A Day in New Hope, PA

A couple of week ago Tracey and I decided to take a day trip up to New Hope PA.  We both love spending the day in New Hope.  It has a nice collection of artisan shops, specialty food shops and of course Triumph Brewery.  We’ve taken several day trips to New Hope and also did an over night a few years back so we could have dinner at Marsha Browns, a local restaurant converted from an old church that specializes in steaks and creole cuisine.

This time upon arriving we went directly for the cluster of shops where Triumph is located and sat for a leisurely lunch.  If you ever get the chance, I encourage you stop by as this is a very nice looking facility.  You can even bring a friend!  Triumph New Hope’s outside patio is dog friendly.

And of course, the beers are really good as well.  That day they had a cream ale on tap that was probably one of the best ones I’ve ever tasted, and the scotch ale was also really good.  We thought about stopping back at the end of the day to pick up a growler, but sadly the cream ale was on nitro, so it’s wasn’t available in a growler.

A row of sculpture looking taps at Triumph
The board  that day at Triumph Brewery
Lunch at Triumph

Once we had a nice lunch we decide to walk through town and hit some of the diverse shops, as well enjoy some of the other aspects of the town.

Tracey tries some infused olive oil at the “Olive-n-Grape” (note how she instinctively goes for the hot stuff)
Oils for sale at “The Witch Shop”
The waterfall at the Playhouse.

Of course, a day in New Hope  wouldn’t be complete for us without stopping at John and Pete’s for an order (or two) of their maple chipotle wings.  For the back story on these babies, check out my blog post on my attempt to duplicate them.

Maple chipotle wings at John and Pete’s

After dinner we decided to relax a bit so we found a little spot down by the river and Tracey made sure the local wild life was taken care of.

Tracey taking time to make sure the ducks have been well fed.

Random factoid – the river you’re looking at is the Delaware River, famous of the George Washington crossing.  In fact, Washington made his historic crossing just a few miles down the road from New Hope.  Growing up I was always in awe of the story of the Delaware crossing because I lived in Pennsville NJ, just south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  At that point the river is about 1.5 miles across, and when I was young that was the river I imagined Washington crossing on that cold Christmas night.  As you can see from the above photo, the reality of the distance is a little different.  There’s actually a bridge that you can walk across to get to Lambertville, NJ located on the other side of the river.

One of our final stops is always Suzie Hot Sauce, a shop that specializes in, well I think you can guess.  We always loved this store as it was stuffed full of hot and BBQ sauces from all over the world.  But sadly, it’s under new ownership.  The man in the store that day (I believe he’s the new owner) said that he was in the middle of switching suppliers, which is why the shelves were so bare, and that he’d be fully stocked again soon.  But it wasn’t that the shelves were empty, it was that there weren’t as many of them as there used to be.  It really looked like they were currently running with 1/3 of the stock they used to.  After a few minutes of trying to look interested, we left empty handed (a first!).


If you ever get the chance, I encourage you to stop by New Hope PA, and it’s sister city Lambertville, NJ.  It’s a fun little place full of good food, neat shops, and great beer.  And the most fun thing about New Hope is…

You never know what you’re going to see.

The Food Side : Smoked, Chipotle and Maple Chicken Wings

Maple Chipotle Chicken Wings

One  place Tracey and I love to go to for the day or an over night is New Hope Pa.  This town, on the banks of the Delaware River, is a unique collection of old time history and up scale chic.  The main street is lined with small eateries and artisan shops which draw a diverse crowd from high profile shoppers to bikers on any given day.  The town also claims home to Marsha Brown’s Creole Kitchen and Lounge (an amazing restaurant built in a converted church) as well as one of the Triumph brewery locations.  And I would never think of leaving New Hope without first stopping into Susie’s Hot Sauce, one of the best hot sauce stores I’ve ever set foot in.

And as if that wasn’t enough another interesting town, Lamberville NJ, is just a short walk via bridge across the Delaware River.  For you people reading this that live in my area, I know that sounds strange considering our bridge to get over the Delaware is close to 2 miles long!  And for you history lovers Washington Crossing Park, from where Washington made his Christmas night crossing in 1776 is right down the road.

One of the things I love about places like New Hope is that you never know what you might stumble across.  One night while we were walking down the street we passed John & Peter’s, a place that is as unique as it’s blue, yellow and red paint job.  John & Peter’s is billed as the oldest continuously owned music club in the US.  And with live acts 365 days a year, twice on Saturday and Sunday, it’s hard to argue that they are a (if not thee) driving force in the local music scene.

But it wasn’t the music that brought us in that night, it was an item on the menu – deep fried double stuffed mint Oreo’s.  Now I know what you’re thinking, when is this article getting to the wings!  Well, as these discoveries usually go it’s sometimes not about the item that brings you into the restaurant, it’s what you discover while you’re looking at the menu.  And what we discovered was Maple Chipotle chicken wings.

When we saw them on the John & Peter’s menu we quickly decided that people do not live on deep fried Oreo’s alone so we placed an order.  And they were awesome!  The balance of the sweet maple and smokey chipotle was fantastic and so appetizing that we actually debated on passing on the Oreo’s for another order of wings (we didn’t).  So as a person who likes to fancy himself a wing guy, I knew sooner or later I’d have to give these a try.

Ok, first if you’ve gotten this far (thank you) I have to state that if you’re looking for some well spelled out recipe – you won’t find it here.  I’m kinda a “cook by zen” guy.  So I’m going to lay out the basics, and leave you the ability to tweak it to your preferences and tastes – which to me, is the very essence of what cooking is about.

I started by smoking the wings for two  hours with hickory wood.  I thought the smoke from the wood would help support the smoke from the chipotle and give a little flavor to the wing, not just the sauce.  This isn’t a necessary step in my mind, to be honest it was a beautiful  summer Sunday morning and I wanted to light my smoker.  What IS important is that you don’t cook them all the way through in the smoker. You’re just trying to give the meat a hint of smokiness.

Next I hit them with a touch of my dry rub (recipe and info here) and finished them off in a 400 degree oven.  GASP!  I hear you yell!  Yes, I bake my wings.  I find that by baking them in a very hot oven, they turn out crisp, plump and juicy.  Plus, I have an oven handy in my house, not a deep frier.  This shouldn’t take long, maybe 30 minutes.  If in doubt, pull out a wing and check for doneness.

As for the sauce, well that’s easy.  Start with whatever maple syrup you have on hand and I would dare say, the better the syrup the better the sauce.  Next I cut it with a little liquid to get the consistency I want.   I want the sauce to cling to the wings, but not be thick and gloppy.  To cut mine I used champagne, hey it was a Sunday morning so there was a bottle open, but you could use anything you’d like.  And don’t be afraid to use this step to add some flavor and take the recipe in a different direction (PSSSST orange juice).

The Software - As Alton Brown would say

For the chipotle part I used two different ingredients.  First I used the chipotle peppers packing in adobo sauce that you can buy in a can.  I used three or four peppers (make sure you get as much of that good sauce as you can) and chopped them up and added them to the syrup.  The rest I placed in a zip lock freezer bag and popped them in the freezer so I’ll have them for future use.  To give it a touch more spice I added a couple of pinches of McCormick’s chipotle pepper spice.

Now this is where the zen comes in, give it a taste and adjust to your liking.  I like to start with as much syrup as I’ll think I need for the amount of sauce I want and then add the chipotle peppers a little at a time till I get the balance I want between the sweet and the spice.  Then a quick whirl in the blender (taste again to make sure it’s still where you want it), place the sauce and finished wings in a big  bowl and toss to coat.  Serve with  your favorite beer or glass of wine.

I thought these turned out great.  Sadly it’s been a while since I’ve been to John and Pete’s so I can’t be sure how they compare, but I do know that if I had gotten these that night I’d have been tempted to order a second helping as well.  So give them a try and if you come up with any variations that you love, let me know!

Time for another beer…oops, sorry…order of wings.

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