This happens often in the blog world, but we’ve really relaxed on updating our site because we had a baby. If you have a kid I need to not even explain this, but they’re a ton of work. With that out of the way, we’ve taken on working with the folks at Collingswood Patch. While our opinions here are mostly just for the sake of writing out our feelings without any kind of publishing concerns (or even editing concerns, heh) we have taken this opportunity seriously. Our previously negative and also positive reviews are all clean slates as we approach the town again with a little more refined eyes. To use a baseball example: call this site the minor league journey. I’m sure we’ll kick-start this up again but for now we’re doing things on another site.
Dibartolo Bakery located on the Haddon Ave strip right across from “city hall” is a great part of this town. It’s businesses like this that are a luxury in other states and cities if they’re even present at all.
When we live in this bubble of a town you can become desensitized to some of these luxuries such as have a bakery within a half mile. I’ve walked by the bakery on countless days to the most amazing smells and that alone is worth the price of admission. Now I’m not saying that Dibartolo’s is the best you’ll ever find however – I’ll save those praises for any Konditori in Germany and Austria or Cafe in France – but they do make some damn good donuts. For a dollar each these chocolate and glazed donuts were really well made. Not the best you’ll ever have but leaps and bounds above Dunkin’ Donuts sugar sticks or the air flavored Crispy Creme. Though the Crispy Creme glazed are pretty amazing all things considered!
My only knock on Dibartolo’s is that they run out rather quickly. Their business model appears to be heavily cake focused. It’s ok being like that I’m just pointing out that sometimes you might miss out.
Mostly everyone is familiar with The Pop Shop in Collingswood. It’s a cute retro diner/soda fountain smack in the middle of Haddon Ave that caters to kids and adults alike. There are two appropriate responses to the thought of dining at The Pop Shop:
1. What a cute restaurant! They have decent diner food that won’t make my insides churn a half hour after eating, and all these kids walking around with balloons and smiling faces are just so charming. Plus – ice cream!
2. No freaking way am I waiting in line for an hour to eat a burger or pancake on uncomfortable metal chairs with 100 screaming kids wearing their pajamas and throwing food on the floor. I don’t care how good the ice cream sundaes are.
We at Collingswood Foodies have had both responses in equal amount, and wouldn’t blame you for swinging in either direction. It’s true that the restaurant is usually very crowded and very loud. It is the place for young parents to to bring their babies and toddlers to eat on a weekend, and it’s not uncommon for a line of folks to wait outside for a table. While the food isn’t gourmet enough to wait longer than a half hour (in our opinion), if you hit the restaurant at just the right time and don’t mind talking loudly to the rest of your party, there’s some decent food to be had.
Let’s start with the ice cream. We’re adults and can talk (and eat) dessert first if we want. We’ve gone to The Pop Shop on several occasions just for sundaes. You can order a fancy-named themed treat or create your own from a long list of flavors, candies, and sauces. They can get a bit pricey, so try going on a Sunday when sundaes are priced $3.99.
Now to the food. You’ll find standard American fare like burgers, an extensive grilled cheese menu, hot dogs, and breakfast served all day. On our latest trip, I had the “Stokes” – American cheese, tomato, and bacon on country white bread ($6.99) – with a side of tomato soup ($1.59). The sandwich was nicely crispy and not overly cheesy. The bacon made it too salty for me, but that’s a personal preference. I would have preferred the tomato also grilled with the sandwich, but not a big deal. The tomato soup was a letdown and tasted like plain no-frills condensed soup out of a can. No spices or real attention added. That’s what I get for trying a healthier route than just ordering fries.
Jamie ordered from the large breakfast menu and got the “Bacon Bettys” – humongous pancakes filled with crispy bits of bacon. It’s almost obscene how big these pancakes are. Even with a healthy adult appetite, he wasn’t able to eat half of the serving. We took home leftovers and got two additional breakfasts out of them. Why not reduce the price ($8.29) by a buck or two and make them a little smaller? While tasty, the pancakes aren’t spectacular, and you feel a bit silly with such a large plate in front of you.
So, what’s the verdict? You’ll spend a few bucks more per person than a greasy spoon diner, and your stomach will probably thank you for it. The deciding factor will likely be the atmosphere. Get there on off-peak hours and treat yourself to dessert, and you’ll be fine. Avoid Sunday mornings at all costs, unless you feel like shouting over the crowd, waiting for a table, and again for your food.
Take out Chinese food places are a dime a dozen really. So while there is nothing special about Chow’s it’s what they don’t do that makes them pretty great. You don’t get sick. Impressive right? I point this out because where we used to live we literally did not have any Chinese we could order because of severe stomach pains. So in that sense collingswood is #winning.
I’m not going to give you a gigantic review because this review is for the most standard fare dish at a Chinese food take out menu: General Tso. It’s sweet and savory with a little hint of heat. Review over.
On occasion you will experience a general lack of ”gso” sauce which is always disappointing because then the dish sucks, but you most likely won’t be let down by the dish itself if everything is present. Which is as it should, just saying. As for the chicken itself it’s always dubious dark meat quality but that’s everywhere you go and it’s fried as you would expect . The service comes rather quickly at any time so that’s great. And in addition their egg rolls – not pictured here- are pretty awesome, though I think we still prefer the veggie rolls from thai basil more.
Overall I would suggest chow’s chinese food as a good place to get your chinese take out fix from.
I’ll start this review with the most common and infuriating first world problem you could ever imagine. It’s a question I get asked whenever I call for take out here. “You know you’re calling the Primo Hoagie’s in Collingswood, right?” This comes invariably after giving my phone number which, like many in this modern cell-phone world , is not from the area code you knew from 20 years ago. Not every person has a 856 area code and I don’t even know why I would even need to explain this. My area code has been around for years and is a philadelphia one so it’s not like I’m calling from some 561 florida area code. I mean, we just like the entire human species have moved from one location to the other so it’s understandable one might not be from an area. And like most of america we stop changing our phone numbers because who wants to give out new cell phone numbers every 2 years? So if I move 5 miles away, I’m not getting a new phone number. Rant’s aside who knows what the deal is. Maybe there is some sub shop in some far off place that is also named collingswood and who also shares the same name and thus this location is call all the time. It could be some crazy scenario I can’t even dream to imagine that requires them to have to ask it, right? It’s also lind of like the weird scenario of maybe because I navigated that website of yours and honed in on your specific location because, you know….I live near it that I’m calling. So stop asking.
Why does this matter so much? Am I just petty and stupid? No. The thing is that we as humans tend to hang onto entire experiences and thus trivial things like that that shouldn’t matter, actually end up mattering. And when it happens over and over again that starts to speak volumes. And considering you are a take out place this makes it start sucking.
Now to the food. The Primo Hoagie is well known in the delaware valley – generally it’s positive and people reccomend getting one. However at this location it must just be me that continously ends up spending more time in the bathroom than I do enjoying the food. I don’t know what it is about this location but I consistently get ill. Lets do a little investigating shall we. Head on over to the restaurant inspections of camden county and you’ll discover the last inspection found that the lettuce was not 6 inches off the floor. That would leave you to think that it could only have been placed on the floor of their cooler. Yum. Moving past that the same cooler did not maintain a temp below 41. It was around 46. YUM.
Take that as you will.We’ve all eaten things a little funky at 2am on some bender in college, but now that I’m paying 8-9 dollars for a sandwich and I only get it as take out, I’m raising my standards. With that said I’m not advocating not going there. Your own taste is your own in most cases, but I will tell you that that is the last time I eat there. My stomach can’t handle another meal. And by the way, the food wasn’t that good either.
Inside of Primo Hoagie's
We love Indian food. Until recently, we were saddened that Collingswood had no worthy Indian offerings. Sure, Haddonfield and Cherry Hill have their own spots, but we dreamed of the day when we could walk to Haddon Ave for a decent curry. Enter Indiya: Flavors of India.
Located in the old pizza joint next to Woksabi and Primo Hoagies, Indiya is a small restaurant that serves expected Indian dishes, a lunch buffet, and takeout. The inside decor is pretty and cozy, and I’m happy to say that you can smell the spices brewing from down the street (like a BBQ restaurant, if you can’t smell the food upon approach, something is wrong).
We opted for takeout and ordered two very standard dishes to test out: chicken korma and chicken tikka makhani. We figured that if they can’t get these dishes right, then it wouldn’t be worth trying anything else. Luckily, their curries hit the spot.
The chicken korma was smooth and creamy, but not overly heavy. It had the distinct taste of coconut milk and cardamom that I like to find in a korma. The chicken was fresh, white meat, and tasted high quality. I do wish that it had one more zing of flavor – perhaps with golden raisins. Overall, a good choice when you’re in the mood for something mild.
The makhani was flavorful and also not too heavy. Sometimes a creamy curry can sit in your belly for hours, but this had a nice balance of cream and tomatoes. The flavor profile wasn’t as deep and complex as some of our other favorite spots, but certainly held its own. The chicken was clearly marinated and grilled in the tandoor oven. This will surely become one of our go-to dishes.
Our only complaint was with the naan bread. Ours was flat, soggy, and tasted undercooked. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they had an off day. I’d like to try the garlic naan next time (along with the channa masala) and hopefully it will be fluffier and well cooked.
In sum, Indiya is a decent Indian food offering and a welcome addition to the Haddon Ave strip. It’s flavorful but innocuous enough (not too spicy, not too heavy, standard offerings) to appeal to the mass crowd. I’m rooting for this one to succeed.
You can visit indiya’s website by visiting this link
Hello Summer! There’s tot much to say this is just some food-porn.
Contents: Pulled Pork, Brisket and a rack of ribs on the Weber Smokey Mountain. 12 pounds total, I think.
Like most of South Jersey we were present at the Mayfair, of course. It’s a wonderful, if a bit hot, event that really transforms this town. I can’t speak from years past experience, but this year seemed larger in scale and I guess scope? We were fortunate to get not too hot of a day though I imagine many felt the heat. Sun 101: Bounce from shade to shade and then into shops after a long bout with the sun. Lesson over, friends.
Our experience with the fair was walking up and down the strip while checking out the plethora of baby clothes stalls. If you’re left wanting baby girl clothes then I just don’t know what to tell you. I mean, I understand collingswood is a town of 0-5ers right now but wow. Regardless we snuck in a few bites of food. I HAD to stop in at Gorumet Popcorn. No pictures and just a small bag, but worth it. There was a jamacian jerk bbq stand which smelled amazing, but didn’t really hit home. I’ll blame the heat because man those guys looked like they themselves were cooking. Heh.
As I said we took some breaks and managed to sneak in music at each of the >three< tents of music. What is this some open air festival? Mr Maley are you listening to ideas because that might be the line in the sand that would cement us as a “hipster” town”. That said I will say here to dispel any myths. I was not, in fact, one of the gentlement dancing by himself. This is never a good idea. And the random woman dancing by herself having a wonderful time just might want to chill on the sauce for a little bit. She was prepping for a hangover, I guess.
After walking up and down the strip taking about 2 hours we finished at the Little Louie’s BBQ stall. It’s a heartbreaker for me because I want them to succeed and think I tried my best to write that out in some capacity, but I can’t get on board. It’s just not my flavor. The trip up is that if you drive by at any given time of day they are people inside so someone likes it. To me I can’t even taste the smoke. And man that sauce was just not sitting with me right either. I tried, I really did. Just not my thing – it certainly is others. I’ll pass each time. But I won’t pass on the Mayfair – go. It’s great. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes two days and not just one.
LOVE THIS PLACE. One day while walking down Haddon Ave I saw this Popcorn shop and said to myself “one day, i’ll stop in”. I never did. So after one year I said to hell with it and stopped in! And what a cute treat! As you walk in you are blasted away with the smell of popcorn. Mmmm! After you get over the smell you’ll then notice the 15,000 types of popcorn. If you like flavored popcorn then I have some good news for you this is your in a word: mecca. Now I didn’t sample everything, but I did manage to eat the Caramel Apple. It was exactly as you would imagine it to taste. There’s no ultra depth to the flavor. It really is just popcorn. You know there’s only so much you can do to popcorn. However that’s not to say it’s not good because, in fact, it’s wonderful.
As I walked around I found the Bacon-Cheddar and said “THIS IS MINE” as anyone with a pallet for meat would do. For the price of 4.50 a bag, I can’t really complain at all I feel this is some really good quality popcorn. I don’t know how you feel about popcorn, but if I eat a full bag of store bought I’m usually disgustingly full at the end and don’t eat another bag for months. This was the right amount for that popcorn fix. So give it a shot!
Bonus points to the owner for being extra friendly and helpful! Easily one of the more endearing traits about our little town and how “small town” it can be.
Texas BBQ is my favorite style amongst the more well known styles of BBQ. Recently I booked a flight from Philly to Austin and along with a buddy of mine headed straight for Lockhart. Lockhart is a mecca for BBQ lovers, a self proclaimed capitol of Texas BBQ. And not without reason. Lockhart is this ultra small texas town with the cute picturesque (if a bit run down) center about a 30 minutes drive south of Austin. This story would be a great food coma story were I to hit up all 5 places in and around Austin but I couldn’t do the 5 places in a day setup, so on the first day we did hit the 3 in lockhart: smittys, blacks and kruez all in one sitting.
Oh man was it well worth it. I love Texas so much. You don’t even know.