Favorite local foods to survive the summer
by Avril Lisante
Recently I was chatting with an acquaintance and she was lovingly talking about the Weavers Way Magic Carpet Sandwich, a naan-filled special that includes hummus, olives, cucumbers, and feta, among other Mediterranean delicacies.
Of course, I headed straight for Weavers the next day, incredulous that I hadn’t had it before. Needless to say, the sandwich was immediately added to my list of local foodie favorites.
The whole experience made me realize that there are some local favorite snack foods that we all love, delicacies so worthy to be celebrated that we strive to find and buy them, even if that means going to several. stores to make sure we get our weekly fixes. And because foodies love company, most of the fun is passing our findings on to others, so they can join in our obsessions.
I probably go to at least three different stores and restaurants a week for my favorites. So this week, I thought I was paying homage to some of the local foods that I frankly don’t know how I would have survived this summer without. While there are so many foods that I love locally, here are the ones that I look for about once a week. If you have time to write to me, I would like to know what local products you are obsessed with. ([email protected])
Fresh Market Kitchen Sink Cookies. If you like chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, or just about any type of cookie lover, this is something you will have to try. Soft and chewy cookies include butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, raisins, oatmeal and brown sugar for a combination that is beyond comprehension. The bakery prepares them fresh on site and packs them to take home. One day I got lucky and the bakery canned me a new batch they had just made. (The Fresh Market, 8208 Willow Grove Ave.)
Mocha Café Abyss Monkey Smoothie. OK. This smoothie must be on your must-try list. Made with fresh bananas, cocoa, ice cream, and probably lots of love, this is the best morning pick-me-up in warm weather. There is no sweet syrup aftertaste, as it’s fresh and the banana and chocolate combo is perfect. (Abyss Coffee, 30 S. Bethlehem Pk., Ambler.)
The Weavers Way Magic Carpet Sandwich. I had to add it to my repertoire, because it was love at first sight. It truly is a slice of Mediterranean diet heaven. Prepared Food Director John Adams uses fresh pita and stuffed with hummus, kalamata olives, cucumber, and feta cheese to make the sandwich to order. (Weavers Way, 8424 Germantown Ave.)
Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Samosas. These little triangular gems saved me all summer when guests passed by. They’re as good if not better than many versions of local restaurants, they cook in about ten minutes and give off a bit of curry heat, perfect for a summer night. I always keep them in the freezer. They also exist in a vegetarian version. (Trader Joe’s, 933 Old York Rd., Jenkintown.)
Karla’s Kitchen Chicken Empanadas. I am embarrassed to admit how many times I put my hands up at 5 p.m. when dinner is nowhere in sight and gave in to my kids’ obsession with these half moon shaped pillows filled with chicken tinga and made with the house of Karla Salinas. Pastry. They have become a weekly rendezvous for us. Each can be a full starter for the average person, and served with sour cream and guac, they are amazing. She also makes beef empanadas. (Karla’s Kitchen, 1666 Bethlehem Pk. Flourtown.)
Darcy’s Barbecue The Chicky Six. We got hooked on this one pretty quickly this summer. This is a fried chicken breast served on a roll topped with “smoky barbecue mayo” and pickles. It’s like home cooking meets southern BBQ. The combinations are generous and the chicken breast is bigger than the roll. While you’re at it, try the Brotherly Love Chest as well. (Darcy’s, 1800 Bethlehem Pk., Flourtown.)
Barry’s Sticky Buns. When the Fareway Market is open, I’m there for the gooey, sticky buns. Warm up those babies and sit down with a crossword and coffee on a weekend morning. I did. Almost every weekend. (Barry’s Buns, 8221 Germantown Ave.)
Starbucks Bacon Gouda Breakfast Sandwiches. I attribute this to my teenagers, who got hooked on sandwiches in the middle of the school year, and craved them all summer long, when they woke up at 11am. say once a week is a fair estimate. The bacon, gouda and egg combo served on ciabatta sort of ticks off any breakfast craving. Get there early, as there is sometimes a shortage in the late morning – when my kids are waking up. (Starbucks, 8515 Germantown Ave.)
Oreland Pizza White pizza with chicken, spinach and ricotta. This is our most regular order from this neighborhood pizzeria that offers on-site dining, but we usually order it take out. Grilled chicken mixed with fresh ricotta and spinach is perfect mainly because it gets the exact garlic content. There are many. (Oreland Pizza, 1350 Bruce Rd., Oregon.)