Endless Road Trip: Collingswood Pop Shop
There is more to South Jersey than the Real Housewives: there is food. We were recently visiting to celebrate my future sister-in-law”s birthday and went to the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. The name “pop shop” insinuates great ice cream floats, milk shakes, and fountain soda. However, I noticed that every waiter was wearing shirts touting their love for cheese. The shop was featured on Food Network”s Throwdown with Bobby Flay for their grilled cheese. The menu features the sandwiches from the show so some of us got that, while future sister-in-law ordered the trophy of dessert breakfasts – s”mores french toast. Then of course, we all gorged ourselves with desserts. Enough chit chat – on to the food.
S”mores French Toast:
Under the heading of “Fantastic French Toast Dreams,” you will find cinnamon bun french toast, banana”s foster, and even ham and cheese. But then you see the s”mores french toast on the menu and by chance see a waiter flaunting a pile of french toast, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow on what has to be a silver platter. Clearly someone at the table is ordering the s”mores french toast. Sister-in-law ordered it with a small amount of persuasion from the table and offers to give up half of their sandwich for a bite of the gooey french toast. Well I got my bite in a trade for some bacon and cheese fries. The bite included savory fresh french toast soaked with chocolate sauce. Then the marshmallow sauce that glues the stack of french toast together hits you. Your bite must include a piece of the top of the stack, since that is where the crunch of the graham cracker comes from. While I would never be able to finish an entire dish of it, I would suggest someone at my table order it again.
Grilled Cheese: The Calvert
The menu highlighted a few items. I think most food snobs can agree – if you highlight something on a menu – it better be pretty damn good. The Calvert is made between two slices of focaccia bread. Then, between the buttery toasted bread is avocado, bacon (which nearly every grilled cheese includes), house dressing, jack cheese, and roasted turkey. To note, the sammich came out oozing of cheese to the point that some of it was fried and could be eaten as a chip. The bread was a good holder for the filling without taking up too much space in my bight. The avocado complemented the buttery flavor of the bread and provided a nice creamy texture to add to the melted cheese. Then, the bacon…well, it”s bacon – crispy, salty bacon. Next is the roasted turkey and house dressing. The roasted turkey was piled high and added casino pa natet a nice balance to the bacon. The house dressing was good, but I don”t know if I”d notice if it was gone. Finally, what is grilled cheese without a cup of tomato soup with goldfish crackers in it? After eating the first half of the sandwich (remember – I”m watching my figure), I google”d the amount of time it would take to get here from our house. This sandwich alone is worth the 40 minute drive.
Grilled Cheese: The 5 B”s
Fiance has a similar philosophy to me – order the highlighted menu item and impress me. She ordered the grilled cheese featured on Food Network. The sandwich is made of white bread, goat cheese, brie, tomato, and (of course) bacon. What can I say? We have good taste. This sammich was a very different take on grilled cheese. However, the flavors of the goat cheese and the brie were perfect with the tomato. The sweetness of the tomato paired well with the brie and the goat cheese cut through very well. And then the bacon…yum.
The Milk Shakes
Milk Shake choices ranged from sticking an entire cupcake into a blender to the classic chocolate malt. Thankfully, the Pop Shop still believes in embracing the fall season. Table toppers included a list of their “fall specials.” Since it”s so hard to find a place that will serve fall food in November, I jumped at the chance to order a pumpkin cheesecake shake. The shake included cream cheese, pumpkin ice cream, chocolate chips, and graham crackers. The shake had a Pumpkin flavor that stood out, but the graham cracker and cream cheese did give the flavor of a cheesecake without tasting too much like cream cheese. Then, the chocolate chips were a tasty addition – so many chocolate chips that every sip included at least a few chocolate chips and it took two spoonfuls of chocolate chips at the end of the shake to empty the jar.
While I”m, missing the picture, the other shake is also worth mentioning. My fiance got the Peanut Butter Cup shake. Pretty much – liquid peanut butter with a little bit of chocolate. The shake consists of vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate, and peanut butter cups. One sip wasn”t enough. We had a favorite peanut butter shake near us, but this took the cake.
The Pop Shop lives up to the expectations of good shakes and goes beyond with their crazy breakfast concoctions and cheesy sandwiches. Definitely worth checking out. We give it four slices of bacon out of five.