Could The Alfa Romeo Giulia Be Heading For The States

Naturally, traditional Alfa Romeo design cues have not been forgotten, as demonstrated by the simple, natural lines of the Giulia, the perfectly-honed surface treatment and the legendary trefoil nose, one of the most recognisable style elements in the automotive world.

Inside, the design is just as crisp and fuss-free and, crucially, centred around the driver, with the main controls grouped together on the small steering wheel in a similar fashion to a Formula 1 car, while the human-machine interface consists of two simple, user-friendly knobs for adjusting the Alfa DNA selector and the infotainment system. Premium materials, including carbon fibre and real wood, are chosen for their visual and tactile pleasantness and assembled in such a way to make the human touch visible.

alfa romeo forum

Under the bonnet, a range of state-of-the-art engines power the new Giulia with a bespoke unit created for the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio version.  Tuned by engineers from a Ferrari background, the flagship V6 turbo petrol powerplant delivers an impressive 510hp, propelling the Giulia Quadrifoglio from 0 to 62mph in just 3.9 seconds, while also offering surprising fuel efficiency thanks to electronically-controlled cylinder deactivation system. As with all next-generation petrol and diesel engines, this six-cylinder unit is made entirely of lightweight aluminium and will, of course, deliver that distinctive Alfa Romeo sound to complement the performance.

In terms of the suspension, a sophisticated “Alfalink” multilink solution has been chosen for the rear axle, while the front suspension employs a new, double-wishbone set up. Developed exclusively by Alfa Romeo, a new semi-virtual steering axis optimises the filtering effect and guarantees rapid, accurate steering by keeping a constant caster trail in corners. In combination with electronically-controlled adaptive dampers, the always-perfect footprint allows the Giulia to tackle high lateral forces while still ensuring the steering feels direct, natural and instinctive even at very high speeds.

HOW I MET PAULINE

There were but a few positives that came from working in the city of Reading. I never had to worry about what to do with all of my spare change, because someone was always willing to take it. I never had to ask myself, “How will I ever finish this pack of cigarettes?”, because someone was always willing to help me the minute after I bought them. I never had to feel bad about not talking to people, because they were all talking to themselves. The only thing I had to worry about was where I was going to have lunch because let’s face it, who packs a lunch after fifth grade? That’s how I met Pauline.

After Subway got old, and snubbed my rewards card, and pizza started getting lazy, I felt that it was time to move on. I was going back to the same old things because they were so comfortable. Chicken parm sandwiches, Chinese food, microwave dinners, and canned soups all had their run. Some days it seemed like a commercial where the voice-over guy came through the intercom and said, “Are you tired of the same old boring lunches?” as plates of food were dropped onto the table one dull frame after the next.

It was then I decided to stop into Pauline’s Soups and More. It was really a matter of getting there before they closed at 2:30. I had a strange schedule that was stuck somewhere between first and second shift, so I often didn’t get “lunch” until around 4 or 5. But when I was able to make it, I was hooked. Simple as that.

The location is right in the heart of the city, on the corner of 5th and Penn., but it’s almost tucked away. When you walk in, cozy is the only word to describe it. There are a few small tables, a counter with some stools, and the kitchen right in plain sight where you can interact with Matt and A.J. as they cook away.

The food is always delicious, and I haven’t been disappointed once. I have to admit, I order boring food. I order the things I would cook for myself if I was at home. But it’s so easy to mess those simple things up, and it doesn’t happen at Pauline’s. I never have to worry about going alone either, because the entire staff is engaged and creates a social environment.

Even though I’ve moved on and I no longer have the pleasure of working in the city, I still make sure to check in every once in a while even if it is out of my way. Make sure to keep an eye out when you go to see your Reading Fightin’ Phils as well. Pauline’s has some prime real estate within the walls of First Energy Stadium where you can get hooked without venturing into the city.

Many things in life can get monotonous and impersonal. Spending time and money on food shouldn’t be one of them. After being in the service industry for as long as I have, I’ve learned that many of the things that keep people coming back have more to do with the experience than anything. Pauline’s Soups and More is that, with delicious, home-cooked food as well.

Don’t wait. Make sure to stop in today. Also, make sure you like their Facebook page so you can be in the know with all of the daily specials.

https://www.facebook.com/paulinessoups

Open Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 2:30 PM

GETTIN’ FANCY AT STOKESAY CASTLE

Prom.

2002.

Junior year.

That was the last time I ventured up to Stokesay Castle. Before that, maybe when I was 7 or 8 years old. Meanwhile, the castle was busy evolving without me. It grew, became hipper, became somewhere that folks could get a little fancy and get away. That’s exactly what we did. Got fancy.

But the night couldn’t start without something absolutely ridiculous happening. As I pulled up, I didn’t quite recognize or remember the whole scene so I chalked it up to not being here in a while. The sound of bagpipes coming from the side door floated through the mountain air, and the smell of beer filled my nostrils. I stood in line at the door waiting to join the rest of my reservation and thought how small it was compared to what I remember. Certainly not worthy of being called a “castle”.

Then it all made sense. I had led us to the Reading Liederkranz. With my tail between my legs I got back into the car and drove further down the hill until I reached Mt. Penn. This didn’t seem right either. I turned around and went back up the hill, made the same turn at the Stokesay Castle sign confused and frustrated. Then I realized I had to stay left and go down the hill to reach the Castle.

Let me make this very clear, this was my fault and my fault alone. The fine folks at Stokesay had nothing to do with the Polish blood coursing through my veins. The blood that makes me do dumb things when I have the best intentions. It is my gift and my curse.

However, once there I made my way into the Knights’ Pub to have some adult beverages I surely needed by that point. The Knights’ Pub is the not so formal dining area that was recently constructed to freshen up the place and appeal to a younger crowd. It does a great job of that. The bar is the centerpiece of the room with ample seating for a few dozen people. It’s surrounded by large, open windows creating a panoramic view of the perfectly manicured grounds. Outside there’s a fire pit that is best enjoyed at the conclusion of a wonderful meal that I now share with you.

We moved into the Lord’s Dining Room, actually into the library area. It was our own private dining space — I said we were fancy, I meant it. We were greeted by our waiter who explained the menu and took our drink orders. The menu itself is fairly small and straightforward. There’s a salad/soup course to choose from. My choice was a winter salad because it wasn’t quite spring yet. I did NOT want to be the one at the table to eat out of season. A few of my favorite things, spinach, arugula, candied pecans, and craisins, were complimented by a maple balsamic dressing.

The second course, which I admittedly didn’t partake in, was highlighted by a lobster sausage. It was served with a “truffle scented polenta” and Newburgh sauce. It was hit among the rest of the table.

For my main course I fought the urge to try the roasted duck, and went with the New York Strip steak with Buerre de Montpellier, caramelized butternut squash, and roasted fingerling potatoes. It was perfect. Hot, a little char to give it texture, and seasoned perfectly.

Dessert was a snifter of Sambuca, alongside a vanilla bean creme brulee. The perfect ending to such an elegant meal.

Pricey? Sure. Worth it? Definitely, and here’s why.

Dayton walnut bread and red pepper butter (not together).

Polenta with a balsamic reduction.

Mango, cupcake, and caramel truffles.

Cherry champagne sorbet.

These were a few items that were served between courses. They enhanced our experience and added some surprises to our night.

If all of that isn’t enough to make you break out the sport coat and fancy heals, then I do believe that it’s time to find another blog to read! The experience was definitely one that was memorable and worth it. It would be a great date night, and leave you and your friends talking.

Especially if you get a chance to take the official tour and come across some of the spirits who still reside off Spook Lane in Stokesay Castle.

NO ONE CAN HAVE JUST A “TASTE” OF THESE CREPES

Sometimes I have trouble believing that people haven’t eaten at some of the places that I’ve eaten at. They claim to love food. They claim to love breakfast. They claim to be adventurous. But they’ve never had a crepe?

Ridiculous.

Crepes are the perfect vessel to deliver all sorts of ingredients into my mouth. Sweet. Savory. Breakfast. Lunch. Spicy. Light. Taste of Crepes delivers on every level, although I have to say I’m partial to the breakfast variety.

Whether you want eat inside and watch the crepe masters at work perfecting their craft, or you want to sit along Penn Ave. and be a part of a lively Saturday afternoon, the food is the star and will leave you coming back for more.

A crepe is simply a thin pancake made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour, both of which are served at Taste of Crepes and both of which are absolutely delicious.

My favorite crepe is also one that I hesitated to try. I was feeling a little adventurous and intrigued by the prospect of having a pancake and an omelet all in one. The Monte Cristo delivered just that. It’s a crepe filled with ham, turkey, eggs, and mozzarella cheese which is then topped of with maple syrup and powdered sugar. It’s one of those things you check in on Facebook and post pictures of because you can’t stand the thought of other people not knowing about it. It’s that good.

But if early eating means light eating, then a simple Bananas Foster Crepe filled with bananas, caramel and walnuts will do. Nutella fans will love the Sweet and Salty Pretzel filled with Nutella, pretzels and sweet cream cheese among other ingredients.

The Big Boy Bites Crepe is a dream with bacon, spicy ranch dressing, mozzarella, ham, turkey, and dijon mustard.

Enjoy them all with a cup of coffee, a cup of juice, or a cup of just about anything because nothing can take away the joy that you get from a well made crepe.

And please, spread the word.

BURGER BONANZA AT THE DOUGLASSVILLE HOTEL

Boy do I love having a selection when I go out to eat. I love being able to sit down and not know what to order because everything looks so great. This was definitely the case when I visited the Douglassville Hotel Restaurant, but it took a little bit of adventuring to get to that point.

Word of mouth had finally reached me, and I finally made the trip to the Douglassville Hotel to try out the burger menu that I had heard so much about. The only problem was I was with my family, including my two year old son and two month old daughter. We had made the trek from Wyomissing to Douglassville on our day off to have a nice meal and try out the selections. All seemed fine until we rolled up onto the gravel parking lot, opened the door, and saw a crowd that we were not too comfortable being around. We looked at each other and decided that maybe we should try it out another day. Red Robin it was, and it was great all the way around, but that’s not what this is about.

The next week, I took my adventurous spirit and made the trip again. This time, I did it alone. I was determined to have my burger… and eat it too. I pulled into the parking lot again, and was greeted by loud music coming out of the building and a crowd that usually doesn’t hang where I hang. I kept on moving forward and continued on my journey. I walked into the bar and almost had a seat, until I saw a door and walked up to find the dining room.

Success!

The sign which told me to seat myself was a little bit off putting, but I found a table which happened to be in a high traffic area, and completely missed the other part of the dining room. The décor was eclectic and older, exactly what I expected from an old hotel. Character is what I call it. There were no televisions, and the only music was coming from the bar area of the restaurant. There was already a beer menu on the table full of IPA’s, wheat beers, stout beers, ciders, bottles, drafts, and whatever else one would hope to find.

My server presented me with the menu, and the adventure continued. I skimmed right past the appetizers, which included crab potato skins, and an assortment of flavors of boneless wings, and ignored the entrée portion of the menu. No need to complicate things more, I was here for the more then 75 varieties of hamburgers.

What could you possibly top hamburgers with to make that many combinations you ask? Well, there’s provolone cheese, sharp cheese, American cheese. There’s sautéed onions and mushrooms and roasted peppers. They top it with BBQ sauce, hot sauce, A-1 sauce, bleu cheese, and the classics ketchup, mustard, and mayo. They even top burgers with the essential ingredients that we always use like pierogies, roast beef, French fries, peanut butter, and fried egg. Willy Wonka would be envious of the creations this place throws together.

All of the burgers have their own names, but you have to order by number. Coincidentally, my choice of burger also had my favorite number, 47. It was named the Phil, and it had honey BBQ sauce, provolone cheese, bacon, and French fries on it. I added an order of beer battered fries to it and went to town. The bun was fresh and plump, the burger was perfectly cooked, and the toppings created an experience my taste buds will never forget. It may have been a safe choice, but it was definitely the right one. It was a choice that makes me want to visit over and over again and make my way down the list, which apparently has been done before.

I made the choice to try out dessert on this night, so I went with the vanilla cake made with Snowdrift Vanilla Porter. It was nothing like I expected, it was actually better. Moist, delicious, and not your traditional vanilla cake. It was on a menu of other cakes and desserts which featured alcohol in the recipe, and they are all homemade. I had to ask because I tasted the love.

When it was all said and done. I didn’t spend a lot of money, and I was very pleased with my experience, service included. The true beauty of the Douglassville Hotel was on the inside, which was filled with friendly staff and excellent food. I look forward to my next burger adventure with my family along for the ride.

PIG OUT AT THE WING OUT CAFE

What do orange soda, hot sauce, peanut butter, and beer have in common? Besides the obvious answer, nothing, they are all ingredients that can be found in the over 100 flavors of wings at Wing Out Café. When mild, hot, and BBQ just don’t cut it anymore, Wing Out Café offers customers more exotic choices such as “Taco”, “Maple”, and “Hot-n-Sticky”, which is made with pomegranate juice.

Located on Upland Ave. in Reading, Wing Out Café is joined with the Lookout Bar. Customers are greeted by flat screen TV’s where they can catch all the popular sporting events, the Wall of Shame and the Wall of Fame, and chairs which are designed like steel barrels adding something that can’t be found anywhere else.

I was greeted by manager Tim Button, who was happy to give me a little bit more of an insight about what makes this café unique and delicious.

With over 100 different combinations of wing flavors, I asked Tim how they come up with recipes.

“We just decide what tastes good, and you put it out there,”he started.  “You find a balance and listen to customers.”

He stated that all of their sauces were popular, but the biggest seller was mild. We were both spicy food fanatics and preferred the Devil’s Tears to mild. Well, maybe I wouldn’t go that far, but I would go for the Mango Habanero which is a kick of spice, and a subtle sweetness at the finish.

Is there anything that shouldn’t go into a sauce? Tim quickly put that concern to rest when he said, “You can always find a way.”

Fair enough. So when you log onto WingOutWings.com and decide to enter the recipe contest, feel free to break out the coffee grounds, get the grape jelly, and bust out the balsamic. Anything goes.

The madness doesn’t just stop with wings. The café has also given a place to specialty pizzas like the “Devil’s Tears Pie”. It’s a pizza smothered in chicken, mozzarella cheese, and Wing Out’s hottest sauce made withGhost Peppers. It’s sure to challenge the most experienced taste buds.

There is also a full sandwich menu which the café is very proud of. Throughout the conversation, Tim always kept the focus on growing and doing what was best for the customer.

“We don’t buy processed meats or anything like that so we’re kind of turning everything back to the basics.”

But if over 100 flavors of wings, pizza, or the run of the mill sandwich won’t satisfy you, there’s always the “Kitchen Sink Challenge”.  You can try your luck at conquering three burgers topped with hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, grilled mushrooms and onions, onion rings, three cheeses, and bacon in less than 20 minutes. But that’s not all. Before you can throw up your arms in victory, be sure to finish the pound of fries and triple pickle spears. If the challenge is met, the meal is free and your picture will be up on the wall of fame for all to see. If you fall short of greatness, you must pick up the tab and take your place on the wall of shame.

Advice and strategy from someone on the inside you ask?

“Just know that you’re gonna be full and eat, eat, eat.”

At the time of my visit, only one person had conquered the challenge. That gives it a 10% success rate.

So even if you’re not in the mood for everything including the kitchen sink grab a six-pack and make your way into Wing Out Café. Let the staff dazzle your palette and catch a Phillies game in the summer, or football in the fall. The café is on an ongoing mission to make sure that they deliver quality and uniqueness at every turn.

As Tim put it, “We just want to make the best wing.”

And after sitting down with him, I believe it.

Wing Out Cafe
501 Upland Ave Reading, PA 19611
(610) 898-7619