Restaurant Review: The Whip Tavern

Best kept secret in Chester County! Came across this place after googling Irish/gastropub food for a place to go on st patricks day.  Nestled in the horse farms of Chester county, this little cottage is hands down a perfect place to go if looking for authentic English food. No reservations are accepted, they are closed on Tuesday but on a positive note the are BYOB! If you dont bring  your own, have no fear. They have a wide selection of draft and bottled beers. My favorite is a snakebite- Half Yager Half Cider. They have limited parking so I would get there early around 5 or later around 9ish.  Cozy atmosphere, friendly staff, affordable fresh dishes. Lots of tv’s to watch soccer, horse racing or any local sports on. I have been to the Whip Tavern about 5 times- each time I am very pleased with the service and my meal.

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Sneak peak of the menu!

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My favorite appetizer- Welsh Rarebit…Melted irish cheeses with fresh toasted bread for dipping! Who doesn’t love melted cheese!!

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Scotch Egg- Yes I know it does look very odd but the flavor is so distinct and delicious! Fried sausage wrapped in a hard boiled egg!

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My dinner- flakey, buttery, melt in your mouth fish and chips! The fish is fresh, not too overly fried or soggy.  And Yes they make there own steak fries! 🙂

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“Shake & Bake” Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Ill never forget the first time my mom brought home a box of the Shake and Bake from the grocery store. For some reason I thought it was the coolest thing ever! However I didn’t find it cool when my sister got to shake the chicken over me. Obviously I threw a temper tantrum. Anyways I wanted to recreate the same idea except less sodium, additives and fresher ingredients.

I am in LOVE with using corn flakes instead of bread crumbs for baked chicken breasts or tenders. They still provide a crunchy flavor to plain skinless chicken breasts just like bread crumbs. Its a healthier alternative to country fried chicken!

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What you need:

 Chicken breasts
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. crushed corn flakes or Chex
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 tablespoon of hot sauce
Directions:
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1. Just like when making chicken cutlets, I still used an egg mixture so the cornflakes would stick. But i added in hot sauce to the egg whites to give it a little kick! Definitely pairs well with a buttermilk ranch dressing on the side! I  soaked them in the mixture for 5 minutes before coating them.
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2. In a zip lock bag combine corn flakes, panko bread crumbs, onion powder, paprika, and salt pepper. Shake the chicken, if some chicken is not fully coated presh cornflake mixture onto chicken.
3. Cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink!
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RECIPE: Maple Baked Apples

I love fall. Everything about this season makes me smile – the fall foliage, the smells of pumpkin and apples, campfires, my birthday. The food during the fall season gives a cozy warm feeling. This tasty treat is perfect for the fall. Healthy, Vegetarian and only 150 calories per serving. Serve this a la mode or just with a cup of tea!

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What you need:

4 medium apples, sliced in half, and core taken out

1/4 cup of raisins and dried cranberries

1 tablespoon of maple syrup ( I used light)

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut apples in half. Scoop out any filling to create a whole for the mixture to go.

2. Combine raisins, cranberries, butter, syrup and Cinnamon in a bowl .

3. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of mixture into apples. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until apples are soft.

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RECIPES: Bow Tie Pasta Salad

This salad is refreshing, healthy, and simple to make with just four ingredients. Its wonderful to serve with grilled chicken which is what I do or just alone as a side dish if you are a vegetarian. You can serve this warm or cold, whichever you please. I find this colorful salad kid friendly too. Not a fan of feta, simply just use goat cheese or cubed cheese of your choice.

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What you need:

2 cups of bow tie pasta

4 teaspoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

1 cup of tomato, chopped

salt & pepper

1 cup of feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped basil

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Directions:

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1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine oil, garlic and tomatoes. Cook tomatoes for about 3 minutes until the juices start to be released. Season with salt and pepper. While this is cooking boil your water and cook pasta accordingly to box directions.

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2. Combine pasta and tomatoes. Mix well.

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2. Add in cheese and basil. Toss. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese for a little extra flavor. Serve hot or cold!

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Culinary Deliveries West Chester

MY FOOTBALL SUNDAY GO TO PIZZA SHOP!

 One of my favorite hometown pizza shops, Culinary Deliveries in West Chester PA! Culinary is known for their famous GOURMET WRAPS including the wackiest and craziest combinations you could ever imagine including the West Chester famous Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap, the Scrapple Wrapple wrap, Pull My Finger Wrap, and the All American Cheesesteak Wrap!

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The Honey Mustard Chicken Wrap is a West Chester favorite. Oozing with warm honey mustard, delicious diced chicken, and savory mozzarella cheese. I love enjoying one of these and then crying myself to sleep because I just devoured 10,000 calories.  Every calorie is worth it though, trust me on that!

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Where do I even start to describe one of Culinary’s most popular sandwiches dubbed “The BEAST”? The Beast is is LOADED with mozzarella sticks, french fries, mozzarella cheese, CHEESESTEAK meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions all toasted to absolute perfection in their massive ovens.  You haven’t lived until you tried this beast.

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I must admit that I have a weakness for buffalo chicken ESPECIALLY in a warm toasted wrap. Easily my third favorite at Culinary.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Cupcakes & Coffee Bar!

Its my favorite thing when  a new restaurant opens up in Chester County. The newest addition to downtown West Chester is a cupcake and coffee bar featuring Dia Doce cupcakes and coffee from Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters ( also hand crafted smoothies, juices to go along with Dia Doce’s cupcakes)

Combining two delicious treats in one convenient location is like music to my ears. For those fans of Food Network, you might know Dia Doce as competitors and winners on the show Cupcake Wars.  For the last two years,  Dia Doce has been serving up their sweet treats from a vibrant green food truck and in small markets. But now you can get the tasty gourmet treats store front without following around their food truck!

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The shop will cater to those who want to relax for a moment at our cupcake bar
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Dia Doce has a family run garden in which many of her cupcakes are made from those fresh ingredients, therefore all of their cupcakes have no artificial flavors.  I loved the rustic feel that this place had.
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The hardest part…picking which cupcakes to buy in the end!  I ended up purchasing” Black Magic” that has chocolate cake filled with creamy vanilla bean cream and topped with decadent chocolate buttercream frosting and “White Velvet ” which was Moist vanilla cake filled with delicious chocolate fudge and topped with vanilla bean frosting
Both mouthwatering AMAZING! Check out Dia Doce for more awesome flavors if you are interested in purchasing some online
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RECIPES: Creamy Mushroom Chicken & Pasta

Here is my take (a little modified) on the recipe chicken a la gloria. Similar to a Marsala sauce but minus the marsala wine. Creamy, cheesey and hearty this dish is perfect alone with a side salad or served over pasta! This is comfort food not your typical healthy baked chicken dish! Also first time cooking with Muenster Cheese. Very tasty! I had a few nibbles after I sliced it up before I put it on the chicken. Its a very soft cheese with a mild nutty flavor, very comparable to a Gouda.

Here is the recipe I got my inspiration from…Enjoy 🙂

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Only thing is I would have probably done different is  cooked mine longer so the cheese got a little brown. Still very tasty!

What you need:

3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and filleted in half lengthwise
1/3 cup of flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1 (8 oz) container of sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup of sherry wine
1 small can of condenced cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup whole milk
6 slices of Muenster cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, dredge lightly in flour to coat both sides. Shake off excess.

3. Add the butter to the frying pan and let it melt over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and brown mushrooms until golden.  Then add the sherry wine and cook for another minute or two. Add the creamy mushroom soup and milk and mix well.

4. Pour sauce over the chicken breasts, cover with foil and bake in oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top each piece of chicken with one slice of Muenster cheese.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: West Chester Restaurant Festival

Its the time were my hometown showcases its finest restaurants at the West Chester Restaurant Festival. (and definitely a place for foodie lovers to gather, like myself) Going on 34 years, this festival is a big attraction for all living in Chester County, PA, bringing more than 50  restaurants and food trucks from around the area.

The weather was not only gorgeous this year, but the different types of foods offered at this years festival surely impressed my stomach. Most dishes are about 5 bucks for a small portion. Some restaurants serve there most popular dishes or some will deliver new, specials specifically made for the festival. Festival goers vote throughout the day via text for the best appetizer and dessert. After walking the downtown streets of WC borough, you can relax while watching a culinary cook off battle between chefs.

This year I took many adventures in the food I tasted- everything from a simple gyro to a Koren Beef Taco. Here is a snap shop from some of the samplings I had this year!

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Gosh I love this day 🙂 Its like a food bloggers dream 🙂

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Rooftop view…I sure do love this town 🙂

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First up for the day…Shrimp and Corn Fritters with a Spicy Mayo From Pietro’s Prime Steakhouse

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Fresh Tomato Pie from Limencello’s Italian Restaurant. This is the hands down best Italian you will ever come upon in Chester County. Family owned, they bring the freshest and top quality to all of their dishes. At the end of your meal, enjoy a complimentary shot of limencello!

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Gyro ( my first ever) from Destarr’s …AMAZING! The meat was mouth watering, homemade tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes. SIMPLY AMAZING! Your typical greek brunch spot, just like in the movie my big fat greek wedding!

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Korean BBQ Taco from Ka Chi Food Truck… First experience having food from a food truck…talk about gourmet and like nothing I have had before. I finished this in no joke 30 seconds. Korean beef, red cabbage slaw with a spicy sauce.

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They are always on the go, so check out this PHENOMENAL food truck schedule to see where they might be next!

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Food selections for the day…couldnt decide between the tacos or the rice balls. Everything sounds so amazing!

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Chicken Kabob Platter from the Mediterranean Restaurant….Chicken Kabob with homemade hummus, pita, and tabouli.

If anyone ever ventures to West Chester, stop by the any of the 30 plus restaurants west Chester has to offer. Something for all ages, all eater and all appetites!  Just one of the reasons why I enjoy living in this town.

RECIPES: Shrimp Tacos

Have frozen shrimp in the freezer not sure what to do with it? I saw this recipe while watching The Chew. This creamy cabbage slaw pairs so well with sauteed shrimp to make shrimp tacos. Cheap, easy to make, healthy…what more could you want!?!

Instead of using mayo to keep it a tad bit healthier, I used low fat sour cream with the greek yogurt. Still provided the same creamy flavor.

Here is the recipe for the creamy chiptole slaw .

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 For the shrimp , I just sauteed the shrimp in a pan with a dash of sugar, a dash of salt and 1/2 tablespoon on chili powder with some olive oil. Already cooked frozen shrimp cooks fast so you only need to keep it in the pan for a 2 minutes.

I layered on the slaw mix, then the shrimp , chopped tomato’s and cheese. Whats great about tacos you can personalize and put whatever you want on them!

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Spicy Sausage & Pasta Bake

Acquired this recipe from the lovely, Emily Bites. Her recipes are geared towards individuals who are on weight watchers or are just looking for easy ways to cut the calories on simple meals. This recipe cost me under 10 bucks and was simple to make. Its spicy, cheesy and creamy. Whats convenient about this meal is you don’t even have to boil and cook the pasta! One pot meal! Any type of pasta noodle will do for this meal.

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What you need:

1 t extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
13 oz Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced (I used Hillshire Farms)
garlic minced
2 ¼ cups low sodium fat free chicken broth
10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes & green chiles, original
½ cup fat free half and half
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
10 oz uncooked wheat pasta
4 oz reduced fat Pepper jack cheese, shredded

Directions:

1.    In a large skillet or sauté pan add the olive oil and bring over medium heat. Add the onions and sausage to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until sausage is browned and onions are tender. Add the garlic and stir.
2.    Add the broth, Ro-Tel, half and half, salt and pepper and mix together. Add the uncooked pasta and stir together until the liquid covers the pasta. Cover the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep covered. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
3.    Transfer to a 7×11 baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

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