Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pauly's Burgers- Walden, NY


Pauly's Burgers is a seasonal mobile restaurant parked at Tin Brook Bed and Breakfast. I've passed by hundreds of times, they are just down the road from my house, and said that I had to give them a try. Today I stopped and I will be stopping by again, often.

I got the bacon cheeseburger to go at $8.75 and it came with copious, and delicious, fries. The burger was 1/4 pound and seasoned perfectly with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickles. 

They have a website

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spicy Jalapeño Pretzel Cheeseburger at Ruby Tuesday's- Fishkill, NY


Ruby Tuesday is a chain we used to frequent, mainly because of the salad bar, but we hadn't been there in some time. We got a gift card from friends so we stopped by the Fishkill location for dinner. Teresa went with the dry-rubbed ribs, and they were quite good. I decided on the Spicy jalapeño pretzel cheeseburger. The burger was good, but not really all that spicy. I ordered it medium and it came out closer to medium-well, but still juicy. Our server, a young man named Tom, was amazing. He was funny, personable, helpful, and had a really good attitude. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Newburgh Brewing Company- Newburgh, NY

Fish Tacos

The Newburgh Brewing Company has only been around for a couple of years, but they have gotten a good reputation in that short time. It took me a while to get there, but a nice sunny day brought me out near the waterfront and I must say that I have been missing out by not having gone there earlier. 

I was there on a Saturday at about 2:00 and there were only a few people there. I believe that it could be a bit noisy when crowded, but it was nice and quiet when I visited. The place has the feel of an old beer hall with plenty of open space, it was once a factory, and long wooden tables. It is brick, wood and has many windows with a view of the Hudson River. You order and pay at the bar, just like they do in Europe, and the food is brought to your table. 

Ginger DIPA

I wanted a flight to sample a few beers, but they don't do flights. They do allow you a sample of whatever you want so after sampling I started with a Ginger DIPA. It had a nice taste, a bit unusual, with the ginger not overpowering the double IPA. No nasty aftertaste either, but I don't think I could have had more than one of them. It was five bucks for a 10 oz glass and weighed in at 8.1%. 

Hop Drop IPA

I followed it up with a Hop Drop double IPA and that was amazing, one of the finest double IPAs I've ever had. The bartender told me it was the same basic beer as the ginger, without the ginger added. It weighed in at 10%, a tad heavier, and cost five bucks. Two heavy beers was my limit as I was driving and between them I ate. 

The food menu is limited so I went with the fish tacos, shown above. There were three of them for eleven bucks and they were quite well executed. Fresh tasting and crispy fish in a blue tortilla with cabbage slaw, cilantro and jalapeño. I would have like a bit more heat, but that is my personal taste. 

So overall, this is one of those rare brewpubs that has both good food and good beer. Oh, and all of the staff that I met were friendly and helpful. I can see why they have such a great reputation and I will certainly be headed back again. They have a website for more information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Greenwich Wine + Food Festival 2015 tickets now available.


I just got word that the date has been set for the 2015 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival and I wanted to pass this on. This is the best food event I attend and all of the proceeds go to a great cause. I've got the date marked on my calendar, put it on yours. I'll be giving updates over the next few months.

SAVE THE DATE! 
FIFTH ANNUAL GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL RETURNS SEPTEMBER 24-26 

Three-Day Event to Benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation. Platinum Selling Country Group Little Big Town to Headline Saturday’s Event. More than 200 Participating Restaurants and Vendors.

Ticket Sales Now Open. 

Greenwich, CT – The fifth annual GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, presented by Serendipity magazine (www.greenwichwineandfood.com) and benefits Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation, will be taking place Thursday, September 24– Saturday, September 26 at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Conn.  The festival will feature a Dinner Under the Stars on Thursday, September 24, the Most Innovative Chefs Gala on Friday, September 25 and the Culinary Village, featuring Little Big Town’s performance, on Saturday, September 26. 

“Our fifth year is positioned to be our best year yet, celebrating food, community, charity, culture and music,” said Suni Unger, Founder & CEO of Unger Publishing, the publisher of Serendipity magazine.  “I couldn’t be more excited to already have over 100 local restaurants and vendors committed to this year’s event, a new Thursday evening kick-off event, and Grammy and Country Music Award winner’s Little Big Town closing out the weekend with an amazing performance!” 

The official weekend kickoff on Thursday evening brings the first Dinner Under the Stars to the festival. This intimate event will accommodate 60 guests to enjoy a five-course dinner, accompanied by awarded select wines.  More details on this event will be announced in the coming weeks. 

The Most Innovative Chefs Gala on Friday evening will feature the 2015 Most Innovative Chef winners from restaurants across Fairfield and Westchester Counties serving an incredible tasting menu (honorees to be announced). The evening will also include elite wines, premium liquor, an exclusive auction and a live musical performance (TBA). 

On Saturday, the Culinary Village, the center of the entire GREENWICH 2015 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, will offer tastings and demonstrations from more than two hundred food, wine, spirits and product vendors. Culinary demonstration tents and stages will house cooking presentations by celebrity chefs and local talent. Guests will also enjoy sommelier presentations, celebrity chef book signings, the fourth annual Burger Battle, the second annual Top Bartender’s Showdown, Barbecue & Bluegrass, and a live musical performance by Little Big Town.  A special ticketed event, Saturday on Stage Dinner, will give 100 guests the chance to enjoy the headliner performance on an elevated stage while enjoying a special dinner (chef TBA), premium liquor, wine and beer.  In addition, VIP ticket holders will enjoy a VIP Big Easy Dinner, celebrating the culinary, musical and festive atmosphere of New Orleans.  This tented event will feature a traditional Louisiana jazz marching band, the Festival’s Ambassador Chefs serving up signature small plates with a New Orleans Twist, premium liquor, wines and beer, and a private, early-evening concert with the world-renowned band Funky Meters, comprised of Art Neville, Ian Neville, George Porter Jr. and Russell Batiste Jr.  VIP ticket holders will also enjoy a premium viewing area for Little Big Town’s performance.

Visit www.greenwichwineandfood.com for more information and updates about the event schedule, participating celebrity and local chefs, musical talent and more. Ticket sales are now open (with the exception of the Thursday evening event) and are available through www.greenwichwineandfood.com or by calling 203.588.1363. The event’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GreenwichwinefoodFestival, 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.

GREENWICH 2015 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL

The GREENWICH 2015 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL is a three-day event that benefits The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a nationwide organization dedicated to providing healing to children and their families coping with cancer, sickle cell anemia and other serious illnesses, as well as The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation. The festival is hosted by Serendipity magazine, in conjunction with other event sponsors. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Buck Shot Burger- Rosy Tomorrows, Danbury, Ct


Just wanted to share this profile of one of my favorite burgers. This little gem has cheddar cheese, horseradish infused aioli, onion straws, and red onions on a toasted bun for eleven-fifty. It comes with sweet potato fries and they also cook it properly to a perfect medium when so ordered. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wake N Bake- Carolina Beach, NC


When I travel south I just have to get some donuts, especially when I get to carolina Beach. An annual trip to Britt's has been a tradition, but they are only open in the summer, so when I heard about a new place called Wake N Bake I had to give them a try. When we got there the place was crowded and there was a line. The line moved quick though and the staff was friendly and helpful. 

I got a dozen for fifteen bucks (there were four adults and six children in our group) and mixed them up. Three glazed, a Carolina sand, a Loopy Morning, a Pebble Rock, a Samoa, a maple Bacon, a Couch Potato and a couple more. All were good, my favorite being the Samoa. The glazed were okay, but I do prefer Britt's glazed. 



They have a website for directions and stuff. 

Rucker Johns- Wilmington, NC


Rucker Johns has been around for about 25 years and they have three locations. One is in Greenville, the other in Emerald Isle, and the one we went to in Wilmington. Actually it was in Myrtle Grove, more commonly known as Monkey Junction, on Caroline Beach Road.

We were headed back to the ILM from the aquarium and decided to stop by and see what it was all about. The restaurant has a nice feel to it with the elements of a chain, but a bit more homey. The service was excellent, and the prices seemed good.   

I got the Carolina Burger at eleven bucks which consisted of a half-pound of burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, Thousand Island, and sour cream all on a nice brioche bun. I switched out the fries for spicy black beans, a wise choice. The burger was quite well executed.

Everyone else liked what they got and I would go back again. They have a website for more information. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Camarons Acapulco at Pancho's & Gringo's- Brookfield, Ct.


Shrimp wrapped in bacon, perfectly spiced, laying on a bed of queso sauce. What's not to love about it? Pancho's & Gringo's is fast becoming our favorite Mexican place and a dish like this just explains why. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chili's Sweet and Smoky Burger- Poughkeepsie, NY


We used to go to Chili's all the time and never had a bad experience, but when we started to focus on local restaurants we drifted away. Today we decided to stop by the Poughkeepsie location for lunch and we realized why we liked it. The food and service were excellent at reasonable prices. If anything, I think they got even better since we were last at a Chili's restaurant.

I went with the Sweet and Smoky burger at $10.79 and swapped out the fries for a side salad for an extra buck. It was fresh and a good sized salad. Teresa went with one of the lighter dishes, the Mango Chicken at $10.19 and she said it was very good.

The burger was excellent. Here's what comes on it direct from the corporate website, "Topped with melted pepper Jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon, NEW spiced panko onion rings, fresh leaf lettuce, tomato, NEW mango-infused smoky BBQ sauce & NEW Chili's Signature sauce. Served with a side of mango-infused smoky BBQ sauce." I ordered it medium and it was a bit closer to medium-well, but the juices were still dripping out. It was nicely seasoned and the combination of all of the ingredients worked very well. 

We will be going back to a Chili's. One thing I remember is that they are consistent across the chain.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Habit Burger Grill- Fair Lawn, NJ



The Habit Burger Grill is a West Coast chain, started in 1969, that is slowly making its way east. There are now two in Jersey and I was invited to the grand opening of the one in River Edge, but we couldn't make it. Today we were near Ikea and decided to hit the Fair Lawn location. To sum up the visit, it was great and this chain has real potential to give its competitors a run for their money.


The inside is modern without being over the top trendy. You place your order and are given a buzzer, then you find a table. In about five minutes or so the food is ready. 

I decided on the Double Char Cheeseburger meal with bacon added at $9.75. Teresa ordered the single Char Burger and a side salad which came to $5.50. Both were quite delightful with quality meat cooked and seasoned perfectly on a toasted bun. 


The fries were just right, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle served hot and seasoned with just the right amount of salt. 


The Salad was a nice size and even the croutons were seasoned, I think I detected a touch of rosemary but I may be wrong. 

Overall, really good burgers and fries at low prices. Our whole meal came to $16.32 with tax. The same thing at similar places would have hit twenty bucks easily. 

So, how does the food compare to the competitors? I would say they are way better than Five Guys, much better than Shake Shack,  a bit better than Jake's, and on a par with Smashburger. Smash has more options, but Habit is cheaper. We will return and we will be going to the River Edge location. 


Friday, March 6, 2015

Budweiser, the King of Beers?

When I was coming of age, over forty years ago, the beer of choice was Budweiser. If you had a few more coins in the pocket it was Michelob, Lowenbrau or Heineken. Less coins, then you went with Pabst, Schmidts, or Ballentine. Coors was this exotic beer in Colorado that was unavailable to the masses in the East. 

Flash forward to today and Bud, though still the number three beer in the U.S., has been replaced in the hearts and minds of beer lovers by craft brews. I am one of them and my preference leans to a nice hoppy IPA, stouts, and Porters. Now I have to state that I am not a beer aficionado, and I prefer British brews to German with Lagers and Pilsners being my least favorites. 

That said, I was intrigued by Budweiser's advertisement during the Super Bowl that poked fun at craft beers and beer snobs. It raised an uproar probably because some people saw themselves as the target of the ad. I liked it as it basically stated that beer is a simple pleasure which has been turned into what has happened to wine years ago. So, I decided to try a Bud once again just to see what it was all about.

The beer had a nice, clean, taste that was not as dry as my usual with some sweet notes to it. There was a drinkability to it that beckoned for another and I can remember this as a refreshing beer on a hot day served ice cold. It would go well at a barbecue with a hot dog or a burger, or with a nice thick steak. 

My conclusion? Budweiser is not bad at all, in fact it was quite tasty and refreshing. I would have one again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Red Robin- Danbury, Ct


Smoke and Pepper Burger

We stopped by the Red Robin at the Danbury Mall for lunch the other day. I never realized there was one at the mall and once I found it, I wanted one of their new craft burgers. Red Robin is one of the few chains I like and one of the reasons is that while they have good fires, they are very accommodating in substituting other things for them. I like to get the side salad and Teresa likes the steamed broccoli, both of which are bottomless. 

I got the Smoke and Pepper which was topped with black-pepper bacon and extra-sharp Cheddar on a toasted ciabatta bun with house-made Smoke & Pepper ketchup for $13.49. It was quite tasty and filling. 

Teresa ordered the DGB burger with oven-roasted tomatoes, savory roasted garlic aioli and fresh arugula tossed in citrus olive oil dressing on a toasted ciabatta bun for $12.99. She said it was good and so was the broccoli.

Overall, consistent with Red Robin quality. Now that I know it is there, we'll be back. 

DGB Burger

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Habit Burger and Grill- New location in River Edge, NJ

Just thought I'd share this item that came my way. The Habit Burger Grill is opening a new location in New Jersey soon. Unfortunately I won't be able to get there for the grand opening, but it looks interesting and I'll be popping by in a couple of weeks and let you know what I think, and provide my own pictures. 


photo courtesy of The Habit Burger Grill 
The Habit Burger Grill to Open Second New Jersey Location
in River Edge

River Edge, New Jersey  (February 2015) -- The Habit Burger Grill’s ("The Habit"), delicious Charburger has been habit-forming across the West Coast since 1969 and soon lines will be forming in River Edge, NJ as it opens its second East Coast location. The burger centric fast-casual restaurant chain opened its first East Coast location in Fair Lawn, NJ in August 2014.

The Habit will open its doors on Wednesday, February 18, at 1081 Main Street, River Edge, bringing the total number of its restaurants nationwide to 113.

The restaurant will open for business officially at 10:30 am on Wednesday, February 18.

Some Habit food facts:

  • Burgers are always 100% fresh ground beef, not frozen 
  • Burgers are char-grilled over an open flame for extra flavor
  • Tuna steak sandwiches are made from line caught, sushi-grade albacore  
  • Lettuce, tomatoes and onions are cut fresh daily
  • Tempura green beans, French fries, onion rings and sweet potato fries are 100% trans-fat free, cooked in soybean oil
  • Fresh chicken breasts are hand-filleted and marinated in-house
  • Tri-tip Steak is trimmed and marinated in-house
  • Salads are fresh, made to order
  • House-made ranch dressing is prepared fresh daily in the restaurants
  • Every Habit offers a complimentary condiment bar featuring an assortment of peppers, lemons, limes and a range of sauces for guests to spice it up.

Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries.


Over the years I have been focusing on the burgers in this blog and I realized that it was time to take a closer look at some of the micro-breweries popping up in the Hudson Valley, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. This means a few road trips over the spring, fall and summer to visit, sample, and report on some neat places. To help me out I'll be bringing along some friends and relatives and we won't really be rating the spirits, but rather giving our thoughts on them. As I visit places, I'll be adding links here.

Besides micro-breweries we'll be hitting a few wineries and distilleries along the way. Before you go any further, I have to admit that I am not by any stretch of the imagination a connoisseur or expert on any of these topics. What I'll write is simply my impressions. 

If you are a brewery, winery, or distillery in any of the areas mentioned above and want to be featured, drop me an e-mail.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Seven years of blogging and counting . . . and making some adjustments.

I just looked and realized that I have been doing this blog for close to seven years now. That is quite a bit of dining out which resulted in over 450 posts. It also resulted in some serious excess weight, well I did eat a bit too much at home too. As a result I have been watching what I eat and have dropped close to thirty pounds so far, with a goal of another thirty. I'll soon have to update my profile picture.

Over the years my focus has been primarily on reviewing restaurants. I started with burger places, and have added other types of food with the emphasis on places regular people go. Some posts are more picture oriented and others more wordy. 

In the future I intend to continue doing restaurant reviews, but I will be doing more articles and announcements as well. 

Beer-I have been neglecting this part of the blog, so expect more reviews of beers and breweries. If you are a brewer and want to get the word out, let me know and I may pass it on for you.

Events and festivals-My favorite is the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival in the fall. If you are planning an event or festival, and would like some press coverage, send me your info and I will pass it on if it is in my regular areas. Want better coverage? Give me two press passes (my wife travels with me) and I will attend if I am in the area. You'll get some nice pictures and a writeup.

Restaurant news-If something exciting is going on in your restaurant, or you are opening a new one in my areas, let me know and I might just announce it for you.

Food trends-I will be looking at trends in the industry and reporting on them.

My areas of travel are the Hudson Valley of New York, Fairfield County, Ct., Northern New Jersey, The Philadelphia region, and Wilmington, NC. To get in touch with me drop me an email at ecforman@hotmail.com or tweet me @ecforman