Up Barley Creek with a Paddle

As you know, the fam and I make frequent trips to Staten Island for pageant-related hoopla. One the way back from said hoopla, being creates of habit, we like to stop at The Crossings Outlet Mall in Tannersville, PA. It’s not as big as Waterloo or as luxe as Woodberry Commons, but it has the clutch stores we love: BCBG, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Coach, and Bass (for my Dad). This time, we even spent some quality time in Cole Haan, which means gorgeous shoes, which makes Shelby a happy girl. We hit The Corssings this year on Mother’s Day, which meant I bought Mom’s socks for her in Goldtoe, and lunch once we were sartorially satiated, just down the road at the Barley Creek Brewing Company.

This was our second time dining at Barley Creek, and while it’s not world class dining or the most original brewhouse ever, the food is solid, and the d├ęcor is nice. It was a little less clean this time than our last visit, and the wait for food was longer, but it was a holiday, after all. The place is decked out in true Pocono/Adirondack style, with exposed beams and lots of woodwork, and the menu is straight up pub comfort food. Across the parking lot, the “Pint Size Park,” also serves food in an outdoor space where you can play waffle ball, horseshoes, and bocce ball.

Happy Mother’s Day, Sue!

I’ve had the beer cheese soup before and loved it, but this time around, the pot roast burger won me over. I was most fired up about the crispy onion strings on top, but it turns out the mashed potatoes were the star of this show. They weren’t reinventing the wheel or anything, but they were smooth, they tasted of real, Russet potatoes, and they didn’t overpower the rest of the plate. I can’t say the same for the onion poppy-seed bun, which was just too much bread for this dish, a theme repeated on my parents’ plates. I also would have liked the line cook who assembled my plate to take a little more care when selecting the pieces of pot roast to use on my sandwich – they were more than one slice I declined to eat due to fat and gristle. However, the overall flavors was good, and the fried onions were, indeed, yummy, giving a crisp texture juxtaposition to all that lush gravy. Even the sweet potato fries were out of the ordinary good – the steak fry style orange planks were sweet and much crunchier on the outside than you usually get from this menu item.

Mom went for another burger – the bacon blue. This wasn’t the thickest burger, or the juiciest, but Mom appreciated the very flavorful bacon and blue cheese. Again, her Kaiser roll was a little too heavy and threatened to overpower the beef, bacon, and cheese. Cleverly, she removed the top piece of bun, as I had, and merrily treated the burger as a knife-and-fork sandwich.

Joelle ordered mozzarella sticks, and told me they were good with a great deal of enthusiasm, as she shunned the marinara and grabbed for the ketchup. She’s 13, and maybe not the most developed of palates, but I trust her judgment on this most sophisticated of dishes. Out of the mouths of babes, ya know.

Dad had the cheessteak, which I was very relieved they didn’t call a Philly cheesesteak, because you know how that bugs me. He wolfed it down and didn’t offer me a bite. Once the plate was nearly clean, he fessed up that the steak and cheese were delicious, the green bell peppers a wee bit overpowering, and again, the bread ratio totally off. Barley Creek’s cooks know how to coax flavor out of their meats and cheese, but maybe need to rethink their bakery choices.

As stuffed full of carbs as we all were, dessert seemed prudent. After all, it WAS a holiday, and Joelle had just told me the day before than an Oreo she ate was the best cookie she’d ever had (I imagine her mother would differ on this opinion). So yeah, we ordered the oreo stack and four spoons. Here’s what came out:

Oh baby! Again, this was not the most elegant of desserts, but it was rich, it was creamy, and it fortified us with enough sugar to get through the rest of our day. Plus, it provided Joelle with more cookies and cream action than such a tiny thing should probably be able to handle. Delicious!

I didn’t score the Barley Creek Brewery at the time, because while everything they served us was tummy-filling good grub, it wasn’t blowing my mind. I think I’d give it a six in retrospect – solid food and a nice setting, but not much above average. That being said, if you’re shopping in Tannersville, this is better than some of the other choices right near the outlet mall, and I’m betting the pint size park really is fun. So give it a try next time you’re in the Poconos, and let me know what you think! My hunger is big; my personality is bigger!

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