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. 

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.