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Review: Acme in Mt. Airy

Acme offers shortcuts as well as all the staple ingredients for the perfect dinner.

Restaurant:

Address: 7010 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia (Mt. Airy), PA 19119

Rating: (out of 5 stars): ★★★
Style: Grocery store with deli and prepared foods section
Food: American
Atmosphere: Bright fluorescent lit grocery store
Parking: Huge lot
Service: Efficient
Price Range: Varied
Unique Feature: Coffee bar, antipasti bar and olive bar

In this age of smart phones, medical innovation and the internet, what happens to a traditional holiday like Thanksgiving? I’ve read numerous articles on the perfect Thanksgiving and how to troubleshoot everything from overcooked breast meat to gluten-free pumpkin pies. Technology has allowed for real time updates about the temperature of your turkey to be sent directly to your iphone or tablet. Caterers will take care of all the details and let you sit back and enjoy your gathering. What about those of us that still pride ourselves on making everything from scratch? I headed to Acme in Mt. Airy to see what’s being offered to both die-hard home cooks and those that would rather order dinner over the phone.

The deli and prepared foods section of this particular Acme was impressive. There were coffee, antipasti and olive bars. I grabbed a cup of Bucks Country Breakfast blend to give me jump start. For those that are entertaining, the antipasti and olive bars provide perfect noshes to tide your guests over before the main event.

There were numerous items from a company called Huxtable’s. I grabbed some green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberry sauce. While there was a fully cooked Butterball turkey that could be re-heated just before serving, I opted for the whole rotisserie chicken instead.

The chicken was juicier than I thought it would be and the skin (while not super crisp) was indeed flavorful. After eating, save the carcass and bones for chicken stock. The cranberry sauce featured dozens of whole cranberries on top but revealed a thick mass of jiggly sauce underneath. Simply made from cranberries, sugar and water, this sauce was full of cranberry flavor but not much else. One trick I learned many years ago for those that want to add some zing to their cranberry sauce is to add some diced asian pear. The naturally sweet and slightly acidic fruit provides a wonderful natural sweetness and lightness to cranberry sauce.

The stuffing was decent but far from homemade. I could taste hints of sage and black pepper and enjoyed the textural contrasts from the diced celery and onions. The bread cubes themselves were rather mushy and the whole mixture was underseasoned. For those home cooks making their own stuffing, I recommend a hearty white sandwich bread like Pepperidge farm or from your local bakery.

The green bean casserole was a bit odd. There was a faint pickled taste to the vegetables. The cream sauce was underseasoned and appeared broken and lumpy when you dug beyond the uppermost layer. What I did find ingenious though was the separate package of fried onions. The plastic bag kept them nice and crisp. For those making this dish at home I would recommend dredging thinly sliced shallots in flour and then flash frying them. A quick sprinkle of kosher salt after they come out of the oil is all they need.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the selection at the Acme in Mt. Airy.  I made my own personal Thanksgiving plate before my extended family celebration. Rather than spending hours over a hot stove and oven, I was able to make my meal in under fifteen minutes (13 minutes in the microwave for the stuffing and green beans). For dessert, the store made pumpkin pie was fair. I found the clove overpowering and the crust a bit lackluster. However, for $3.50, you can’t beat the price. It literally costs less than what it would cost to buy the ingredients separately. For both the restaurant warriors and the avid home chefs, Thanksgiving is always a celebration of food. How one goes about procuring that food is a matter of preference.

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