The city gets a lot of attention as a foodie destination. We’ve all seen the Washington Post article that raves about Philadelphia as one of the best food cities in America; multiple New York Times articles that lavishly praise Philly’s world class food scene, and let’s not forget that Travel + Leisure article proclaiming Philadelphia as America’s Next Great Food City… but you and I already knew that.
The great thing about living in the greater Philadelphia area is the sheer abundance of choices we have in, and directly outside of, our city. I usually focus on the food scene in the city proper, nearby suburbs, and just over the bridge in South Jersey (where I now reside). However, there’s so much more awesome just a short drive away. In fact, there’s no shortage of “day trips” in a 50 mile radius of Philadelphia.
We’re big fans of doing local getaways every couple of months in lieu of big vacations; certainly we’re overdue for a trip somewhere outside of the area, but quick day or overnight trips can be restorative to one’s soul.
Last Christmas, hubby surprised me with a gift of a voucher for an overnight stay in a one bedroom suite at the Golden Plough Inn at Peddler’s Village in upper Bucks County. I’d been to Peddler’s Village a few times, but never stayed overnight at the charming boutique Inn. We finally booked our stay over Easter weekend, last Saturday night.
Peddler’s Village is located just 45 miles north of Philadelphia, about 1 hour’s drive depending on traffic. It is in the village of Lahaska, PA. However, please note, that most GPS systems recognize it as being in New Hope, PA. In any case, the drive through the country of upper Bucks County really puts you in a different head space. It’s so beautiful and natural stress relief!
While Peddler’s Village has all kinds of quaint shoppes and boutiques, beautiful gardens, and fun events for all ages to partake it, it’s also a destination to shop for gourmet food and enjoy delightful dining in a country setting at restaurants located within the village.
After we checked-in and drove up to the building were our suite was, we noticed that it was in the same building where the Savory Spice Shop is located. So, naturally, we decided that would be our first stop.
This chain has locations all over the country, including one in nearby Princeton, NJ. There is an impressive array of fresh ground and handcrafted spices, seasonings, flavorings, herbs, seeds, sauces, stocks, marinades, dips and dressings. Whatever your flavoring needs, you’re sure to find it here. If you’re already a fan of Penzey’s in nearby Chestnut Hill, or the spice shops in the Reading Terminal Market and Italian Market, you’ll feel right at home here. We never walk out of a spice shop empty handed and this shop was no exception. We grabbed some rubs, seasoning mix for veggies, exotic Morroccan seasoning, sea salt with lime, and honey powder (see below).
We could have spent more time in there (and purchased more), but we needed to move on and not blow our entire budget in one store. Once we settled into our plush one bedroom suite, we were off to enjoy the fringe benefits that came along with staying at the Inn. Our lodging voucher included a wine tasting at the Chaddsford Winery Wine Shop and and a cheese sampling at Casa Casale, an Italian gourmet shop. You don’t have to twist our arms to enjoy wine and cheese.
We made our way over to Casa Casale first. This shop looks deceptively small from the outside, but it is a bona fide gourmet emporium with a focus on the tastes and flavors of Italy. Casa Casale has been open in Peddler’s Village for over 15 years, and just recently bought by new owners who plan to keep it running.
The gourmand in you will have a field day here. It is organized nicely with several rooms full of gourmet products, an espresso bar, and a cheese cave. You’ll spot expected Italian specialties such as a large assortment of dried pastas, pasta sauces, and a dizzying array of imported olive oils and exotic vinegars that you can pour yourself. There’s also housewares, kitchen tools, home decor, Italian linens, trinkets and gifts — most of which are imported directly from Italy.
We made our way into the cheese cave for the cheese sampling. They had numerous imported cheese options such as authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, Primadonna, Extra Aged Provolone, and Stelvio (a cow’s milk cheese from the Stelvio Valley in Northern Italy), just to name a few. We fell in love with the Stelvio, which reminded us of an ultra creamy cheddar, so we purchased a half pound package of it, as well as a package of BellaVitano Merlot wine soaked cheese (which amusingly is not from Italy, but very tasty), both at 15% off thanks to our lodging voucher.
Chaddsford Winery itself is located in the Brandywine Valley of Chester County (30 miles southwest of Philadelphia), however they were smart to open a wine shop in Peddler’s Village. The shop offers casual samplings as well as more formal wine tastings, flights and even wine classes in their Reserve Tasting Room. As a part of our travel voucher, we were welcome to sample four wines at the more informal sampling station.
The four wines we tasted were the Philadelphia Phillies Club Series Red, ’13 Pinot Grigio, Sunset Blush and Proprietors Reserve Red. All were good, but we liked the Pinot Grigio and Proprietors Red so much, we bought a bottle of each at 20% off thanks to our lodging voucher.
These two shops alone are worth the visit, but food and drink lovers may also enjoy Fromage Deux (a cheese boutique), The Cookery Ware Shop, Hewn Spirits (local distillery), The Lucky Cupcake (bake shoppe serving La Colombe Coffee), Saxby’s Coffeehouse, and Skip’s Candy Corner.
And, on April 12th, as I previously reported, a new restaurant called Earl’s New American, will be opening offering a more contemporary take on modern American cuisines.
For our dinner, prior to our visit, we selected the Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant. It just so happened to be the final day of Lahaska Restaurant Week, too. While the Cock n’ Bull had a special prix fixe menu for the event, they were also serving their every day dinner menu much to our appreciation.
It’s quite the darling restaurant with arguably the best view of the village; slightly elevated so you can see the open courtyard and shops. Sadly, we didn’t get a really good picture of that view, but if you scroll down further in the article, you’ll see a picture (of beer) that gives you a sense of how wonderfully country the buildings and surroundings are.
The rustic, colloquial interior is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two or a family-friendly gathering. This famous restaurant has been open since 1962 and the decor is mostly unchanged since that year which adds extra charm to the dining experience.
After a friendly reception, we were seated at a table by the large pane-glass window pictured above. Couldn’t have asked for a better, more picturesque seat in the house if you ask me.
Our server, Karen, told us that we could order from the Restaurant Week menu or the regular dinner menu, placing both on the table. While the Restaurant Week menu looked tempting, we wanted to try their classic menu. She gave us ample time to study both food and drink menus before coming back to take our drink order. Before she did, we were presented with what could be the most delicious cornbread I’ve ever had.
This is not your average cornbread; they should call it corn cake as it was moist and fluffy and slightly sweet like cake. If you’re a cornbread lover, you need to put this on your list to try. Some might feel put-off by starting off a meal with a sweet cornbread over a more traditional savory roll or hearty bread, but I felt it was quite pleasing. Especially when slathered in a luscious salty whipped butter!
As for our drinks, I selected the Housemade Red Sangria and hubby went with a Sam Adams Cold Snap on tap.
The Sangria was delightfully fruity — everything you’d want a sangria to be. As we waited for the drinks to arrive, we made our meal selections. So when Karen returned with the drinks, we were ready to order. I have to admit, it was a difficult choice as everything sounded really good.
For our first course, we choose the Fried Calamari appetizer. We’re suckers for a good, crisp calamari. We also both ordered a salad — he opted for the House Garden salad and I was in the mood for a classic Caesar salad.
This calamari dish was prepared just how we like it, perfectly crisp and seasoned, but not over seasoned. The color of their housemade marinara was more on the orange side, and upon first glance you might think it would be buffalo sauce, but it was definitely tomatoey. It’s hard to see in the picture, but these come with fried pepperoncini rings. We were off to a great start. However, now that I’m purusing the menu again, in hindsight, I might have tried the German Spaetzle. Oh well, next time!
Our salads were pretty standard, but very tasty. As we noshed away on the salads, Karen noticed my Sangria was empty, and hubby was ready for another beer. He choose another Sam Adams Cold Snap. I asked for a Stella on draught. Luckily they had just kicked that keg, so instead I got a Tröegs IPA. Which was the better choice anyway.
Once our beers were delivered and our salad plates cleared away, it didn’t take long for the main courses to appear.
For our main entrees, he chose the Duck Duet and I was feeling intrigued by the “Airline” Chicken Breast.
The Duck Duet is duck cooked two ways — pan-seared duck breast and slow roasted duck leg — served with a curried orange ginger glaze, seasoned white rice, and asparagus. He especially loved the pairing of the glaze with the crispy duck. He also noted that the asparagus were cooked perfectly.
I have to admit that more than half the reason I ordered the “Airline” Chicken Breast was because of the word Airline. As a foodie, I felt embarrassed that I didn’t know what that meant. I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia…
Airline chicken is a food dish comprising a boneless chicken breast with the drumette attached. Skin on breast with 1st wing joint and tenderloin attached, otherwise boneless. The cut is also known as a frenched breast.
Sold… and so 1962!
Not to mention, I couldn’t resist something that is served with a “caramel soy glaze” — that stood out quite prominently and sealed the deal.
While the chicken was roasted nicely (though a tad on the dry side for my liking), the stars of the dish were the caramel soy glaze and the amazing grits. The glaze was a perfect balance of savory and sweet and provided the roasted chicken with needed moisture. The grits were smooth, creamy, and oh so comforting. In fact, hubby thought they were so good, he helped me eat them, and practically ignored his rice! We never paid attention to grits before, but now we will remember these grits as the ones that made us a fan. The roasted Brussels sprouts were delightful, too.
We were quite full at this point, but forgoing dessert is rarely an option for me. If I’m going to indulge, dessert needs to be a part of the whole gluttonous package! In this case, it was a push into the abyss of food coma land.
All of the desserts sounded heavenly, but the Tipsy Liard, a Scottish trifle, sounded absolutely scrumptious and literally jumped out of 1962 — this time capsule dessert comprised of whiskey-infused pound cake, raspberry compote, custard and whipped cream. We didn’t taste any whiskey in the pound cake, but we didn’t care. As you can see, we shared it, because there was no possible way we could have consumed our own desserts. It was lovely.
This meal experience at Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant was quite enjoyable. Certainly for the classically prepared food & cordial service, but assuredly because of the gorgeous surroundings and retro dining atmosphere. We can’t wait to return perhaps later in the year to try the Buttonwood Grill and Hart’s Tavern — the latter of which has two very large, functional fireplaces. Perfect for a cold winter night of copious drinking methinks.
The whole quickie overnight getaway to Peddler’s Village was fantastic. Our suite at the Golden Plough Inn was just the touch of pampering and luxury we both needed. If you go, you must get a room with the jacuzzi tub and gas fireplace. So comforting and soothing!
We had such a lovely time, I felt compelled to handwrite this note to the staff.
We highly recommend a foodie day trip or overnight visit to Peddler’s Village. If you go during the warm weather months, you’ll be able to delight in the outdoor dining deck complete with bar at the Buttonwood Grill.
P.S. Thanks Travelzoo for a sweet deal on our overnight stay.
The Doyenne of Dining in Philadelphia and South Jersey.