Archive for the Local Treasures Category

Escape the Rain and take your Kids to the Garden State Discovery Museum!

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Local Treasures, Neighborhood Noir, sports with tags , , , on August 19, 2011 by laurarobbprh

By Laura Robb

With this month of August now becoming “the rainiest month” many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids occupied, and out of the house.

Located in Cherry Hill New Jersey, The Garden State Discovery Museum, is a sanctuary for children of all ages. Whether you have a crawling baby or an eight year old, every child will find something to play with.

This is not your average museum. Here, children are expected to touch and play with everything that is in front of them. At the Garden State Discovery Museum, each exhibit is set up to allow kids to use their imagination and pretend to be whomever they choose.

Enter the Silver Diner, a life-size diner where kids can serve the parents for a change! They can pretend to cook and serve their “guests” in whichever fashion they like. Kids can challenge their own creativity by creating dishes that can be as traditional or untraditional as they want. Never worry about the clean up, all the food is plastic!

After your “meal” head on down to the news station, the Action News Desk to be exact. Here your child can be a reporter, a camera man, or predict the weather. Answer phones, and update the world about what is going on. The camera is actually real, and will broadcast your children across the museum.

Next you can work out and be the professional athlete in you. Go “Get Fit” in this exhibit fully equipped with golfing, basketball, and even The Flyers mini rink! This promotes healthy lifestyles for children and parents.

If adventure is what you want, go see the turtles and reptiles! Here in this exhibit there are ten different turtles, along with Chinese Water Dragons, Australian Bearded Dragons, millipedes, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, snakes, and Tarantulas.

All this fun  is perfect for yet another rainy day, or even a sunny one. Fees for entry are only 10.95 a person, 12 months and up.

The hours are 9:30- 5:30 with plenty of free parking available.

The address is 2040 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill NJ, 08003. For more information please call 856-424-1233.

Calling all kids 10 and younger!

Posted in Local Treasures, Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 11, 2011 by nicholeprh

…For a Beach Luau with your caregivers at Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse in Fairmount Park!

By Nichole Baldino

Smith is the kids play place in the park. It’s located at North 33rd and Oxford Streets in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park and open to the public for free year round except Mondays and holidays. It was developed in the late 1800’s as part of the American Playground Movement, when reformers, social workers and child psychologists grew concerned with the health of urban children and believed that supervised play helped stimulate a child’s mental well-being. Smith first opened in 1899 as a place where urban children can play and interact with each other safely.

Today, Smith exists for the same reasons – with modern and safe playground equipment and an infamous playhouse and giant slide! Smith also hosts regularly scheduled and special events. On August 13th from 10 am -12:30 pm, your 10 and younger friend and you can enjoy Smith’s playground facilities while participating in a beach party luau! It’s a free event with limbo and games, sand-art, bubbles, hula dancing, Hawaiian lei making, and more!

What a great way to get your kids out of the house on what is hopefully going to be a cool summer morning. Stay the whole day and enjoy Smith’s awesome playground equipment.. this is not your (or mine, and I’m only 20) playground anymore. Come see for yourself why Smith is the best kids playground in Philadelphia! Grown-ups will enjoy as well – guaranteed!

 

Come Enjoy the World as it Once Was, at the Williamstown Farmer Market!

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Food, Green Space, Local Treasures, Neighborhood Noir, Reaching Out with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by laurarobbprh

 

 

 By Laura Robb

 

Don’t have the time to travel to Lancaster County this summer? Like many of our Philadelphia locals, time and money has restricted us from taking our families on as many excursions as we would like.

If you want to see how the world once was, try to travel down the Atlantic City Expressway to Williamstown, home to the Stoltzfus Farmers Market, located on the Black horse pike.

Nicknamed the Amish Market, due to the large amount of Amish that work the stands, you have the privilege to try some of the freshest foods you can get. First stop must be for the pretzels, where several young women make hundreds of different pretzels each hour, and where the line can stretch halfway down the market.

In the center of the market, is the candy shop, where nearly every candy you know of, and some you never have, are sold at a discounted price, and always served with a smile.

The market has tons of fresh meats butchered on premise. For the health conscious people, this is the place to buy your meats! The meats are free range, and have no hormones, and it is so fresh, there is simply no better tasting foods out there.

The butcher offers fresh cuts of steaks, ground beef, ribs, bacon and more and all at a competitive price. This is a go to place if you happen to be planning any barbeques in the near future.

If you do not really want to cook, there is a prepared foods section, ranging from a large variety of salads to pot roast, baby back ribs, and Mac-and-cheese. You can purchase already cooked foods and just take it home and reheat it.

The bakery, along with everything else is simply delightful. Fresh brownies pies and danishes will bring out the sweet tooth in any one.

Go past the market, and you will find tons of shops, not ran by Amish folk, ranging from and incredible irish wares store, to wicker furniture, to a puppy shop. You can purchase books clothing or even get a massage!

This market is only open Thursday 9 -5 friday 9-8 and Saturdays 8-4, so get there early to get the full experience of this exquisite market!

For directions and more information, please go to www.williamstownfarmersmarket.com

Local Hidden Gem Offers Great Menu, in a Great Atmosphere

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Food, Local Treasures, Neighborhood Noir, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by laurarobbprh

By Laura Robb

Next time you decide to dine out with a loved one or meet a friend for happy hour drinks, there is a restaurant you may have never heard of and should try.

Max’s Seafood Cafe, located in Gloucester City New Jersey, is a small privately owned restaurant that will impress you from start to finish, and you might go home with a little piece of history along with your leftovers.

This restaurant was once a shoe store, then turned into Leisingers Saloon in 1912, where it operated as a soft drink shop during the prohibition era.

In 1937, it was passed down in the family, and renamed “Max’s Cafe”. The restaurant operated under this name for 65 years, when it finally closed its doors in 1998.

In 2001, the building was bought and completely refurbished, except for the bar. The building showcases dark wood, and gives off an old world charm.

Along the walls of the restaurant, you will find original documents and pictures of the saloon, framed for everyone to see. The dining room is dimly lit, so please remember to bring your glasses.

 Travel downstairs, and you find a beautiful private dining area that can accommodate up to 25 people. A large long table is placed next to a delicate fireplace, and over looks an elegant wine cellar that holds about 2000 different wines.

With a beautiful restaurant, this restaurants menu will not disappoint. Max’s is infamous for their different styles of mussels; red, white, spicy red and Thai. Walking past the tables, you will notice that nearly every party is enjoying at least one large bowl of the Prince Edward Island Mussels. Also, the kitchen offers a daily selection of raw bar delights, with different clams and oysters on the menu.

After appetizers, the entrees are just as enjoyable. The seafood Jambalaya will leave you begging for more. The cedar planked Salmon is another crowd favorite, with a pecan crusted salmon fresh grilled asparagus and a delicious sweet potato and a side of cranberry chutney.

This is a restaurant that you cannot skip dessert at. The fresh made-from-scratch key lime pie with a pistachio crust will probably be the best you have ever had. They also offer different delicious creme brulee` options, with fresh fruits inside the custard.

Top all of the delicious food with a delightful bottle of wine, or a delicious craft beer. There really is a drink here for everyone.

Monday through friday, from 3-6 there are amazing happy hour specials, each day offering various drinks and appetizers at a discounted price.

This is a little hidden gem located just minutes from the Walt Whitman bridge. This restaurant is sure to please anyone’s palate, after just one visit this will be ranked among you favorite places to go.

For more information, please go to www.maxsseafoodcafe.com

A Mosaic Masterpiece on Philadelphia’s South Street

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Community News, Local Treasures, Music and Film, Neighborhood Noir with tags , , , , on July 28, 2011 by mariamprh

By MARIA MURRAY

In the deluge of urban shops that make up South Street is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a folk art environment, gallery space, and nonprofit organization that showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. From outside the gates of this public installation, you can see partially into a carefully constructed mosaic labyrinth. Yet, the outsider’s view of this glass garden – which stretches down a half of a city block – does not speak to the magnitude of Zagar’s intricate mosaic sculpture. Every inch of both the indoor gallery and outdoor mosaic sculpture is covered, with bicycle wheels, glass bottles, different sized mirrors, Zagar’s hand-made tiles, and sculptures hailing from Latin America and Asia.

$5 gets you admission into the garden, where visitors can walk through at their leisure.  A now permanent art institution, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens originated in a vacant lot near Zagar’s studio in 1994. Though the previously vacant lot’s owner attempted to sell the land in 2002, the community backed Zagar’s art, which helped to incorporate it as a nonprofit organization. With Zagar’s artwork permanently preserved, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens makes art more accessible to the South Street community, prompting “civic engagement, community beautification, and artistic collaboration.”

PMG’s artistic collaboration extends to its public programs, which include film screenings, artists-in-residencies, concerts, and gallery openings. Every other Sunday, the Garden is home to a variety of themed, hands-on workshops for families. From noon until 4 pm, “Family Jams” can include book arts projects, poetry workshops, paper mosaics, and tile pin-making. Workshops and activities are free with admission.

If you head down to South Street this Saturday, PMG is hosting ART/GAGE: Celebrate Philly Creativity, the Garden’s fourth annual summer festival. With over 30 art and food vendors, and performances and demonstrations from local organizations, the festival is expected to double in attendance from last year. For ticket prices, visit http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/news/news.

Eating vegan never tasted so much like cheese steak?

Posted in Food, Local Treasures, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 18, 2011 by nicholeprh

 Blackbird Pizzeria, just off 6th and South, is a vegetarian/vegan’s dream come true!

By Nichole Baldino

As a vegetarian living in Philadelphia, it’s hard to be without a cheese steak! Using seitan to replace the meat and topping it “wit” the essentials: onions, peppers, mushrooms and vegan cheese, Blackbird Pizzeria keeps the sandwich’s authenticity while appealing to this growing population. Regretfully only trying a chicken steak in the almost three years I’ve lived in this city, it tasted as close to what I’d imagine a real cheese steak does. In addition to their cheese steak, Blackbird offers a variety of pizza with the traditional veggie toppings, as well as fennel, eggplant, yukon gold potatoes, avocado, and seitan pepperoni and sausage.

Sandwiches such as the “BBQ Portobello” with tangy BBQ sauce and jalapeno peppers and the “Marinated Tofu Cubano” with baked tofu, seitan pepperoni, pickles, caramelized onions, Dijon aioli, and daiya (vegan) cheese, and salads, such as a traditional ceaser, and an antipasti salad with mixed greens, roasted red pepper, marinated eggplant, baked tofu, seitan pepperoni, and a lemon-peppercorn vinaigrette round out the menu. Hand-cut fries, garlic bread and coleslaw are just a few of the extra’s you can add to all of your orders!

All is offered for a very wallet friendly price – Entree’s ranging from $2.50 – $3.75 for a slice of pizza to $8.00 for the cheese steak sandwich. From personal experience, the cheese steak doubled as the next day’s lunch for me – it was THAT filling.

You can finish out your meal with vegan desserts – cupcakes, brownies, cookies and more, made fresh by Vegan Treats!

Although the menu is small, there’s an option at Blackbird for all eaters. I went with a self-proclaimed “carnivore” who thoroughly enjoyed the BBQ Portobello Sandwich. Try it for yourself at 507 S. 6th Street in Philadelphia open Monday – Saturday 11am to 10pm and Sundays 11am to 9pm.

An Understated Café in “Everybody’s Hometown”

Posted in Food, Local Treasures, Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 12, 2011 by mariamprh

Sweet Potato Café & Bakery

4 W State St

Media, PA 19063

(610) 566-6791

By MARIA MURRAY

Located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Media is often recognized for its quaint atmosphere and friendly residents. Affectionately known as “everybody’s hometown,” the borough is home to a collection of quirky restaurants, coffee shops, and small businesses. Surrounded by the many competing eateries which make up the small town, Sweet Potato Café & Bakery earns a rightful spot on State Street.

The café doesn’t overwhelm you with its attempt to be chic or presentational. Its genius lies in the quality of its food. Served on styrofoam plates and with plastic utensils, the food juxtaposes its humble presentation. The Mushroom White Bean Soup ($2.95), a wholesome dish on its own, complements the taste of a seriously good Black Bean Burger with Salsa and Cheddar ($6.96). The food outweighs the superficial aesthetic we sometimes look for in a modern café.

There’s an absence of complication in Sweet Potato that suits it well. It has five wooden tables – some with matching chairs, some without. Its walls are bright red and are adorned with four large canvases picturing oversized cupcakes and chairs. The café’s owner, friendly and accommodating, serves from the counter, while another employee holds the door open for customers upon arrival and departure. The menu – both veggie-friendly and non – is affordable, and extends to a variety of baked goods. Yes, Sweet Potato does serve sweet potato, and does so in addition to an assortment of pies, cookies, and scones. The bakery also includes specialty cakes, all natural homemade ice cream, and twenty different types of muffins.

In the heart of ‘downtown’ Media, Sweet Potato has plenty of upscale competition. Still, the café/bakery remains uncorrupted by the tendency to charm customers with appearances. If you’re outside of the city, it’s definitely a worthwhile stop.