Category Archives: Food

tomato pie

Food for Thought: We have more than PA Dutch dining

Lancaster County may be famous for traditional Pennsylvania Dutch-style cooking, but the comfort food that we’re known for now shares the stage with an eclectic collection of casual eateries, international restaurants, brew pubs, and fine dining. Like our PA Dutch dining restaurants, these also use locally-grown ingredients from the heart of Lancaster County.

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday and all the delicious food that Lancaster has to offer, I’ve listed a few of my favorite restaurants below. It’s a “nod,” if you will, to the delicious cuisine outside of our famous PA Dutch dining.

  • Prince Street Café – This Downtown Lancaster hot spot is directly across the street from the historic Fulton Theatre, the oldest consecutive running theatre in the United States.
  • Café Chocolate of Lititz – This café is commitment to both decadent chocolate and sustainable agriculture: I believe in both passionately!
  • Tomato Pie Café – Tomato Pie Cafe encompasses the personality of Lititz, PA (a.k.a. The Coolest Small Town). I almost always order their specialty – Tomato Pie. Yummm!
  • DJ’s Taste of the 50′s – This 50’s-themed restaurant has to-die-for burgers, fries, and shakes. Even though I’m a vegetarian, I find lots of great stuff on their menu. The kid’s meal is served in a 50’s-style cardboard car – too cute!
  • Loxley’s –The menu is family-friendly and the atmosphere, especially the outdoor dining, (it’s in a tree-house!) is magical.
  • Forklift & Palate – The food here is remarkable. Top notch. Plus it’s in a re-purposed warehouse and features reused materials from the original facility. How cool is that? Chic and delicious!
  • Bube’s Brewery – Bube’s Brewery is one of the only breweries from the early days of the great American breweries that has been left intact. Today it features great craft beer, a restaurant, brew pub, an outdoor biergarten… and a couple resident ghosts.

My list just scratches the surface. There are so many fantastic places to discover! Check them out for yourself!


Delicious PA Dutch Food is plentiful here

The other day I realized that I have never experienced Pennsylvania Dutch food, which is odd since I grew up near Lancaster County. If you are even slightly familiar with the Lancaster area, you know that food is part of the culture. Because I love food, I decided to give it a try. I invited my friend Jason to go with me to Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant and Bakery.

Good ‘N Plenty is a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant with two dining options and a bakery. We had the choice of traditional dining or an all-you-can-eat, family-style dining (family-style dining is the most popular). There was no question about it. We were hungry and ready to try something new – family style dining was the clear choice!

Family style dining is one of the most unique dining experiences I have ever had. We walked into a huge, open room with rows of long tables. Each table had seating for 12 people. The hostess seated us next to a young couple and shortly after another couple joined us. As we waited for the meal to be brought to us, the table had a few of Lancaster’s favorite appetizers such as chow chow and pepper cabbage along with fresh baked bread accompanied with fresh apple butter. As we ate the appetizers, we got to know the others at our table. Both couples were from out of town visiting Lancaster County, one from Georgia and the other from New York.

After a few minutes of learning more about each other, bowls among bowls of food were brought to our table. Everything you could imagine of the home cooking variety was placed in front of us including meats, vegetables, and my personal favorite, mashed potatoes. The food was delicious. After everyone at our table helped themselves to the endless amount of food, it was time for dessert. Our waitress brought five different desserts to the table, including pies, homemade ice cream, and cheesecake.

Choosing my favorite part of our dining experience is extremely hard to do. Family dining is a unique experience that everyone should try. Good ‘N Plenty did a great job preparing delicious Pennsylvania Dutch food that was served hot and quickly replenished when empty.

After dinner, be sure to stretch your legs by walking out back and visit the petting zoo!


My favorite place for PA Dutch Specialties

If you’ve traveled to Pennsylvania Dutch Country you may have heard about the custom of putting seven sweets and seven sours on the table at mealtime. The idea of putting such variety on the table is to provide a varied and balanced diet to a hard working family.

If you think it is hard to come up with seven sweets and seven sours for a meal, look no further than Intercourse Canning Company. Located at 13 Center Street, just off the Old Philadelphia Pike in Intercourse, PA, this store features everything you need to set a PA Dutch inspired table.

When you walk in the door you will be greeted by their helpful staff and rows upon rows of colorful jars filled with amazing new things to try. Intercourse Canning Company offers over 300 varieties of canned goods and other products and has samples for you to test of many of their top sellers.

My family is partial to their pickled beets and Jalapeno Pepper Jam. However, to get the true PA Dutch experience you must try the chow chow and the apple butter, two staples of Lancaster County cuisine. Boxes and rows of jellies, relishes and salsas fill the aisles just waiting to go home with you.

I can a little bit myself, but I learned even more on my visit. Did you know that Napoleon was a big part of canning history? Intercourse Canning Company offers lessons in canning history with their educational video which runs every day. They also have a demonstration kitchen which showcases their Amish canning kitchen cooks whipping up batches of homemade goodness for your table from April through December.

Not sure you have room in the car for that case of canned deliciousness? No worries, Intercourse Canning Company will ship to your home or a friend’s home. And if you eat up all that great Amish Meatloaf sauce (trust me, it is amazing) you can order some from your comfy couch using their online ordering at their website.

I highly recommend that you visit Intercourse Canning Company and plan to spend at least an hour browsing and tasting your way through the store. In addition to canned goods they have candy, homemade noodles, gourmet mixes, and delicious coffee (ever have Whoopie Pie coffee before?). If you have holiday shopping to do, Intercourse Canning Company makes it really easy on you with gift baskets and smaller sizes of jars if you want to make your own.

Though my family was just there in mid-summer, we plan to go again closer to Christmas since their stock and specialties change with the seasons. Next time I go I’m going to make sure I pick up two jars of their Amish Sweet Mustard. It goes great with my kids’ favorite snack of bologna and cheese. Definitely give it a try!



Back-to-School, Lancaster style

Come to Lancaster to get all your tax-free, back-to-school clothing and supplies. Since your coming to Lancaster anyway, might as well make it a fun family trip. From outlet shopping to family-friendly attractions and restaurants, why not make it a fun experience for everyone?

Suggested outlet shopping:

  • Tanger Outlets: Buy directly from more than 60 brand name manufacturer and designer stores featuring Brook’s Brothers, Gap, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, and more. 20% Off Coupons (limited time only!)
  • Rockvale Outlets: Shop at more than 90 brand name factory direct stores including Carter’s, Hartstrings, Disney, Under Armour, Gymboree Outlet, and more. FREE Coupon Booklet

Suggested  fun and educational attractions:

Suggested restaurants:

Back-to-School shopping tips:

  • Before shopping, know what you need and what you already have on hand. Not sure what you need? Check out this list from
  • Make a list and set a budget — then stick to it.
  • Shop around for the best deals; most can be found online even before getting in your car.
  • To save money, check out consignment stores and/or browse
  • Get your kids involved; decide in advance what items they can choose and which ones must involved compromise.
  • When it comes time to packing lunches, think reusable and plan a menu in advance.
  • Enjoy the process!

(Image courtesy of

strasburg second post

Strasburg: A Town with History, Part 2

This past week my Strasburg journeys lead me to the Strasburg Creamery and Country Store, Ed’s Buggy Rides, National Toy Train Museum, and The 1786 Limestone Inn Bed and Breakfast.

I was blown away by the strong aroma of fresh waffle cones and homemade fudge. I knew I was at the right place.

The Strasburg Creamery and Country Store is the place for sweets and a neat, vintage atmosphere. I met with Robin, the manager, to get the inside scoop of this space. Before the creamery and country store opened up in 1984, it used to be the town’s pharmacy and grocery store. This centrally located shop is filled with character – from the antique counter tops and booths to the vintage water fountain in the middle of the store (so convenient!). Not only does the creamery serve delicious ice cream and candy, you can also order sandwiches and hot fare (I suggest the Amish Rachael sandwich).


In the country store, they sell all things Lancaster. Perfect place to pick up souvenirs from your trip. They provide country decor and homemade treats. From butter braided pretzel sticks to homemade butterscotch peanut butter, I was in foodie heaven! This is a great space to start and end your day trip. You can grab lunch, head off to other attractions and then end with some delicious ice cream and candy treats. The Strasburg Creamery and Country Store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Sunday from Noon to 10:00 PM.

After my double dip mix of strawberry lemonade and almond joy ice cream, I needed to sit back and relax.

Ed’s Buggy Rides was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the countryside. Ed’s Buggy rides offers two different tours; one 35 to 40 minute tour through the historic Amish farm lands or a one hour Farm Tour that stops on a real Amish farm. I had the chance to ride on the Farm Tour so I hopped in the front seat with an Amish buggy driver, Ike. A buggy holds about 7 or 8 people, so you can bring the whole family. As the horses trotted down the gravel driveway and onto the country road, Ike spoke about the horses and the Amish lifestyle. As we passed by different fields he talked about the crops grown and when they are harvested. As a Lancaster native, it was interesting to hear all this information from an actual Amish man. After hearing about farm life, we got the chance to explore one for ourselves! We looked in the horse barn, the farm owner’s quilt shop and small roadside stand where they sell homemade root beer, lemonade, and whoopie pies.

After being in the sun, I needed to cool off indoors. I headed over to the National Toy Train Museum to check out unique vintage trains. To read about the rest of my trip, click here!

Want up to date information on Historic Strasburg? Like them on Facebook!

The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.


Green Dragon: A Famous Friday Market

Driving down Rt. 272, you can’t miss the huge retro dragon perched above a sign that directs you to the Green Dragon Farmers Market and Auction. For more than 80 years it’s been a Lancaster County tradition for locals and visitors alike to spend their Fridays looking at 400 merchants, growers, and craftsmen on the 30 acre property.

Green Dragon has seven large market buildings, unique cottages, and outdoor vender tents. It offers both indoor and outdoor shopping experiences and a wide variety of products. From country cooking and produce to crystals and clothing, Green Dragon offers something for everyone. If you need a neat place to take your kids or if you’re hanging out with your friends and want to grab a bite to eat, check out Green Dragon.

What I like about Green Dragon is the diversity of products; it truly captures the essence of Lancaster. While inside, I enjoy walking around, watching people, and devouring a delicious sausage sandwich. Outside, my favorite cottages include: Hallelujah Hive (best honey you will ever try), India Moon Boutique (bohemian clothes and gemstone jewelry), All about Jerky (exotic jerkies from all different animals), and Cocalico Creek Country store (rustic chic).

Enjoy the spring and summer weather, plus get your exercise by walking through this unique place – all while soaking in the Lancaster County culture. You’ll discover something new each time you go!

Green Dragon is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM every Friday.


The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.


Outdoor Dining Experiences in Lancaster

The chatter, laughter, and warmth fills outdoor dining areas in Lancaster during this time of year. From local foods, live music, and tasty treats, everything seems to be more enjoyable outside. In this post, we’ll tell you about unique outdoor dining options for a night out with your friends, a romantic evening with your significant other, or a joyful time with your family.

Are you and your friends looking for a place to “chill” and enjoy some craft brews outside? Look no further than Lancaster Brewing Company. With an outdoor patio and a wide variety of beers, it’s a perfect place to quench your thirst and kick back. While you’re there enjoy some delicious food like the homemade artisan sausage dish.

If your friends are into roof spaces, check out Tellus360′s roof bar equipped with a plenty of seating and beautiful views. Tellus360 teamed up with local, 100% natural juice business, Rijuice, to create a line of signature cocktails. Take a look at the green roof grill menu, order a drink, and  enjoy the sunset!

Now, if you and your friends are into history and home brews you got to check out Bube’s Brewery in Mt. Joy. The Biergarten, the outdoor dining area, is one of the many remarkable spaces within Bube’s Brewery. This space is loaded with neat things, like a human-sized chess board, original boiler and smokestack used to create the steam power necessary to run the brewery.

For a couple’s night out, relax in Steinman Park, The Pressroom’s outdoor dining area. You’ll find  an oasis complete with a waterfall and plenty of shade. Enjoy their zing on American cuisine; we promise, it will be time well spent.

For an cosmopolitan eatery on Gallery Row visit Pour for fresh seasonal flavors, wine, beer and cocktails. Share one of their famous charcuterie boards in warm and artistic ambiance.

blog-templateFamily-friendly outdoor dining includes Loxley’s, a premier outdoor dining experience. On the grounds of the restaurant lies an extravagant tree house for the kids to explore, delicious flatbread pizzas, and absolute fun!page-loxleys

If you’re looking for more a meal in the country, check out Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Cafe. They recently opened a second story patio for their guests that overlooks Lancaster farmland.

There is no lack of outdoor dining experience here in Lancaster. From local favorites to “I never knew this was here,” these outdoor spaces add versatility and excitement any dining experience. Discover it on your own!

The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.


A Cottage suitable for a King

No strangers to the bed and breakfast experience, my husband and I recently added an excellent inn to our list of favorite places, King’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast. Our stay could not have been more memorable – a historic inn, beautiful room, and welcoming inn keepers.

Owners and seasoned innkeepers, Janis Kutterer and Ann Willets originally hail from different directions of the east coast but found each other and quickly became friends in North Carolina. Twelve years ago, a much needed change prompted Janis and Ann to acquire the King’s Cottage property and since then they have become a leading bed and breakfast in the Lancaster area belonging to multiple organizations including the Select Registry.

With eight rooms, each decorated in a unique royal fashion and equipped with personal fireplaces, guests are sure to find the right fit for their night or nights away. Our room appropriately entitled “The Majestic Chamber” was simply that, majestic. We walked into the room and noticed immediately the large ornately carved king bed, a side table beautifully set for an “in-room” breakfast option, and a warm fireplace. However, the true star of this room was the en suite bathroom where a large double whirlpool tub plus shower awaited us. Ann and Janis quickly let us know this is the “romantic” room often frequented by honeymooners, couples celebrating anniversaries, and those looking for a luxurious night away. This was a first for us, never had we been treated to such luxury and service in an bed and breakfast.

After we took in the majesty of our room, we explored the inn then sat down with Janis and Ann who were more than eager to share their knowledge of the local community, things to do, and places to eat. While we talked, I enjoy a glass of wine and fresh pumpkin pie that the inn keepers made for their guests. We also snuggled with the inn’s resident pet greeter, Sampson. The hospitality and genuine nature of these two ladies makes you feel at home. My husband and I enjoyed learning about their history and that of the inn.

Most people enjoy the room and the local area, but what they really want is a good breakfast and the King’s Cottage does not disappoint. My husband and I were treated to a two-course meal starting with a parfait made with local fruits, Greek yogurt, and granola from a local bakery. However, the star of the meal was the french toast, beautifully constructed with fresh orange, orange liqueur, and topped with pecans and Lancaster maple syrup, it was unlike any french toast I have ever had. Combined with a nice cup of hot tea, we sat in bliss in the dining room and enjoyed the view from the large glass windows while Sampson snuggled at our feet.

Unique to the inn were the small nuances in personalized tea bags, warm coffee mugs, local crafts, and Lancaster chocolates found as you browsed the great living room and covered outdoor patio areas. In addition to these small surprises, Ann and Janis also offer spa packages with a multitude of massages and treatments to choose from.

This inn truly is spectacular and I highly recommend it as a stay for anyone looking for a downtown experience that still remains relaxing and very enjoyable.


Wonderful wine from Waltz

Wine, vino, nectar of the Gods; all phrases used to describe the flawlessly balanced liquid that is squeezed from grapes, fermented, and aged to perfection in oak and steel barrels around the world. Lancaster is no exception. Among the vines of Lancaster County lies a unique vineyard atop a hill called Waltz Vineyard and Estate. This classy vineyard offers all of the picturesque qualities of a sprawling Napa vineyard and the excellence of a Italian winery. Run by Jan and Kimberly Waltz, Waltz Vineyard finds itself lucky enough to grow grapes on internationally renowned soil once used to grow a variety of vegetables and tobacco. Combining science with a love for wine making, this family succeeds in producing both affordable and delicious wine.

One afternoon, my mother and 1777 Americana Inn owner, Denise Harter, accompanied me to the Waltz estate. The family’s home is located on site. The tasting room, located next to the homestead is built like a European tasting room combining new and old world art and architecture. We were welcomed and immediately introduced to the multiple varieties of wine Waltz makes onsite from its 100 tons of produced grapes.

Everyone knows tasting can become repetitive after a few stops, but Waltz approaches the tasting of their products in a unique fashion, wine flights. Not only can you sample five delicious varieties separated into Light/Fruity or Dry/Serious samplers, but you can also add a local cheese pairing specially chosen for your selected flight. While the taste of each flight is wonderful, the real allure of the wine flight is the presentation. Crafted to make you feel like you’re back in science class, the five selected wines are poured into test tubes and placed in front of you in a wooden rack with your tasting menu conveniently placed behind. This presentation is truly a unique and practical experience for those who believe wine tasting to be a monotonous sport.

For those sweet wine lovers, Waltz offers one or two varietals – but please be warned – they reign supreme in the drier Bordeaux style wines. Among our favorites for the day were the 2011 Reserve Chardonnay, 2012 Barred Rock Red, and the 2010 Crows Wood Cabernet. My mother, a lover of the sweet and fruity, enjoyed the 2013 Fusion characterized as a semi-dry white boasting with citrus flavors.

With open farmland to the front and beautiful full vines to side, this estate truly captures the quintessential vino experience. For those not looking for a day spent drinking under the tree or next to the vines with a nice fall picnic, Waltz also sells their products at their bottle shop in downtown Lititz, PA. I highly recommend Waltz as a stop for any wine admirer and for those simply looking to try something new in the Lancaster area.


Dinner and a Show – Lancaster County Style

There is nothing better than a good laugh. One of the many things my husband and I like to do (especially on long car trips) is listen to some of our favorite comedians like Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, and Bill Cosby – you know, the ones who are just plain funny without all of the rudeness and profanity. Little did I know that there is a place right here in Lancaster County where you can go for some good, clean comedy. The Lancaster County Comedy Show runs several times a month at the Hershey Farm Restaurant in Strasburg. Always up for dinner and a show, my husband and I planned our night out – although, I don’t think either of us was expecting just how much fun it would be.

We started our date night with dinner at Hershey Farm Restaurant. (I recommend making a dinner reservation as the restaurant tends to be pretty busy.)  The menu selection is pretty big and we were hungry, so we opted for the Grand Smorgasbord.  My husband is a vegetarian, so we sometimes have a difficult time finding things on the menu that he can eat. Not only does Hershey Farm serve traditional PA Dutch recipes, but they have a soup, baked potato and salad bar, daily grill specials, a carving station, pizza, seafood, and of course the dessert bar. You can make your meal as healthy or as decadent as you want, and there is something for every appetite. Just make sure you save room for their famous chocolate cake! The dessert bar was my favorite part of the meal, and I had a hard time not sampling one of every dessert they had.

After stuffing ourselves full of delicious food, we made our way to the theater for the comedy show and took our seats. While we waited for the show to begin, we chatted with the couple next to us who were visiting from West Virginia. None of us had ever see the comedy show so we took turns guessing  what kind of jokes would be told. When the lights dimmed, comedian and ventriloquist Ryan Bomgardner took the stage.

From the second Ryan brought his friend little Jakey out onto the stage, the entire room was filled with uproarious laughter. The show went through an entire cast of characters from Jakey, the 8-year-old-Amish boy, to an elderly couple named Harold and Irene, to some real life “dummies” in the form of participants from the audience. I won’t give too much away, but I will say Ryan and his friends did a great job of giving non-locals a sense of what Lancaster County looks like from a local perspective. I found it pretty funny when the man sitting next to me leaned over and asked what Ryan meant by a “road apple.”  (For those of you not familiar with road apples, they are produced by horses and certainly not edible!) I absolutely loved Ryan’s clean sense of humor and honestly laughed so hard during this show that I cried!

When the show ended, I wanted to meet Ryan and little Jakey so my husband graciously waited with me until everyone left. Not only is Ryan absolutely hysterical, but he’s genuinely nice and took the time after the 85-minute performance to greet everyone who wanted to meet him.

I would definitely recommend seeing this show.  Whether you are young or old, a local, or visiting from out of town, you will have a guaranteed laugh-until-your-cheeks-hurt, tears-streaming-down-your-face, great time!

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