First, some seriously scary stuff.
A guy wearing a creepy Halloween mask appeared at the foot of a woman’s bed in her Strafford home (100 block of Crestline Ave.) around 1 a.m. last Saturday, bound her with duct tape, then ransacked the place, taking her car keys, jewelry, radio and ATM card.
After the invader threatens her with what looks like a stun gun, the woman, 69, gives him her ATM pin code. Creep hops in her car and hits up the Devon Square Wells Fargo ATM machine, where the nightmare-clown photo (below right) was snapped.
In the meantime, the 69-year-old victim pulls off the tape and calls 911. Police find her car at the Strafford Train Station but the ghoul gets away.
The good news: Tredyffrin PD is “actively and tirelessly searching for this criminal,” according to its news release. Police Chief Giaimo tells SAVVY his force is following several leads. Folks apparently have seen this clown around town. Here’s hoping they find him … and fast.
What a week to chow down in Wynnewood! Two new-to the-area casual chains opened simultaneously right next to each other, across from the Wynnewood Shopping Center.
First, the long-awaited First Watch, a Florida-based “daytime café” concept that’s also setting sail for the new Villanova Center.
First Watch is so good that western Main Liners who can’t wait for the chain’s opening in Villanova should consider a scoot down Route 30 to Wynnewood. A preview of coming attractions, as it were.
First, the vibe: The Wynnewood chain sports FW’s most upscale “Urban Farm” design package. It’s sleek and homey at the same time with bounteous booths, perfect for spreading out the Sunday paper. The staff is SUPER nice, too. The manager’s credo: “Hire attitude; train skill.” Good thinking.
Plus, there’s free WIFI and newspapers.
Second, the creative, fresh food: No heat lamps. No deep fryers. A thermos of FW’s rich “Sunrise Select” Premium Blend coffee on the table.
My “Trifecta” ($9.59) was a triple winner indeed: whole grain (but not grainy) blueberry pancakes (with nicely heated syrup), turkey sausage (so good we swore it was pork), and cage-free “basted eggs” (a perfect mashup of over-easy and poached).
Chosen from “The Healthier Side” of the breakfast menu, my husband’s “Tri-Athlete” also goes in the winner’s circle: egg white omelet with house-roasted crimini mushrooms. onions, tomatoes and green chilies, served with pico de gallo, whole grain artisan loaf, house-made preserves and fresh fruit ($8.29).
Dying to try: The Avocado Toast ($8.49), a house specialty: fresh smashed avocado with sea salt and olive oil on whole grain toast, served with those smashing basted eggs. Also, the house made “skillet hashes.” ($9.79) Also, the lemon ricotta pancakes ($8.79), the Kale Tonic ($3.99) and the house made granola. Also, well, the whole lunch menu. LOTS of variety here.
The big downer: It’s not locally owned. Darn.
Keeping our eyes on: The tight parking. Hopefully, it eases when neighbor Republic Bank finishes construction around April 9.
Much bigger than it looks from outside, First Watch Wynnewood has 120 seats. And the manager tells SAVVY he expects every one of them filled from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays once word gets out.
And so, a few words to the wise: Sabrina’s, prepare to share the breakfast wealth with your new across-the-street neighbor.
And Ray Nudy: better bring your A game to Ardmore when you open a Nudy’s Café on Cricket Ave.
Right next door to First Watch, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, couldn’t be more neighborly.
It’s a less hokey Cracker Barrel, minus the table service, with Quizno-ish sandwiches.
The look is ferociously folksy with quirky, homespun artwork/artifacts that hint at local roots Potbelly (sadly) doesn’t have. Founded in a Chicago antique shop in 1977, there are hundreds of PB shops in the U.S, plus one in London.
The vibe is howdy-friendly, and the food, although less inventive, is pretty darn tootin’ good.
Potbelly signatures: “Toasty warm sandwiches” in three sizes (Originals, Bigs and Skinnys), fresh-baked cookies, free live music (!), catering, and good-neighbor policies.
PB Wynnewood opened March 7 with its usual “oven warming.” (From which the entire haul was donated to nearby St. Katherine’s Day School for kids with special needs.)
And GM Vince Maisey tells SAVVY that Potbelly will gladly host fundraisers for your non-profit.
Who knew potbellies come with big hearts?
GO FOR IT! First Watch (610-649-1059) and Potbelly Sandwich Shop (484-412-0973) are at 31 E. Lancaster Ave., Wynnewood, next to the new Starbucks and across from Old Navy. A second First Watch will open in the new Villanova Center near Starbucks in a few months.
Greasy, glutenous and gluttonous takeout is so ten years ago. (Yup, talking about you, Domino’s and P-Hut.)
Today’s Main Line is bursting with better-for-you options, perhaps none more in-your-face-healthy than the new Snap Kitchen, now open near the Malvern Wegmans and zipping into the new Villanova Center next month. (And not to be confused with Snap Custom Pizza in Ardmore and Center City.)
Snap Kitchen aims to make healthy, tasty and gluten-free eating, well, a snap.
It’s a grab and go market. Think WaWa but way healthier.
Arranged on spic ’n span refrigerated shelves are an array of single-serve breakfast, lunch and dinner entrées, snacks, salads and cold-pressed juices. (Frozen food being dirty words here.)
Snap one up, pay, and be on your way. Then nuke (if needed) at your home or office.
What’s cool: A Goldilocks thumbs up: Most entrées come in “just right” portion sizes: S, M, L.
Also nifty: Containers are BPA-free, recyclable and compostable. Plus, “consciously crafted” menus rotate to take advantage of local, seasonal stuff.
The BIGGEST plus: Transparency. The label on my grass-fed lamb lasagna let it ALL hang out:
- Ingredients devoid of multi-syllabic gunk: “Grain free & gluten-free lasagna, grass-fed lamb, tomato, spinach, onion, carrot celery, basil.” Period.
- No-math-required nutritional facts: “390 calories, 15g protein, 34g carbs, 23g fat, 9g fiber and 11g sugar.”
- Nods to special diets/allergens: Lamb lasagna was “gluten free, dairy free, and paleo.” Other dishes were labeled “Sodium Conscious” or “Carb Conscious.”
Conspicuously absent: Sodium counts. Snap’s registered dieticians ensure each item’s “balance,” “variety” and “nutrient dense components” but are mum on sodium in the lasagna? Hmmmm.
But where’s the Kitchen? In Philly. Scratch-made food is trucked in daily from a $2 million central commissary that can serve up to 20 Snaps Ks. The Austin-based chain has Texas-sized ambitions, opening some 35 Snaps in five cities since 2010. Three just debuted in Center City (Logan Square, 19th & Chestnut and Old City) with more to come.
Another question mark: Taste (sorry)
I liked a lot (but didn’t love) the lamb lasagna (medium portion $10.49).
My daughter liked (but didn’t love) the gluten and dairy free Ginger-Glazed Chicken with green beans and mashed squash ($6.99 for small; 240 calories).
My husband and I were both meh on the meatloaf. (Turkey meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes and green beans, $7.99 for a medium).
But then again, isn’t taste always a tad tricky with takeout? Rarely is it drop-dead deelish, right?
At least with Snap, you know exactly what you’re swallowing. And everything – except the pita chips – is gluten free. Tasty chocolate chip cookies included.
GO FOR IT! Snap Kitchen is at 5. S. Morehall Rd. in Malvern (in the new center across from Wegmans). A Villanova Snap will open next month in the new Villanova Center next near Bernie Robbins and Starbucks.
More evidence of school sports getting out of hand: A massive brawl broke out at Ice Line in West Chester after an ice hockey title game between Bayard Rustin and Springfield high schools last week. Punches, kicks in the face, concussions and at least one arrest ensued. Frenzied fans, not players, appear to be to blame. Watch the video and weep. Or don’t and spare yourself.
Speaking of concussions, guess who else is worried about their long-term effects? Former Eagle and current WIP sports talk show host Ike Reese told a crowd at the Franklin Institute last Thursday that he’s suffered concussions in the “double digits.” Ouch.
Ike, 42, said he and his wife are talking about whether they should let their son play tackle football. Ike said he’s leaning toward letting Elijah play because coaches are enforcing stricter concussion protocols.
Privately, he told me that he was “too scared” to see the movie, Concussion. No doubt, the film about how the NFL mishandled them would have hit painfully close to home.
Ike was a panelist for a terrific event, “Brain Waves,” the first of Einstein Healthcare Network’s Great Thinkers’ series celebrating Einstein’s 150th.
A deep dive into the human brain, the evening’s highlight was a smart, funny talk about the joys of meditation by ABC News anchor and “10% Happier” author Dan Harris. Remember him? He’s the hard-charging newsman who famously had a panic attack on live TV.
Although not quite as funny as Harris, Einstein’s brainy docs were enlightening, too.
Ah, the crucial elevator pitch. Anyone else catch Narberth entrepreneur Avi Loren Fox nail hers on national TV last week?
Avi, 29, is the creator of the cozy, premium hoods she calls “mantles.” In the two+ years since she started her Wild Mantle biz, Avi has given a TEDx talk, secured a loan from former Main Liner Tory Burch’s foundation, and watched women around the world (and a few men) take up their mantles.
Anyhoo, Avi just appeared on MSNBC’s “Your Business” where her speech was pitch-perfect. (Entrepreneurs: Watch how it’s done.)
The only negative feedback? The threat of knock offs.
Which wasn’t news to Avi, who tells SAVVY that “brands are successful when people want the real thing” and don’t settle for knockoffs. (Hope she’s right.)
Avi will launch a kickstarter campaign April 7 to fund a new line of summer-weight hooded cover-ups. A kickass kickstarter, Avi reports that her first campaign raised $40,000 in 2014 – $10,000 more than the she asked for.
Ardmore is a hotbed of house flipping. Say whaaaat?
Yes, our humble hamlet ranks among the top 30 zips nationwide for profitable home flipping. So says the California foreclosure search engine, RealtyTrac.
Others making the cut: Upper Darby and five hipster Philly zip codes in Kensington, South Philly and Pennsport.
A SAVVY shoutout to Conestoga senior Michael Zhang, who just scooped up a cool $75,000 from Intel.
The Harvard-bound Berwynite won a Second Place Medal of Distinction for Global Good in Intel’s prestigious Science Talent Search held Tuesday night in DC.
Those with genetic diseases, take note: Working in a Harvard lab last summer, Zhang found a better way to get a gene editing tool inside cells, which in turn might lead to repairs for genetic mutations that cause inherited diseases. He tells SAVVY he will eventually “do something in science and medicine” but is also intrigued by entrepreneurship.
Zhang’s recipe for Harvard admission: Become president of your school’s National Honor society and design editor of its award-winning student newspaper, found your school’s Biology club, play in the orchestra, push for a student-led scientific research initiative (Project STEAM), kick butt in your school’s Science Olympiad, play a few years on the tennis team, then win a big-time national contest. Oh, and get a perfect 2400 on your SATs and score 5s (tops) on all 9 of the AP exams you take. Got that, folks?
A SAVVY Street Team Scoop, courtesy of in-house Skin Savant Nicole Dresnin Schaeffer. (When she’s not sleuthing for SAVVY, Nicole is one of the top-notch medical aestheticians at Deme Cosmetic in Wayne and Philly.)
According to Nicole, we can all – guys and gals – say sayonara to dry, sallow winter skin and face spring with a brighter visage. The trick? Josie Maran 100 % organic, light Argon Oil.
With natural healing and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s great for all skin types (even rosacea and acne). Gals, mix a drop in your foundation for a more hydrated, smooth looking complexion. Or apply it to wet or dry hair to fight frizz and split ends. Guys, sprinkle a little under your sunscreen or wear it alone at night for a healthy, hydrated glow.
Get it at Sephora or online. $16 for .5 oz. (A little dab’ll do ya.)