Monthly Archives: February 2009

Swashbuckler

Dinner at the Swashbuckler

Swashbuckler. What does that make you think of? Swashbuckler, or Swasher is a term that was developed in the 16th century to describe rough, noisy and boastful swordsmen.

Today, it’s the pub and restaurant that’s located on the grounds of the Renaissance Faire. This Bar/Restaurant is home to many year round events at the Ren Faire (which is only open August – October).   They have open mic night each Thursday, Trivia Fridays and Entertainment on Saturdays.

Now, I had never been to the Swashbuckler before last Friday, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Did you know that they brew their own beer there? You can see the huge metal vats that they brew in, which was cool. When you walk in, you’re at the bar, which you can see will be opened up once the weather gets nicer (I love to eat outside). I went with a few co-workers, and we got some delish food! The tables inside the restaurant are set up banquet style, a bunch of long tables, so you might get to share your table and meet someone new!

We ordered some appetizers,  some Tomato Bruschetta (picutred above) and Crawdads, which I had never had before. They’re little lobster looking things, that you rip off the head, and pull out the meat, resembling shrimp, and dip it in melted butter. Not to bad, but a little creepy that they’re still all intact, including the eyeballs!

I had their soup of the day, which happened to be a type of chicken and dumplings, served in a bread bowl. All of their soups are made from scratch, and I will say, that was DELICIOUS. I heard that the English Apple & Turkey sandwich was really good, and someone else had the Tuscan Chicken, which looked amazing.

I can’t wait for the Spring (which has got to be soon, as the farmers are starting to spread their manure… a sure smell of Spring to come!) so that I can go back, and sit outside to eat – or for March in the Mansion Murder Mystery Dinners. This is one restaurant in Lancaster that you don’t want to miss!

Gibraltar

Dining at Gibraltar in Lancaster

This past weekend I got the chance to dine at Gibraltar in Lancaster. My in-laws had offered to take my wife and I there for ages and we were finally able to coordinate our schedules (and babysitting duties for the kids) to make it happen. Since my wife and I have two small children, our dining out experiences tend to be less distinctive these days, leaning more towards establishments offering a free tchotchke with the purchase of a soda. Needless to say, we were looking forward to an evening of culinary pampering. I heard through the grapevine Gibraltar had an excellent reputation for its seafood, and being a lover or all eats oceanic, I hoped I was in for a treat.

The restaurant itself is very stylish with high ceilings and colorful yet stylish decor. It really gave you the sense of sitting in an open air café on the Mediterranean even though in reality it was the middle of February in the heart of Pennsylvania. The restaurant really had a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Our server (and I wish I could remember her name, because she was fantastic) was very knowledgeable on all the dishes we inquired about and was able to describe each in great detail. She was very friendly and accommodating. I ended up selecting the Whole Adriatic Sea Branzino which is an Italian seabass. Our server explained that by not filleting the fish and serving it whole on the bone, it actually added some sweetness during the cooking process. The fish came in a white wine sauce with accompanying Yukon gold potatoes and grilled asparagus.

I’m not going to pretend I’m some sort of an accomplished food critic here, so all I will say is there was nothing left on the plate of the photo you see above. It was very very very good. You could probably add as many very’s as you would like on to that last sentence and it still wouldn’t have it covered. Others in our party ordered the Surf & Turf consisting of a filet mignon and shrimp (sorry I’m a little short on the details for this dish, I was too busy thinking about my seabass) and my wife had the Moroccan Spiced Colossal Shrimp on Coconut Basmati Rice. Everyone was very satisfied with their meals, and I believe everyone else’s plates were empty by the end of the night as well.

We had other plans in the area, so we couldn’t stay for dessert but we did look at the dessert menu and they looked just as fantastic as the entrees. We did have coffee, and our server went above and beyond the call of duty for my wife, who’s not a coffee drinker, by making her a delicious impromptu hot chocolate made from chocolate ganache and steamed milk. All in all, we had a wonderfully sophisticated evening out and we’ll definitely be returning to Gibraltar in the future.

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FireAndIce

Lititz Fire & Ice Festival

In a town full of old traditions, a new one is being forged right in the heart of February (sorry, there was no pun intended for you Valentine’s Day enthusiasts out there.) I got a chance to attend Lititz’s 4th Annual Fire & Ice Festival this past Saturday for the first time. Last February I started to see signs for last year’s event popping up around town, but having literally just moved back into town that month I was a little preoccupied with unpacking and trying to figure out where the heck my cordless drill was to dedicate a few hours on the weekend to the festival.

This year, after finally getting that last moving box unpacked (or more accurately banishing it to the darkest corner of my basement), I made it a point to walk downtown and get in on the action.  Fire & Ice is an apropos moniker for the event. The “Fire” manifests itself as a chili cook-off while the “Ice” is represented… well… by ice. Block ice sculptures to be exact. The frozen pieces of art are liberally strewn about the shops throughout the downtown area during the festival. It’s amazing what someone (90’s joke alert) besides Sharon Stone can do with an ice pick.

After checking out the ice art, I headed over to Lititz Elementary to cast my vote in the Chili Cook-off. Stew suffrage has been a long neglected issue in our area and I’m glad that the Lititz Lions LEO Club (the organizers of the Fire & Ice event) have finally decided to seriously address it head on. I sampled about 20 different chilies from local restaurants and charities and donated some extra bucks to support the various causes those entrants represented.  There definitely was a wide variety of Chili there and being a big fan of tex-mex type foods, I didn’t walk away disappointed from a taste standpoint.

Serving up the Chili at the Fire & Ice Festival in Lititz, PA

They stretch the festival over the course of the weekend, having a family block party and ice carving demonstrations on Friday night, the chili cook-off and activities for the kids on Saturday, and extended hours for downtown shops on Sunday. I only ever need the flimsiest of excuses to get to downtown Lititz, because if you’re lucky and the wind is blowing in the right direction the whole town smells like chocolate. My family is already a regular presence at the Lovin’ Lititz Every Second events there, as we enjoy the live entertainment and hopping in and out of the bevy of little locally-owned shops, so getting out to the Fire & Ice Festival was an easy decision to make.

So, if you like hot Chili and art that melts, make sure to put a big red circle on your calendar for next February.  The Fire & Ice Festival is just another great reason to visit Lititz and Lancaster County, PA!

More photos from the Fire & Ice Festival in Lititz >

Winter

Winter in Amish Country

It’s been snowing here in Lancaster County over the past few weeks. I took most of these photos from years past, but they always remind me of how still, quiet and peaceful any place can become when covered in blanket of fresh snow.

In Amish Country, this thought rings especially true. The rolling fields and countryside become a sea of pure white as far as the eyes can see. There’s a silo here and a windmill there dotting the landscape, but mostly it’s pure, white, untouched snow.

It’s really quite something to experience firsthand.

Winter Fence

Post

Cold Creek

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