Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ida's Cafe

Photography by Fitz
Located on Roherestown Rd. in Lancaster, Ida's Cafe is probably best known for its breakfast. It's just down the road from another great breakfast/lunch place, The Pantry. Since we already reviewed The Pantry, it's time to see how Ida's rates in comparison. We do, after all, go to The Pantry almost every week.

We had breakfast at Ida's today, and it's certain that we will be going back very soon! Whatever you've heard about the greatness of their food is...absolutely true! It's a little place, with a seating capacity of 60. If you're eating there on a weekend morning, you're likely going to have to wait. Don't sweat it. It's worth it. We always love places like this - where the food is actually homemade and inspired by family home cooking. I had the cream chipped beef. Ordinarily, that's a very watered-down "greasy spoon" sort of dish. But Ida's has found a way to elevate it! It was far and away the best cream chipped beef I've ever had. It was creamy and surprisingly meaty. And my side of bacon was, well, it's pretty hard to screw up bacon. And this place certainly doesn't. Tami had the grilled sticky bun and a ham & cheese omelet. I believe this was her first time ever having a Pennsylvania style grilled sticky, and she absolutely loved it. I had a taste of it myself, and it was just ridiculous. It was so buttery and flaky and crazy delicious. Mmmm! Tami ordered the omelet as a test. If they failed to produce a first-rate omelet, they were going to be in serious trouble. But they did not come up short. Minor points were deducted because there wasn't quite enough cheese, but from a flavor standpoint, Tami offered rave reviews. All in all, we had a dynamite meal. We probably waited about 15-20 minutes for a table, but we had no complaints. And once we were seated, the service was friendly and fast. The food came out in a flash. The service was great in general - both the cashier/hostess and our server were super nice and very good at their jobs.

On to the FABS scale (again modified to omit our standard beer category)...
Food- Just about perfect. I look forward to going back and trying their lunch! 33/33 1/3
Atmosphere- Cute little place. Minor deduction for all the tables being on top of each other. 31/33 1/3
Service- You can tell this is something they value. 33/33 1/3

Total- 97 (out of 100). 

Given that we're in the area most weekends to buy groceries, it seems likely that we will become Ida's regulars. That was a damn fine breakfast! Maybe we'll have to resort to a rotating schedule between Ida's and The Pantry!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Joe's Famous American Kitchen

Photography by Fitz

Well! It's been a while since our last post. During football season we don't get out much. We have Penn State, Notre Dame, and the Philadelphia Eagles keeping us home during the weekends. But last night we decided to go grocery shopping after the Notre Dame/Wake Forest game. We usually shop in Lancaster since we hate the supermarkets in York. Tami did some Internet research on places to eat in Lancaster and stumbled upon Joe's Famous American Kitchen. To put it mildly, we struck gold!

Located in an upscale town center shopping complex at the corner of the Fruitville Pike and Route 722, Joe's is not your typical burger joint. Tami and I are both burger lovers, and we seem to be in agreement that the burgers from Joe's are the best we've had all year. I am more than willing to pay a little more for a higher quality product. Joe's Burgers are made from a blend of uncured beef brisket and chuck. The bread comes from LeBus bakery in Philadelphia. Artisanal cheeses come from Town Clock Shoppe in Gap. The fries are fresh cut. I had signature burger #3, The Hot Mess - topped with chili, cheddar, jalapeno peppers, onion, and tomato. With fries and a drink, my combo came to $12. Considering the quality of the food, I found that price quite reasonable. I'm so sick of places with mediocre burgers. Joe's delivered the incredible tasting burger I've been craving for months! It was so juicy and flavorful, and the chili topping was insane! The roll alone almost had me jumping up and down. Tami ordered a build-your-own burger, which she loved so much that she had stop herself from devouring it before she had the chance to savor it. She wanted to lick her plate when she was done! The fries were great as well, and I think it's cool that you can order special dipping sauces to go with them (I tried Apricot-Dijon). And be sure to save room for dessert - we both had milkshakes (chocolate malt and salty caramel) and split a cupcake.

The menu at Joe's is pretty basic, and I think that's what makes the place great. Essentially, they do burgers, fries, and hot dogs along with a few other specialties (fried pickles, lobster bisque, fresh salads). They are really good at what they do, and all I could think is that a place like Fuddruckers wishes it could be this good! The atmosphere is friendly and casual, with a really cute pop art motif. I can't wait to go back and try a hot dog along with an order of sweet potato fries and sea salt caramel dipping sauce! Mmm!

Quickly, let's put Joe's up against our FABS scale. The Beer category has been omitted since this is not an establishment that serves alcohol.

Food- A+ quality burgers, great fresh cut fries, infinite deliciousness. 33/33 1/3

Atmosphere- Casual, comfortable, family friendly. 30/33 1/3

Service- All staff was super-friendly, and the food comes out quickly. 32/33 1/3

Total - 95 (out of 100) 

I believe we've found our new favorite burger place!