It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting chilly, the holiday season is picking up speed and what better way to celebrate the start of the season than with local comfort foods and Thanksgiving inspired dishes?
Chicken and Waffles … Together?
If you’re looking for some homey comfort food that isn’t just seasonal, hit up Baby’s Burgers & Shakes on Thursdays for their once a week special: Chicken and Waffles.
The dish is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, and while it might seem like a funky
combination, Tassy Lopez, the General Manager of Baby’s, insists that “it’s just one big comfort dish!”
The chef starts by simmering pulled white and dark chicken meat in chicken gravy. Then, a Belgian-style waffle recipe is prepared and placed on a plate with a big scoop of mashed potatoes. The chef finishes the dish off by ladling the chicken and the gravy over the waffle and potatoes. It’s a very popular dish, according to Lopez, “it’s just really good, it’s unique.”
Turkey To Go
Each year from late September to mid-March, Irvings offers three holiday sandwiches that offer all of the comfort of a Thanksgiving dinner … but transportable.
“The most popular holiday sandwich is the Holiday Turkey Sandwich,” says Gabrielle Bedeian, an Irving’s employee. “It’s stuffing, turkey and cranberry
sauce between two slices of bread.”
Irvings also offers a Brie and Cranberry Sandwich and a Carved Turkey Sandwich, which uses fresh, carved turkey meat from real home-prepared turkeys. Turns out you can have your turkey and eat it too.
Comfort Food Goes International
If you’re looking for something a little less mainstream than the traditional Thanksgiving fare, look no further than Herwig’s–”Where bacon is an herb!™” Herwig’s has been serving up Austrian comfort food for 10 years now, and has been rated State College’s Best Ethnic Restaurant eight out of those 10 years. Yeah, they’re comfort food experts.
All of the dishes are made in the restaurant daily, using as many local products as
possible. “The most popular dish is probably the Bratwurst,” says Bernd Brandstatter, the son of the owner of Herwigs. The sausages are served with Herwig’s potato salad, which is oil, vinegar, and mustard based and is served at room temperature.
Accompanying that is Herwig’s unique and extremely popular sauerkraut, which is made by cooking rinsed cabbage with pork fat, onion, garlic, and juniper berries for six to eight hours. So pay a visit to Austria for the day, your stomach won’t regret it!
Holiday Pie Cupcakes
During the holidays, Ndulge Cupcake Boutique transforms traditional holiday pie flavors like pecan and pumpkin into delectable cupcakes.
“We usually do a brown sugar cake if we’re trying to mimic a crust, and then fill it with pie filling so it’s like a mini pie,” says Rebecca Altmann, the executive pastry chef, whose favorite holiday cupcake is “a pecan pie cupcake, which is a pecan cake or a brown sugar cake filled with pecan pie filling.”
Pumpkin pie cupcakes are also offered for those pumpkin fans out there. So while you might not have your mom’s famous pie, you can count on ‘Ndulge for holiday sweet tooth satisfaction.
Photo by Jonathan Hsieh