Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chicken Riggies

We were headed up to Utica, NY to watch our granddaughter while her mom and dad went to a wedding and a few people said that we had to try the chicken riggies while we were in the area. We stopped at Carmela's in New Hartford and I ordered it.

The dish is chicken, olives, sweet and hot peppers, and a pink sauce over rigatoni. Nothing really exotic, but the flavor combinations are quite nice. I would have preferred the pasta cooked a bit more, but I'm not an al dente fan and that seems to be the style upstate.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Photographic recap of the 2015 Greenwich Wine+Food Festival

If a picture paints a thousand words, then I present you a novella in this photo recap of the 2015 Greenwich Wine+Food Festival. This was our third visit, and perhaps the best as the premier food event in the region just gets better every year. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Copperfield's Pub- Montgomery, NY

Copperfield's Pub is a place that, regrettably, I have not visited in some time. I think the main reason for not doing so is the close proximity to home. We have been trying to ht different places and have neglected our own back yard. Today I had a craving for a good burger, I'd had a veggie burger earlier and I needed to cleanse my palate after that fiasco, so we decided to stop by Copperfield's to see if they are as good as we remember. 

Copperfield's has been around for over thirty years and is still run by the Purcell family. It is long and narrow inside. The design is of an Irish Victorian Kildare Pub with plenty of wood and charm. We ate in the back sunroom. 

After quickly looking over the menus we decided on burgers. I went with the ranch burger at ten bucks which had bacon, cheddar, and ranch dressing. Excellent burger and it came with some wonderful waffle fries. Teresa had the pub burger at nine bucks and she said hers was excellent as well. Although the beer menu is quite extensive, with many craft beers on tap, we passed and went with ice water. 

Overall, a great place to grab a bite and a drink. The prices are right, the food very good, and the service friendly and attentive. They do get quite busy on the weekends. I promise it won't be so long before we head back again. They have a website for more information. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Victory Brewing Company- Downingtown, Pa

I have family in Downingtown, Pennsylvania so Victory is a must stop to have a pint, fill a growler, or pick up some bottles to go. They do serve food, but I've had mixed results with it. Not so the beer as it is always excellent. The one thing I keep meaning to do is get a flight, but I usually know what I want. 

My new favorite of theirs is Dirt Wolf, a double IPA wiggling in at 8.7%. It has a nice flavor without a heavy alcohol ease. Storm King Stout is right up there too. It is an Imperial Stout at 9.2% and goes well with chocolate. 

But Hop Devil is still my favorite. At 6.7% it's a nice American India Pale Ale that I love with a burger or pizza. 

When I want something lighter I go for a Headwaters. At 5.2% you can have a couple of them and it seems to go well with a burger, steaks, fish tacos, or just about anything. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rushing Duck Brewing- Chester, NY

In the quaint little village of Chester there sits the Rushing Duck Brewing Company. The tasting room, no food served here, is in the back of an old warehouse off Main Street. The place is small and unassuming, but they produce some amazing beer. 

I popped in on a Saturday afternoon and the place was hopping (sorry, bad beer pun) but I got served rather quickly by the friendly and helpful staff. I went with an eight dollar flight to get a sampling of about a third of their offerings. Read them from left to right. The Baby Elephant, an IPA weighing in at 4.4% was quite refreshing with a moderate hoppiness. Next was the Naysayer Pale Ale at 5.27% which was quite nice. The middle one was the Beanhead, a coffee Porter at 5.7% which was amazing. Fourth up was the Divided by Zero at 6.8% and it was good. Last was the War Elephant, a double IPA and a  stronger version of the Baby Elephant weighing in at 8.6%. Nice.

The winner was the Beanhead and I brought home a growler of it for fifteen bucks. 

Overall, excellent brews and friendly staff. Stop by sometime,

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Greenwich Wine and Food Festival 2015 Updates

Greenwich, CT – With the fifth annual GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, presented by Serendipity magazine ( and benefitting Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund, less than a month away, event organizers have announced some exciting additions to this year’s festival, including:

·      The addition of an intimate, champagne dinner on Wednesday, September 23 with Chef Rui Correia of Douro Restaurant.  The five-course dinner, accompanied by awarded select champagnes including Dom Pérignon, Krug, Moët & Chandon, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot, will be held at the new Gaia Restaurant, 355 Greenwich Ave, Greenwich CT.

·      Kathie Lee Gifford will host, along with special guest Geoffrey Zakarian, Thursday’s Wine Dinner event at The J House Greenwich.  The evening will include a four course prix fixe menu from Chef Conor Horton, paired with Kathie Lee’s own GIFFT Wines.

·      James Beard award winning chef, health advocate and author Rocco DiSpirito will be hosting Friday evening’s Most Innovative Chefs Gala, which will also feature special guest John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, honoring the fourteen chefs who will be celebrated as this year’s class of Most Innovative Chefs.  In addition, a silent auction will be held to benefit Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, and the evening will be capped off by a performance from legendary Reggae group, The Wailers.

·      Celebrity culinary talents who will be leading culinary demonstrations and sommelier presentations in Saturday’s Culinary Village at the AITORO & DACOR Celebrity Chef Demo Tents, presented by Balducci’s, including chef restaurateur, author and television personality (“Chopped,” “Iron Chef” and “The Kitchen”) Geoffrey Zakarian; chef, author and television personality (“Chopped” and “Iron Chef”) Alex Guarnaschelli; author and television personality (“Man v. Food,” “Man Finds Food” and “Food Fighters”) Adam Richman; Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman (also cookbook author and host of “Kimberly’s Simply Southern” cooking show); television personality, author, singer, playwright, songwriter and partner in GIFFT wine Kathie Lee Gifford; chef and “Top Chef” winner Harold Dieterle; chef and winner of Food Network’s “Extreme Chef” Terry French; New York City chef Paul Denamiel; chef and television personality (“Chef Wanted” and “Frankenfood”) Kevin Des Chenes; and Belgian Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobandt. 

“Deciding how to celebrate our fifth year hosting this fabulous event was no small feat, and I couldn’t be more excited about the food, beverage and music options we are sharing with the community, all to benefit such amazing causes,” said Suni Unger, Founder & CEO of Unger Publishing, the publisher of Serendipity magazine. 

In addition to the above updates, the schedule for Saturday’s Culinary Village, the center of the entire GREENWICH 2015 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, has been announced as follows:

·      12:30-5:30pm - Grand Tasting Tent, hosting more than 150 food and beverage vendors (the first 1000 ticket buyers will be notified prior to the event that they have early access at 11:30 am.

·      12:30-5:30pm - AITORO & DACOR Celebrity Chef Demo Tents, presented by Balducci’s, featuring entertaining and instructional demonstrations from local and national culinary talent.

·      12:30-6:00pm - Celebrity Green Room, presented by and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, hosting attending celebrities, culinary experts and musicians being interviewed by industry experts in a luxury lounge.

·      12:30-5:30pm - Cocktail Demo Tent, presented by Watson’s Catering, showcasing Sommeliers, Mixologists and Brewmasters demonstrating their craft.

·      12:30-10:00pm - Festival VIP Tent, offering private bars, secluded seating areas, private restrooms, private concert viewing area and a special VIP Big Easy Dinner hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli, featuring the Festival Honored Ambassador Chefs preparing their signature small plates with a New Orleans twist on the fare and early-evening entertainment from Funky Meters, comprised of Art Neville, Ian Neville, George Porter Jr. and Russell Batiste Jr.  (Open to VIP Ticket Holders only).

·      1:30pm - The Empire City Casino Tent gives guests the chance to try their luck for incredible prizes playing black jack and other casino games while indulging in “The Spiked Cow Wow" – a signature cocktail of Matt Heisel, Executive Sous Chef at Empire City Casino. Non-alcoholic "Cow Wow" also available.

·      1:00-5:00pm - Celebrity Bookstore, presented by Barbara Zaccagnini, offering guests the chance to meet the minds behind cookbooks and culinary reads.

·      3:30-8:30pm - Budweiser + Burgers Tent, inviting guests to taste and vote for the best burger from local restaurants.

·      3:30-8:30pm - The Grill Master Party with Extreme Chef Terry French, offering up custom-crafted BBQ creations for guests to sample.

·      4:30pm - Burger Battle hosted by Adam Richman in the Budweiser + Burgers Tent, featuring local restaurants serving up their custom-crafted burgers for judging by a panel of Festival Celebrity Guests including Geoffrey Zakarian, Rocco Dispirito, Terry French, Harold Dieterle and Alex Guarnaschelli.

·      5:30-7:00pm - Top Bartender Showdown in the Empire City Casino tent, featuring area bartenders serving custom cocktails created with KEEL Vodka to be judged by a panel of judges, as well as offering samples to all guests for a People’s Choice Award.

·      6:00-8:30pm - Tacos & Tequila!, featuring local restaurants showing off their top taco dish.

·      7:00-10:00pm - Main Festival Stage, presented by Pepsi, featuring headliner and CMA Award-winning country group Little Big Town performing at 8:30pm.

·      7:00-10:00pm - Saturday on Stage Dinner, offering 100 guests the opportunity to view the concert from an elevated platform just feet away from the stage, while enjoying dinner from On the Marc Catering with premium liquor, wine and beer (this is a separate ticketed event).

·      FREE parking will be available on Saturday at Greenwich Plaza and at the Horseneck Lane Commuter Parking Lot, with guest shuttles sponsored by The Ashforth Company.

Visit for more information and updates about the event schedule, participating celebrity and local chefs, musical talent and more. Ticket sales are now open and are available through community ticket partners, or by calling 203.588.1363.  The event’s Facebook page,, will be announcing restaurant participants and schedule updates, as available.

The event will be held rain or shine, and anyone under 21, including infants or strollers, will not be admitted.  Animals are also not permitted.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pomodoro- Downingtown, Pa.

Pomodoro is a new Italian restaurant in Downingtown. It is located a couple of blocks from the Victory Brewing Company, which may help them out. They've only been there two months now, but when we stopped by on a Sunday evening there was a twenty minute wait for a table inside. Even though it was getting a bit chilly, we opted to eat outside where there was no wait. 

Teresa and our daughter went with the gnocchi at fourteen bucks. The portion was large and the meal was excellent. Brian went with the sausage and pepper hero and I opted for the meatball parm at eight and eight fifty respectively. Brian said his was very good, and mine was good. We got slices for the kids. 

The service was excellent, the food good, the prices right, and the ambiance nice. I hope they continue to do well and we'll be back. Oh, and they are BYOB. Since they are so close to Victory I'd recommend picking up a growler and bringing it with you. 

Taco Maya- Exton, Pa

Taco Maya is a really neat little Mexican restaurant with great food at low prices. I got two tilapia tacos and a barbocoa one for $7.50 and Teresa got a three taco plate for the same. Everything was fresh tasting so I asked the girl at the counter and she said they make everything there as needed. The staff is friendly, the food good, and the ambiance nice. Stop by sometime.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Clyde's- Washington, DC

Clyde's Restaurant group runs about fourteen places in the greater Capital Region, each one with a unique flair to match the setting. We went to the Clyde's of Gallery Place on 7th Street, near the Verizon Center. It has the pleasant feel of a private sporting club from a century ago with high ceilings, dark wood, and pictures of presidents. The kind of place that makes you feel like you should be wearing a jacket and tie, yet casual enough to wear shorts and a shirt. 

The service was excellent and after perusing the menus we decided on burgers. I went with a bacon and blue cheese with fries and Teresa ordered a cheeseburger with a cucumber salad as her side. The burgers were excellent. They were cooked just right and properly seasoned, well worth the fourteen bucks for each. Next time I think I will go with the shrimp and grits.   

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Positalia- Wilmington, NC

Positalia is a cool new, and locally owned, place in the Mayfaire Mall, near Five Guys. The concept is interesting, you choose from a wrap, a pasta bowl, or a salad and add your meat. Then choose a sauce and some toppings and they assemble it while you wait. Okay, this sounds a bit like an Italian version of Chipotle, but it is much better. 

I went with the piadini, a wrap, and added sausage, onions and peppers, marinara sauce, cheese, more peppers, and some other things for $7.35. It was quite good and everything tasted fresh. Teresa and Rachel went with pasta bowls in different combinations, and they were quite happy. For the baby we got a side of meatballs. 

I can see this restaurant doing well, and there is a huge potential for expansion as the concept is different and interesting. If you are in the area stop by sometime and see for yourself. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Front Street Brewery- Wilmington, NC

Front Street Brewery is the oldest brewery in town, close to twenty years old, and I have been there a few dozen times. The food is good, and cheap, and it is a fun place. This time I stopped by to take a closer look at the beer and see how they stack up against the newcomers in town.

I went with a flight and it had the Port City IPA at 6.1%, the Amberjack ESB at 4.5%, the Dram Tree Scottish Ale at 7.25%, and the Iron Horse Pale Ale at 5.1%. All were good, but my two favorites were the Port City IPA, which has a nice clean taste and just the right amount of hops, and the Dram Tree, perhaps the finest Scottish I have had. These two are what I usually have when I go there. My favorite memory of the Dram Tree is from a couple of years ago when I was doing a book signing down the street and walked down to Front Street in my kilt and had a quick pint. No one batted an eyelash.

So Front Street is the oldest, and in that time they have gotten it right. Stop by for a pint sometime.  

Ironclad Brewery- Wilmington, NC

Ironclad Brewery is a large place on North 2nd Street and you can tell they put some thought, and some money, behind the design. There are two large bars and a stage on the first floor and an upstairs. We stopped by on a Monday afternoon and practically had the place to ourselves, which was nice because the bartender spent the time talking with us about the beer. She made a few recommendations and we decided to order flights.

I went with the Fish Tale Pale Ale at 5.9%, the Coffee Porter at 7%, the White Squall Brown Ale at 6.2%, and the Roggenbier at 7.9%. All were excellent, but my favorite was the Fish Tale which had a nice clean taste and just the right amount of hops. My two son-in-laws were with me and they made similar choices, and comments.

Overall, a neat place with very god beer, nice ambiance, and friendly people. They don't serve food here though.    

Flytrap Brewing- Wilmington, NC

Flytrap Brewing is a small place on Walnut and when we stopped by they only had two of their own beers on tap, so there was no need for doing a flight. There was a Saison at 6.8 and the Rehder's Red at 5.4. I went with the Red as it was recommended and it was good. I'll stop by again sometime to see what else they offer.