Category Archives: Food

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An afternoon stroll through Intercourse

One of my favorite places to visit in Lancaster County is the Village of Intercourse. Yeah, it has a funny name, but it also has some of the best little shops to visit, especially if you love taste testing great food and seeing beautiful handcrafts.

Kitchen Kettle Village is a huge draw to this location and, with over 40 shops, there is a lot to see. My favorite shop is the Jam and Relish Kitchen where they can, bottle, and jar jams, jellies, relishes, salsas, and more for you to take home. If you like to taste-test samples, this will be one of your favorite places since nearly every item for sale is open for you to try. Online ordering is also available.

A short walk from Kitchen Kettle Village is the Old Candle Barn. Don’t let the name fool you, they have much more than candles. There are tons of home decorations, lamps, and linens waiting for you to look through. The shop is changed seasonally, so no matter when you visit, you will find something wonderful to take home with you. The candle selection is marvelous and includes soy candles which are fragrance and dye free.

If you are a quilter you must visit Zooks Fabric Store. I’ve been getting my quilting fabric from them for over 25 years. They have a fine selection of popular commercial brands plus Kona cottons and the hard-to-find Amish solids you need to finish that Sunshine and Shadow quilt you’ve been making.

Not a quilter, but love quilts? Then visit Dutchland Quilt Patch to see ready-made Amish and Mennonite quilts for sale. Smaller sized wall hangings and quilted accessories are also available if your budget isn’t ready for a full size quilt. This shop is a great place to find gifts for birthdays and holiday.

Cross the street and you can visit the Intercourse Pretzel Factory. A free tour is offered when the factory is in operation; otherwise, you can sample and buy a wide variety of freshly made pretzels. Both hard and soft pretzels are made in the factory and all are delicious.

If taste-testing is your favorite hobby, then you definitely want to visit the Intercourse Canning Company. A huge selection of canned goods waits for you in a rainbow of colors and flavors. Previously housed in an older building, the Canning Company has moved to Center Street, but is still within walking distance of the heart of Intercourse.Cooking demos are offered at certain times and a video history of canning is also available.

Near the Intercourse Canning Company is Stoltzfus Meats and Deli. This is a great place to pick up a snack of some lebanon bologna and farmer’s cheese and a nice cold drink. Be sure to pack a cooler in your car to take home a pound or two of their great meats and cheese for later. They also feature Amos’ Place Restaurant if you need more than a snack.

I know you are curious… so here’s the scoop on the village name. The Village of Intercourse was founded in 1754 and the word intercourse at that time was used to reference fellowship or a social gathering. Since the village is also the place where two main roads cross it makes a lot of sense that it was named Intercourse. But if you’d like to think that this piece of history is all wrong and it means something else, well, there will be a lot of t-shirts to support your theory in the gift shops, so have fun!

anniebaileys

Twist on a summer favorite

It’s summer! Need an excuse to celebrate? I’ve gotcha covered. Grab your friends and get on deck. I’ve tasted something you’re going to crave… all summer long. You’ve heard the news about Annie Bailey’s, right? Beer and Boozy Pops are making a seasonal appearance on the Annie Bailey’s menu!

In other news, Annie Bailey’s has new owners, two brothers, Jake and Josh Funk. With their reintroduction back into the Lancaster scene they are feeding our need to be outdoors and celebrating time away from chores or the clock on their outdoor deck. The owners kept the restaurant’s crowd favorites but their vibrant and traveled palettes are playfully reflected on the menu. Seasonal offerings like the adult versions of frozen popsicles are an outlet for their creativity.

On a recent visit, Dan and I enjoyed a tasting from the always popular happy hour menu, a menu designed with sharing in mind. Though the bites were perfect for a light summer dinner, it’s dessert I’d like to dish about.

Beer and Boozy Pops. Yes, you heard it correctly.  Frozen cocktails on a stick. (Secretly, I hope they develop a boozy version of the pudding pop.) We licked out way through 3 flavors and after each taste the newest nibble became our favorite (in my case anyway, Dan was more decisive). Loving them all leaves me a bit stuck on just one I’d recommend. The best part is the offerings will vary throughout summer. I’d encourage sampling.

Who doesn’t love a good sweet and sour cocktail? The Cheery Blueberry was just that and some, it was Dan’s favorite. Sweet and sour inspired but with a blend of berry vodka and fresh berries. Then came Wine a Bit. Oh. It was grape and apple studded, St. Germain, frozen sweetness. Favorite! Wait… Then there was the Blue Raspberry. This pop screams summer! Raspberry vodka with strawberry chunks makes it crave worthy. (craving it now)

Hold on to your blueberry loving pants! As soon as they are in season, Josh will be heading to Lancaster Central Market for blueberries and you can be sure you’ll love the popsicle it inspires.

Listen, let me just put it this way. You will need to make this a regular summer thing. Nibbles from the happy hour menu, conversational food, enjoying your friends and sampling the Beer and Boozy Pops on the Annie Bailey’s patio. See ya’ there!

Author: Phoebe Canakis, Blogger for Fig
With memories of dinner around the table that were created on a budget and not from a box and with roots in a Greek heritage, Phoebe was prepared to appreciate the whimsical way of taking time in whipping together the most palate-pleasing yet healthy, whole foods. Inspired by seasonally chic, seductively wholesome and garden to plate eats, Phoebe stirred to life her venture, phoebe’s pure food, bringing loving-you-back nosh in the form of delivered meals, pure food pantry staples and small event catering.

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A village of shops and surprises

This day trip was an extraordinary surprise. It was so much more than I expected.

My five-year-old son and I visited Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse for the first time, and found a lively village of shops mainly showcasing hand-crafted creations, both culinary and handcrafts. There are shops that had leather goods, pottery, tinware, jewelry, quilts, and more. A highlight for me as a craft-lover was the Lancaster Yarn Shop. It was bright, friendly and welcoming, and stuffed full of hand-picked yarns, choice tools, and books. I will definitely need to go back and linger a little longer next time.

Outside the back entrance of the yarn shop was a singer-songwriter playing an acoustic guitar as part of the annual Music for Everyone Festival. On the main stage in the center of the Village were The Roof Rockers who lived up to their name. They had people’s attention as they belted out dance music from the 70′s and 80′s.

Also in the center of the Village is The Bake Shop and the Jam & Relish Kitchen, where you can decorate your own cookies and watch the making of jams and jellies. During our visit, they were canning blueberry preserves. Yum – our mouths were watering! While checking out the goodies on the shelves, we learned that you can also order most everything from their online shop. But you have to see this working kitchen for yourself. It is such a wonderfully unique experience.

Next we decided to take the buggy ride through the Lancaster County countryside. There was a 35 minute and a 55 minute ride. We opted for the 35 minute ride given our time constraints.

In the matter of five minutes, we were swept away from the lively, bustling Kitchen Kettle Village to quiet country roads. It’s incredible how dramatic the scenery can change in the matter of a mile. We saw Amish farmers with their mules baling straw, a pair of newly born colts playing in a field, and farm after farm with laundry on the line and children working in the garden with their mothers. It was a bucolic scene. The perfect weather seemed ordered up for the occasion. Our driver pointed out where the power lines stopped since the Amish homesteads don’t use modern electricity. It was educational and scenic – a real joy.

As we returned to Kitchen Kettle Village, we decided to get a quick ice cream snack. We listened to a trio of bluegrass musicians and meandered through the toy store.

Word of advice: You can easily spend a whole day at Kitchen Kettle Village, so plan accordingly!

We definitely plan to go back again. I wonder what they’ll be canning in the Jam & Relish Kitchen next time…

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choochoobarn

Kid-friendly Strasburg day trip

My 4-year old daughter Sophia, 4-year old nephew Ethan, and sister Sherry, joined me on a trip to The Shops at Traintown in Strasburg. We started our day at The Choo Choo Barn – Traintown U.S.A. where we experienced one of America’s largest and most engaging custom model train displays, then had a scrumptious lunch at Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches, and ended the day by eating homemade ice cream while watching fudge being made at Uncle Leroy’s Ice Cream and Candy Kitchen.

Have you been to The Choo Choo Barn? It’s fascinating! It features more than 1,700 square feet of special model train displays with more than 150 hand-built animated figures & vehicles, and 22 operating trains. The layout represents many Lancaster sights and sounds, such as an Amish barn raising, Dutch Wonderland, and the Strasburg Rail Road. Sophia and Ethan were mesmerized by all the moving parts, small details, and fun surprises (the lights in the room turn off and the stars come out – you’ll have to visit to understand what I mean). For older kids, the Choo Choo Barn provides a check list of items to find throughout the display – kind of like “Where’s Waldo” if you remember those books. The Choo Choo Barn also has a great gift shop. The kids spent about 15 minutes looking around, deciding what their souvenirs would be. The prices were reasonable, so letting the kiddos choose a memento was an easy decision.

We were starving by the time we finished at The Choo Choo Barn, so we walked a few doors down to Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches – a Lancaster favorite. In addition to being a bird-themed restaurant (click on this link to find out more), it is also train-themed – how cool is that? This uber kid-friendly restaurant is perfect for the whole family, and the food is delicious! Being a vegetarian, it can be challenging to find variety when eating out, but Isaac’s is the exception. I got the Black-Eyed Susan (grilled black bean burger with ranch dressing, cheese, fresh tomatoes and lettuce in a soft cheddar wrap) and it was great! Don’t look at the dessert menu unless you’re still hungry; their amazing and decadent desserts WILL lore you in every time.

To end our day, we walked a short distance to Uncle Leroy’s Ice Cream and Candy Kitchen. We each indulged in a scoop of ice cream. I had Almond Joy – delish! While we ate, we roamed around the store and tried all the FREE SAMPLES of fudge and brittles. Everything we tasted was so fresh and the flavors were creative and unique. Before long, the onsite magic started: the boiling sugar concoction in the large cauldron-like pot was poured on to a table topped with a large marble slab. We watched the whole process of fudge being made, from start to finish. It took about 30 minutes. The best part? We got to taste the fudge straight from the marble slab. THE. BEST. EV-ER. I highly recommend the fudge and brittles at Uncle Leroy’s – he knows that he’s doing!

The day was fun, educational, insightful and totally suitable for youngsters. Next time you’re in Strasburg, be sure to visit Shops at Traintown.

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An overnight experience in Bird-in-Hand

It seems like a fact of life these days that many families live far apart; college, careers and relationships drew my mom, my dad, my brother and I to settle in different cities across the east coast. When we are able to get together, it’s always a blessing and a blast! Being the spontaneous people that we are, my mom decided on a recent Monday to come from Pittsburgh that Wednesday to spend two adventure-filled days with me here in Lancaster. And of course, I wanted to impress my dear mother, so luckily, I was able to secure a gorgeous suite at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites for our “mini-staycation.” This lovely bed & breakfast is subtle yet elegant, and a breath of fresh air among many traditional motel lodging options in Lancaster County.

During our stay, we learned from the innkeeper that this historical property was once a tavern, dating back to 1734. And while the property is full of rich history, the fresh and inviting feel of the inn made us feel at ease immediately. Each staff member wore a name badge proudly displaying the number of years they had served at the Inn.  Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly by LouAnn, who has worked at the inn for over ten years. For me, a regular traveler, this sense of caring and hospitality is what really set the Inn apart from other lodging locations, and according to innkeeper Penny Hershey, draws many visitors back year after year.

There are four separate homes on the property: The 1734 Inn, The Ressler House, the Desmond House, and the Carriage House. Our suite in the Carriage House featured its own private entrance, and lovely back patio shaded by winding, woven trumpet vines and overlooking a rolling corn field. We were pleasantly surprised by the spacious accommodations and the convenience of the mini-fridge and kitchenette. But for me, all I wanted to do was immediately forget the world and dive into the amazingly luxurious looking spa tub and never leave – ever! But, we decided instead to begin our adventures in Bird-in-Hand.

Well, we didn’t make it very far. Our first – and last – stop of the night was the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord. The spread of authentic PA Dutch comfort food was perfect for our girls’ night out, and we topped it off with a hand-made slice of pie followed by some browsing in the gift shop. What could be better? We couldn’t think of anything, so we decided to turn in for the night. I never did make it in the spa tub. Bummer!

The following morning, we enjoyed a delicious continental breakfast in the Ressler House. Fresh fruit, muffins, and home-made waffles were available in the lovely private dining area.  A perfect way to start a great day together! The hostess was exceptionally pleasant, and offered suggestions for our day’s adventures, as well as educating us about the local history.  We learned that all guests at the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn receive a complimentary shuttle tour of the Amish farmland, as well as options for vineyard, brewery, and other interest based excursions.  But, for us, unfortunately, there wasn’t time to do everything, so we decided to treat ourselves to an afternoon of theatre.

My mom is a quilter, but, I am not. No, no, no, my attention span will not spare me even five minutes of sewing. However, we both absolutely loved the Amish musical “Half Stitched,” performed on the Bird-in-Hand Stage. I am not too proud to admit that I teared up at least five times during the play… which of course I tried to hide from my mom so she wouldn’t see what a blubbering sentimental I have become in my “old age” (I’m 30 now).  Thankfully, just when I thought she’d find me out, they would crack a hilariously unexpected joke and provide the moment of uproarious laughter I needed to slyly flick a tear off my cheek. We laughed out loud more than we have laughed in a long time. The whimsical characters were lovable, relatable, and provided good, clean entertainment – which is hard to find these days.

Leaving the stage, we both felt blessed and so thankful that we were able to take this time out of our busy lives to make lasting memories. So, whether you’re traveling from near or far, make sure you check out the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites, Bird-In-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord, and the play, “Half Stitched.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad you did!

 

villagegreens

Putt putt and yum yum

Last weekend my husband and I had the pleasure of playing our first round of mini golf of the summer. We played at our favorite course, Village Greens. If you haven’t played Village Greens and you enjoy mini golf, then it’s time to get over there for a round. Village Greens boasts two different course options and over 13 acres of beautiful countryside.

The Orange course is the shorter course and provides a traditional mini golf experience. The holes have obstacles (like a windmill for instance), and you can play the course in about half an hour – depending on how crowded the course is. I suggest this course to large groups and those with younger children. It’s a perfect “first timer” course for kids.

The other course is the Gold course; this is the course that my husband and I love to play. This course is challenging for any mini golfer, but it is beautiful! It winds through wooded scenery with gardens, has a stream running through it, and has 23 holes instead of the standard 18.

My husband’s family has quite a history with Village Greens; I’m pretty sure his parents have been playing mini golf there since it first opened, even holding competitions between family members and friends on an annual basis. So many great family memories have been made there and now we look forward to taking our own children to create new Village Greens memories.

Another wonderful bonus to Village Greens is the Snack Shoppe. It’s got the perfect selection of both hot and cold items for hungry mini golfers. Be sure to try a hand dipped ice cream cone or milk shake. We can’t seem to escape without something sweet.

Whether you’re a resident of Lancaster or looking to plan a getaway, be sure to stop at Village Greens. You won’t be disappointed.

To learn more, check out their website: www.villagegreens.com

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Take home Lancaster’s farm fresh produce

There’s nothing like the crisp, juicy, delicious crunch of a fresh apple, right from the farm.  It’s not the same as an ordinary grocery store apple – there’s still a touch of warm cinnamon sun and sweet fresh air in that bite that makes that ripe apple extra special. This is what draws locals and visitors alike to Kauffman’s Fruit Farm and Market. This quaint farmer’s market is the perfect place to find a fantastic selection of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a variety of locally produced dry goods such as flour, oats, baking goods, and more. Not to mention fresh meats, cheeses, and pies. Kauffman’s is also known, locally and nationally, for their fresh apple cider.

Just inside the door, a display of live honeybees captivates visitors, young and old alike. My eyes wander to the colorful straws filled with fresh, amber honey, and I remember visiting the Topsfield fair (In Topsfield, MA) as a child. My parents would always spoil us with a fresh honey-straw treat. With this fond memory, I smile and turn my attention to the apples and other fresh fruits which are displayed in delightful wicker baskets. Courtlands, Honeycrisps, and Galas; types of apples that make you want to run home and instantly bake some warm apple desserts.  Continuing through the aisles, the aroma of flour and spices remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen.

At the far end of the market is a deli with a selection of sausage, chicken, steaks, and other fresh items. Right next to the deli counter is a mysterious wooden vault-like door, which immediately piqued my interest. I inquired about the thick wooden door, and learned that it is a deep freezer which will chill fresh foods in record time, therefore preserving flavors and freshness that might otherwise be lost. To me, it looked like the secret door to Narnia (a favorite book from childhood) and, if the door is opened under just the right circumstances – my imagination believes there will be snow and fresh pine limbs there to greet the unsuspecting employee.  Another reminiscent smile.

I decided to make one more round of the market to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and this time I noticed the delivery bay at the back of the store where all the fresh fruits arrive.  A collage of bright stickers decorated the wall behind a counter – remnants of sales of apples from seasons past while a cheerful young Amish girl straightened baskets for new deliveries to come.

Before I left, I took a few minutes to sit on the wooden bench in front of the store and just watch the world go by. Several Amish buggies clip-clopped down the road, customers came and went, and on the horizon a few cows grazed happily on the fresh June grass.  The warm sun and blue sky reassured me that summer had arrived to stay. Times and places like these allow you to truly appreciate all the things and all the moments that make life great.

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More POUR please

If you’re looking for a great place to meet friends for drinks and small plates in a fun atmosphere, it’s time to check out POUR. Located at 114 North Prince Street, behind the Artisans Gallery on Gallery Row, POUR opened a few years ago as a wine bar that featured a small list of draft beers and a limited seasonal menu of small plates. Since then, POUR has grown its menu to include larger entrée items, that continue to change seasonally and even serves brunch on Sundays. The last couple visits I made to POUR, it was hard to get a table on a Saturday night without a reservation. As the restaurant has grown, so has its customer following.

The menu still consists of mostly small plates, but does offer a small selection of larger plate items and a few dessert choices. The highlights of the menu include the duck fat fries, YUM! Trust me, they’re served with a roasted garlic aioli that you’ll want to dunk the rest of your food into for the entire evening; they’re a great start to the night and a great dish to share with friends.

I also suggest trying a few items from the charcuterie menu. Order these delicious items with a glass of wine from the extensive wine list and you’ll be set. However, if you’d like to extend your evening you can stay and have a large plate item or a few more small plates followed by dessert and/or a cocktail and you’ll go home happy.

The cocktail list is fun and inventive. There are a select few restaurants whose cocktail menus I truly enjoy ordering from here in Lancaster and POUR is one of them. They’ve got some fruity options and some stronger options but nothing I’ve tried has been too strong or not to my liking. I highly suggest trying one of their cocktails and this is coming from the girl who usually sticks to wine. And of course I can’t forget the beer selection. Though “smaller,” the beer that is chosen to be on tap is high quality and pairs well with many of the menu selections.

Some other highlights of POUR are its al fresco dining, it’s so nice to sit outside in the warmer months, and its location in Downtown Lancaster. This is a great location to meet up with friends on a First Friday but don’t forget that reservation, you can easily go online and make one with Open Table, which is so convenient.

I hope you’ll take an evening to enjoy POUR soon, I know I can’t wait to go back!

princestreetcafe

A match made in Heaven

A cafe on the first floor and a working artist’s studio on the second floor. It’s practically a match made in heaven.

When I walk up the steps to Julia Swartz’s gallery and working studio, I welcome the smell of oil paints and fresh flowers. It’s somewhat intoxicating. The color and scale of the canvases – incredible! Julia is a skilled painter so there is a lot of amazing work to see in her gallery. When you go, make sure you have time to soak in each painting. This is not a place to rush.

One of the great annual gems of Lancaster ArtWalk is Julia’s “People’s Painting” event that invites every one of every age and skill level to contribute a few brushstrokes to a collaborative canvas. There’s really no plan ahead of time. Wherever the people take the painting is where it will go. Sometimes it’s weird and sometimes it’s amusing, but it’s always a fun time.

Equally enjoyable is the experience at Prince St. Cafe. The urban design motif is interesting and inviting. Exposed brick, reclaimed barnwoods and metal accents set the mood. But clearly the stars of the show are the drinks – any coffee drink you could wish for and maybe some you never imagined existed. I happen to enjoy their smoothies and chai lattes.

Place your order at the counter, find a seat and they’ll bring it out to you. If you have the time, I recommend getting lunch. The sandwich menu is limited, which means everything on it is good and well-prepared. It’s a space that you should linger in – not only for the ambiance and good libations – but also for the pristine view of the historic Fulton Opera House across the street.

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The Swashbuckler Brewing Company does it right

There is hidden treasure on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. No, it’s not a chest of gold left by buccaneers in colonial days, but rather one of Lancaster County’s best up-and-coming breweries: The Swashbuckler Brewing Company (SBC). Established 14 years ago, SBC has quickly made a name for itself in the region’s emerging beer scene with excellent craft beers that can be found in a growing number of establishments outside of its own pub. BeerAdvocate.com gave this noteworthy brewery a “91-Outstanding!” rating.

The Swashbuckler’s brewpub is a unique destination that serves up four very good traditional house beers (“Swashbuckler Gold,” “Red Sea Amber,” “Plankwalker’s IPA” and “Captain Rude’s Blackwater Stout”) as well as highly regarded seasonal brews (“Helles Bock” lager and “Scottish Terror” Scottish ale). These fine beers are paired with simple but tasty pub food at reasonable prices. You can enjoy pub faire and a pint just steps from the brew kettles where those pints were born.

Though SBC is a newer brewery, its beers have quickly been added by many other establishments in the region. My first taste of the terrific “Swashbuckler Gold” kolsch beer was from the taps at John J. Jeffries Restaurant, a fine-dining establishment adjacent to the Lancaster Arts Hotel in Lancaster City. Committed to sourcing only the finest local products, being on tap at John J. Jeffries is proof that the folks at SBC are making seriously good, widely-coveted beer that pairs with high cuisine and candlelight just as well as it does with sandwiches and fries at the brewpub.

Be sure to check out The Swashbuckler Brewing Company. And mark your calendar for their annual Mount Hope Brewfest in May. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers!

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