Thursday, May 29, 2014

Don Gabriel

611 W Strasburg Rd.
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 431-3212

I was told West Chester had some great Mexican spots, so I thought I would start with the popular Don Gabriel. It's located in what was obviously a WAWA in it's former life.

It had all of the makings of a great spot. No frills seating, a small grocery store inside, and chips and salsa.

A kitchen with various pots of bubbling sauces and stews.

And fresh guacamole.

The guac was good. The chips were medicore. But they were not a show stopper. The salsas, while plentiful, all lacked acidity and salt.

The pork tamale was decent, nothing to write home about. Confusingly, I had a previously frozen sweet corn tamale sample at Trader Joe's recently that far surpassed this offering.

The sope was good, like a salad on a masa disc. I liked the cotija, but again, nothing was too impressive with this item.

I felt the taco trio would be a good way to try some of my favorite meat varieties. The chorizo was good, the barbacoa had all the trappings of good 'coa, but the chicken was extremely bland and dry. In addition, why were they served with lemon slices? The lime shortage?

The torta was the biggest winner of the group. I got the al pastor, and although the bread could have been better, it had all the necessary requirements. I would order this again, if I were ever forced back here.

Probably the biggest disappointment was the mole. It had a couple of whole pieces of chicken in a rather bland sauce, lacking the complexity and depth of traditional mole. I would pass next time.

I just didn't find anything to love at Don Gabriel, and ended up spending over $40 in disappointment. I have heard West Chester has great Mexican, so where is it?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

*CLOSED* Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Entree Giveaway!

Anywhere, USA

Chick-fil-A Media Relations
We were offered an opportunity to get some lucky readers a FREE Chick-fil-A chicken entree for the months of May, June, and July 2014. All you have to do is leave a comment about your first experience/favorite item at Chick-fil-A and email me your info.


3 free sammies, just for reading. I have a dozen of these to give away, so act quickly, and collect soon!

I will send you a gift card good for one free new grilled item each month. May is the grilled chicken sandwich. June is the grilled chicken club sandwich. and July is a choice of either.

First 12 lucky readers are going to win big!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pizzeria Vetri

1939 Callowhill Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 600-2629

Now, I love a good pizza and I take them in all forms, but when it comes to my absolute favorite kind, I think of the thin, crispy, carbon-spotted crusts that are coming out of Pizzeria Vetri.

I will start off by saying that by no means does Vetri come close to Beddia, but for the price and affordability, I'd say there's some healthy competition here.

It's a small and modern interior with family-style communal seating. There are 2 long tables that seat about 12 each and there are some bar seats right at the oven and then a few tables outside. Pretty basic, cut and dry.

Because it was a lunch for 3, we had to start with an appetizer and order 2 full pies. Now, if one of us wasn't a light eater, we would have gotten the app and 3 pies... First out was the Rotolo - little pizza dough pinwheels of delight with mortadella and ricotta, topped with a freshly cracked pistachio pesto.

Delectable little things. I would probably order this for dessert on my next visit. They were savory but so delicate that I couldn't help but think of them as kin to pull-apart monkey bread or a cinnamon bun, simply for their airy composition. Delicious.

First pie out was the Melanzana with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, thinly sliced eggplant, stracciatella (a variety of soft stretched-curd cheese) and fresh oregano leaves. All of the ingredients were in perfect balance. The pizza crust was tossed super thin but held up to the heavy toppers. This was my favorite of the two.

Next up was the Crudo pie with prosciutto crudo, bufala mozzarella and parmigiano. The prosciutto was draped haphazardly and made it difficult to eat - which is always the case when presented with whole slices - but I get annoyed when the whole slice pulls off with my first bite.

Every bite thereafter was just cheese, olive oil and crust, which is fine if you like plain old white pie. I'm a huge fan of breaking the cured ham into nicely distributed bits so my chewing experience isn't such an annoyance.

All in all, fantastic flavors and a great crust coming out of their oven. Grab a craft brew from their bar and see for yourself.