Archive for the 'Harrisburg' Category



The Friday afternoon Philosophy seminar at RAE’s Tobacco on Third Street is an institution cherished by the city’s elite minds. It’s led by Al Baker, hero and gentleman.

Today, Col. Baker begins a monthly column in which he’ll share his vast knowledge and experience of cigars, starting with the Camacho Triple-Maduro:

Like Mark Twain, I smoke cigars in moderation, never more than one at a time. Neither Mark nor I would ever think of smoking while asleep, or while swimming in water too deep to stand in. Other than those exceptions the day is pretty open.

I can enjoy a mild cigar in the morning, a medium in the afternoon, and, after dinner, possibly take on what those in the cigar business refer to as a “full flavored” stogie. For those not in the know …

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Opening a restaurant?

What’s the best place in Pennsylvania to open a restaurant?

That’s easy, State College. The relatively high percentage of income that goes to eating out in State College pushes its Restaurant Growth Index to 156, way over the national average.

“The RGI figure for each of the 363 metro areas provided here is calculated to a national average of 100,” says Tom Spencer of Claritas, “which means the higher the RGI over 100, the more opportunity there is. We worked out those numbers by looking at how much money people spend at restaurants as a percentage of their income; then we compared that to national averages.”

Right behind State College in the RGI ranking is …

Continue reading ‘Opening a restaurant?’


Sweet, dude.

Curtis Vreeland will present his findings on flavor and marketing trends in chocolate to the Fine Chocolate Industry symposium in New York on Thursday.

He lives in Shipoke and is passionate about chocolate. Curtis has been studying the industry for 20 years, and has visited most of the major cocoa producing regions in the world.  His specialty is emerging trends in the confectionery industry.

He is also the founder of the local Slow Food chapter, which is organizing its first dinner for January.  Artisanal cheese will be the focus.


Woo-Hoo. Inspections. Maybe.

According to sort-of informed sources, the Governor’s Office has wrangled 15 municipalities into the state’s Restaurant Inspection Database, and Harrisburg is one of them.

Here, if you want to read it, is almost the entire …

Continue reading ‘Woo-Hoo. Inspections. Maybe.’



There are a couple things I do to keep trying new stuff — talking to foodies and welcoming the Leite’s Culinaria test recipes — but mostly it’s just reading other people’s food blogs.

Today I happened on a Polenta Worship post on Amateur Gourmet that pretty much decided my Saturday: polenta lasagna by Alice Waters.

So I’m stealing AG’s photo here …

Continue reading ‘Polenta’


Anna Nother


Does your memory stretch back to the turn of the century? Do you recall Harrisburg’s nascent yuppie social networking group, the Harrisburg Young Professionals, publicly panting for a certain chain coffeeshop?

“Oh, please please please Mr. Starbucks Man, please plunk down your magic espresso machine and our downtown will be cool, and attract more people like us — sophisticated!”

Fast forward to October 2007 and …

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Goodbye, Skewers

It was great while it lasted, a sweet and quiet room with good food and excellent soup. At first, Middle Eastern food on Second Street was a novelty, but after Skewers opened two more kebab places came along quickly.

Now Javid Mohmand is headed in a different direction.

“Skewers is going to go away,” he told me yesterday.

Javid isn’t closing the place because of the competition — he just wants to do Indian food, even though he’s Afghan. So he’s going to shut down, remodel, hire two chefs and reopen as …

Continue reading ‘Goodbye, Skewers’


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In culinary school and getting ready to trade the writing life for the cooking life. Or not. Might do both. At the moment I'm a feature writer for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. My name is Pat Carroll.