There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than gallivanting around the countryside with a friend. That’s just what I did Tuesday with my friend, Natalie. We took to the road to find something good and local, and ended up in West Grove, Pennsylvania at Twelves Grill and Cafe.
Twelves is an elegant restaurant housed in a renovated 1883-built bank. You can even reserve space for your own wine in the walk-in brass vault to enjoy when you inevitably make your way back to the restaurant again and again (since West Grove is a dry town, Twelves is Bring Your Own Bottle) . How convenient!
The owners, Tim Smith (also the Executive Chef) and Kristin Smith (General Manager), are proud of their local community and it shows. The restaurant space was renovated using local contractors, craftsmen, and designers, but best of all, Tim and Kristin source their menu items locally as much as possible. Tim shops farmer’s markets regularly and much of their beef and meat is Pennsylvania-raised.
When Natalie and I arrived, the staff greeted us warmly. This reception perfectly matched the ambiance of the restaurant. Decorated in tones of warm gold, brown, and a touch of coral, the tables sparkled and glowed in the waning evening light.
Happily seated and reading the menu, Natalie and I wished we were ravenous. Everything looked good–from the cheese plate with local Swarmbustin’ honey to the filet mignon medallions. We settled on a bowl of the Cream of Local Mushroom Soup. I followed my bowl of soup with the Local Farm Salad, while Natalie enjoyed the Baby Spinach Salad. The entrees passing our table on the way to a lucky diner looked comforting and oh-so-delicious. The menu boasts many “From the Grill” items, like Pocono Spring Trout, organic salmon, and a grass-fed burger with bacon from Green Meadow Farm in Gap, PA.
Natalie and I enjoyed everything about our experience at Twelves, including an unexpected surprise: Our server, Felicia, was attentive, friendly and especially delightful since Natalie and Felicia knew each other from their middle school cheerleading days.
Whether you want a latte in the morning, soup and salad at lunch, or a full-course dinner followed by dessert, Twelves Grill offers it all while respecting the local community and preparing local ingredients honestly.
One of the best parts of eating at Twelves was the bag I carried home containing the rest of that silky Cream of Local Mushroom Soup. The soup was so filling and decadent, we opted for leftovers. The next night I whipped up what I’m calling Twelves Leftovers Pasta with Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Spinach. Here’s how:
Scanning the fridge I pulled out local spring onions, garlic, mushrooms from Kennett, and spinach fresh from my garden.
First, I put a pot of water on to boil while I sliced the spring onion and the mushrooms. The spring onion went into a pre-heated pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
The onions sautéed for a bit while I finished chopping the mushrooms and the garlic. Into the pan went the garlic, followed by the mushrooms.
These ingredients mingled for a while before I tossed a couple pinches of kosher salt into the pan. Finally time for the secret ingredient–leftover Twelves’ Cream of Local Mushroom Soup. Because of the richness of this soup, it’s the perfect base for a pasta sauce. You could also use cream or half and half here (and I would add a handful of Pecorino Romano, too) if you’re not lucky enough to have any leftover soup on hand.
Wanting to build another layer of flavor into the sauce, I added a couple tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato paste waiting in the fridge for just such an occasion. And if I was going to add the paste, why not actual sun-dried tomatoes?
By this time, the pasta was al dente. I drained the pasta and reserved a bit of the water, just in case my sauce needed bolstering. The pasta went right into the pan. So did the spinach. I tossed all of this together and added a spoonful of the pasta water for good measure.
The pasta was the perfect marriage of local and Italian ingredients, especially topped with Pecorino Romano. I ate these leftovers as leftovers for lunch the next day. I can’t wait to go back to Twelves Grill to try the Prix Fixe Menu–pick three courses for $25 (served Tuesday through Thursday). I wonder what I’ll make with THOSE leftovers. . .
10 Exchange Place
West Grove, PA 19390