Friday, August 26, 2016

Habit Burger's New Hatch Pepper Menu




Habit Burger is an up and coming burger chain and the reason it is up and coming is that they have a good product and deliver it consistently. We stopped by the relatively new location in Parsippany, NJ today for lunch to try the new Hatch Pepper offerings. We found the restaurant to be spotless, the staff to be friendly and enthusiastic, and the food to very good. 

We went a tad overboard on our order as we wanted to try so many things. Well, the summer is wrapping up and we do need to restart our diets soon, so we binged a bit. We shared a Hatch Pepper Burger and sweet potato fries, both of which were excellent with a nice balance of flavor notes. 


We also shared a Hatch Pepper chicken sandwich which was my favorite of the day. The grilled chicken went well with the pepper and the sauce. Quite good and I would order it again. 


And if that wasn't enough, we had to try the Hatch Pepper Chicken Salad. Teresa said this was her favorite and she would definitely have another. 


Okay, so we added shakes too. How can one not have a shake at Habit? 

Stop by one of their locations and try out the new menu. You will not be disappointed. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

PB&J Burger at Victory Brewing- Parkesburg, Pa.


That creation above is a peanut butter and jelly cheeseburger with bacon and jalapeƱo rings on a sesame bun with house made pub chips. Yes, I said peanut butter and jelly. I saw this on the menu at the new Victory brewpub in Parkesburg and just had to try it. While the combination seems odd, the flavors blended perfectly to create a nice balance of taste. The peanut butter somewhat muted the heat of the peppers and the jelly added to the saltiness of the bacon. 


I paired it with a Sour Monkey, a Belgian Triple, which further added an interesting flavor note. The tart, sour taste went well with the burger. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Oskar Blues Brewing



I came across what is one of my new favorite breweries, Oskar Blues. They are out of Colorado, but they have a brewery in Brevard, NC and when I am in my Wilmington home I do try to drink only North Carolina beers. My other favorites are Natty Greene's and Highland, as well as the eight local microbreweries within a twenty minute drive of my house.

My favorite is the Blue IPA which has just the right amount of hoppiness and a nice clean taste. I tried the new Pinner, flavored with mango and it was good. The real surprise was the coconut porter which had a slight coconut taste that didn't overpower a good porter. 


They have a few more brews, including Dale's Pale Ale that I know I can get in New York so I can have them in the other house as well. 

Bitty & Beau's Coffee- Wilmington, NC


Bitty & Beau's is a cool coffee shop located in an extinct Hummer dealership on New Centre St. The inside has been very tastefully done up in black, white, and grey with wooden tables. You get the feel of a large open space with a modern look.

The coffee is good, in fact very good. They have some nice pastries, as well as some sandwiches. Leaving it here, it would be a nice coffee shop. However, there is much more to Bitty & Beau's that make it a special place indeed.

You see, it is a not for profit company whose mission is to provide employment for developmentally disabled adults. This gives these fine people an income, and more importantly, a sense of purpose. When you go in everyone seems so happy to be working there and they take an immense pride and joy in their work. We could all take a valuable lesson from them.

Stop by sometime and see for yourself. In the meantime check out their website for more information, and check out some of the videos and press. We need more places like this.




Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cast Iron Kitchen- Wilmington, NC


Cast Iron Kitchen is on Market Street, across from the Walmart in Ogden. The decor is modern Southern rustic and they are only open for breakfast and lunch. After looking over the menu I went with the chicken and waffles for $8.95 and got a side of fried green tomatoes for another $3.75. Teresa ordered the Southern breakfast for $7.25 and substituted potatoes for the grits. 


There were two large, homemade, chicken tenders that were crispy, flavorful, and moist in the middle sitting on two very nice waffles. add in a few pieces of fruit and granola with a bit of fig jam and it was delightful. The fried green tomatoes were quite nice as well. Teresa enjoyed her breakfast and we had some good coffee with the meals. 

Overall, a nice experience with excellent food at reasonable prices, good service, and a pleasing atmosphere. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Platypus and Gnome- Wilmington, NC


We stopped by Platypus and Gnome tonight for dinner after having heard some good things about them. They are located at 9 Front Street, where the restaurant 9 Bakery was, and they haven't changed much in the design.

I went with the bacon bacon burger shown above at eleven bucks. It was cooked to a perfect medium and had bacon in the burger, on the burger, as well as a bacon spread. Cheese, lettuce and some really good fries rounded it out. Teresa had the Platy burger at nine bucks which was cooked perfectly to her desired medium well. 

They lived up to the hype and we will be back again. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

60 Days Until The Greenwich Food + Wine Festival.


60 DAYS AND COUNTING UNTIL THE 
2016 GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL

Event Updates Include Additional Celebrity Chef Participants, Saturday Event Schedule and More

Greenwich, CT – The countdown is on!  The sixth annual GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, presented by Serendipity magazine (www.serendipitysocial.com) and benefitting Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang CampWholesome Wave and The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation, is now just 60 days away, and with ticket sales open, event organizers have announced some exciting additions to this year’s event:

·      Friday’s Master Chef Dinner, hosted by Adam Richman, will feature the 2016 class of Most Innovative Chefs serving their signature dishes.  In addition to the previously announced 10 chefs, Gregori Pena and Eric Haugen of The National in Greenwich, have been announced.  Confirmed Ambassador Chefs who will also be serving up their favorite dishes include Jes Bengston (Brick and Wood), Rui Correia (Douro, Gaia), Samantha Mittler (The Dessertist), Stephen Lewandowski (Harlan Social), Christian Petroni (Fortina), Nadia Ramsey (Meli-Melo) and David Snyder (Char).

·      Celebrity chefs Alex Guarnaschelli (“Chopped,” “Iron Chef,” Food Network’s “All-Star Academy”) and Marc Murphy (Executive Chef of Landmarc restaurant at the Time Warner Center, “Iron Chef,” “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Beat Bobby Flay”) have been added to this year’s line-up of celebrity chef participants, and both will be special guests at the Saturday Michel Nischan VIP Sustainable Dinner.  Rui Correia (Douro, Gaia) will be the Master of Ceremonies. 

The schedule for Saturday’s events, the signature day of the Festival, has also been released as follows:
·      12:00-5:00pm - Grand Tasting Tent, hosting more than 150 food and beverage vendors.

·      12:30-5:30pm – Two stages and a demo tent will feature more than 15 cooking demonstrations and wine, beer and cocktail seminars from renowned experts and celebrity chef participants:
Dacor Kitchen Stage One presented by Aitoro
12:30-1pm Blue Tulip Chocolates
1:30-2pm Adam Richman
2:30pm-3pm Marcus Samuelsson
3:30-4pm Christian Petroni
4:30-5pm The Dessertist (Samantha Mittler)

Dacor Kitchen Stage Two presented by Aitoro
1-1:30pm Michel Nischan
2-2:30pm Marc Murphy
3-3:30pm Alex Guarnaschelli
4-4:30pm TBD
5-5:30 Rafael Palomino

Demo Tent (additional events to be added)
3:45-4:45pm Meet The Masters - We're introducing a special "Meet the Masters" segment with celebrity chefs Marc Murphy, Adam Richman, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michel Nischan and Marcus Samuelsson. It will be an Q&A style conversation (moderater TBA) on how they got to be where they are, from obstacles they encountered to branding themselves to finding inspiration.

·      12:30-6:00pm - Celebrity Green Room, presented by Serendipity, will host attending celebrities, culinary experts and musicians while being interviewed by industry experts in a luxury lounge:
12:30-12:50pm Marc Murphy
1:00 - 1:20pm Marcus Sameulsson
1:30-1:50pm Alex Guarnaschelli
2:00-2:20pm Michel Nischan
2:35-2:50pm The Dessertist
3:00-3:20pm Adam Richman
4-4:20pm Rui Correia
4:20-4:40pm Christian Petroni, John Nealon, Rob Krauss
4:50-5:10pm Kevin Des Chenes

·      12:30-10:00pm - Festival VIP Tent, offering private bars, secluded seating areas, private restrooms, private concert viewing area and a special VIP Sustainable Dinner, hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy and Michel Nischan, featuring Nischan and more than a dozen local chefs serving up locally sourced and sustainable cuisine (Open to VIP Ticket Holders only).

·      1:00-5:00pm - Celebrity Bookstore, presented by Barbara Zaccagnini, offers guests the chance to meet the minds behind cookbooks and culinary reads, and have their books signed:
1-1:30 Marc Murphy
1:30-2pm Marcus Sameulsson
2:00-2:30pm Alex Guarnaschelli
2:30-3pm Adam Richman
2:30-3pm Michel Nischan 

·      4:00-8:00pm – Burgers and Brews features area restaurants serving up their best burger.  Guests will be able to vote for the Foodies’ Choice Award.

·      3:30-4:30pm – The third annual Top Bartender Showdown in the Empire City Casino tent will feature area bartenders serving custom cocktails to be judged by a panel of judges, as well as offering samples to all guests.

·      4:00-8:30pm – The Grill Master Tent will feature samples of flavorful BBQ specialties, with local pitmasters on hand to offer grilling advice for home cooks.  The Grill Master Stage will feature the following demos:
4:15-4:45pm Fleishers Craft Butchery
5:15-5:45pm Knife Skills with Wusthof

·      4:45-5:45pm – The fifth annual Burger Battle, hosted by Adam Richman, will feature local restaurants serving up their custom-crafted burgers for judging by a panel of Festival Celebrity Guests including Rui Correia, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Michel Nischan and Marcus Samuelsson.

·      5:00-8:30pm – The Ultimate Sandwich Tent will feature local restaurants, delicatessens and cafes creating unique and innovative sandwiches for attendees to sample.

·      5:45-6:30pm – The Ultimate Sandwich Take-Down is a brand new event this year, featuring competitors from local restaurants, delicatessens, and cafes creating the most over-the-top sandwiches! Participants will work with ingredients like: cheese steak, meatballs, chicken cutlets, grilled veggies, French fries, eggs, cheese, marinara sauce, BBQ sauce, lettuce, ketchup and mayo — sometimes all in the same sandwich, with just one being named the Ultimate Sandwich Winner.  Festival Ambassador Chefs will be judging this event, including John Nealon, Christian Petroni and Rob Krauss from Fortina, and Samantha Mittler from The Dessertist.

·      6:00-8:00pm – Taco Party! will feature local restaurants showing off their top tacos to taste, along with a festive cocktail.

·      6:00-10:00pm – VIP Intimate Dinner featuring Marcus Samuelsson and Red Rooster Harlem, offers a limited number of attendees the opportunity to sample the best of Harlem in a stunning waterfront setting. Award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson will prepare a meal inspired by the roots of American cuisine at a seated dinner with table service. Attendees can take in the evening’s musical performance from private tables on an elevated stage or from reserved, lawn table seating (this is a separate ticketed event).

·      6:00-10:00pm – Michel Nischan VIP Sustainable Dinner with Alex Guarnaschelli and Marc Murphy will feature top local chefs, including Devin Bozkaya (Campagna at The Bedford Post Inn), David DiBari (The Cookery), Nick DiBona (Madison Kitchen), Walter Estrada (Napa & Co.), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Frederic Kieffer (l’escale), Rafael Palomino (Sonora), Forrest Pasternack (Bailey’s Backyard), Debra Ponzek (Aux Delices), Nancy Roper (Truck), Matt Storch (Match), Bill Taibe (The Whelk, Kawa Ni), Luke Venner (Elm) and David White (Vespa), preparing an incredible feast sourcing all proteins, seafood and produce locally and sustainably to ensure the highest quality and minimal impact on the environment.  This event will also feature a full bar with premium liquors, beer and wines, VIP private restrooms and a private viewing area for the main stage music entertainment (this event is open to VIP ticket holders only).

·      6:30-10:00pm – The Pepsi Music Stage, featuring Grammy Award winning co-headliners Ziggy Marley (6:30pm) and Old Crow Medicine Show (8:30pm).

·      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.

Tickets are now on sale via www.greenwichwineandfood.com or by calling 203-588-1363.  Options are as follows:
·      Friday’s Master Chef Dinner, hosted by Adam Richman with live music by The Bacon Brothers:  $325.00 per ticket.

·      Saturday All-Day Pass, including admission to the Grand Tasting Tent, cooking demonstrations, celebrity bookstore, Top Bartender Showdown, Burger Battle, Grill Master Tent, Taco Party! and lawn seating to co-headliners Ziggy Marley and Old Crow Medicine Show:  $150.00 per ticket.

·      All-In VIP Weekend Pass includes admission to Friday’s Master Chef Dinner and a VIP Pass for Saturday, which includes access to the Sustainable Dinner:   $600.00 per ticket.

·      Saturday VIP Pass with Intimate Dinner featuring Marcus Samuelsson and Red Rooster Harlem includes access to all events and areas of Saturday’s festival, VIP parking and restrooms, all-day access to the full bar in the VIP tent, Samuelsson’s private dinner and private seating for the evening’s main stage musical entertainment:  $450.00 per ticket for lawn table seating; $4,000 for a lawn table of ten; $525.00 per ticket for on-stage table seating; $5,000 for an on-stage table of ten.

·      VIP Festival All-Day Pass with Sustainable Dinner includes access to all events and areas of Saturday’s festival, VIP parking and restrooms, all-day access to the full bar in the VIP tent, Nischan and friends’ dinner and VIP viewing for the evening’s main stage musical entertainment:  $375.00 per ticket.

The event’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GreenwichwinefoodFestival, and website will also continue to post event news, restaurant participants and schedule updates over the coming weeks.

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

GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL 
The GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL is a multi-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 and Wholesome Wave Organization.  The festival is presented by Serendipity magazine, along with Pure Leaf, PepsiCo, Citi®, Empire City Casino, and Stamford Lincoln.  Other official sponsors include Coldwell Banker Preview International, Cabot, Stamford Tent, Barbara Zaccagnini, Whole Foods, Westy Self Storage, Rudy’s Executive Transportation, Dacor, Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits, Granoff Architects, Shearwater Organic Coffee and Wusthof.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Camino Real- Wilmington, NC


Camino Real sits in a strip mall about a mile from my house and we have passed by saying that we should stop sometime. We finally did and I am glad we did. The place is small, but well appointed. The service friendly and attentive, the prices reasonable, and the food excellent.

I got the tacos Al Pastor which was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. Teresa got her favorite, the enchiladas verde. I tasted and it was very good. 

We will be back again, and frequently. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fermental- Wilmington, NC


Fermental is a bottle and wine store in Ogden, near my daughter and son-in-law, and in the same parking lot as my barber. Needless to say I have spent some time, and some money there over the years. They have a rather large selection of beer and wine, as well as a knowledgeable staff.


We stopped by tonight because they were featuring Dogfish Head Brewer, a personal favorite, as well as some music and a food truck. I started with a Belgian Triple which was quite nice, and followed with a sixty minute, an old favorite. 


One of the best things about the brewery explosion in Wilmington is the growth of food trucks. It is a symbiotic relationship wherein the new breweries and bottle stores focus on the beer and the trucks on the food. Tonight 2 Brothers Coastal Cuisine was at Fermental. I had the oyster Po' Boy at nine bucks with fries and Teresa had the Rueben with fries at nine bucks. Not bad.



Another benefit from the brewery explosion is a new showcase for music and the arts. One local brewery features local artists, and most breweries as well as Fermental, feature local musicians. Tonight we listened to the sounds of Chasing Opal. Quite nice.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Greenwich Wine + Food Festival 2016


THE GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2016 CLASS OF MOST INNOVATIVE CHEFS

Ten Local Chefs to be Celebrated at Master Chef Dinner on September 23

Tickets for the Entire Weekend of Events Now on Sale

Greenwich, CT – The sixth annual GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, presented by Serendipity magazine (www.serendipitysocial.com) and benefitting Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation, has announced the ten local chefs who have been named to this year’s class of Most Innovative Chefs. These culinary stars will be honored at the Master Chef Dinner on Friday, September 23, where they will prepare their unique dishes and interact one-on-one with festival guests.

The 2016 Most Innovative Chefs include:
Mogan Anthony, Village Social, Mount Kisco, NY
Carl Carrion, Cask Republic, South Norwalk, CT
Albert DeAngelis, Eastend, Greenwich, CT
Constantine Kalandranis, 273 Kitchen, Harrison, NY
Michael Kaphan, Purdy's Farmer & The Fish, Salem, NY
Geoff Lazlo, Mill Street Bar & Table, Greenwich, CT
Brian Lewis, The Cottage, Westport, CT
Tony Pham, Mecha Noodle Bar, South Norwalk, CT
Robin Selden, Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning, Stamford, CT
Bobby Will, Saltaire Oyster Bar, Port Chester, NY

“This year’s class of honorees continue to push the envelope on fresh, creative, unique fare for local foodies lucky enough to live or work in Fairfield and Westchester Counties,” said Suni Unger, Founder & CEO of Unger Publishing and the Founder & CEO of Greenwich WINE+FOOD Festival. “Each year, we assemble our group of alumni chefs who have been honored in past years to flag for us whom they feel are making their mark in the local culinary world, and once again, this year’s group of talent makes dining out an experience of its own.”

“To enhance our celebration of the best in the area, we also decided this year to invite our talented Ambassador Chefs to join the Friday event, offering more options for guests to sample the innovative dishes served at area restaurants,” continued Unger.

The celebration of local and national talent will continue with the Saturday Festival, the center of the entire GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL.  This day-long event will offer tastings and demonstrations from more than two hundred of the area’s finest food, wine, spirits and product vendors in the main Grand Tasting Tent, as well as the Burger & Beer Tent, Master Griller Tent, the first annual Ultimate Sandwich Take-Down and Taco Party! Culinary demonstration tents and stages will house cooking presentations by celebrity chefs, including Marcus Samuelsson (“Chopped,” “Iron Chef” and winner of “Top Chef Masters”), and local talent. Guests will also enjoy sommelier presentations, celebrity chef book signings, Q&A sessions with top food and beverage talent, the fifth annual Burger Battle, the third annual Top Bartender’s Showdown and a live musical performance. VIP ticket holders ($375 per ticket) will enjoy a Sustainable Dinner by the water’s edge, prepared by local chefs featuring locally-sourced, sustainably-produced ingredients under a private tent with premium liquor, wines and beer service, secluded lounge areas open throughout the day, private restrooms and a premium viewing area for the evening’s musical performance. 

A special ticketed event, Saturday VIP Pass with Intimate Dinner featuring Marcus Samuelsson and Red Rooster Harlem, will give attendees the opportunity to enjoy the best of Harlem in a waterfront setting, featuring the roots of American cuisine from award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson. Guests at this seated dinner with table service (6:30-8:30pm) will also enjoy the evening’s musical performance from private tables on an elevated stage ($525 per ticket) or from reserved, lawn table seating ($450 per ticket).

Visit www.serendipitysocial.com for more information and updates about the event schedule, participating celebrity and local chefs, musical talent and more. 

Tickets are now on sale via http://serendipitysocial.com or by calling 203-588-1363. The event’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GreenwichwinefoodFestival, will also announce restaurant participants and schedule updates.

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

GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL
The GREENWICH 2016 WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL is a multi-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 presented by Serendipity magazine, along with PepsiCo, Citi and Stamford Lincoln.  Other official sponsors include Coldwell Banker Preview International, Pure Leaf, Cabot, Stamford Tent, Whole Foods, Westy, Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits and Wusthof.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Black Cat Burger at Poe's Tavern, Wrightsville Beach


This magnificent creation shown above is the Black Cat Burger from Poe's Tavern in Wrightsville Beach. It was cooked to a perfect medium and had pimento cheese, chili, bacon, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato. there were some crispy onion straws and a copious amount of excellent fries on the side. Try it sometime.

Schatzi's- New Paltz, NY


I heard some rave reviews of Schatzi's from friends and when I saw they opened a new place in New Paltz I had to go. I got the Schatzi Burger with a potato pancake, lots of cheese, and more on a fresh pretzel bun. Great burger!

Tommy DiNic's- Philadelphia, Pa


Tommy DiNic's has been on my short list for some time now, especially after seeing it featured on so many food shows,  so when we went to Philly with the grandchildren we decided to stop by the Reading Terminal to see what all the fuss was about. 

We were there at 10:30 in the morning, before the crowds developed, and Teresa and I shared one of their famous pork sandwiches with broccoli rabe and provolone. It was amazing. So amazing that at three in the afternoon we stopped by again and grabbed another to share at the train station. Just as good as the first.

When in Philly, forget about those bland cheesesteak sandwiches and get something unique and full of flavor. Pay a visit to Tommy DiNic's and see for yourself. 


Beasley Chicken + Honey- Raleigh, NC


We took a drive out to Raleigh to do an airport run and decided to look around the city. Getting a little hungry we perused a few restaurant menus and decided that Beasley's looked good, especially since they are famous for one of my new favorite dishes, chicken and waffles.

The inside is interesting with a modern restaurant look. There are a few tables, seats at the bar, and some long community tables. The menu is posted on the walls and they have a large beer selection featuring quite a few North Carolina breweries. 

I went with the chicken and waffles shown above for thirteen bucks. I had a choice of chicken pieces and went with the dark meat. With it I got a side of pimento mac and cheese. The chicken was amazing, the waffles delightful, and the mac and cheese wonderful. It was a modern take on a classic dish and I can taste it now as I write this. Teresa ordered three sides of greens that were also excellent. 

I will certainly stop by again next time I hit Raleigh and probably order the same thing. Stop and see for yourself what I mean. 


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.