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A CASE OF THE MEXICALI BLUES

Early next year, a new tenant will take over the former Molly Brannigans at 101 Adams Ave. in downtown Scranton. Mexicali Blue Cantina and Grill will be owned by restaurateur Dave Magrogan, who also owns the Kildare’s on Lackawanna Avenue and the future Doc Magrogan’s Fish Market at the Shoppes at Montage in Moosic.

“I liken (Mexicali Blue) to a Mexican cantina meets Quentin Tarantino,” the West Chester, Pa.-based Magrogan told Dish Tuesday. “It’s going to have a fun cantina/rock ’n’ roll vibe to it.”

Magrogan said Mexicali Blue is just a working name right now and others are being tossed around. With permits, the liquor license transfer and renovations, he doesn’t have a clear estimate for when the restaurant will open, but it should come after the new year. Doc Magrogan’s should open in the late winter/early spring in the former Kildare’s location at the Shoppes.

“I think it’s a great location,” Magrogan said of the Adams Avenue site. “We’re very, very happy with our Kildare’s location and our neighbors. We like the town, we like the people.”

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty told Dish that seven groups were interested in the Molly Branningan’s space, and three were “really, really serious.”

“At the end, it came down to Mexicali Blue, and we’re really happy with them,” Doherty said. “Two of the other ones probably will go elsewhere in the downtown.”

GO VEGAN

I acquired some fall-flavored treats from Vegan Treats Bakery (1444 Linden St., Bethlehem) last week, and I am completely in love.

The 100-percent vegan bakery, founded by Danielle Konya, has served the New York City and Philadelphia areas for the past 10 years. Konya’s desserts have earned her a Best Bakery PETA Proggy Award — which recognizes animal-friendly achievement in 21st century culture and commerce, among other awards. She’s also baked for celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, Daryl Hannah and Joan Jett.

In my box of sweet goodness were four impeccably decorated desserts: pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, caramel apple cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake and caramel pecan cake.

The pumpkin cake, with a cinnamon-dusted skull on top, had super-creamy icing, and the cake tasted like carrot cake. It was unbelievably moist, and I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s tied for first place with the caramel pecan cake — I’m such a sucker for cake! The latter was rolled in crushed pecans and was topped with gooey caramel. It was heaven, and I couldn’t stop eating this one either. Second place goes to the caramel apple cheesecake, which tasted like a pecan apple pie atop the creamiest cheesecake ever. It was ridiculously good and not too rich. The pumpkin cheesecake, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a cinnamon stick, was tasty, but when compared to the other goodies, it just didn’t hold a candle in my gluttonous eyes.

I feel no guilt about not sharing, especially considering Vegan Treats treats are cholesterol free, trans fat free and have one-third less fat and calories than normal baked goods, which is definitely worth a road trip to me. You can come if you want, but you’ll have to get your own box of goodies.

For more info on Vegan Treats Bakery, call 610.861.7660 or visit www.vegantreats.com. Some of the bakery’s items are also available at Everybody’s Café (905 Main St., Stroudsburg, 424.0896).

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