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Archive for the ‘Region – Central Montco’ Category

Over the years the Double TT diner been a half dozen different eateries (always a diner), and sometimes it’s been good and others not so good or clean.  It changed names around the holidays to the 202 Family Diner.

I was an infrequent visitor during it’s decades+ run as the Double TT because the food was always average at best and the service could be spotty.

On a quiet Friday evening I stopped in to try out the new place.  After perusing the gigantic menu i settled on the crab cakes and was told “excellent choice” by my pleasant waitress. After choosing applesauce and a baked potato as my vegetables, I was offered salad or soup.  I selected the vegetable soup and was again told “excellent choice”.

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The soup came first.   I’m going out on a limb here:  it was the best vegetable soup I have ever had.  It was homemade and full of freshly chopped oversized vegetables:  carrot, celery, corn, okra, tomato to name a few.  It was full of flavor and light and the veggies were tender and delicious.

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The crab cakes came out not long after I finished my soup.  I am a realist.  A $13.95 plate of crab cakes in a diner should be better than Mrs. Paul’s but not as good as Red Lobster or a higher end restaurant.   These were right on target.

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They were home made, but an approximate equal amount of filler and crab.  Tasty and well fried without being greasy.  They were served with both cocktail and tarter sauce and both sauces were flavorful as well.

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The baked potato was very well prepared and served with ample sides of butter and sour cream.   The applesauce was canned, but fresh (I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ordered applesauce in a restaurant and gotten spoiling applesauce served to me).

I would return and try something else next time, if only to get more vegetable soup and to try something else on the giant menu.

I was prepared to be disappointed and was pleasantly surprised to be satisfied and a little impressed.

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What do you get when you mix the old fashioned American cheeseburger and new fangled trendy environmentalism?

A burger joint that doesn’t have bacon as an option.

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I first patronized the Bridgeport Rib House at their second former location the creatively named Conshohocken Rib House.  That closed some years ago, but the original in nearby Bridgeport is still producing great ribs and a fair price.

There is not much in the way of ambiance.  This is a biker bar that serves great ribs and has for many years and offers up live music on many nights of the week.  The motif is something of a witch doctor’s lair with spooky pig looking things scattered about and a collection of ties tacked to the walls.  Legend says if you enter the place after 9:00 p.m. wearing a tie it gets cut off and tacked to the wall.

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Penn’s Tavern is the casual dining room at Lower Gwynedd Township’s historic William Penn Inn.  The WPI shimmers during the winter with thousands of miniature lights.  The circa 1714 Inn is one of the premier dining locations in Montgomery County and offers banquet facilities and three dining rooms:  The semi-private formerly members-only exclusive Commonwealth Club on their second floor, the main Monet Dining Room for fine dining (both the Commonwealth Club and Monet rooms have the same menu) and Penn’s Tavern.

I have probably been to the WPI fifty times in my life but I had never dined in Penn’s Tavern so when we tried to get reservations to celebrate my birthday on Mothers Day weekend…Penn’s Tavern was all they offered.  It was as good a time as any to try it.

We were seated within 15 minutes of arrival, which wasn’t bad considering the crowds.  We took our seats in one of the tables in the modest bar area with live piano player (as opposed to a dead one, I suppose).  The pianist played mostly saloon songs from the 50’s and 60’s and instinctively played “As Time Goes By” just as one of my companions said “I’d really like to hear…”

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It is a pretty good bet if MaGerks was around when George Washington and his troops were marching by during the Revolution, they would have stopped in for a sandwich and a beer.  The former Bent Elbo Tavern reinvented itself last fall as MaGerks, the third outpost of a Maryland-based restaurant operation run by area natives.

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The new Broad Axe Tavern is fresh off a multimillion dollar renovation.  The restaurant, dormant for the last half dozen or so years, has finally reopened with a menu that tries to be fresh while keeping a nod to the Inn’s historic past.

There are no remnants of the old Broad Axe, famous for it’s bar, it’s crabcakes and it’s fall off the bone ribs.

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hirib4

NOTE::  This restaurant closed in October 2009.

H.I. Rib & Co. replaced the beleaguered Lonestar Steak House on Ridge Pike in Plymouth Meeting a few months back.  This was my second visit, I took my mom because she loves ribs that aren’t spicy, and we both enjoyed our meal.

The menu is pretty diverse, offering a fair selection of entrees, sandwiches, appetizers and drinks both for light appetites and those looking for a big meal.  The meal starts with a wonderful bread basket with a sourdough loaf of bread and corn muffins. (more…)

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How hot would you like your Chang sauce? -Towelie

While a talking towel did not wait on me, the rest of my PF Changs experience boils down to this:  The best part was the company who joined me for dinner.

Chain restaurant Asian food is something I’m suspect of to begin with, but when the waitress talked up the lettuce wraps (below) they’re ‘famous for’ I was excited.  When I tasted them, I wondered if they were famous because they sucked.

Crab wontons were just ok.  Not great, not bad.

The fried rice with dinner was quite tasty.  The sweet and sour chicken wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.  One of my friends had the Changs Chicken (their version of General Tso’s) which was very good.

Overall I didn’t care for the atmosphere and wouldn’t hurry back to PF Changs, but I can’t say it was terrible.  I just prefer local chinese restaurants to the chains.

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On occasion we’ll feature a restaurant of yesterday – no longer in operation but memorable for some reason.

Johnny Cross Italian American Restaurant was a mainstay along Route 73, in operation for over thirty years from the late 60’s until the turn of the century. (more…)

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Posting abut the Plymouth Meeting Mall a few weeks ago made me remember Clover, the discount store chain by Strawbridge & Clothier.

There were two Clovers who were the mistresses in my life.  The first one, in Andorra (the Philadelphia region, not the country you only hear about during the Olympics) was in the Andorra Shopping Center.

The snack bar in the front of the store was a standard feature at Clover stores.  They sold about a dozen flavors of ice cream (bing cherry rocked the hizzy), Icee Slush’s (cherry was always best), soft pretzels, hot dogs and soda.  Maybe it was the experience of getting that treat when we were 5 or 6 or 8 or 9 years old, but those pretzels were so good – always warm and toasted and the Icee mixed so well with it. (more…)

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****Update May 2009:  Agave is now closed. *****

AgaveI had reason to be in downtown Ambler today and decided to meet a friend for lunch.  He offered a variety of options and I rarely get to dine with someone who likes Mexican food, so I picked Agave Cantina and Grill.

Agave opened a few years ago in the space formerly occupied by the heralded arrival of Ralph’s Italian Restaurant (Jimmy Rubino’s transplant from South Philly).   I ate there once.  The service and food was lousy, I never went back.  Neither did most other people because Ralph’s folded after a few years.

Agave seems to be doing well.

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