Vickers - ExteriorOn Thursday, August 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Vickers Restaurant & Bar, 192 East Welsh Pool Road, Exton, Pennsylvania, will host a special “Romancing the Renaissance” Wine Dinner, which invites diners to enjoy the pleasures of Toscana. Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most notable wine regions: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Pappardelle: Porcini Mushrooms, Cream; Wine Pairing: Cantina Bruni Vermentino 2016

Pesce alla Griglia: Turbot, Grilled Radicchio, Toasted Fregola, Pistachio; Wine Pairing: Teruzzi and Puthod Vernaccia 2017

Insalata: Arugula Salad, Shaved Parmesan, Prosciutto

Porchetta Toscana: Pancetta, Fines Herbes, Roasted Grapes, Parsley Gremolata; Wine Pairing: Col d’Orcia Rosso di Montalcino 2016

Dolce: Tiramisu; Wine Pairing: San Felice Vin Santo Belcaro 2009

The cost of the “Romancing the Renaissance” wine dinner is $85.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call Vickers, (610) 363-7998.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Anthony’s Cucina Fresca

78 West Lancaster Avenue

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

(610) 873-5544

anthonyscucinafresca.com

Anthony's Dowingtown - InteriorOwned by Chef Danilo Angelucci and his wife, Katherine, Anthony’s Cucina Fresca is a homey, welcoming and, above all, bustling trattoria. No matter what day of the week you decide to put in an appearance – especially at dinner – rest assured that the joint will be jumping… which is something of a recommendation in and of itself… “Never eat in an empty restaurant,” food writer Jim Quinn once remarked, “everyone who isn’t there must know something you don’t.”

… And there are several excellent reasons why Anthony’s continues to pack them in: the food is well-prepared and generously portioned; the price is right (downright inexpensive in my book); and the service – even in the midst of the hustle & bustle and the tightly-spaced seating arrangements – is self-assured, friendly, and exceedingly knowledgeable… Another plus is the restaurant’s well-stocked bar, which features select signature cocktails and an assortment of Italian wines and beers.

Anthony's Downingtown - BurrataAppetizers get culinary matters off to a good start. There are, of course, the so-called usual suspects, items such as the Clams & Mussels Mix in either red or white sauce, Fried Calamari, and Bruschetta. But the kitchen also turns out a number of more interesting starters that appear to be specifically designed to pique your culinary curiosity as well as rouse your tired taste buds from slumber. The Stuffed Figs, Prosciutto, and Mascarpone, for example, isn’t exactly your usual bill of fare. Dry figs are stuffed with a creamy mascarpone cheese and chopped walnuts and served with Prosciutto di Parma. But even better is the kitchen’s updated Burrata (pictured). Homemade creamy mozzarella is pillowed on a bed of spring mix, topped with roasted red peppers, and finished with a delicious pesto sauce and splash of truffle oil.

Anthony's Downingtown - Baked EggplantUtilizing a host of familiar ingredients, Anthony’s Eggplant (pictured) is a charmingly contemporary take on a traditional starter. Thick tender slices of baked eggplant are interspersed with homemade fresh mozzarella and Romano cheese, splashed with extra virgin olive oil & marinara sauce, and crowned with a fresh basil leaf. As photogenic as it is delicious. The definitive winner in the appetizer department.

Anthony's Downingtown - Signature SaladAnthony’s salads, which are anything but ordinary, also make marvelous starters – and most easily double as light entrées or are suitable for sharing… The Pear, for instance, offers up slices marinated in cinnamon sauce with mixed greens, Gorgonzola, walnuts, and homemade vinaigrette dressing… The Portobello combines glazed mushrooms, mixed greens, roasted zucchini, goat cheese, and caramelized almonds splashed with a mandarin vinaigrette… The Organic includes chickpeas, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, kalamata olives, beets, and fresh mushrooms served over a bed of spinach with a homemade honey vinaigrette. My nod, however, goes to Anthony’s Signature Salad (pictured), a delightful combo of fresh strawberries, grapes, sliced almonds, goat cheese, and grilled salmon on a bed of romaine lettuce drizzled with a first-class honey/balsamic vinaigrette.

As you move on to the entrées, tradition prevails once again, as the menu offers the customary variety of pastas and chicken & veal dishes served up Saltimbocca, Marsala, Piccata, and Parmigiana. Salmon, a menu mainstay, is presented San Remo (baked with mussels, clams, and shrimp in a spicy marinara) and Sicilian (baked in a garlic olive oil sauce sided by sautéed vegetables). The kitchen also puts out a very nice Filet Mignon Italian Style wrapped in bacon with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.

Anthony's Downingtown - LasagnaMy dining partner’s Chicken Parmigiana was particularly well prepared. The chicken was moist and tender, smothered in melted mozzarella and accompanied by al dente penne pasta. My only gripe was that the marinara sauce could have used a bit more seasoning. Anthony’s Lasagna (pictured), on the other hand, was right on the money. The lasagna noodles were layered with beef, mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan and then doused with a marinara & panna sauce. This is basically marinara sauce spruced up with heavy cream and a touch of nutmeg. And its presence added a delightfully rich & creamy dimension to the lasagna’s taste and texture. A must try.

Veal, in whatever incarnation it may appear, is always a good bet. My Veal Marsala, for instance, sautéed in a mushroom Marsala wine sauce, was marvelously tender and offered up just enough consistency to indicate that you were biting into the real McCoy rather than that beneath contempt processed variety. The mashed potatoes also proved an excellent complement; and while the sauce struck me as a tad too sweet, why quibble.

Anthony's Downingtown - Fruit TartDesserts cover the usual bases, i.e., tiramisu and cannoli. Both are just fine… but occasionally the kitchen will bake up a sweet ending that is really worth those extra calories. Recently, for example, my dining partner and I were treated to an exquisite freshly-made fruit tart that far surpassed expectations. The crust was perfectly textured, the fruit at the peak of ripeness, and the creamy filling an ethereal treat. Take a gander at the photo and you’ll understand precisely what I mean. If it happens to make a guest appearance the evening of your visit, don’t hesitate to dig in.

Anthony’s Cucina Fresca – which, by the way, is not related in any way to Anthony’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant in Malvern (that was reviewed several months ago) – is most assuredly worth a visit. Just one caveat… As I write this review, Anthony’s is undergoing renovations, which may add to the general confusion or to the fun, depending upon your point of view.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Farm to Fork Dinner

 

 

From September 21 – 28, 2019, participating members of South Jersey Hot Chefs, https://sjhotchefs.com/, will be celebrating Farm to Fork Week, serving four-course dinners priced at $35.00 per person (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

For a list of participating restaurants, please go to https://sjhotchefs.com/sj-hot-chefs-events/farm-to-fork-2019.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Nicholas - Jesse Katz Wine DinnerOn Thursday, August 1, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a very special dinner with Jesse Katz from Devil Proof Vineyards and Aperture Cellars.

His Malbec has been the highest rated Malbec in the history of California for five straight years… “Hands down the greatest Malbec I’ve ever tasted,” according to Robert Parker.

First Course: Barnegat Light Scallop Crudo “Provençal”; Wine Pairing: 2018 North Coast, Chenin Blanc, Aperture

Second Course: Curried Summer Squash Tortellini, Cashews, Local Honey; Wine Pairing: 2018 Sonoma, Sauvignon Blanc, Aperture

Third Course: Roasted Organic Hen, Caramelized Pearl Onion, Sauce au Vin Rouge; Wine Pairing: 2016 Alexander Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aperture

Fourth Course: Veal Chop, Creamy Polenta, Wild Mushroom, Black Truffle Bordelaise; Wine Pairing: 2016 Alexander Valley, Malbec, Devil Proof

Fifth Course: Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake, Salted Caramel, Nicholas Creamery Coffee Crunch

The price of the Jesse Katz Winemaker Dinner is $125.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Portugal - WineNo other country can match Portugal’s range of indigenous wine grape varieties; an incredibly rich palette for winemakers that goes back to the Bronze Age. Tartessians, Romans, and Phoenicians introduced wine grapes here; and viticulture eventually spread across Portugal’s diverse geography.

Because Portugal’s wine culture developed in relative isolation, there are many grape varieties that do not grow anywhere else in the world. Therefore, it is not surprising that winemakers usually draw from a variety of grape sources to create balanced, flavorful blends. Especially during the last decade, winemaking in Portugal has been undergoing a quiet revolution. Other than the great fortified wine from Porto, Portugal has often been seen as the home of cheap table wines of average quality. Now, however, the focus is clearly on quality, studying and experimenting with the over 250 indigenous grape varieties and working sustainably in the vineyards as much as possible. The result is that Portugal is a veritable treasure trove of unique and distinctive wines. To many wine experts, Portugal is the last frontier of wine in Western Europe; there is still so much that has yet to be tasted and explored.

Portuguese blends, with their distinctive combinations and unique character, reward wine lovers seeking diversity. These wines, at their best, often from small but distinct regions, combine ancient winemaking wisdom with the latest scientific and technical knowledge to put pleasure back in your glass.

MAIN PORTUGUESE WINE STYLES

Portugal - VineyardLight-Bodied Whites: The cool, hilly, verdant northwest of Portugal is the main source of Vinho Verde, a unique style of white wine with low alcohol and high, fresh acidity. Vinho Verde may be made from numerous grape varieties such as Alvarinho. Some wines are aromatic, others are not; styles range from dry to medium dry.

Full-Bodied Whites: Higher in alcohol and richer in texture, these wines come from sun-bathed vineyards with high summer temperatures. There are soft, rich wines from the Alentejo region, intense, minerally whites from the Douro, and full-bodied whites from Trás-os-Montes in the northeast. The oak-ageing of top-of-the-line reserve whites from the Dão and Lisboa regions, rounds them out to full-bodied status.

Rich Round Full-Bodied Reds: The hot summers of the Alentejo region make for easy ripening grapes, which yield rich fruit and full-bodied wines. Alentejo red wines are made from a variable blend of grape varieties, including Trincadeira and Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Portugal - Vineyard 2Robust Reds: Big and firmly tannic in their first few years of life, top Douro red wines exhibit their own robust style of elegance and complexity of flavor that comes from a mix of grapes where old vines of mixed varieties are planted together. Trás-os-Montes is the wine region to the north of the Douro Valley that also grows similar grape varieties that yield big red wines. Another source is Bairrada, made from the Baga grape, which has full body as well as high acid and tannin that matures into a softer, complex malty wine of great originality.

Elegant Reds: The Dão region has what is considered Portugal’s greatest concentration of elegant red wines, fine quality Touriga Nacional blended with Tinta. Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, and other grapes contribute to the intensely-flavored, perfumed reds with good acidity and excellent balance. The red wines produced from the Castelão grape in the village of Palmela on the Peninsula de Setúbal offer complexity, fruity flavors, good acidity, and balanced tannins that exhibit hints of cedar in maturity, not unlike a well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon.

Port Wine: Port is divided into three families: White, Tawney, and Ruby. White Port offers a range of colors that can vary from pale white to amber. The Ruby family exhibits red tonality that extends from light red to very dark red, almost black. The Tawny family usually extends from colors like auburn, copper, and amber.

Madeira: All Madeira has a nutty, deliberately oxidized and slightly caramelized quality from wood-aging under the influence of heat. Madeira ranges in character from just off-dry to seriously sweet. In ascending order of sweetness: Sercial, Terrantez, Verdelho, Boal, and Malvasia.

 

For those who may be interested in sampling two first-rate, reasonably price Portuguese wines – other than Port, that is – I would highly recommend those noted immediately below, both of which are readily available through Pennsylvania State Stores…

Portugal - Luis Duarte2014 Luís Duarte Rubrica Branco White: One of Portugal’s most recognized vignerons, Luís Duarte is the only winemaker to have been awarded Winemaker of the Year twice, in 1997 and 2007. In 2007, he initiated his own personal projects, with the Rapariga Da Quinta and Rubrica labels. Introduced to US markets in 2010, they have become an instant success, as both brands were included in the top 100 wines of the year in Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Rubrica means “signature” in Portuguese… And these wonderfully rich wines, blended with indigenous Portuguese & French grape varieties, and aged in French oak barrels, are extraordinary examples of what Luís Duarte is capable of creating. And his 2014 Rubrica Branco White – an artful blend of Antão Va, Gouveio, and Viognier – is impressive, indeed. Recently receiving 93-points (100-point scale) and an Editors’ Choice designation from the Wine Enthusiast, the 2014 offers up energizing whiffs of oak and vanilla. On the palate, the wine is beautifully balanced between opulent ripe fruit and a tight but tantalizingly juicy texture that continues to unfold as the wine opens up.

I’ve tasted this wine several times, and it just seems to become more pleasurable with each encounter. A marvelous effort… and everything you’ve heard about the amazing wine bargains from Portugal is absolutely true. The 2014 Luís Duarte Rubrica Branco White, for example, retails in PA State Stores for $26.99, around the $23.00 – $24.00 mark if purchased from sources online. When compared with the often-outrageous prices charged for French white Burgundies, this Portuguese beauty is a bargain, indeed.

Portugal - Insurgente 20152015 Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas Insurgente: Lua Cheia en Vinhas Velhas, which translates as “full moon in old vines,” is the joint project of three experienced Portuguese wine professionals, João Silva e Sousa, Francisco Baptista, and Manual Dias. After many years buying grapes to make wine in the Douro Valley, they bought their own 25-acre vineyard there in 2009. They have since expanded to other regions – Alentejano, Vinho Verde and Dão – but their true focus remains in the Douro.

The 2015 Insurgente is a 50/50 blend of Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro, two grapes that are indigenous to Portugal. The grapes are from the Dão, one of the country’s most prominent wine regions, just south of the famous Douro Valley (home to Portugal’s most well-known wine – Port). In the glass, this wine dazzles the eye with its distinctive inky purple color. The aroma is intense and complex, a combo of ripe black fruits and spice. This is a juicy full-bodied wine with plenty of acidity and velvety well-integrated tannins. It’s downright elegant on the palate and, as one reviewer noted, “it has weight without power.”

Unlike the hefty clout of many Cabernets, the Insurgente is rich, stylish, and rife with subtle nuances of taste and texture. Named as a “Best Buy” in 2017 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, its $14.99 Pennsylvania price tag (lower from sources online) is a positive steal. An incredible wine at an absolutely incredible price point.

Cheers!

TAD

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Downtown Bangkok Cafe - Interior 2Downtown Bangkok Café, 705 Pothouse Road, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, (610) 933-4800, www.downtownbangkokcafe.com

  Yaowapa and Jerry Kowal opened Yaowapa Thailand Treasures, a retail gift shop majoring in handmade imports, in 2009… But in 2015, the couple’s passion for their culinary heritage got the better of them; and the Downtown Bangkok Café, their sedate 48-seat restaurant, made its debut.

The four diminutive dining rooms and reception area are a tribute to Mr. Kowal’s skill as an engineer and importer, as they are warmly and intimately appointed… right down to the elephant-adorned silverware. You realize immediately that this isn’t going to be just another one of those bare-bones cookie-cutter ethnic eateries. And you also need have no fears with regard to the quality of the culinary offerings, as Chef Yaowapa Kowal’s lovingly prepared & presented Thai cuisine is as sedate and sophisticated as the surroundings.

I first reviewed Downtown Bangkok in August 2016 and have returned on numerous occasions since. It is clearly the type of restaurant with which one strikes up a long-term relationship. No matter how many times you’ve dined here, the food and ambiance will woo you back again and again. Whether trying a new dish or settling in with an old favorite this wonderful little eatery will not disappoint.

Downtown Bangkok Cafe - Crispy Spring RollRecently sampled starters have included the coin-size Fish Cakes spiced with red curry; steamed Thai Dumplings stuffed with a combo of ground pork, chicken, shrimp, white fish, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots; and the Butterfly Blanket, five fried dumplings stuffed with ground chicken and served with a delightfully tangy sweet and sour sauce. My favorite, however, remains the scrumptious Vegetable Spring Rolls (pictured). Served with or without chicken, they sport an irresistibly crispy countenance and, cut on the bias & artfully arranged, they are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. Another coup for the kitchen.

When I can’t make up my mind, however, there is always the incomparably delicious Thai Salad. Shredded Napa cabbage and carrots, fresh soy beans, and crispy noodles are tossed with a house-made peanut dressing (for a modest supplement, you may also add chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp). A smattering of peanuts provides additional crunch, while a sliced hard-boiled egg contributes a contrasting textural dimension. Color and texture are right on the money… but it is the incredibly addictive peanut dressing that makes this dish such a fantastic starter.

Downtown Bangkok Cafe - Basil Eggplant Stir Fry w PorkEntrée-wise, I’m extremely partial to the Drunken Man Noodles, winning a combo of onion, bell pepper, basil, egg, carrots, broccoli, and scallions served up “medium spicy.” Recently, however, I sampled the Pad Met Ma-Muang – a stir-fry comprised of carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, green beans, water chestnuts, cashews, and choice of protein (in my case, ground pork) – which was quite good. My nod to the most gastronomically engaging stir-fry, however, clearly goes to the Basil Eggplant (pictured). The Japanese eggplant is perfectly prepared, infusing its own unique aura into a colorful amalgam of bell peppers, onions, scallions, and racy fresh basil. And all the constituents luxuriate in a beautifully balanced sauce of tamarind, soy, ginger, and host of seasonings that add a marvelous intensity of flavor without adding weight.

Downtown Bangkok Cafe - Crispy Duck with Tamarind SauceThe restaurant also sports a number of specialties that are definitely worthy of attention… The delightfully crunchy Coconut Shrimp and Thai Salmon, either fried or steamed, immediately come to mind… But if Chef Kowal has a signature dish, it is undoubtedly her sumptuous Crispy Duck (pictured). The half duck is prepared with a zesty tamarind sauce and sided by jasmine rice. And priced at a mere $22.50, the most expensive item on the menu, it is also quite the bargain.

For dessert, the house-made coconut and mango ice creams are highly recommended.

The Downtown Bangkok Café continues to be a marvelously satisfying dining experience. Just don’t forget to make reservations and to BYOB.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Nicholas - Robert Foley Wine DinnerOn Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will host a special winemaker dinner with Robert Foley of Robert Foley Vineyards, Napa Valley, California.

First Course: Jumbo Lump Crab Salad, Strawberry Chimichurri, Salted Almonds, Micro Cilantro; Wine Pairing: 2014 California, “White Rhone Blend,” Robert Foley Vineyards

Second Course: Spaccatelli Pasta, Candy Snap Grapes, Walnuts, Blu di Capra; Wine Pairing: 2013 Carneros, Pinot Noir, Hudson Vineyard, Robert Foley Vineyards

Third Course: House-Cured Crispy Pork Belly, Pickled Rhubarb, Herbed Farro; Wine Pairing: 2014 Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Robert Foley Vineyards

Fourth Course: 14-Day Dry Aged New York Strip, Sweet Onion Mostarda, Balsamic Braised Pearl Onions; Wine Pairing: 2014 Napa Valley, Claret, Robert Foley Vineyards

Fifth Course: Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake, Apricot Vanilla Purée, Brown Sugar Ice Cream; Wine Pairing: 2013 Napa Valley, “Port,” Robert Foley Vineyards

The price of the Robert Foley Winemaker Dinner is $145.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity).

At Mr. Foley’s request, this will be an intimate evening, so seating will be extremely limited. For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Liberty Union Bar & Grill

519 Kimberton Road

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

(484) 927-4244

www.libertyunionbar.com

Liberty Union - ExteriorIn his irresistibly witty and informative book Winning the Restaurant Game, the late, great Jay Jacobs noted that serious restaurant-goers would do well to draw up a roster of various establishments suitable for every possible dining contingency they are likely to encounter. Such a list, he went on to specify, should include one completely trustworthy restaurant in each of the following categories:

The Multipurpose Dazzler (a big, opulent operation – preferably frequented by recognizable movers and shakers – specifically designed to impress)… The Gallic Dazzler (a posh bastion of haute French cuisine)… The “Nice Little” Bistro (a decent, unpretentious French restaurant)… The Scruffy Little Chinese Joint (an inconveniently located grungy Chinese dive serving up food so original it is likely to turn the average American stomach)… The Celestial Dragon (well-patronized upscale Chinese eatery)… The Italian Dichotomy (two mutually exclusive restaurants: one a pricy, well-appointed northern Italian; the other a rollicking little Neapolitan joint)… The Land of the Rising Gorge (a rigorously authentic Japanese restaurant).

To the above-mentioned grouping, Mr. Jacobs also suggested that diners should add as many establishments of diverse ethnic orientation as they deemed necessary, along with a reliable steakhouse and solid seafood restaurant…

Liberty Union - Interior…To which I would propose one additional category: namely, that universally-popular but often-overlooked plebeian establishment colloquially known as The Local “Happy-Tappy.” No conscientious diner’s restaurant arsenal is complete, in my opinion, without the inclusion of at least one thoroughly reliable purveyor of proletarian pub grub. I mean, man shall not live by foie gras and Lafite Rothschild alone; sometimes only a burger and brewsky will do.

Liberty Union - Bar SceneMore than this, however… Maybe there are times when you’ve had a rough day at the office, aren’t up for cooking, and/or just feel like a casual meal out that doesn’t require the hassle of making reservations two weeks in advance, the donning of sartorial finery, and a major outlay of hard-earned cash… That’s when a good local happy-tappy comes in handy. It’s a spur-of-the-moment kind of place; guaranteed to soothe the stomach without breaking the bank.

As local happy-tappies go, Liberty Union fulfills its mission admirably. There’s a bustling bar scene, live entertainment several nights a week, a good selection of craft beers & premium cocktails, and a slew of TVs to keep the sports fans happy. The cuisine is a slightly upscale take on pub grub – apps, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads, eclectic smattering of entrées – with a nod to more healthful fare in the form build-your-own quinoa bowls and an appealing array of fresh salads.

Liberty Union - Complimentary Tater TotsAmong the appetizers, the Idaho Loaded Tater Tots with house cheese sauce, crumbled bacon, scallions, and side of spicy ranch dressing, the Philly Cheesesteak Eggrolls, and the SoCal Lettuce Wraps with spicy chopped shrimp have the most going for them. On the other hand… since the restaurant serves up a mini bucket of unadorned Tater Tots with that same spicy ranch dressing (pictured) as a complimentary starter, why pay for an appetizer when you already get one for free?  The answer is: Don’t.  The restaurant’s loss is your gain.

Liberty Union - ReubenAs you contemplate what would be considered your main course, bear in mind that the sandwiches here are particularly well made. And the winner in that department, hands down, is the scrumptious NY Deli Reuben (pictured). Everything is just right… The corned beef is lusciously lean, the Swiss cheese properly melted, the sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing judiciously applied, and the marbled rye grilled to perfection. Equally recommendable is the vegetarian Cauliflower Steak. A thick slice of oven baked panko crusted cauliflower is adorned with cheddar cheese, spicy chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato, and red onion and placed on a brioche roll… Delicious.

Liberty Union - Wisconsin Mac & CheeseThe entrées proper range from South Carolina Shrimp & Grits to Texas Rib Eye to New Orleans Pasta with blackened chicken and vegetables swimming in a spicy Creole cream sauce to oddities like Cap’n Crunch Chicken Tenders. My nod, however, clearly goes to the completely addictive Wisconsin Mac & Cheese (pictured). There’s plenty of cheese here (a trio of them), along with bacon, sautéed onions, and topping of crispy breadcrumbs… And be sure to add grilled chicken, which is well-seasoned, marvelously moist, and provides the perfect textural counterpoint to all that luscious cheese. Decadently rich; but, trust me, simply not to be missed.

I don’t mean to imply that everything here is perfect… It isn’t. My dining partner’s Liberty Union Burger, for example, was ordered medium-rare. It arrived at our table, however, nearly bleeding on the server’s socks… And speaking of servers… as many times as we’ve dined here, we’ve only encountered one bad experience with a server… a young woman who had a definite attitude problem and then proceeded to totally screw up our check, charging us for numerous items we did not order.

Faux pas of this nature can occur even in the best of establishments. And, given the many times we’ve dined here, this really isn’t a bad record at all. As noted above, for a local happy-tappy, Liberty Union does a pretty damn good job.

And bear in mind that Liberty Union Bar & Grill has a sister restaurant located at 325 Simpson Drive, Chester Springs, PA. You also might want to check out both establishments’ “Happy Hour” – $4.00 Craft Beers; $5.00 Wines by the Glass; $6.00 Flatbreads & Wings – Monday through Friday, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Nicholas - Lobster MenuFrom Tuesday, July 23, through Friday, July 26, 2019, Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, New Jersey, will be serving their annual lobster tasting menu.

For this summer tradition, Nicholas flies in Nova Scotia lobsters that have come out of the oceans less than 24-hours before. Four courses showcase everyone’s favorite crustacean paired with locally-sourced summer produce and a showstopping blueberry dessert

First Course: Lobster Roll

Second Course: Kennebunk Lobster Bisque

Third Course: Lobster Ravioli, Lobster Butter

Fourth Course: Chicken Fried Lobster Tail & Claw, Chili Honey, Creamy Polenta

Fifth Course: Blueberry Buttermilk Cake, Vanilla Mascarpone, Vanilla Ice Cream

The price of the lobster tasting menu is $135.00 per person; $185.00 per person with wine pairings (plus beverages, tax & gratuity).

For more information, or to make reservations, please call (732) 345-9977.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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Vickers - French Wine DinnerOn Friday, July 19, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Vickers Restaurant and Bar, 192 East Welsh Pool Road, Exton, Pennsylvania, will host a special BONNE BASTILLE: French Wine Dinner.

 First Course – Vol au Vent: Escargot, Herbed Butter, Pernod; Wine Pairing: Marcel Giraudon Estate Bourgogne Aligote 2017

 Second Course – Salade Fenouil: Fennel, Citrus, Champagne Mint Vinaigrette; Wine Pairing: Jean-Claude Thevenet St. Veran Clos de l’Ermitage 2016

 Third Course – Sole Meuniere: Filet of Sole, Crouton Brunoise, Lemon Beurre Blanc; Wine Pairing: Domaine Billard Hautes-Cotes de Beaune Rouge 2016

 Fourth Course – Steak Frites: Seared Hanger Steak, Truffle Pommes Frites, Sauce au Poivre; Wine Pairing: Antonin Guyon Hautes Cotes du Nuits 2014

 Fifth Course – Peach Tarte: Lavender Shortbread

The cost of the Bonne Bastille wine dinner is $85.00 per person (plus tax & gratuity). For more information, or to make reservations, please call Vickers at (610) 363-7998.

Bon Appétit!

TAD

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