Grab your mugs and try this delicious, boozy twist on classic hot cocoa: wine-infused hot chocolate! Can you really combine two of the best things in the universe? The answer is yes! It may not get you buzzed, but it will give you that warm fuzzy feeling. It’s simple to make, too, and you can experiment with different recipes until it’s just right. Head to EliteDaily.com and search “wine hot chocolate.”
Java Have It
Give the gift of local choice this holiday season with the AlottaJava Gift Card! With this card, you support small businesses and boost our local economy, as 100% of its redeemed value is returned to area businesses. Recipients choose from participating coffee shops and restaurants in West Chester and Downingtown. There’s no better way to spread holiday cheer than supporting local! Purchase online at AlottaJava.com.
Give Fruitcakes a Chance
Let’s face it … fruitcakes face lots of criticism and are notoriously re-gifted. But with December ringing in National Fruitcake Month—who knew?—we’d like to change your mind. Although these desserts have a bad rap, it wasn’t always so. For hundreds, maybe thousands of years, they were a popular staple around the world—from Egypt to Rome. Help fight the stigma and try Food Network’s Five-star Free-range Fruitcake recipe from Alton Brown. FoodNetwork.com/Recipes.
Matunda Ya Kwanzaa
Celebrated for seven days starting December 27, Kwanzaa got its name from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest.” The table is set with symbolic foods, like mazoa—fruits and vegetables symbolizing the bounty of the harvest. Other staples include soul-soothing Southern foods and African flavors like Moroccan-spiced couscous dishes, collard greens and spiced yams. Food websites offer inspiration—AllRecipes, Epicurious and more. There are even Kwanzaa wines recommended in this issue’s “Wines for Every Holiday.”
Philly Takes the Pie
The Daily Meal has been ranking the best pizzas since 2012. This year, their “101 Best Pizzas in the Country” spans 23 states—with four pizza places in the Philly area making the cut! Lorenzo and Sons, known for their jumbo cheese slices, ranked number 71. Head to their West Chester location on Gay and High Streets and taste for yourself. TheDailyMeal.com.
Sports Fans, Rejoice
Chester County welcomed yet another P.J. Whelihan’s to the area in September. Located at Charlestown Center in Malvern, this is P.J.W. Restaurant Group’s milestone 20th restaurant. With 54 TVs, 48 beers on tap and wings with mouthwatering sauces from zippy and sweet to hot and spicy, it lives up to its reputation as a great spot to catch a game—just in time for football season! 12 General Warren Blvd., Malvern. PJsPub.com.
Sweet Potato Awareness Month
Did you know sweet potatoes have some sweet health benefits? Studies show they can help you live past 100! With high levels of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C and D, these tubers can help prolong your life and protect your skin so you maintain that youthful glow. Give them a prime spot on your Thanksgiving table, and eat them all year-round using new recipes from FoodandWine.com.
Brush up on your Italian, because the food at Bardolino Italian Steakhouse and Seafood in Glen Mills will make you say “Bravissimo!” With Jack Mavraj of La Verona in Kennett Square running the show, Bardolino aims to please. Give their Bourbon Glazed Shrimp and Scallops a try, but save room for dessert for a taste of Executive Chef David Robinson’s famous Cinnamon Sugar Ricotta Doughnuts. Molto delizioso! 1102 Baltimore Pk., Glen Mills. BardolinoPa.com.
Eat More Pizza
Did someone say “guiltless pizza”? SkinnyPizza is bringing a healthier version of New York-style pizza to the ‘burbs. Its first location in Paoli is open with a second planned for Exton. These pies boast all natural crust, natural mozzarella cheese and organic tomatoes. You’ll find everything on the menu easy on the environment and easy on your waistline, too! Count your calories on their website’s Calorie Calc at SkinnyPizza.com/CalorieCalc. 35 W. Lancaster Ave., Paoli & 151 W. Lincoln Hwy., Exton.
Too Cute to Sip
Japanese barista Kazuki Yamamoto is taking the Internet by storm and latte making to another dimension with this aesthetically pleasing craze—3-D latte art. Check out his Twitter account for adorable photos of foamy creations: from 3-D cats, to bunnies, to cartoon characters. Drink with caution, though—you may find these creatures are too cute to sip! Want to give it a swirl? Make your own! Go to MakeZine.com and search “latte art.”
Ever dreamed of wearing chef’s whites—that cool double-breasted jacket? Check out Culinary and Hospitality Day at Delaware County Community College where you’ll be inspired by the best! Join Culinary Arts Program Manager and Philadelphia’s Chef Educator of the Year, Peter Gilmore, for a fun class where you’ll watch a cooking demo and learn about a career in the culinary and hospitality fields. Sharpen your cooking skills (and your chef’s knives) and register for the October 14th session at the Marple campus. DCCC.Edu/Info-Session.
Ditch the Takeout
Weeknight cooking can be frustrating. There just isn’t enough time in a busy day to spend hours prepping dinner. Luckily, award-winning local cookbook writer Kathy Brennan (Keepers) has a plan—The Dinner Plan: Simple Weeknight Recipes and Strategies for Every Schedule. With 135 no-fuss recipes and five strategies, Brennan makes cooking quick, fun and painless. Instead of ordering takeout tonight, buy a solution to your dinner-prep blues! Available at Wayne’s Main Point Books, Exton’s Wellington Square Bookshop and other independent booksellers.
October is National Chili Month, so as the weather gets cooler, the smart move is to warm up with a hearty bowl of soul-satisfying goodness. Folks from Texas would likely agree, since their love of chili predates 1977, when they made chili their official state food. And West Chester shares the love when it celebrates the traditional dish at the 15th Annual Chili Cook-off on October 8th. Stop by for a palate-clearing mint at the County Lines table! WestChesterChiliCookOff.com.
47 Thousand Farmers Can’t Be Wrong
That’s the force behind D.C.-based Founding Farmers, a full-service restaurant and bar serving food grown locally and with care at its new King of Prussia Town Center location. This 14,000-square-foot eco-friendly urban farmhouse serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 300. With a menu of sustainably sourced food and drink—freshly baked bread, house-churned butter, homemade ice cream—Founding Farmers is making dining out wholesome. WeAreFoundingFarmers.com.
Celebrate the nutty holiday of National Nut Day on October 22nd, a day with a not-so-nutty origin—it was started by the Liberation Foods Company to advocate Fairtrade nuts and promote healthy living. Need a simple recipe to mark the day? Whip up fall harvest nuts by mixing honey granola, mixed nuts, cinnamon, dried apples and pears. For nut allergies, swap out the nuts for peanut-free granola. With this healthy snack, who needs Halloween candy? HomeMadeHooplah.com/Fall-Harvest-Mixed-Nuts.
You may have found Joe D’Andrea’s homemade, artisan pasta at local farmers markets and tasted it in area restaurants even before it became a Best of Philly hit. Now, after six years in the business, Vera Pasta has its very own retail storefront in West Chester! Shop for over 20 different types of organic, ancient grain and non-GMO pasta, plus seasonal specials and homemade sauce, all with ingredients sourced as naturally and locally as possible. 319 Westtown Rd., Suite K, West Chester. VeraPasta.com.
Looking for a new Netflix series worth sinking your teeth into? Foodies have many options—from the Emmy-nominated Netflix original Chef’s Table for ultimate food porn to Anthony Bourdain’s The Mind of a Chef, combining cooking with science, travel and history through the stories of select chefs. Don’t want to commit to a series? There are still plenty of flavorful films like Jiro Dreams of Sushi or Somm for sushi or wine lovers. More picks at TastingTable.com.
Oodles of Zoodles
Noodles don’t need to be of the wheat variety to satisfy. In fact, zoodles—a.k.a. zucchini noodles—are more popular than ever. Gluten-free and color-full, this healthy pasta alternative can be enjoyed in many different ways, from salad toppings to shoestring fries or all on their own. Just pick up a spiralizer and go crazy! And don’t be afraid to get creative with other fruits and veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apples and pears. More ideas at FoodNetwork.com.
Root Down on Main
What? Another brewery in Phoenixville? Yep. Just when you thought four was enough, Root Down Brewery opened its doors this summer, carving out its space as brewery #5. Located in an old root beer factory (no surprise) with endless walls of eye-catching graffiti, the massive space has plenty of seating for a crowd and a casual, fun atmosphere. Enjoy freshly smoked BBQ from the kitchen and a selection of expertly crafted brews. 1 N. Main St., Phoenixville. RootDownBrewing.com.
Elevation of Pizza
West Chester continues to raise the pizza bar with its newest addition, Rize Pizza, also in Broomall. What makes them stand out? Their Roman style, fluffy, square crust for one—which takes 2 to 3 hours to “rize”—plus sesame seeds on the bottom and lots of unique flavors. Try fan favorites like the Venus, Monte Carlo or Southern Bell with fried chicken. Watch for an expanded menu exclusive to West Chester, including pastas, appetizers and desserts. And it’s BYOB. 124 E. Market St., Building A, West Chester. RizePizza.com.
There’s yet another brewery in our area! Moving in down the street from 2SP Brewing Company in Delaware County and aiming to open soon, Aston Abbey Brewing Company plans to bring handcrafted Belgian beer—with hints of French and German inspiration—to our ever-growing beer scene. Husband and wife team Chuck and Sue McKenna are going for quality over quantity with a focus on unfiltered and unpasteurized brewing. 340 Turner Way, Aston. AstonAbbeyBrewing.com.
What better way to celebrate the Brandywine Conservancy’s 50th anniversary than a farm-to-table dinner prepared by Chef MacGregor Mann of Junto and the Millstone Café? Save the date for August 9, from 6 to 10 p.m., and dine in a historic Chadds Ford barn on Hill Girt Farm that was one of the first properties placed under conservation easement by the Brandywine Conservancy. Enjoy vegetables freshly picked from SIW Vegetables and a BYOB meal for this very special occasion. $65–$75. Brandywine.org/Conservancy/Events.
Frosé in a Bag
Wine in a bag has a new frozen friend—frosé on the go! Enjoy this rosé slushie on the beach, at a picnic or a BYOB summer festival using the same technique you used to make ice cream in a bag at camp—or maybe in your 5th grade science class. All you need is your favorite rosé, two small ziptop baggies, ice, salt and napkins or a towel. Find instructions at Food52.com.
Calling all flavorful coffee lovers! Head to the West Chester Co-op to find coffee gem Máquina Coffee Roasters. This tiny roaster based in Gabe Boscana’s garage in Marshallton knows how to roast beans just enough so your coffee is clean and sweet—no milk or cream needed! High-quality, ready-to-order coffee beans are available for purchase at MaquinaCoffee.com or at the co-op’s Local Food Program. For another dimension in coffee, give them a try. More at WCFood.coop/2017-CSA-Program.
Craft beer meets communal outdoor gathering at Levante Brewing Company’s second outpost, Levante at the Stables! A joint venture with West Chester’s Split Rail Tavern, this newly unveiled beer garden is now open in Chester Springs on the grounds of an 1840s farmhouse. Enjoy over two acres of cozy in- and outdoor seating, plus picnic tables, local food trucks with beer-friendly fare, live music, games, fire pits and more! 160 Park Rd., Chester Springs. LevanteBrewing.com/The-Stables.
Grain to Glass
Malvern is soon to become a beer and spirits lover’s haven with a new distillery in the making. Setting up shop right next door to newly opened Locust Lane Brewing Company will be Pennsylvania Distilling Company. This startup distillery plans to produce “small batch, grain-to-glass spirits,” according to their website. Keep a lookout for their opening, hopefully soon! 50 Three Tun Rd. #3, Malvern. PennDistilling.com.
You Won’t Believe It’s Not Meat
Calling all vegans! There’s a new plant-based eatery in Phoenixville. Reopened in May, Sand Castle Winery’s TASTE passes on the typical leafy green, raw food model, instead going for savory comfort food with a focus on protein. Veg protein, you ask? With the help of the Herbivorous Butcher—the world’s first meatless, plant-based protein butcher—the small plates menu is friendly towards both the diehard and tentative vegan. 236 Bridge St., Phoenixville. SandCastleWinery.com/Taste-Phoenixville.
Fast + Healthy
After months of waiting and waiting, Bryn + Dane’s is finally open … in Bryn Mawr! As one of our Best of the Best “Places to Watch,” this spot generated great suspense but was well worth the wait. Fit with 25-foot high ceilings, exposed brick walls and steel beams, and home to 16-foot trees, this open-air, fast-casual newbie is perfect for a quick healthy snack, smoothie, salad and more! 915 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. BrynAndDanes.com.
Wood-Fired, Locally Inspired
The Shoppes at Longwood has a tasty new resident. Chef Bryan Sikora, formerly of Kennett Square’s Talula’s Table and currently of Wilmington’s La Fia, recently opened his newest creation, Hearth Kitchen. True to its name, the menu features wood-fired pizza, handmade pastas and more locally inspired hearty entrees. Stop in for lunch or dinner and taste for yourself! The Shoppes at Longwood, 859 E. Baltimore Pk., Kennett Square. HearthKennettSquare.com.
Fresh Sushi Spot
As if five restaurants weren’t enough, Eagleview Town Center has yet another dining destination in the making, this time a BYOB sushi spot! Scheduled for a summer opening, Bluefin Restaurant & Sushi Bar will join Suburban, Bella Vista, Al Pastor, Nudy’s Cafe and Brickside Grille on Restaurant Row. Follow Eagleview on social media to stay updated on the latest … Wellington Square, Exton. EagleviewTownCenter.com.
Mark your calendar for the first annual West Chester Craft Beer Festival on June 17th. Over 60 breweries will contribute their best beers to the event—including Chester County favorites like Levante and Victory Brewing. Head to the Charles A. Melton Center on East Miner Street and sip a cold brew while sampling delicious edible options from vendors and food trucks. Tickets available in advance—$50 VIP tickets, $40 general admission. WCBeerFest.com.
America’s favorite condiment gets its own day on June 5th with National Ketchup/Catsup Day. Ever wonder about the spelling difference? Jonathan Swift first used the “catsup” version in a 1730 short story, and today some southern states use that variation rather than the more common “ketchup.” Spelling aside, the condiment is quintessentially American, topping classic dishes from meatloaf to burgers. Celebrate the day with some fries and feast on a piece of delicious Americana!
Phenomenal fruit and family fun at a free festival. Enjoy the magic of summer at the Raspberry Celebration at Linvilla Orchards in Media. Mark your calendar for June 24th and bring the whole family for a day of face painting, pick-your-own fruit excursions and delicious treats from the Farm Market. Kiddos will enjoy entertainment from local kids’ musician Silly Joe. Explore the 300-acre farm as you munch on those tart and tasty raspberries. Linvilla.com.
Soon West Chester will get two new cookie franchises with Insomnia Cookies and Baked. These well-loved companies serve everything to satisfy your dessert cravings—from ice cream to edible cookie dough to, of course, warm, fresh baked cookies. Both companies offer late-night delivery service for those staying in and indulging. Bet you can’t try just one cookie company! In West Chester: 142 W. Gay St., InsomniaCookies.com; 34 S. High St., BakedWC.com.
Duck, Duck, Donut!
King of Prussia Town Center is about to get a whole lot sweeter. Slated to open in July, Duck Donuts is branching out from its southern home and expanding beyond its Lancaster and Newark, DE locations. Named after Duck, North Carolina, this sweet spot serves warm, made-to-order donuts with 11 tantalizing flavors, seven toppings and four unique drizzles—bacon and blackberry, just to name two. Duck Donuts is coming, so answer the call to sweetness! More at DuckDonuts.com.
Fresh is Best! Craving a slice of authentic Neapolitan pizza? Look no further than MidiCi, King of Prussia’s newest Italian destination. Located in KOP’s Town Center, MidiCi will take your taste buds on a journey to Naples with traditional dishes like Pizza Diavola, or—calling all dessert lovers—their signature Nutella Calzone. MidiCi flies in their non-GMO flour all the way from Naples. That’s a journey worth celebrating with a second serving. 201 Main St., Ste. 100, King of Prussia; MyMidiCi.com.
Best of the Beers. Head to the 23rd Annual Buzz Off Homebrew Competition at Levante Brewing. Mark your calendar for May 19–20 to watch as homebrewers submit handcrafted beers brewed using their own private equipment. This year Levante will choose one beer from the Best of Show table to be scaled up and brewed on their system for the taproom. That’s something to drink to! Awards Ceremony 4 p.m., free, Levante Brewing, 208 Carter Dr., Ste. 2, West Chester; BrewDrinkRepeat.com/Buzzoff.
Simply Crafted. Malvern’s newest watering hole—Locust Lane Craft Brewery—is bringing simplicity back to the search for craft beers. Four base beers make up the menu at Locust Lane, with no long lists to bog down your drink selection. Try simple favorites like IPA, ESB and stout and then visit the rotating lineup of food trucks. So, if you’re looking for a new place to grab a brew, take a stroll down Locust Lane. 50 Three Tun Rd., #4, Malvern; LocustLaneCraftBrewery.com.
Community-Crafted. Just in time for Memorial Day, The Creamery in Kennett Square reopens for a whole new season of family fun. This former 1902 creamery was refurbished in 2016 and now offers a pop-up beer garden, rotating food trucks and a community gathering space with a vintage twist. Marvel at the up-cycled renovations of this once industrial space, play lawn games and listen to local music all while sipping a cold craft beer. 401 Birch St., Kennett Square; KennettCreamery.com.
Going Global. King of Prussia Mall gets another taste of global cuisine with its newest eatery. At Mistral Restaurant, Chef Scott Anderson—2014 James Beard Foundation Award Semi-Finalist—blends international flavors and his trademark “interpretive-American” style to bring patrons tempting options like Lamb Belly, Thai Duck Salad and Crispy Maitake Mushrooms. Using the best that local farms have to offer, Mistral serves small, fast plates—perfect for a mid-shopping lunch break! 160 N. Gulph Rd., King of Prussia; MistralKOP.com.
Think Fresh, Stay Local. A Chester County native, Eric Yost—formerly of The Gables, White Dog Café and Wyebrook Farm—recently opened Suburban Restaurant and Beer Garden in Eagleview Town Center in Exton, featuring his take on farm-to-table cuisine. The restaurant, adorned with long, family-style wooden tables and refurbished barn doors, features fresh produce from Chester County farms and an outdoor beer garden highlighting local craft beers to enjoy. Want to know more? Sign up for their newsletter. SuburbanBG.com.
Sweet and Tweet. With spring in full swing, there’s no better time to take a little inspiration from Mother Nature. If you’re tired of the same old strawberry shortcakes, opt instead for bird’s nest desserts! These miniature marvels can sit atop cupcakes or be made as no-bake versions—good when working with kids. Start with a base—like crunchy chow mein noodles or mini pretzel sticks—then top with chocolate candy eggs or a classic favorite—Peeps. Recipes on TasteofHome.com.
Something to Celebrate. Get your pint glass ready for New Beer’s Eve on April 6th. The night before National Beer Day on April 7th, New Beer’s Eve celebrates the end of Prohibition in the U.S. On April 6th, 1933, throngs of thirsty people waited outside bars and taverns until midnight, when buying alcohol would be legal for the first time in 13 years. Celebrate this historic event at your favorite bar or watering hole and toast New Beer’s Eve!
Farm-Forward. King of Prussia Town Center added another eatery to its restaurant row: Founding Farmers Restaurant Group. This co-op from the North Dakota Farmers Union works to promote farmers’ rights and advance the quality of their livelihoods while serving locally inspired fare. Founding Farmers offers dishes like Farmers Slaw Reuben, Seafood Bucatini and Glazed Bacon Lollis—short for lollipops. This two-story venue has its own bakery along with a dining room and bar on the second floor. More at WeAreFoundingFarmers.com.
Power Up! Too busy to whip up a quick, nutritious meal? Breathe easy because Wegmans now has Power Meals—grab-and-go prepared meals packed with flavor and nutrients to get you through the day. Each Power Meal is crafted by certified nutritionists, has fewer than 600 calories, and packs at least 25 grams of protein. And with tempting options like Black Pepper Salmon, Tuna Tataki and Ceviche over Quinoa, eating on the go never tasted so delicious. More at Wegmans.com.
The Bistro’s Back in Town.
Searching for your next favorite BYOB?
Look no further than newly opened 39 West American Bistro in West Chester. Anthony Mastroianni, formerly of Malvern’s Cosimo Restaurant & Wine Bar, has a new culinary venture with a menu ranging from classics like Grandma M’s Meatballs to trendy options like shrimp and grits. Stop in for lunch or dinner and indulge in their unique American classics with a twist. Bistro, baby! 39 W. Gay St., West Chester; 39WestAmericanBistro.com.
Whether you eat them alongside sandwiches or as a stand-alone snack, you can never have just one potato chip. Savor the salty crunch even more on National Potato Chip Day, March 14th. The world spends $15 billion a year on potato chips—that’s about six pounds of crunchy goodness per person! Pay homage to America’s #1 snack food at a Chester County institution—Herr’s Snacks—by taking one of their factory tours. Book your tour at Herrs.com/SnackFactoryTours.
Canned cocktails are on the rise and that’s the idea behind Better World Spirits’ venture to sell their own hard soda while supporting local agriculture.
The company launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at Chester County residents to invest in this very canny idea. Better World Spirits aims to craft vodka-based cocktails (with flavors like blood orange ginger) made of all-natural ingredients canned in 12-once portions—perfect for sporting events or as an alternative to beer. More at BetterWorldSpirits.com.
Fish for Thought.
Most know them as the pizza topping everyone loves to hate.
But sardines are a superfood that’s in season during March. Sardines are a great source of vitamin B12, which regulates the nervous system to reduce that late winter stress. Skip the pizza and try them topped on toasted sourdough with red chili or mixed in with fettuccine and sautéed kale for an easy weeknight dinner. More recipes on Saveur.com.
Knock on Wood.
Barrel-aged drinks are the latest trend in alcoholic beverages—read “Spirited Wines” in this issue—and Victory Brewing Company jumped on the bandwagon with barrel-aged beers.
Victory recently introduced Java Cask, a dark beer featuring undertones of coffee from local roaster One Village Coffee. The barrel-aging process adds the sweetness of bourbon and a hint of oak to the beer as it’s tapped. Much like barrel-aged wine, beer is now getting a new flavor with the addition of wood. VictoryBeer.com/Beers/Java-Cask.