Sunday, June 5, 2016

Levante Brewing- West Chester, PA

Levante is an Italian word for that point on the horizon where the sun rises. As a photographer of sunrises that intrigued me. As a beer lover the beer intrigued me even more. 

I went with a flight of four to get a sampling and was quite impressed. From the left I started with the Chief IPA infused with fruit. It was quite good. Next was the Chief which I liked even better. Third was the Panic Room, an excellent Double IPA. This was my favorite and I took home a crowler of it. Last was the Ranger, also good. 

Since my daughter lives about twenty minutes from Levante, I would say I will be going there a few more times. Stop by and see what I mean. 

North River Hops and Brewing- Wappingers Falls, NY

North River Hops and Brewing sits in the back side of a strip mall on route 9 and it has been on my short list for some time now. I finally got there and I was truly impressed. I had a chance to talk with the owner/brewmaster and he shared his passion about brewing with me. 

I got a four pour flight and had a hard time deciding which one was going home in the growler. The Roggenbier was one of the finest Ryes I have ever had. The 1741 Porter Imperial Porter had a hint of maple and rum and was excellent. The Smash Pale Ale was a fine beer. The Paddle Steamer was my favorite and a growler of it came home with me. 

It may have taken some time to get there, but I will be headed back often. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Two Way Brewing- Beacon, NY

Finally stopped by Two Way Brewing in Beacon after hearing some good things about them. They offer a flight of four for eight bucks, and a flight of all eight beers for sixteen. Since it was early, I went with the four. 

On the left is the Confusion, a farmhouse weighing in at 4.7%. Nice taste. Next was the Climb High IPA at 7% which was a nice clean tasting IPA. The third from the left was my favorite, the Darkness Stout at 6.2%. I'll swing by sometime for a growler of this soon. The last, an Irish Nitro Stout weighing in at 4.5% was also excellent.

Nice place, friendly people, and some really good beer. No food though, you have to bring your own. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

YO! Sushi New Menu Items

About a year ago we travelled down to the Garden State Plaza in New Jersey for the opening of YO! Sushi Restaurant. We liked it quite a bit and the conveyor belt of food passing by made it easy to select the food as there was a visual of what was available. Great idea for this in a hurry or are unsure of the cuisine. 

This week we travelled back for a private tasting of some of the new menu items that were being rolled out for the restyling/anniversary event. Executive chef Mike Lewis gave us personal attention and explained each offering, as well as providing a back story for each.

We started with Nanbankuze, a southern Japanese dish of sweet and sour yellowtail and pickles nestled on rice. The pickling coupled nicely with the delicate taste of the fish rendering a delightful start for our culinary journey. 

The Nanbanzuke was paired with a Tempera soft shelled crab Spider roll and a sweet chilli sauce. Quite nice. 

Next up was one of my favorites, Clam and Enoki Miso. There was a fine balance between the broth, the clams, and the shichimi chill powder giving subtle flavor notes. 

Our fourth offering was a very tasty Ginza Roll made with fresh salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, arenkha caviar, siriacha, and shallots. Chef Mike said that this represented his interpretation of the Ginza District of Tokyo.

Perhaps the most unusual, and interesting, dish was the Kimchi Ika. This consisted of poached calamari with pickled kimchi vegetables and had a unique balance of crunch and tart. Excellent.  

We were next presented with a pairing of Chazuke and Maguro Katso. Chef Mike explained that the Chazuke, yellowtail and salmon with rice, sesame paste, nori, shiso leaf, and unami broth, was based on a Japanese breakfast dish. After mixing the ingredients and tasting, I could picture it as a nice hearty breakfast with a delicate taste. 

The Mauro Katso was very nice rendering of yellowfin tuna, wasabi, onion, and mayo that was deep fried and served with a wasabi sauce. One of my favorites for the evening. 

One that piqued my interest was a roll called Fish No Chips, an Asian play on traditional British fish and chips. There was an intention to add potatoes to the dish, but it just didn't work. The dish did work well for me just as it was. 

If we can have a play on British cuisine, then why not one on traditional American food? We were presented with nice crispy, yet moist in the middle, fried chicken with a citrus flavor. Wonderful. With it came my wife's favorite, Potato Salada quick pickled in a karashi mustard and mayo dressing. I could eat this with every meal. 

Our final offering was Chocolate Mochi, a desert made from glutinous soft rice over a chocolate ganache center. Very nice. 

My overall impressions? I liked YO! Sushi when we last were there, the concept and food were good.  I feel that this new menu has elevated the cuisine to another level, while leaving the traditional favorites in place. The cuisine is excellent, the service good, and the prices reasonable. I highly recommend that you pay them a visit at one of their locations soon. You won't be disappointed.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Waterline Brewing Company- Wilmington, NC

I saved one of the best breweries for last on the tour. Waterline Brewing sits on the Cape Fear River, well not exactly on it but pretty darn close, in the shadow of the upper bridge. There is plenty of parking, a nice outdoor area, and the inside is spacious and well appointed with eclectic artwork. Oh, and the people are friendly.

The beer was amazing. I started with the flight shown above. On the left is a Pale Ale at 6% which really grew on me, so much so that I brought home a 32 oz growler. Next is the IPA at 6.5% which was good. This was followed by the Rye IPA at 7% which was amazing. I had a pint of this and my son in law picked up a growler of this. Last was the Oatmeal Stout at 6% which was quite nice. I had a glass of the Belgian Triple at 9% later and it was perhaps my favorite of them all. That was the next day from the growler my other son in law picked up, otherwise I'd still be on the floor there. 

They have a website for directions and hours. Stop by and check them out sometime. I'll certainly be going back a few times over the summer.  

Broomtail Craft Brewery- Wilmington, NC

North Carolina is known as first in flight, but my home in Wilmington is fast becoming first in flights with six breweries within a fifteen minute drive from my front door. I hit four of them over the Christmas break, plus one in Carolina Beach, leaving two more for the Easter break. 

We stopped by Broomtail first. It sits in an industrial park between Market and Gordon on the North side. The beers were good, not amazing, but good. The atmosphere was friendly. Overall, it was not bad at all and I'll stop by again. 

They have a website for directions and hours. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trattoria Locanda- Fishkill, NY

I love Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. It gives us the opportunity to sample new places, and different dishes, at a really great price. $20.95 for a three course lunch is an amazing deal.

Today we went to the Trattoria Locanda in Fishkill for lunch. We got there shortly after they opened and had the place to ourselves. Emily, our server, was friendly and very helpful making a few suggestions for us. 

I started with the oysters and Teresa ordered the fresh mozzarella. Both were excellent, as was the fresh bread with a caponade. 

For our entrees, I went with the chicken Sorrentino on a bed of spinach with a lovely red wine sauce. It proved to be an excellent decision. Teresa had the Chilean Sea Bass over risotto which was outstanding. 

For desert we both got the cheesecake. We shared one and took the other home for later. Overall, it was an amazing lunch and we will definitely be going back soon. We looked over the regular lunch and dinner menus and the prices looked nice. Stop by sometime.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Zinburger- Nanuet, NY

Stopped by the Zinburger in Nanuet the other day and found them to be just as good as the one in Paramus. They are a bit pricier than the other chains, but the extra price is well worth it. I ordered a medium and it was a perfect medium.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chapala Grill- New Windsor, NY

We've been on a Mexican food kick lately, both dining out and cooking at home. What I love is how the use of a few simple ingredients can be elevated to amazing dishes, like a cerviche. A friend whose tastes I trust recommended Chapala in New Windsor so off we went. 

Inside it is tasteful decorated. The service was friendly and attentive. The food was excellent. We started with the Cerviche Puerto Vallarta for $9.50. It had shrimp and crab meat and tasted bright and fresh. 

I ordered the Enchillada Chapala, filled with shrimp and crab meat, with the salsa verde for $10.95. It was quite nice and there was a hint of white wine flavor to it. Teresa got the Enchilldas Suiza with beef for $8.95. It was excellent as well. 

We'll be back again. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spice Thai- Doylestown, Pa

We discovered that quaint village of Doylestown a short while ago and it is a perfect spot to grab a bite while traveling between home and our daughter's in Downingtown. One place that we earmarked on our last trip was Spice Thai and we finally stopped by on a Saturday afternoon. 

It is small inside with a decor typical of simple Asian restaurants. The service was good, there was only one girl working the whole place but there were only two other tables. We both ordered the lunch specials at nine bucks which included a soup. Everything was excellent and fresh tasting. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pembroke's- Wilmington, NC

Pembroke's sits in the space formerly occupied by The GrandUnion and The Kitchen and is run by the same folks who gave us RX. We planned to stop by a few times over the summer, but it never worked out. Well, when I saw they had half-price bar specials on Tuesdays that got us there. 

I decided to try the fried head cheese for only five bucks and it was quite interesting, and good. The wings were excellent and I went with the burger at seven dollars. Not bad at all. 

They have some rather interesting items on the regular menu and I think we'll get back over the summer as I loved the offerings at RX. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Poe's Tavern- Wrightsville Beach, NC

A few months ago I announced that Poe's Tavern opened in Wrightsville Beach and I was unfortunately unable to attend the grand event. I rectified that by stopping by over my Christmas visit to my Wilmington home and brought with me four children and four other adults. Our visit was early in the afternoon on New Year's Eve and it got quite crowded while we were there.  

The decor is well appointed in the theme of Edgar Allen Poe with pictures, movie posters and the like. Booths align the walls, along tables in the middle, a large bar area, and ample outdoor seating. The clean bathrooms are wallpapered with pages from Poe's literary works. My only complaint is that it could get a bit noisy, but remember that I'm sixty so take that with a grain of salt. 

I looked over the extensive beer menu and was very impressed with the number of North Carolina offerings, but decided to stay with water as it was early and I had a drive ahead of me. 

The menu leaned toward sandwiches and burgers, as well as some interesting salads, and after thinking about it I went with the Amontillado burger at $12.50. It was a nice slab of local beef cooked to ever so slightly rarer than the medium-rare I'd ordered (this is a good thing as I usually find burgers overcooked) on a fresh brioche bun with jalapeƱo cheese, pico de gallo, and chipotle sour cream. It was excellent and so were the copious hand-cut shoestring fries which were seasoned so nicely. My daughter ordered the market fish which was the mahi-mahi and I took a taste. It was excellent. The rest of our party ordered burgers and were quite pleased with them. 

Overall, a rather neat place to grab a burger and a brew while in the Wrightsville Beach area and I will certainly be headed back over the summer. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mr. Sushi and Grill- Wappingers Falls, NY

Mr. Sushi and Grill in Middletown is my favorite sushi place. When I heard they were opening a restaurant in Wappingers Falls, I got excited. Well, it took quite some time for them to open and I saw the 'coming soon' sign every time we went up route nine. We stopped by for lunch today and I can say that it was worth the wait. 

The inside is tastefully decorated, nice and bright, and friendly feeling. The service was excellent and the food was every bit as good as the other location. 

I started with the Mr. Sushi cerviche at twelve bucks. It was very nice. My lunch was a bento box of chicken, California roll, rice and vegetable tempura for nine bucks. There was plenty of food and it was excellent. Teresa ordered the shrimp hibachi lunch special at twelve bucks and it also was excellent. 

I now have a new favorite sushi place in Dutchess County. We will be there often, and I think you should stop by sometime and see for yourself.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blue Collar Brewery- Poughkeepsie, NY

Blue Collar Brewery has been around for about two years now and they occupy an old factory building in Poughkeepsie, just a bit off the main drag of the arterial. Since they are not in a busy area there is ample parking which is a plus. On entering, you pass through a long corridor with the open kitchen on the right and a nice view of the brewing tanks to the left. I always like a kitchen that has nothing to hide and I saw that the chefs were hand forming burgers to throw on the grill. 

We were seated in the bar area and I ordered a flight at ten bucks, and a glass of water to cleanse the palate. The photo above shows them arranged in the order of the menu below. The ESB, my favorite of the lot,  was excellent with a nice fresh taste. The Cream Ale was also good. The Dunkelweizen was okay, but I am not much of a wheat beer fan so don't take my word. The IPA was quite nice and I liked the Porter a lot. 

We both ordered burgers. I got the ten ounce at eleven bucks and added American cheese for another dollar. I ordered it medium, but they cooked it well-done. No big deal as it was not dry and there was a nice char on the outside and the meat was nicely seasoned. The roll was fresh and there was plenty of cheese. The steak fries that came with it were quite good and properly cooked. Overall, quite good. 

Teresa ordered the six ounce burger at nine bucks and added blue cheese for another dollar. Her request of medium well was answered with well-done, but the same comments as what I said above apply. 

Nice place, good beer, good food, good service, and great ambiance. Stop by sometime. They have a website for more information. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mezon Tapas Bar and Restaurant- Danbury, Ct.

We came across Mezon at the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival this past September and after sampling their wares we put them on the short list of places to visit. It did take until December, but we finally stopped by for a bite on a Saturday afternoon. 

After perusing the menu I decided to start with the Cerviche Fuego at $13.00. It was an interesting, and quite delightful, interpretation of a classic dish. The roasted peppers gave a nice balance to the tartness of the lemon juice. 

Teresa had the Cigaros at $8.00 which was a mashed potato rolled and fried on a bed of an amazing olive tapanade. Very nice.

My second dish was the Cubanitos, a pair of Cuban sandwich sliders at $7.00. I was indeed quite impressed. 

Teresa had the Quesidillas at $8.00 for her other course and I had one of them. They were excellent. 

Overall, excellent food with nice ambiance. We'll be back again. They have a website for more information.