Monday, November 25, 2013

Neato Burrito

316 4th Street
New Cumberland, PA 17070
(717) 770-0390

As part of the Chevy Cruze Diesel trip, there had to be some stops on the way to refuel. Not for the Cruze, because that gets like 40mpg, but for me, because I get around 1 bph (burrito per hour). Neato Burrito is a local chain (think Chipotle) that is known for its funky decor and riffs on Tex-Mex.

This is the second location (the original store in downtown Harrisburg recently moved, so I couldn't visit the flagship) and is located in an old firehouse in New Cumberland.

Curious onlookers.

I hear they have this great neon signage at almost every location.

I guess "eclectic" is the best way to describe this place. I do like the weird stuff on the walls, and the record-covered windows. It's almost like they shop at the Atomic Warehouse (see last post) for the decor.

It's relatively cheap, and there is nothing that stands out on the menu.

I assume this is perfect for those with social anxiety.

I figured a burrito bowl and a burrito would suffice.

This burrito was one of the largest I have ever seen. It was honestly the size of a football.

The jalapeno tortilla came stuffed with chicken, vegan beer chili, cowboy rice (smothered in BBQ sauce), lettuce, cucumber, onion, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, and their special salsa, which was basically a sour cream feta sauce. It was delicious. There was so much flavor packed in there, that it made every bite a new adventure.

The burrito bowl with beef (over chips) was disappointing.

Perhaps it was poor picking of toppings (outside of my suggestions, of course), but this particular version lacked flavor. Also, the chips were incredibly weak. In a matter of minutes they looked like boiled lasagna noodles. I think a major issue was skipping the BBQ sauce rice and feta cream sauce on this one.

They really made the burrito near to perfection, and pointed out the flaws in the bowl. I will definitely remember this for next time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Harrisburg Road Trip | Chevy Cruze Diesel

So, when Chevy offered up a free Cruze diesel for a week, I couldn't say no. Turns out it was the very same car that Gizmo Guy over at took for a test weeks before.

Fueled with a sense of patriotism, I took the diesel on a road trip to this fine state's capital city.

If you've never been to Harrisburg, maybe you should take a Saturday to make the 1.75 hour trip. There's some amazing architecture and probably one of the best state capitol buildings in the country. (I welcome challengers.)

I will say it runs smoothly, has plenty of interior space and is great on gas mileage. Too bad gasoline prices took a recent dip and diesel holds steady at close to $4...

If you make it to the 'burg, check out the Atomic Warehouse for retro housewares & furniture and vintage clothing and vinyl. It's got three levels stocked with merchandise - I heard the second floor is wholly dedicated to lampshades and is accessible by request only, apparently the floor manager/owner is very peculiar about granting access, so you better look the part.

Lots of clocks and ashtrays too...

If you're in the mood for a cheap draught and college ball or some pool, head over to the G-Man downtown. The Gingerbread Man is a local establishment (there are 3 in the Central PA area: add Carlisle and State College) whose aesthetic takes you to a different time.

Like the 80s. With interesting decor, it reminds you that smoking is still allowed in restaurants outside of Philadelphia.

Look for a couple more Harrisburg destinations in the coming days - I've got your lunch and dinner covered.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chevy Farm-to-Table Dinner | Bartram's Garden

5400 Lindbergh Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19143
(215) 729-5281

So maybe you are more cultured than I (probably), but I had HEARD of Bartram's Garden, yet failed to actually ever make it there. When Chevy invited me for a Farm to Table event with a pre-dinner, curator's tour & talk about the history, I was excited. Even though it meant traveling through West Philly.

The curator, Joel Fry, walked us through the original house before dinner (which was uncharacteristically lit with torchiere lamps by way of orange extension cords from the nearby modern buildings), and presented a slideshow going deeper into some of the history of John Bartram. Let me tell you, it's some old stuff – people were WAY cooler/tougher/more interesting back in the day. Now get back to Twitter, nerd. This took an unexpected aggressive turn. Let's get back on track.

The event was put on to showcase some of the big players in the local food movement, and one fat guy who will eat just about anything *a hem*. Catered by Devine, all of the ingredients were sourced relatively locally and listed on the menu, which was a nice touch.

The table was set with local cheeses from Valley Shepherd Creamery in RTM and some non-local crackers.

The aged Gouda and creamy Cemembert were the winners for me.

THAT is some blue cheese.

The "butlered horderves" started with tiny burgers, and a special sauce dip. I definitely did not stop at one.

Complete with tiny pickle and tiny tomato garnish. I will say, it was a bit odd having to dip a burger sidelong into a similarly tiny ramekin full of special sauce.

That said, it was too cute and the dip actually reminded me of a Big Mac. Yum.

There were some hollowed out potatoes with a ratatouille filler. Delicious.

Probably my favorite dish of the night was the mushroom tart with a blend of wild 'shrooms in a crispy phyllo dough dish.

Delightfully mushroomy.

Carmelized apple on toast with brie was another that came in the onslaught of hand-delivered appetizers.

Here, the lucky reader/winner from our contest shows off the bread basket.

Here was a salad picked THAT MORNING, from the onsite garden. Amazing. It was topped with a Yards Pynk-based dressing. (Note: the only booze served came on a salad.)

The butternut squash lasagna had more of the mushroom filling from above, and ate like a meal. At this point, I was thinking about how I should NOT have had multiples of every appetizer that came through. But I powered on.

It's so nice having the mushroom capital of the world right at our back door. Didn't you know it's Kennet Square?

Sweet potato puree was not my favorite, but seemed to be somewhat popular.

The brussel sprouts and roasted salt and pepper potatoes were great, if for no reason other than we got to watch one of the other diners try the sprouts FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. She was not sold on them. I'm pretty sure she almost spit it out.

Next was flank steak with Chimmichurri and creamy horseradish sauce.

Now that looks like a meal. On top of another meal.

Cooked to a nice medium.

Although usually not a dessert guy, the apple turnover with Bassett's vanilla ice cream was probably the best thing all night. What a wonderful end to an overly filling meal.

Next time you need something to do, go historical and check out Bartram's Garden. And sample some local fair at the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal. You will not be disappointed.