Monthly Archives: April 2010

Cafe Chocolate of Lititz

Set in the quaint little town of Lititz, PA, Cafe Chocolate was the perfect choice for a nice fresh organic lunch, imported sparkling lemonade, and of course, chocolate!

Upon entering Cafe Chocolate, we were greeted with friendly faces inviting us to make ourselves feel right at home.  What’s home without chocolate? So as we sat down to choose our lunch and drinks from the menu, they offered us a sampling of chocolate no one could refuse.

For lunch, I chose the Flatbread Pizza with sundried tomato pesto sauce, smoked chicken sausage, provolone cheese, spinach, shittake mushrooms, and artichoke hearts! Hungry yet? Needless to say, my craving for pizza was satisfied. Along with the pizza, I had an imported bottle of sparkling blueberry lemonade all the way from France!  It was deliciously refreshing and full of antioxidants!

Cafe Chocolate holds up to its reputation for good local food, specialty drinks, and premium chocolate sweets! It’s perfect for a cozy afternoon lunch or a mid-day chocolate pick-me-up!

If you’re a local, stop in for your favorite treat, but if you’re from out of town, stay a while and see all of the great things Cafe Chocolate, the town of Lititz, and Lancaster County have to offer.

Fun at the Whitaker Center

My first-grader loves math and science.  Considering I’m the only computer nerd on the entire eastern seaboard who didn’t excel at those particular subjects growing up (I was an English and History kind of student), the fact that my son checks out non-fiction after non-fiction book from his school library is a bit mystifying to me.

Me: “Why don’t you get one of those Arthur books? Nice little morality tales wrapped up in some light-hearted aardvark-based shenanigans!”

Him: “Naw. I’m going to get this book on lizards instead.”

Me: “Are you sure? That D.W. is quite the firecracker!”

Him: (Leaves the room shaking his head)

Harsco Science Center at the Whitaker Center for Science and ArtsWho am I to rain on his preferred educational interest parade? So a few weeks back, on a school in-service day, I took the short drive to Harrisburg with my boys to the Harsco Science Center at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.  The science center has three floors chock full of hands-on science activities and exhibits that were engaging for everyone. Considering we had a 3-year-old, a six-year-old, and a 35-year-old in tow, that’s saying something.

The first (top) floor of the museum has some neat interactive exhibits with general science principals on display, as well as KidsPlace, an area for kids 5 and under, that had my pre-schooler working on tubes in a water table and performing on a “right-sized” stage.

The second floor of the Center is focused on health and wellness as well as the science of sound and motion.  While, at their age, the boys might not be taking home the finer points of the principles behind the Doppler effect, they certainly had fun pushing all the buttons and levers and seeing the results of their actions.

Harsco Science Center at the Whitaker Center for Science and ArtsHighlights from the bottom floor, from the Forces of Nature exhibit, included the ability to actually touch a home-brewed tornado, destroying our carefully constructed Lincoln Log homes with a mini earthquake, and seeing the real-time weather unfold on the Science on a Sphere exhibit; a five foot animated 3-dimensional globe .  The boys particularly enjoyed seeing the results of storm force winds on their Dad’s hair.  Friendly tip, hats are of no use in the Hurricane Chamber.

For a day of fostering my son’s budding love of science, and just plain having fun, the Harsco Science Center at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts was just the ticket.  I think even Arthur, or at the very least his friend the Brain, would agree.

Yummie’s Giant Easter Egg Hunt at Kitchen Kettle Village

The Boys with Yummy at KKVI was able to take the boys over to Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse yesterday morning for Yummie’s Annual Giant Easter Egg Hunt.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t Yummie that 6 foot tall anthropomorphic Gingerbread Man that regularly strolls down Pepper Lane?”


The good folks over at Kitchen Kettle had plenty of free things for the kids to do leading up to the hunt. The boys got some balloon animals made for them, they made their own custom Easter egg and pencil toppers, and they even got to hold some baby chicks. Of course, when I’m at the Village I always have to pick up a gi-normous bag of Kettle Corn. Yes, it was 10 o’clock in the morning, but I was hungry and I love that stuff. Don’t judge me.

Noah handles a PeepAnyway, the skydiver they had on tap was delayed due to a pesky low cloud cover so they got right to the main event.  Kids and parents were broken up into separate age groups and hunted for eggs throughout the village. My wife went off with my 6-year-old and I escorted Jacob, my 3-year-old, next to the Village Quilts shop to make sure he extracted his allotted amount of eggs (to make sure everyone got a fair share).

Turns out Jacob luckily procured himself one of the special prize eggs that entitled him to a chocolate-covered treat over at Pepper Lane Fudge & Sweets shop. His mother (ol’ sweet tooth as we like to call her) was especially pleased about this particular instance of eggshell serendipity.

After a quick stop at the Canning Kitchen to pick up an Easter gift for my father-in-law (an extra large jar of Pepper Jelly, his favorite) we were off, but not before one last photo-op with the cookie man himself. All in all, it was a pretty great way to start our Easter weekend in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

My Long John Birthday Cake from Achenbach’s Pastries

When someone mentions pastries in Lancaster County, it takes less than a millisecond for the name Achenbach’s to come up.

Achenbach’s Pastries in Leola is famous for a lot of the delicious confections they make daily from scratch, but within the county, they’re probably most known for their Long Johns. For those not in the know, when we talk about Long Johns here in Lancaster County we’re not talking about something we might wear on an extra cold night. We’re talking about something that looks and is shaped like an éclair, but is ohhhhh so much better.

It’s like a donut… super-sized.

Really, what’s not to like about that last sentence? I’m telling you all this, so I can tell you that Achenbach’s has provided me with two of my best event “cake” experiences in my life. I know, I know, I just rambled on for three paragraphs about Long Johns, and now I’m talking about cake. Let me bring some transparency.

A few years back, my wife and I attended the wedding of one of her best friends from college. As we were driving to the reception she kept on mentioning to me that she had some inside info and she knew that I was going to, “love the cake.” Knowing that I’m not a big cake fan in general (I leave most of the pastry critiquing to my lovely bride), I figured something was up.

She wasn’t kidding. Her friend had been a big fan of Achenbach’s growing up and she had commissioned a donut wedding cake.


Donut CakeIt looked just like a regular wedding cake on the outside but it was constructed entirely of donut pastry on the inside.

Pure genius, and totally tasty.

A couple of years pass, and every wedding, birthday or special occasion adorned with a cake just cannot live up to the pastry-Olympian standards now set by the Achenbach’s donut varietal. Cue my 36th birthday party. That’s right, the return of the Long John birthday cake.

When I was a kid, my parent’s used to spend hours painstakingly hand decorating cakes resembling the likes of Cookie Monster, Superman, and Scooby-Doo. Unfortunately, their toils were for naught. These cakes are all now fully obscured by the long shadow cast by the best-tasting birthday confection known to man.

Happy birthday to me!

Achenbach's Long John Birthday Cake

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