Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, we drove down to Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for the second time. As we had such a great time there two years ago, I've always wanted to go back there once again. You can see our last trip in the posts below:
In 2011, it was wonderful to see how the daily life of Amish people different from mine which is formed of all the convenience of the 21st century. It really felt different, and I wanted to see if the second time will do the same charm. That being said, there was another reason we went down to Lancaster for the second time. Having had only(?) three Lancaster's Pennsylvania Dutch Smörgåsbord last time, Mr. D and I wanted to try lots of, if not all, their Smörgåsbords available. There must be more than two dozens of Smörgåsbord restaurants in Lancaster, we only picked the finest, or rather the most recommended ones!
Oh, if you don't already know what the smörgåsbord is, here I refer to Merriam-Webster's definition:
Full Definition of SMORGASBORD (Merriam-Webster)
1. a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d'oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)
2. an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange
We crossed the border on Thursday, and stayed a night in Binghamton where we had a simple breakfast, to save enough space in our stomach, for our first smörgåsbord of our trip, at Shady Maple. We had a breakfast smörgåsbord last time, but their lunch and dinner Smörgåsbords were praised the most. I am not a big fan of big buffet, at least any more, since I can't really eat more than two normal servings. Therefore, it's a torture to see so much delicious food offered at once.
Nonetheless, it's a very unique and attractive meal, as you can have all the great local & traditional local specialties at a fixed price.
Shady Maple is the largest smorgasbord restaurant in Lancaster county. I remembered that we had been truly awed by the queue waiting for tables two years ago. There were at least a hundred people, if not more, filled up the spacious lobby of the restaurant.
I was worrying about the length of the waiting list before we arrived. But, it was not so bad as it was for a weekday, Friday, lunch.
Shady Maple's featured menu for the lunch smorgasbord includes, according to their website, 46 salad bar items, 3 soups, 8 homemade breads & rolls, 4 cheeses, 8 meats, 14 vegetables, 10 cold desserts, 3 hot desserts, 8 pies, 6 cakes, sundae bar & many beverages. Daily Grill Features (Monday thru Friday) Angus Burgers, Beef Brisket, Grilled Hot Dogs, Marinated Chicken Breasts, Real Homemade Corn Fritters, Potato Cakes, Pizza and Keilbasa.
Overall it was an awesome smorgasbord with endless food. Well, you don't eat this kind of smorgasbord every day, do you?
Exactly that is why, for once, I had to eat all the rich food without thinking about the calories. I must have consumed a couple of thousand calories, if not more. Did I feel guilty afterward? Yes, like hell. :( But, I still don't regret that I tasted as much food as possible.
I wish I could taste all the food I wanted, but the capacity of my stomach was not as big as I thought. I only(?) had three full servings.
If I pick Lancaster's one traditional food you must try, it is the famous "fried chicken." Any Pennsylvania Dutch meal includes fried chicken. We tried fried chicken at a few different restaurants, but I must say Shady Maple's fried chicken was the most crispy and scrumptious one of all!! They have tons of other delicious food as well. You will not be disappointed.
Their hamball is a-must-item, too.
Oh You might want to know this one thing: Pennsylvania Dutch food doesn't care about calories.
They uses abundant butter and sugar.
So, don't expect you will find some good fresh green leaves or low calorie food, even though there are some greens, if you search hard. :)
But, as I said above~, it's something you don't have often. Once in a while is okay, isn't it? :)
(200 feet long food bars)
Shady Maple Smorgasbord is located at 129 Toddy Drive (7 miles East of Ephrata off Rt. 322), East Earl, PA 17519. Their phone number is 717-354-8222.
I'll talk about some nice places we visited in Amish country in my next post.
Also, I may post about the several smorgasbords we had during our 4-day-stay.