have you visited magnolia cottage shop in malvern/frazer yet?

I have written about Magnolia Cottage Shop before, but it really is quickly becoming a favorite place so I thought I would post some photos. I went to pick something up there today and I just love it. It’s nice to have a store that has a wonderfully curated selection of gifts with all sorts of antique and vintage mixed in. 

Magnolia Cottage Shop is located at 288 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern/Frazer. Their phone number is 484- 320-8022.

The owner really goes out of her way to have fun things that you just don’t find every place else. One of the things she carries which I really like are the Wickit Good Candles. They are a hand poured craft candle with Chester County roots but are hand-crafted at the Jersey shore.

Wickit Good Candles have wonderful scents that are not overpowering and overwhelming. I like a candle that gives you a waft of a beautiful fragrance, not something that smacks you in the face and smells like grandma’s old potpourri.

For those planning bridal showers and even baby showers in the spring, this is a great store to pick up presents that are fun and have whimsy. 

They also have monogramming available for things purchased in the shop which I really like because they are bringing in these bags which will make awesome shopping totes or beach/pool bags. I don’t know about you but I’d rather carry my vegetables from the farmers market in a cute bag!

And I am my mother’s daughter in that regard…. I just love monograms and personalization.

So if you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Magnolia Cottage Shop, also keep in mind that they do things like offer small group workshops, classes, demonstrations and even some Young Rembrandts Chester County children’s art classes!

farm boy fresh…hooked

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Today I finally made it to Farm Boy Fresh in Malvern.

“Don’t take my picture!” he said “Look at this apron!”

Oh Chef, the thing is this, pristine aprons to me mean y’all aren’t having fun creating your food.  (Besides, I am the home cook who can kill an apron almost as soon as I put it on!) So a little smudge of something on your apron is a good thing.

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I have been wanting to get to Farm Boy Fresh and as today is Thursday, it was chicken basket day, so instead of just writing about how amazing everything looks, I went for a little look see myself. (I wrote about them earlier this month.)

Yes, seriously, we have a classically trained chef who trained with people like Emeril Lagasse right here in Chester County.  Living his best life with his wife on their lovely farm and cooking breakfast and lunch….inside the Sunoco Station at Routes 30 and 29 in Malvern.  Yes, where Three Crazy Ladies was.

While there, Chef Paul Marshall was telling me about the chicken he uses when he was preparing my order and a couple of others.  He uses Poulet Rouge.  I had not heard of that type of chicken in years.  As in I saw them on a farm once in France when I was like 14. They are a russet red chicken with long legs and a bare neck.  Seriously.  I realized those were the chickens I saw ummm…. decades ago.

I did a little reading when I got home and these chickens do indeed have longer legs and they are less round than some chicken breeds can be.  They are known for their flavor and apparently they have thinner skin.  I actually found a farm down south that raises them and you can buy them and other heritage poultry and meats from (Joyce Farms).

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I am not sure if this is where the chicken today came from, but the chicken I had today was so good it was like a religious experience.  Did you ever have lunch that smelled so good and looked so good that it was like there was no time for social media and food photos and you just ate a meal without taking it’s photo?  You know the way it used to be before we were Instagramming, Tweeting, or Facebooking?

That was today.

The chicken was hot, juicy, and fresh and there was that lovely fluffiness of perfectly cooked chicken that had not only a good dredge with flavor, but buttermilk. And a little bit of a flavor profile that gave it just a little reminiscence of a kick but not spicy.  Super subtle.  Served with the chicken was this slaw that I am guessing was Napa cabbage (my favorite) and I am not sure all what else, but it had Asian influences and seemed to be more of a vinaigrette and essentially I could have dined on that alone it was so good.

IMG_1919I also bought a yummy blueberry chia muffin, chocolate chip cookies,  and a jar of hot pepper jelly.

You know what else I liked?  I got to hang out and talk to the chef.  I have a friend from high school who is a chef (Carlo DeMarco of 333 Bellrose in Radnor), and have met others over the years through friends and family and they are a lot of fun to speak with.

Since I like to cook, I like to learn, and all of the chefs I have met are happy to talk food and share.  Chef Paul Marshall is no exception.  He was so nice and very interesting and I also loved hearing him speak about his wife Julie who apparently grew up in the area.  That was awesome.  You have to totally and immediately appreciate and respect someone who obviously adores their spouse, and their eyes light up when they speak of them.

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My friend Sherry Tillman, who created First Friday Main Line and owns Past*Present*Future in Ardmore can tell you that I am a food geek.  Whenever we were doing out food events years ago like Foodapalooza, she always knew she had someone to go to the participating restaurants and photograph the food and chefs and speak with them. That is my idea of fun.

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Soon at Farm Boy Fresh there will be amazing high boy farm style tables so you can eat in and not just take out.  It is totally quirky to have an amazing chef cooking in a gas station, but you know what? That juxtaposition just works. This is fun.

Farm Boy Fresh is a welcome addition to the lunch and breakfast places in Chester County.  It’s so great to meet someone that just loves what they do.

Go get yourself some breakfast or lunch.  Farm Boy Fresh is located at the Sunoco at 7 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern (the corner of Route 30 and Lancaster Ave in East Whiteland Township)

I will note for the record that I was not compensated for this review.  I went in to buy lunch and I will be back! I am Farm Boy Fresh hooked!

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another west chester ramble

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Today we went old school and headed to D&K for breakfast.  It was as good as it always is, and we wandered on our way through the Borough Of West Chester.

I have always liked West Chester.  What I don’t like however is all the infill development.  Why? Because what is going up now is not in the least complementary of the borough, which has little brick houses of more of a colonial style through to grand Victorian mansard roofs and gardens with wrought iron gates.

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See above.  Another Kahnification of West Chester (blue and new going up to the right of Kildare’s).  That used to be the Mosteller Department Store  which truthfully from it’s early history morphed into something quite unattractive. But what is replacing it is also unappealing to me because it just doesn’t jive with the area.  I am not saying people have to build imitation Williamsburg, but if they are going modern, why does it have to be ummm…jarring and unattractive and out of size and scale with the surroundings?

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I really started to explore West Chester in the 1980s when one of my best friends came out to West Chester to go to college.  I used to visit her and explore.  In those days I did not have a car so often I took a train to Paoli and a cab into West Chester if I could not get a ride.  (I will note where you wait for cabs on the westbound side of Paoli station is still creepy.)

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West Chester is one of those towns where I always find something to look at. Now these are newer townhouses in the next photo, and I actually don’t mind the design even if I don’t quite get the height and bunker like quality of the wall in front:

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GPS took us down a street that really wasn’t a street to me, but the rear of a development.  Here I saw once again what I dislike about most townhouse developments:

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This is an actual street and look how narrow. And Look at SUVs and trucks NOT being able to fit in their own driveway.  To me this looks like a street in Sea Isle or Ocean City, NJ.

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One of the things I also have always liked about West Chester are the alleys and side streets.  Always something cool to see there as well. A lot of old stable structures still exist, among other things.

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West Chester is just fun to wander.

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It’s also fun to check out old postcards to see what has changed and to see what still exists.  Take for example (and thanks for rambling with me):

 

they had me at beignets: farm boy fresh has landed in malvern

Full disclosure: haven’t been there yet. But I will be going. They had me at beignets. And a breakfast and lunch menu that looks fun and has some Louisiana and other flair to it. And I actually love a good breakfast and lunch place, don’t you?

So yes, they had me at beignets and if Chef makes gumbo, I may volunteer to ladle it out. I found a bio of the chef-owner Chef Paul Marshall on the Blue Star Stove website. That in and of itself amuses me because one of my best friends swear by these stoves. Chef Paul Marshall has quite a culinary resume and I would say we are lucky to have him local.

His Farm Boy Fresh is where the Three Crazy Ladies was at the Sunoco Gas Station at 7 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern or… the corner of Route 30 and Route 29. They are new enough that Google Maps doesn’t pick them up yet. So here is my version of a map:

Now I checked with them for a menu because they don’t have a website up yet (they are new and renovating) and heard back from them very promptly:

Hey thanks for reaching out. We don’t have a website and are looking to update the Facebook page in the coming weeks. We getting a system installed shortly that will allow for online ordering. Paul Marshall is the owner and chef, he has a long career as an executive chef in restaurants and wanted to do something local to bring his food in an affordable quick environment. The cafe is going through some renovations as well, new bar tables will be in the shop soon, so you can eat in store. I have a menu, I’ll attach it here.

Umm yes so this is a chef with some serious chops. Found this elsewhere:

…From his childhood on the bayou in rural Louisiana, the land of cayenne pepper, roux, seafood gumbo, beignets, and Andouille Sausage, Paul always showed a passion for cooking. During seven years under the watchful eye of Fernando Oca he learned classical French technique. Marshall returned to his New Orleans roots to work under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace. There he further developed his passion for ‘the new’ New Orleans cuisine, a melting pot of French, Spanish and American flavors.

Chef Marshall also was the Chef de Cuisine of Oscars at The French Brasserie in The Waldorf Astoria. Since then, he moved to Malvern, PA with wife Julie …

I like quirky. And I also love food with Louisiana influence (well except for catfish. I just don’t cotton to catfish.) And you have to respect someone with a passion for their craft. So below is the menu and I will be visiting soon. I learned about them from someone in my area!

I hear they are open while they are renovating, but it possibly could be a little bit limited while they polish and shine, which is totally reasonable. That’s why I haven’t been yet. But I will be stopping by soon!

favorite places: dixie picnic in frazer, pa

Hands down one of my favorite places for breakfast and lunch in Chester County is Dixie Picnic in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center on Route 30 in Frazer/Malvern.

I realized that although I have been enjoying the place for years, I have never written about them. Well I need to rectify that.

It’s not fussy, it’s not pretentious, it’s good food, well-prepared, served with a smile. It’s a wonderful scratch kitchen and I love sending people there because they are always so happy that they’ve gone! And now through the website you can even order online to pick up. And they have catering available!

The owners are as lovely as can be, and when we went today for breakfast we could smell the delicious smells of baking bread. (Their sourdough bread is my favorite.)

Today my husband had an omelette which is his usual go to go out to breakfast fare. It arrived the table fluffy and pretty.

He said it was delicious as always!

I tried something different today. I tried their avocado toast. I have had it a bunch of places recently where I wasn’t thrilled with it. It’s a pretty basic thing to make but some people just do too much. Today was perfect.

It arrived on a slice of their lovely sourdough bread and the avocados were just perfectly ripe and slightly smashed with an over easy egg on top. I added a little salt and pepper and some Tabasco sauce and oh my it was awesome! Truthfully it’s the best avocado toast I have had anywhere.

Something else they are known for that I did not have today are the upcakes. Delightfully homemade simply iced cakes in an array of flavors every time you go in the door. Some of my favorites include the carrot cake upcake and the red velvet upcake . And they also have this devil’s food one that has this amazing mocha frosting. And if you’re looking for something that is a lighter and fluffier upcake try the lemon. Upcakes are magically delicious.

Dixie Picnic is a wonderful Chester County business and I hope you give them a try!

new year, new junk mail…and a suggestion!

OK I really am also starting to get tired of the things that get mailed to you that look like they are hand addressed but you open them and they are not. It’s just junk mail.

Got one of those yesterday from Renewal by Andersen. They are already on my least favorite list because of the pushy door to door salesmen that come around occasionally.

 This latest buy a mailing list junk mail piece came in an envelope that would have made you think it was an after Christmas holiday or New Year’s card from a friend.

I opened it and found this. Really juvenile bad hand writing as a mass mailing – it was printed like this on purpose.

Once again I will be calling to be removed from their solicitation list, and it’s another thing to recycle. I’m really at a loss as to how to get off their mailing list because I have asked repeatedly for easily a decade.

And if you live in Chester County and you want a really good company that’s local to do your windows I suggest A.F. Orizietti out of West Chester.  they have been providing excellent service and prices since 1957. We have been very happy customers through multiple homes with them. And everyone we have ever referred to them has been exceedingly happy. They are not compensating me in any manner for suggesting them as a company I just think they’re awesome.

In 2020 recycle the solicitations and support local service providers like this!