Posts Tagged ‘New Hope’

Donna’s Birthday Supper

September 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Donna’s Birthday but many of the top end restaurants are closed on Mondays so we went out this evening to celebrate her birthday.  We took our own advice from the Best of Bucks County – Special Occasion/Anniversary Top 5 list and went to the Centerbridge Inn to celebrate Donna’s big day.  We have eaten there before, had great meals and I play poker with Chef Pete Jones and owe him money (LOL).

Cocktails at Centerbridge Inn

We started the evening with cocktails (surprize!). Donna went for the Singapore Sling and I went for the Vodka Martini. It was encouraging to see that the bartender didn’t need to look up in a book how to make this classic cocktail. He did a great job on this gin classic. My Vodka Martini was pretty straight forward but still well executed. Both drinks were great and the way to start a special meal.

Prosciutto with Melons, Peaches and Mozzarella at Centerbridge InnDonna started her meal with the Prosciutto with Melons, Peaches and Mozzarella appetizer.  The salty and thick prosciutto was a great match for the sweet melon and peaches. The fresh Mozzarella Balls were great texture contrasts for the fruit and the dense meat.  The dish was dressed by a Thick Balsamic Reduction that despite being a vinegar was thick and sweet. The main ingredients were enough but a salad of Micro Greens completed the dish.

French Onion Soup at Centerbridge InnI went for the French Onion Soup as my appetizer. Donna warned me about eating it because of the long cheese strings the soup often produces but I went it for it anyway.  What a great decision it was.  The Giant Portion was full of flavour and actually hard to get to get a spoonful of just broth. The rich soup was full of sweet Onion, Cheese and Croutons.  It was not overly salty as many onions soups I have had at other places most likely cause they used stock instead of those salty bullion cubes. It was excellent, so excellent that I brought half of it home. It didn’t make it past 30 minutes before Ryan had found it and heated it up for a snack. LOL. It was great soup and no stringy cheese on my clothes. LOL.

Caesar Salad at Centerbridge InnDonna and I decided to share a Casear Salad as our second course.  We are Caesar Salad snobs because we have made this salad so many times and we think we have the recipe down pat.  I have posted about our recipe here on the blog and other have tried it liked it too. The version at Centerbridge Inn was very good. Crisp Lettuce with a tangy Garlic Dressing. We had the option of Anchovies but we past given Donna’s sensitivity to fish. The split portion of salad was the perfect size for the second course. Refreshing and with great garlic taste.

Grilled Pork Chops at Centerbridge InnDonna went for the Grilled Pork Chops as her main course. The one giant Bone-in Pork Chop came with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus.  The grilled pork chop was surounded by two generous pieces of Pancetta making a giant pork sandwich.  The actual chop was cooked perfectly and was thick, very moist and sweet. The asparagus was well cooked and tasty.  The potatoes were a little el-dente and could have roasted a few minutes longer for my taste but Donna like them as they were presented.

Poached Halibut with Potato Crust at Centerbridge Inn

 I went for the Grilled Halibut with Potato Crust and Wild Rice and Grilled Asparagus. The thick potato crust kept the flaky halibut flesh moist and delicate.  I love halibut but it has a very delicate flesh that carries a subtle flavour. The potato crust acted like an insulation keeping the fish protected. The wild rice was a nice change from other starches and was well cooked. Asparagus is one of my favourite veggies and the staff nailed it with a great grilling. The dish, well presented, was delicious.

So if you are looking for a great meal to celebrate a special occasion, check out Centerbridge Inn.  Make sure you ask for Chef Pete Jones and he will hook you up with a great meal.  Happy Birthday Donna.

Centre Bridge Inn on Urbanspoon 

Centerbridge Inn -Route 32, New Hope, PA 18938               215-862-2048

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Steamers

September 5, 2009

Steamers at Cafe Europa in New Hope, PASteamed Clams always make me think of summer and my Aunt Bert’s camp in L’Etete, Canada. My aunt Roberta, who we always called Bert introduced me to Steamed Clams or “Steamers” on a visit to her waterfront cottage in L’Etete when I was about 10 years old.  She steamed her’s in a little bit of water and served them with butter, lemon and vinegar.  As a 10 year old I found the clams to be amazing, sweet, salty, tart and sour all at the same time. It was an eye’s opening experience to me that something as weird looking as clams could taste that good.

So when Cafe Europa put on their “Steamers” appetizer I couldn’t resist and ordered them.  I felt a little like the critic in “Ratatouille” when I put the first mollusk in mouth and flashed back to Aunt Bert’s camp and her clams.  The steamers were sweet, salty, tart and sour again and they made me feel good.

Try the Steamers at Cafe Europa and I hope they bring you back to the first time you tried them.  If it’s your first time to try steamers, then Cafe Europa is a good place to start. LOL.  Enjoy what’s left of your summer.

The BOSS is the BOMB

August 26, 2009

Boss Pizza at Cafe EuropaCafe Europa has added some new gourmet pizzas to it’s menu. So I decided to check them out. It’s always a good idea to check out what’s selling with your waitress or bar tender when trying a new menu. Bartender Jenn shared with me that she was selling the most out of the new BOSS Pizza.

Come to find out BOSS stood for Bacon, Onions and Sauteed Sausage. This didn’t sound a lot different from my usual bacon, sausage and mushroom pizza so I went for it.

While the BOSS didn’t produce a great photo when it arrived it did produce some great taste. The contrasts of Sweet Mozza cheese and Caramelized Onions against the Salty Bacon and Savoury Sausage. The Gooey Cheese, lumps of sausage and thin Crisp Crust made for great texture contrasts. It was a great pie. Try it.

The pizza was so good I added Cafe Europa to my Best of Bucks – Top 5 Pizza page.  Check that out for other great pizza places.

Cafe Europa Logan Square, New Hope PA              215-862-9600

Steak Skewers Special

August 8, 2009

Filet Mignon at Cafe EuropaIt was poker night at Cafe Europe and my birthday so it was a perfect storm for me. Chef Joey created two appetizer specials for the night, a seaseme seed crusted chicken tenders with a honey soy sauce and a Filet Mignon skewer with a merlot demi-glace. I went for the Filet Mignon medium rare.  Donna tried the chicken special and Ryan went for the Penne alla Vodka based on last week’s post.

Joey nailed the medium rare for my skewer and still managed to have the Onions and Green Peppers crisp but cooked.  The Mushrooms came with the Demi Glace and they were perfectly cooked as well.  The savory demi glace matched well with meat and provided a nice contast to the sweet onions and green peppers. The different textures in the mushrooms, crispy veggies and perfectly cooked meat made for, Jenn’s favourite descriptor, “great mouth feel”. At $8.99 and $12.99 for two skewers, they were a bargin and a great appetizer.

Since is was my birthday bartender and Facebook friend Jenn made a Birthday Banner and Facebook Friend Erika traveled in from Jersey City to play poker and deliver a half dozen Crumb’s Cupcakes as my Birthday Cake. I ended up with a great Carrot Cake Cupcake that was through the roof.  Thanks Erika and Jenn for making my birthday extra special.  Thanks to all those free cocktails eveyone, it seemed and if I can remember, offered me. It was a great birthday.

Joey made the skewers out of Filet Mignon but what is your Favourite Cut of Steak? Take the food survey and let us know.

Spatola’s Pizza

July 31, 2009

 I worked late tonight on some agency proposals so I ended up ordering Pizza for Robbie and I for supper. Donna doesn’t eat pizza, so it was just Robbie and I ordering. We ordered from Robbie’s favourite pizza place Spatola’s here in New Hope.

Taco - BBQ Chicken Pizza from Spatola's

Robbie wanted to get the Taco Pizza but I couldn’t get my head around Mexican-Italian food combo so I argued for the BBQ Chicken pizza which we both like. For some reason Southern Food- Italian made sense to me when Mexican-Italian food didn’t. LOL We ended up getting a combo of Taco and BBQ Chicken Pizza.

This colourful pizza was very tasty.  The Taco Slice I had was very much like a soft taco. The heated lettuce wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be and the raw Diced Tomatoes, Cheese Whiz sauce and Ground Beef mimiced a taco nicely. Not too spicy, just a blending of their flavours. 

The BBQ Chicken slice was a nice combo of BBQ sauce and moist chicken. This pizza ususally comes with carmelized onions but Robbie opted out of onions for both halves of the pizza. I thought the BBQ Sauce added some nice tang and smokiness to the generous pieces of Chicken. I liked this combo a lot.

Great pizza. In fact I have added Spatola’s to my Best of Bucks Co – Pizza Top 5 list. 

Read other reviews about Spatola’s Pizza here, here and here.

Spatola's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Spatola’s Pizza, 82 S Main St, New Hope, PA 18938                        215-862-6041

Penne alla Vodka

July 30, 2009

Cafe Europa - Penne alla Vodka

 Donna went out of our Tuesday Night poker game at Cafe Europa before me and she surprised me with an order of Penne alla Vodka for us to share. Since she was out first, she tried the pasta before me and was excited that this was “the best Penne alla Vodka she had ever had”.

Cafe Europa’s new chef, Joey showed his chops on this dish by first perfectly cooking the pasta and then adding a flavourful Cheese, Tomato and Vodka sauce.  He added some additional texture to the dish with some diced tomato that matched well with the tomatoes in the sauce.  Garnished with some parsley, the dish looked great but tasted even better.  The thick cheesy sauce was lightly seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. There was a little background heat in the dish but matched with the perfectly cooked pasted it was a joy in our mouths.

 Check out the new menu at Cafe Europa here.

Cafe Europa on Urbanspoon

Café Europa, Logan Square, 11 Market Place, New Hope, PA 18938              215-862-9600

Bowman’s Tavern Lunch

July 29, 2009

I had lunch with Digital Marketing Guru Amy today at Bowman’s Tavern just south of New Hope.  I have been a client with Amy when she was at three different major agencies and she is a leader in the multi-channel space. It was a great lunch and she gave some great advice about my current projects.

 002While we talked we enjoyed a very nice meal and great service from the  hostess and waitress.  For starters, Amy had a cold Yellow Tomato Gazpacho soup and I had their French Onion soup. It was a perfect day for a cold soup as it was actually hot and didn’t rain until late afternoon. The waitress chased down the chef for us and let us know the soup contained Yellow Tomatoes, Cucumber, Cilantro, Garlic, Yellow Pepper, Onion, Orange Juice and Seasonings. The overflowing bowl of soup was dominated by the Strong Orange Flavour. The soup had pieces of diced Yellow Tomato, Yellow Pepper and Cucumbers to give some texture to the pureed soup.  Amy liked her soup and wondered why she did make this at home more often.

Bowman's Tavern French Onion SoupI went for the French Onion Soup despite the heat because I heard it was very good. When it came I found that the Sweet Broth, from the caramelized onions, chicken stock and some white wine, dominated the soup. I have had way too many French Onion Soups that were way too salt because broth was made from bullion cubes but this broth was perfectly seasoned and sweet to the taste. The Croutons and blend of Melted Cheeses added texture to dish. The combination of sweet broth, croutons and melted stringy cheese made this a very good French Onion Soup.

Double Lamb Chop SaladAmy went for the last Daily Special Lamb Chop Salad.  This colourful salad came with three Double Cut Lamb Chops and a variety of veggies. In addition to the crisp salad greens the dish came with Tomato wedges, slightly caramelized Onions, Yellow Peppers and Feta Cheese in a Balsamic Vinaigrette. The crisp veggie textures contrasted nicely with medium rare Lamb Chops and the creamy Feta Cheese. The meaty chops contrasted well with the slightly salty Feta and the sweetness of the Balsamic dressing. A great salad and I could see why Amy got the last one that day.  Perhaps when you go, they will have one ready for you.

Reuben Sandwich at Bowman's TavernI went for the Classic Reuben Sandwich for my main. The individual components of the sandwich blended into one great taste sensation. The tender lean Corned Beef, the crunchy tangy Sauerkraut, sweet slightly melted Swiss Cheese and tangy Russian Dressing, served on toasted Rye Bread was potentially the best Reuben I have ever had.  The crispy fries and pickles were a bonus for the dish. Great sandwich.

Amy and I both liked our salad and sandwich at Bowman’s, but we want to know what your  favourites are. So take the Food Surveys and tell us your Favourite Salad and Favourite Sandwich are.

 Read other reviews about Bowman’s Tavern here, here and here.

Bowman's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Bowman’s Tavern, 1600 River Rd, New Hope, PA 18938 (215) 862-2972

Cocktails and Apps in New Hope

July 25, 2009

Co-worker, Neighbour and Facebook friend Tricia and I hit downtown New Hope Friday evening for Happy Hour Cocktails and Appetizers. Tricia was celebrating her big success at a social media conference in NYC and I was celebrating Happy Hour. LOL.

Rose Wine at Marsha Brown We planned to meet at the bar at Marsha Brown to have cocktail and appetizers there.  I have found the bar to be more relaxing than the more formal dinning room upstairs in the refurbished church.  As I arrived Tricia had already picked out a nice Rose wine.  I forget how good roses can be especially in the summer.  I eventually got a glass to go with my appetizer and found the Rose to be very refreshing and matching the saltiness of the seafood nicely.

Morgan's French ManhattanI like to try the different signature cocktails at restaurants.  Marsha Brown offers 6 signature cocktails and I went for the Morgan French Manhattan.  Served ice cold, the cocktail was a classic Manhattan, (rye whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and a maraschino cherry) with the addition of some Grand Marnier. Come to find out Morgan was our bartender and he had created this cocktail.  I liked it, as I do like Manhattans but this one had a strong orange note from Grand Marnier. The sweetness of the orange match well with strength of the Rye Whiskey.  A very good cocktail.  Thanks Morgan.

Mussels at Marsha BrownTricia went for the Basin Street Mussels as her appetizer. The menu describes them as being “Prince Edward Island Mussels simmered in a Creole barbeque sauce“. When they arrived there was a great smokey aroma that drifted down the bar. It was a great BBQ smell that reminded us of grilled Andouille Sausage. Tricia shared a few mussels with me and they were sweet and the BBQ sauce gave them a little heat and a smokey flavour that matched well and completed the dish.

Fresh Bread and Red Bean Hummus at Marsha Brown

Marsha Brown serves customers Bread, Butter and Red Bean Hummus. Boy, did the bread come in handy as the mussel were eaten and the BBQ sauce and mussel broth. The sweetness and smokiness of the BBQ sauce and salty sweetness of the mussels being mopped up by the crusty bread was very nice.  Thanks for sharing Tricia. 
 
 
Five kinds of Oysters at Marsha Brown
For my appetizer, I went for a combo plate of two of Five Different types of Oysters. It was an impressive plate with pairs of oysters, home-made seafood sauce, lemons, crackers and Louisiana Hot Sauce. Our barman Morgan shared with us that the Creole folks prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce and the Cajun folks preferring the Tabasco Hot Sauce.  I found the Louisiana sauce did go well with oysters. As for the varieties of oysters they are starting at one o’clock and going clockwise are Emerald, St. Simon, Kumomoto, Winanno and Charleston. I liked the little Kumomoto oysters the best as they were slightly salty on the outside with a sweet flesh when you bite into them. The Emerald oysters were my least favourite as they were large but kinda bland but the other three were good. I love the idea that I get to customize each oyster with some combination of lemon juice, hot sauce, seafood sauce or just au natural. By mixing the combination it seemed like I had way more than five different oysters. I hope you try the oysters and let me know what you think in the comment section.
Margaritas at the Login Inn
After slurping the oysters and mopping up the mussel BBQ sauce we went for a short walk around New Hope and ended up at the Login Inn for a Margarita.  The hot evening was great for people watching off the patio bar deck at the Login. Even better was the ice cold margarita with the smokey Tequila, sour lime juice, sweet Triple Sec and Salt rim. A wonderful mixture of flavours and sensations.
Thanks Tricia for a great Happy Hour of Cocktails and Apps.  Let’s do it again soon.
 
These were great appetizers but let us know what your Favourite Appetizer Type is at the Blog Food Survey. Take the poll here.
 
Read other reviews about Marsha Brown’s here, here and here.

Marsha Brown's on Urbanspoon

Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen and Lounge – 15 South Main Street – New Hope, PA 18938

Marsha Brown's on Urbanspoon

Amish Desserts

July 20, 2009

Amish Chocolate CakeWe had supper Saturday night with Poker buddy Steve and his wife Joan at Villaggio and then went back to their house for dessert. This post is about the dessert and the fun we had at Steve and Joan’s house.

There are two Amish Markets within 10 miles of New Hope, one in Flemington and one in Newtown.  Both markets offer homemade meats, sauagages, cheese, breads and desserts – all homemade goodness. And in the this case, great Chocolate Cake that Joan picked up in Flemington.  It was a great cake and the Amish bakers took a great deal of care cooking and decorating the cake.

Top View Amish Chocolate Cake

It was a four layer cake with great frosting and elegant decorating on top. It was a great chocolate cake. Moist, Sweet from the chocolate frosting and a slight Bitterness from the chocolate flavour of the cake.  Steve and I had our cake with Red Wine. I love chocolate and Red Wine. I learned from my very proper English Admin Assistant Eleanor, from my last company, on a terrase in France that chocolate and red wine goes together and I thank her often for that lesson.

After dessert, we retired to their family room where Steve and Joan showed some of their daugher Jessica’s films that she created during college. Two of Jessica’s films; 60 Second Buzz and Paneye are on YouTube. I liked 60 Second Buzz because it was about our local Brewhouse Triumph and I recognized Facebook friend Daniel, in the film, who is now in Sales and Marketing for Trimumph. I couldn’t find her documentry-film about college life that we screened that night on YouTube  but we enjoyed it too. It was fun to see Jessica’s work and the pride her parents had in her work too. 

Great Cake and Films.  Fun with Steve and Joan.  Thanks again for having us.

Skewered Scallops

July 6, 2009

Scallop Skewers at Cafe EuropaLast week I posted about my love for Clams Casino and how much I enjoyed new chef Joey’s version at Cafe Europa. The next day, Cafe Europa owner Phil sent me a comment that I should try the Scallop Skewers on the Daily Specials menu. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I finally got around to trying them this week.

This is pretty simple dish so you need strong execution and flavourful ingredients to make it work.  I think Chef Joey made it work. 

After Bartender Jen presented the dish, my fist impression was the delicate char marks on the Scallops and veggies. I removed the skewer to reveal the well cooked Onion and Green Pepper chunks. I went first for a scallop and it was fresh,  sweet and slightly salty in taste with a slightly dense texture. I bite into the onion and peppers next confirming they were well cooked, slightly sweet and still el dente. The surprise for me was the bite-size morsels of Pineapple hidden under the onion chunks. My first views of the dish did not reveal the pineapple to me and you have to look hard in the photo to see them but there there. It was a nice addition to the dish matching the sweetness, adding a slightly different texture and mouth feel.  Very nice. The portion size is great for an appetizer dish.  Well done. Thanks for the tip Phil. Send more.

Cafe Europa Trattoria, Bar on Urbanspoon

017New Topic – Hollandaise Throwdown.  I few weeks back I posted about the Hollandaise Throwdown and it’s starting to come together.  So far I have Three Chefs saying they want to play, Three Judges willing to judge, Cafe Europa owner Phil willing to play the Chairman’s role and Web Celebrity Nalts willing to video the whole Throwdown so it should be fun.

So this is a bit of a tease on two of three chefs that will be participating and more details are coming but let me know if you are interested in attending.