Strange Brew – Best Little Coffee Shop In Town

Looking For Some Good Coffee?

Strange Brew - Jim Thorpe, PAJim Thorpe is known for it’s small town charms but nestled in this quiet little town is a small coffee shop named Strange Brew and you wouldn’t expect such a place in a town like this. Strange Brew is a total sleeper when it comes to ambiance. The locals love it and have posted great reviews on Trip Advisor.

Strange Brew is an eclectic, music inspired coffee shop that has the coolest vibe, with many pictures of music legends on the walls. Several have commented on the folks hanging out with dreads and assortment of locals of all ages.

The Strange Brew has a full array of coffees, as well as well as lattes, espresso, and blended juice drinks.  In fact, they have an incredible herbal tea made with some of the herbs you will find right down the street at the “One Stop Herb Shop.”

They even serve coffee with candy a very interesting mixture that is a good seller. Many comment on the walls with the pictures of musicians painted on them, which is a stroll down memory lane.

Some of the amazing musical art at Strange BrewThe décor is very relaxing and being able to sit on a couch while enjoying coffee is much like being at home but with the excitement of sitting around with others enjoying a wonderful cup of joe.

The Locals

When the locals all hang out in a particular place it must be good and a great way to experience the local flavor of our quaint little town. Places like Jim Thorpe are sleepers when it comes to learning about the people who made our Country what it is today.

These towns all housed people who, with their hands, worked jobs that enabled others to live lives in a freedom that has never been duplicated. Seeing how they lived and played is quite an education.

When in Jim Thorpe check it out and see for yourself. You will enjoy your visit to this little town as well as a relaxing drive through the Pennsylvania Countryside.

Smokehouse On Wheels

Walnutport smokehouse-on-wheels offers lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’, chin-dribblin’, rib-stickin’ Kansas City style barbecue

Jake's BarBQueEven if you don’t notice the smokehouse-on-wheels parked alongside the Fast Fill Mobil Station in Walnutport, you’re bound to smell the hickory smoke wafting as you drive past it on Rt. 145.I did. So I pulled off the road and parked in front of Crazy Jakes’ BBQ Pit and said “hello” to owner, Jake Trumbore of Slatedale.

Jake Trumbore and his son, Jake, been here since April 5. “This is something I always wanted to do,” said Jake. “I bought this rig just to do parties and picnics and decided to go full time with it.”

The “rig” is a smokehouse restaurant on wheels. It has a holding oven, and an enclosed food preparation area with refrigeration, hot and cold wells and sink. The large drum smoker is mounted outside. It has an external firebox with dampers for the air-in and the smoke-out.

“I’ve been barbequing as a hobby for twenty-something years,” Jake continued. “Barbecuing always intrigued me. I’m from Kansas City originally. So I learned Kansas City style barbecue.”

While Texas is known for its smoked brisket with a spicy sauce, and North Carolina is known for its pulled pork topped with a vinegar and mustard-based sauce, Kansas City – the home of over 90 barbecue restaurants – is known to smoke just about anything and tops it with a sweet spicy tomato based sauce.

Jake makes his own sauce that he takes up a notch with cayenne pepper. “I like it spicy,” he noted.

Ask to take a look inside his smoker and depending on the time of day you’re likely to see beef brisket, pork butts, pork spare ribs, chickens, or wings slowly rotating in a thick fog of mellow hickory, apple or cherry wood smoke.

Smoking requires slow cooking at a low temperature. Jake adjusts his smoker to hold a steady 250 degrees. This will cook a 2 –15 lbs. brisket or 8-10 lbs. pork butt in 12 hours. Ribs take three to four hours and chickens take an hour.

At 7 a.m., Jake starts his fire using a bag of charcoal to get a bed of coals going. Then, it’s wood the rest of the day. Smoking brisket and pork is such a long process that the meat that you see smoking is actually for tomorrow. The brisket and pork that Jake’s serving today was smoked yesterday and then allowed to braise overnight in its juices. Then it is placed in the 170 degree holding box where the continued slow moist cooking tenderizes the meat to the point that it falls apart.

That’s the meat that Jake piles on a sandwich. On the sandwich, he offers onions, pickles and barbeque sauce. “That’s a Jake tradition,” he said. “That’s the way I always ate them. I give a big sandwich and it fills you up.” It is a lot of food. I ordered a brisket sandwich to go and it lasted for two meals.

“So why barbecue?” I asked.

“It’s flavorful,” explained Jake. “The wood makes it so good. It’s a different taste. It’s all about flavor.”

Jake has his own spice rub, “Also a Jake tradition is the spice in my own rub. Before I cook the meat, I put a dry rub on it. My own rub.” and the sauce “I make my own barbeque sauce, Crazy Jake’s barbeque sauce.”

Barbecuing uses a lot of aromatic hardwood and initially Jake had to search for a source to supply him. “Some tree cutters started eating here and I started talking to them,” Jake said. “They asked me where I got my wood. Now, when they cut a hickory or an apple tree, they split it up for me and I buy it off them.”

Although Crazy Jakes’ is currently parked in Walnutport, on any given day, he might be called to cater a party. He’s done several and is getting ready to set up for one at Cabelas.

Crazy Jakes’ plans to be open from April until November, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to “around 8 p.m. unless I sell out first, which I do often.” To check if he is open, call 610-217-8959.

The Horse Painter

Palmerton artist lives a life of agony and ecstacy.

Do you like to paint horses?

“Oh, yeah!” ecstatically responds 49-year-old Patti Delong of Palmerton as she points to a photorealistic acrylic painting displayed at the Carbon County Art Show. “Especially when I can paint horses the way these are coming out.”

Man O'War's legacy- War Admiral & Seabiscuit donated to Horse Rescue organizationShe has a warm spot in her heart for horses and in this painting Delong honors three of the world’s greatest racehorses: legendary chestnut Thoroughbred Man O’War, his son – triple crown winner – War Admiral, and his grandson – the winner of the greatest match race in American history – Seabiscuit.

Delong once owned horses. She once rode a motorcycle. Now there are days that she cannot even hold a paintbrush much less walk up several steps.

Over the past twenty years a combination of wrist, knee and shoulder problems led to nearly twenty surgeries—many improving the immediate problem but introducing a debilitating long-term problem.

Delong describes herself as having a tendency towards developing scar tissue. Each time she has an operation, the disturbed area reforms as an enlarged stiff scar.

It started in 1984 with her first operation—to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. It was just before carpal tunnel became better known because of this syndrome developing amongst computer users.

Delong thinks it runs in her family. After she had the operation, both her brother and sister had to have their carpal tunnels operated on. But by then, their surgeons needed to cut only one inch on each wrist. Delong’s surgeon cut four inches on each wrist—with the extra distance extending into the palms of her hands. When her surgery healed, the resulting scarring made painting difficult. Attempts to correct this problem led to further surgeries and further scarring.

Delong was diagnosed with arthritis in her knees – both her parents have this problem – and arthritis in the rotator cuff of her right shoulder. But while she can still hold a paintbrush in her right hand, her shoulder is often too weak or painful to support it when she works on an easel.

“There are days that I can’t paint,” said Delong. “There are times that my paintbrush will flip up and go airborne. It hurts but I’m not going to stop.”

Delong was born in Catasauqua in 1956, graduated from Catasauqua High School and studied commercial art at North Hampton County Area Community College. She worked at Tarkett Flooring as a photo-engraver until laid off in 1985 when she found work on a highway construction project. On the side, Delong painted motorcycle gas tanks for a local dealer.

She took a job taking care of 28 Arabian horses at a Danielsville horse farm. Soon, she fenced her yard and bought her first horse, an Arabian. “I broke the Arabian myself,” Delong said as her mind seemed to wander to a happier time. “Oh no. I didn’t do the bucking bronco thing. He just stood there and I was so happy.”

By 1990, the worsening condition of her hands and knees made riding impossible. So she sold the Arabian. “But I had this property with a fence all around and nothing out there, so I got an older quarter horse—just to mow the grass,” said Delong. “He was fun. You don’t have to ride a horse to have fun.” When he got too old, Delong got her last horse, a Tennessee Walker.

Two years ago when she could neither walk up her front steps nor afford the horse, she faced up to the fact that she would soon be living without the animal that she so dearly loved.

She moved in with her sister to a house in Palmerton once owned by her mother’s parents. And Delong began to paint horses.

She has painted a series of famous racehorses. “They would make a terrific calendar,” she said.

A current favorite among her paintings of horses is one of Singletary – winner of the Breeder’s Cup, a horse that bullied its way through the pack to win a $1.54 million purse at odds of 17 – 1.

The well-muscled Singletary, got its name from equally well-muscled Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker, Mike Singletary.

Delong envisioned a scene of the linebacker floating in a cloud above the racehorse. She painted the jockey and the horse’s blanket in the Chicago Bears colors of navy, orange and white to bind the characters to one another and painted a 5 on the blanket and a zero on the bridle. Mike Singletary’s number is 50. “I guess the owners of Singletary, just liked Mike,” Delong figured.

Unfortunately, when people think racehorses, they do not think of Carbon County, and consequently, even the best paintings of racehorses don’t sell very well locally.

She has made some sales on eBay. But eBay is a little like horseracing as Delong noted, “Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I lost my shirt.”