Stove & Tap | Photo by Craig Slotkin
On a Sunday night, Stove & Tap is busy. Not full, but I’m not really sure there would ever be enough people dining out in Lansdale on any given night to fill the place completely, what with two floors, outdoor tables, multiple bars and an upstairs patio. It’s big, loud, hot, polished, beautiful, and there’s a bear—a taxidermied brown bear in the front window, standing on its hind legs with a sign asking people not to feed it.
I wanted to buy a stuffed bear once. I found it at a pawnshop in Royersford, standing amid the hocked stereos and stationary bikes. It was a nice bear—huge and fierce—and my wife, seeing the wild look in my eyes, offered what was not exactly a rare connubial ultimatum and said I had a choice to make: her or the bear. Piece of advice? Don’t ever hesitate when offered those options. I did. For perhaps half a second too long. Now, years later, she still won’t let me forget it—the day I considered, however briefly, trading my wife for a pawnshop bear.
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The bar at Stickman Brews
When I walked through the door of Stickman Brews in Royersford, head brewer and co-owner Ethan Buckman was standing over a tank overseeing one of his new brews. There were a few things he was working on that day, one of them being a wild fermented red ale called “Poor Clock Management,” named after Andy Reid, which is going on tap this Friday.
Like a lot of breweries, Stickman is in a warehouse, but this one was the former home of Sly Fox’s brewing and canning plant. The place is very open—to the right is where the brewing takes place, to the left are high-top tables and chairs. And straight ahead? The bar.
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Mashed potato balls, aka the hand grenades at El Rincon Criolla | Photos by Claudia Gavin
In a sane, just and rational world, all I would have to say is that El Rincon Criollo has fried mashed potato balls on its menu, and all of you would already be halfway to your cars.
We’re talking mashed potatoes, formed around a delicious core of spiced ground beef, dipped in batter that tastes something like crushed-up Cheez-Its and liquid joy, then dropped in the Fryolator. They are delicious in a way that makes you wonder at their legality.
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The old Molly Maguire’s is getting an update.
I was a little bummed when the Molly Maguire’s in Lansdale closed. There aren’t many places in town to begin with, so when they shut down (seemingly out of nowhere), there was one less place to go on a Friday night. I wondered what would happen to the space—would something new come around, or would it just sit there, all old-looking and collecting dust inside?
Well, something new is coming around, and it sounds like the town is finally getting what it needs: a relaxed restaurant where people can come together and enjoy some great food and drinks.
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LP Steak at the Valley Forge Casino | Photo by Nick Valinote
The steakhouse is the dullest kind of restaurant.
There’s no surprise in a steakhouse. No shock, no awe. The best things you can hope to happen in a steakhouse are that someone grills your hunk of meat to the temperature you find most pleasing and doesn’t leave any shells on the shrimp in your cocktail. That’s success in the steakhouse world. The bar is low. With the proper motivation, a cat could work the line in the average steakhouse kitchen (imagine the hairnet!), and I say this having worked at a couple myself. The hardest thing about working a steakhouse job? Counting to 40, because that was how many steaks I could fit on the grill in front of me at any one time. And while, granted, this was at a time in my life when my successfully counting to 40 was by no means a guarantee, I still managed it. Because I knew Mittens the calico was out there gunning for my gig.
With all this in mind, I can also say that a great steakhouse is a rare and wonderful thing. Because of their simplicity, their elemental charms (meat, fire, paintings of horses) and their lack of anything whatsoever challenging to the appetites or worldviews of the majority of American eaters, steakhouses can be comforting. They can be the blank canvas onto which are written epic nights. (The martinis help.) Almost all of us have a steakhouse we love, tucked away somewhere in our past.
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Photo | Dan McQuade
Ed O’Donnell knows he’s not going to become president.
“The only way I can become president is if the vice president resigns,” O’Donnell says. “And the president appoints me president and then resigns. That’s constitutional.” But that has’t stopped him from paying the $1,000 fee to get on the New Hampshire democratic primary ballot next month. It hasn’t stopped him before; he’s been running for president for 32 years. He hasn’t been on the ballot every year, but he’s gone up to New Hampshire and campaigned for votes. He’s spent $1.2 million, he tells me, and has garnered 468 votes, or roughly $2,564.10 a vote. That sounds like a lot, but it still seems like a better return than Jeb Bush is getting.
O’Donnell lists his home base as Bridgeport, Montgomery County, in his New Hampshire filing, but the announcement for his candidacy proudly states that “Ed O’Donnell lives in Philadelphia.” He says during primary season he rents out of his apartment and lives in hotels for months. He’s from Delaware, where he went to Wilmington Friends before heading to upstate New York for college at Colgate.
He says he’s run a charity, the Winthrop Foundation, for more than 40 years and that it’s given out sports tickets to under-privileged kids and clothes to the homeless. O’Donnell — who made headlines in 2013 when he said he was a virgin — gets most of his clothes for free or cheap himself from a place at his favorite shore town, Ocean City. He says wears a lot of women’s clothing, because that’s what they have there. Read more »
Rendering of Conshohocken Brewing’s Bridgeport brewpub.
Conshohocken Brewing, which opened in April of 2014 is now set to expand. The brewery announced on its Facebook page that it is opening a brewpub and beer garden in Bridgeport this Spring.
The new space is on Dekalb Street, just before the bridge to Norristown.
Conshohocken Brewing [Foobooz]
The Pottstown Applebee’s | Google Street View
A Gilbertsville woman who inadvertently discharged a can of mace she was carrying in her purse inside an Applebee’s restaurant in Upper Pottsgrove has been charged with disorderly conduct for the incident last Sunday night. Twenty patrons of the place began coughing and choking after the mace went off, and the restaurant was evacuated. Read more »
It’s Christmastime, which means one thing: The Beatles are in the news.
Usually this is because there is some new Beatles-related product you can buy for people at Christmas. We already have an enhanced 1+ album and DVD of No. 1 singles this year. And this morning music fans awakened to some news: The Beatles would be available on streaming services starting tomorrow, Christmas Eve.
But The Beatles are also in the news because of a Montgomery County police detective. On December 1st, a Lansdale cop arrested a Colmar man for selling him what the alleged dealer called LSD.
The Reporter’s Michael Goldberg describes how that alleged transaction went down: Read more »
After multiple reports that mail-order pharmacy Philidor Rx Services used questionable tactics to get insurance companies to pay for the drugs it dispensed, the company is closing two Montgomery County facilities and laying off a total of 784 workers in the region. It’s also closing a plant in Phoenix and laying off a total of 264 people there.
Specialty pharmaceutical companies typically dispense high-cost drugs that require special packaging and handling like refrigeration. Think injectable shots for ailments ranging from diabetes to arthritis to cancer. Philidor came under fire for reportedly “changing doctor’s prescriptions and using other pharmacies’ identification numbers — to get insurers to pay for the drugs it dispensed,” according to the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal adds that the company allegedly “used unorthodox tactics to ensure payment, such as submitting a prescription over and over at different prices until an insurer would agree to pay, according to former employees and pharmacy industry officials. And the medicines weren’t drugs requiring special handling, pharmacists say.” Read more »