Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Smuttynose Going on Tap at the Inn

It's on the truck and should arrive any minute:
Smuttynose Robust Porter!
Forgive the name. It sounds a little unappetizing at first but apparently it is the name of one of the islands off the coast of New Hampshire. The cute little guy in Smuttynose Brewing Company logo is one of the inhabitants of the island. Anyway, we'll be putting their Robust Porter on tap later today. Have you tried it yet?

Here is the brewer's description,"This hearty, mahogany colored ale is brewed to evoke the dark, full-bodied ales that were a favorite of dockworkers and warehousemen (hence the name “Porter”) in 19th century London. It is a good bet that when Dickens’ Mr. Pickwick sat down for a pint, we would have been drinking an ale much like our Robust Porter.This is a smooth and very drinkable beer, characterized by its well-balanced malt and hops, plus subtle notes of coffee and chocolate."

And says, "This hearty porter is a great accompaniment to a wide array of Mexican dishes, burgers, steaks, sausages, ham, smoky flavors and chocolate desserts." I'd say this makes Robust Porter perfect for patrons of the Franklin Inn.

Here are a few stats/awards this beer boasts:
GOLD MEDAL WINNER - Porter , 2001 Great American Beer Festival
JUDGED GRAND CHAMPION - Best Porter in the USA - 10th Annual US Beer Tasting Championship
GOLD MEDAL WINNER - 2010 Mondial de la Biere, Strasbourg, France
WINNER AT THE 2011Good Food Awards in San Francisco. 

 “Full-bodied and malty with undertones of coffee and chocolate and a bright, hoppy finish, in style it’s like Cary Grant's accent: the best of British and American.” - The Boston Globe, November, 2005

OG: 1064 TG: 1018
Grain Bill: pale 2-row, carastan, dark crystal, special “B,” chocolate
Hops: Cascade
IBU's: 45
Color/Number: Dark chocolate brown
ABV 5.7%

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas!

We will be closed 12/24 & 12/15 
so that our staff can spend some time with their families.

We will reopen Monday 12/26 and we will also be OPEN on New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What the Heck is a Cactus Pear?

Cactus Pear
 These charming models are a pair of Cactus Pears (also referred to as prickly pears or tuna ). I had heard of Cactus Pear and seen it on ingredient lists but I had never encountered a Cactus Pear up close and personal in the raw form until today. I had to take a photo to share with you. What a beautiful fruit. Just look at the gorgeous color inside.

Chef Dale ordered these to make a sauce to accompany a chocolate lava cake he is baking for a dessert feature. He explained that these "pears" grow off the paddles of the cactus. His plan was to combine cactus pear with papaya for a dessert "drizzle".  As I admired this fruit, he explained that he would scoop out the flesh and strain the seeds. Just then another cook, Leo, asked us to hand him one. Leo pulled the skin off (without gloves....they don't call them prickly for nothing) and popped the whole thing in his mouth, seeds and all. So, I shrugged my shoulders and turned to Chef Dale who promptly skinned and cut me a piece which I popped in my mouth the same way, seeds and all. Yum! It tasted like a cross between a really ripe sweet watermelon and a pomegranate. Others have described it as a non acidic kiwi.  The seeds were edible but pretty hard...not as hard as watermelon seeds but I still think it was wise of Dale to remove the seeds for the dessert sauce.  

Leo & Dale Prepping Papaya.
Intrigued by this beautiful and sweet "fruit" I went online to check out more about the cactus pear. They call it "tuna" in Mexico. I read that it has been used for thousands of years in Mexico and around the world for medicinal purposes.  It is a rich source of mineral magnesium, taurine (an amino acid), vitamin C, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. This fruit is also low in calories and in sodium and no cholesterol or saturated fat. It's a good source of fiber similar to soluble fiber that has been shown to to "sop up" cholesterol. Research has been done using the prickly pear to help manage cholesterol levels. Other studies show it helps in treating diabetes, cancer and more! It even helps fight viral infections. All this from such a sweet and pretty looking food item.
Getting Ready to Join the Cactus Pear

I am always getting compliments on my fresh fruit salads at family gatherings. I'm thinking about adding the Cactus Pear to the bowl. What do you think? Have you tried Cactus Pear? Do you have a great recipe involving this wonder fruit? I'd love to hear about it. If you've never tasted one, now is your chance. Come to the Inn over the next couple days.

Fudge Lave Cake w/Cactus Pear Papaya Sauce

This Week's Special Features

Starting to night we have an awesome line up of special features for you:

Try a Fiery Pepper Margarita
Mason Jar Margaritas • Sangria
Sam Adams Winter Lager
Magic Hat & Dos Equis on Draft
Jarritos Mexican Soda
Pork Tamales, Chicken Tortilla Soup,
Mini Pork Empanadas with Green Tomatillo Salsa

Dinner Feature
Walnut Encrusted Corvina with a Lemon Lime Cilantro Beurre Blanc Sauce.
Corvina has a mild, sweet taste and is regarded as a prime table fish
in South America. Served with Plantain Chips and Rice. 12.95
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Fresh-baked chocolate fudge cake served with
a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a papaya cactus pear drizzle.

John’s Home made Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fajitas Anyone?


This beautiful bowl of veggies will be part of your fajita dinner at the Franklin Inn today.  I couldn't resist taking a photo when I saw this lovely bowl of  peppers and onions. Leo is chopping them up for you right now.

Texans like to claim the fajitas as their invention and historical credit is given to the Mexican Vaqueros (cowboys). However, I think fajitas are a true Mexi-American collaboration. Add the Franklin Inn twist to this recipe and you've got a delicious meal.

Vaqueros were ranch workers living on the border and working cattle roundups in Texas in the 1930s. When a steer was butchered, they were given the "throwaway"or least desirable cuts of meat as part of their pay.  This tough cut of beef is known as skirt steak. The Mexican term for grilled skirt steak is arracheras. The American term fajita comes from faja which translates into "belt" or "girdle". Fajitas jumped from the obscure camp fire scene to "on the scene" sometime in the late 60s according to the various accounts. The term fajita has morphed from its original meaning and is understood by  most folks today as anything cooked and rolled in a soft flour tortilla, or grilled up on a sizzling platter. 

Food snobs turn their nose up at fajitas as being "Tex-Mex." I don't care who gets the credit for fajitas or how authentic they are because they are just good food at the Franklin Inn! And, I think, a healthy option. I can't really see fajitas being very high in calories as long as you portion control the guac and sour cream. There aren't that many ingredients involved. Fresh meat, veggies, a little oil, some garlic, salt, pepper (and hot sauce on the shrimp), etc.  I usually skip the tortilla myself but John eats them.

Traditionally, fajitas are made using skirt steak as mentioned above. But, it can be really tough even when marinaded for a long time. At the Franklin Inn, we actually use a quality sirloin for our steak fajitas. Therefore, we do not marinade our meat. You can also choose a fresh chicken breast, chorizo or spicy shrimp. And, for those abstaining from meat, our veggie fajita features portobellos and seasonal vegetables. If you can't decide, heck, get a combo fajita.  John and I sometimes order a combo fajita and split it. I always let him eat one or two of the shrimp. Beware...those shrimp are addicting. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

What the Heck is Chayote?

Our Chayote Model at the Franklin Inn.
My first experience with Chayote [chah-YOH-teh] was in Mexico.  John's parents were in the practice of renting a house in Mexico for a month at a time.  I'd get to tag along for the last week of this adventure (work schedule permitting). They'd also hire a Mexican cook or chef to come to the house and prepare meals for the duration. This was a great way to gain fresh insights into Mexican cooking, learn new techniques, recipes, brainstorm ideas, and of course, taste new foods. Rice was served with many of these meals. One cook made her rice with peas and diced veggies including chayote. At first I thought it was a green carrot. She had cut all the veggies to the same bite size shape and it had the same texture (due to being cooked in the rice). But, I was told it was "chayote."

Chayote is from the gourd family and is sometimes called Mexican Squash among other names. Apparently, it was first cultivated in Mexico and the Aztecs and Mayans ate it.  Like the tomato, chayote is actually a fruit.  It can be eaten raw and has a mild flavor.

Vegetable Medley with Chayote, Yellow Squash and Zukes.
According to the chayote  is "low in calories and chock-full of vitamins and other nutrients." A half cup has 11 calories and a couple grams of dietary fiber. It has no cholesterol or fat and is extremely low in sodium. Various sources have reported medicinal properties of chayote. A tea made from the leaves is used for lowing blood pressure, dissolving kidney stones and treating atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Have you used the chayote in your cooking? If so, I'd love to know how you prepared this popular Latin American vegetable (or fruit).

This weekend Chef Dale is including chayote in his vegetable medley along with yellow squash and zucchini. Come on out and give it a try.

Weekend Specials

Magic Hat on Draft

Try a Fiery Pepper Margarita

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hand Made Pork Tamales

(click here to see how Karen makes them)

Pork Flat Iron Steak with Pineapple Chutney

Ancho chile marinated pork steak with a sweet pineapple chutney, sweet potato puree and a vegetable medley of chayote, yellow squash and zucchini.

Coconut Creme Brulee

John's Homemade Mocha Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thank you for 33 years!

Thank you to all of our patrons, vendors, and staff through these years that have made these last 33 years possible.
We love you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day After Thanksgiving Tradition: Steak Burrito

After 32 years of business, there are some things that patrons come to expect from the Franklin Inn. One of them is that we serve our popular Steak Burrito with stir-fried green beans the weekend after Thanksgiving. Once we switched it up and offered carrots instead of the green beans. Boy did I receive grief for that one.

Join as at the Inn tonite for these or your menu favs:

Karen made Chicken Dumpling Soup 
Steak Burrito: Char-grilled Steak and a creamy pimiento cheese sauce made with Monterey Jack in a flour tortilla. Served with stir-fried green beans.

Taquitos Dinner: Spiced chicken and cheese rolled in a corn tortilla, deep-fried until crispy with a chipolte ranch dipping sauce. Served with two sides.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad: If you are looking for something, lighter give this a try.  Yes. It is Mexican. Well....Italian-Mexican (but that's a great combo if you ask me!). It was invented in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur and chef in Tijuana, Mexico, living in San Diego but working in Tijuana to avoid Prohibition. Our version is created in-house with a homemade dressing and croutons over romaine lettuce and char-grilled chicken.

You can get your Christmas Shopping done
while you enjoying a margarita.
Give Your Loved Ones a Mini Mexican Vacation!
Franklin Inn Gift Cards Come in any amount.
No long lines. No returns. No Hassles.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Impress Your Guests With Tamales!

A Peek at the Making of Our Tamales
It's a Labor of Love : )

John was playing with the camera on his new iphone 4s while Chef Dale was making a batch of tamales a few days ago. The photos turned out great (making me and my iphone 3 envious!), so I thought I'd share them with you.  Nothing says special fiesta to me like a tamale. We don't have them on the menu all the time, but when we do, I am a happy happy person.  

Tamales aren't necessarily difficult to make--just time intensive. Give it a shot or we could do it for you. Our team will be happy to make you a fresh batch of tamales from scratch just like this. 

Here's that peek at how we hand roll tamales at the Inn....

The First Step is to prepare the corn husks. A warm water soak ensures that they are soft and pliable. A couple of hours do the trick. Next, the dough is prepared from Corn Masa Flour and a few other ingredients. In this case Chef Dale also added some pureed acorn squash to the dough. Nice touch.

Then, it is time to fill the tamales. The excess water is cleared from the corn husks and the dough is smeared on the husk.  Here's where experience and technique pay off.  Maybe Karen (our tamale-making pro) will share her secrets. She's been making tamales at the Inn for close to two decades. You could ask her for advice next time you visit the restaurant. The filling is placed in the middle so when folded it is completely encased with the delicious dough.

In this example we are using steamed cubed acorn squash and black beans. This one is great for our vegetarian friends. Our most popular fillings at the Inn are the spicy pork or the shredded chicken. My personal favorite is chorizo and potato followed closely by this black bean and squash version. Btw, the filling is prepared and cooked before we stuff our tamales. Don't over fill or you'll have a difficult time rolling them.

Now it is ready for steaming. It takes about two hours. Keep checking the water level and add water as needed to keep it up. Why no cute little bow? I asked the same question. The purpose of the bow is to keep the tamales together but because we nestle ours close together in a flat steam pan, they stay closed. Also, it is kinda awkward for customers to try to untie those little bows. They are more of a nuisance than a help. It is much easier to unfold and enjoy. : )

Here's one on the plate ready to eat. Complete with a Spicy Coconut Rum dipping sauce Chef Dale created. We typically serve chicken and chorizo tamales with a chipotle ranch and the pork tamales with green salsa made from tomatillos.Yum! 

When you unfold the tamale it will look something like this. Opps! Sorry....I took a few bites (or more) before the photograph was taken.  I couldn't resist. Making tamales from scratch like this is well worth it. Won't the other guests be impressed with this at the potluck? They make a great appetizer or dinner.  If you attempt it yourself, please let me know how it went and what filling you used. I can't wait to hear about it. 

If this is just too much time for you, or you are intimated by the thought, come visit us at the Inn to enjoy a tamale. We'll also be happy to cook you up a batch. Call John or Chef Dale at 412-366-4140 to order tamales for your next gathering. Check out our Catering-to-Go Menu here:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Need Help With Your Thanksgiving Preparations?

Add a unique and yummy touch to your Thanksgiving Feast with something homemade for you by the Franklin Inn. 

There are only a few days left until Thanksgiving. Whether you're the host wanting to supplement your turkey dinner with a few side dishes or a guest who's supposed to bring the dessert...we'd  love to take some of your holiday cooking off the "To Do" list.  Just order ahead and pick up on Wednesday. 

Here are a few ideas.
Check our menus online for additional information:
or contact John Cibula or Chef Dale at 412-366-4140.

Appetizers or Side Dishes
Tres Leches Cake, Sopaipillas
Peanut Butter Pie, Banana Blast, Margarita Pie

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Food Disaster Prevented.....with a Lemon

Last week I was making homemade Sloppy Joes for my family and my parents (which by the way are awesome with one of those meatloaf mixes of beef, veal, pork). It was a busy day and we needed something quick.  As usual, I was throwing ingredients in the pot regardless of any recipe. The last of the fresh parsley from my garden went in. It was green and it was fresh, so why not? Then, I opened my spice cupboard and reached for chile pepper powder with no preference in mind - either the cayenne pepper or ancho chile powder would have been fine.  I just wanted to add a little zip. Well, I was talking (with my hands, of course) and my hand slipped. A pinch of one of them became more like a few tablespoons. It happened so fast. Oops! I mixed it in anyway and sampled. Wowsy! Burning tongue! It was hot!  My first thought was that my father, my husband and my son were going to love it. With a big bun and a lot of shredded cheese, I could probably take the heat as well. But, my next thought was for my daughters and my mother. They'd never be able to eat this. Grace thinks pepperoni is spicy! What to do? I didn't have enough extra ingredients to increase the batch size around the chile powder. And, with Julia's diary allergies...the sour cream/milk route was not a viable solution. I recalled learning that acid cuts spice. I was skeptical but since I had a lemon on hand and didn't think it would hurt the flavor of my sloppy joes, I gave it try. A big squeeze of lemon went in the pot followed with a few good stirs. To my amazement it worked!  The heat was dramatically reduced. Everyone enjoyed the sloppy joes and a red alarm food emergency was avoided. I was so excited with my new found food weapon and all the various applications. I enthusiastically shared my experience with my husband, "We could try it with a lime at the Franklin Inn, if we ever accidentally make the salsa too spicy." My husband assured me that we could never make something too spicy at the restaurant. Someone would like it. (Hmm...I'll keep it in the tickler file in my brain anyway and remind him should the need arise.)  Do you know of a food super hero like my lemon that can save a meal from doom? Have you tried something that saved your meal from a food disaster? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mexican Independence Day Celebration at the Inn

Fietas Patrias

Join us at the Franklin Inn as we celebrate Fiestas Patrias this Weekend

Enjoy a Free Sopaipillas a week
from now until Cinco de Mayo
and other cool prizes. Winners names will be pulled from customer survey cards.
So please make sure you fill one what.  Care about your input.
You can share your winnings with an Amigo. This is a nice sized dessert!

Similar to our 4th of July, Independence day is celebrated in Mexico on September 15th and 16th. They call it the Fiestas Patrias (Patria means Country) and it is their biggest national holiday even more so than Cinco de Mayo. The history of this day goes back to September 16th in 1810, when Father Hidalgo rang the church bells in his church in Dolores and called on the people to take up arms to gain independence from Spain. That same bell is now rung each year. On the night of the 15th, the President of Mexico comes out on the balcony of the National Palace and rings Father Hidalgo's bell. He repeats some of Hidalgo's words, starting with: "Mexicans, Long Live Mexico!" (¡Mexicanos, que Viva México!). The crowds gather in the Main Square, and answer; "¡Viva!", as he waves the flag from the balcony. At the end of the third ¡Viva Mexico! the crowd goes wild waving flags, ringing noisemakers and spraying foam. Then fireworks light up the sky as the crowd cheers. After this, there are fireworks, music and a great fiesta that lasts into the night. This ceremony is repeated in cities and towns all over Mexico. The Governor, or the Municipal President gives the Cry of Dolores. In foreign lands, the Ambassador or Consul does it. Houses are decorated and flags are placed in windows and on cars. The next morning, on September 16th, most cities in Mexico have a big parade.

You can find more information regarding this holiday at the following links:

Friday, September 9, 2011

When was your last visit to the library?

Bread for Books Program
Tuesdays this Month at the Inn to Benefit
Northland Public Library.

"It was from my own early experience that I decided there was no use to which money could be applied so productive of good to girls and boys who have good within them and ability and ambition to develop it as the founding of a public library." - Andrew Carnegie

Last night Grace asked if I would drive her to school early. I was shocked. She loves riding the bus with her friends and she sleeps through the alarm that wakes the rest of us up. "Why early?" My new middle schooler explained that the IMS Library opens at 7:30 am but the bus doesn't get her to school in time to take advantage of it. With coffee in hand and hoping no one would notice that I was still in my pjs, I dropped her off this morning "early" before school. She was delighted at this new school freedom to visit the library on her own. 

This little event reminded me of how much all my children love the library and how important the library is to us. I have loved the library from my youth to motherhood for my own personal fact and fiction seeking adventures and for those of my children. My first paycheck even came from a library where I worked as a page. I guess that is why I was so excited when Traci (she's on the Foundation Board) approached me to be a restaurant for Northland Library's Bread for Books Program. I enthusiastically agreed to participate in Bread for Books. 

I know what the library has meant to me and my family. What about you? I'm sure you have your own memories and ways that you've utilized this valuable resource: maybe for a job search; perhaps you joined a book club; borrowed a classic; watched travel films; attended a seminar; helped your children with homework; checked your email; met a friend; etc. The library offers so much. 

You'll probably be visiting the Inn this week (or you wouldn't be bothering with this blog). Why not come on Tuesday and support the Northland Public Library too. Tuesdays this month 20% of your sales will go to benefit Northland Public Library. Visit this link for more info and for their coupon [Editor's note: link updated for June 2013]which you need to present to your server on Tuesday.

Thank you in advance for your support of this community treasure.

Update:  We are again participating in this program.  This time Tuesdays in June.

Monday, August 15, 2011

16 Year Old Dish Washer Helps Found Local Theater Company!

Second Taunt Theatre Company Founders at rehearsal.
I have another bright young employee to brag on today! 16 year old Sarah Paulson is mostly behind the scenes at the Franklin Inn washing dishes and attending to kitchen duties. But, this weekend she'll take center stage as Helena in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream put on by the Second Taunt Theatre Company.

The Second Taunt Theatre Company was recently formed by Sarah along with three friends (Annie, Joanna, and Mathilda - age 16-17). The girls became acquainted through Saltworks Theater and, with a shared love of Shakespeare, decided that A Midsummer Night's Dream would be the first performance. After many planning sessions in the Paulson living room and with a cast of youth ranging in age from 7 to 17, The Second Taunt Theatre Company will be putting on their show this weekend. The whole production is planned, organized, and performed by the kids.

The show is free; however, donations will be accepted for World Vision's Clean Water fund (Click here to find out more about the fund). The girls learned of the need for life-saving clean water while Mathilda was volunteering at World Vision and it touched their hearts.

Check out Second Taunt Theatre's premiere performance and support the efforts of these young people and their community theater. The show is only an hour and fifteen minutes long. The location is conveniently just a block south of the Franklin Inn. Join us afterwards for a late dinner or dessert. Here is the information that the Second Taunt Theatre Company has provided for me:

Looking for something to do ... that's FREE?
Want to support a good cause?
Feeling blue because summer is slipping away?

Friday, August 19 or
Saturday, August 20


Heritage Presbyterian Church OUTDOOR Chapel
Rain location: Fellowship Hall @ Heritage
2262 Rochester Road, Franklin Park, PA 15237

Admission: FREE
Donations will be accepted to benefit World Vision's Clean Water Fund.

Performed in an enchanted amphitheater nestled in the woods.
There are benches, but feel free to bring blankets and pillows!

When you bring four mixed-up lovers, a band of bumbling actors,
and a few mischievous faeries to a clearing in the woods, you're bound for excitement!

Second Taunt Theatre Company is a student-run organization.
From the actors to the director to the help, everyone is between the ages of 7 and 17.

Directed by Annie Utterback
Stage Managed by Joanna Weiss
Costumes/Props by Olivia Weiss

Hermia - Mathilda Savocchia
Lysander - George Burnet
Demetrius - Kevin Compliment
Helena - Sarah Paulson
Titania - Kaye Burnet
Oberon - Amber Flevaris
Puck - Kathryn Human
Nick Bottom - Eddie Miller
Peter Quince - Kate Stratmann
Tom Snout - Sara Lewis
Robin Starveling - Ryan Hilberg
Francis Flute - John Paulson
Snug / Egeus - A.J. Savocchia
Theseus- Jay Hadfield
Hippolyta - Emily Wilson
Philostrate / Faerie - Janine Paulson
Faerie Assistant - Mary Elena Savocchia

Come and enjoy free community theater, support a good cause, and experience Shakespeare like you've never seen it before!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thank you!

We raised $600 Together for the Ride for Ryan Fundraiser. Thank you so much for participation.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Stop on the Ride For Ryan.....The Franklin Inn

The First Stop before the Ride for Ryan begins is Tuesday, July 26, at the Franklin Inn Mexican Restaurant. Bring this coupon to the Inn for lunch or dinner and 20% of your bill will be donated to the Ryan Diviney Special Needs Trust.  You can enjoy a nice meal and help a family in need. Why are we doing this? Read on....

One of our regular Franklin Inn patrons and a good friend, John Maletta, is spearheading the Ride for Ryan to  benefit the medical needs of Ryan Diviney. The Ride is made up of a group of Clarion friends touched by the needs of the Diviney family. These men will be cycling 320-miles on the rail trail from Pittsburgh-to-Washington, DC the first week of August fueled by pledges from family and friends. All of the funds raised will assist the Diviney family with medical bills for their son, Ryan, who was a victim of senseless violence.

Maletta and John (Cibula) attended Clarion University with Ryan's father, Ken Diviney.  Twenty-year-old Ryan was a scholar student at West Virginia University. In November of 2009, he was savagely beaten and left for dead in a convenience store parking lot in Morgantown. Ryan is currently in an eyes-open coma with serious brain damage.

Maletta explains, "The past twenty months have been a living hell for Ken and his family. It is tremendously painful to watch them go through this life altering experience. Ken has had to quit his job in order to be Ryan's full-time caretaker. The Diviney's medical insurance doesn't even come close to covering their medical expenses for Ryan's treatments and their medical debt is mounting."

When Maletta approached us and asked if there was anything we could do through the Inn to help get the word out about his ride and the situation with the Diviney family, we of course, agreed. So, the first stop in preparation for the Ride for Ryan will be at the Franklin Inn on Tuesday, July 26.  Bring this coupon to the Inn (click here), and we'll donate 20% of your bill to Ryan Diviney's Special Needs Trust. This money will go directly to paying for Ryan's medical needs.

If you can't visit the Franklin Inn on Tuesday, July 26th, you can send your donation directly to:

Ryan Diviney Special Needs Trust
℅ Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion
20585 Ashburn Village Boulevard
Ashburn, VA 20147
NOTE: Please make checks payable to: Ryan Diviney SNT and put "Ride for Ryan" in the memo section of your check.

You can learn more about Ryan's story by viewing his web site at

Thank you for your support.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Franklin Inn has Our Own Zorro!

Brendon (left) at the Holy Grail 2011 Tournament.
You’ve probably met Brendon Beatty during one of your visits to the Franklin Inn.  He’s been with us for several years and can be seen mostly serving and sometimes even cooking (probably because he likes the shiny sharp objects in the kitchen!) This soft spoken server has another side unrelated to food….he’s a master swordsman.  That’s right! He is the Franklin Inn’s very own Zorro!

Brendon is actually a Champion Fencer, Master Swordsman, and USFCA Certified Instructor with years of experience in tournament competition and teaching others.  He is the former coach of the then Championship winning Taylor Allderdice Fencing Team (My Alma mater by the way!). He continues to share his knowledge and history of the sport he loves through his Corsair School of Arms.

Leanne at the Tiger Fencing,
Women's Foil Competition.
Corsair stands for Club of Renaissance Swordsmanship and Interpretive Reenactment.  Corsair provides both Sport Fencing and Historical Fencing (Dueling) with period weapons. I told you he’s our Zorro! I visited one of his practices and was surprised to see that it was multi-generational not just kids and teens.  I should also note that Corsair is not just for the boys. In fact, another Franklin Inner is also involved and receiving accolades: Leanne Woods looks sweet and smiley when she is serving you a margarita but she is a worthy opponent as evidenced by her progress in the sport. In their last competition at the Holy Grail 2011 Tournament the Corsair Team entered with a Mixed Saber Team and won first place. Corsair will be competing again July 30th at the 2011 Keystone Tournament Games in Hershey, PA. Good Luck Brendon, Leanne and the rest of Team Corsair.
Brendon's dad, Vince (middle)
During my visit to Corsair’s practice, I was warmly welcomed by Brendon’s father, Vince.  He enthusiastically explained what we were observing, the various weapons used and the history of fencing (like why fencers wear white...see for the answer to that and some cool fencing facts). I was hooked and intrigued by the eloquence of this sport and how it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood authors, Dumas, whose stories brought romantic ideals alive for me…the struggle between good and evil, the triumph of truth, forgiveness, noble intentions, honor and true love. Hoping to live vicariously through my children, I just about begged them to be my three little musketeers and give fencing a try.  Alexandre who? The Count of What? They’re in a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” reading world. My mention of the Princess Bride and Zorro was also met with a blank stare. I switched tactics and told Joey that he would learn to battle like a Jedi with his light saber and reminded the girls of how much they loved the Barbie and the Musketeers movie.  That sparked some interest!

Corsair Saber Team at Holy Grail 2011.
Setting aside the romantic notions of the classics or images of modern pop movie heroes engaged in battle; fencing in reality is a great sport to stay fit mentally and physically.  You’ll also learn hand eye coordination, balance, stamina, agility, and what "En garde" really means.  Consider visiting Brendon to find out more about fencing. You will be fascinated by his and his father's fencing knowledge. Corsair currently meets at Heritage Church just a block south of the Franklin Inn.  Most recently, practices are held on Monday and Thursday nights but the schedule does change occasionally, so contact Brendon for updated days and times. He can be reached at or Feel free to ask Brendon about Corsair next time you visit the Franklin Inn as well.  He's at the restaurant at some point (pun intended) most days of the week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happier Waiting at the Inn?

“NoWait” is One New Way We Are Striving
to Improve Our Service to You

We love you and appreciate that you are willing to wait to eat at the Franklin Inn on busy nights, but we want to do better by you if we can. Most of you don’t mind chatting in the bar with a margarita until your table is available. For others who have children (I know....we have three!) or places to go, a wait can be more difficult.  Folks currently seated need time to enjoy their meal from appetizers to dessert without feeling rushed but we also know that you are in our door way waiting to be seated too. Enter “NoWait.”  A cool new ipad tool developed locally to help better manage the seating list resulting in a happier wait.

Now, when you visit the Franklin Inn on a night where a wait list has developed: 
You’ll check in with the host as usual. In addition, she'll ask for your cell phone number to text you when your table is ready. The host will send you a text with your estimated time. This gives you freedom of movement! You can enjoy a margarita at the bar, wait on our patio, read a magazine article in your car, take the kids for a walk along Oakleaf Lane, etc.  You may even have enough time to run a quick errand or return to your nearby home to pick up the teen who was still fixing her hair when you left! You don’t have to worry about missing the host yelling out your name or have the nuisance of holding on to or being out of range with one of those traditional clunky restaurant pagers.  Just keep your cell phone on and handy (and keep in mind the host’s estimated time before you go too far!).  When you get the table-is-ready-text, return to the host to be seated. Or, you can text back and say that you’re not ready to be seated. We'll return you to the list and seat the next group. It's that simple. I'm told that any cell phone or smart phone with texting capabilities should work.

After your meal, you’ll receive another text from us asking you if you'd like to opt into our text message service to receive updates and other special offers.  If you decline, your phone number is wiped out of the system. If you do opt in, however, you may receive additional goodies from us occasionally. (The best deal is to join our email program, the Inn Crowd, where you'll receive the eInnSider Update, birthday certificates and more.)  We will never ever misuse or give your contact information to anyone else.  

What happens if you don't have a phone with texting capability? No problem. Just stay close by and the host will call out your name when your table is ready. Our intent is simply to serve you better.

“NoWait” offers you more freedom of movement with a more pleasant wait. We'll be testing this program for the next six months to see if you are better served through the use of it.  Bear with us as we work through the initial kinks and all hosts are trained. Let us know what you think of it once you’ve had the opportunity to experience “NoWait.”  We appreciate your input.

Friday, May 20, 2011

We'll be at Cocktails & Cuisine Benefit for Crisis Center North Tonite!

What are you doing this weekend? John, Carrie, Cody and I are headed to the Cocktails and Cuisine Benefit for Crisis Center North. If you are attending, stop by the Franklin Inn table and say, "hi." We'll be serving Potato Pepper Soup and Chorizo Bites. It should be a fun night. And, it looks like we are going to have great weather.

Visit their website or check out this video to find out more about the great work that Crisis Center North is doing.

If you aren't attending, join Mari Kay and the rest of the gang at the Inn. We have a great weekend lined up and, of course, your menu favorites are also available.Check out the weekend features here:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Congratulations Kristen!

Pictured above (pun intended) is the Inn's own multi-talented, Kristen Thomas. Her photo to the right was selected from a few hundred photographs to be included in Point Park University's Mirrors and Windows exhibit. The caption under the photograph says: " Untitled" a Carbon Pigment Print.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jalapeño PopCorn Recipe

Many of you have requested the recipe for our Jalapeño PopCorn. John was inspired to create it years ago when a customer raved about a pepper popcorn that he had eaten at a bowling alley. John thought to himself, "with all the fresh ingredients we have around here, we should be able to make a kick-butt spicy popcorn." Karen took over and perfected John's original recipe. I've been trying to get the details from John or Karen on how we make the Jalapeño Popcorn. Both of them give me slightly different versions (John uses fresh garlic and Karen uses garlic powder).

* Vegetable Oil (amount per instructions on popcorn you use)
* Fresh Garlic thinly diced or garlic powder (if using garlic powder add at end in bowl)
* Jalapeno thinly sliced and diced (Again to taste-Karen uses about a tablespoon per half cup of kernels).
Leave a few thin round slices to impress a guest. Looks pretty but be careful about eating it unless you like it hot.
* A Good Quality Pop Corn
* Butter
* Garlic Powder and Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large deep pot.  If using fresh garlic add now along with diced jalapeño and popcorn kernels.  Mix and sauté until all the flavors are infused in the oil and kernels are well coated.  Kernels should start to pop. Be mindful of the directions on the brand you use. Move the cooked popcorn to a large serving bowl.  If you are using garlic powder like Karen, add it now along with salt and melted butter to taste. Heck...I love garlic so I vote for both fresh and powder in mine!

There you have it: spicy and tasty Jalapeno popcorn. We've been serving it up at the Inn for over a decade to rave reviews. Let me know if you attempt it. Or, just join us for Jalapeño PopCorn Happy Hour in our bar on Wednesdays. You can also use a Jalapeño Salt Topping, but trust me you won't get the same rich deep flavor as using the real stuff.  Enjoy!