Hi there!

I’m Larry, the President of Cetlin Design Group in suburban Philadelphia. As much as
I love creating logos, ads, billboards, TV and radio spots for our clients, I love good food even more.

Join me and our galloping correspondents of gluttony as we sample fine (and not so fine) cuisine around Philadelphia and the rest of the Northeast Corridor.

Since most of our visits are with clients, we try to accomplish two things:

(1) don’t break the bank, and (2) have decent portions so we don’t need to stop at Wawa after the meal.

Rule #2 has eliminated practically any type of French food (unless they’re fries).

Mediocre food is welcome if there’s lots of it! No neighborhood is off limits…

if the food is fine, we’ll be in line!


The Avenue Deli… adventures in Lansdowne December 23rd, 2013

Today’s travels brought me to the Avenue Deli, a combo Jewish-Italian place in beautiful Lansdowne next to the revitalized movie theater. My partner in crime: Alicia Sheeran – PR person extraordinaire for lunch. I expected more food displayed in the cases like an old-fashioned deli. The décor is sparse with vintage black and white photos of old Lansdowne. Whatever you do, don’t sit near the front windows if it’s cold outside. You’ll need to pour their Jewish Wedding Soup over yourself to keep warm.

Now, as a self-proclaimed corned beef conno-sewer, I’ll travel miles for a good corned beef sandwich. Attman’s in Baltimore, Harold’s (Exit 10 on the Jersey Turnpike), Katz’s and Carnegie in NYC, Famous in Philly… all great! Can Avenue measure up?

I went with the Corned Beef Special on thick rye. I prefer a hard rye, but this was actually quite good. The meat was lean, thin cut and quite flavorful – not nearly as salty as what’s served elsewhere. The highlight of the sandwich was the cole slaw that was unbelievably good. Every sandwich comes with hand-cut fries – also quite delicious and not greasy at all.  There’s an option to upgrade from the fries to a side salad or soup, but we’ll do that next time.

Alicia went boring on me with poached eggs. She seemed to enjoy it and didn’t gag, so we’ll give that a plus.

The menu is definitely not your typical deli menu with a varied selection of Jewish and Italian comfort food with a twist. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way for the Avenue yet. Call ahead as they seem to run out of corned beef on a regular basis. We’ll give Avenue another shot and let you know.


27 North Lansdowne Avenue
Lansdowne, PA 19050
(610) 622-DELI

Website: www.theavenuedeli.com


Open Tuesday – Thursday 11am to 9pm;
Friday and Saturday 8am to 9pm
Sunday 8am to 3pm


Scannicchio’s… it’s worth learning how to park in the median strip November 1st, 2013

It’s the off-season for baseball, so Leslie Quiros of TOTAL Specialties and Brian Mahoney of the Philadelphia Phillies went off to lunch to plan the 2014 season for TOTAL. Brian and Leslie wanted to talk shop. Me? I wanted to eat! Parking is challenging here on South Broad. There are spots a bit north on Broad, or sometimes you can get lucky in the median strip. Out-of-towners often find this amusing. The Oregon subway stop on the Broad Street Line is just a block away if you’re planning on taking in a ballgame at the Sports Complex after lunch or before dinner.

Scannicchio’s is one of those throw-back, old school Italian places. It can be crowded, especially at dinner. Lunch, however, is a pleasure!

We started off with one of my favorite special appetizers – the sausage and figs. We had to ask for it as it’s a dinner special and the kitchen didn’t disappoint. The sauce has a delicious sweet and sour taste and this alone is worth the trip.

The lunch menu isn’t as extensive as the dinner menu and the portions seemed a bit smaller. Still, the pasta we ordered was delicious as was my Tilapia in the white wine sauce. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room for dessert. If you’re looking for a place to eat in the heart of South Philly, you can’t go wrong here.


2500 South Broad Street (at Porter)
(215) 468-9300


Hours (call ahead first; they close early if they’re not busy)
Lunch Weekdays: Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm (Closed Mondays)
Dinner Weekdays: Serving fron 4:30pm
Weekends: Serving from 3:30pm (make reservations; it gets packed)

Shady Maple Smorgasbord… stock up on the cholesterol meds! February 13th, 2013

Never one to back down from an adventure, three generations of the Cetlin men headed over to the Shady Maple Smorgasbord for a Saturday lunch in Lancaster, PA. You can find a poster child for Gastric Bypass at any table! If you’ve ever been to an all-inclusive resort with a buffet, this blows it away.

We happened to pick the Pork Bonanza weekend featuring pork stomach, pulled pork, ham loaf, homemade sausage (2 kinds), pork and kraut, pork ribs… and these are the ones I could remember. In pork we trust!

Of course, the pork was just a small sampling of the rest of the buffet. There were cheeses, freshly grilled steaks, burgers, salmon filets, catfish, cheesesteaks, pizza… the food here is to die for, and if you eat enough, you probably will. You can’t leave without trying the Amish salads (love that hot bacon dressing), mac and cheese, the 12 flavors of soda (including 3 kinds of birch beer), and let’s not forget the assortment of homemade breads and rolls (don’t miss the cornbread). There are also vegetables for the health-conscious, but why waste the calories?

If there’s room, your meal wouldn’t be complete without sampling desserts. They’ve got the classic Amish Shoo-Fly Pie, apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream, a sundae bar and an assortment of what seemed like 30 other desserts. There’s also sugar-free options for those watching their weight as well as Crystal Light dispensers.

With all the food and the number of people at the feeding trough, Shady Maple was remarkably clean and well-stocked. Food was always being replenished and tables cleared quickly. Bathrooms are clean – trust me, you’ll visit them before you leave.

If you go, Shady Maple is only about 10-15 minutes off the Morgantown exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We got there at 12:30 and didn’t have a wait. When we left around 2:30, there were 2 lines of about 30 deep, so there may be a wait. Shady Maple is closed Sundays, but check their website for holiday hours and specials.

While you’re there, check out their incredible store downstairs. There’s a huge selection of everything you don’t need, but like to look at. It’s almost like a general store with a little bit of everything, plus a small takeout restaurant. None of us could move after lunch, so we didn’t go to the Farm Market. Another day, another trip! For some reason, I skipped dinner that night.


Open Monday-Saturday 5am-8pm
129 Toddy Drive (on Route 23 West coming from the Turnpike)
East Earl, PA 17519
(717) 354-8222


Nagwon Garden… Korean Fun in Upper Darby February 13th, 2013

From the confines of our Cetlin Design Group worldwide headquarters in Broomall, the closest restaurant for Korean food is Nagwon Garden in Upper Darby. English isn’t spoken here which makes it challenging, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. My friend, Mark Lipsky fro the The Radio Agency, was dubious at first. I thought he was going to make a run for the door, but he relented and actually enjoyed himself. It was either this or Taco Bell down the street.

The Pros:

(1) Had lots of fun and the woman who owns the place was very helpful.

(2) Bulgogi was delicious! The buffet had squid, shrimp, different cuts of meat, chicken, tripe and the usual mystery meats.

(3) Didn’t get sick. I was a bit worried about the freshness of the meats and fish since there were only 2 other tables occupied in the place. Leaving healthy usually isn’t something I’d consider a plus, but we had not idea what we were eating.

(4) It’s close… right down West Chester Pike before you hit State Road in Upper Darby. This location is much safer than the other Korean buffet in the old diner.

(5) They also have a regular menu that you can order from which is very nice.

The Cons:

(1) Not inexpensive… about $27 per person for the buffet

(2) You really need to air out your clothes when you get home. The smoke has to go somewhere… unfortunately, it’s on you.

(3) The selection of foods, while good, isn’t as extensive as the other place.

(4) Not a big fan of keeping the heads on the shrimp. It’s like they’re looking at you when you peel the shell. Could’ve sworn I heard one scream.

(5) I really could use an instruction manual.


I’d go back, but I’m running out of people to go with. Always up for a dining adventure! Let me know what you think.


Open for lunch and dinner every day.

7650 West Chester Pike (west of State Road)

Upper Darby, PA 19082

(610) 449-1800

No website


Menchanko-Tei (easy to say, hard to eat) March 30th, 2012

After seeing Godspell on Broadway, the wife and I decided to pay a visit to this little restaurant on 55th Street in NYC that my buddy, Dave Townsend of TOTAL Lubricants, said has the best Japanese food in New York. If sushi is what you’re looking for, skip this place. The wife was not happy with this decision to eat here, but if you want true Japanese food, c’mon in! It’s a small place and very easy to miss.

We started with octopus dumpling balls (bet you didn’t know octopus had balls) that were actually little balls filled with rice and octopus. Hey, for $5, how sick could I get? Then we went for the rice balls… a salmon one and seaweed one, both which were quite tasty!

Then comes dinner time. Rhonda played it safe with the sashimi while I went with the signature dish – the menchanko. It’s similar to the soups you’d get in a Vietnamese place. Their menu says to “enjoy the this unique sumo tradition by slurping one of our hearty dishes.” I slurped it… all over my shirt, my face and the table, and enjoyed every minute. It’s not the easiest to eat with an oversized spoon and chopsticks. Still, you can’t go wrong with a hot bowl of noodle soup filled with chicken, shrimp, veggies and tofu and whatever else was floating around in there.

Dessert wasn’t fantastic with minimal choices. I did try some sort of pumpkin cake. Fortunately, there was a Dunkin’ Donuts next door.

Service was very good and food comes fast. This isn’t a restaurant that you’ll spend hours in. The staff could tell we were Menchanko virgins and were very helpful explaining the menu and how to eat what we ordered. The price for dinner, including a glass of plum wine for me, was under $50 including tip – reasonable for Philly and cheap for New York. If we get a chance to come back, it won’t be with my wife! I don’t think she enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.


43-435 West 55th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-1585

Second location:

131 East 45th Street (between 3rd and Lexington)
New York, NY 10017
(212) 986-6805


Yo! Ristorante Pesto… Home cookin’ in South Philly March 27th, 2012

We’ve been frequenting this gem on South Broad Street once a month and we’re impressed every time we waddle out. Even with reservations you may have to wait a bit, but Concetta Varallo and her team have amazing specials that will knock your socks off. Everything is homemade and portions are plentiful. Our friends at dinner raved about the gnocchi (I’m not a fan… doesn’t matter who makes it).

Your waitress (or waiter) will give you the specials. She has them memorized and takes about 5 minutes to recite them. Pay close attention… especially the appetizers (go for the crab salad or stuffed peppers if they have it)! They’re all great, but if you have to pick one (or two, or three or four), go with the portabella mushrooms, then the eggplant and if you have room, the grilled vegetables. You’ll also get a generous plate of carrots in some type of mystery oil that was delicious with a a bread assortment in a basket. Warning: start pacing your food intake now.

Entrees are also unbelievable… don’t fill up on the bread since you’ll need it to soak up the gravy. We usually order a special and have always been more than satisfied. Last week, I ordered the Zuppa di Pesce ($28) – a humongous bowl of linguini topped with lobster, scallops (the big ones – not those little sissy ones), shrimp. clams, mussels and crabmeat with their rose sauce. I couldn’t finish it (hard to believe) and got two meals out of it.

We were stuffed, but how can you not order dessert? Kim and Rich went with the traditional cannolli (freshly stuffed with the ricotta cheese and a nice helping of whipped cream) while I went with the white truffle gelato and the peach mango gelato… two generous scoops of two different in one big bowl.

The place has a tendency to get a bit noisy, especially on the weekends. I probably wouldn’t come here on a first date, but after 28 years of marriage, we eat anywhere. Service is somewhat attentive (getting a check is always a challenge), but I’m not eating at the Four Seasons either so I don’t complain. Prices vary… you won’t break the bank, but you can expect to spend about $35 – $40 per person with an appetizer and dessert without any alcoholic intake.

Parking tip: Parking generally is non-existent if you go towards 13th Street. Try along Passyunk Avenue between Broad and 15th Street. You’ll find plentiful meter parking that’s free after 6 weeknights. You may have to feed the meter a bit later on a Saturday night between the main course and your appetizer.


1915 South Broad Street (near Passyunk Avenue)
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 336-8380


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