The French Fries of West Reading PART TWO: West Reading Tavern

Today my fun and frolicsome friend Clare and I continued our french fry adventure through West Reading, Pennsylvania.

(As a refresher, please see The French Fries of West Reading PART ONE: Say Cheese!)

By the way, we were delighted to be mentioned in The Reading Eagle newspaper: “A blogger begins a survey of West Reading french fries.”

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We can discuss the restrooms another time ;)

That makes us feel as though we’re official and not just two knuckleheads going around eating french fries all over the place!

Our stop this time was West Reading Tavern at 606 Penn Avenue, known for its distinctive signage and red door. At the moment, the signage has met with some Halloween shenanigans:

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But the captain was there at the door, as he so often is:

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A person can’t really picture West Reading without West Reading Tavern, because it’s been a distinctive feature on the streetscape since 1978. (Interesting old and new photographs appear on the tavern web site here: West Reading Tavern History.)

Clare and I aimed for the “Truffle Fries,” often on the menu under “Starters,” but not before we ordered beer even though it was 11:30 in the a.m.

(You know what they say, though! It’s always 5:00 p.m. somewhere!
Or 3:00 p.m.
Or noon.
Or whatever time you claim is the acceptable time for alcohol.
I personally like to limit myself to “not at breakfast.”
The tavern is known for its excellent beer menu, so “When In Rome” and “Carpe Diem,” and all the other sayings!)

Clare ordered a Dun Wurkyn Lager, which is a totally great name for a beer, and I ordered a Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale. ‘Tis the season!

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The beer was followed very shortly by Truffle Fries:

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According to the famous Amy–and if you go to West Reading Tavern enough, you will surely encounter Amy–the fries are deep fried in a vegetable oil and seasoned with truffle salt, black pepper and parmesan cheese. You may order them with a garlic aioli or a malt (vinegar) aioli. We ordered both!

Wow! Truffle salt. That’s fun and delicious!

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The french fry selection changes, so this weekend, don’t be surprised to find “Duck-fat Fries” with a Vermont maple aioli. This winter, the menu included “Fire Fries,” which were delicious jalapeño pepper fries.

Alas, with the parmesan and the aioli and the duck fat, these selections are not always vegan. But let me tell you this! The tavern menu almost always includes a vegan option, so that’s why we often go. The menu is traditional but interesting and up-to-date at the same time. Menu items often change, so it’s a good place for variety.

For lunch (after the fries), I ordered the “Vegan Burger,” which is grilled squash, zucchini, peppers, onion, spinach and tomato between two portobello mushroom caps.

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I was so excited to dive in, I neglected to photograph the “burger” in its original state. It was served like a burger with the mushroom caps as the bun and a knife holding everything together. Clare ordered a traditional burger and fries. Hers came similar to mine, like this:

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See the knife? That’s a cool presentation, even if it’s a little violent :)

Clare’s burger fries were traditional french fries, deeply golden brown and lovely. She let me try them. Who can get enough french fries in one sitting? I ask you.

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After our meal, Amy introduced us to owner, Steve Woodward, who explained the story of the captain pictured earlier. It turns out he has a name–Jonesy–after an old, favorite customer and boating enthusiast named Bob Jones, who has since passed away.

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If the tavern is open, and the weather is any way decent, you will probably see Jonesy propping open the door, inviting your presence. He is beloved by passing children and dogs and people in general. Steve said he has seen children hugging the statue. He purchased the Jonesy statue in Ocean City, Maryland about 25 years ago, never envisioning its future importance.

We had a great time learning about him, and we enjoyed our time at the warm and wonderful West Reading Tavern.

Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle (Vegan)

Is it just me or have you noticed a lot of tagliatelle on restaurant menus and on blogs lately?

It’s a THING!

(Right?)

For those of you not up on your pasta shapes, tagliatelle pasta pieces are long, flat ribbons similar in shape to fettuccine, maybe a little wider. It can be served with a variety of sauces, though the classic is a meat sauce or Bolognese. I thought a creamy mushroom sauce would work well, so I whipped up the following recipe using no oil and no added fat other than fat from the almond milk. The result was creamy, warm and satisfying!

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The French Fries Of West Reading PART ONE: Say Cheese!

My fun friend Clare and I decided to immerse ourselves in a very important topic.

(We are not ones to sit by and let important topics pass us by without immersion. That’s just how we are!)

What “important topic” am I talking about? Well, I’m talking about french fries, of course!

In America, french fries represent one of the four major food groups: French Fries, Hamburgers, Pizza and Macaroni and Cheese. If you were to build a pyramid out of these food groups, french fries would represent the wide base at the bottom. They are the underpinning of American nutrition. We know this isn’t the BEST thing, but it’s OUR thing. And SO WHAT if we can’t fit in one plane seat!? They made the arm rest between seats to flip up for a REASON. (So we can spread out over TWO seats!) And SO WHAT if there’s a person sitting in that other seat!? (That person needs to eat more french fries and to stop being such a skinny show-off sitting in the middle seat like that! Sheesh.)

In any case, Clare and I set out to uncover the rich variety of french fries that exist in our very own back yard of West Reading, Pennsylvania. By “uncover” I mean to eat (and to photograph):

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No Barking At Other Barking Dogs!

I tell my dogs to stop barking about a thousand times a day. They bark at all different things, but most often they are barking at other barking dogs.

I want them to stop, but they don’t listen to me. I tell them:

Do not bark at the mailman.
Do not bark at the imaginary squirrels.
And especially, do not bark at the other dogs in the neighborhood just because they are also barking.

My dogs are poor listeners.

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Candy Apple Spice Cake for Cinergi Salon/Spa

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While everyone else is turning attention toward pumpkin, I am keeping my eye on those fall apples! I wanted to bake a cake. Unfortunately, with no kids at home, I have no one around to eat it up! I decided to deliver a cake to my favorite local spa, Cinergi Salon/Spa of Wyomissing. Cinergi is sort of like my second home. Where do you think I get my “all natural” blond hair? And my “all natural” clear skin? And my “all natural” manicured nails? (It takes a village.)

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Vegan Minestrone Soup (with a side of Geology)

What do Vegan Minestrone Soup and Geology have in common?

Here’s the long answer.

As new empty nesters, Pete and I were able to take our first kid-free, week-long vacation in I’m not sure how long.

LONG.

A long time.

We headed to Sedona Arizona, a nice little six-hour plane ride plus two-hour car ride from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and well worth the time. This was our second trip to Sedona, having taken our two kids there about ten years ago when they were nine and eleven years old at the suggestion of my sister-in-law, Janet. It’s a fun destination for kids of that age, and it’s a fun destination for couples too. We saw it the first time and vowed to return.

Sedona is located in the north central area of Arizona, south of the Colorado Plateau into which the Grand Canyon is carved. Sedona is, of course, known as “Red Rock Country.”

I mean, you know, because it’s where you see the red rocks.

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Last Resort

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We did it! We vacationed as empty nesters for the first time! We stayed at a beautiful resort, which I’ll always remember because of our noisy minibar. (Minibar Rule #One: If you want me to pay nine dollars for a two-ounce peanut pack, you have to be quiet.)  Every four minutes or so, it began a new noise sequence. First, three loud hums, followed by eight quiet hums, then a beep as from an elevator arriving, though the resort is mostly one level, no elevators.

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