happiness is a meat order from your family’s butcher

Cappuccio’s on 9th Street in Philadelphia. That is the Italian Market to the rest of you.

This was the Saturday morning destination at least twice a month when I was growing up, even when we moved to the Main Line.

And yes, my family has been going here since before my grandfather Bill Zambelli put the abattoirs in this butcher shop.

Cappuccio’s was opened in 1920. Here is their story from their website:

Domenico Cappuccio was born on his family’s farm in Messina, Sicily during the late 1800’s. After his father passed away when he was in 2nd grade, Domenico was forced to leave school to help work the family farm. In 1910, as the rumblings of World War I began in Italy, Domenico decided it would be wise to join his brother in America. However, he was still drafted and this time would be asked to fight for the Americans.

Following his service, Domenico was offered a path to citizenship if he could find an American sponsor. After working several jobs in Southern New Jersey, Domenico ended up in Philadelphia’s Italian Market where he met a man who offered to provide him with sponsorship. This man, Charles Guinta, not only sponsored Domenico but gave him a job in his butcher shop and a place to stay above.

While working at the butcher shop, Domenico met his future wife, worked a fresh produce stand also in the Italian Market. After several years, Mr. Guinta felt that Domenico was ready to go out on his own and suggested he start his own shop down the street. After getting married, he took Guinta’s advice and opened up Cappuccio’s Meats at its current location. The couple would have three children, one of whom, Antoinette Cappuccio, would go onto run the shop with her husband Harry Crimi.

After Domenico retired, Harry and Antoinette Crimi took over Cappuccio’s Meats and continue to run the business today using the family’s traditional values with their son Dominic Crimi.

Now the funny thing about World War I bringing Domenico Cappuccio to the United States is it also played a role in my paternal grandfather’s life.

When my grandfather was a little boy, his mother who had emigrated to the USA as a young woman, took a ship back to Italy so her family still in Italy could meet her son. The problem was, World War I broke out when they were there and they had to stay with family in a little village until the was was over and Trans-Atlantic ship travel resumed.

My grandfather, a little, little boy, was called l’Americano by the villagers during that time. He went on to build a boiler company and factory. During World War II the company had to change it’s name to seem more American- people being suspicious of people born in other countries is sadly nothing new in this country. Both of my grandfathers (my maternal grandfather was Irish) were discriminated against.

But I digress.

Cappuccio’s is a familiar and well-loved place for me. Going there and to the Italian market with my father on weekends was sort of magical.

The ding of the bell on the door and you walk in and there was sawdust on the floor and sometimes sides of meat hanging from a hook in the window. I would sit on a barrel next to one of the front windows and watch everyone get waited on. The counters were wide and clean, knives in holders in between the counter sections.

Sometimes old Domenico would talk to me half in Italian and half in English. He had glasses with big black rims and a very sweet smile. Sometimes his daughter Antoinette who married Harry Crimi (who was close to my father’s age) would let me come back behind the sales floor.

My father and Harry would patter back and forth in English and Italian about whatever daddy was buying. I loved going there. I would watch as Harry would sharpen a knife to cut whatever we were buying. And then each item would get wrapped in butcher paper, marked, and placed in paper sacks, or a box depending on the size of the order.

As I grew up, I watched Harry’s son Domenick , who is about my age and whom I know as an adult, come up in the business. Now he runs the store!

A few weeks ago I got to thinking about the Italian sausage we used to buy there. My great aunts, grandparents, and my parents all made sauce (or gravy) with it. It is the best sausage you have ever tasted made the old school way with fennel.

I also started thinking about the other cuts of pork, beef, and lamb we used to get from Cappuccio’s. So I contacted Domenick and asked him if I could get an order – but it would have to be shipped or delivery because 9th Street is just a wee bit out of the way living in Chester County.

So Domenick said for me if I was willing to pay a delivery fee, he’d deliver.

My order got delivered a little while ago. All neatly and perfectly wrapped in brown butcher paper and bags with wire-tied tags with my name on it. Just like when I was a kid!

It sounds silly to some I am sure but this? This makes me happy. A piece of 9th Street in my freezer. And Domenick even bought me a bag of lamb neck bones- the best secret ingredient of any Sunday Pasta Sauce!

I mean no disrespect to my lovely local butcher, Worrell’s, but Cappuccio’s and me? We’ve got history! So I am going to be splitting my love going forward.

Cappuccio’s is an amazing old school artisanal butcher shop. They have been doing it the same way since 1920. Give them a try, and if you live closer to them then I do, go visit!

Cappuccio’s updates their Facebook page often. Seriously? Visit them, try their meats. You’ll be glad you did 😊

We had fresh grilled sausage for dinner. It was just as awesome as I remember it.

summer sauce

I made this yesterday and everyone keeps asking for the recipe. There isn’t one per se but here’s how it evolved:

2 lbs of ground sausage sautéed in olive oil with 2 sweet onions, 6 mild/medium chili peppers, 2 long hot peppers, 5 cloves garlic minced, 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes from the garden halved, sea salt to taste.

Next I added a huge handful each of fresh basil and oregano from the garden and a 10 ounce package of fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms chopped up.

Cook on medium low and stir a lot until sausage is cooked through.

Add two cans (28 ounce) of canned tomatoes- what I had on hand was crushed, add 1 small can of tomato paste (6 ounce size), and a good dash of red wine or red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Reduce heat and allow to burble on the stove, stirring frequently for at least another hour. Adjust for salt and pepper if needed. I didn’t find it needed it.

This is the kind of sauce that if I had fresh eggplant, that would have been peeled and chopped up and added as well.

It’s not complicated and it’s easy to make your own homemade sauce. The chili peppers came out of the garden as well and the end result was a flavorful but NOT a spicy sauce. It just tastes fresh. It will be dinner later this week over spaghetti or some shape pasta. Serve with a salad and you are good to go.

Easy summer dinner.

Leftover sauce can be frozen.

have you been to the eagle tavern lately? GO!

The Eagle Tavern is Chester County History. Love that after centuries (literally!) they are still standing! It was built in 1702 and the liquor license dates from 1727. We weren’t even a country yet officially! The current building was built over the original structure circa 1799 according to what I was told. It’s survived what could have been a devastating fire in 2010 that was tragically accidental.

It closed for a while when the old owners decided to sell. In 2018 it opened under new ownership. I wrote about it then (click HERE). PA Eats also wrote about it back then (click HERE.)

If I have a story right before the current owner as of 2018 it was owned by the original family that had it for decades and then maybe the people that owned Carmines up the street had it for a while?

Anyway back in 2012, the Daily Local wrote:

The Eagle Tavern

Receiving a liquor license in 1727, the Eagle Tavern was once a hangout for pre-Revolutionary War outlaws the Doan brothers. Located at the fork of two main thoroughfares, it’s been run by owner Lois Jones and her family since the country’s Bicentennial in 1976. Lois can be seen today greeting guests and serving up hearty fare in the restaurant’s casual, friendly atmosphere.

The Eagle Tavern has a colorful history that I would love to learn more about. (Some of it is on their website.)

I used to go to the tavern under the old owners mostly for lunch over the years. I didn’t live in Chester County until a few years ago so back in the day it was truly a haul to get there.

When the Eagle Tavern first reopened in 2018 we went a few times. The first time was March, 2018. That is when I wrote my initial review. At that time the meal was awesome and we really enjoyed it. We went back a few other times later in 2018 and didn’t really like it as much. I never updated my review, I just went other places. The problem was the place was inconsistent. It got to be that it was never really horrible but it wasn’t so fabulous either.

So until today, we hadn’t been there in forever, literally. We had wondered for a while if they were still open because the parking lot was always empty. Then recently a friend told me that they were under more appropriate management, better management and they were doing their own beer and other things.

So this afternoon after taking a detour after attending a funeral, my husband and I decided to go back for a late lunch.

I am so glad we did! And I hope all of you go back to the Eagle Tavern, especially if you haven’t been there in a while!

The difference is remarkable! The inside has been further refined without losing its wonderful historic tavern feel. The menu has been revamped and is like a more modern version of what it originally was years ago. And the bathrooms have been done over and so has the staff. We had amazing table service today and an awesome lunch!

I know it sounds dumb, but I have been on the hunt for a traditional, old-school club sandwich. I don’t know what it is about that sandwich but that is a summer sandwich to me. Probably because growing up when you went to certain clubs and places that was always on a summer menu.

The sandwich was amazing. My husband enjoyed his lunch too and said that their home brewed beers were nice! Here are screenshots of the lunch menu:

Here is the link to all of the menus: CLICK HERE. The Eagle Tavern has upped their game considerably and remained true to the history. I like that they do not pretend to be other than what they are. And it’s lovely inside. Anyone can buy architectural salvage to dress up a new build restaurant, but you can’t imitate centuries of history.

We actually took the time to speak with the manager. Chester County residents who have lived out here a long time you will know his name immediately – Chip Nye. Yes, the old manager for years came back! And the difference is remarkable! And he’s excited to be there and his energy is echoed by the rest of the staff.

The Eagle Tavern is running again like a well-oiled machine, and the menu works and is well-prepared coming out of the kitchen and the staff is amazing. I actually look forward to future meals there. And I think it looks better than ever inside which is why I snapped a few photos.

Anyway I encourage folks to go and check it out. They also have music some of the time.

An old school tavern is so much better than a Disneyesque modern version of a pub. The folks from the Ship Inn should go check it out. The Ship is also tradition around here, but they need a makeover in parts of their restaurant, and the kind of aesthetic makeover at the Eagle Tavern and feel of it would also work at the Ship Inn. No, not to create twinsies taverns, I just think it would be good inspiration. Especially in that big dining room that screams 1970s banquet hall.

(Now don’t get out the pitchforks at me because I said the Ship Inn needs a makeover. It’s a cool place but Robert Irvine needs to visit and Restaurant Impossible is looking for places.)

Back to the Eagle Tavern: Today was lovely, look forward to future visits! Let me know what you think if you go!

cool summer pop-up you DO NOT want to miss this sunday, august 11 in glenmoore!

Looks inviting doesn’t it? That is because it is!!!

So what are you doing tomorrow Sunday, August 11 between 12 noon and 6 PM?

You should be going to Glenmoore PA. Just put 1941 Creek Road Glenmoore PA into your GPS or maps program and go! Trust me, it’s a beautiful drive into the country and you will be glad you did! I sure am!

Today I had my BEST score in a long time! Cool vintage dairy sign from the Vintage & Vine Preview POP-up at Glenmoore Deli (1941 Creek Rd Glenmoore PA)

This new venture being introduced to us by two of my pals Kristin Smith and Christie Keith is something you don’t want to miss!

Seriously? Go tomorrow! If you’re going to church you can go after church. It’s a nice weekend and here is the menu:

This burger was fresh and AMAZING!

Salad with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.

Sun Tea with fresh herbs and flowers!

Old-fashioned fair lemon 💗

All of the food is locally sourced when possible (obviously we don’t have any citrus groves in Chester County) and is super fresh! Amazing produce and some was for sale in the store as well.

iThe eclectic mix of vintage, antique and more modern treasures was so much fun! Including to my surprise a fabulous jewelry line out of Washington DC created by a woman born and raise in Chester County! Yes, Diament Jewelry by Libby Diament.

Libby has a store in Washington, DC and started making her jewelry while living and working in NYC. Libby travels around the country hunting for vintage parts and jewelry that can be brought back to life. It’s sort of like finding treasure!

Diament Jewelry has been worn by celebrities including: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Fanning, Cher Lloyd, Rachel Bilson, Giada de Laurentiis, and Meredith Vieira.

Bar earrings from Diament Jewelry

I had been looking for a pair of bar earrings for a couple of years. But I didn’t want ones that look like everyone else’s. So I was super psyched to discover the ladies had Diament Jewelry in their pop-up today. I also bought a pair of small studs that look like glittery slices of quartz or fools gold. As I get older I like wearing study earrings more than I have in a long time and there’s a nice variety for sale along with some adorable dangle earrings like a pair of wishbones! There are also in a locked case some of Diament’s lovely ethereal necklaces.

To check out more on Diament Jewelry visit their website or better yet read the article Forbes Magazine wrote about Libby Diament!

You will also find lovely local raw honey by Hound Dog Honey and soaps and lip balm by Vellum Soap Company and unless they sell out these to die for soft caramel candies by Dave’s Delectable Delites of Glenmoore.

But have I raved enough about the menu? So good. So fresh. Christie Keith is a genius in the kitchen! That is the best part about this menu everything is fresh nothing is frozen. It makes all the difference in the world in taste.

I love to cook as everyone knows, and Christie Keith is one of those people that I will have cook for me any day!

Take a drive in the country tomorrow. Have lunch, find a treasure!

brick and brew in malvern

Have you been to Brick and Brew in Malvern Borough?

Tonight was my first visit.

The place is HUGE. And they put money into it. It’s very cool looking. And very clean.

The staff is nice and even on a Monday the place was hopping. I will note it seemed like they did need more floor coverage.

We were seated at a little deuce and that was fine. What wasn’t fine was there was seriously the LOUDEST woman behind me ever. I am not exactly quiet, so that’s saying something. This woman because she was so loud was in EVERY conversation at every table around her because she was so LOUD. I really did not need to know about her life. I couldn’t easily have a conversation with my husband until she left.

My husband ordered a burger and I had the buttermilk chicken sandwich.

Both were meh at best.

The burger was supposed to have a pepperoncini relish. Either they were the mildest pepperoncini ever or the relish was missing.

The chicken sandwich had serious potential but the chicken was over cooked sadly. It had this slaw on it that I could have had an entire separate order of it was THAT good.

I don’t really find the food to be that exciting. It needs work. It has potential but it needs work. And they need to ditch the special homemade ketchup. I am not going to sugarcoat it, it’s gross. It doesn’t taste like ketchup and it looks like barbecue sauce but doesn’t taste like barbecue sauce either. It’s thin, salty, and essentially flavorless.

This is a really cool looking place with I am told great brews (I don’t drink beer) but the food needs fixing. The menu has gotten smaller since they opened I am told. But I think they need to tweak it some more and cook the food more consistently.

The bar seems packed and they are packing them in so business is good. Once they work out the kinks, we will give it another try.

UPDATE:

I received a little slut shaming via the pub’s social media pages. I could’ve been a lot more harsh with my review. But I was honest. And if you go to Yelp or any other place that allows reviews of restaurants and includes this establishment you will see that I am not alone in my opinion, and in a lot of cases I was a lot nicer than a lot of other people.

As someone who wrote this perspective as a customer, I don’t think I will ever go back because if they don’t like my opinion as a customer and they are going to try to slut shame me on social media for having my opinion, why am I going to go back in and spend my hard earned money in their establishment?

FURTHER UPDATE:

Some people who wrote comments stating they thought the restaurant’s behavior towards me or any less than satisfied customer have had their comments removed. Or snarky comments were left in response assuring people they could just call or stop in so why then did no one return my call? Their victim? I guess their doing this makes them feel better. Which is kind of sad and pathetic.

My opinion is my own. We went in for dinner like everyone else. I am sorry my review isn’t 100% but it just doesn’t live up to the hype. But the place is new and I am hopeful they will improve. I however at this juncture given their social media hissy fit will NOT be going back. Nor will I recommend it.

If this social media hissy fit is their example of customer service well it speaks volumes.

happy 25th anniversary to the west chester growers market!!!

IMG_6363I missed all the political fanfare early this morning, but I did make it to the 25th anniversary of the West Chester Growers Market.

State Senator Andy Dinniman and Chester County Commissioners Michele Kichline and Terrence Farrell were there at the opening of today’s market to celebrate with everyone and present citations and proclamations.

But where oh where were the officials of West Chester Borough? Borough Council? I mean it is NO SECRET they have been discussing the lot on the corner of Chestnut and Church Streets again right?  And what developer and hotel owner want in on whatever is discussed, hmmm?  Oh the irony that they just discussed this again, what? This past week?

wcb

And no one from the Borough could come to the West Chester Growers Market in an official capacity to celebrate their 25th anniversary? The County and State felt they should be there, so why not the Borough?

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Photo courtesy of County Commissioner Terrence Farrell’s Facebook Page.  He and Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline presenting a County citation to Paul “Bud” Hauser, an inspiration behind and one of the four original growers who founded the West Chester Growers Market 25 years ago. I think this is fabulous that they did this!!

Oh and my opinions are my own, by the way.  And sadly I think West Chester Borough needs to appreciate the organizations which bring people into the Borough weekly for 25 years, don’t you? The West Chester Growers Market brings people and farms and small food producers together. In a world filled with ugliness, this is something genuine and nice.

Today the market was bustling in spite of the crazy heat.  And the vendors were nice enough to have lots and lots of water on hand for customers. And ice cream!!  And balloons and face painting for kids!

IMG_6377

I love the West Chester Growers Market and it is pretty much the only one I patronize at this point since East Goshen seems to have given up on their farmers market which I think is a huge mistake since they have one of the most awesome locations.

The photos I took today were my own.  I am not compensated in any way for posting about the market. I post about the West Chester Growers Market because I love it and think it’s fabulous.

And if West Chester Borough Council gets their knickers in a twist because I do not feel in my opinion that they appreciate the market in all it’s fabulousness, tough noogies and am I wrong?

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY WEST CHESTER GROWERS MARKET!! 

WE LOVE YOU IN CHESTER COUNTY!!

 

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changing my mind about prime now

A year ago this time of year I wrote about Prime Now. At that time I was fairly pleased with Prime Now the Amazon – Whole Foods food delivery service.

But the attractiveness wore off when orders subsequent to the first order were placed over the course of the last year. I had problems with orders like them not getting delivered. At all. It’s super easy to use the app to place the order, but then I had a couple of orders that were just not delivered.

I could see that they were placed and shopped and they were waiting for pick up and they never ever got delivered. It was crazy. Then I found out that my orders were coming from the stores geographically closest to me they were coming from pretty far away which didn’t make sense.

And then there’s the reality that you are limited on products as to what Amazon Prime Now feels like pushing, which isn’t the same of the vast array of products available through Whole Foods when you go into the store. And it’s frustrating because you think because they now own Whole Foods and they are shopping your order at a Whole Foods store that you would have more variety like you do in the store. Only you don’t.

I will tell you honestly that Instacart has stepped up their game tremendously. And the orders that I got from Instacart that come from my local Wegmans are perfect. And Giant by Peapod is not perfect, but not bad either – they have excellent customer service.

And the delivery people for both Instacart and Giant by Peapod are super nice and they care.

My husband decided because they were offering a special with the Prime Day stuff to try Prime Now on his own. They were offering like a $10 coupon or something to try it or to order on Prime Day.

So he placed an order. I knew what time the order was expected but I was on the third floor of our home when the delivery person actually came to the door.

When I got downstairs the Prime Now delivery person was speeding off in his car. But the packages he had delivered were all straight up against my screen door which opens OUT. So that means the screen door was completely blocked and if I had pushed it open I would’ve broken it as it’s an old-fashioned screen door. I had to go out through the garage up around the front walk move the bags so I could open the screen door to open the front door to bring the groceries in.

Oh and did I mention that my husband specifically put on the order NOT to block the screen door and front door if someone wasn’t right there to get delivery?

The next problem was it’s almost 100° right? Or if it’s not 100° yet it feels like it? Some of what was ordered was perishable and frozen. There were no ice pack things in the insulated bags. And I checked my blog post from when I first wrote about them and there were at that time.

So basically my food that was frozen and personable was all warm to the touch. That’s kind of gross.

Prime Now when they began had made such a big deal about their insulated bags for perishable items and frozen foods.

I called up Prime Now customer service and they couldn’t have been nicer. And they agreed with me that the order should have been packed differently in this heat. They also noted that it said on the account and in the order that was given to the store and to the driver delivering NOT to block the front door and screen. And that was a pretty basic thing to pay attention to.

So sadly, I think I am going to put Prime Now back on the shelf of things I’m not going to use again for a while. Getting groceries delivered is a little luxury that I like sometimes, but if simple things like NOT blocking the screen door and front door can’t be accomplished, and insulated bags have nothing to keep the items cool, what are we paying for?

It seems like Amazon in general has issues like this all across the board. When you can get somebody in the United States on the phone who is customer service, they are very good, but the rest of it is inconsistent at best.

Another example would be recently I ordered some organic cleaning products I like better through Amazon. The company is called Frosch and they’re German. But the only place I can find the products is through Amazon.

I ordered liquid cleaner that was an all purpose cleaner and it was delivered to me in a paper padded Amazon shipping envelope. There was no protective padding or a box that the liquid cleaning supplies were placed in. So needless to say one bottle was open and leaking upon arrival.

These are all basic things. But it points to the problems in Amazon that must exist. Other problems include dumped packages, missing packages, and so on.

Amazon opens up a broader world of product availability. But I think with their stratospheric growth over the past few years there are issues they really need to work out. Today was just another example.

Thanks for stopping by and stay cool during the heatwave.