Still shopping? Unique gifts can be found in downtown Pottstown.

Farmers' Market, High & Charlotte

Procrastinator that I am, I got a huge amount of shopping done on  just a couple of blocks of High Street yesterday afternoon. The Gallery on HighWeitzenkorn’sFine Wine & Good Spirits… and The Farmers’ Market. Yes, the Farmers’ Market vendors have gift certificates so you can give the gift of fresh, local food. Stop in to see Grumpy’s Sandwiches, Freeland Market, J&H Produce, Mosteller’s Seafood, Wegman’s Deli, and Pottstown Florist. You might want to wind up your shopping at Weitzenkorn’s; they were serving wine and cheese and they provide free gift wrapping. They’ve got a beautiful selection, knowledgeable and friendly service, and some items were reduced 40%!

There are many other shopping options throughout town… Company Cakes on Charlotte Street, gift certificates to restaurants like Henry’s, Funky Lil Kitchen, the Brickhouse, and Juan Carlos Fine Mexican. How about a gift certificate from Belle Rouge or Emilie’s or something special for that special someone from Jean’s Lingerie? And don’t forget The Milkman Lunch Company & Cake Shoppe, tickets to the Tri-PAC, or lessons from High Street Music Company and The Ballroom on High!

Don’t forget to check out the websites and give a call to confirm hours today, Christmas Eve!

Triple chocolate souffle absolutely divine at Juan Carlos in Pottstown

This past Tuesday night I found myself briefly transported to heaven. One minute I was sitting at a table in Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine at 235 E. High Street in downtown Pottstown, the next I was experiencing a form of transcendence. I had finished my chicken fajitas, chef Ron Garza’s mouth-watering combination of seared chicken and smoky, slightly spicy grilled onions and peppers. I’ve been to Juan Carlos many times, but for some reason, this was the first time I’d had the fajitas and they were outstanding.

I was, however, really looking forward to one of the dessert specials – the Triple Chocolate Souffle. I hadn’t indulged in a decadent dessert in quite some time, but when Casey, my friendly and attentive server, described it, I couldn’t resist.  Chef Garza needs about twenty minutes’ notice to make this dessert, and I placed my order for it when I ordered my food.

When the souffle arrived it looked like this: chocolate ice cream on the left, a dollop of whipped cream in the middle, and a small, round chocolate cake on the right. All of it was drizzled with chocolate sauce. After my first small bite of the cake, I thought, “Okay….” and let the flavors blossom. It is best to take one’s time – to live in the present – when one is on the verge of the miraculous.

Then the second bite… when the dark chocolate center started oozing out, I had what I can only describe as a dessert flashback to a very similar-looking chocolate souffle I once had in a hotel restaurant in Montreal more than a decade earlier. That second bite consisted  of the chocolate lava and the cake, and my heart leapt with hope. Could it be? Yes, it was! It was even more wondrous than that distant memory. Time lost all meaning then as I greedily prepared one spoonful after another of different combinations of the lava, the cake, the whipped cream, and the ice cream. It saddens me deeply to report that I left a few bites on my plate; I was so completely stuffed that it would have been unwise to finish. And yet… and yet I am still filled with regret two days later.

If you have any affection for chocolate, I urge you to call ahead to Juan Carlos Fine Mexican at 484-624-4931, find out if the Triple Chocolate Souffle is available, and then hustle over there, settle in and get set for your own trip to heaven, before it’s too late. 

Eating healthy on a budget

Editor’s note: Positively!Pottstown periodically posts articles from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. During the holiday season it may seem difficult to eat healthy, let alone eat healthy on a budget, but this article provides some inspiration and strategies sure to help you and your family throughout the year.

EATING HEALTHY WHILE ON A BUDGET:

ADVICE WHEN APPROACHING FOOD SHOPPING

By: David Kraybill, Executive Director, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation

The grocery store has become a complex labyrinth of possibility, especially for families who desire healthy food on a smart budget. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average number of items carried by a traditional grocery at the end of 2010 was a whopping 38,718. As consumers, we crave the concept of choice but are quickly overwhelmed by the multitude of options at our fingertips.

Having an exorbitant number of options may seem like a small worry; however, budget continues to challenge families who visit the grocery stores on average nearly twice per week.  According to the latest projections by the US government, grocery prices are expected to climb between 4% and 5% by the end of 2011. Many operate under the assumption that eating healthy equates to spending money. Therefore, a 5% price hike may hinder healthy decisions in favor of what is on sale or featured in coupons. Suddenly all of those options lead to bad decisions in the name of saving money.

Health and wellness are intrinsically linked to maintaining a sense of happiness, yet achieving them at a time of uncertainty leads to questionable behavior, even while grocery shopping. The past couple of years have encouraged consumers to hone their spending skills. Generally speaking, a smaller percentage of Americans are willing to spend on quality, unless they’re given good reason. For families, the fact that childhood obesity rates have been termed a national epidemic is just one reason to make smart and healthful choices in the grocery, as well as the kitchen.

It all begs the question: Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget? With a little dedication, the answer is yes! First, consider your resources:

Plan ahead. The thought of planning your excursions to traditional supermarkets may seem like an unappealing step if you are not accustomed to it, but a little thoughtful strategy can go a long way. Generally, we crave instant gratification. When food shopping, it is easy to succumb to impulse purchases, which elevate expenses and usually equate to unhealthy prepared foods. A list gives consumers a sense of direction and purpose when navigating the aisles. In addition, consult, but don’t rely on, weekly flyers and coupons. Whereas they offer competitive pricing, they do not always pay attention to the healthiest choices. And just because you have coupons do not feel the need to use them. Especially if the foods are not something you normally use or are for unhealthy items.

Enjoy variety. While many of us call the traditional grocery our main source when food shopping, a plethora of options exist for consideration. For instance, farmers markets and roadside stands sell locally-grown produce, while specialty stores and mass retailers create a competitive market. Though it may take away some of the efficiency of the one-stop-shopping experience, it does create potential for more robust savings. It is all a matter of simply knowing your community.

Do-it-yourself. More Americans are returning to their gardens as a means of growing their own organic produce. The fresher the better; processed foods may seem enticing, but they lack the nourishment meant to support a smart diet. For families, gardening offers an engaging project that emphasizes and educates all members on the importance of healthy living. Also, consider the benefits of canning or freezing your produce, whether home-grown or store-bought. The laws of supply and demand dictate that seasonal foods have the potential to be less expensive. You may enjoy fresh produce throughout the year, just by thinking ahead, stocking up and preserving foods when pricing is right.

Eating smart. Americans love their fast food lifestyle. A diet that includes increased levels of refined flour, sugar, salt and fat, coupled with a decrease in physical activity has taken its toll on our collective well-being. According to recent comments by Dr. Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “The typical American diet is promoting major health problems, causing serious environmental pollution and unintentionally creating poor working conditions for those who harvest, process and prepare our food.”

In addition to improving shopping techniques, budget-conscious consumers must also consider how to eat smart and watch out for the foods that miss the healthy mark. Some suggestions:

  •  Eat less meat. Experts suggest that Americans indulge in their passion for meat more often than they should. By reducing intake, it is possible to invest in better quality meats to balance additional costs. Additionally, incorporating other sources of protein, such as poultry or beans, creates a more well-rounded diet.
  • Consider whole grains. Whether bread, cereal or pasta, steer clear of refined or white flour in favor of whole grains. As is the case with fruits and vegetables, whole grains offer a bevy of necessary vitamins and minerals to support a balanced diet.
  • Buy bulk in moderation. There is a difference between buying bulk paper supplies versus fresh fruits and vegetables. Unless you plan to preserve, can or freeze for later use, often produce will go to waste in refrigerators. Also, pay careful attention to expiration dates. Americans are especially guilty of throwing away spoiled food, with estimates suggesting anywhere from 25% to 40% of food purchased being disposed of annually.
  • Walk the perimeters. The adage is true – fresh food and baked goods typically line the outside edge of grocery stores, while processed and junk foods take up aisle space. Keep focused on your list and take to the aisles sparingly.
  • Drink more water. Sugary beverages equal empty calories and can easily raise your grocery tab. Water is essential, and in the best scenario, tap water is free.
  • Mix and match. Fashion stylists suggest that you need only a handful of items to create a versatile wardrobe. The same is true for food preparation. By planning ahead of time, you can outline family meals that stem from a standard group of healthy ingredients, while still offering the variety you crave.
  • Snack responsibly. It’s inevitable that snack foods will find their way into our grocery baskets. By including healthy snacks, as well as an indulgence or two, on your list, you can curb detrimental and pricy impulse purchases. 

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive. Making just a few behavioral shifts will strike the right balance between feeding your family responsibly while remaining on a budget. 

About the Foundation – The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s new online community at www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life!

Gallery School and Juan Carlos team up for Tuesday night dinners!

Planning Tuesday night’s dinner has never been easier!  The Gallery School has partnered with Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine for a great ongoing fundraising opportunity. Simply dine out at Juan Carlos any Tuesday, and the restaurant will donate 15% of your bill to The Gallery School, your non-profit community art school. Simply bring this coupon with you when you dine.

Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine is located at 235 E. High Street in the heart of historic downtown Pottstown. Their number is 484-624-4931.  Juan Carlos combines Mexican and Brazilian influences to bring to you authentic South American cuisine, focused on only the freshest and finest ingredients. Check out their full menu at www.jcmexicanfood.com. Juan Carlos is also a BYOB. If you bring the tequila, they will happily whip you up a great margarita using their special mix! Please note: Juan Carlos only accepts cash.

 

Rally today to Rethink Homelessness

RETHINK HOMELESSNESS

Community Awareness Event

 Today, November 30th

Noon-1pm

Smith Family Plaza

100 East High Street, Pottstown, PA

Special thanks to Mercer’s Collision Center and Ice House Steaks & Pizza for providing sandwiches and

Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation for providing bottled water for today’s event.

Partnering to improve health, social and environmental conditions.

 Sponsored by

TriCounty Community Network

260 High Street, Pottstown, PA  19464

610-705-3301
www.TCNetwork.org

cid:image001.jpg@01CB3A15.3C548F50

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa is coming to Pottstown for the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) Hometown Holiday Celebration!  On behalf of Santa, his elf PDIDA Chairman Sheila Dugan is inviting all to downtown Pottstown on Friday, December 2nd starting at 6:30 p.m. for a night of family fun and shopping bargains.  The night’s activities will kickoff with Santa’s arrival via a fire truck from Washington Street to Smith Plaza, where the Pottstown Roller Derby Girls will be collecting letters for Santa.

DECEMBER 2, 2011 6:30pm to 9:30pm – The night’s activities will include:

  • At the plaza, once Santa arrives, a candy toss will be held in the grass in the back area of Smith Plaza.  Be sure to join in, there will be special candy with vouchers for cash and free items throughout the downtown!
  • We will do the tree lighting after the candy toss and the BarberShop Quartet will be singing Carols. Then children can have their photo taken with Santa for $7 each.
  • The Public Library will be hosting Story time at TANGO (139 High St) every half hour starting at 7:00 p.m.
  • At the Farmer’s Market The Giving Tree for the children at HEAD START
  • Face Painting at Memories N More
  • Coloring at Argento’s Pizza

 Don’t miss out on the other evenings of holiday celebration which include:

DECEMBER 10, 2011 12pm to 4pm

  • Santa house open – be sure to check out the local artist’s (Alan McBain) coloring book which features local merchants. This is a great way to see some of the merchants in town as well enjoy coloring with your children. This is sure to be a collector’s item! Photos for $7.00 each can be bought.
  • Crafters at the Farmer’s Market
  • Face Painting at Memories N More
  • Coloring at Argento’s
  • Story time (every half hour) at Tango (139 High St)
  • Free Trolley Rides – Stops at Christian Science Reading Room, Weitzenkorn’s,

DECEMBER 18, 2011 12pm to 4pm

  • Hometown Holidays Brunch – your choice at the Farmer’s Market, featuring the various foods available at the market – home made and fresh! Also Juan Carlos is adding a Mexican flare to the affair. Call 610-323-5400 for reservations before December 12, 2011. Tickets are necessary and must be pre-purchased.
  • Santa house open – be sure to check out the local artist’s (Alan McBain) coloring book which features local merchants. This is a great way to see some of the merchants in town as well enjoy coloring with your children. This is sure to be a collector’s item! Photos for $7.00 each can be bought.
  • Crafters at the Farmer’s Market
  • Face Painting at Memories N More
  • Coloring at Argento’s
  • Story time (every half hour) at Tango (139 High St)                                                                                                                                                 

Positively Pottstown calendar is back up!

The Positively Pottstown calendar of Christmas concerts, performances, historical events, happy hours, craft and bake sales, and much more is here to help you plan your holiday shopping and entertainment!

Fun for the whole family starts with the Twelfth Night tours, which begin today at Pottsgrove Manor and continue until January 8th during regular museum hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 am to 4 pm; Sun. 1 to 4 pm

Get your gift-buying underway with a shopping march set for downtown Pottstown tomorrow (meet at Bistro 137, 137 E. High Street.) And take advantage of Sunday shopping as Pottstown offers another “Super Sunday” this Sunday, with free, fun activities for the kids at the Farmers’ Market.

Over the next 24 hours, I’ll be putting up several posts to let you know, or remind you, of all that Pottstown’s restaurants, retailers, and arts venues have to offer this holiday season. Stay tuned!

Juan Carlos Fine Mexican specials for Friday & Saturday

Take a break from shopping and family and turkey and make a reservation (484-624-4931) for this Friday or Saturday at Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine, 235 E. High Street in the heart of Pottstown. Pumpkin flan, anyone?! Chef Ron Garza is offering these fab specials:

Friday, 25 November

Soup: Northern bean soup, $3 per cup

Salad: Mediterranean salad, $5

Entrée: Roasted chicken with potatoes in lemon garlic sauce, $12.99

Dessert: Pumpkin flan, $6

Complementary egg nog, available with or without brandy.

 

Saturday, 26 November

Soup: Beef orzo soup, $3 per cup

Salad: Mediterranean salad, $5 

Entrée: Stuffed peppers and tomatoes, featuring a lightly spiced dill and rice mixture, $12.99

Dessert: Pumpkin flan, $6

Complementary egg nog, available with or without brandy.
 

RSVP now for Friday happy hour!

The next Positively!Pottstown Happy Hour is taking place this Friday, Nov. 11 from 5-7 pm at the Milkman Lunch Co. & Cake Shoppe at 451 N. Charlotte Street. Our hosts are owners Sam Rhame and Chris Longeway.

In case you haven’t been to their shoppe or had one of their melt-in-your-mouth delectable cupcakes, these guys are putting Pottstown on the map for their gorgeous artistry with fondant. Plus they have cheery messages on the blackboard outside their shoppe every day. They are spreading love, happiness and inner peace through cake, which – if you think about it – could do a lot for world peace, too. 

Join us this Friday afternoon and see for yourself!

RSVP to positivelypottstown@gmail.com

Please RSVP now for this Friday’s Happy Hour!

Positively!Pottstown Happy Hour

Where: The Farmers’ Market, 300 High Street

When: Friday, October 14 from 5 to 7:30 PM

Meet new friends and old at the 1st Anniversary of the Positively!Pottstown Happy Hour!

It’s hard to believe it was last October that the first Happy Hour was held at the PDIDA office. We’ve been all over High & Hanover Streets since then, featuring the organizations, businesses and people that make Pottstown THE place to be!

Enjoy the company of friends, neighbors and colleagues AND sample tasty treats from the vendors in the NEW Farmers’ Market! 

The cover charge remains an unbeatable $5.

RSVP to positivelypottstown@gmail.com. 

If your Pottstown business or organization would like to host a future Happy Hour, please get in touch. We are now booking events in 2012.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: