lovely life’s patina

One of the things that COVID-19 has done is it has disrupted our every day lives and our routines.

My friend Amy and I have our “Fran days” named after her mom where we put everything aside and do something together and have lunch. A lot of times we schedule those days to support Meg Veno at her lovely Life’s Patina events. Until today, this was one of the things that COVID-19 had interrupted for us around here.

Amy and I have been friends since high school and we even grew up in the same neighborhood, so I feel really blessed to have her in my life all these years later. So when we heard that Life’s Patina was going to open by appointment for their Fall Barn Sale we decided to make our appointment and go. Our slot was today and it was just wonderful!

Sensory overload, so much to look at! Something for everyone! And how lucky were we to also have such a beautiful day to be there…and guests today also received an awesome goody bag!

It was so nice to see friends and acquaintances and to see what Meg and her team had done. I love the Life’s Patina Barn on Willowbrook Farm and actually the very first time I was in it was during it’s renovation that led to Life’s Patina.

Being at Life’s Patina today made this surreal life we have all been living seem a little more normal. I actually liked the feel of a smaller, more intimate shopping experience with less people. Everyone was socially distancing and everyone was wearing masks and there were hand sanitizer stations all over the place. They did a great job!

Enjoy my photos of the day and if you go you need an appointment it’s not just open as normal this year. A lot of the time slots are sold out, so check the calendar and stay tuned for other opportunities to visit Life’s Patina this fall. And you can also shop online!

human trafficking in malvern?

Mind blown. Human trafficking broken up in Malvern, East Whiteland Township.

It started with a news release from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office:

HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION DISMANTLED IN MALVERN
A 14-year-old’s message, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” assisted in an investigation that uncovered an East Whiteland Township human sex trafficking organization that entrapped child and adult victims in Malvern, PA.
East Whiteland Township police, along with the Chester County Detectives and Homeland Security Investigations, rescued the 14-year-old victim at a Wawa parking lot in Malvern on May 30, 2020, after she was held against her will for weeks at various locations in the area. Investigators subsequently learned that she and an 18-year-old were both victims in a human sex trafficking organization run by three men, as well as other unidentified and unnamed individuals. These codefendants engaged in a criminal conspiracy and criminal course of conduct by recruiting, enticing, soliciting, transporting, obtaining and maintaining individuals who they benefited from financially while they were subjected to sexual servitude, as well as other sexual assaults and criminal activity.

Then the news exploded.

NBC10 Philadelphia: ‘I Don’t Want to Be Here.’ Girl’s Message Uncovers Chester Co. Sex Trafficking Ring

Three men face charges for running a human sex trafficking organization in the Malvern, Pennsylvania, area

A Facebook message from a 14-year-old girl asking for help led to the discovery of a human trafficking ring in the Philadelphia suburbs.

East Whiteland Township police, Chester County detectives and Homeland Security investigators rescued the girl from the parking lot of a Malvern, Pennsylvania, Wawa on May 30, Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said Wednesday.

Investigators said the girl had been held for several weeks against her will in various locations in the area. Investigators then found out the 14-year-old and an 18-year-old woman were being forced into sex by three men and others….Authorities want to know if other girls or young women were victimized.

“The allegations in this case are difficult to digest because of the calculated and deviant sexual exploitation of the two victims,” Ryan said. “Our office will continue the investigation to determine if there are other victims of this human sex trafficking organization.”

So this all took place in that no man’s land of ramshackle rental properties that go from like the Wawa at Planebrook through to Sloane Toyota? All along Lancaster Avenue a/k/a Route 30? And maybe from the Wawa headed east on Route 30? I’m all turned around. I have an idea where a couple of the locations were because of the NBC10 video.

Sorry not sorry this is just horrible and very scary.

Interestingly enough I learned courtesy of the East Whiteland Township meeting this evening that they have no rental inspectors. So basically no one keeps tabs on any rental properties? Does Chester County keep track of them? This is foreign to me because municipalities along the Main Line do have rental inspector people.

I asked if they knew all of the property owners involved in these various Lancaster Avenue rental properties especially those involved in the trafficking bust and yikes? The answer came from someone who I am not sure of was residents can look things up on Chesco views (paraphrasing).

Well yes, kind sir, I realize that but the maps get confusing. What is it they don’t understand about the fact that news like this makes residents in the area feel uneasy?

Human trafficking is terrifying stuff. And it’s crazy that it was going on in Chester County. Maybe I’m naïve. But you just don’t think of hideous crimes like that here. You think about that in big cities. One of the other things that I can’t wrap my head around is did the parents of these girls report their daughters missing?

Be safe out there. Hug your kids. Love your kids. What a cruel world we live in sometimes.

Next to Wawa. Not involved with what was on news.

bbq season is here! get the best at farm boy fresh in malvern!

Let me start by saying Farm Boy Fresh is on Toast Tab now. And in our COVID19 world you can order BBQ ahead for pick-up the next day. Yes next day. BBQ like this is an art form, trust me. They are weekends right now until Pennsylvania truly opens up.

Chef Paul Marshall

Back to the beginning.

Farm Boy Fresh photo – loading up the smoker for all of their happy customers

You all know I love the food from Farm Boy Fresh. And I had just started going there when stay at home orders and COVID19 hit. So I have been waiting. Last week I found out that Chef Paul Marshall was taking barbecue orders and I thought it would make a perfect Father’s Day treat for my husband. So I placed an order for brisket, ribs, chicken, sides and they should be illegal little key lime pies.

I went at my pick up time with my husband and our food was ready and waiting for us. We had a chance to visit with Paul and his lovely wife Julie, and oh my there is no barbecue in this area like his.

My husband was barely in the house sampling it and declared it “superior“ to anything else around here. I love barbecue when it’s good but we haven’t had any really good barbecue in years in this area right or wrong. Farm Boy Fresh has just elevated BBQ to the next level. (Guy Fieri are you listening? You might want to visit in your shiny red car.)

I am just sharing about Farm Boy Fresh again because I love their food. I want everyone to know that because a lot bloggers are compensated and I am not. I am just a happy customer of Farm Boy Fresh.

I will close with saying now I understand why people say good barbecue brisket is like a religious experience.

I hope you will place an order and enjoy the old-fashioned but never out of style tastes of summer. And let Chef Paul know that you read about Farm Boy Fresh on this blog!

Farm Boy Fresh. Located at the Sunoco at 7 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern PA19355.

Please note that for now until everything opens up in Pennsylvania, Farm Boy Fresh is open weekends 9 AM to 2 PM. And yes proper social distancing is being observed in my opinion. Find them on Facebook if you have questions.

stepping back in time in chester county

A lady posted a bunch of amazing photos in a local Facebook group with the following message: “I still have a couple containers of old photos to go through. Any of these folks or places look familiar to you? This album dates back to the late 30s and 40s”

With her permission I am posting the photos here. They are all of the Malvern and possibly Phoenixville area. If you know any of the people in the photos or where the homes are located, please leave a comment.

A lot of the photos are of soldiers from World War II which I find particularly poignant. It makes you wonder who came home, doesn’t it?

The irony is the era some of these photos were taken was another time when we were doing our part for our country and staying home and growing victory gardens and living through rationing.

Anyway I hope you can help identify some of these people! I thought it would be something fun for people to do in times where it’s not so much fun during the day sometimes.

Be well.

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!

then there is this other stepford mecca being built on white horse road…

Of course then there is this development on White Horse Road in Malvern.

I don’t even know what this Stepford Mecca is called.

But hell’s bells I guess these local municipalities must really think that we are going to grow our food on top of Whole Foods and Aldi and Wegmans given the rate they are approving developments out of farm land and open space, right?

And when everyone is so surprised when every school district doubles in size splits into two takes land by eminent domain for new buildings, don’t be. This is exactly why it’s happening.

This is also the Chester County Planning Commission and Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania hard at work…for anyone other than the actual residents.

Wake up Chester County. Wake the hell up.

file under: bad luck or cursed?

IMG_E8086We all have been waiting for Stove & Tap to open their Frazer, PA (Malvern) on Route 30 in Lincoln Court Shopping Center.

But it has taken for-ev-er.  A local quipped a few months ago that the Sistine Chapel was done is less time.  I don’t know. But what I do know is I noticed a couple of weeks ago when I was over in Lincoln Court that they finally looked almost ready. And people really want them to open around here.

But…then someone said the other day a truck had gone through the front. And not just any old truck apparently, but one with a tanker full of blacktop goop and WHAAAAAT???

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Bad luck or cursed, you have to feel for these restaurateurs. And I know Rome wasn’t built in a day but ya know we first heard about them coming to Chester County at some point in 2018.  Then all of the buzz started in early 2019

Vista: Stove & Tap Preparing for Grand Opening of Second Location  

Posted By: Kimberly McGuanePosted date: February 21, 2019

Stove & Tap, a popular restaurant and bar in Lansdale, is preparing for the grand opening of its second location, the Lincoln Court Shopping Center in Frazer, writes Kenneth Hilario for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

This is the fourth joint venture of business partners Justin Weathers and Chef Joe Monnich. In addition to the original Stove & Tap and the forthcoming one, the two restaurateurs also operate The Bercy in Ardmore and Al Pastor in Exton.

The new restaurant and bar at 215 Lancaster Avenue will span 7,500 square feet and generate five full-time jobs and 55 part-time positions. The owners also said there is potential for more positions after it opens.

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PA Eats: We’ve Got the Scoop on the New Stove & Tap in Frazer, PA by Emily Kovach on Mar 7, 2019

A new restaurant is headed to Frazer, PA: a second iteration of the wildly popular Stove & Tap in Lansdale. This new location, which will be about 35 miles southwest of the original (and just 8 miles north of West Chester), will bring the same rustic American dining and great bar atmosphere, and will certainly be a favorite new gathering spot for locals…. The 7,500-square-foot space, which was secured by restaurant real estate rock stars James Pinckney and Tess Scott of ZMCRE, was renovated under architect Joe Lombardi and interior design firm Boulange Designs (which also designed The Bercy). The aesthetic will be “rustic Americana” with plenty of reclaimed wood and metal and vintage wallpaper.

 

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Inquirer: Stove & Tap to open a location in Chester County
by Michael Klein, Updated: February 14, 2019

….Opening is projected for April.

Both are Starr Restaurant alums: Weathers as a manager at various locations and Monnich as a chef at The Dandelion and Parc.

Well….I think we are past April…..it’s September …and someone told me the blacktop truck well…. MADE A HUGE MESS.

Is this the universe telling East Whiteland Township there are enough beer pub kind of places around here already?

Lincoln Court is a weird place at times and in my opinion they have one of the WORST parking lots around.  Who hired the blacktop truck I wonder?  How did that truck slip?

Seriously, you just have to feel for the owners of Stove & Tap.   When will they open in Malvern/Frazer? In August the Inquirer said September/October, but given what I saw today, well who knows? I don’t know who does their publicity but maybe less playing possum and a little more being straight with the timeline might be in order? Especially with what happened?

I look forward to trying the place when it does finally open even if I don’t really drink beer ever. If anyone has the scoop here, feel free to leave a comment.

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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.

one development that is looking good in chester county

I am not a fan of the color scheme which was chosen (too blah beige) but the new apartment building on King in Malvern Borough really looks good. It’s not quite done as you can see from the lawn that isn’t a lawn yet, but I like it.

They put a lot of time and attention into architectural design and detail. And it’s all the way around the building not just a false front, which is the case most of the time.

Everyone always thinks I hate every bit of development. The truth is, I don’t. When you have people like this who are thoughtful about what their finished product is going to be I totally respect that. These people put a lot of time and effort into trying to make their building blend with the surrounding area and structures. It’s a modern building with homage to the past.