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Vespasiano

In Praise of the Whoopie Pie!!

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Set your calendars! The town of Ronks, Pennsylvania (just to the east of Lancaster) will be holding its annual Whoopie Pie Festival on Saturday, September 18. For those who don't know what a whoopie pie is, or who may have grown up with a different name for it (in Western Pennsylvania, where I grew up, we called them "Gobs"), this is the delectable treat (and the REAL thing too):

whoopie20pies.jpg

Gads! Although I'd regret it later, I could easily devour that entire plate (along with some fresh buttermilk on the side, perhaps)!

Although the chocolate original is still king in my book, every variation on that original whoopie pie will be available for purchase and sampling on the 18th -- from pumpkin to spice to red velvet.

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Here's the menu of a joint that's on its way to becoming a NY institution. (Scan to the bottom, Whoopie fans!)

What could be better . . . an honest-to-goodness lobster roll followed by a Whoopie Pie!! ;)

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Here's the menu of a joint that's on its way to becoming a NY institution. (Scan to the bottom, Whoopie fans!)

What could be better . . . an honest-to-goodness lobster roll followed by a Whoopie Pie!! ;)

The combo sounds worthwhile. And while this shop is on its way to becoming an institution, the two rolls we've tried there were less than great.

The problem we had was with the toughness of the lobster. When compared to the product put out by Luke's Lobster, Redhook's is chewy and dry. At first I thought this could be a matter of wild caught versus farm raised product. Both places, however, claim to use wild caught lobsters of around the same size, claims backed by the fact that neither shop's product was more flavorful (wild seafood has a stronger taste.) Besides, lobster prices have been so low lately that there isn't much of a price incentive to go with farm raised product in an era obsessed with "natural" food.

As for the Whoopie: I was expecting the filling to be made in-house. It's not. And while I liked the filling because it was less sweet than most, I wouldn't say that either the filling or the pie are particularly noteworthy.

So unless you have a strong lobster craving while at the Red Hook cruiseliner terminals down the block, I'd skip this place. Besides, Luke's two shops are on Manhattan and so are far easier to get to for most visitors and commuting locals.

A Manhattan food concern wins a comparo -- who would've thought? :D

(In defense of Brooklyn: Brooklyn still has the best BBQ pork shoulder in this town, though. See Fette Sau. This joint also offers good short ribs, a great flank steak, an interesting pastrami, and pork belly that can be out of this world if you come across the slab at the right time. Just be sure to go Wed-Sat between 7:00 and 8:30PM to maximize the chances of having their pulled pork at its best. They also have unmatched baked beans, a laughable potato salad, and a passable broccoli side. Nice selection of brews, too.)

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