Coming Soon….Breakfast, Brunch & more meals, Oh My!!

Ok, so I know this lengthy sabbatical has been torture on you….well, probably more like an annoyance to you than torture…but it’s certainly been torture on me. The whole reason for the delay in getting up and running is that I am currently out of memory as far as adding more photos to the site and I need to upgrade my subscription so that I can have more memory added. Long story short…I have not been able financially afford the $80 to upgrade, thus the long delay. I sincerely apologize to you guys. I have big plans…and a list of places I want to review for you in the near future! Please keep following TBGG on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and photos. I will continue to use these social media outlets as a tool until the site is back up and running (hopefully within the next few weeks!!)

Thanks for your continued support and patience!!

James

 

“Foodee” Caters Philly’s Best Breakfasts and Lunches Straight to Your Office

In large cities like Philadelphia, food delivery services are plentiful. A simple internet search will produce a handful of companies that make it relatively easy for you to place an online order at your favorite local Chinese take-out place for some of that Egg Drop Soup that you love, or to the cafe downtown that makes that killer breakfast burrito, and forwards it to someone who will deliver your meal to you when you don’t feel like going out. Pretty convenient, right? You bet!

Wouldn’t it be nice if the same conveniences translated to the corporate world, like when you’re feeding a conference room full of clients, or you’re planning to treat your office to a catered meal in the company lunchroom, but you don’t want the same old generic cold-cuts? How about when you’re working the weekend shift – it’s early Saturday morning and your work peeps are not only bummed that they have to be at work, but they missed breakfast and they’re hangry?

For times like these, there’s Foodee.

foodee-logo-horiz

Foodee is a customer-focused, web-based restaurant delivery service for offices in Philly and in several other large cities across the U.S. They partner only with high-quality, local restaurants and focus on environmentally-friendly delivery methods. They work to enhance culture and productivity for companies by providing some of the best food from some of the best restaurants in the city. We’re talking about unbelievably delicious grub like:

  • Chef Mark Vetri’s Pizzeria Vetri
  • Authentic Philly breakfasts from Girard
  • Bagels inspired by Philly tradition at Philly Style Bagels
  • Delectable sandwiches & savory salads from Wedge + Fig
  • Mexican classics by Cafe Ynez
  • Rustic American cuisine from Brick and Mortar
  • Mind-blowing sandwiches from Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop
  • Locally roasted coffee from Ox Coffee
  • and so many more of your favorite places…over 50+ local restaurants!

Foodee only partners with local owner-operated restaurants (no chains!), and they’re proud to be able to offer a localized team of experts to work with. You see, Foodee isn’t like other food delivery services who will deliver just anything…they believe the quality of food matters! They’ve carefully curated menus that appeal to a large variety of tastes and ensure every touchpoint is tailored to your catering needs, which is crucial in a corporate setting – well made food fuels the body and mind, driving ideas, connection, and team performance. Foodee partners and empowers local food innovators to help them with that mission.

foodeefoodee

Since launching in 2012, Foodee has grown rapidly, establishing 4000+ customers, 400+ restaurant partnerships, and delivering 500,000+ meals in 10 North American cities. But what makes Foodee different in Philly than other corporate caterers? “Every city is very uniquely its own group of people…” Foodee CEO Ryan Spong recently told Betakit.com, “The market takes on its own unique character. A little of it comes down to the food culture. The food culture is very different in every city.”

Foodee seems to have the right idea when it comes to planning for success in the City of Brotherly Love. Simply put, Foodee has pretty much set itself apart from other consumer-focused services by catering specifically to corporate clientele and partnering with high-demand restaurants for not only corporate lunches but for breakfast, too! That business model is one I can definitely support.

If you’re looking for a corporate catering partner for your office or business, these guys are the real deal. And for the entire month of March, Foodee is offering readers of TBGG a special offer – $20 off your corporate catering order of $40 or more!! Simply use the discount code “GRUBGUY” when you order online to apply your savings!

For more information or to place an order, feel free to check out Foodee online at their website, www.food.ee .

Special thanks to Sam Hawkins of Foodee for all of his assistance with this post.

Jem Restaurant – East Norriton, PA

img_1679

Last weekend, the boy and I had another boys day out. We’ve been planning to go to a big toy show out in Warminster for months, but before heading out to Bucks County, we decided some sustenance was in order. We had actually planned to just have some crappy McDonald’s breakfast since we were planning to drop some cash at the convention, but when we got to Ronald’s place the lady at the counter advised me that they “weren’t serving breakfast today” (at 8:00 in the morning?!?). No problem…we’re out! So instead, we drove down the street to a little shopping plaza diner that I pass by every day and have always wanted to stop at – Jem Restaurant.

img_1682

Jem is a 50’s-themed diner with the checkerboard floor, vinyl chairs and booths, and photos of classic cars, old movie stars, and lots of knick-knacks on the walls. They’re located in the Swede Square Shopping Center and they’re actually really easy to miss if you don’t know they’re there. Which makes this place the perfect hidden gem.

img_1688

And anyplace that hangs a sign like this in the dining room is cool with me 🙂

img_1689

Jem was pretty packed the entire time we were there. A constant, steady stream of families and obvious regulars came and went with smiles and full bellies. It was really, really nice to see. I don’t think I’ve experienced the homey diner feel quite like this since exploring PA’s eateries. The owner, Tony Bello, even came and introduced himself with a handshake as soon as we were seated (he had no idea I was there reviewing the restaurant). He was a cheerful fellow, the kind of guy you’d imagine that runs a place like this. He told us they had been around, and in fact in that very spot, for 43 years! Jem is a family-run restaurant, with Tony’s wife, kids, and other family members all working hard to make sure their customers are comfortable and happy.

img_1680

Jem serves breakfast and lunch, pretty much classic diner fare. Nothing too fancy on the menu, but they definitely offer enough variety to keep folks coming back. This was just page one of the breakfast menu. They also serve a full line-up of pancakes, French toast and waffles.

img_1681

Our server was cheerful and friendly, and very likable. And she left a whole pot of diner coffee just for me! Talk about service!!

img_1683

Mmmm…man fuel.

img_1684

The boy has been on a S.O.S. kick lately, so he ordered Debbie’s Creamed Chipped Beef ($7.50). The large order included two slices of toast (he chose wheat) covered with a pool of creamy chipped beef goodness. They do have a single slice order for like a dollar cheaper, but he’s a growing boy, ya’ll. It came with his choice of shredded hash browns or diced redskin home fries.

img_1686

I love having breakfast and spending time with my best little buddy.

img_1668

I ordered a plate from their specials board, the Bacon & cheddar omelette w/hash browns & toast ($6.50). it appeared to be a 3-egger that was nicely cooked, and the hash browns were yummy as well.

img_1685

I appreciated the fact that they used properly-cooked, semi-crispy bacon pieces to fill my egg blanket. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s rubbery, under-cooked bacon in an omelette. It definitely could have used a little more cheese (IMO), but overall it was really good.

I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Jem Restaurant. Like I said earlier, this place just has a certain charm about it that I’ve been missing. I think Mrs. Grub Guy would really like the environment here, not to mention the awesome folks and the good food. Since it’s so close to home, I’m sure we’ll be back. This is the kind of place I could become a regular at.

Pro Tip: Jem Restaurant is cash only, so don’t forget to hit up the ATM before you get here (but if you do forget, there’s an ATM inside!)

Jem Restaurant is located at 2931 Swede Rd, Norristown, PA 19401 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Saturday, 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and Sunday, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. For more info about Jem Restaurant, check out their Facebook page HERE.

 

 

 

Very Strawberry Smoothie

healthy-strawberry-smoothie1

So, I’ve been trying to curb my unquenchable appetite for bacon, donuts, fried chicken & waffles and all other bad-for-me breakfast things lately. I’ve been reading all kinds of smoothie and juice recipes on the interwebs and have actually found some really tasty and really filling options. I thought I’d share what has become my early go-to…it’s super simple and can be made in just a few minutes, and perfect for when you’re heading out the door in the mornings. It’s what I call the “Very Strawberry Smoothie”.

This flavor-bursting, sugar-free, creamy smoothie only requires 3 ingredients to make. I know strawberries are not in season right now, but I usually try to shop my neighborhood produce market as opposed to a big chain grocery store, because it just seems like they have the more ripe, more flavorful berries. At least during this time of year.

I like things sweet, so I was a little concerned when the wife broke out the unsweetened almond milk. But it was actually really good. If you like it really sweet, you can always use sweetened almond milk, or add some honey, agave syrup, or a banana.

Anyway, if you want to give this a try, let me know what you think. And look for more posts and recipes like this in the future!

vegan-strawberry-smoothie

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup ice cubes

1.5 – 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk)

Instructions:

  1. Put ice cubes into blender or food processor and blend until crushed
  2. Add strawberries and almond milk and blend until smooth
  3. Enjoy!

Luna Cafe – Philadelphia, PA

img_1415

How long have I been saying, “I need to get into the city more often”? Well maybe I haven’t said it to you guys all that much, but my wife is sick of hearing it. As most of you already know, Philly is absolutely littered with great breakfast and brunch places – hip little cafes, charming BYOB brunch spots and cozy corner eateries – and I am still in the process of discovering a lot of them! So I was very happy to recently accept the invitation of Sarah Levine, owner of Luna Cafe in the Old City neighborhood,  to come and sample some of their amazing breakfast and brunch dishes. We set up our visit for New Year’s Day brunch because a) Sarah suggested it would be a great time to experience the whole atmosphere since there would be live music and the brunch service would be in full swing, and b) It was my birthday, so I already knew I’d be going out with my family for my birthday brunch anyway!

img_1426

Luna Cafe is a really cool, quaint little BYO bistro on Market St in the heart of Old City. The front of the house is your typical cafe set-up, with 6-8 small tables lining the walls of a narrow dining space and a pay counter/take-out counter at the far end. It’s really set up nicely so that all of the free space is utilized, but it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting on top of each other. They were really busy just about the entire time we were visiting, with tables filling just as fast as they were vacated, which was a great thing to see.

img_1423

The walls are adorned with lots of great local artwork for sale and a couple of large chalkboards where their menu specials are listed.

img_1425

Beyond the main dining area is the kitchen, and just beyond that is a peculiar little area set up with an ATM (they’re a cash only cafe), a comfy sofa, a trendy, exposed-brick wall with more art, and a really nice finished-walnut bar outfitted with several USB jacks. I really liked this backroom space.

img_1416

As I passed back through on my way back to our table, I spied some really delicious-looking plates coming out of the kitchen. I hurried back to my seat to take a look at the menu.

img_1427

Luna Cafe offers some nice drink options including this delicious Berry Smoothie and organic hot and iced coffee from Philly Fair Trade Roasters. Other highlights on their drink menu are more smoothies and juices, cappuccino, espresso, latte and kombucha.

img_1428

As we sipped our coffee, we perused the breakfast menu and discussed our options. Of course the boy was eyeing his old standby favorites, but Mrs. Grub Guy and I discussed several of the scrumptious-sounding entrees. They have a pretty well-rounded menu at LC: Brunch classics like Huevos Rancheros and Build-Your-Own Omelettes and more, some delightful breakfast sandwich options, a few heavy hitters like their Breakfast Bowl (quinoa, black beans, cheddar cheese, avocado and cilantro aioli on a bed of arugula and topped with a sunny egg), Luna Loaded Potatoes (A mountain of breakfast potatoes, melted cheddar cheese, pico, sour cream, green onions and topped with an optional egg  or bacon), their version of Fried Chicken and Waffles, and others. They also have a nice sides/a-la-cart option, too.

img_1414

As we placed our orders, the guys from The Carryons set up their equipment and began their set. The guitar and trumpet duo play some really amazing original jazz tunes at several local cafes around Philly, and are anticipating the release of their first LP this Spring. I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance.

img_1420

Steven ordered one of his favorites, Pancakes ($10.00). His plate came out with a big stack of three, good-sized flapjacks dusted with powdered sugar. These looked and smelled very, very good. We always try to encourage him to try something new in or on top of his pancakes…strawberries, bananas, blueberries, chocolate chips, SOMETHING….but alas, he is a creature of habit.

img_1419

So a drizzle of maple syrup was applied, and away he went. Thankfully, I did end up getting to try several bites of these (and my previous notion was correct…they WERE really, really good!) because the boy had inevitably filled his belly with berry smoothie before his food came out, and was stuffed by about 5 bites in.

img_1422

The wife ordered The Early Bird ($10.00), a large breakfast sandwich made of egg whites, sliced turkey breast, avocado and cilantro aioli on whole wheat toast. She added fontina cheese for a small upcharge.

img_1421

This sandwich was amazing. She loved all of the avocado stacked inside, as well as the freshness of the turkey. The combination of flavors really made for a truly standout sandwich. The only thing that would have made this dish better (in my opinion) may have been maybe a few strips of salty bacon tucked inside, and possibly a couple of bites of fresh fruit or something on the side. This was very well done and easy to like.

img_1418

I knew what I was ordering about 5 seconds after I saw it on the menu – the Fried Chicken and Waffles ($15.00). Chicken & waffles has become sort of a brunch standard these days for many restaurants, but it’s still hard to pass this dish up any time I see it offered, and LC’s version sounded heavenly. The base was a big, house-made Belgian waffle stacked with buttermilk fried chicken and covered in a white maple gravy. Umm, yeah…it was just as boss as it sounds.

img_1417

The waffle was light and airy yet substantial and was cooked perfectly. The buttermilk fried chicken was incredible – a huge, tender breast cut into pieces and topped with a maple gravy that absolutely put this dish over the top and catapulted to the top of my list as probably one of the most flavorful chicken & waffles I’ve ever had. Seriously guys, you need to go here and try this plate of deliciousness. It’s a huge portion that I struggled to finish (even with the wife sneaking a few bites), and I’m a big eater. If I could find synonyms for the words “So Good” about 15 more times, it still wouldn’t adequately describe how much I loved this.

Brunch is a must in the City of Brotherly Love, and there are plenty of places to choose from. But, might I recommend scrolling though this review one more time to see how awesome of a spot that Luna Cafe really is. The food is amazing and the portions are huge. The atmosphere is charming, especially on live music brunch Sundays. And the service was fast and friendly. And don’t forget to BYOB!

If I were you, I’d pencil in a visit soon!!!

I’d like to thank Sarah and Luna Cafe for generously providing our meal as part of this review. All opinions are my own.

Luna Cafe is located at 317 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19106 (MAP). They’re open Weekdays, 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM, and Weekends, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more info check out their website, and find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Luna Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jeffersonville Diner – Norristown, PA

img_1348

The Jeffersonville Diner on Egypt Rd. in the Jeffersonville/Audubon/Norristown area has long been a local breakfast and lunch establishment in that neighborhood. It was closed down for quite a while, and just within the last few weeks has opened under new ownership. I remember this place from when we lived in this area years ago, although I never ate there, and I was sort of surprised when we moved back here last year to learn that it had closed. The wife and I had spotted a full parking lot and a “Grand Opening” sign out front while we were Christmas shopping nearby a couple of weeks ago, and decided we  should check them out some time. Well, the day after Christmas, when the rest of the family took a trip to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, we headed here for a quick breakfast before going to see Rogue One.

img_1342

The dining room was sort of quiet, despite the day being a day off for a lot of people. Although to be fair, we stopped in here right between breakfast and lunch. The restaurant was pretty clean and the tables were roomy. Lots of neutral tones going on here decorating-wise, with a couple of big windows to let in some natural light.

img_1341

Jeffersonville Diner’s breakfast menu takes up two full pages of their rather large menu (both in physical size and variety). Page one features over 30 different omelettes as well as egg platters, specialty dishes and a la cart items. Page two is a full smorgasbord of waffles, pancakes and french toast.

img_1343

The service we received at Jeffersonville Diner was great. Our waitress was very friendly and when we asked a couple of questions about some of the dishes, she was happy to go check with the kitchen to get answers for us. Our cups were kept full of diner brown coffee, the creamer packets were plentiful and our food arrived fairly quickly to our table.

img_1345

Mrs. Grub Guy debated between several options, but decided upon the Quiche of the Day special ($6.95), which included her choice of bread and fresh fruit.

img_1346

She was told they had two quiches to choose from – a bacon quiche, and a sausage AND bacon quiche. The wife, being the meat-lover she is, opted for the latter. However, when the plate came to the table, it appeared that they had given her a totally different quiche altogether. It definitely had some veggies in there, and she said it may or may not have had some bacon pieces on top. Whatever it was, she actually really enjoyed it. She chose an English muffin as her bread and said it was fresh and chewy. Both good things.

img_1372

I really didn’t have a clue what I was in the mood for…which is rare. I scoured the menu for several minutes before finding a dish that I had never seen before, the Eggs “Pancake Style” with pastrami brisket ($8.75). It was buried deep in the middle of the Omelette section of the menu.

img_1344

Going off of the name of the dish only, I surmised that it could possibly be some sort of open-faced omelette, which was confirmed by our server. When my plate came out to the table, I was really intrigued with my meal. It was actually a stack of three medium-sized “pancakes” – simply just layers of scrambled egg with diced pastrami added. It came with my choice of toast and some really delicious home fries.

img_1347

The pastrami was really tasty and pretty plentiful. It was an interesting twist on breakfast, as opposed to just offering a pastrami omelette. I would have liked to see maybe a sprinkle of shredded cheddar on top or something, but overall it was filling and we were very satisfied.

Jeffersonville Diner was a great start to our day without the kiddo. Breakfast was hot and filling, and we both enjoyed our food. With many, many places around to satisfy a diner-food craving, at least this spot seems to be trying to stand out a little with some simple twists on typical breakfast meals.

Jeffersonville Diner is located at 236 Egypt Rd, Norristown, PA 19403 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday, 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM. For more info, check out their Facebook page HERE.

Jeffersonville Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chalfont Family Restaurant – Chalfont, PA

img_1136

‘Tis the season to spend your weekends doing all kinds of festive Christmas-y stuff with your family. Recently, Mrs. Grub Guy, the boy, the wife’s parents and I all piled into the car and took a quick trip out to Chalfont, PA in Bucks County to visit the Byers’ Choice factory. The factory is a spectacular place that offers free access to the public and group tours through their showroom/museum/factory/gift shop year round, but it’s especially fun this time of year, and the wife absolutely loves their Carolers figures. Anyway, we decided to make a day of it and we started with a hearty breakfast at nearby Chalfont Family Restaurant.

img_1133

I knew nothing about Chalfont Family Restaurant until I found it on Yelp. There I found lots of praise for their breakfasts, so I figured this would be a good place to fuel up before our holiday fun. When we arrived at around 9:30 AM on Saturday morning, the dining room was lively and the sounds of large families and groups of friends enjoying each others company, and their breakfasts, echoed throughout the building (it had cleared out a lot while we were eating, and before I took this picture as we were leaving). The place was clean, well lit, and comfortable.

img_1127

They serve total diner breakfast food and family restaurant favorites. Nothing in their 6 page breakfast menu blew me away as I browsed and considered, but it all sounded pretty darn good and filling. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but they did have a small “Mexican specialties” section on the menu which seemed a little out of place even if the food didn’t – dishes like a breakfast quesadilla, breakfast burritos and a couple of other things. It’s kinda cool that the guy in the back making the Huevos a la Mexicana was the same guy cooking your pancakes and scrapple. I love diversity, even in places where it’s unexpected.

img_1128

We all ordered some pretty typical diner breakfasts, like the Chalfont Special #1 ($7.25), which consisted of two eggs, breakfast meat (sausage links, bacon, pork roll or scrapple), home fries and toast.

img_1129

Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the Eggs Benedict ($7.95). It was a tasty version of this classic dish. The Canadian bacon was more of a slab of meat rather than the thin stuff you get at most places. We weren’t complaining.

img_1130

The boy and my FIL both had a huge portion of Creamed Chipped Beef w/ home fries ($5.45). There were actually two slices of wheat toast under all of that gravy.

img_1131

And a side of thick-cut Pork Roll ($2.50).

img_1132

I ordered the Chalfont Special #3 ($9.95), which was a big breakfast meal consisting of two eggs, home fries, some really tasty sausage links and two pieces of sourdough French Toast. Our waitress told me that their French Toast is her favorite breakfast, so I went with this meal as opposed to Special #2 (which included pancakes instead).

img_1134

I wish I would have gotten the pancakes. The French Toast was sliced very thin, almost like the way a New York deli slices rye bread for a sandwich, and was overcooked on one side. In fact, I think they may have actually forgotten to soak the top side in the egg before they grilled it, because one side felt soft and custardy, the way French Toast should be, and the top side was dry…like toast. Needless to say, I didn’t finish this plate.

img_1135

On the way out, I spied this case of delicious-looking cakes and pies that I had wished I would have saved room for!!

img_1137

Chalfont Family Restaurant did what it was supposed to do – it filled our bellies for the morning. Was it the best breakfast ever? No. But it was decent, despite a couple of missteps. As I said, they were really busy when we got there that morning, so that might have had something to do with it. Their home fries, sausage links and decent Eggs Benedict were maybe enough to warrant a possible return trip in the future if we’re in the area and hungry.

Chalfont Family Restaurant is located at 36 W. Butler Ave, Chalfont, PA 18914 (MAP). They’re open Sunday – Wednesday, 6:00 Am – 3:00 PM and Thursday – Saturday, 6:00 Am – 9:00 PM. For more info you can check them out on Facebook or at their website.

Chalfont Family Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Delaware Valley Donut Trail: Donuts Plus – Philadelphia, PA

img_0696

As you know, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for fresh, old-school donuts. Always. “Destination” donut places are fine – you know, the fancier, more hipster-esque shops whose marvelous cakes flood your Instagram feed. I’m all for those places…sometimes. But my heart truly belongs to the hidden gem, hole-in-the-wall shops who specialize in the classic, no-frills donuts that have stood the test of time. Simple cake and yeast friers that are sweet and decadent, but not cloying. So on a recent father/son excursion for breakfast, the boy and I stopped to check out Donuts Plus in the University City area of W. Philly. I had been tipped off by a friend who visits the shop on a very regular basis that this place could supply all of the classic donut shop love that I could handle. So I had to check it out.

img_0699

So, first off, this was my very first trip EVER to West Philly. From what I observed, the area seems a little rough around the edges, but hides some true gems like this place. Donuts Plus is sandwiched in a small strip mall at the corner of Chestnut & S. 44th St. We arrived around 8:30 AM on a Saturday morning and knowing that this is the kind of shop that you have to get there early for the best selection, I was hoping we’d still have a decent variety to choose from. I was pleasantly surprised to find the cases still plentifully filled with tray after tray of golden donut bounty. The shop is very small inside, with no seating area…just a row of counters displaying the goods, with several very friendly ladies behind it, waiting to box up your treats.

img_0700

My eyes (and my belly) automatically found the biggest donuts in the case first thing. The apple fritters are absolutely HUGE – twice as big as most of the other donuts they sell, with the cinnamon rolls coming in a close second.

img_0701

Again, going in with a bit of foreknowledge, I was told that the French crullers here were TO DIE FOR. They looked incredible. As did the filled yeast donuts and the long johns.

img_0702

Steven loves jelly-filled donuts. He was drooling over these.

img_0703

The Olde Fashioned is definitely a favorite. Classics like these, as well as the cake donuts on the tray below, will always bring me what I like to call, “fat kid happiness” :).

img_0705

Here’s a look at more of their inventory. This is about as fancy as they get here, and that’s just fine with me.

img_0706

So after some major consideration, the boy and I came up with a perfect Mixed dozen ($7.25). Yes, you read that right…12 fresh, amazing donuts for $7 bucks and some change. Seriously…I was stunned. We each gobbled one down in the car before heading to breakfast, and took the rest home to Mrs. Grub Guy afterwards. I have to tell you guys, the French cruller was definitely my favorite. It was amazingly light, fresh, sweet, eggy, airy, and absolutely delicious. I actually ate 2 of the 3 that we bought. Every donut was quality. The cakies were moist, dense and yummy, and the yeasties were light and fresh.

Pro Tip: The “Plus” in the name could possibly refer to the fact that besides donuts, the shop also serves many convenient store items like chips, candy and they even have a roller grill where they’re cooking up hot dogs and sausages (even at 8:30 in the morning!). They also offer plastic take-out containers (they’re not really bottles or jugs…hard to describe) of homemade lemonade, pink lemonade and iced tea.

Pro Tip #2: Donuts Plus is a cash only business. Don’t bring your fancy credits cards. There is an ATM on premises if you forget.

Fortunately for my wallet, and my waist line, I don’t live very close to Donuts Plus. But I know that whenever I’m in this area, I will not hesitate to stop in for a box of donuts. The value is seriously tremendous. They also serve some extremely yummy iced coffee from what I’m told, though I didn’t get a chance to sample it on this visit.

Why in the world anyone would go to chain shops like Dunkin’ Donuts when we’ve got these gems around the city is absolutely beyond me. If you love good donuts, be sure to check this place out.

Donuts Plus is located at 4325 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Saturday from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and Sunday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

 

Honest Tom’s Taco Shop – Philadelphia, PA

img_0708

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been searching for a really good breakfast burrito. Way before I started this blog in 2012. Breakfast burritos are not something I usually order on a breakfast or brunch menu any more because unfortunately I’ve just been disappointed by them too many times. Most of them haven’t been bad, per se, just not…satisfying. I always leave thinking, “Man, I really wanted to like that, but it just seemed like it was missing something.” They always somehow miss the mark. Until now. And it’s not because all Honest Tom’s Taco Shop serves are burritos and tacos, although it certainly doesn’t hurt, but because they’re just really…really good at it.

img_0709

Honest Tom’s is located in the University City section of West Philly, near Penn’s campus. Their charming little shop is tucked away near the corner of 44th and Spruce, and is a favorite of locals. The shop was opened back in 2012 by owner Tom McCusker, when he decided to expand his business from his breakfast taco food truck into a full-fledged brick and mortar. Tom used to primarily serve his breakfast tacos around the Drexel University area and at local farmer’s markets, and eventually gained a huge following. While he’s added a lunch and dinner menu since opening the shop, Tom has never abandoned what brought him to the dance: breakfast.

img_0710

The cozy little space is just big enough for a few tables and some bar stools at the counter, but during the warmer months and into the Fall they do have some outdoor seating available too, which is always a nice way to enjoy a meal. It can feel a little cramped inside, especially on weekends, so my recommendation is to visit during the week or right when they open. That’s what we did on our most recent visit, arriving at around 9:15 on a Saturday morning. There were only two other customers eating inside when we got there, but within minutes of ordering and after we picked a table, the floodgates opened and soon there was a line out the door.

img_0711

One of my favorite things about Honest Tom’s (besides the food, of course) is their open kitchen area right behind the counter. I’m always a big fan of the open kitchen set-up because it not only demonstrates to customers that a shop is confident about the cleanliness of their kitchen area, but it’s also just cool to sit and watch your mega-huge burrito or taco fillings being slung around on the flat top and stuffed into fresh tortillas.

img_0713

The menu is very simple. For breakfast, there are 2 choices: Breakfast tacos or a Breakfast Burrito, and the option of adding either bacon or sausage to both. Both are excellent. The lunch and dinner menu offers a few more options with chicken, beef, pork, or sweet potatoes and veggies for you veggie nuts. Sometimes they will throw in a special like a beef barbacoa taco or a mushroom quesadilla. They have a few sides like fresh tortilla chips with pico or their unbelievably delicious guac, and rice & beans. I honestly can’t think of anything else this place needs to sell to make it more awesome than it already is. Except maybe margaritas. 🙂

img_0712

Oh, and they make their own sauces, too! We are all familiar with mild and medium, the “Halloween” sauce is a blend of garlic and jalapenos, and hot is a fiery habanero sauce. You know what they say…once you go green, it’s always Halloween! (actually, no one has ever really said that…I just made it up. But be sure to try the Halloween sauce. You’ll be hooked.)

img_0715

Once you place your order at the counter and find yourself a seat, someone brings your food out to your table. Grub Boy and I didn’t have to wait long before our breakfast arrived. The sight of that giant burrito wrapped in white paper and a hot cup of coffee was enough to bring a tear to my eyes. Almost. Grub Boy was pretty excited about his tacos, too.

img_0714

We do breakfast tacos a lot at home. But Honest Tom’s Breakfast Tacos (2/$6.50 + .50 for bacon or sausage) are just better. They’re served in fresh corn tortillas and filled with scrambled egg, home fries, pico, guacamole and cheese. Again, the freshness of these tacos cannot be overstated. GB wasn’t into the breakfast meat that day. He finished one taco and was full. Oh gee…I wonder who’s going to get that other one?? (Yeah, he wanted to take it home to Mommy 😦 )

img_0716

Remember a few minutes ago when I said that pretty much all breakfast burritos I’ve tried have been epic failures? I can never make that statement again. Without a doubt, Honest Tom’s Breakfast Burrito ($8.00 + 1.00 for bacon or sausage) is the best breakfast burrito I have ever had. Period. This thing is absolutely huge, and the levels of flavor and freshness leave me speechless. It’s a large flour tortilla jam packed with scrambled eggs, home fries, black beans, pico, guacamole, cheese, and a chipotle sour cream. Oh, did I mention that this place doesn’t charge extra for guac?? Yep, it’s included in the price! And as if I weren’t fat enough already, I added sausage to my burrito. You guys, this thing was EPIC. I doused it with Halloween sauce and finished the whole thing off. No shame.

Ok, so…if you’re really into breakfast burritos or breakfast tacos…or fast-casual Mexican food…or heck, just food in general…you need to eat here. I know it kind of sounds like I’m really hyping this place up, but honestly it’s not just hype. They deliver. Our food was outstanding. Their staff was very friendly. The atmosphere is hip and cozy. The parking sucks, but hey…you can’t have everything.

Honest Tom’s Taco Shop is located at 261 S. 44th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM and Sunday, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. For more info, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.