House of Skip

Friday, July 11, 2014

A fun filled weekend- Part 2

Let's continue with the recap of the 4th of July weekend fun. Last time we checked in with Skip and her companion they hosted a small get together on the 4th. On Saturday, they had the day to themselves and couldn't think of anything to do, but knew they wanted to enjoy the good weather. Finally, Skip had an idea! Grounds for Sculpture! Oh my, genius idea! It's right here in Mercer County and it's not expensive ($15 per person to get in) and we can enjoy the outdoors!

It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon! Skip had been to the Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) a couple of times, however her companion had not. It didn't quite matter that I had been there before as there was new stuff and they've also adjusted the layout too. If you've been there you may recall pulling up to the booth in the driveway and paying there, well on this day they directed us to pull in and park behind the "Welcome Center" which I believe is new and pay inside. You get a wrist band so they can verify who has paid. There are some cool displays inside the Welcome Center itself and a new gift shop. I am not sure how new all this stuff is, I had been to GFS last year and have made a couple of visits to Rats (more on that later) but hadn't seen the whole park in a year. They have been focusing on the legacy of J. Seward Johnson and so there is a lot more of his work throughout the park as well as several (indoor) displays highlighting his process for sculpture. If you've grown up in NJ and especially in the Mercer County area, the life and work of J. Seward Johnson feels personal, but even to visitors from outside our County or State can appreciate it.

This was the perfect afternoon activity for us with the mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits, the ability to walk and get fresh air. We grabbed a map from the visitor center, Skip's companion is a huge fan of maps. We had fun exploring areas and finding art hidden amongst the different corners of the park. There is one new feature that is super cool and that is the "Meadow" area, it's a large field with a water feature and pebble walking path that has some really cool sculptures that are quite spread apart and are some of the largest pieces
Example of one of the large sculptures in the "Meadow".
featured a GFS, not only was the art in this area interesting, but it was quite peaceful there as well. We thought about stopping at Rats for a drink to take a break from our self directed tour, but it was getting late. I see a future visit including a stop at Rats. Skip and her companion have been a couple of times for dinner and it's a great local place for a unique dining experience.

After our tour at GFS, we headed out for a nice dinner. We hit the road and went a little further south in NJ to Marlton. There we had dinner at one of our favorite new spots,  Redstone Grill.

Redstone Grill is a chain, this one in Marlton and one in King of Prussia are the closest to the House of Skip home base. We have been several times and it continues to impress us.

Redstone is known for their rotisserie chicken, in fact, when you walk in you'll see the chickens rotating on a full wall of rotisserie racks. I've had the chicken and it's definitely delicious, but everything is good.And this visit was no exception. We started with a special appetizer they had, cheese steak flat bread. They always have flat breads on the menu and they usually have one on their specials menu too. We've had others on previous visits to Redstone and they are always good, really nice, thin, crispy crust. The cheese steak one was really yummy, nice tender pieces of steak, cheese sauce, pepper and onions, we enjoyed it. We paired it with a nice red wine, it was a blend and was listed on the featured drink list, the waiter (who was super nice) recommended it and we weren't disappointed, it was tasty wine that went great with the steak.

For our entrees we both ordered from the regular menu. I went with the Blackberry Jus Pork Tenderloin. It was super yummy. The pork was cooked perfectly, nice and juicy. The blackberry was subtle, it didn't overwhelm the dish. It was served with mashed sweet potatoes and brown sugar carrots. Both were great sides. And they were normal size portions, there was no huge overwhelming mound of sweet potatoes. The carrots were nice, not too sweet, I was worried they'd be really sugary, but they just had a touch of sweetness. My companion was in a seafood mood. He has had steak at Redstone previously and was impressed (since they are known for the chicken) how good the steak was. On this trip he ordered the Pesto Crusted Halibut. The fish was flaky and sweet, the pesto just the right amount. We did sample each others entrees and found that we both made good decisions. With our entrees, we both enjoyed a lovely Sauvignon Blanc, I probably could have gone with a light red, like Pinot Noir to pair with the pork, but I was in the mood for white and it was delicious- crisp and refreshing. We had no room for dessert but they did have a lot of really tempting desserts, including the banana cream pie, which I can only imagine is divine- if you have it let me know how it is!

I should also mention that Redstone has a really cool outdoor bar/dining area, we didn't sit there on this visit but we've been out there before and totally suggest you give it a try. Indoor or out Redstone is a classy chain and has quality food and service.

Thanks for visiting with Skip and listening to me ramble on about this recent weekend adventure. And come back soon. And if you happen to visit any of the place featured at HOS, let us know your take on them or send us suggestions of places to visit. Until next time- eat, drink and be merry! xoxoxo- Skip

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A fun filled weekend- Part 1

Skip had a great 4th of July weekend. There were visits to some old standbys and a lovely afternoon with family. The focus of this post is LOCAL!

Let's start with the precursor to the weekend, Thursday night. My companion was coming home late from a golf outing and so we decided to hit our favorite local spot for quick bite and a drink, Centro Grille. This is often are go to place when we don't want to eat at home but don't want to go to far. Now, there are a lot of great choices in Robbinsville, but we love to sit at the bar at Centro! We arrived and found ourselves a high top table in the bar area, we actually prefer to sit "at the bar" but it was packed, probably due to the upcoming holiday weekend. So, for this night, the little high top table suited us just fine. I started with a drink from the specialty drink menu, it was called the Centro Splash and it was passion fruit vodka, muddled strawberries, mint, lime and cane sugar. While the menu said just strawberries there were actually blueberries and raspberries in there too which was a nice surprise. We ordered the new bacon appetizer which we've come to love there. It is thick cut chunks of candied bacon and comes with broccoli rabe croquettes. The bacon is so salty and sweet, it's really super delicious and then the croquettes are a nice balance to the bacon, they are soft, with a little crunch on the outside. The croquettes also have the slight bitterness from the broccoli rabe that also make it pair well with the bacon. It's a great newer addition to the Centro menu and we really enjoy it. We also tried for the first time the jalapeno hummus. It was very tasty, the hummus was super smooth and creamy and had slices of jalapeno in it, not too spicy, just the right amount of kick and the crispy flat bread/pita things that are served with it? So amazing, really crispy crunchy on the outside, but soft and chewy inside, and not too thin, they are thick enough to stand up to a generous heap of hummus.
Centro Splash

For our main course, I ordered the grilled meatloaf which is one of my favorites (the ribs are also amazing). My companion ordered a special, he is always impressed with the specials at Centro. And this night was no different. My companion ordered a buffalo filet topped with gorgonzola cheese and served with kale (he got double kale instead of getting kale and mashed potatoes). My meatloaf came with vegetables and roasted red pepper mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes where really good, it almost tasted like they put Franks Red Hot sauce in them, they had a really nice flavor and went well with the meatloaf. The portion was huge, considering we had two appetizers, so I took about half home with me. I liked the Centro Splash so much, that I ordered a second and my companion had a lovely red wine with his buffalo.

As usual, the service at Centro was great. We have been there enough that we've gotten to know some of the staff. They always have a smile and are always willing to joke around and chat with us when they have time. We are glad to have this little treasure right in our own town. And luckily just a few steps away we were able to satisfy our sweet tooth with a stop into Maggie Moos. I had the coffee ice cream with cookie crunches mixed in and my companion had the mint and sweet cream with cookie crunch. It was soooo delicious and perfect sweet treat to start the holiday weekend.

Now, I have to of course mention my 4th of July celebration! Skip kept it small for her first time hosting this patriotic holiday. My guests were all impressed with my grass fed beef burgers and organic, nitrate free hot dogs from Local Abundance. Visit their Facebook page to learn more about how you can get quality, local and healthy fish, meat and poultry!

So, there it is part one of Skip's 4th of July holiday weekend! Stay tuned to see how Skip's fun continued!