested.
  9. If you go with a table that cannot be cut directly on (I would stay away from that just for the clean up and absorption of odor), but don't want the added expense of high-end cutting boards, I suggest checking out Ikea. I hate Ikea for somethings, but love it for others. They have an array of wooden cutting/chopping boards. Plus they have really inexpensive plastic ones that I use for meats. I have the SPÅR butcher block, and although I've used it for a little over a year, with some nominal maintenence (cleaning it pretty soon after use and rubbing with oil once every other month so it doesn't dry out), it still looks nice. It stays out all the time, and people actually complement me on it. It has a nice heft to it so you can get into some heavy duty chopping and not worry about it sliding around the counter. Also, at $20, you wouldn't have to worry about using them for your classes, because they aren't expensive for what they are, and they can be tucked away when classes are over, and your table is still in perfect condition.
  10. Reading the title, I immediately thought Paella, which I love to make for a crowd. However, when I saw your number of 225, I realized it would be difficult (not to mention expensive) to do one batch of Paella for that size. But what about something with rice, like Jambalaya or Low-Country Chicken Bog. You could make a whole mess of it in a rather large pot without too much trouble.
  11. Hey Meanderer, or anyone else for that matter, could you tell me anything more about Lily's on Main, in Ephrata?? I don't think they have a website, and I'm having trouble finding out about the menu on the internet. Thanks! ETA: Okay, while Google turned up nothing when I searched for Lily's, I turned to my Zagat's (which I had forgotten we received when we moved here and has be residing in a kitchen drawer ever since) and lo and behold, they do have a website, which is convienently www.lilysonmain.com. It's owned by the same group as Doc Holliday's and Gibraltar in Lancaster (but I know nothing about either). Still, any more info on it would be great!!
  12. We always enjoy Venezia in Chester, which is only 10 minutes up 206 north. If you get to Main St., you've gone too far. It's a small, intimate, Italian, BYO, but the the food is consistantly good, as is the service. It's in the Shop-Rite shopping center (right on the end), and while I couldn't find the exact address online, here's the phone number: (908) 879-2848. I do suggest calling for a reservation if you choose to go here.
  13. Yup, we're actually over in Wernersville. Most people I've talked to (even from PA) have never heard of it, so I typically don't mention it. Some of my co-workers don't even know where it is, and I work in Reading. And thanks for all the choices to pick from!! They're all definitely do-able. Today, someone suggested The Black Dog Cafe in Stouchburg, but couldn't really tell me much about it. Has anyone heard of it/been there?? ETA: Thanks for the welcome Katie!
  14. Whenever I have excess mint, I make this Mint Pesto. I don't typically do the rosemary skewers, but just toss it with shrimp and fresh angelhair. It's also good on a pizza. Make a very thin crust, use the pesto as your sauce, and feta for the cheese, with thinly sliced red onion. Like other pestos, it freezes well to use at a later time.
  15. West Chester is an hour, but Adams town is only like 15-20 minutes. We live off 422, so it's just a hop over the mountain and down 897 to 272. I'll have to check out Stoudt's. Thanks!
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