Tiffin in Wynnewood PA

Chicken korma

Traveled to the outer suburbs of Philadelphia to visit my friend's mother in the hospital. Our appetites had grown for a hearty dinner, so after our visit, my friend and I did not want to travel far. She had heard of Tiffin, and there was one location by the chain, in a little strip mall next to Old Navy and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

The interior makes you forget you are in a strip mall, though the square layout is a giveaway. For a Thursday night, near closing, the place was half-full, so it was a good sign. The menu is mostly a la carte, though at least rice is included with the viand options.

Between the two of us, we shared a cauliflower vegetarian dish, a lamb dish, and chicken korma. My friend enjoyed a special naan with a coconut and nut filling. I was so surprised with the quality of the food, especially the korma's sauce which was complex and hearty with crushed cashews and ginger bits. I still had enough to bring home and enjoy the next day.

Tiffin has several locations, and I believe they deliver in the city. Give it a try at least once, and they may impress you also for a second round, or it can even become a staple.

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Kumo Asian Bistro in Somerville NJ

Our selection of sashimi, including salmon, eel, tuna, egg custard

Our selection of kitchen foods: grilled squid, edamame, gyoza, calamari

Our selection of specialty rolls, three types

All you can eat checklist, with spicy seaweed salad

My husband and son are particular about what they'd like for their birthdays. My husband likes steak, and my son likes Japanese food. Specifically, he likes the all-you-can-eat type, so he can order to his heart's content. 

Kumo Asian Bisto offers a kitchen menu and a sushi bar menu. Hot foods run the gamut from grilled, teriyaki, and tempura styles. The sushi bar includes sashimi, sushi, regular rolls, and specialty rolls. Keep in mind that rolls come in 6-8 pieces rolled in rice, so order with caution. Sushi and sashimi come in individual pieces.

The atmosphere of Kumo is better than most AYCE places I've been to, and the price is good ($20 per person). It was definitely a good choice to celebrate my son's 23rd birthday. The decor is bright, clean, and spacious. Service could be better, and could be faster with tea and water refills, as well as refill orders.

The area of Somerville that it is in is also bustling, so you may eye a place to visit the next time you're in the area.

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Agricola in Princeton NJ

Local artisan cheeseboard

Duck confit

Chicken paillard

My foodie friends from NYC came for a visit on MLK Day, and out of 3 suggestions I made, they picked Agricola. I had never been there before so I was happy with their choice. It was a short visit, but I was able to show them the Princeton University area and Palmer Square, as well as bring them to Bent Spoon for dessert before driving them back to the train.

We had different sized appetites, so among our group of four, we ordered: the local artisan cheeseboard, with a good selection of mild to strong cheeses; soup and flatbread; duck confit; and chicken paillard. Everyone else was pleased with their menu selections, and since I am now gluten-free, I just take them on their word. It all looked good, too, as you can see.

I loved my chicken paillard with its endive, walnut, and bleu cheese salad. My only complaint was that it had too much parsley which overpowered the dish. 

Aside from that, you can really feel the farm-to-table theme of the place-- with its interior design including different salvaged-looking wood and mason jars adorning shelves, plus the kitchen activity is made visible from the sidewalk through large windows, adding to its charm. The servers are also pretty cute with their upbeat attitudes and uniforms of button-downs with rolled up sleeves.

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Tacorito in Hightstown NJ

Chicken flautas

Burrito with your choice of meat and fillings!

Mixed grill platter, includes 4 shrimp by my daughter ate them before
I could take the photo
This is a small fast-casual restaurant on Hightstown's main street. My family and I realized that we have been missing out on authentic Mexican cuisine, not knowing this place was so close by. Since there were four of us in the group, we tried a bunch of items. There was also a good selection of gluten-free options, because Mexican food has typically gluten-free basics like corn chips and corn tortillas.

Not all the items were photogenic, but we did get: mixed grill platter, beef burrito, creamy chicken dish, chicken flautas, and chips and salsa. The entrees were served with rice and beans. I loved the rice, and just based on the rice, I want to come back and often. The burrito was generously sized and mixed grill was also generous in its offerings of four types of meat.

Now, despite the amount of food we ordered, we finished every last bit because it was just so good. Check it out and be surprised yourself!

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Pinoy Filipino Restaurant in Somerville NJ

Chicken curry with potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers

Lechon kawali

Pancit palabok garnished with shrimp, boiled eggs, and scallions

Pinoy Filipino Restaurant keeps getting better and better. I tried their catering options, and it was a huge success with my guests. If you go on their website, you will find a full catering menu, and although the package suggested is for 50 guests, I was able to make a smaller order for my small party.

I ordered lechon kawali (crunchy fried pork), chicken curry, beef mechado (beef cubes in heavy sauce), pancit palabok (rice noodles with ground pork and shrimp), as well as a batch of owner Cynthia's specialty: bibingka (sweet rice cakes).

Lechon kawali is a typical party hit. The curry had a flavorful and complex sauce, with fresh ginger. The beef was so tender, one of my guests described it as "butter". Palabok is my favorite Filipino noodle dish, so I was in heaven.

And the bibingka? What bibingka? Those disappeared the fastest!

... Original post from 3/13/14 ....

There is now a daily lunch buffet! The price includes soda and food is served family style. Just take a look at what's available and the server will bring the dishes to your table. This is my preferred way of eating anyway... no getting up for refills! The style of cooking is authentic and comforting, so if you are Filipino and haven't got family here, you can pretend you are visiting your Lola's or Tita's house.

Always available are noodles and rice, and entrees vary. When I went, there were pork & chicken BBQ sticks, chicken afritada (with potatoes and tomatoes in a rich sauce), paksiw na lechon (pork with soy sauce and vinegar), sinigang (pork and vegetables in a sour tamarind flavored broth), and bistek (beef and onions). The surprise treat for the day was grilled pineapple dusted with cinnamon.

Desserts are not included in the buffet, but they are worth trying. Pictured above are leche flan (egg custard), biko (sweet coconut rice served with coconut ice cream), and bibingka (banana flavored sticky muffin served with mango ice cream). The latter two desserts are not readily available elsewhere, so these are really special to this place.

Warmer weather is coming and outdoor seating will be available soon. Division Street is also a lovely place to hang out in, with its weekend festivals and interesting shops to peruse. Don't forget to bring a bottle!

-- Original post below 9/21/13 --

I've been coming here since they opened in 2009. Back then, it was half a grocery and half a restaurant. The place has gone through a major overhaul in recent years, and the grocery is only about a tenth of the place now, and may not be there for a while longer. The decor consists of candles and mini bamboo bouquets, on honey colored wooden tables. There is outdoor seating for the warmer months, and on Saturdays there is usually some live music on the street, which is permanently closed off to car traffic. Bonus points for being a BYOB.

Now, the place is running full speed ahead with a well thought out menu. The items are priced well, and they have all the comfort foods that any Filipino might come looking for. My daughter declared the lumpiang shanghai to be the best she's ever had, and I always order the stuffed grilled squid because that's what feels like home to me.

I would recommend bringing beer or any dry white wine!

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Fernando's Grille in Hightstown NJ

Portabella and mozzarella tower

Prince Edward Island mussels in white wine sauce

NY strip steak with red wine sauce

Chicken piccata with rice and vegetable medley

Grilled chicken over gluten-free penne with tomato basil cream sauce

We celebrated my husband's 38th birthday at Fernando's Grille, and it was the perfect place. My husband's only request for his birthday is steak, so I searched for steakhouses in our area. I found Fernando's Grille in Hightstown, which is an interesting little town. The atmosphere is dimly lit and romantic, with cathedral ceilings, and excellent service. It is also a BYOB so my husband was able to bring his choice of red wine to celebrate with.

We started with the portabella mushroom and mozzarella cheese tower, and mussels in a white wine sauce. The tower was a little work of art, and the mussels were classic. The menu provided a good selection for different tastes, even for me who has been gluten-free since the summer. My husband got his steak and I got my creamy sauce over pasta, and the kids enjoyed dinner with their parents.

I would recommend this place for special occasions if you go at dinner time. I imagine it would be nice and bright, and a bit more relaxed and casual during the day. They have an early bird special, too, that looks worth checking out.

Fernando's Grille on Urbanspoon


Teddy's Luncheonette in Cranbury NJ

Business lunch combo with coffee and soup
I have revisited Teddy's several more times since my first post. I have to say it has continuously improved over the years. The establishment has been taken over by Teddy's son, but the decor and homage to the NY Yankees still adorn the place. It remains a place "where friends meet" and you are greeted with a friendly welcome every time you walk in the door.

The menu is pretty typical for a diner, and the quality is consistent, so you will get exactly what you order and be happy with it. Today I got the Business Lunch special, which was a guacamole burger with fries, soup, and coffee. The chicken soup with cilantro and rice, was perfect on a cold December day. The burger plate was generous, and the patty was tasty. My friend order pancakes and scrambled eggs, and she said it tasted a lot better than it looked.

Two food establishments on either side of Teddy's has closed. While they offered good competition, they proved not to be as much a mainstay as Teddy's. I surely hope Teddy's will be around for a long time to come!

* Original post from 9/1/10 *

Walking into Teddy's is like walking onto a movie set for a flick set in the late '70s, early '80s, with its wood-paneling and matching tan leather seats.  Even the waitresses look like they are playing a part.  Unfortunately, that's where the fun ends because the food was less than stellar.  It was so bland that I wouldn't go back even if I was feeling nostalgic... and also because my husband told me never to ask him to go there again!

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