Girls Just Wanna Have...Lunch!Oh, what fun it was to ride through Lancaster County! The weather was perfect: the sun was bright with just the right amount of breeze making for a pleasant journey through Amish country.

I took my assistant and daughter extraordinaire, Brie, out on the road to see if we could find some foodie hot spots that weren’t all about Amish food — not that we don’t like Amish food — as you can see by the photos we could not resist homemade root beer, mini whoopee pies, and zucchini bread.

With so much to see and do in Lancaster, staying overnight allows for a leisurely exploration of the area. I recommend a boutique hotel near Franklin & Marshall University called Lancaster Arts Hotel. It is posh, clean, and houses one of the area’s best restaurants, John J. Jeffries.

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies

John J. Jeffries specializes in local organic produce and meats. The staff is very friendly and welcoming and will do anything to accommodate your every culinary wish. We decided to eat outside in the courtyard. Our dining experience was enhanced by a beautiful space filled with flowers and soothing sounds of a waterfall.

Our culinary adventure began with an amuse-bouche (a French term which means little bite or bite sized hors d’euvre) — Red Quinoa salad and diced cucumber served with mini sweet carrot muffins. Sorry, no pictures; we inhaled them before we could think about the camera.

Seared scallop and crispy pork belly

Seared scallop and crispy pork belly

Our next course was tomato zucchini bisque with a dollop of fresh chevre cheese. The soup was velvety smooth and the mild tartness from the cheese made it heavenly. We also tried the surf and turf combo of seared scallop and crispy pork belly which sat atop a crunchy fried green tomato, creating a great combination of flavors. The scallop was fresh and tasted just a hint of the ocean, and the pork belly, what I can say about pork belly…it’s to die for…bacon! It was the first time I had ever tried a fried green tomato. It was somewhat what I had imagined; coated with Southern style cornmeal breadcrumbs and flash fried.

Pulled pork gordita

Pulled pork gordita

We should have probably stopped eating at that point, since their portions were healthy and satisfying, but, the food was too good, and we wanted more. So we ordered pulled pork gordita on top of a Johnny cake with a chimichurri sauce — nice and piquant! The other entrée was braised beef on top of mashed potatoes with a ragout of fresh veggies, which tasted just like my mother’s. We took home almost half of our entrees, which made great midnight snacks, along with the mini whoopee pies from earlier in the day!

Braised short rib

Braised short rib

Stay tuned as we take our adventures on the road this summer and let you know where to eat! Remember: if there is a “fork” in the road…take it!