So….What’s The Difference?? Americano vs. Cortado

I love coffee. You love coffee. We ALL love coffee.

But for some folks, walking into a coffee shop can be a little intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. While learning about coffee from the people who source it, roast it and brew it is extremely fascinating to me, and I have no problems asking all kinds of questions while I’m at the counter, I can see where it could be confusing, and even downright scary, for someone just branching out from their Keurig machine.

If you’re one of those people, this week’s “So….What’s the Difference??” post is totally intended to give you the information you need, and the confidence to order your next caffeinated drink like a boss!

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Photo by Square One Coffee

This week: Square One Coffee (2 locations in PHL) – 249 S. 13th St  & 1811 JFK Blvd.

“Square One Coffee is an award-winning micro-roaster based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with retail locations in Lancaster and Philadelphia. As a small, family-owned business, we take pride in our small batch, handcrafted approach to roasting and serving the highest quality specialty coffee.

We believe that people matter, so we do our best to respect every person involved in the process of getting coffee from the seed to your cup—from the farmers, to our roasters, to our baristas, to our customers. At the farm level, this means that we partner with coffee producers and farming communities, paying premium prices for their hard work and reinvesting into those communities whenever possible. It also means paying all of our employees a living wage with opportunities to learn and grow in their craft (which includes traveling to coffee-producing countries to meet the farmers we partner with and see the entire process for themselves).

Put simply: We are passionate about coffee, and we believe that people matter.”

Q: What’s the difference between an Americano and a Cortado?

“What’s the difference between the Americano and Cortado? Everything!

Both beverages are espresso-based drinks, but that is where the similarities end.

The Cortado (or Gibraltar as we call it) is typically 1 part espresso to 2 parts milk. This beverage is for those who are looking for a bit more coffee presence and less milk. This beverage is also typically served at a slightly cooler temperature than a latte would be, therefore the creaminess of the beverage tends to be easily perceivable.

The Americano is at it’s most basic interpretation simply an espresso that has been watered down. It’s believed by many, but not exactly evidenced, that this beverage was created during World War 2. The story is that American soldiers weren’t down for the strong and viscous espresso so they would request for the espresso to be topped off with water so that it would more closely resemble the brewed coffee they were familiar with. Hence the name “Americano”.

While the Cortado exemplifies a creamy yet very espresso-forward beverage, the Americano offers a version of espresso that is very open, much like adding ice to your scotch. Despite their differences, these beverages offer extreme drinkability.

Cheers to that!”

Daddypops – Hatboro, PA

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If I visited a different diner for breakfast every weekend for the next 147 years, I might come close to sitting at most of the diner counters in the Delaware Valley. Seriously. We all know that diners are a dime a dozen in our area, and diner food is unfortunately just diner food at a lot of them. But sometimes you discover a place that is extra special, and I’m not just talking about the food, but also in the charm and appeal factor. I’ve eaten quite a few diner breakfasts in the last 10 months since moving here, and it’s always a treat to find a place that’s just a little bit unique. That’s what I found when I recently had breakfast on a Tuesday morning at Daddypops in Hatboro.

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When you think about old school diners, Daddypops is probably just the kind of place that immediately comes to mind. It’s truly the most “diner-ish” diner I’ve encountered so far. But it’s also very different. Sure, the shiny chrome exterior screams classic diner, but the funky wishing well out front and the surroundings of main-drag Hatboro are a little out of the ordinary. Inside is the long, narrow dining area with the tight booths on one side and a long counter & stools on the other.

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But then they mix in the crazy barbershop chairs at the corners of the counter, and beyond that is a collection of coffee mugs brought in by the regulars, so that they can sip coffee from their own mug every time they visit.

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There’s also all kinds of nostalgia going on, a lot of which you might expect from a place like this…antique cash registers, a working jukebox, and lots more! Oh, and you can’t miss the auto’d Guy Fieri poster from when he filmed a segment for Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives here back in 2008 (watch the whole segment HERE)!!

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I have to be fair and honest, and tell you that Daddypops breakfast menu is certainly not the largest or most creative I’ve ever seen, by far. But for what they lack in originality in their menu, I feel that they certainly make up for in execution of their food. That being said, there was one item on the menu that I can honestly say I have NEVER seen on a breakfast menu: the option of a side of baked beans. Seriously, you can substitute your fried potatoes or grits for a bowl of baked beans. I wasn’t brave enough to do it, but was certainly intrigued.

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First up was the Brioche French Toast w/ eggs & sausage ($8.45). There were several different options for this platter (different meats, eggs/no eggs, etc.) so it was sort of like a build-your-own. It started as 3 big slices of cinnamon-vanilla french toast, which were grilled nicely on the flat top and sprinkled with powdered sugar. We added scrambled eggs and sausage for an extra cost. I hate it when a restaurant serves butter and syrup in those little disposable packets, so I’ll have to ding them a little for that, but honestly everything was solid and well-cooked.

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The sausage links were really, really delicious. When they came out, you could tell immediately that they were not your run-of-the-mill links. I’m not sure where they get them, but they were really plump and meaty, with very little filler. The casings were tight and popped when you cut or bit into them, and the inside was really flavorful.

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The Sausage Gravy & Biscuit ($7.10) breakfast was a big plate of classic breakfast goodness. The split biscuit was topped with a huge portion of creamy gravy, and it came with my choice of either some really yummy fried potatoes or beans.

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The menu doesn’t specify how many biscuits come with an order, so I was a little sad when it arrived  with one biscuit on the plate. However, looking back, I don’t know if I could have finished a second biscuit after all. The gravy was pretty thick and hardy, and the potatoes made up for whatever might have been missing. The gravy was perfectly peppery and really flavorful, and consistency was good, although I prefer it a little chunkier.

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The biscuit itself was fresh and moist, and held up really well under all of that gravy. It was breakfast comfort food in all its glory. Overall, certainly a solid dish that I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

Pro Tip: Daddypops is a cash only diner, but don’t worry…if you walk in without some greens, they have an ATM on site.

One more thing about Daddypops that I cannot overlook mentioning: The staff here was probably some of the nicest folks I’ve encountered at an eatery in a while. Our waitress (I can’t remember her name for the life of me) was extremely friendly and courteous, and provided some of the most efficient service I’ve had in ages. One of the cooks, who left the kitchen to use the restroom, stopped on his way back to ask if everything was just how we liked it (and I don’t think this guy had a clue I was there taking pictures and reviewing the food). Even the other patrons – the regulars who sat at the counter and joked with the servers – were friendly and welcoming, including us in a few laughs. I’m tempted to say that even if the food was just “meh” (which it certainly wasn’t), I would come back again just for the atmosphere and the service. That’s how good it was.

Daddypops is located at 232 N. York Rd, Hatboro, PA 19040 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday from 6:00am – 2:00pm. For more info, check them on Facebook or TripAdvisor.

Daddypops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So….what’s the difference?? Cinnamon Rolls vs. Sticky Buns

Food can be confusing. Many breakfast foods can sometimes get confused with other foods that share the same or similar ingredients, might look alike, or may somehow get mistaken for something else. Do you know the difference between scrapple and goetta (I hope so!)? How about Greek yogurt and regular yogurt? An Americano and a Cortado? Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles? Corned beef hash and creamed chipped beef?  How about an apple fritter and an apple dumpling?

This week I’m starting a new regular feature on TBGG called “So…what’s the difference??”, where each week we’ll hear from a local restaurateur, chef, food truck owner, or food purveyor about the foods that they make and serve each and every day. We’ll ask them “What’s the difference” between the dishes/items, and we’ll get their opinions on the foods in question. We’ll also give them an opportunity to tell you about their business in their own words. Hopefully this will help you learn a little more about your breakfast, as well as the local folks serving up this delicious grub!

First up, we go sweet….

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Photo courtesy of Yelp

This week: Barry’s Buns – 8229 Germantown Ave.

“Barry’s Buns is a made from scratch bakery that specializes in gourmet sticky buns, cinnamon buns, and liege waffles,(with) an offering of six sticky bun flavors on the menu along with a seasonal flavor. Our made to order liege waffles are loaded with Belgian pearl sugar and crowned with your choice of various toppings.

Barry’s Buns is owned and operated by Joel Singer.  Joel is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University with a degree in baking and pastry arts and was most recently the Regional Bakery Associate Coordinator of Whole Foods Market for the Mid-Atlantic Region.  His career in pastry began at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and prior to working at Whole Foods Market, Joel was the Assistant Pastry Chef at The Rittenhouse hotel.

It has always been a lifelong goal of Joel to own his own business and his business plan had actually forecasted his business in 5 years. However, after finding the Market at the Fareway in Chestnut Hill, opening the business went from opening in 5 years to 45 days.  We opened in May 2015 and hope to grow to another location since the response to our product has been amazing! We love our customers.”

Q: What’s the difference between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun?

“This is a great question and we get asked this a lot by our customers.  The cinnamon roll and sticky bun are very similar but have very different characteristics.  The same dough is used for the cinnamon roll and sticky bun; however, the difference comes to the sticky smear and how they are baked.  The sticky bun is baked upside down in a bath of butter, brown sugar, and honey (and then if they are going to be topped, walnuts and raisins, those ingredients are included in the bath).  This bath creates a sticky smear on the top of the sticky bun.

The cinnamon roll on the other hand is baked right side up and does not include any of the sticky smear.  We like to call the cinnamon roll the naked version of the sticky bun.”

Q: Which is better?

“That is hard to answer and it really comes down to personal preference on whether you want a sticky gooey bun or a  traditional cinnamon roll.”

 

Bagelicious – King of Prussia, PA

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This past weekend, the wife and I were in the mood for some good bagels, so I headed over to KOP to check out a shop that was recommended to me several months ago by one of my readers. I’m always open to suggestions for new places to try, and Bagelicious is just the kind of little hidden gem, mom & pop shop I love to discover. The shop is tucked away in a very unlikely location – inside of a small strip mall that’s actually in the middle of a residential neighborhood and far from the beaten path. As I arrived at the shop and before I entered, I sat in my car and watched for a few minutes as at least a half dozen people came in and out with bags of breakfast goodness. This place appeared to have no trouble attracting customers even for as odd of a location as the they seemed to be in. I was definitely intrigued, and figured that all of this business must be taken as a sign of good things to come.

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The mood inside the shop is pleasant and cheerful, as evidenced by the two bright and sunny teenagers in this photo (pssshhhh….sarcasm). Actually, I don’t know what these kids’ problems were, but everyone I talked to was extremely friendly and helpful. I got a chance to meet the owner, Linda, and she also was very nice. The set-up inside is simple: bagels to the right, a handful of tables to the left, and a couple of cases full of all kinds of yummy cream cheese, cold deli salads, and fresh baked goods to separate us from the work space. I’m not sure if it’s because we visited on a Saturday morning, or if this place is always this slammed, but it was pretty much packed the entire time we were there, with a line almost out the door at one point. The several tables that are present were filled with folks enjoying fresh bagels and breakfast sandwiches.

Bagelicious offers a pretty standard menu of bagels and such, as well as a nice list of breakfast and lunch sandwiches. For breakfast, their bagels with 2 eggs, cheese and meat (bacon/ham/pork roll/sausage/scrapple) is king, while the western omelet bagel or Nova Lox are also good choices, according to Linda.

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The friendly girl behind the counter assisted me in choosing a Baker’s Dozen ($9.75) of bagels to go, and we brought them home to enjoy. There’s nothing like opening up a bag full of fresh bagels and that aroma smacking you right in the face!!

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Bagelicious’ bagels are delivered strait from a New York supplier, and are baked fresh every day. We couldn’t help but order up a big variety of some of our old favorites, but also discovered some new ones we liked, too! We also ordered a Large Vegetable Cream Cheese ($7.45), which was really good (more on that below).

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Grub Boy loves his blueberry bagels, so we had to grab one of those. We also sampled the onion, french toast, 8-grain, everything, marble, apple cinnamon and egg bagels.

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If you’re looking for trendy, rainbow colored, fad bagels…I don’t think you’ll find them here. If you’re looking for solid, old school bagel delish, these guys deliver it.

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Ok, I know you’re drooling now. Man, this cream cheese was packed with so many crisp little delicious veggie bits it was truly a masterpiece! Sooo good! They offer quite a wide variety of different cream cheeses in small, medium or large containers.

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The texture of Bagelicious’ bagels are more soft and doughy than the chewiness I was expecting. The french toast bagel was a winner, with a hint of vanilla and little cinnamon gems throughout.

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The wife went right for the veggie cream cheese (her favorite), and chose a marble bagel as it’s cradle.

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I opted for one of my favorites, the everything bagel, and fried up a quick egg & sausage to throw between the bottom and the lid. I love a good breakfast sandwich, especially when we have good bagels to make them with! The everything bagel had a great flavor, given that its got a little bit of…well, everything…going for it. Really good stuff.

We’re big fans of fresh, NY bagels and really enjoyed sampling these bagels and cream cheese. The shop’s location will probably prevent it from being a place we just happen to stop in for a sandwich while we’re out or for a bagel with cream cheese to go, but the next time we have a craving, or are stocking up for an easy breakfast or snack when family are visiting, we won’t hesitate at all to return for bagels that are simply…Bagelicious!

ProTip: They freeze well, and the shop even offers freezer bags at the register so that if you’ll be saving some for later, you’ll at least have the right equipment for it.

Bagelicious is located at 216 W. Beidler Rd, King of Prussia, PA 19406 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Saturday, 7:00 am – 2:00 pm, and Sunday, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm. For more info, feel free to visit their Facebook page.

 

Sun’z Up Cafe – Wildwood Crest, NJ

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We recently took a family day trip to the sandy shores of Wildwood Crest, NJ to soak up some sun and have some beach fun. It was our first chance to visit the ocean this summer, and my first time in about 14 years! We just so happened to pick the absolute hottest day of the season so far, so we knew we’d need to start the day with a good breakfast to keep our energy up. Since I hadn’t been to the shore in forever, I had no idea about the breakfast scene there, so I turned to Yelp for assistance. I discovered that The Wildwoods have absolutely no shortage of great local breakfast places to choose from. Ultimately, we decided to begin our day with some morning grub from Sun’z Up Cafe in Wildwood Crest, which was just a few blocks from our beach destination.

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Sun’z Up Cafe is a great little spot along New Jersey Ave, sort of on the outskirts of all the hustle and bustle that is Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. It was a bright and cheerful place, just what you’d expect from a breakfast and brunch cafe near the shore. The beach-themed decor was nicely done without being too tacky. Even though the space was small (the picture above is 1/2 of the entire restaurant), it didn’t feel closed in, thanks to one whole wall being large windows that looked out over their outdoor patio area, in addition to the big windows in the front and on the opposite wall, too. Lots of sunshine!

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The outdoor covered patio was a really nice space as well, but it was just too darn hot for us, and for most folks, on this particular day. Otherwise, I can imagine that this area is probably prime real estate most mornings and especially on weekends.

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We started with some coffee and iced tea. I’m not sure what it is, but I really dig the whole drinking from mason jars thing. The boy said it made his chocolate milk taste better too. It’s magic!

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One of the things that drew me to this place when searching online was the fact that their menu included some pretty great-sounding specialties. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice plate of fried eggs & bacon as much as any breakfast-loving fool does, but sometimes it’s nice to venture off the standard diner breakfast page of the menu.

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When all was said and done, we ended up with a nice mix of specialty dishes and classic breakfast.

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The wife ordered something called The Bliss ($7.95), which honestly was indeed oh so blissful! I really wish I would have grabbed a closeup photo of this dish so you could truly appreciate it for what it was. It consisted of 3 scrambled eggs, diced bacon, chives and cream cheese that were whipped together until it created a light and airy whip – almost like a fancy spread – atop a toasted English muffin. I really have never tasted anything like it. The wife raved about it until I had to try a bite. It was absolutely amazing! It was creamy and light, and yet very filling and hardy. We decided that we’ve got to try to make this at home! It was excellent on the muffin. Her meal also came with a side of fried potatoes that were done nicely. She also got a side of toast, which was sort of weird; I think our server may have been new or just filling in, because I don’t believe the dish usually comes with extra carbs.

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We also ordered a Short Stack of Cornmeal Pancakes ($4.95). This was my idea, because I was sort of in a pancake mood, but I didn’t want just pancakes for breakfast, so the wife agreed to split a short stack (2) with me. Cornmeal pancakes are just something we never really order when we go out, but something we both enjoy. These were light and yummy. I missed the crispy edges that I’m accustomed to when Mrs. Grub Guy makes these at home though.

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For second breakfast (this is becoming a bad habit for me), I ordered the Huevos Rancheros ($8.25). It was a huge portion that could have probably fed two people (the picture doesn’t capture the true girth of the entree). It was a pretty tasty and satisfying version made up of layered crispy corn tortillas, a big helping of a refried bean medley which was really quite good, two over easy eggs, cheddar jack cheese, sour cream, salsa and jalapenos. I’d score this dish a triple…had I been offered some Sriracha to top it off, and maybe thought to add some avocado, it would have been a home run for sure. Overall, a really good breakfast, though.

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Our boy, Steven, is a creature of habit. It doesn’t matter where we go, we can always figure on him ordering his favorite breakfast dish, the French Toast (Full Stack – $6.45). He chugged down his jar of milk before the food arrived at our table, so his belly was pretty full – thus Dad had to help him a little bit with this (third breakfast?!?). It came as three big slices of cinnamon and vanilla-battered, Texas-style toast, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. There were no complaints out of the boy, or me. It was really very tasty.

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I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Sun’z Up Cafe for breakfast the next time we plan a trip to the shore. The food was really, really good, the prices were reasonable, and the staff was friendly. The only critique I might give was that our server was really kind of slow and seemed not to know the menu very well at all (she didn’t know they served cornmeal pancakes), but again, that would certainly be understandable if she were new. It could also be because the cafe was packed and really busy during our entire visit. Either way, it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the meal.

Anybody who knows the Wildwoods knows that there are literally dozens of little cafe’s, diners, bars and other eateries all up and down the shore. And while you could probably pick any of them and have a decent breakfast experience, make sure you keep Sun’z Up Cafe in mind next time you make the trip.

Sun’z Up Cafe is located at 6708 New Jersey Ave, Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Sunday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm. For more info, check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

HubBub Coffee – Radnor, PA

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried several local roasters and coffee shops, and I’ve really been enjoying getting to know the local coffee scene more. So when Emily Kovach of HubBub Coffee invited me to have a cuppa joe with her at their Radnor coffee shop, I was all in. Still being somewhat new to the area, I had only tried HubBub once before, but hadn’t yet visited any of their three Philly-area shops. This shop on the Main Line is their newest, with the others being in Center City at 1717 Arch Street, and across the street from their original truck location at 3736 Spruce St.

I got to hear a lot of the history behind HubBub Coffee from Emily, including the story of how the company began as a coffee truck, born out of the memories of the cozy, street corner coffee kiosks that owner Drew Crockett came to love while spending time in Australia. When he returned to Philly, he wanted to recreate that same spirit, and finally did so by offering his coffee from the window of a small truck that ultimately became his own coffee company origin.

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The Radnor shop is a really warm and inviting space. It’s stylishly designed, decorated in lots of natural wood with pops of brightness (like the red chairs) scattered throughout. The laid back atmosphere is definitely there, which is essential in achieving the coffee shop vibe that all shops strive for.

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The long counter is fully stocked with brewing equipment for just about anything your coffee-loving heart could want. They serve a lot of your standard drinks like pour overs, espresso, chai, cold brew and more. The baristas were very friendly and seemed pretty knowledgeable about the beverages they served.

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As we sat and talked about the history of HubBub, my 10-year old boy Steven and I enjoyed one of their delicious cinnamon rolls. HubBub uses local food purveyors to provide the delicious snacks that they serve at all of their stores. Our pastry was made by a local bakery in Narberth called Au Fournil. They also serve donuts by Dottie’s Donuts, bagels by The Original Bagel in Broomall and lots of other yummy treats. Just about everything – even down to the peanut butter they use – is locally sourced. That’s just awesome.

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I tried their Nitro cold brew coffee, which was done really well. It’s one of my favorite summer treats. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend that you give it a go when you visit. For those who are not familiar with the Nitro brew, the coffee is pushed through the tap with nitrogen; the nitro bubbles are much smaller than carbon dioxide, so rather than being bubbly and fizzy it’s smooth and creamy. The nitrogen ascends to the top to create a small layer of foam. The resulting drink really highlights the coffee’s flavor profile, and it’s devoid of bitterness.

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I also sampled an Iced latte, which is made with whole milk from Trickling Springs Creamery out of Chambersburg, PA. It too was refreshing and delicious.

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Another really cool thing about HubBub is that you can now get their cold brew coffee poured into a growler to take with you. To me, this would be perfect to carry out when you stop in for your morning cup. Trust me, your office mates will thank you! This would be awesome to take to a picnic, cookout, or even to the shore. What’s even better is that you can now actually get this delivered…um, yeah, that’s right…DELIVERED…throughout the Philadelphia area thanks to HubBub’s partnership with Caviar food delivery!

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HubBub recently started roasting their own coffee, and now sells beans at all of their shops. They also feature several guest roasters throughout the year and offer bags of their coffee as well. Smaller, upstart roasters around the country are getting some extra exposure thanks to HubBub. Current Single origin, guest roasters include Metric Coffee out of Chicago, Neat Coffee out of Connecticut, and ReAnimator from right here in Philly.

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They also recently started offering Juice Hub juices, a 100% raw and organic, cold pressed juice line made locally by Juice Dr. in Ardmore. Emily generously offered me a couple of bottles to sample. I’m now a big fan! I especially loved the pineapple, carrot, turmeric and lime version. Sweet. Spicy. Delicious.

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I really enjoyed spending the afternoon visiting Hubbub Coffee and learning about the company. It’s a great local business that is truly passionate about supporting other local businesses. I love that. They are sincere in their quest for producing the best coffee available, and then providing that product to the people of Philadelphia. It’s a business I will definitely continue to support.

And you can too….

HubBub Coffee has generously offered a gift pack to give away to one of my readers which includes a $10 gift card and other cool HubBub swag! It’s the perfect way to introduce you to their product (you can use the gift card at any of their three shops). If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post, or on any of my social media sites, and let me know your favorite coffee drink. I will randomly choose a winner on Sunday evening, 7/24, at 11:00pm. I will announce the winner here on Monday morning!

I’d like to thank Emily and HubBub Coffee for generously providing samples of their products as part of this review. All opinions are my own.

HubBub Coffee is located at 232 N. Radnor Chester Rd, Radnor, PA 19087 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 6:30am – 6:00pm, and Saturday – Sunday, 8:00am – 5:00pm. For more info on HubBub, feel free to visit their website, or check them out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

Not So Brekkie: Warminster Deli – Warminster, PA

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So, I’m really getting into these little neighborhood deli shops. I don’t normally write about take-out food – in fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever written about take-out food in the last 4 years of writing this blog – but not for any other reason than the fact that other than cheap Chinese food, I’ve never really had a lot of exposure to it. We really didn’t have many of these types of convenient little places where I lived in Columbus (I can think of maybe 2 off hand is all). I know that seems hard to believe, since they’re pretty much all over the place around here, but really, there were not many places where you could stop in to get a quick cheesesteak, hoagie, or even a salad – we ordered from pizza shops or Jimmy Johns for that type of thing. But I’ve found several deli’s in the area that provide a pretty decent lunch alternative to the fast food joints or Chinese take-out shops, and so I thought I’d highlight one of the new favorites that I’ve happened upon recently, the Warminster Deli. Warminster Deli is located along a stretch of County Line Rd, just between Hatboro and Warminster, that is pretty scarce when it comes to lunch options during the work week. I work in this area, and really, it’s been my go-to place recently when I’ve wanted to eat out for lunch.

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Warminster Deli is a very simple and uncomplicated place. They’ve got two deli cases – one for meats, one for cheeses & cold salads – a couple of drink coolers, a pickle barrel, a chip rack and a pay counter. And that’s all you need, really. It’s run by two friendly, hardworking guys who are there every time I visit, and are always willing to chat. One of the guys works the deli cases, the other works the grill. Smooth operation.

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From what I understand, the menu at Warminster Deli is really not all that different than most of the corner deli’s scattered around the city and the surrounding area. Aside from their take-out deli service, they’ve got your standard steaks, hoagies, other hot & cold sandwiches, wraps, salads, appetizers such as chicken fingers and cheese fries, etc. They do have a few specialty items that I’ve not really seen before, like the Rachel (counterpart to the Reuben – with hot turkey breast, swiss cheese and coleslaw) or the Spicy & Spicy hoagie (buffalo chicken & pepper jack cheese). They have a specials board located inside the shop which usually features a couple of selected sandwiches at a discounted price, and they’ve also recently added a few different tortas (Mexican sandwiches) to the board. I’ve only tried a handful of things that they offer, but I think what separates this place from the other deli’s I’ve tried is that everything I’ve had so far has been really flavorful and seasoned well…something that it seems could be easily overlooked when preparing food at a place like this.

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One of my favorites is the Special Cheesesteak ($6.95). It’s a big, 12-inch sandwich filled with chopped steak, fried onions, peppers, mushrooms, a river of melted white American cheese on the bottom, and pizza sauce on top (I always get it sans the sauce). They use a really good, sturdy roll that holds everything in really well and provides the desired chew with each bite.

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I’ve been told that true Philadelphian’s don’t eat peppers on their steaks, but hey, I’m not from around these parts, so I like it this way. The amount of meat they pile into this sandwich is ridiculous, in a very, very good way and it’s not the least bit gristly. The cheese:meat ratio is always just right, and they season the steak perfectly during the grilling process. This is probably my favorite steak I’ve had so far since moving here (although admittedly there are still tons of top spots I still haven’t tried yet), and it is definitely worth the trip alone, IMO.

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One of the other sandwiches we’ve tried is the Hot Pork Italian special (w/ fries for $7.50). Roast pork sandwiches like this are just not something you find in Columbus, so I am pretty new to this one. Again, I know there are more popular places to buy these at, but I just haven’t gotten there yet. But this version was pretty darn tasty. What makes this sandwich “Italian” is the addition of sharp provolone cheese and roasted red peppers along with the roast pork and broccoli rabe.

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Again, I was very pleased with the seasoning of the pork itself…slightly salty, slightly garlicky, and the rabe gave it good flavor as well. The one criticism I have is that unfortunately they didn’t spread the rabe throughout the whole sandwich, so sometimes you’re getting mostly pork, cheese & bread (as seen above, which wasn’t a bad thing in itself), but then some bites are all rabe. I’d like it a little more evenly disbursed. That being said, this sandwich is definitely worth a stop for as well. The fries are good…from a bag, but cooked and salted well.

With sandwich quality hitting high marks like these, this place will probably stay a definite lunchtime stop for me as long as I’m in the neighborhood. If you are, or happen to be driving through, give them a try. I’ve just barely scratched the surface of what they offer, but I’m looking forward to trying some of the other things they’re cooking up at this great little spot, and some of their deli sandwiches, too.

Warminster Deli is located at 275 E. County Line Rd, Warminster, PA 19040. They’re open Monday – Saturday, from 8:30am – 7:00pm, and Sunday 8:30am – 6:00pm. 

Warminster Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters – West Chester, PA

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This past weekend I drove out to West Chester to check out the Artisan Exchange market. For those who don’t know, the Artisan Exchange is a collaboration of like-minded entrepreneurs who gather every Saturday, year round, to promote business and sell their hand-crafted, sustainable foods and other artisan goods. The market typically includes over 50 vendors and is open to the public. One of the main attractions at the market is Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters, whose roasting facility is attached to the market’s main corridor.

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Frank and Maryann Baldassarre have owned and operated Golden Valley Farms for the last 30 years. I met them both at the market when I visited and got a chance to talk with them quite a bit about their business, their roasting process, their coffee and tea, and the market itself. Maryann and their daughter, Jackie, were manning the booth on the day we were there, offering samples of their shade-grown coffees, including their new cold brew.

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Maryann offered to give me a tour of their roasting facility, which is located right next to the market. It was a pretty large space which included their roaster and equipment (obviously) and a bottling/production area. She said that her sons, one of whom studied and mastered his craft in Vermont and the other on the west coast, do most of GVF’s small-batch roasting. The rest of the family works in sales, national distribution, and company branding and advertising.

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Golden Valley Farms is one of the few roasters who are triple certified as a USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and Bird-Friendly roaster. I had never even heard of that last one, but Maryann explained that their coffees come from farms that are certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center. These farms guarantee not to chop down their canopy of trees growing naturally over their coffee plants. This preserves the habitat of birds that would otherwise fly to their seasonal homes only to find them decimated by deforestation. Without this safekeeping, birds die every year by the thousands. Golden Valley Farms partners with the Smithsonian to support this environmentally critical program by purchasing many of their coffees from farms that have achieved this coveted Bird-Friendly seal. Pretty sweet!

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They offer quite the extensive lineup of blends in medium, dark and French roasts. They also offer their coffees in single serve cups (K-cups). Their beans (whole and ground) are available to both wholesale and retail customers and can be found in our area at many area Whole Foods stores, specialty shops, and of course, at the Artisan Exchange market.

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They also recently started bottling their new cold brew coffee. Based on the nearly empty ice bucket I found when I visited their booth at the market, I’d say it’s catching on quite nicely. They also offer Cold Brew Pouches for at-home brewing.

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The Baldassarre’s offered me a couple of samples to take home and try, including this bag of Guatemalan blend. It’s a medium roast with flavors of brown sugar, maple and figs. I haven’t ground any yet, but I’m eagerly anticipating this delicious bag-o-beans.

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I also got to try some of their bottled cold brew which was excellent! Smooth and strong, it’s a delightful drink to sip with breakfast or any time of the day really, especially when it’s hot outside.

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It was really refreshing. It’s a bold, dark blend that can be sweetened if you’d like, which is the way Mrs. Grub Guy enjoyed it. But if you’re a black coffee drinker, you’ll love it, too!

I’d like to thank Maryann, Frank and Jackie for their hospitality and for taking the time to show me around and talk with me about their product. Seriously guys, if you’re looking for a really great, local coffee roaster who cares about their coffee – both in origin and end result – then give Golden Valley Farms a try. You can find them at the Artisan Exchange market all year round!

Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters is located at 208 Carter Dr, Ste 13B, West Chester, PA, 19382(Map). You can find them at the Artisan Exchange market every Saturday, from 10:00am – 2:00pm. For more info, feel free to visit their website, or check them out of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Keystone Grill – Eagleville, PA

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Last weekend, the wife and I decided we would get our Sunday brunch on, and after driving for a few minutes to what I had planned as our original destination, I realized that I had not been paying attention and had mistakenly been driving in the wrong direction (yay me). Without realizing where I was, I pulled into the Keystone Grill’s parking lot to turn around and head back the other way down Main Street. Once I saw where we were, I said to the wife, “Hey, you wanna just check this place out?”. She agreed, so we did. Keystone Grill – also known as the Family Bistro – is one of many diners along Main Street in the Norristown/Trooper/Eagleville area of Montgomery County. Although I would classify it as a slight step up from several other “greasy spoon” eateries in the area, one of their main attractions is a really good diner-style breakfast, which always gets huge brownie points from me.

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The restaurant is quite a bit larger than I expected inside, with the main dining area seating probably a hundred or so people in both tables and booths. They also have a small overflow dining area in the back of the house that was full too! They were quite busy on the morning that we were there, with clientele of all demographics seemingly enjoying their meals. We took this as a good sign – either the food was great, the prices were good, or both! And even for as busy as they were, it didn’t feel overly crowded. I hate being smashed when I eat. One thing we both noticed was how it felt like it should be a lot darker inside than it actually was. Thankfully there was an abundance of keystone-shaped windows letting in lots of natural lighting. Otherwise, it might have felt like we were eating inside of a military bunker or something. Seriously though, it was very open and comfortable.

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We waited for about 10 minutes for an open table, and there were probably 4-5 couples waiting behind us as we were seated. What was it about this place? As soon as I opened the menu, I knew. The large menu (as in actual size of the pages) was filled with tons of classic diner food options, a few specialties, build-your-owns, a kids menu, drinks and more…and the prices were terrific! Aside from the steaks, I don’t think there was a single meal on the menu above $7.99! The wife and I browsed as our friendly waitress brought coffee and water. She was very pleasant, but too busy to chat, which was totally understandable.

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Ok, so I couldn’t pick just one breakfast. The first thing that caught my eye was the Florentine Benedict ($6.99). I mean, how can you go wrong with that? Slightly crisp English muffin, sauteed baby spinach, feta cheese, poached eggs, and hollandaise. It came with a side of fried potatoes which were really tasty.

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To me, this benedict was perfectly executed. The muffin was toasted with a slightly crispy edge but still soft in the middle. It was constructed with a good helping of feta and spinach underneath of the poached eggs, and the hollandaise had a great consistency and flavor. Sometimes I’m a little leary about hollandaise, because when it’s too lemony, it’s all just ruined for me. But this was about as good as I’ve had.

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Keeping with the hollandaise vibe, Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the Massachusetts Omelet ($7.49), which was a 2-egger made with fresh ingredients. They have a dozen or so “State Omelets”, but I’m not really sure how they decided which states got which fillers. This one had sliced turkey breast, bacon, onions, peppers, tomatoes and was topped with that delicious hollandaise. This is where my breakfast pet peeves come into play. Many restaurants and diners confuse what I would call a “scramble” for an omelet. I totally understand that it’s quicker and easier to mix everything together this way rather than to cook the traditional fold-over egg blanket with the filler in the middle, so…why not just call it a scramble on the menu? Anyway, the wife enjoyed it. She said it all tasted really fresh and had good flavor, but it would have been better as an actual omelet. She also got some potatoes and buttered rye toast with her breakfast.

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We also tried the Grilled Cinnamon Roll ($2.49). This came out more like a cinnamon roll french toast. It was yummy for what it was, but it could have been outstanding had it included a sweet icing drizzle, or maybe some maple butter or something. Heck, I’d have even taken some basic maple syrup. As it was, we just added a little butter and ate it that way. Like I said, it was pretty good, but it could have been great with a little more effort.

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And so we come to my second breakfast. Yes, I ordered two breakfasts. I couldn’t resist. Sausage gravy & biscuits are just my thing, and I really haven’t found it all that often in this area (I guess it’s a cultural thing, as I’ve found that more diners around here lean more toward the creamed chipped beef option instead). Keystone Grill’s Sausage Gravy & Biscuit ($5.99) was a very pleasant surprise. It was one split biscuit topped with a river of very creamy, white sage gravy and a ton of sliced sausage link pieces.

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Oh my gosh you guys…this gravy was SO GOOD! It was on the thinner side, which was fine, and the flavor was amazing! The heaviness on the sage gave this a really unique taste, and the plentiful sausage pieces added a bit of spice. It wasn’t greasy at all, neither was it too floury. The biscuit itself was delicious too – soft, moist and fresh. It also came with a big helping of the fried potatoes, which we doggie-bagged, along with one of the biscuit halves covered in gravy and sausage. I’d go here again just to get this!

Overall, we were really pleased with breakfast/brunch at Keystone Grill. Some of the things we ordered were really on point (hollandaise, sausage gravy) while others might benefit from a little refining (omelet, cinnamon roll), but more importantly, everything was really fresh and flavorful. The service was good even for as busy as they were, and the staff was friendly. And as for the prices, bottom line is it’s tough to beat this place. Honestly, considering these factors, it’s a better option for my money than some of the other diners in the immediate area. I’m sure we’ll be back whenever we’re in the mood for a quick family breakfast.

Keystone Grill is located at 2838 W. Main St, Eagleville, PA 19403 (MAP). They’re open 7 days a week from 6:00AM – 10:PM and serve breakfast all day. To find out more, visit their Facebook page HERE.

Keystone Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Just a few homemade breakfasts…

Hey there, remember me??

Yeah, I’ve really been slacking off lately in the breakfast review department since I’m still adjusting to this new job I took on a couple of months ago – you know how it is…busy with new responsibilities, new schedules, etc. But don’t worry…more new reviews of breakfast in and around Philadelphia are coming very soon!!

In the meantime, I’ve been having some really great homemade breakfasts lately, some made by me and others created by the talented Mrs. Grub Guy. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to just throw out some of the awesome eats I’ve been grubbing on. Now keep in mind, most of these photos have already been shared on my Instagram feed, so if you’re not following along there, WHY NOT?? Click HERE to follow me!

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Mrs. Grub Guy makes some of the most delicious pancakes around!

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This is a scramble I threw together made with eggs, cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, diced avocado and Passanante’s jalapeno cheddar chicken sausage. It was most righteous!

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One of my favorite breakfasts in the world is a plate of chunky sausage gravy and homemade buttermilk biscuits. I swear, I could eat this stuff on top of anything!!

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One Saturday morning I tried to be healthy….yeah, it didn’t turn out too well. But this breakfast looked nice, right? Here’s a simple peanut butter toast with berries, coffee, and some most excellent reading material.

Sausage-Potato-and-Egg-Breakfast-Tacos

I have definitely been on a breakfast taco kick lately. We recently made a couple versions at home after trying some serious tacos at Honest Tom’s in Philly. Here’s my scrambled eggs, steak and potatoes taco.

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And here’s another delicious taco version…the chorizo and eggs.

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Ok, I can’t take credit for these beauties, but how good do these Eggs in a Nest look?? The wife fried these up the other day with a little yogurt w/ raspberry preserves and coffee on the side. Breakfast fuel.

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Whether you call this stuff pork roll or Taylor Ham, it’s mighty darn tasty…especially inside of an egg sandwich! We recently discovered this Jersey favorite (Being from the midwest, I had never heard of the stuff!)

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All I can say here is….O.M.G!!!

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Another wifey creation…baby bella, green onion and cheddar omelette with a side of fresh fruit. Healthy AND delicious!

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So, here’s my take on a hearty breakfast burrito – eggs, potatoes, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, black beans and goat cheese inside of a warm tortilla!

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Finally, let us not forget about the classic diner breakfast – fried eggs (usually over medium for me), some crispy fried potatoes, and toast. Quite often we fix this with breakfast meat on the side. It’s our at home old-standby.

Hope you enjoyed these pics. Don’t forget….more reviews (breakfast and “Not So Brekkie”) coming soon!!!