Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes on Thursday! Because one day of celebration isn’t enough, I was able to extend the festivities throughout the weekend.

After a half day of work and a trip to the doctor’s (I finally have my diagnosis – more on that later!), I got together with my family for dinner and fro-yo in my hometown. Only in Westfield, New Jersey would it be appropriate to have two self-serve fro-yo establishments within blocks of one another. We decided on Yapple Yogurt for two reasons: the inside of the store is cute, and they have salted caramel pretzel flavored yogurt. I didn’t even need to question my decision.

Each year on the Friday after my birthday, I know I have plans. Ever since my teammate and friend was tragically killed back in 2006, we all get together for a golf outing to support causes that were near and dear to his heart. It’s great to see familiar faces that I spent so much time with in college, and it’s also an excuse for everyone to go out in Philly afterwards. Since it’s close to my birthday, I always get suckered into birthday shots (not that I’m complaining), and no matter how old we get, our old college selves come out to play for a bit. This year we headed to City Tap House in University City, and thanks to their rooftop lounge we got to watch the awesome thunderstorm from a cool location (we tried to sit outside, and the 97 degrees at 11pm thing wasn’t happening).

After a quick 4-mile run on Saturday morning through University City, it was off to The Pop Shop in Collingswood. If you are ever in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, you NEED to go here. Aside from their soda shop throwback look, they have tons of different grilled cheese sandwiches and fries available for you to devour (and don’t forget about the flavored soda or milkshakes). They also have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, which I think is pretty neat. Being the bad food blogger that I am, there are zero pictures from The Pop Shop. Assume it’s because I spent the entire time shoveling food into my mouth. The rest of Saturday was spent trying to get things together for our Eurotrip, and an early bed-time for Sunday’s long run.

The weather has been nice and toasty the past few days, so getting up early to run on Sunday was a must. Because I’m going on vacation and I won’t be able to get in a super-long run while I’m away, I figured I’d split the difference between this past Sunday’s scheduled run and next Sunday’s, which left me with 11 miles. I luckily ran the majority of the miles on a shade-covered path, but that didn’t stop me from looking like I jumped in a pool when all was said and done. Thankfully, I was able to literally jump in the pool when I got home.

The weekend wrapped up with a seriously delicious dinner – Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowl with Mango Salsa, courtesy of A Pinch of Yum. This was so easy and flavorful, and I had enough leftover to justify bringing it for lunch the next day.

While the weekend was jam-packed, the next few days are going to be even more-so. I’ve got a lot to do in the next two days before heading to my parents to run the annual Firecracker 4-miler, and then jet off to Europe! I have plans to blog while across the pond, but I’d say the odds are forever not in my favor (like what I did there?).

Tell me: what did you do this weekend?

Ooey Gooey Goodness – The Pop Shop!

This past weekend, I had the luxury of stuffing myself to the gills.

It all started Friday evening with a trip into Philly with my boyfriend to see a newly formed Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker) band, forgetters. On the way down, we stopped at a Sonic. Now, after being taunted and teased by their commercials for YEARS without one nearby, they are slowly but surely starting to sprout up in surrounding areas. This particular Sonic is located in Bensalem, PA. Both my boyfriend and I went for the bacon cheeseburger on Texas toast, of course with a side of tots, and I washed it all down with a cherry slush. Sonic is delish, don’t get me wrong; this has now been my third trip. This was, however, the most painful trip. I had heartburn like you wouldn’t believe later that night. I definitely attribute it to the burger. But boy was it good!!

Now on to what this post is really about – The Pop Shop!

I first learned of this cheesy heaven from watching “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” on The Food Network. I’m used to watching those types of shows and not have any of the locations be nearby. This time, however, when I heard it was in Collingswood, a mere hour and a half from me, I knew visiting needed to happen. This past weekend was actually my second trip. My first trip was quite the experience on it’s own, but that’s a separate story in itself :o)

One of the greatest parts of this classic American diner-like restaurant is it’s set-up. It has the feel of an old 50’s diner, but re-vamped and up to date. You’re menu will come to you on a newspaper, which makes you really feel at home. They serve everything from super-stuffed omelettes and French toast sandwiches to regular sandwiches, salads, soups, and of course the whole reason for my trip – grilled cheese.

Now, this isn’t your every day grilled cheese. Sure, you can get it on multiple types of bread, and even different type of cheese. But that’s just the beginning. They have everything from chicken or turkey or roast beef to sliced apples or jalapeños. Serve it up with one of their many different French fry choices and wash it down with a milkshake… heaven.

As I do before all food trips, I began perusing the menu online mid-week. By Saturday morning, I had narrowed it down to two options; the “Frazer” or the “Calvert.” The “Frazer” was a gigantour of a sandwich stuffed with jack cheese, chicken breast, chipotle mayo, and a spicy jalapeño and onion mix on sourdough. andyssandwichThe second, named “Calvert” was equally intimidating and included jack cheese, bacon, roasted turkey, avocado, and house dressing on a foccacia. Just to note, they named all of their grilled cheese sandwiches after streets in Collingswood, NJ. After much debate, I decided to go with the Frazer, as the mention of jalapeños sucked me in (as they always do).

Next on my to-do list was my French fry selection. I opted for the “Collingswood fries”cheesefrieswhich were seasoned with Old Bay and topped with melted cheddar cheese and bacon. There really aren’t even words for them. Just take a gander at this picture, and I think you’ll understand.

I washed my delicious lunch down with a fountain soda; diet coke mixed with cherry and vanilla syrup. My boyfriend, on the other hand, got that milkshake – oreo cheesecake!milkshake

Needless to say, I was full for the rest of the day. Grilled cheese is a truly phenomenal meal – you can keep it simple, or turn it into something gourmet and even truly eccentric. I am definitely looking forward to spicing up my own grilled cheese concoctions in the kitchen in the near future. More importantly, however, I’m anxiously anticipating my next trip to The Pop Shop!