House of Skip

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Memphis Taproom, Philadelphia

I'm always interested in finding hip, hangout places and I am always pleasantly surprised when they happen to have good food. Memphis Taproom is one of those places. It doesn't look like much from the outside, in fact at night you might not even know it was there, situated on a street corner in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

As soon as my dining companion and I opened the door, we know many people had managed to find it. The bar was packed, as was the dining room. From the looks of it, it was going to take awhile to get a table in the dining room and there was not much room to wait around, so we decided to grab a table in the bar that was right near the front door. Some people might complain about being close to a constantly opening door, but for people watchers like my companion and I it was fun!

I signaled to the bartender and asked him if we could eat in the bar, he told us we could and provided us with menus and directed my attention to the board with the list of draft beers. Being a "taproom" they have a large selection of beers and judging from other reviews, many people flock there just for that. However, being fans for Diner, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network, my dining companion and I were there for the food that Guy Fieri raved about. We took a look at the beers and the menu, making a selection was difficult, but when we were ready, I went over to tell the bartender what we'd like.

My companion went with a lighter beer, Victory Braumeister Pils and I went with something a little darker and bitter, Sierra N. Hemisphere. He enjoyed his Pils and my Sierra was awesome, you know we are wine people, but every once in awhile a good beer is great. For food- we ordered two apps to share, the much talked and raved about Pork Rillon salad which had crispy, heavenly, melt in your mouth chunks for pork belly and roasted pumpkin on top of greens. The second app we shared was grilled brussel sprouts which were nicely caramelized and yummy.

Just as we finished up those tasty treats, our sandwiches came out. You can really sample quite a bit of unique food at Memphis Taproom without breaking the bank. I got the kielbasy grinder which was just great, exactly what you want to munch on while enjoying a beer, the roll was soft and a nice contrast to the snap of that kielbasa, which had a lovely beer mustard and just a touch of sauerkraut on it- yum! My companion had the roast pork sandwich with spiedie sauce, we had no idea what spiedie sauce was but after some googling have learned it is a style of sandwich that originated in upstate NY and involves a sauce or marinade of olive oil, vinegar, "Italian" spices and mint. He really liked his sandwich too. We were in agreement that Memphis Taproom is a cool hangout with unique and tasty food.

2331 East Cumberland Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nomad Pizza, Hopewell, NJ

So any of you reading this that have visited House of Skip before, know that my dining companion and I are pizza aficionados. In our quest to find delicious pizza, we have wanted to visit Nomad pizza in Hopewell for a long time. On a night when we had our 11 year old niece we thought it might be a good chance to pop in and try it out.

As a party of three we had about a 25 minute wait, but we took a peak in the nearby store, Twine and also took a walk down quaint Broad St in Hopewell, by the time we came back they called us for our table. We sat at one long table in the center of this small, narrow restaurant between a large party and a couple. Right behind us was the open kitchen with a really cool looking blue tiled pizza oven. The menu is fairly small and features a few tasty sounding varieties of Naples style pizza and a couple of salad offerings. Our niece, who had been complaining that she was hungry stated she wanted a caesar salad and "might have a couple slices of pizza", so my companion and I decided to get two pizzas, the marghertia pizza, traditional with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil, we also ordered the Sicilian tuna pizza which had tuna, mozzarella, capers and tomatoes.

The caesar salad came out first and it was quite large, it was a nice presentation of three romaine heart drizzled with dressing served over a crisp piece of bread. While my companion and I thought the presentation was nice, our niece wanted to know they didn't cut it up for us. We tried to explain to her about presentation, but I think it was over her head, just another call me when your 30 moment :). The pizzas came out a short while later and the tuna made such an impression that our nearby table-mates commented that they'd like to know if it was good, this lead my dining companion to offer them a slice, in return they offered us a slice of their 4 cheese with sausage. It was a good trade and everyone agreed both pies were good, well except the 11 year old who refused to try either! haha! One of the nice things about that long table at Nomad's is getting to know your neighbors, that couple was very nice and commented on how well behaved our young guest was.

Now, the child had stated she didn't really want pizza and might have a "slice" after her salad, she proceeded to eat 5 slices of the margherita pie. The pies at Nomad are small, which is good for ordering multiple pies, I was impressed that she liked it enough to keep eating it. The dough at Nomad is thin but soft, it isn't that super-crisp cut the sides of your mouth crust, don't get me wrong I like that too, but this crust was enjoyable. I think the margherita pie could have used a little more basil, but was still good. The tuna pizza was amazing, my companion and I had no problem letting our niece eat most of the margherita pie as we devoured the tuna pie. It had such a unique flavor and the tuna was so great, capers were an added bonus. Our server was super nice and made a point to joke around with our guest, even though most pre-teens find that "corny" it wins points with adults.

We were presented with chocolates at the end of our meal and they were delicious too.You can check out Nomad in Hopewell, NJ or in Philadelphia, or by booking their pizza truck for your next event. You can learn more at

10 East Broad Street
Hopewell, NJ 08525 
(609) 466-6623

If you visit the Hopewell location, be sure to visit their neighbor Twine for some unique gifts and decorations.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Toast, Montclair, NJ

On our way to visit some of our favorite NJ wineries in Sussex County, we decided to head out early and have some breakfast on the way. We stopped off in Montclair, NJ at a place called Toast. The place was packed and is apparently well known for their breakfast offerings, although they also serve lunch. The place is small, there is a second floor as well, we were seated on the first floor near the window, it was a great spot.

Our waiter was very friendly and told us about some specials and brought us some much needed coffee. Looking over the menu made me even more hungry than I was already. Tons of yummy sounding pancake, french toast and waffle choices, however it was something savory that caught my eye. While some of the eggs benedict variations were tempting, I went with the corned beef hash which was playfully named, "Sundays on the Farm". Just like our favorite traveling chef bad boy Anthony Bourdain, I have become quite the "egg slut" and ordered my corned beef hash with two over easy eggs. The yolk broke over the delicious mix of spicy beef and itty bitty diced potatoes and onions to make a very tasty sauce. The corned beef was so good and there was plenty of it, I was impressed that the hash wasn't just all potato with just a little meat. My companion was super hungry and wanted something really satisfying, so he went with one of Toast's unique "scrambles", the one he chose had 6 eggs, chicken breast, jack cheese, avocado and a side of fruit. If this dish sounds gigantic, that's because it was, but my companion happily scarfed up the whole thing. He said it was awesome and really filled him up.

We were now well caffeinated and fueled for our long day of wine tasting. If you live near Montclair or find your way there on a road trip, stop in to Toast for some great breakfast, it is sure to keep you going all day.

700 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey 07042
f: 973-509-8092 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Isaac's Famous Grilled Sandwiches

After drinking lots of wine in the Hershey, PA area on our journey home from Bedford Springs, I was in need of a bite to eat, so my traveling/dining companion agreed to stop at Issac's Famous Grilled Sandwiches. It was not a regrettable stop. What a great place for a quick and inexpensive bite, especially if traveling.

We strolled into the Issac's in Litiz and were surprised to find that we would be seated, I thought it would be an order at the counter and find your own seat kind of joint. The place looks like a typical sandwich/fast food restaurant, booth seating, very colorful decor. With their pink flamingo logo, they have a sort of island flair to the design of the place.

But you really want to know about the food, right? A nice touch in the service area is that they also bring you a dish of pickles, kind of how a sit down place would give you a bread basket, I prefer the pickles :)

So, the sandwiches! I had something called the Salty Eagle (btw- I love all the sandwich names) which is grilled ham, swiss cheese, mustard, fresh tomatoes and lettuce. My companion had the Whopping Crane, that is sliced turkey, onions, fresh spinach, grilled with swiss cheese and honey dijon dressing. My sandwich was great, the meat was fresh and very tasty, the cheese was a nice complement, it didn't take over the sandwich, the cold tomato and lettuce was a nice contrast. My companion enjoyed his sandwich as well, he was impressed that it was indeed fresh spinach and not frozen or canned spinach. By far, we both agree the highlight of both sandwiches was the pretzel roll. Both of our sandwiches came on the pretzel roll, which is probably one of the reasons we gravitated to those choices. The rolls were soft and chewy and had that unique soft pretzel flavor that really went well with both the ham and the turkey.

This was a quick stop on our road trip and satisfied me for the ride home. I would definitely stop in again and recommend that you try it too!