Marblehead Chowder House: Just toppled Kearny, NJ as my husbands favorite fish & chips destination!

Hello! My husband, Tony, asked me if I would mind if he wrote this latest blog entry since he has a unique perspective on the subject of this post.  So I hereby give you Tony’s guest blog:

I grew up in Kearny, NJ… it’s a small to mid-sized town in Hudson County, in the shadow of NYC and its skyline. Kearny has a very long heritage of being the original home of the Congoleum-Nairn Corporation (think Linoleum flooring); it’s founders having come from Scotland in 1887. As the company grew, it drew quite a few Scottish and Irish immigrants to work in its factories.

Immigrants doing what immigrants do, they brought culture from home here to America, and our little slice of it. Traditions like football (soccer for us not of that heritage), drum and pipe (bagpipe) corps, and food. Especially food!

Over the years, it seemed that you couldn’t walk a block down the main drag without tripping into a fish and chips restaurant, or an Irish pub… and the fish and chips restaurants were the best in the world… yes, I said it… they were truly the most authentic and best fish and chips this side of the pond. Places like Argyle and Thistle, as well as some lesser known like Phil’s were at the pinnacle of this meal. What made them so good was the quality of the fish, the batter used to give the meal its unique taste and structure, as well as the chips (fries), which were the best beefsteak fries around!

Over the years, as I grew up and moved out of Kearny to start and raise a family, I’ve never quite encountered a good fish and chip meal such as I had growing up. Either they used the wrong type of fish, or the batter was wrong, or it wasn’t cooked properly and was soggy, rather than crisp… woe is me!

That is, until this past Saturday when Tammy decided out of the clear blue that she had a hankering for fish & chips! Given her desire to check out new places to eat, I decided to do a quick Google search for ‘the best fish and chips in the Lehigh Valley’. (Amazing what will come up!)

It was suggested that we go to the Marblehead Chowder House in Palmer Township, as they were rated #2 in my search, but with equal ratings to the 1, 3 and 4 suggestions. Not wanting to drive all over the place, we decided to give it a try. Although we couldn’t get a table reservation until later that night, we elected to sit at the bar counter, which is first come/first served.

Once seated, the bartender team came to take our orders very promptly, despite being very busy with restaurant production drink orders (which was literally non-stop).

While waiting for our dinners to arrive, we both made note of just how busy, and by extension how popular Marblehead is… there were literally NO available seats throughout the time we were there, so if you are looking to visit, we strongly urge you to make reservations.

When our food arrived, it was served in a basket (like many other establishments do with fish & chips)… 2 pieces of fish, along with a serving of chips. Included with this are nicely sized portions of tartar sauce as well as coleslaw (which I suspect is home-made). Malt Vinegar is readily available as well, if you prefer to add that.

img_7901.jpg

OK… so taking the first bite immediately brought me back to my childhood and the aforementioned Argyle and Thistle restaurants. The fish was delicate and firm, while the batter was perfectly cooked to contain the fish without being soggy or overdone/burnt, I was in heaven!

The fries were not of the beefsteak variety, but they were regular shoestring sized with skins on… and they were perfectly adequate and not disappointing! I did NOT feel the need to add seasoning (salt, pepper, etc), as the meal was perfectly seasoned out of the kitchen.

If you’re a fan of coleslaw, you know that there are sweet varieties, as well as more sour/bitter versions… my preference is for sweet, and again, I was pleasantly surprised by the batch I received.

All in all, I knew we had a winner when Tammy declared that she was stuffed after eating just one of the 2 pieces of fish provided, yet continued to eat most of the second one!

After this very satisfying meal, we decided then and there that we would be back more often for this treat. Since the restaurant opens at 11am seven days a week, I can see us popping over for a quick lunch as well.

As we were paying the bill, we asked the barkeep what was the most popular dish at the restaurant… the immediate response were the crab cakes… and although the fish and chips were #3 or #4 in terms of popularity, they were still very high on the list.

Needless to say, this brings me back to my ‘unique perspective’… having grown up on the absolute ‘best’ fish and chips, I can honestly say that Marblehead Chowder House may simply be a legitimate slice of Kearny (West)!

Thanks for reading and letting Tony share! #thehungryrealtor#fish&chips#iruntoeat#myhusbandlikestotalk

P.S. – Kearny is also known for it world class football (soccer) program, having produced the likes of Olympic and World Champions Tony Meola and John Harkes (I went to school with Tony’s older cousins), as well as several members of the band My Chemical Romance.

Marblehead Chowder House, 4101 William Penn Hwy, Palmer Twp. 610-258-4301 http://www.marbleheadchowderhouse.com

 

 

In honor of Taco Tuesday…Taylor Taco Shop

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, sometimes being a busy realtor doesn’t allow time to enjoy wonderful local eateries. Luckily I was able to make time on Sunday to take a trip down to the Easton Public Market for my 2nd visit to the new Taylor Taco Shop (located across from More Than Q & in the former Taza Stop stand).

I first visited this new taco shop last month with my daughter, Ashley, and we had the most wonderful tacos. They are set up so you build-your-own taco/burrito/bowl from their large selection of meats/veggies/fillings/toppings. For my tacos, I tried the pork carnitas & the ancho chicken with a variety of fresh ingredients and both were VERY good…although I really, really liked the carnitas. My daughter tried the carne asada & the seared vegetables and she equally enjoyed her choices as well. I like that they serve their tacos on two soft corn tortillas so they don’t tear and fall apart when you are eating them.

For my most recent visit, I ordered one of their bowls. I chose the carnitas again because I had really enjoyed it last month and I added all my favorite ingredients. I was trying to recreate my favorite Chipotle burrito bowl as a comparison. The price was just slightly higher and my impression is that the ingredients were a little fresher. The bowl was a very generous size and it was very tasty however my favorite Chipotle bowl is spicier so it still holds my top spot.

As for the tacos, they were outstanding and I would definitely recommend that you give them a try. Unfortunately not on Taco Tuesday though because the Easton Public Market is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays. #tacotuesday#thehungryrealtor#iruntoeat

Taylor Taco, Easton Public Market, 325 Northampton Street, Easton http://www.taylortaco.com

 

The Bayou, just in time for Mardi Gras

It’s been a little longer than I had planned to make this post about The Bayou, my husband and I were at the Easton location for dinner about a week and a half ago, for a before theater dinner. In case you aren’t aware, Bayou has two locations, Easton & Bethlehem. Their Bethlehem location is the original restaurant and they opened the Easton location about 2 years ago. Easton is a little bit larger & less noisy but honestly, in terms of food, you can’t go wrong with either location.

Bayou Easton is located right on the circle in downtown Easton and they have quite a few outdoor tables for people watching when the weather is more conducive to outdoor dining. Their service is always excellent (and I’ve been to this particular location almost a dozen times).

Their menu features Southern Kitchen & Cajun style food and they have a few items that are simply OUTSTANDING. By far their most popular is the buttermilk fried chicken which is served on a wooden board with mashed sweet potatoes (heavenly) and bread & butter pickles. My husband’s personal favorite is the chicken & waffles w/bourbon maple syrup. Another must-have is their Mac & Cheese, it makes a great appetizer to be shared by the table. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a group outing, it is fun to order lots of different items and share. Reservations are recommended on weekends and for larger groups.

My personal favorites include their Maple Glazed Chicken Thighs, Hand Cut Fries, Brussel Sprouts, Corn Bread, Flash-fried Black-eyed Peas and HANDS DOWN for dessert, their Peanut Butter Mousse. I could write an entire post about this dessert: Dark Chocolate Soil, House Whipped Cream, Peanut Brittle…it is worth the trip alone!

P.S. I’m not a drinker but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of their signature drinks, the Hurricane. I had occasion to go to the Bayou with a large group of friends and we all had to partake of this delicious drink at the recommendation of my good friend, Lyn. Now I can’t go there without ordering one…it’s THAT good! #hungryrealtor

 

 

 

 

Best Cheesesteaks in the Lehigh Valley

Honestly, this isn’t just my personal opinion, Giacomo’s on College Hill in Easton truly did win the contest for the best cheesesteak in the Lehigh Valley. Amazingly enough, I didn’t discover this hidden gem located right in my backyard until I had lived in the Lehigh Valley for over 5 years and my electrician, Gene DellaVechia, recommended it to me. Since that first visit, so many years ago, this is our “go-to” place for cheesesteak sandwiches.

The other day we were trying to decide where to go for Tony’s birthday lunch. Since the Public Market in Easton is closed on Mondays, we opted for Giacomo’s. They are located right on Cattell Street in College Hill and they have a very casual setting as well as an excellent italian meat case and some specialty grocery items. The service is always quick & friendly but the real treat are their cheesesteaks. I’m sure that the other items on their menu are good but when you find something this good, you just gotta go with the best.

I’m partial to a cheesesteak with steak, onions & cheese while my husband likes a plain steak & cheese but they have all kinds of different options including with sauce. Since we are from NJ, we are traditionalists, so no sauce for us. We also ordered french fries to share since I love french fries and theirs are pretty good. The sandwiches are always wonderful, the bread is amazing and holds up under all of the meat so your sandwich never falls apart.

I’ve heard people rave about their italian meats & cheeses too so even if you live on the other side of the Lehigh Valley, you owe it to yourself to plan a visit to Giacomo’s…you’ll be glad you did! #hungryrealtor

P.S. They close around 5:30pm, so this is more of a lunch place.

Giacomo’s Italian Market & Grille 700 Cattell Street, Easton

http://www.giacomositalianmarket.com

I finally made it to Bolete!

I have been wanting to go to Bolete for years, honestly for years! One of their claims to fame is that they were named one of 2014’s Best Restaurants in America by the website OpenTable. Also, their chef/owner, Lee Chizmar, is a 2015 James Beard semi-finalist. Every time I had a special occasion I would try to make a reservation but would not be able to get in (to be fair, I’m not one of those people who like to eat dinner late so anything later than 7 is a no-go for me).

Anyway, I belong to a very small business group (SMART Group) and we meet monthly to discuss our business, real estate issues, the market and any other topics that need to be reviewed. Each January we have a special meeting to determine if we met our previous year’s goals and to state our goals for the current year. This year Lyn, Chris & I decided to do something special, and have our meeting at Bolete, because we are all successful and we figured we deserved to treat ourselves.  🙂

So, on January 15th I finally got to have dinner at Bolete and I have to say that it was one of the best meals I have ever had! Let me start by admiring the exterior of this stand-alone building that just exudes character. Upon entering, I was greeted promptly and led to a generous sized table in the far corner where my 2 other dinner partners were already waiting. The service was impeccable throughout the entire meal.

I started with the “Chips & Dip” (chips, herbs, parmesan, truffle aioli) and although they were tasty, they were more like fancy potato chips and not fries as I had expected. I have to admit that I am a French fry lover…but that is a whole other post! For my main course, I had the Cast Iron Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops with hand rolled gnocchi, Maryland crab, cauliflower, oyster mushrooms, brussel sprouts, chive, truffled cauliflower puree, lobster butter and WOW, they were the best scallops I’ve ever had, OMG. For dessert I opted for the Banana Cream Tart (because my favorite dessert is banana cream pie so I kind of had to choose this) and don’t get me wrong, it was very good but my good friend, Lyn, had the butterscotch pudding w/candied pecans and fresh whipped cream and THAT was the dessert to have…WOW. We’re lucky that she is such a good friend and always shares with both Chris and myself.

Dinner wasn’t cheap, nothing good ever is, but a drink, appetizer, main course, dessert & coffee set me back about $100. I can’t wait to visit again, this time with my husband and I’ll make a reservation well in advance. I hear they have a lovely Sunday brunch too. #thehungryrealtor

Bolete is located at 1740 Seidersville Rd, Salisbury Township, PA http://www.boleterestaurant.com

IMG_7494IMG_7496IMG_7499IMG_7498

Roasted, Bethlehem PA

One of the benefits of my profession is the ability to have lunch & breakfast meetings on a regular basis. I use this as an opportunity to explore & try new places throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Last month I had the pleasure of joining my mortgage lender, Greg Reimer from The Mortgage Company, for a business meeting and to introduce him to my daughter, Ashley. Ashley is newly licensed and is joining me in the real estate business so I wanted her to have the chance to meet & learn from one of my go-to lenders. Even though it was a lunch meeting, I never pass up the opportunity to have a good breakfast and this, my friends, is a GOOD breakfast.

Roasted is the former Blue Sky Café, located at 22 W. 4th Street in South Bethlehem. The menu is a little bit different than before but they still offer many of the former favorites as well as a variety of gluten-free, vegan & vegetarian options. The place is small, and nothing special in the décor department but they make up for it with plain-old good food!

I opted for the Jaba Scramble: Sausage, Goat Cheese, Kale, Mixed Pepper, White Onion, Garlic, and Roasted Potatoes as well as whole wheat toast. My entire meal was fresh and super tasty and reasonably priced at just $9.75. I’ll definitely keep this place on my list of places for client meetings in the future when I’m in that area. *Be aware that this place is close to Lehigh University and enjoys a very brisk business so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table. #thehungryrealtor

IMG_7480

New establishment alert: Cake & Corolla

Recently I needed a special cake for my granddaughter’s 2nd birthday celebration. I had heard about a new place that opened downtown and because I love our downtown I decided to go visit.

I first went there on a weekday afternoon and I have to say that my first impression was very good. I must compliment the designer because the interior is beautiful, trendy but very comfortable. I enjoyed a Café Americano and a slice of Pistachio Cake (both were excellent by the way) while browsing through their extensive menu of cake offerings. I ultimately decided on the Chocolate Strawberry: a Traditional Chocolate Cake, Filled with Dark Chocolate Ganache, and Fresh Sliced Strawberries. Encased in Chocolate Ganache. I placed my order and promised to return soon.

I picked up the cake a few days later accompanied by my son & daughter-in-law. We arrived to find the chef just putting the finishing touches on the cake so we sat & enjoyed some coffee, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee!  The next day we served the cake at Lily’s birthday party and I have to say that it was one of the best chocolate cakes we have ever tasted. Fresh, moist and oh, so good! It was a little pricey, but honestly worth it! #thehungryrealtor

Cake & Corolla 125 N. 3rd Street, Easton, PA 18045 http://www.cakeandcorolla.com