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Destination Dining Dad Reviews: Wegmans

Look past its grocery store exterior to find the exquisite family dining experience inside.

Once in a while, a man’s thoughts turn to home-cooked meals. You know, the kind that you prepare yourself. My family generally prefers the “hunt and gather” meals versus the “nuke and thaw” variety, so trips must be made out of our cushy area to…the grocery store.

With multiple children and multiple jobs, my wife and I never get time to ourselves, so when it’s time to grocery shop, we occasionally make it a date. And Wegmans is our date location of choice.

Almost everyone in the valley knows about Wegmans, even if they don’t live close to one. It’s not our regular grocery store (too expensive), but when it comes time to wrangle the kids, pick up toilet paper and share a meal, it’s the go-to place to shop.

Parking:

What can you say? Wegmans is a grocery store, and as such has a huge parking lot. It also has dedicated spaces for pregnant women and families with young kids. The only complaint would be that we need more of those spaces. Pretty please, Wegmans?

Family Perks:

#1 The W Kids program. The Wegmans stores in the valley all have W Kids centers in-store. These are essentially mini-daycares where you can drop your older kids off for an hour while you get the hard-core shopping done.

#2 Quantity of options + overall food quality = a winner. Oh. My. God. The dinner options at Wegmans border on the obscene. The prepared foods department has so many sections to choose from, including sushi, sandwiches, salad bar, Chinese, Indian, hot entrees, cold entrees, hot soups and pizza/wings. Which means everyone’s happy. The Tilghman Street Wegmans in Allentown also has wine by the glass (all have beer), making its cafe section perhaps the most and kid- and parent-friendly.

#3 Special events nights. Each Wegmans has different special events throughout the month, including kids' movie night. The last time we went, there was (relatively good) live music. The guy even took our eldest kiddo’s request, and made his John Denver-lovin’ night.

So What Did We Eat?

Entrees: Prime Rib, Sushi Rolls, Mushroom Stir Fry

Grocery store chefs have a leg up on their restaurant counterparts because they have a constant supply of fresh food at their disposal. Wegmans also employs some seriously talented chefs. And you can tell when you chow down.

The prime rib was an absolutely mouth-watering slab of beef with a perfectly pink center. Heaven on a plate.

My wife’s summer rolls were fresh and not “fishy” and the sushi was above par for grocery store sushi. The mushroom stir-fry (from the Chinese food bar) had a little heat, and the mushrooms were fresh and crisp.

Sides: Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, New Potatoes, Fruit Salad

I must admit I am exceptionally partial to Brussels sprouts. And these were just lovely--very green, very fresh, sliced in half and seared with a little oil and lemon. The new potatoes were not over-seasoned or over-cooked.

The fruit salad (one item we share at the table) is a make-your-own affair, meaning we can choose all grapes and leave out the evil honeydew (which the drama king still claims tried to poison him as a baby). The baby loves peeled and sliced grapes, which we take care of at the table.

Kids Meal: Sweet and Sour Chicken (no sauce), Green Salad

The sweet and sour chicken is a kid’s dream. Mom’s just happy the kid wasn’t getting pizza for yet another meal. After meeting the Muhlenberg lacrosse team in line, out future lacrosse player even headed over to the salad bar and picked out a selection of greenstuffs that made us proud. Serendipity!

Drinks: Beer, glass of wine, water

Wegmans has an excellent selection of beer to buy and take home. But you can also grab a beer and have it with your meal. I chose a lovely Belgian to go with the prime rib.

My wife tried out the wine-by-the-glass machine with the help of the employee at the machine. There were even cheese samples to go with the wine. My wife chose a ½ glass (you can buy a sample, a ½ glass or a whole glass) of Riesling--a drier one to go with the sushi--and liked it very much. It came in a real wine glass, which was a lovely touch.

Dessert: Chocolate Dome, Trifle, Cupcake

After dinner, we felt it was our duty as reviewers to force ourselves to go down to the bakery to peruse the sugary goodies. I was talked into a shiny chocolate-y dome, and ended up with perhaps one bite of its rich creaminess.

My wife had a trifle, with layers of custard, fruit and sponge cake, which was pretty darn spectacular.

I’d love to tell you how the cupcake was, but the kid made short work of it. He assured me it was “too good to share with you, dad.” I’ll have to take his word for it.

Total Bill: $51.30: 2 adult entrees, 3 sides, 1 Chinese buffet purchase (sold by the pound), 3 desserts, 1 beer, 1 wine

Parking/Perks: 4 out of 4 stars. Good parking, free child care, movie nights.

Grown-up food review: 4 out of 4 stars. Fresh and tasty, with lovely alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options.

Kids Food Options: 4 out of 4 stars. Great options, and no way for your kids to get out of eating something healthy.

DAD DECIDEDLY DIGS IT!!!

4 OUT OF 4 STARS

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