Dia Doce Cupcakes

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I’m not really a cake person. I’d much rather eat a cookie or a brownie, or some ice cream. I’ll admit, however, to getting caught up in the cupcake movement when it hit the area, falling for Cupcakes Gourmet when it first opened. But that love affair was short-lived. I quickly remembered cookies and brownies, and lost interest in the cupcake thing.

So, though I’ve seen Dia Doce at the East Goshen Farmers Market on several occasions, I always walked by without much of a glance (after all, My House Cookies, Laura’s Biscotti and Market Day Canele all also appear at the same market). Being a reluctant slave to food trend, however, I have to admit that, the other day, I walked past their cupcake truck at an event and couldn’t resist the temptation to try a Maple Bacon cupcake. After all, cupcakes and bacon are two of the biggest trends we’ve seen over the past 5 years or so, and I’ve never had the combination.

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Rosewood Coffee Co., Berwyn

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The subhead on Rosewood Coffee’s menu reads: “Uncommonly good coffee & tea. Unlikely Venue.” It’s no wonder — hospital cafeterias are not exactly known for their culinary expertise. In most cases, if you find Starbucks brew that’s been sitting around all day and a fresh banana, that’s pretty much a win. As such, imagine my surprise when I found this wonderful coffee & lunch stand located within Penn Medicine Valley Forge.

This place is incredible. The fact that it is located within a medical facility is absurd, but I honestly believe it would be just as good if it was a standalone shop in Wayne or West Chester, or even Philly. It is such a hidden gem right now; I’m not sure I should even be telling you about it!

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Sugartown Smoked Specialties, West Chester

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It’s amazing how many small food businesses exist in this area that even the most avid food lover might not know about. Take Sugartown Smoked Specialties, for example, who has been smoking up specialty meats & fish in this area for almost 20 years. 20 years! Though much of their business is selling to restaurants and wholesalers, Sugartown Smoked Specialties has also been a longtime tenant at the Lancaster County Farmers Market in Wayne (located next to the Greek stand in the back aisle), and sells some products at Hill’s Seafood Markets locations. In addition, all of their products can also be ordered online.

Owner Scott Hattersley offers a wide variety of smoked foods, including fish (salmon, scallops, etc.), fowl (chicken breast, pheasant) and pork (loins, tenderloins and ribs). Here’s an overview of a few of the items we sampled:

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Bake 425 Pizza, Bryn Mawr

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Bake 425, which opened in April 2011 at 1012 W. Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr, is a take-out, bake-at-home pizza shop and the latest project from Pete Howey and Aaron Nocks, owners of Peace-A-Pizza. Elizabeth Comiskey of Phoenixville’s Farmers Market helps source the completely organic, seasonal ingredients. The menu is mostly pizza, ranging from simple plain or Margherita to more innovative combinations such as the “Southwest Sausage”, which features organic tomato sauce, locally made Italian sausage, mozzerella & fontinella cheeses, sliced poblano peppers, caramelized onions & fresh oregano. Other offerings include organic salads, apple crisp and “ginormous” cookies.

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Town Hall Coffee, Merion Station

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A “good” cup of coffee is relatively easy to find in our area. (Last summer, while driving through rural North Carolina, well, that was another story.) We’re lucky enough to have a few decent independent coffee shops, and even chains like Starbucks or Saxby’s will typically provide a reasonable cup. “Great” cups of coffee, on the other hand, are far more rare. Great coffee isn’t just tasty; it’s an experience that lingers for days, even years after the mere moments of consumption are past. Town Hall Coffee in Merion Station (Narberth) makes great coffee. In fact, they brew one of the finest two or three cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

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