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While not located in Philly, or really even near Philly, Troegs is a good ending point to a day at Hershey Park, located a mere 5 minutes from the park on the same street. They have great beer (and if you are lucky they will have an interesting beer from the scratch series on tap), and really really really good food. The tasting room/dining area is impressive and big. The bar is huge. They fill growlers and crowlers of anything on tap to take home. towards the left side of the bar is the ordering for the kitchen. You place your order, they give you a pager, you find a table, get drinks and wait for the food. I had the lamb falafel, served on naan, which was really interesting, served with a harissa chutney and tahina. It was one large "falafel", which was a mixture of lamb, and perhaps chickpeas and a side of thick hand cut fresh fries. It all worked well together. My wife got the seafood roll, which was chock full of shrimp and crawfish in a light mayo sauce--think lobster roll, also served with a side of fries. The highlight of the night though was the grilled cheese, which was made with 4 types of cheese, sandwiched between two huge/thick slices of brioche, served in a bowl with tomato soup on the bottom. Cheese oozed out the edges with a caramelized crispy cheese on the cut side of the sandwich. Top the food off with a nice beer, and it is a great cap to a really fun day at the park.
The Hershey Pantry in Hershey, PA. We were there this morning. Some newspaper has voted it the "best breakfast in Central PA for 15 straight years. It really is. Best muffins I've ever had: an oreo muffin was rich and dense with the top of it "scooped out." Sour cream frosting was squeezed in from a pastry tube and the top replaced. Then crumbled oreos and powdered sugar, warmed for a bit and served. Unbelievable. We brought home a chocolate peanut butter cake slice that is probably as good. Outstanding four egg omelettes, French toast, pancakes, really crisp hash browns with a crust-I cannot rave about this place enough. Easily as good as Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, NH or the former Diner in Yountville, CA. Now the bad part: having been in business since 1930 it is locally known. Almost every car in the parking lot and on the street had PA plates. At 10:30 AM on Tuesday with 60 in the dining room there were another 20 waiting to get in. It is also CHEAP. The muffin was $2.95. The four egg Western omelette (fresh grated cheddar cheese, fresh mushrooms, country ham) with home fries and toast was $7.50 but a bargain for what we got. If you are ever in the area it is well worth a wait in line. It's also just about worth driving from D. C. to there just to have breakfast which we will probably do in the near future.
Stayed at the Hershey Hotel last night, in a round about way of going to my bro's in NJ. Lunch was at Devon's Seafood. Had a ditzy server. After some prolonged waiting, she came up and said she didn't know we were in her station. She then forgot an extra order of clams, and sides of whipped potato and Brussels sprouts. The food was pretty good though, for Hershey. Dinner was at Trevi 5, within the Hershey Hotel. Note: the garden was pretty barren in November and the sweet lights weren't very exciting. The Italian fountain in the hotel is cool tho. Dinner was pretty good, for Hershey. Breakfast buffet was just meh. The hotel was packed with kids and the fire alarm went off at 3 a.m. The rooms are a bit dated but the service is very friendly. The restaurant area is themed to look like a courtyard with a fountain in the middle.
Knoebels OK, I'm going out on a limb to say I think Amusement Parks makes sense as its own thread as they tend to be destinations unto themselves, separate from any city they may (or may not) be near. If we go to an amusement park, odds are we'll need to eat and we're almost guaranteed to have limited choices. This weekend we returned to Knoebels in north-central PA. They've won the park industry "Golden Ticket" award for best amusment park food for about 15 years running now. They are known for both a wide variety (there's not much overlap between all the spots to eat) and quality. The standout we tried were the simple pierogies. They were really fresh and filling for lunch. We ate in the Alamo restaurant for dinner and ordered a variety of italian dishes. They ranged from pretty bad to kinda OK, the best being spinach ravioli- 3 softball sized ravioli with generous spinach filling. The specialty chicken and waffles is too bland for my tastes (I've tried it on a prior visit), while the on-premise fudge is very good. We didn't try a few other things that the park is known for, but will next time: real alligator bites, potato pancakes, fried pickles, etc. The food is all inexpensive, especially relative to other parks. And with no parking and no admission charges (you pay by the ride) it turns out that the park can be really inexpensive overall....we spent less than $15 per person on rides over an 8 hour visit. We've been to about 20 different amusement parks and the only food we look forward to more is at Boma on the Walt Disney World property (though not technically in a park). Knoebels is a wonderful place.