Amber Steakhouse – Scotrun, PA
Bacon cheeseburger with fries. Basic taste, very rustic and old atmosphere, very affordable, Friendly service
During my stay in the Harrisburg/Hershey area I was lucky enough to find two great places to eat in New Cumberland, PA. The first “The Garlic Poet” was amazing with a really cool vibe throughout the place, a decent craft beer selection, and delicious food. The meal started with Chef’s Charcuterie and PA Creamery Cheese Board, then Calamari lightly fried with figs, duck fat roasted kumquats, shaved fennel, pea shoots, sorrel, lemon-cardamom vinaigrette, and chili glaze, main course was Five Hour Braised Short Ribs that were local harvest Angus beef short rib , balsamic grilled broccoli rabe, maple and hemp seed roasted rutabagas and turnips, seasonal stout demi glace, granny smith and lemon-cardamom kale slaw, and to top it all off ended with a bananas foster creme brulee. Chef Kurt Wewer really shined throughout the meal and has a gem of a dining destination. It is well worth a visit and you will not go away disappointed.
The next foodie destination and another delicious meal was had at Culhane’s Steak House. I started the meal with king crab legs, then moved on to the main course of a Porterhouse topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, steak fries, and lump crab cake. It is a little bit off the beaten path to get to Culhane’s Steak House if you are not from the area and may be a little confusing to get there off the highway, but their food was phenomenal and service was top-notch even with a table of 13 guests. I highly recommend any meat lover to give this place a try.
Both of these restaurants are a tad out the way from the downtown of Harrisburg and Hershey which were the two towns I visited during my stay, but it was well worth the time to drive there and both were easily reached off the exits of Interstate 83 and both were very affordable.
(DeLuca’s) Villa di Roma – Italian Market – Philadelphia, PA
Hey everybody did you know the Pope is coming to Philly? Yep, that is right; Pope Francis is taking a trip from the Vatican to visit the “City of Brotherly Love” for the World Meeting of Families 2015 and the city has been in frenzy for months. Millions of people are descending upon my hometown and they are all going to have to eat somewhere. Even though Pope Francis is from Argentina, and maybe because I am not Catholic, I always relate the Pope to Italy first and foremost. With Italy on my mind, I decided a trip to the Italian Market was in order. The place I decided was worth a try was (DeLuca’s) Villa di Roma (VDR). VDR is old school. You know immediately not to waste your time here unless you are paying in cash. The lights were dim, the staff Italian, and a certain atmosphere that can only be described as hipishly outdated. I would start out with their clams casino.
I do not know if holy moly is the best way to describe the dish, but there was defiantly something holy about what I was served. This was hands down the BEST clams casino I have been served EVER. The generous sized clams were squirting full of juice while still intact in the shell and topped with an amazing combination of herbs, spices, and bread crumbs all cooked to perfection. They were blessed indeed. Up next would be a meatball parmigiana sandwich.
The roll appeared to have gotten a little too close to the fire pits of hell as it was burnt pretty bad, but GLORY GLORY to the gravy and meatballs inside as they were righteous and angelic. The meatballs were huge, yet moist in every bite and firm enough that they did not crumble or fall apart at all while eating. The sweet gravy poured inside was topped with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese made the sandwich exult in all of its tasteful glory.
I do not know how I will feel once Pope Francis arrives, but I can tell you that my experience at VDR was heavenly. I really enjoyed my visit and will certainly be back. AMEN!
Four out of Five Stars
Three and Half Stars
Aki Japanese Fusion Restaurant & Sake Bar – Philadelphia, PA
I like a place that has attitude, if it is channeled properly. I really like a place with good food. After hearing about Aki Japanese Fusion Restaurant & Sake Bar’s motto from someone “We Are Not Fancy, We Are Damn Good”, they caught my interest. The only question would be do they have attitude and good food?
As soon as I walked inside I was greeted kindly and warmly from the bubbly hostess and promptly seated at a very nice bar. The bartender was as friendly as could be and took my order with a thank you to follow. Right then and there I was happy to see that Aki certainly had attitude, a good attitude. I may have been searching for something rough, but they won me over with kindness. The décor is very hip, music was at just the right level, and service top-notch. I would order the lunch Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box.
The box consisted of miso soup, California roll, shrimp-broccoli-zucchini- sweet potato tempura, chicken teriyaki, and white rice. The tempura items were some of the better I have had in quite some time and impressed me. The chicken was quite nice as well and had just the right amount of sauce, but the meal feel flat with a tasteless miso and not the freshest California roll as the kani was slightly dry. Even though I left having just an average meal at Aki, putting all the other aspects together, I still enjoyed myself thoroughly and would happily go back and try some other items on their menu.
Three out of Five Stars
Miles Table – Philadelphia, PA
The burger was once a quick and cheap lunch option. That was in the past, before the burger revolution. Now it seems like everyplace I go touts they have the perfect burger and charge a price that demands perfection. I happened to stop in Miles Table (MT) with their sleek and modern décor and hipster vibe to try their burger rendition.
MT seems like a restaurant, but everyone must order at the front of the establishment. The order process was slow and tedious with others in front of me in line asking everything imaginable about what they were about or not about to eat. The girl behind the counter was obviously frustrated with the steady stream of nonsensical questions while yelling into the kitchen or the dining area to alert new food orders or orders that were ready for pick up while music is blaring throughout the restaurant. With such confusion and loudness it really took away from the feeling that I think MT is trying to exude, which I assume they are aiming for soothing rather than shocking. Once able to order I asked for the Miles Burger which consisted of ground chuck, apple wood bacon, remoulade, brioche, cheddar, and hand cut fries.
It was a good combination and the fries were absolutely fabulous, but the burger had some big misses. First I ordered the burger medium. I did indeed get medium on half of my burger as well extremely rare on the other half. The odd part as visible in the picture as well is that the bacon was the same exact way. One piece was nice and crispy and the other soggy as hell. It is almost as if only half of my burger was on the grill and very odd the way it came out. MT seems to have the right mix going on from the food to their beautiful interior. They are just missing out due to the execution and delivery of what I think they are trying to provide on both fronts. A few tweaks and MT could go from OK to oh you have to go.