All Things Worth Trying

Welcome to our seventh annual Worth Trying Issue. Though we feature Worth Trying suggestions monthly, each January we devote much of the magazine to personal recommendations from staff, contributors and friends of Out & About. These suggestions on where and what to eat, drink, see and do are scattered throughout these pages, interspersed with our usual assortment of feature stories, news items and other fun stuff.

Enjoy, and have a very happy New Year!

MISCELLANEOUS PICKS

Annual Book Sale
Fellow bibliophiles, rejoice. Each year, the dead-of-winter dullness—at least for my admittedly-nerdy self—is brightened in anticipation of this event. Friends of the Hockessin Library hosts a sale at Hockessin Memorial Fire Hall, from which funds go to the upkeep of the Hockessin Public Library. Heaps of books of all genres fill a massive room outlined in rows on tables, in piles stacked on the floor—everywhere, books! Here’s the rule: you purchase a large paper bag (or two, or three) for $7 or $8 and fill it to the brim. Veterans know to bring a sturdier burlap satchel for added support, of course, and a few hours later, you exit with ample texts to last through the coming year. This year’s sale is Jan. 26-29.

— Krista Connor, Associate Editor

meals_on_wheelsDelivering Meals and More
Studies have shown that people who volunteer their time live longer. So live a longer, richer life: volunteer to be a Meals on Wheels driver. These hot, nutritious noontime meals are much more than sustenance. Often, the volunteer driver is the only person the shut-in senior will interact with during the entire day. This nonprofit is in desperate need of drivers. It takes only about two hours of your time, and you can volunteer for as few as two deliveries a month. Call the Meals on Wheels center nearest you: City Fare/St. Anthony Center, Wilmington, 421-3731, or Newark Senior Center, 737-2336.

— Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor

penn-cinemaPenn Cinema
For years, many pleaded for a Wilmington movie complex – former Mayor James Baker being one of the most vociferous. Today we have a state-of-the-art one on the Riverfront and though it’s been around since 2012, there are still plenty who haven’t paid a visit. You owe it to yourself. Penn Cinema has 14 screens plus IMAX, comfortable leather seats, ample leg room and now serves beer and wine. And it’s within walking distance of a half-dozen restaurants for a meal before or after the show.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

reply_all“Reply All”
I subscribe to a couple of dozen podcasts, but there’s only one I follow with a first-season-of-“Serial” intensity, and that’s “Reply All.” Every weekish, hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman unearth stories that could only exist in our digital age, stories that are at turns riveting (I swear you will care about the story of Wayne, the guy in the episode “Boy in Photo”), heartbreaking (a game designer works through his son’s struggle with cancer in “The Cathedral”), and mind bending (I truly believe it’s at least plausible that Pizza Rat is part of an armada of highly-trained rats unleashed on New York City to create viral content and modern myths, as investigated in “Zardulu”). Technology changes how we relate to one another in the world. “Reply All” gets right to the heart of it.

— Matt Sullivan, Contributing Writer

Be a Good Human
I know. Who am I to tell you what to do? Consider this just a gentle nudge…a friendly reminder to do something small today to support the notion that there are still good humans living among us. Hold a door. High-five a stranger. Pick up litter and toss it in a trashcan. Say hello to your neighbors. Easy things to overlook, but even easier to accomplish.

— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

vinyl_districtThe Vinyl District Record Store Locator App
So, let’s pretend you’ve been plopped down in Poughkeepsie and you’re wondering if there’s a record shop where you can buy Herbie Mann’s “Push Push” on vinyl. Never fear, that is if you have The Vinyl District Record Store Locator App on your phone. It’s absolutely free for iPhone and Android users, and lists some 3,200 independent record stores in 40 countries, some of them imaginary! If there’s an independent record store in Pyongyang, North Korea, the app’s GPS-based locator will tell you exactly where it is. And the app also displays a vast list of record fairs around the globe by date and location. Finally, it includes a TVD Record Store Club feature that will tip you off to new releases, as well as a host of giveaways, contests, and more. Go to thevinyldistrict.com and download the app today!

— Mike Little, Contributing Writer

westworld-posterWestworld on HBO
Two decades before Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park ran wild on the silver screen, he wrote and directed Westworld, a 1973 sci-fi film about another kind of over-the-top tourist attraction going off the rails. Instead of genetically resurrected dinosaurs running amok, Crichton first imagined malfunctioning androids gunning down thrill-seekers in a Wild West-themed vacation spot. Same game, different park. While the DNA (or binary code) of Crichton’s original Westworld repeats itself in the overall structure of this recently adapted HBO series, the show-runners have cleverly tinkered with the original formula. In this iteration, the robots are drawn as the more sympathetic characters while humans are cold and heartless. The show trudges somewhat aimlessly through its middle episodes, but the finale delivers plenty of twists and tense action. That said, Westworld ultimately is compelling because of the questions it asks along the way about identity, memory and what exactly constitutes consciousness.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

seinfeldiaA Book about a Show About Nothing
If you’re in the search of some “serenity now,” get your “man hands” on Seinfeldia, a compendium of stories about how one of the greatest sitcoms became a cultural phenomenon. There’s plenty of “yada, yada, yada” about the cast, characters and storylines that produced one of the most influential television shows of all-time.

Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer

Train Your Brain
Forget all those invites you keep receiving to play mindless smartphone games like “Farmville” and “Candy Crush,” and instead download “Peak.” This mental gymnastics app will keep your brain jumping through all sorts of hoops, helping you focus and sharpen your memory. In no time, your mind will be as sharp as a tack, and you’ll forget about all those other mindless games.

— Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer

chef_lhulierChef Lhulier Dinner Party
This year, my wife and I hosted two dinner parties at the home of Chef Robert Lhulier. We invited three other couples, carefully selecting a motley crew who didn’t know each other well but would enjoy each other’s company. Chef Robert prepared four courses of food (for $60 a head) and everyone BYO’d the wine and bubbles and brandy. The results: Fantastic, relaxed, delicious evenings filled with great tunes, loud conversation that probably would have gotten us kicked out of most restaurants, and personalized attention from one of the best chefs in Delaware. Chef Lhulier will come to your house too – but he sets a fine table (that you don’t have to clean) at his, while you Uber home. Check out how it works at lhulier.com.

— Matt Sullivan, Contributing Writer

mozart-in-the-jungleMozart in the Jungle
If you think a TV show about a symphony is stuffy, then think again. Amazon Prime’s original series Mozart in the Jungle, whose third season debuted in December, is devastatingly clever. The witty script boasts such well-drawn characters as the eccentric Maestro Rodrigo, played by Emmy winner Gael Garcia Bernal. Bernadette Peters and Malcolm McDowell are also at their hilarious best. The appearance of real life classical heavyweights, including Yo-Yo Ma, add fun and flair. Catch up on Prime.

— Pam George, Contributing Writer

bringing_nature_homeBringing Nature Home
I bought a new (old) home this past spring, and although the lot isn’t very large, it was very overgrown. We ripped everything out and planned to start fresh. While researching ideas, I came across Bringing Nature Home, by University of Delaware professor Douglas W. Tallamy. He makes the case for biodiversity in city and suburban home gardens. He explains how over-development has threatened our ecosystem, why alien plants are problematic (bugs and animals can’t eat them), and provides practical suggestions for how home gardeners can use native plants to make a serious impact. The book made me reconsider my whole landscaping plan, and has me really looking forward to spring.

— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media & Distribution

lafate_galleryLaFate Gallery
Jamaican-born self-taught artist Eugene LaFate has a cozy, colorful gallery that houses her vibrant work in the LOMA district of downtown Wilmington. With a personality as warm and charming as her artwork, LaFate has established herself as one of Wilmington’s artist advocates. The gallery sells her originals, prints and postcards; she also offers a variety of workshops and classes. At 227 N. Market St. lafategallery.com. 656-6786.

— Mark Fields, Film Reviewer

rei-_optoutside_anthem_film_15REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.)
During an REI kayak-camping trip I took this summer in Wyoming’s Teton National Park, I got a firsthand look at how this company operates in a friendly, fun and professional manner. The co-op offers discounts and annual rebates to its members. In addition, it treats employees with tremendous respect: all REI locations are closed for Black Friday, a traditionally huge shopping day during which staffers are encouraged to get out of the store and enjoy outdoor time with their family and friends instead.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Lewinsky’s on Clinton
The name of this Delaware City pub has created quick a few chuckles, but this cozy tavern is a great destination for a beer and a sandwich—perhaps after a stroll along the Castle Trail or a visit to Fort Delaware. The food is tasty, the craft beer selection is solid, and the joint is jumping on weekends with performances by local bands and acoustic acts.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

stuff_you_should_knowStuff You Should Know Podcast
How does a fireplace work? What’s the chemical make-up of Play-Doh? Stuff You Should Know is a podcast that answers these random questions, plus so much more. Pop it on while you’re working or doing chores around the house. Knowledge is power!

— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

PACE Network
Have you ever thought about getting involved in the betterment of Wilmington’s public education system? The PACE (Parent Advocacy Council for Education) Network, an initiative of Christina Cultural Arts Center, allows parents and community members to do just that; it joins adults, youth, and educators to imagine, create, and advocate for equity, access and more effective learning in schools and community places. To learn more or get involved, email ccac.pace@gmail.com.

— Sarah Green, Special Projects

dirkgentlyDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – BBC America (On Demand)
Years after the death of author Douglas Adams, his character Dirk Gently—who solves crimes by surfing along with the interconnectedness of all things—finally made it to TV this fall. The result is a great short-run series that combines the sci-fi, comedy and over-the-top weirdness Adams fans came to love in his Dirk Gently novels—with excellent modern updates. Now that the entire series is available On Demand, let the binge watching commence!

— Scott Pruden, Contributing Writer

avoid_the_kioskAvoiding the Kiosk
There is a Panera next to my daughter’s preschool, and we find ourselves there more than I care to admit. They have “Fast Lane” kiosks there—touchscreen computers that allow customers to order for themselves. We walked in the other day and there was no line, but there were three people using the kiosks. My son asked if we could use one too and I said no. Why? Because if everyone uses the kiosks, jobs currently reserved for humans will be replaced by computers. Same goes for the grocery store self-checkout. If the place is packed, I get it. But otherwise, why not contribute to keeping someone employed?

— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media & Distribution

PICKS OF THE FOOD VARIETY

traderjoes-this-cranberry-walks-into-a-barTrader Joe’s “This Cranberry Walks Into a Bar…” Cereal Bars
I’ve gotten so many “winning” grocery items from TJ’s, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But this seasonal-only (they usually disappear after January) oat & fruit cereal bar is one of my go-tos—tart, chewy, the perfect-sized mid-day bite. I persistently badger the staff to carry them all year long…so far, no luck.

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

tbaar_incTbaar Inc.
Whether you’re looking for a delicious bubble tea, a healthy wheatgrass smoothie, or a sweet or savory crepe, Tbaar at 108 East Main St. in Newark is the place to go. Tbaar may be a chain, but you wouldn’t know it by the scrumptious handmade crepes. I’m the savory type, and I always order the “Yo! Check It Out,” a Chinese style crepe that comes with ham and tofu plus several pungent sauces that make each bite a glorious adventure for your taste buds. And it’s spicy! Order it with the Honey Jasmine Tea, or the Bubble Milk Black Tea, and I guarantee you an experience equal to anything Anthony Bourdain may be eating this week. And you don’t have to go to China to find your bliss.

— Mike Little, Contributing Writer

grub_burger-barGrub Burger Bar – Concord Mall
I didn’t want to like Grub. I don’t like chains, don’t go to malls and thought it was a terrible name for somewhere you plan to eat. There are enough places to get a decent burger, but Grub has become my go-to spot. Turns out it’s a very small (under 20 locations) chain, its burgers are creative and delicious, and though I still don’t like the name I do like the logo. It also turns out I really like milkshakes with alcohol; a bourbon & caramel milkshake takes the edge off being at the mall. And the Scorpion burger with Trinidad Moruga scorpion sauce is intense. Decent food, great concept and surprisingly fast service is a welcome change.

— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer

Cooking with Anchovy Paste
It’s a secret ingredient that will have your tongue saying, “Ooh mommy, umami!” Just don’t tell your uncle about it. He hates trying new things.

— David Hallberg, Special Projects

thug_kitchenThug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook
This vegan cookbook was probably the best thing my wife and I bought as newlyweds. As we approach our 30s, we realized that we often made the same meals, week after week, since both of us are not very advanced in the kitchen. We’re not vegans but we were looking for a way to expand our culinary horizon, as well as trying to eat a bit healthier and eat less meat. I came across the blog for this book, and was impressed by how easy it was to follow recipes. It explained a few uncommon ingredients and cooking techniques in a straightforward way. I should also mention that the tagline for the cookbook is “Eat Like You Give A F**k” and it uses lots of expletives, so I would not recommend it for children. But for us, it always makes us laugh when we’re reading a recipe out loud, and it made cooking a much more enjoyable activity.

— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer

MKTSTLOGOfinalBLACKMarket Street Bread and Bagel
This small tidy shop has endured some start-up issues in its first year (It opened January, 2016), but it has settled into a welcome addition to Market Street. I won’t evaluate the coffee since I don’t drink the stuff, but I can heartily attest to the quality of the breakfast and lunch offerings. I especially like the sticky buns with their nice blend of stickiness and flakiness. For lunch, I always struggle to choose between the curried chicken salad and ham and brie, all offered on bread baked on the premises. The menu is compact, but what’s there is dee-lish. At 832 N. Market St. 482-2553.

— Mark Fields, Film Reviewer

J’s Café
Located inside Janssen’s Market in Greenville, this cafe was always a great place for breakfast or lunch, but now you can indulge in a mimosa with your breakfast or a beer with your sandwich, and, of course, pick up a few grocery items before you leave. J’s specializes in wood-fired pizza and a wide range of sandwiches and entrees. My favorite is the Janssen’s turkey, arugula, havarti cheese & sun-dried tomatoes panini paired with an interesting craft beer.

— Julie Miro Wenger, Event Allies

angelos_luncheonetteAngelo’s Luncheonette
It’s small (five tables, 12 counter stools) and the food isn’t fancy, but this old-time diner (1722 N. Scott St.) has been feeding happy Forty Acres people for almost 50 years. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch and the menu is pretty standard, but the quality of the food, the reasonable prices and the friendly staff make this place special. Try one of the house specialties, a Provoroni Dog—a hot dog with pepperoni and melted provolone cheese.

— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer

ghirardelli_hot_cocoaGhirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa
Looking through the aisles at the grocery store, it can seem impossible to find something chocolate that doesn’t contain dairy. After reading the ingredients on almost every brand of hot chocolate, I finally found Ghiradelli Double Chocolate, which had the lone ingredient list that did not include milk. So, for any lactose intolerant friends or vegans, this is for you.

— Deanna Daly, Local Artist & Educator

la_madera_bistroLa Madera Bistro
This cozy, rustic BYOB eatery in historic Kennett Square, Pa., offers an eclectic mix of entrees, gleaning inspiration from Mediterranean and Latin American styles, to name a couple. Most sandwiches are served with some variation of fresh, roasted vegetables, and the very-necessary side of roasted potatoes are sublimely balanced between crisp and smooth.

— Krista Connor, Associate Editor

Fried Pickles
These deep-fried delights offer a delicious detour from standard appetizer fare like wings, nachos and hummus. Equal parts salty and bitter, they also offer a satisfying crunch and are clean and easy to eat, unlike many other starters. Chelsea Tavern in Wilmington was one of the first in the area to feature fried pickles on its menu. More recently, Newark’s Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen brought its version to the table, which comes with a zesty cilantro-lime dipping sauce.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

PICKS OF THE DRINK VARIETY

paradocx_vineyardParadocx Vineyard
Visiting the Landenberg, Pa., winery and vineyard each autumn and winter has become a non-official tradition for me and some friends. The family-run estate features a handful of wines grown on the surrounding 100 acres of land. Guests are welcome at the informal tasting room to sample full glasses or flights and to hang out indefinitely in the warmth, taking in the bucolic winter landscape outside.

— Krista Connor, Associate Editor

delaware_growerThe Delaware Growler
If you’re a craft beer fan in the area and haven’t checked this place out, I suggest you go, now! Located right across from Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Newark, it has roughly 50 beers on tap at any given time for growler fills, plus much more in bottles and cans. I have found myself checking the website weekly to see what’s on the tap list because there’s usually a beer I’ve been trying to find. Bring your own growler or choose one of theirs, which come in a variety of sizes.

— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer

cascade_brewingCascade Brewing
The resident beer expert at Trolley Tap House, Greg Safian, recently introduced my husband and me to Cascade Brewing. Cascade is a Portland, Ore., based brewery that focuses on fruit-forward, barrel-aged sour beers, and they just recently arrived in Delaware. I’ve tried the Kriek and the Apricot Ale—an American Wild Ale—and really enjoyed both. If you like sours, keep Cascade on your radar.

— Marie Graham Poot, Director of Digital Media & Distribution

Liquid Alchemy Beverages
I recommend that you get your mead from this new spot in South Wilmington. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, we have not gone back in time. This cozy little tasting room off Maryland Avenue holds regular weekend hours and special events. The most recent limited release, Black-302, became available on Jan. 1.

— Ryan Alexander, Contributing Designer

1984 and Oddity Bar
If ever two Wilmington bars were destined to be neighbors, it was these two. As with many memorable duos—Simon & Garfunkel, Starsky & Hutch, R2-D2 & C-3P0—the two bars build upon their similarities and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. With the variety of bands they book, both venues attract similar crowds: people looking for something other than Top 40 cover bands. While both offer the finest craft beers in the area, Oddity also pours cleverly concocted mixed drinks while 1984 offers an assortment of vintage video games and other arcade favorites. But most important, inside each bar you feel like you are very much in a unique place. Which, in another way, makes them quite the pair.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

PICKS OF THE MUSIC VARIETY

The Nomad Bar
I love The Nomad Bar. For anyone who, like me, works late or goes to evening meetings more often than I get out to the many, many shows and performances I wish I had time to see, The Nomad is a perfect go-to spot when you finally find yourself free. It’s a ready-made scene and completely welcoming place to enjoy local artists playing live jazz and other genres that get your blood pumping (and skilled bartenders help that along). I always run into great people there—coworkers, neighbors, community leaders—and you don’t need to worry about who’s playing. Just show up, it will be great music and a great vibe. I’m not a regular at The Nomad, but whenever I’m there, I feel like one. 905 N. Orange St., Wilmington.

— Elizabeth Lockman, Director of the Parent Advocacy Council for Education (PACE) at the Christina Cultural Arts Center

Kate Bush’s Before The Dawn
In 22 nights at Hammersmith, London, in late summer 2014, 75,000 lucky people saw the first live headline concerts by Kate Bush in more than 36 years. In those years, she went from cult heroine to self-produced radio smash to seemingly retired earth mother in the British countryside—until her latest concept LPs. Before The Dawn, an extravagant Broadway-caliber stage production, was assembled over 18 months before this mixture of live concert and dramatic rock theater had its one-month run. We now have a complete live recording on three CDs or four LPs or by download. Experiencing “The Ninth Wave” side 2 of Hounds of Love (1985), performed by Kate, actors and dancers and her live band remains one of my most emotional concert experiences. Experience it!

Ron Ozer, Producer at Arden Concert Gild

Eyebawl
My current favorite local music project is Erin Silva’s (of Tracy Chapstick) solo project “Eyebawl.” Her quiet-rocking confessionals will hit you right in the feels. Catch her at a local venue or hit up her Bandcamp page.

— Miranda Brewer, Owner of Rainbow Records

The Local Music Scene
I can understand if folks feel this is a cop-out. It’s like saying oxygen is worth trying. But hear me out… I’ve been at Out & About for more than two decades. In that time, I have played in bands, booked clubs, managed bands, promoted shows, and helped produce local concerts. And as you can imagine, I’ve also heard and seen a lot of bands play live. A lot. But never have I been more hopeful for the local music scene than I am right now. More clubs are booking live music than they have in years, and thankfully there are a variety of interesting acts to fill them. It feels like an awakening, and whether you are a musician, club owner, or avid fan, I encourage you to take part in it. It’s an exciting time for local music.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Rusty Blue
If you miss ‘90s rock, check out Rusty Blue. I saw them during Musikarmageddon this past summer, and couldn’t believe that sound was coming from teenagers!

— Sana Bell, Community Events Manager at The Grand

PICKS OF THE PLAY VARIETY

Russell Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge
Did you know that Wilmington has a 212-acre wildlife refuge right in our backyard? Located at the end of the beautiful Christina Riverwalk, this urban oasis is a great destination for a peaceful walk, a glimpse of a bald eagle, or a drop-in program for kids to see what critters they can find in the pond. Whether you’re just interested in strolling through the marsh on the boardwalk loop or coming out for one of Delaware Nature Society’s many programs, this spot is well worth a visit any time of the year.

— Sarah Green, Special Projects

The Woodlands at Phillips
Looking for a way to boost your immune system? Then head to this delightful little mushroom museum and retail store in Kennett Square, Pa. (1020 Kaolin Rd.), and pick up some Maitake mushroom. This edible mushroom, known as the “hen of the woods,” is great on the grill or in stir-fry and has anti-cancer, anti-viral and immunity-enhancing properties. It also may help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. The Woodlands is the retail store of Phillips Mushroom Farms.

— Julie Miro Wenger, Event Allies

Northern Delaware Greenway Trail
This 7.2-mile trail provides a unique and spectacular view of some of New Castle County’s recreational treasures, including Alapocas Run State Park, Bellevue State Park, Rockwood Park and Bringhurst Woods Park. Walk, run or ride it.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Oddball Art Hall
Have you ever found yourself at a craft fair or arts festival and thought the selection was tacky or basic? If yes, check out Oddity Bar’s Oddball Art Hall. This local artist collective is held on the third Friday of every month, the next date being Jan. 20. Support some great local artists, including Dea Daly, Kristen Margiotta and Cori Anne.

— Ryan Alexander, Contributing Designer

South Chesapeake City
Come visit a quaint little historical town separated by the C & D canal. It’s a charming town with lots of interesting shops and some good food with local lodging available. Take a walking tour and see the restoration of lovely homes and gardens. Less than an hour’s drive from Wilmington, it will transport you back in time. Visit the website: chesapeakecity.com.

— John Murray, Proprietor, State Line Liquors & Contributing Writer

Embrace the Season
Winter can be an easy time to stay inside and hibernate, but I say try to do something outside to embrace the season. Why not lace up your skates and enjoy the Riverfront Rink on the Wilmington Riverfront? The kids love it and it feels great to get outside and do something festive around the holidays. riverfrontrink.com.

— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

So, what do you think? Please comment below.