Worth Trying – Aug 2015

Suggestions from our staff and contributors

Put a Stop to Telephone Books

You care about the environment and have made personal choices to reduce needless waste: you recycle, use a mulching mower, maybe even drive a fuel-efficient car. You’ve invested in high-efficiency fluorescent light bulbs and opted into every paperless bill available. So isn’t it annoying when an obsolete telephone book is foisted on you every year? Now you can do something about this senseless use of paper. Visit yellowpagesoptout.com and get off the distribution list forever. When you’re there, you can opt out of other mass publications, too.

—Andréa Miller, Contributing Writer

Four Dogs Tavern

This stable-turned-tavern in the historic town of Marshallton, Pa. (just four miles west of West Chester), is a good choice any time of year, but my favorite season to visit is summer. That’s when you can dine al fresco on Four Dog’s sizeable patio, listen to talented local musicians and, yes, bring your dog. Not only are dogs welcome, they are treated like special guests by the staff and many regulars take advantage of the privilege. While the beer list could be expanded, the food is dependable and the atmosphere is tough to beat. Live music is featured on the patio Fridays and Sundays. More info at thefourdogstavern.com

—Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Summer Camp at Ashland Nature Center

My 5-year-old son just finished his third week of camp at Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin and he loved it. Mornings were spent working on crafts and exploring the woods and creek. Each time I picked him up he was wet and dirty—sure signs of a well-spent summer morning. But camp was educational too. Last week we went to the DuPont Environmental Center on the Riverfront. “Look, Oliver! There are two turtles over here,” I said. He responded, “That’s a painted turtle. The other one is a snapping turtle. I learned about them at camp.” The resident naturalist confirmed he was correct. delawarenaturesociety.org.

—Marie Graham Poot, Director of Digital Media & Distribution

Michael Castle Trail

I first discovered this paved cycling and walking trail in early summer, while on a hunt for bicycle-friendly paths with my dad. Our quest ended here, along the C&D Canal, and we’ve returned many times since. Currently just over 10 miles long, the trail begins outside Delaware City and winds along the canal and through picturesque woodland toward Chesapeake City, Md. When finished in December, the trail will be more than 14 miles, with a direct route from one waterfront town to the other. Surrounding the trail is abundant wildlife and scenery; I always spot some sort of bird that I’ve never seen elsewhere, and wildflowers tumble over one another along grassy inclines. The trail is fairly challenging with a few steep hills winding inland, just enough to break up the pleasant flatness that makes up the majority of the ride. For more information on the trail, see pg. 39.

—Krista Connor, Associate Editor

Worth Trying

Suggestions from our staff and contributors

Rhiannon-GiddensRhiannon Giddens

A founding member and lead singer of the Grammy-winning folk, blues and old-time music group Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens is a kind of Swiss Army Knife of musicians: she plays violin, banjo and several other instruments, and the girl can flat foot (that’s country clogging). She recently released her first solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn, but you can hear a sample of those magnificent pipes on YouTube—either the Inside Llewyn Davis Concert (where she received the night’s only standing ovation), or her appearance on Letterman, where she sang “Waterboy.” As Dave said (three times): “Oh, my God!”

—Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor

kona mocha smoothie 4Kona Mocha Frappe

As its name implies, this ice-blended drink at PureBread is a balanced fusion of two delights: coffee and chocolate. Of course, most coffee shops tout similar frappuccino blends, but none that I’ve tried are quite so delicious. It’s thick, well-blended, thoughtfully made, and entirely addicting. The perfect spring and summer treat.

—Krista Connor, Associate Editor

ThinkstockPhotos-176760493Fossils Fuel Our Children’s Learning

Looking for an educational option to keep the kids entertained? Give the Delaware Museum of Natural History a try. We’ve taken advantage of a family membership and have certainly gotten our money’s worth. What the museum lacks in size it makes up for in convenience. It’s close to home and an hour-long visit is perfect for our rambunctious 5-year-old son. And each visit produces a new learning experience. Super cool!
More info at delmnh.org.

—Matt Loeb, Creative Director, Production Manager

Desert-Pepper-Trading-Tequila-Salsa-719212101114Desert Pepper Tequila Salsa

For much of my life, I have searched for the best store-bought salsa. The Desert Pepper Trading Company, out of El Paso, Texas, recently has released a creation that may complete my quest. Its Tequila Salsa features chunks of roasted tomatoes masterfully mixed with smoky flavors of chipotle and mesquite, the zesty tang of lime and cilantro, and, as the label promises, the bite of tequila at the end. It’s got everything required of a salsa—flavor, heat, a hint of sweetness, and salt—plus something more, something memorable.

A family-owned business, Desert Pepper has been making salsas since the ’80s. They have always been innovative, but this one tops them all.

—Jim Miller, Director of Publications

 

Worth Trying

Suggestions from our staff and contributors

decemberistsWhat A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
The Decemberists

Colin Meloy and company have returned to producetheir seventh studio album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, a sonic chill pill featuring plenty of strings, piano and harmonica. Diehard fans of The Decemberists might be a bit disappointed in the lack of a more upbeat tune (a la “16 Military Wives,” “July, July!”), but the 14-track album is simply a slower, slightly dark, and more thought-provoking collection, highlighted by the track “12/17/12,” an homage to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn.

—Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer

147292925Breakfast at the Riverfront Market

If you’ve been to the Riverfront Market for lunch during the work week, you may not be aware that you can stop there for a quick breakfast as well. Check out Old World Cheesesteak Factory’s $3 pre-made egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, with the options of bacon, sausage or ham. If you’re a coffee drinker, walk over to Eeffoc’s Cafe to grab a coffee. Insider tip: You can grab a sandwich, then pay for the coffee and sandwich at Eeffoc’s for added convenience.

—Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer

153555214“111-Feet of Brunchy Goodness”

That’s how Deerfield describes its glorious SundayBrunch—and I can confirm. Choices ranged from traditional breakfast to seafood and dessert, and everything was prepared to perfection. Overwhelmed at first, I quickly grabbed my plate and found my place in line. Our miniature humans were quite pleased as well. This paragraph does not do it justice. Check it out for yourself and make a reservation today: Deerfieldgolfclub.com.

—Matthew Loeb, Creative Director

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetWorkaway.info

Work on a tea farm in Nepal, volunteer in orphanages in Africa, teach surf or yoga lessons in the Caribbean. This web-based organization is founded on a simple idea: connect people from around the world through volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer up to five hours a day, five days a week, and usually lodging and food will be provided free of charge. With Workaway, it’s possible to travel for longer periods of time because you’re not spending all your money on hotels and food.

Last fall I did Workaway in Iceland on a horse and dairy farm and learned the day-to-day life of average farmers by milking cows and exercising horses. And thanks to my host family, I also learned about the hidden, naturally-heated pool at the foot of a glacier, feasted on varieties of homemade lamb from the farm, and discovered that many Icelanders roll their eyes at the mention of Sigur Rós. I experienced the challenges and rewards, pros and cons, that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the time to understand had I been a fluttering tourist.

Visit workaway.info for more information.

—Krista Connor, Associate Editor

Worth Trying

Worth Trying February 2015

Random suggestions from our staff and contributors

462797831Second Saturday Poets

Meeting, as its name implies, the second Saturday of each month, this group offers amateur poets an opportunity to read their creations and receive positive feedback. Open mic readings are limited to five minutes, while one or two featured readers get 20 minutes. The Jackson Inn, on Lancaster Avenue in Wilmington, hosts these gatherings, which begin at 5 p.m. Drop in, sign up for the open mic, or just have an adult beverage and listen. Folks at the bar are generally quiet and respectful of the group. For more info, contact Barbara Gray at grayBEG@comcast.net.
—Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor

RRK_LogoRiver Rock Kitchen

Last month we had a couple of relatives staying at the Westin on the Riverfront, and we decided to meet them there for breakfast before they left town. We had no expectations, but were more than pleasantly surprised. Everything was prepared to perfection and it was the best breakfast dish I’ve had in a long time. We were so pleased that we’ve already returned—and it was equally as great! Oh, and they’re kid-friendly. Check it out.
—Matthew Loeb, Creative Director

457677707Fairfax Hardware

Sure, Lowe’s and Home Depot have just about everything, and the prices are great, but try finding an employee that actually knows the merchandise. That’s why places such as Fairfax Hardware (Fairfax Shopping Center, North Wilmington) will survive. The staff not only knows the inventory, they seem to relish problem-solving. Not sure how to go about a home repair? They’ll tell you what you need and often how to do it. And they have free calendars—usually with money-saving coupons.
—Jerry duPhily, Publisher

HitRecordHitRecord on TV

HitRecord on TV is the debut television series from HitRecord production company, the brainchild of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt, of 50/50 and (500) Days of Summer fame, curates the variety show. HitRecord as a company is “open-source,” meaning any person with a collaborative mind can help produce music, animation or scripts. It’s a mashup of music videos, short stories, live performances, and much more. You not only get to view the short productions, but you’re allowed an inside glimpse at the creative process. HitRecord has won an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. The show is a great reminder of the Internet’s ability to help people connect, collaborate, and create. Episode One is free to view on YouTube, and the complete first season is on Amazon Instant Video.

—Ryan Alexander, Catalyst Visuals, LLC

Worth Trying

Welcome to our fourth annual Worth Trying Issue. Though we feature Worth Trying suggestions monthly, each January we devote much of the magazine to personal recommendations from staff, contributors and friends of Out & About. These suggestions on where and what to eat, drink, see and do are scattered throughout these pages, interspersed with our usual assortment of feature stories, news items and other fun stuff.

Enjoy, and have a very happy New Year!

DCCA Art Lounge
This funky new pop-up lounge at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts began in September and melds two of my favorite items: smart cocktails and affordable artwork. The Art Lounge features rotating art exhibitions and trunk shows, as well as plenty of lively conversation and a cash bar in a casual, arty setting. Second Wednesday of every month, 5-7 p.m. What better way to start your evening?

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

Have Trail, Will Travel
Over the past two years Delaware has spent more than $10 million improving the state’s network of hiking and biking trails. From this perspective, it’s money well spent. A crown 494938311jewel in this collection of pathways is the Gordon’s Pond Trail, a 2.65-mile route connecting Cape Henlopen State Park with Rehoboth Beach. It offers fantastic views of the salt marsh and beach and provides bird watchers with plenty of scenic perches. Even better, courtesy of the Friends of Cape Henlopen Bike Barn, you can use a bike for free to check out this fantastic trail.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Fitbit Flex
Over a year ago, I bought a Fitbit Flex, and I’ve recommended it highly to others. It tracks the number of steps you take, how many calories you’ve burned, when your most active times of the day have been, and your sleep patterns—among other features. You set the number of steps you want to do in a day and it takes it from there. It syncs to your laptop, fitbit_flexPC or cell phone. You can wear it in the shower! It’s really cool to check your sleep patterns and see how often you wake up in the night. There are a number of different colored bands for $13 each on their website so you don’t have to wear the black one it comes with all the time, unless, of course, you want to. You’ll find that you become very aware of your movement (or lack thereof), and step it up a notch at the end of the day if you’re falling behind. Should I become a spokesperson?

— Bev Zimmerman, O&A Special Projects

Golf (at 40 degrees F. or warmer)
‘Tis the season for cabin fever, and at this time of year my mind and body attempt to hibernate. As a lover of the outdoors, I do my best to get out of the house even as the 479337191temperature drops. If it’s 40 degrees or higher, I’ll still be forcing in rounds of (regular) golf. If I’m pressed for time, I like to sneak in a round of disc golf. Both allow me to clear my mind, get some fresh air and press the “reset” button.

— Matt Loeb, O&A Creative Director

Events at Ernest & Scott Taproom
I’ve attended many events at Ernest & Scott. Some I helped plan. With this experience from both sides of the velvet ropes, I can list several reasons why this Wilmington bar and restaurant makes for an excellent event location. First, there is plenty of space, most of which can be sectioned off if need be. Second, there’s a large bar area—including a est_taproomsignificant craft beer selection—which is great for more casual events. Third, the food just keeps getting better. Fourth, the staff is professional, friendly and fun (appropriately). And, last but not least, it’s just a block from both the HyPark Garage as well as the Hotel du Pont, a place where all Delaware residents should spend the night at least once in their lives.

— Jim Miller, O&A Director of Publications

Ticket To Ride Board Game
Whenever my fiancée and I stay at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Maryland, they always break out the board games. This one is a cross-country train adventure that has players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities ticket_to_ridethroughout North America. The longer the route, the more points you earn and the more people you have to play (up to five), thus making it harder to claim routes and earn points. I recommend buying the actual board game, but you can also get the game app on your phone.

— Tyler Mitchell, O&A Graphic Designer

99% Invisible99invisible
What will you use to fill the podcast-sized void in your life that “Serial” has left behind? May I suggest “99% Invisible,” the weekly podcast by Roman Mars that is my favorite thing to listen to every week. It’s about “design,” which allows it to cast a very wide net. Required listening: Episode 124: “Longbox” (the true story of the packaging of R.E.M.’s “Out of Time”); Episode 115: “Cow Tunnels” (the search for abandoned cow tunnels beneath New York City); Episode 113: “Monumental Dilemma” (the debate over statues that commemorate history that people no longer want to commemorate); Episode 105: “One Man Is An Island” (a trip to Busta Rhymes Island in Shrewsbury, Mass.), and Episode 103: “U.T.B.A.P.H.” (a tribute to buildings that clearly Used To Be A Pizza Hut).

— Matt Sullivan, Contributing Writer

Blood Bank of Delmarva
Looking for ways to do better or give back in the New Year? Look no further than the Blood Bank of Delmarva. By donating blood you are directly helping someone in the community. Blood is needed every day. You can make a difference in saving someone’s life—donors saved mine! Make appointments online or by calling 737-8405. “Be someone’s hero. Give blood.”

— Kelly Loeb, Catalyst Visuals

Stratosphere Trampoline Parktrampoline_park
My family loves going to this Wilmington park when we’re in need of an affordable, indoor activity. Bouncing, flipping and flying around on giant trampolines is terrific fun for kids (and is incredibly effective at wearing them out), but even adults can get in on the fun, especially inside the high-octane dodgeball arena.

— Matt Amis, Contributing Writer

Fair Hill Nature Center
The old hunting grounds of the late William du Pont, Jr., on Maryland Rt. 273 near Fair Hill Race Track, just outside Newark, cover approximately 5,700 acres and offer miles of 470984257hiking and biking trails. As a lifelong resident of Cecil County, I’m thrilled to have this area in my backyard. Bordering this preserve is Fair Hill Training Facility, the most innovative thoroughbred training facility in Maryland, if not the United States. Bring a lunch and enjoy the woods, streams and wildlife.

— John Murray, Contributing Writer and Proprietor, State Line Liquors

Nicole Royer Guitar String BraceletsNR Accessories
Local artist Nicole Royer keeps you in tune to the latest fashion with her guitar string bracelets. Created from actual used guitar pieces, each one is unique. (I have one made from a bass guitar string that I like to pretend came from Geddy Lee’s.) You can find her around town at art loops and local craft and art fairs, or see all of her creations at nicoleroyer.com.

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

Veep
The HBO series with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer is set to return this spring. Don’t miss it. This is a showcase for some of the best comedic writing and acting (Louis-Dreyfus has won an Emmy three years running) of all time. The insecure and veepoften inept Selina surrounds herself with a staff that matches her, gaffe for gaffe and laugh for laugh. Her personal life, with a grown and often recalcitrant daughter and an ex-husband whom she is still attracted to, is equally challenging. This year she is running for POTUS (and if you don’t know that acronym, you’re not a fan of the show), so the complications, and laughs, should multiply accordingly.

— Bob Yearick, O&A Contributing Editor179227987

Theater at Cab Calloway
I took my 4-year-old son, Oliver, to see Cab Calloway’s performance of “Peter Pan” a few weeks ago. It was his first play, and my first time at Cab. We had a fantastic time! The theater itself is beautiful, and the cast/crew put on an unforgettable show. If you’re hoping to spark your child’s enthusiasm for theater, I’d highly recommend starting there.

— Marie Poot, Director of Digital Media

David Norbut, Photographer
My husband and I had a tintype portrait done for my anniversary this year and it is now david_norbutone our favorite pieces of artwork. You sit with Dave—very, very still—while he takes your photo the old fashioned way, then you get to hang with him and watch it develop. For more information, go to www.dnorphoto.com.

— Danielle Quigley, Contributing Photographer

How Do You Brew? Home Brewing Shop
After taking up the hobby of home brewing this past year, I how_do_you_brewimmediately found this place to be a godsend when I needed any supplies. Located at the Shoppes at Louviers in Newark, it’s a small shop, but it has everything any home brewer may need. It also hosts beginner classes occasionally.

— Tyler Mitchell, O&A Graphic Designer

The Wonder Years
I really only watch TV right before bed, and I prefer something light-hearted. My husband and I started watching old episodes of The Wonders Years on Netflix a couple of weeks wonder_yearsago. It’s been a while, but I still remember every episode. It was such a great show, and although it focuses on a different era than when I grew up, it’s a reminder of what an emotional rollercoaster adolescence really was.

— Marie Poot, Director of Digital Media

The Thrillers of Alistair MacLean
Although alistair_macleanAlistair MacLean’s name no longer carries the weight it did 40 years ago, his stories still pack a punch. Whether aboard a nuclear submarine maneuvering under the Arctic ice packs or infiltrating a Nazi-occupied castle in the Bavarian Alps, MacLean’s protagonists act with brisk exactitude, dodging pitfalls, outsmarting saboteurs, and eventually tackling what seems like the most impossible of tasks. Often, after a number of plot twists, the author seems to lead the reader right off a cliff with a turn you just don’t anticipate.

MacLean classics such as Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone and Ice Station Zebra are available at Ninth Street Books in Wilmington.

— Jim Miller, O&A Director of Publications

Look for more Worth Trying suggestions throughout this issue!

Worth Trying – December 2014

Worth Trying February 2015

Suggestions from our staff and contributors

skyrSkyr

I recently returned from a trip to Iceland, and while there I got hooked on the Icelandic version of yogurt: a skim milk, high-protein, cultured dairy product called Skyr. Before bidding adieu to the Middle-earthen landscapes and sweeping fjords, I was assured by some Icelandic friends that it’s available at select Whole Foods markets in the United States—including this area. Embrace your inner Viking and stop by the Glen Mills, Pa., store for some healthy deliciousness. Siggi’s, an Icelandic-style skyr made in the USA by Iceland native Siggi Hilmarsson, is also available and tastes even better.
—Krista Connor, contributing writer

Workflowy

Forget the awful name, this program/ app/ life-organizing tool is straightforward and essential. There are plenty of these kinds of apps out there (Evernote is another good one), but where Workflowy shines is in its simplicity, speed and logic. Use it as a reference, workflowy_icon_rounded_corners_512x512to-do list, a shared document or a personal (and private) search engine. Or use it like I do, as extra storage for your brain. Check out workflowy.com.

—Joe del Tufo, contributing photographer

Ubon Thai Cuisine

From the same cooking family that runs Jeenwong’s in the Riverfront Market comes this elegant upscale restaurant in the former Shipyard Shops, next to the Christina River walkway. It’s my favorite among the few Thai restaurants in the area. Start your meal with 150509137a familiar Thai appetizer such as satay (grilled meat on a skewer with spicy peanut sauce) or spring rolls. Or try something more unusual, such as dancing shrimp or Penang meatballs. Then on to either a distinctive stir fried or curry entree, which balance the flavor and heat well. There’s a well-stocked bar with several rotating microbrews. On Wednesday nights, Ubon features live music. 936 Justison St., (next to Timothy’s) 656-1706.

-Mark Fields, contributing movie reviewer

The Fletch Book Series

In 1985’s Fletch, Chevy Chase brought his brand of wise-aleck humor to the film’s title character, Irwin Maurice Fletcher, a witty investigative reporter who utilizes impromptu aliases and goofy disguises for his undercover research. But years before Chase’s Fletch was passing himself off as Ted Nugent, Arnold Babar, and John Cocktosen on the big screen, author Gregory McDonald had completed seven books in the Fletch series and earned a reputation as a crafty mystery writer. In fact, his first two, Fletch and Confess, Fletch, won back-to-back Edgar Allen Poe Awards from the Mystery Writers of America.51SEe6smkoL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
McDonald proves throughout the series that he possesses the quick pace for comedy, yet the sense to allow each mystery unfold slowly. There is a similar dichotomy in his title character: Fletch is a clever detective who tells small fibs to get to a larger truth. The books are relatively quick reads, with the witty dialogue driving the action. At times, however, the experience strikes a stark note: You never really know what Fletch is thinking, let alone feeling, which is perhaps another reason Chase was a good pick for the part. Fletch himself is somewhat of a mystery.

Look for Fletch at Ninth Street Books, Market Street, Wilmington.

—Jim Miller, director of publications

Worth Trying – October 2014

Random suggestions from our staff and contributors

choco mouseHand over the Chocolate Mousse Cup and no one gets hurt

If you’ve ever found yourself on a frenzied quest for a sophisticated yet affordable chocolate treat that degenerated into a rampage through a grocery store candy aisle and ended in tearful disappointment, admit it now: you’re an addict. Now wipe your tears, because help is here. The chefs at Toscana to Go in Trolley Square can rescue you from despair with their perfectly-proportioned Chocolate Mousse Cup for $3. A chocolate shell cradles a satiating serving of mousse that is light, not sickeningly sweet, and topped with soft brownie bits. There’s also a Peanut Butter Mousse Cup in a chocolate shell for the same price.

Happiness is a good dessert.

—Andréa Miller, Contributing Writer

GoApeZipping over Lums Pond

Go Ape Zip Line at Lums Pond offers a thrilling ride over a lake, ledges and trees. It’s a great place to bring adventurous kids, and for getting in touch with your inner Tarzan.
For more information, visit goape.com.

—Alex del Tufo, Intern

wildwichWildwich

A new food truck with gourmet offerings, Wildwich features handmade, fresh and reasonably-priced sandwiches, like the Wingman, Acadian, Sam-I-Am and K.C.Q.: buffalo chicken salad, shrimp remoulade, pesto egg salad and hickory pulled pork, respectively. Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Fridays in the afternoon, the truck skips around downtown Wilmington, so for times and locations visit www.facebook.com/Wildwich. Also, the K.C.Q. is glorious.

—Krista Connor, Contributing Writer

UFO0512UFO White

After a friend recommended UFO while I was at Oddity Bar in Wilmington, I ordered a 12-ounce can. The bartenders at Oddity offer a glass and an orange slice garnish, but that’s unnecessary. Straight from the can, UFO brings a strong citrus taste. If you’re a fan of Summer Shandy or Blue Moon, this beer is right up your alley.

—Ryan Alexander, Contributing Designer