It’s believed that German monks first made pretzels to look like arms crossed in prayer. Wait in line at Jo Jo’s Pretzels on an empty stomach, like I did, and you can’t deny those knots look divine with their glistening halos of butter.
Jo Jo’s is one of several restaurants participating in Goshen Dining Days, including The Electric Brew.
And if you’re racing through all participating restaurants before the event ends Saturday, April 25, think of these two eateries as pit stops. Their specials make for a light but delectable segue.
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Jo Jo’s Pretzels has a $5 special which includes a pretzel, dipping sauce and a large drink. Pretzels come in nine flavors, including original, whole wheat, salt and vinegar, dill pickle, ranch, cinnamon, garlic, parmesan and sour cream and onion.
You can get one of eight dipping sauces to go with it, such as cheddar cheese, Nutella hazelnut chocolate, icing, pizza sauce, regular, vegetable and strawberry cream cheese. If those sauces aren’t up your alley, you can also get a side of hot or sweet mustard, or – if you hate yourself – sriracha.
Much to the chagrin of loved ones and crowded buses, my pretzel flavor of choice is garlic. I filled up on cheddar cheese and hot mustard sauces to go along with my knot.
The outer crust of the pretzel was crisp, but its middle was soft and fluffy. Even though each knot is dipped in butter, it wasn’t oily to the touch.
The cheddar cheese was light and didn’t compete with the taste of the pretzel. The savory hot mustard, on the other hand, was stronger and masked the flavor of the knot itself.
But even if pretzels aren’t your thing, Jo Jo’s Pretzels is donating ten percent of all its sales during Goshen Dining Daystowards the Share the Bounty program at the Goshen Farmers Market — not just sales of the Dining Days special. The menu also offers wraps, soups and salads.
Jo Jo’s Pretzels’ special is not a belt buster, but it’s filling enough for a light lunch. Honestly, I could go for two, maybe three more but, then again, I’m sure my eternity is promised to the third circle of Dante’s Inferno.
I also had to pace myself because I had one more stop for Goshen Dining Days — a place I often hunker down on a cold, winter afternoon with my hands squeezing a cup of chai latte for warmth.
The Electric Brew is offering morning, midday and evening specials for Goshen Dining Days.
In the morning, you can get various combinations of baked goods, coffee or specialty drinks. In the afternoon, you can order ahead for coffee and dessert trays to bring to work if you’re in the mood to make some friends.
In the evening, you can get two desserts or tapas with a pair of coffees or specialty drinks.
Tapas are basically appetizers, also known as small plates, and The Electric Brew has a featured dish for every day of Goshen Dining Days.
It makes this account of their tapas plate outdated, as I visited the eatery Wednesday, April 23 and had the cheese platter with bread and cheese.
Featured plates for the rest of Dining Days include espresso with vanilla ice cream Friday evening and a strawberry pie with whipped cream Saturday.
The platter I sampled had two slices of herb and sesame bread, as well as several cuts of cranberry walnut, pepper jack and cheddar cheese.
The herb bread was light and flavored with rosemary. The sesame bread was heartier, and the seeds gave the slice a nutty, roasted taste.
The cranberry walnut cheese was moist but crumbled in the mouth. Its light cheesiness was punctuated by a burst of flavor each time I bit down on a cranberry. The two other cheeses were equally as light, with the pepper jack cheese lending a little heat to the palate.
For two people, this would be more of a snack you’d have after dinner than a meal in itself.
Being within easy walking distance of other participating restaurants, such as Constant Spring, Kelly Jae’s Cafe and Venturi, you might want to consider popping in for this special between meals.
And The Electric Brew still has two different dessert tapas before Goshen Dining Days concludes Saturday, so if I were you, I’d get hungry.