Food Blogger vs. Fat: Week 22

It’s week 22 and I have already lost the weight of a small dog. No joke. Read on for the latest update in my journey to better health.

The Successes

It was a good week as far as exercise. I recorded an hour of walking on Tuesday during an event at work, then added lunch walks on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Then Sunday I finally had a chance to get my discs out and hit the course.

The plan was a stop at the Laurelain Park, my go-to for disc golfing, but there was an event happening so we had to turn around and go with plan b.

Not a bad Plan B

Plan B was Angelica Park. Located on the campus of Alvernia University, the Angelica Park disc golf course is a nine-hole course that I hadn’t visited in two years. It was actually the first course that I ever played, and one that I have always enjoyed, but road closures during the construction of the new nature center made it more of a hassle to get to the course, and Laurelain was just easier.

This looks like a wide open tee shot. It’s not. The basket is 374 feet away, down a hill guarded by a small forest.

It really is a beautiful course, a little more wooded than Laurelain with some challenging tee shots toward well-guarded baskets.

The most difficult hole on the course, #6 is guarded by trees on both sides with a narrow fairway.

In other words, I wasn’t very good, and I hit a lot of trees. There were a few lucky shots thrown in, but for the most part, it was a struggle.

Look at that form!

Still, it was good to get out on the course again after weeks of wet weather kept me away.

The Challenges

Friday was a tough day as we joined Julie’s parents, aunt and uncle at Mangia. It’s a favorite spot for our family dinners, and I’m usually pretty good about portion control and taking food home with me.

Not this week.

Eggplant is healthy, until it’s fried and served with two servings of pasta.

I had the rigatoni melanzane with eggplant in tomato sauce. I liked the texture and flavor that the eggplant brought to the dish. And eggplant is good for you. Unless it’s fried and accompanied by two portions of pasta. I had already eaten a slice of garlic bread and a salad that I overloaded with dressing.

It was an estimated 1,100 calories that left me over my limit for the day.

A strawberry-orange smoothie bowl with almond milk and sliced almonds.

Smoothies for breakfast? Why not?

Saturday was also tricky as Julie and I dined out for all three meals, plus dessert. We visited The Green Bean Cafe in the morning (read the review here), then visited the Farmers Market of Wyomissing for their pig roast at lunchtime.

That black bean salad – amazing.

Dinner included a trip to Isaac’s Deli. I had to restrain myself and only finish half of my flatbread sandwich because I had already promised Julie we would go to YoGo Crazy for an after dinner treat.

Thankfully, frozen yogurt is actually very reasonable in calories, and because it gets weighed, I know exactly how much is in it.

Amazingly, I managed to escape the day under my 1,930 calorie daily limit.

The Results

Current Weight: 164.2
Weekly Weight Loss: -1.0
Total Weight Loss: -25.2

I have now officially lost the weight of a corgi. At least that’s what my Lose It! app told me.

I had no ideas that corgis were that heavy, but I’ll take it. Twenty-five pounds is a milestone that I am happy to have crossed, and I am getting closer to my goal weight of 160 pounds.

The Week Ahead

It’s creative items like the Taste of Italy Burger from Dawn’s Deli that keeps me coming back to the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival every year.

This highlight of the week ahead is Saturday’s Taste of Hamburg-er Festival, one of my absolute favorite events of the year. I am going to eat way too many calories, and I am ok with that.

Food Blogger Vs. Fat
Julie's blueberry-banana smoothie bowl with almond milk and granola.

The Green Bean Cafe – CLOSED

The Green Bean Cafe Wyomissing

Editor’s Note: The Green Bean Cafe is now closed. The owner reopened the location as a new concept, The Meat Up Delicatessen, in May 2018 before closing less than two months later.

I always get excited when a new restaurant opens up, but the Green Bean Cafe was a different level of excitement for me.

It’s not just that Berks County would be getting an all-organic cafe, but that the all-organic cafe would be just blocks away from my house.

Having walked past the Park Road strip mall that now houses the cafe (the same one where you will find Mikura Asian Bistro and Nino’s Italian Restaurant), we had peeked in at the renovations and watched as the mural came to life behind the counter.

Inside the Green Bean Cafe in Wyomissing, PA.

So we decided to make the short walk to the cafe for Saturday morning breakfast during its opening week.

It was a little before 9 a.m. when we arrived, and there was only one other customer – a lone woman seated at one of four tables on the sidewalk in front of the building.

Animated vegetables adorn the walls of the bathrooms at the Green Bean Cafe

We walked in and picked up a menu, browsing the list of breakfast bruschetta power toast – five different choices including the “Stress Buster” (hazelnut spread with bananas and coconut flakes) and the “Tummy Tower” (avocado, black pepper, sea salt and housemade hummus).

The owner, who was behind the counter to take our order, told us that it had been a good first week, but that lunch was definitely more popular than breakfast.

Lunch options at the cafe include salads, paninis and vegetable noodle dishes – spiralized sweet potato, butternut squash or zucchini roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper (additional proteins optional).

The dining area of the Green Bean Cafe

The cafe also offers waffles, egg sandwiches, and a dish called the sweet potato nest: sweet potato noodles filled with an egg, accompanied by sliced tomato, avocado and toast.

But both Julie and I were looking for a sweeter morning so we decided to create our own smoothie bowls.

Green Bean’s smoothie bowls are completely customizable with your choice of base – vanilla yogurt, milk, coconut milk or almond milk), fruit, vegetables, sweeteners (almond butter, peanut butter, honey or sugar) and toppings (like chia seeds, granola or coconut flakes).

A strawberry-orange smoothie bowl with almond milk and sliced almonds.

My bowl consisted of an almond milk base with strawberries and oranges. It was sweetened with honey and topped with sliced almonds.

While it is essentially a smoothie, it is served in a bowl like a chilled soup. It took about 10 minutes for our bowls to be delivered to the table, and they certainly looked every bit as appetizing as they sounded.

The strawberries gave my smoothie its distinct red speckled coloring, but the oranges definitely shone through in the flavor. There was just enough honey to add another layer of sweetness.

While the almonds were listed as a topping, many of them had sank into the smoothie so every bite also had a nutty crunch. The almonds also helped make it more hearty, adding healthful fats that were also filling.

Julie's blueberry-banana smoothie bowl with almond milk and granola.

Julie’s bowl, like mine, started with almond milk. But that’s where the similarities ended. she added blueberries and bananas as her fruits, a little almond butter to thicken it, and topped it off with granola.

The blueberries were front and center, but you could taste all of the ingredients – the bananas and the almond butter both came through. Like the almonds in my dish, the granola added some needed crunch to the dish.

Looking at our two bowls next to each other, Julie felt like I had a little bit more. And she unfortunately was still a little hungry at the end so she grabbed a muffin to go.

Julie taking her gluten free muffin to go.

The gluten free muffins, ironically enough, were also blueberry and banana flavored. They weren’t very large, but it was a needed addition to fill her up until lunch.

With the muffin added on (plus a bottle of water to drink), we spent a total of $25. Organic is not cheap, and the smoothie bowls at $9.95 each were actually among the most expensive items on the menu, breakfast or lunch.

Being so close to the cafe, Julie and I both agreed that we would go back, but we would definitely order differently. If we ordered the smoothie bowls, we would also get one of the power toasts or waffles to split. It would be a little more expensive, but it would be more filling. Or we would each get our own toast and split the smoothie bowl.

Either way, we will be back. It’s too close not to give it another try.

The Green Bean Cafe
840 N. Park Rd
Wyomissing, PA 19610

The Green Bean Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast & Brunch Closed Reviews
Cheese steak and Dutch fries from the Kutztown Fair.

Food Blogger vs. Fat: Week 21

The 21st week of my journey to better health is in the books, and things are still looking good as I inch closer and closer to my goals. Here’s a look at how I did it.

The Successes

It was another relatively uneventful week for me. Walking and working have been my go-tos for a couple weeks now, but they seem to be working. Here’s a look at this week’s small victories:

  • Monday: 15 Minutes of Walking
  • Tuesday: 60 Minutes of Walking
  • Wednesday: 25 Minutes of Walking & 75 Minutes of Lawn Mowing

Lighter meals have helped, too. On Monday, Julie and I enjoyed stuffed peppers from Fisher’s Poultry at the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market of Wyomissing (approximately 650 calories).

Cheese steak and Dutch fries from the Kutztown Fair.

Dutch fries are a must every year at the Kutztown Fair.

Tuesday night we visited the Kutztown Fair and despite eating a chicken cheese steak, a taco and half an order of Dutch fries, I was still 260 calories under my limit.

Friday’s stuffed zucchini (with sage sausage) dinner came in around 600 calories and Sunday’s pulled pork sandwiches with mashed cauliflower were just 435 calories.

And these were filling meals, and I never left the table hungry.

The Challenges

While the week started well for me, it ended without me recording any exercises after Wednesday. However, I watched my food intake so I only had one bad day and one borderline day.

296 Calories over budget

Not the best day of my diet.

My worst day was Saturday, normally a win for me because I have more opportunity for exercise. The day started at a breakfast with some of my church friends at Wegman’s Reeser Restaurant on Route 61.

Anything flour packs on the calories so I was quickly down 600 before my day even began. I then spent the morning shopping, adding on a hamburger barbecue sandwich for lunch.

Ragu alla bolognese from Cosa Pizzeria

My first meal at the new Cosa Pizzeria: ragu alla bolognese.

For dinner, Julie and I made our first trip to Cosa Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant. I’ll be reviewing the meal in the coming weeks, but let’s just say that I don’t recommend an Italian dinner for anyone on a diet (at least if you’ve already had pancakes).

Thursday was the only other day that I came in over my calorie limit. I didn’t make it out for a walk at lunch and I went right from work to Grandview Speedway for the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars.

I haven’t made it to nearly as many races this year as I would have liked but I had this one circled on my calendar because of the appearance of future NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart. His 14th place finish was disappointing, but it was a great night of racing.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go home for a homecooked meal so I had to settle for a mashed potato bowl and half a soft pretzel from Wawa. Still, I was only over my limit by 26 calories, compared to nearly 300 on Saturday.

The Results

Current Weight: 165.2
Weekly Weight Loss: -1.0
Total Weight Loss: 24.2

It’s amazing to me just how accurate the Lose It! app is when it comes to calculating weight loss. I was just a few hundred calories under for the week, and I lost exactly one pound for the second week in a row.

The Week Ahead

Once again there is nothing out of the ordinary planned for this coming week. But the grass is dry and I’ve got two new discs so I think some disc golf courses will be calling my name.

Food Blogger Vs. Fat
Indian Fort Inn Jagerschnitzel

Indian Fort Inn

Indian Fort Inn, Hamburg, PA

Editor’s Note: The Indian Fort Inn underwent a renovation and management change during the summer of 2019. The restaurant and bar now has a new menu and a new country western theme.

Most weeks on Berks County Eats, you’ll read about the culinary adventures of my wife (Julie) and I. But from time-to-time, other family members and friends will make cameo appearances, depending on the occasion and location.

Recently, I got together with my brother Matt, his wife Lauren and my friend Dennis for a night out in the Hamburg area.

We made the short drive west of town along Old Route 22 to the Indian Fort Inn.

Dennis and I had never visited before, but my brother and Lauren had been there often as my brother shot pool in the bar room regularly.

Indian Fort Inn

In just a few years, he said, the restaurant had been greatly improved. The food had always been good, but the dining room was always empty while everyone was in the bar.

Outside, it looks like a large stone house with a giant parking lot. There’s a patio out front that looked jam-packed during our visit. Inside, the wood walls, wooden tables and chairs, and dim lighting give the feel of an upgraded hunting cabin.

The meal did not start out well. First, they were out of the meal I really wanted to try: the German lasagna (which was made up of kielbasa, sauerkraut and other German favorites in a mushroom cream sauce).

Then, the salad was a swing-and-a-miss. I was the only person at the table to order an entree and the only person to get a starter salad.

Indian Fort Inn Salad...except they forgot the dressing.

It arrived quick enough, but without the salad dressing. Our waiter disappeared into the back before I realized the mistake so I had wait patiently for him to return to the dining room to wait on our neighboring table to flag him down, then wait for him to reemerge with my cup of ranch dressing.  He may or may not have brought me blue cheese instead.

Otherwise, the salad was unremarkable, standard greens with cherry tomatoes and croutons.

I was already in a slightly sour mood because I couldn’t try the German lasagna; this wasn’t helping things. For my entree, I settled on the Jagerschntizel.

Lucky for me, it redeemed the meal.

Indian Fort Inn Jagerschnitzel

The jagerschnitzel was a weekend special and included two deep fried pork cutlets smothered in mushroom gravy.

It was excellent. The cutlets were fried to a perfect golden brown that peeked out ever so slightly from beneath the mushroom cream sauce. The breading was fantastic and amplified the flavor of the pork. The cream sauce was very good as well, making the dish go down easily.

On the side were “Saratoga chips” and mixed vegetables. Real Saratoga chips are basically potato chips served warm (think Dutch fries, for anyone who visits the Kutztown Fairgrounds), but these were thick cut potato cubes, deep-fried and salted. I have zero complaints about them,  but they weren’t anything noteworthy.

Indian Fort Inn Bacon Bleu Cheeseburger

To my right, Dennis was enjoying his bacon and bleu cheese burger. It was topped with a roasted red pepper aioli that he thought played well with the bleu cheese crumble. Overall, he found it to be a very good burger.

Indian Fort Inn Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich

To my left, my brother was digging into to a chicken sandwich with melted cheddar and bacon. Instead of a sliced cheddar, it was a blend of shredded cheddar. It was a good sandwich, but I know my brother’s favorite thing on his plate was the coleslaw (and I would have to agree, it was a well-made slaw, though I would have a hard time picking out exactly what made it better than most).

While my Saratoga chips were okay, the French fries were exceptional. Both Dennis and Matt ordered a side of fries with their sandwiches. The side of fries was a full basket, one that Julie and I would have needed to split had we been out for a dinner-for-two.

Indian Fort Inn French Fries

The fries were the fresh-cut style with skins still on the edges, and they were cooked perfectly. I got to try one or two of my brother’s fries. Otherwise, he took down the whole basket himself (Dennis left just a few in the bottom of his).

Indian Fort Inn Loaded Fries

Lauren ordered a plate of loaded fries and made it her meal. It was your typical baked potato toppings – bacon, sour cream, chives. Her plate was even larger so she couldn’t finish all of hers, but she did enjoy them.

Our server was kind enough to split the checks for us. I spent about $16 for my meal and glass of iced tea. Most of the dinners were around the same price with some of the steak offerings reaching the low-to-mid-$20 range.

It was a good meal made better by good friends and conversation. And The Fort just seemed like the right place for that.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Good
Price: Reasonable

Indian Fort Inn
1343 Hex Highway
Hamburg, PA 19526

Indian Fort Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars & Pubs Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Food Blogger vs. Fat: Week 20

It’s hard to believe that this is my 20th update on my journey to better health. But here we are, 20 weeks and 22 pounds later. Make that 23 pounds later. Check out the update below for details on how I did it:

The Successes

Sometimes you’re a home run hitter, sometimes you bat for average. This week was all about hitting for average for me. No 22-mile bike rides. No golf outings. It was a week of small victories:

  • Tuesday: 20 minute walk at lunch
  • Wednesday: 35 minute walk at lunch
  • Thursday: 20 minute walk at lunch and mowing the lawn
  • Friday: 17 minute walk at lunch
  • Saturday: 1 hour of walking
  • Sunday: 1 hour of walking

That’s about 3:30 of walking for the week, my best by far in several weeks. A combination of unseasonably cool weather and dry afternoons made it a productive week.

The Challenges

You’ll notice on the successes above that I didn’t mention Monday. Not only was Monday a washout for my afternoon walks, it was also my highest calorie intake of the week. That came thanks to a visit to Plum Creek Farm Market.

The small farmers market along Route 183 between Bernville and Reading has a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, homemade baked goods and other local products. But we skipped all that and went for the ice cream in celebration of my brother’s 30th birthday.

Julie decided to photo bomb my ice cream selfie. Definitely improved the photo.

I ordered a medium cone of their peach soft serve, made with fresh peaches and not a flavoring mix. The fresh fruit made all the difference between a nice treat and an exceptional dessert. Every bite was loaded with peaches. I had to eat it a lot faster than I normally would though because it was not nearly as sturdy as an all-cream cone.

A small slice of peach pie on Wednesday wasn’t enough to ruin my two-mile lunch walk. Similarly, my chocolate chip cookie on Thursday was 80 less calories than I spent mowing the lawn.

I’m not ashamed of my all-French fry lunch on Saturday.

Even Saturday, my trip to the West Reading French Fry Festival (read the review here) and a heavy dinner at the Indian Fort Inn (review coming soon) balanced out with the walking and my lack of snacking.

Dry-aged ribeye from Willoughby's on Park

Like any good food blogger, I celebrated my anniversary with steak.

Sunday was the sixth wedding anniversary for Julie and I, and we celebrated with a trip to Willoughby’s on Park. I won’t give away everything before the review comes later this month, but my steak dinner and carrot cake for dessert was an estimated 1,400 calories (I couldn’t resist the carrot cake).

The Results

Current Weight: 166.2
Weekly Weight Loss: -1.0
Total Weight Loss: -23.2

Right on schedule this week. I believe this is the first time since I started that I lost exactly one pound, which was my weekly weight loss goal. I’m happy with the results; I just hope that we don’t put another “0” on the board next time.

The Week Ahead

This week will mark my annual pilgrimage to the Kutztown Fair, a yearly favorite of mine because I get to watch some dirt track racing, check out the exhibits, watch Julie’s face light up when she sees the sheep, and, oh yeah, eat some Dutch Fries.

Dutch Fries – any fried potatoes, really – can be diet killers. The calories add up fast so hopefully I can make smart decisions the rest of the week to overcome.

Food Blogger Vs. Fat

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West Reading French Fry Festival

The second annual West Reading French Fry Festival was held on August 12, and Berks County Eats was there to taste test some unique takes on the traditional French fry.

This was our first time attending the festival after missing last year’s event. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, but I knew enough that Julie and I needed to get there early to avoid the crowds.

So we were there right at 12 noon when the festival opened — some of the restaurants were still getting ready when we walked past the barricade on South Sixth Avenue.

More than a dozen restaurants, food trucks and vendors were in attendance, including eight from West Reading, and that made the decision of where to eat even tougher.

Some of the offerings were very familiar to us.

Philly Fry brought one of its two food trucks to the festival. Just two months ago, Julie and I got to taste their hearty French fry creations at The Truck Stops Here food truck festival at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.

 

The Gourmand Food Truck at West Reading Farmers Market

Gourmand, a more local food truck, was also there serving their signature truffle goat cheese fries. These have become favorites of us, and our first taste of them came just a few years ago at the West Reading Farmers Market.

Other restaurants in attendance included Nonno Alby’s, which was still preparing the chili for its chili cheese fries when we arrived; Go Fish!, who had fries with crabmeat; and Relish, the West Reading hot dog restaurant, was offering a hot dog topped with yucca fries and avocado aioli.

Unfortunately, they were still waiting for a power hookup for their deep fryer when we arrived, though plain hot dogs were still available.

Julie and I walked up and down the block several times before finally deciding what to get. I went for the West Reading Tavern and their duck fat fries.

As the name implies, the potatoes were deep-fried in duck fat oil, giving them a much richer flavor than a traditional vegetable oil fry. The thicker cut fries were served with choice of aioli: malt vinegar or garlic. I, of course, went for garlic.

It was the right decision. the aioli was both cooling and kicking at the same time. It wasn’t a hot spicy, but it definitely had bite to it. Mixed with the heavy fry, it was a delicious dish.

Best of all, it was served in a to-go cup with a handy compartment for my aioli so I could eat and walk without worry.

Julie’s choice was among the most creative dishes in the entire festival – the strawberry fries from Say Cheese.

These were fresh-cut style fries topped with provel cheese sauce, basil crystals and fresh strawberries, all finished with a balsamic drizzle.

It was a perfect execution of a sweet and savory dish. Provel cheese isn’t as exotic as it sounds, actually coming not from the far reaches of Europe, but St. Louis. It’s a mixture of cheddar, Swiss and provolone that combine into a completely unique cheese.

In this sauce, it was a perfectly creamy topping that mixed well with the fruit to create a faux strawberries-and-cream feel. The balsamic added hits of intense flavor to every bite. All of that combined with some excellent fries made it a satisfying dish all around.

We had a great time tasting some of the best French fries in Berks County, but it wasn’t easy. The space was very tight. Some restaurants were sharing tents, and with vendors lining both sides of the street, lines were running into each other, making it nearly impossible to walk around.

And we were there early so I am sure it was only made worse when more people were standing in more lines.

The event definitely has potential to be a signature event for the region in years to come, but it has already outgrown Sixth Avenue. Hopefully next year, we continue to see it grow with more restaurants offering more dishes in a more spacious area.

Food Festivals & Events

Food Blogger vs. Fat: Week 19

Welcome to my 19th weekly update. Highlights include an extended bike ride on the Perkiomen Trail and a taste of the best lasagna in Berks County.

The Successes

Unlike most weeks where it was all about my weekend, my peak this time was on Wednesday.

Preparing for a blog on ValleyForge.org, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and drove to Green Lane Park in the northwest corner of Montgomery County. The goal: ride 22 miles from Green Lane to Valley Forge National Historical Park.

The Perkiomen Trail crosses through Collegeville.

The Perkiomen Trail crosses through Collegeville.

The two parks are connected by the Perkiomen Trail, which travels 20 miles along the Perkiomen Creek (the final leg of my journey carried me along the Schuylkill River Trail).

My total ride time was 2:07:36, that included an extra two miles from the park to the gym (for a shower) and then to my office.

12% grades are no fun. No. Fun.

On a ride that carried me up Spring Mountain, down through Collegeville and on to Valley Forge, I burned around 1,100 calories.

My adventure will become a two-part blog. You can read part one at ValleyForge.org/blog.

My destination: the Valley Forge Visitors Center.

I did eat more that day than usual (it was necessary), but I still managed to finish the day nearly 500 calories under budget.

Unfortunately for me, the rest of my week wasn’t nearly as productive. I recorded a 25-minute walk on Monday and a similar walk on Friday.

Not bad for a day's work.

Not bad for a day’s work.

Saturday and Sunday were spent house cleaning. I burned roughly 500 calories between the two days (and succeeded in my mission of reorganizing our laundry room – a.k.a. our storage area for things we don’t know what to do with).

The Challenges

Monday was a not-so-good day for me for snacking as I ate more than 500 calories worth of nonessentials – one Graze snack, a pair of Oreo cookies and a handful of Cheez-Its.

As I mentioned earlier, many calories were consumed Wednesday. To refuel after my ride, I had lunch at Elevation Burger in Collegeville, including a delicious mango milkshake. With my chicken sandwich and fries, it was a 1,300-calorie lunch.

We had pizza for dinner on Thursday night, enjoying a pie from Nonno Alby’s while we listened to the Ringgold Band perform at the Stone House in Wyomissing.

Bad day for my diet, good day for my stomach. St. Marco's lasagna is the best.

Bad day for my diet, good day for my stomach. St. Marco’s lasagna is the best.

But the worst day for my diet was Sunday. We visited the annual St. Marco Italian Food Festival for lunch, where Julie and I each enjoyed a slice of lasagna. I look forward to the festival every year because it is the best lasagna I have ever eaten. But it is anything but light. Twelve layers of pasta loaded with meat, cheese and sauce isn’t exactly healthful. My dinner of stuffed chicken breast didn’t help matters (stuffing packs on calories pretty quick).

The result was 300 calories over budget for the day, about 500 under for the week.

The Results

Current Weight: 167.2
Weekly Weight Loss: 0.0
Total Weight Loss: -22.2 lbs.

I’m not thrilled with the lack of results this week, but I can’t be too upset after dropping nearly three pounds over the previous two weeks.

The Week Ahead

No bike rides planned for this week. That can all change, but right now it looks like it’s going to be walks and housework.

Of course, those can burn up calories quickly. And with the added motivation of a flat week, I’m going to do whatever it takes to move the needle over the next seven days.

Food Blogger Vs. Fat

Stonersville Hotel

If you follow my blog every week, you may remember reading in last week’s blog about visiting Intel’s Pennside Drive-In as a back-up plan.

Last week’s Plan A was the Stonersville Hotel, but after making the drive along Route 562 in Exeter Township, we had to keep moving because the entire parking lot was filled. And being in Stonersville, a village of a few dozen, there isn’t exactly an abundance of places to park.

So this week we went early, arriving around 5 p.m. for dinner in order to beat the crowd and get a seat.

The building may look big from the outside, but the restaurant takes up just two rooms – one for the bar, and one for the cozy dining room and its 12 tables.

A full parking lot is probably a good indicator that those tables are full.

The walls of the dining room were covered in original paintings, antique dinnerware and photographs. Above the doorway to the bar is a wooden, handmade Stonersville Hotel sign.

With a historic restaurant, diners expect old-fashioned comfort food. Stonersville’s menu is much more than that, though. Sure, there’s a variety of steaks and seafood options, but there’s also flatbread pizzas (including an intriguing lemon pizza), crab quesadilla, wings and wraps.

Our waitress tried to talk us into one of the restaurant’s never-frozen appetizers, like hot crab dip, breaded zucchini or fresh bruschetta. We saw an order of the bruschetta arrive at a nearby table – it looked tempting but was way too much to be split by two people.

Instead, we each started our meals with an order of soup. I went with the baked tomato and mushroom soup, one of two that are available daily on the menu.

The soup came topped with mozzarella cheese and was served in a crock ala French onion soup. It was a hearty and creamy soup with a few mushrooms – not enough to get them in every bite, but enough to get the flavor.

I thought it was excellent, one of the better and more original tomato soups that I have tried. The mozzarella was what really put it over the top for me. Tomato and mozzarella are such a superb combination, and especially so in this.

Julie’s soup came off the weekend specials. It was a peach and ginger gazpacho topped with slivered almonds. Chilled soups are always among our favorites – it’s like eating dessert first. The “soup” was smoother than a smoothie or milkshake, but just as sweet. And the hint of ginger was just enough to add flavor without taking over the whole dish. It was a pleasant surprise to find something like this at an old country inn.

For my entree, I went with some old-school comfort food and the shepherd’s pie.

When it arrived – and it arrived quick, just five minutes after our soup – it was already clear that some of it was going home in a box. The large casserole dish was packed with ground beef, corn, carrots and peas, and the whole thing was topped with a mountain of mashed potatoes.

The meat and vegetable mix was thickened with just a hint of gravy. I thought there was just the right amount of gravy to keep everything together without becoming overbearing as it may have been with gravy ladled on top.

As good as it was, I could only finish about two-thirds of it.

Just as I had too much food for one meal, Julie also couldn’t finish off her shrimp and crab pasta.

Served in a pesto cream sauce, the dish was one of three pasta choices on the menu. The crab was shredded up in the sauce and tossed with the spaghetti with a half-dozen shrimp on top.

The sauce was extremely rich, but enjoyable. It was one of the more expensive items on the menu, but Julie thought it was well-worth the splurge.

With us each having to take a box home with us, there was just no room left for dessert. It’s a good thing we weren’t looking forward to dessert, too, because our waitress told us that the only options were ice cream and a chocolate peanut butter cake.

In fact, there were also multiple menu items that were not available either because our timing was poor. The Stonersville Hotel is going to be closed between now and August 16 for vacation.

So instead of dessert, we paid our $45 bill and headed home, full and very satisfied having finally paid our first visit to Stonersville.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Very Good
Price: Reasonable

Stonersville Hotel
5701 Boyertown Pk
Birdsboro, PA 19508

Stonersville Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch & Dinner Reviews

Food Blogger vs. Fat: Week 18

It’s hard to believe that my journey to better health is now 18 weeks old. Entering this week, I’m four pounds ahead of schedule. Here’s how I kept up the momentum since my last update.

The Successes

Last week, I mentioned that I was heading upstate with my dad for the weekend. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and I spent the weekend at home. I made the most of it, however, starting with some yardwork on Saturday.

The Taming of the Shrubs. I’m the William Shakespeare of yardwork.

Our yard came with several shrubs that are unruly and need to be tamed every month or so. The biggest issue isn’t the shrubs, but the other plants that are trying to grow inside them.

These bad boys are going down.

So Saturday evening I grabbed my hedge trimmer and went to work, trimming branches that were too long and hacking off the intruder plants.

Trim. Rake. Repeat.

One hour of work was worth 200 calories, and even after cooling off with a small dip of ice cream, I was more than 300 calories under my allotment for the day.

I was feeling ambitious on Sunday and had the urge to hit the links so I pulled out my clubs and headed to Village Greens in Sinking Spring.

It’s no Royal St. Andrews, but it’s good for a quick 18.

Now, Village Greens is no Augusta National, and it’s not the most well-kept course in the county (far from it), but it has its advantages.

I am amazed by how many people actually drive a golf cart around Village Greens.

Because it’s a smaller course – 16 par-3s and two par-4s – it’s a fast round. I was able to play 18 holes in less than two hours.

And for someone who is looking for some exercise, Village Greens is perfect because it is short enough to be perfectly walkable but long enough to get a nice workout.

A beautiful day for a terrible round of golf.

As for my actual game, it wasn’t my best performance. Blame it on the fact that I hadn’t golfed at all this year (unless you count my mini golf triumphs over Julie at Heisler’s and Knoebels).

I did manage a birdie with a 10-foot putt and several pars, but if not for the 530 calories burned, it was an otherwise forgettable round.

Overall, the week was one of my most active. I recorded two lunch walks (Monday and Thursday) and an hour of mowing grass on Wednesday. In all, it was worth about 1,300 calories.

The Challenges

On Monday, Julie made an amazing zucchini bread that sounded innocent enough until I added the recipe to my Lose It app.

The recipe made two loafs with a total of 5,655 calories. Flour, oil and sugar add up very quickly. We had to be very diligent with our slices to keep from overdoing it.

Wednesday I splurged on a cupcake during a birthday celebration at work. I burned off its 370 calories mowing the lawn, but I had to be very careful with my remaining choices.

I highly recommend the Red & White Pizza from Mangia in Mohnton (and most everything else on the menu).

And on Friday evening I ate a pizza from Mangia. It was personal sized, and I was hungry so I ate the whole thing – approximately 900 calories based on similar offerings in my Lose It app.

The Results

Current Weight: 167.2
Weekly Weight Loss: -1.4
Total Weight Loss: -22.2

To be honest, I was taken by surprise when I weighed in (I actually weighed in twice, just to make sure) because I didn’t think it was a particularly great week. But it was certainly a pleasant surprise, leaving me just 7.2 pounds away from my goal weight.

The Week Ahead

As I write this on Tuesday night, I am preparing myself mentally for a 22-mile ride on the Perkiomen Trail.

I will be riding from Green Lane Park in northwest Montgomery County (just a little east of Route 100) to Valley Forge Park.

Oh, and it’s not happening this weekend. It’s happening Wednesday morning before work. By the time you read this, the ride will be behind me and I’ll be looking forward to my next challenge.

Food Blogger Vs. Fat