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Lancaster: Plain and Fancy Farm Feast and Amish Experience

Part of our itinerary is to make a stop at the an Amish area on the way to Philadelphia. Ever since I watched the movie Witness, the one that Harrison Ford starred in, I was quite amazed with the Amish way of life. It just so happen that somewhere in between Washington DC and Philadelphia lies the largest Amish community in North America. That place is called Lancaster and this is the place where the movie Witness was shot.

Our stop is primarily at a famous farm called the Plain and Fancy Farm. There is another farm called “Good and Plenty” but we choose this one. This place is located somewhere between two little towns called … believe it or not … Intercourse and Bird-In-Hand. Weird name for towns, I know. Can anyone guess why the town is called Intercourse? No dirty ideas please!

There are two things we wanted to do here … have a good old Amish feast and take a tour of the area and learn more about the Amish way of life.

The Plain and Fancy Farm is a small complex of everything Amish. Besides the restaurant, this is where you can book a bus tour which brings you to various areas in the nearby Amish community. One thing I learned here … despite the simple lifestyle, there are a lot of Amish millionaires here! So, don’t think that these people are simpletons.

We opted for their Rolls Royce meal … the all you can eat Family Feast.

If there is anything that the Amish does extremely well, it is their food. Not only are they very very good, they sure serve lots and lots of it. We got seated on a long table which we thought was a bit odd since there were only the two of us. The table setting is unique where they have a little bench thingy right in the middle. You know what it is for? Well, they serve so much food on the table that this is their way to stack the plate high.

Service was exceptional and so downright genuine. I already like the Amish because they were so polite and so patient with us with our questions.

The drinks we ordered was just lemonade and sweetened ice tea.

The feast was delivered in three separate courses … the appetizer, the entree and dessert. Make sure that when you start off with the appetizer that this is just the appetizer … the main meal is yet to come!

First appetizer was the iced raisin bread. We love the icing and the freshness of the bread.

Then there is the rolls with apple butter. We just discovered apple butter the day prior. The bread smell like its just been taken out of the oven. Warm to the touch, this is perfect. For me, this itself could make a meal.

Ever heard of chow-chow? No, not the dog. Called chow-chow, the above is a common relish in this part if the world and is made of a few vegetables. I love cauliflower but Suanne rarely makes it at home as she claims that it has no nutritional value.

Oh … here is a childhood joke about cauliflower I still remember from my teen days. It goes like this … Boy to girl … “Hey, you look very good”. Girl, blushing, asked “Oh really? Why did you say so?”. Boy replied, “It is because you are pretty … pretty like a flower”. Girl shyly asked, “Really? What type of flower?”. Boy answered … “cauliflower!”.

Was that funny or lame? LOL!

There is this thing above … am not sure what this is called. It’s cabbage with mayo … very much like coleslaw. Nice, we like it.

After this we loosened our belts one notch to tackle the entree.

Their fried chicken was awesome. The skin is crispy and the meat inside moist. Simply one of the best fried chicken we ever had.

The chicken pot pie is nothing short of amazing. I never quite cared for anything named pie but this one was like wow. It resembles nothing like a pie though.

The roast beef was almost perfect. Being a meat eater, I had two servings of the above.

At this point, I was just wondering if there will ever be just one dish that is just OK. Nope … the mash potato is not just OK, it was more than OK.

The sausage is large. It looked mean for sure but for some reason, we are not a huge fan of sausages.

The steamed baby carrots were tender and soft with a hint of sweetness. Nice.

I believe this is called the grind corn. Never tried it before but I love this. I bet this is easy to make at home … I started to suggest to Suanne to research this on the net … she gave me the evil stare … I immediately looked down on my food like I had never suggested it at all.

The bow tie pasta was darn simple — just butter and pasta. Now, that would have been easy to make at home too but I better shut up and eat. This reminded me that nice food need not be complicated.

And finally came the dessert. This is when we loosen another notch in our belts.

The famous Shoofly Pie … it made of molasses, brown sugar and cinnamon. Know why this is called Shoofly? Oh … whipped cream … this is not the real deal if you don’t have lots of it.

And the other dessert is the Apple Sour Cream with Caramel. My life would be complete if I have this at home everyday … but then to think of it, my life would end the instant I dare to express this to you-know-who. LOL!

Last but not least … homemade ice cream. That’s it and thank goodness. If there are more food, we would need to remove our belts because there are no more notches to loosen.

Damage was about $40 buck. We left happy and for a fleeting moment, I wished I am an Amish. Where do I sign up?

And now … ladies and gentlemen … Ben goes into his tirade of his travel series again … BUT … BUT … he is doing it hidden in the next page. If you care to read of it, click on read more below.

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Lancaster: Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie

We had a side trip to Lancaster before we spend a few days in Philadelphia. We wanted to experience and see for ourselves the Amish way of life. One of recommendations from chowtimes readers for Lancaster is the Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie.

Well, we assumed and thought wrongly that this is an Amish eatery since it is in Lancaster. It is actually a small outlet which is famous for their crepes. It is a delightful little place which we enjoyed. The people here are so friendly … and so friendly that even the people on the neighboring table asked us where we were from and gave us a few tips about Lancaster.

Rachel’s is a very Frenchy place. They have French and Parisian posters on their walls. We ordered smoothies which were called the Louvre and Parisian. Each large one costs $4.25.

The Parisian is made of mango juice, strawberries, peaches and orange sherbet while the Louvre consists of cranberry juice, strawberries, blueberries, non-fat frozen yogurt, and raspberry sherbet. They were great.

Rachel’s is famous of their soft and sweet crepes which were served hot and on a metal plate.

Since we are heading to Philadelphia shortly, I ordered the Philly Cheese Crepe. The crepe is infused with scallion and have the ingredients of a Philly Cheesesteak … steak, American cheese, mushrooms and red onions.

Suanne had the Barn Stormer. It had chicken, turkey, grilled onion, peppers and cheese. It was a light meal and was meant to be a dinner.

Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie was an excellent recommendation from Ang.

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