Cheesesteaks are great, but it’s nice to branch out on occasion. And to that end, I made plans to meet my mother for an early lunch at a local establishment known for serving spectacular breakfast dishes into the afternoon. Unfortunately, they were extremely crowded and had a relatively long wait for a table. We were hungry and decided to go a couple blocks up the road from where we were, to a fairly retro-looking Chinese restaurant I have been meaning to try. When we arrived there, we discovered they are still only open for takeout. This seems to be taking place with a decent number of Chinese restaurants in my region, and I would guess elsewhere; a phenomenon that has troubled me.
After several minutes of pondering our options, it occurred to me that we were just a few minutes away from the long-standing Llanerch Diner, which I hadn’t eaten at since before Covid hit. Aside from its classic look, the Llanerch Diner gained fame as the location of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s date scene in Silver Linings Playbook. You may recall that he ordered the house raisin bran.
I needed something a little more exciting than cereal to eat and went with blueberry pancakes, which I washed down with a glass of very strong chocolate milk. In fact, after I drank about a quarter of it, I asked our server to top it off with more milk.
The pancakes were very enjoyable.
The following day, my wife and I ventured about an hour north, to Sellersville, PA, where we met my in-laws for lunch at the Washington House, an inn and restaurant that is a bit more refined than the Llanerch Diner.
The Washington House has a long history. It started out as an 18th century farmhouse and became a tavern a century later. They managed to sell illegal liquor for a while during Prohibition, but the authorities eventually caught up with them. The current hotel didn’t actually open until 2016. The Sellersville Theater, which hosts live entertainment, is next door to the inn, making for the possibility of an enjoyable weekend without ever having to go further than across a parking lot. My wife and I may take advantage of that opportunity at some point.
While we didn’t get to see the hotel portion of the building, the restaurant is the picture of elegance. The four of us sat in an extremely comfortable and large semi-circular booth.
The meal started with freshly baked, still-warm rolls and butter. I had thoughts of holding off on eating mine until my first course arrived, but found that to be an impossible endeavor to achieve.
My wife and her mother started off with salads that were extremely pleasing to the eye and apparently the taste buds as well.
My father-in-law and I both opted for soup. He went with cheddar-broccoli. I had New England clam chowder, which came topped off with oyster crackers and crumpled bits of bacon.
I sometimes worry about getting full too quickly from thick, creamed-based soups, but the chowder portion was on the small side and there were no large chunks of potato, so that wasn’t an issue. The flavor of clams was more subtle than overpowering. Overall, I thought it a very enjoyable warm-up for my main course.
The menu had an interesting array of options to choose from when it came to that main course. My in-laws both went for a grilled portabella muffalata, the Inn’s take on a New Orleans standard. My wife ordered herbed Parisian Gnocchi, which she seemed extremely pleased with. Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of either the muffalattas or the gnocchi.
I do have a couple of my Cheddar-topped cheeseburger, which was thick, juicy and perhaps just slightly past the medium-rare I had ordered. It still had a nice streak of pink in the center though, as well as a strong char-broiled flavor profile. While I prefer other styles of burgers, this was extremely good. I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. The thin-cut fries were also the perfect accompaniment to it.
I was pretty stuffed by the time I finished the burger, but my in-laws were in the mood for dessert. He had a duo of lemon sorbet topped with blueberries and raspberry sorbet topped with strawberries, while she opted for moose tracks ice cream.
My mother-in-law didn’t feel up to eating all of her ice cream and requested help from my wife and me. I’m far too chivalrous to turn down such a call for assistance.
On the way home, we drove right into a snow squall. For those of you who don’t know what those are, it’s like the snow equivalent of a passing heavy rain storm. It doesn’t last long, but there is so much snow for a short period that visibility can be a problem. Thankfully, we didn’t have any serious problems.
As I indicated at the start of this post, it’s good to branch out. Having said that, I’ll be back with another cheesesteak report in a few days. I may also change things up with a non-food post before then.