by Chrysa Smith

This spring I did so much restaurant talk, I think nobody believed I ever cook. Now, after all the jabber about summer fruits and veggies, you’d think I was a farm girl out of the land of aggies. Actually, it’s more like Zsa Zsa Gabor from Green Acres. So, I’ve been eating out a bit again and back with some local haunts to talk about. Here are two. One chain, one independent:

Cheesecake Factory—OK, big chain. But if I don’t want a five star meal and I’m out for a pleasant, bustling environment that serves a nice glass of wine, it works. The menu is huge and the food is not five stars, but neither are the prices. It’s a nice place for some California rolls or a burger—especially after shopping and during the warm weather—-when you can sit outside under an umbrella, feeling like you’re somewhere more exotic than the Willow Grove Mall.

86 West—In Doylestown, a newer and yes, trendy hot spot where the bar (both libation and sushi) graces at least half the space. But tucked away in the rear 1/3 is a cute, intimate hideaway with funky, horizontal fireplace that serves up perfectly for a sampling of small plates. Order a few to share. Some great rolls and Asian inspired fast food. Nice for after a movie or afternoon shopping.

When the heat and humidity break, opt for outdoor seating at either location. Time is short to enjoy al fresco meals, so mangia, while you can eat and breathe at the same time!

(photos, from left: Cheesecake Factory, dish from the kitchen at 86 West)