Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guido's Pizza, Walden, NY

Walden has a surplus of hair dressers, Chinese restaurants and pizzerias. At latest count there are five pizzerias in a village of under seven-thousand people, and at least a dozen more in a five-mile radius. There were a couple of others but they saw fit to close up. That said, the quality ranges from really good to something that the box it came in tastes better than. Trust me, I've tried them all.

My current favorite is Guido's Pizza located at 35 East Main Street, in the mini-mall. This pizza parlor has been a favorite for years under different names too. Lisa's Pizza (owned by Lisa Cerone) gave way to Cosenza's Pizza (run by Brian), then came Guido's. Actually it started as a Grand Union supermarket when I was a kid.

The pizza is good, very good, and it is consistently so. Some places are a crap shoot and you never know what it's going to be like when you get it. Not so with Guido's. It's always good. They make the standard pie, Margarita pie, Sicilian, and a few more. The sandwiches, paninis, calzones, wraps and strombolis are also excellent. Please note the picture of the small stromboli I had for dinner tonight. Stuffed with ham, pepperoni and sausage for only $5.95. They make gyros too, and I hear they are good too.

The people are nice too, and they hire a lot of the kids from the high school where I teach. From what I've heard, they treat them well too.

No website here, but you can call them at (845) 778-5878 to order. Stop in and try them. You won't be sorry.

Guido's Pizza Parlor on Urbanspoon

Rocco's Burgers & DAWGS, Walden, NY

Walden has seen its share of new businesses open, only to close in a short time, and many of them have been food places. Many of them deserved to close, they probably shouldn't have opened in the first place. One new place that I hope survives is Rocco's Burgers & DAWGS at 88 West Main Street. It has a good premise, hot dogs and burgers with some crazy toppings, at reasonable prices.

Granted, this isn't Hot Doug's in Chicago, but it is pretty good. Some of the combos they offer are: Windy City (Chicago style, well close anyway), Walden Dog with cheese, chile, onions and bacon, South of the Border, Texas Hold'em, and Raising Arizona. And that's not all, just ask and they'll put together anything you could ever want. The specialty dogs start at $2.85 and they use Sabretts natural casing dogs. The plain dogs are only $1.50. They have a nice selection of burgers too, starting at $2.50 and working their way up to the Wallkiller at $9.95. That one has three burgers, cheese, fries,onion rings, jalapenos, cole slaw and chile. That's a bit too big even for me, and I like their dogs better than the burgers.

Speaking of the chile, its good. Nice and sweet with just a hint of heat to it. I had it on the two dogs featured above. The one in the foreground is a ripper, a deep fried hot dog. It could have been fried a bit longer to make it crispier. The one in the background is the Walden dog, a nice combination of chile, onions, cheese and bacon. The two dogs came to $6.16 and I needed a fork to clean up the extra chile that fell out as I ate. They make their own cole slaw, macaroni salad and potato salad and they're good too. The only suggestion I'd make is that they use a better bun.

The only strike they have against them is the location. I don't think they'll get enough traffic going by and there aren't enough local businesses to generate a lunch crowd. This location spent many years as a florist, and a short bid as a rib place. Like I said, I hope they make a go of it because it's a good idea and they are nice people.

They have a facebook page. Check them out for more information. Better yet, stop by and eat to help keep them going. It's a nice cheap lunch and lots of fun. They can even cater your next party.

Rocco's Burgers and Dawgs on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Romano's Macaroni Grill, Ramsey, NJ

Years ago we discovered Romano's when we were returning from someplace in Jersey and it became a favorite. Every time we went to Jersey we'd stop and eat. Often there was a long wait, sometimes up to three-quarters of an hour, but we didn't mind since we really liked the food. It tasted fresh, the bread was good, and the prices were good. Well, we stopped going a few years ago for some reason, I think it was because we decided to head further up the line before we ate.

At any rate, we stopped by today for a change and the place hasn't changed. It still has that rustic look, the Italian lessons in the bathroom, the house wine bottles all over, the wine glasses on the tables, the paper and crayons on the tables, and the waiters and waitresses dressed in black and white. The menu has changed however. They dropped the lighter fare, like the skinny chicken, and added a few pricier items like veal chops. They have also added a few Mediterranean items which looked interesting, but I wanted something I was familiar with.

After some deliberation, I ordered the Penne Rustica (pictured above) for $12.99. It had chicken, shrimp and prosciutto over penne pasta. Now this is a dish I've had there a few times in the past and I remember it as being a much larger portion. So much larger that I used to take some of it home. This time I finished the dish and was still a bit hungry later. Teresa had the Eggplant Parmigiana for $9.99. It was okay, nothing special, and the portion seemed a bit smaller than we remembered it as having been.

Overall, it was okay. Nothing special. There are some areas where this would be considered good Italian food, like in Alabama maybe, but here where we have some real Italian restaurants. Romano's is nothing more than chain Italian. It is better than an Olive Garden, but I'd recommend a good local Italian place first, unless you are traveling. Then places like Romano's are a nice safe bet.

Romano's Macaroni Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Coco's Pasta and Grill, Hyde Park NY

One of the best things about doing this blog is discovering a new place that is sure to become a favorite. I've driven past Coco's and I'd heard some good things about them, thanks Marcia, and we decided to give them a try when we were in the neighborhood today. They are a bit out of our way, but it was well worth the drive.

It's a large restaurant and we just missed the Sunday Brunch buffet, but what was good was that it was empty when we got there. No waiting, which is nice because I've seen the parking lot full. Our waitress was a nice girl named Amber who informed us that this was her first day there. Well, she did an excellent job taking care of us and the kitchen did an excellent job preparing the food.

The only problem we had was in deciding what to order. They have a rather extensive menu, and everything looked so good. After several reads of the menu, I decided on the Greek Burger, shown above. It is a nice sized burger with Gyro meat added and taziki sauce. It also had diced tomatoes and onions and I got a choice of onion rings or fries. I decided on the rings and it was the right choice. They didn't taste like frozen onion rings, they tasted fresh and they were nice and crispy. The burger was cooked just right and the Gyro meat added a nice flavor dimension. Teresa ordered the Eggplant Parm and it was equally good, plus it came with a cup of soup. She decided on the seafood bisque and that was the right decision too. Flavorful, with just a hint of spice.

Instead of bread, they give you sliced corn bread that has a nice sweet taste and isn't dry like most corn breads are. We peeked at the desert selection and they have a full line of cakes and pies that could put the best diner to shame.

We decided that we have to go back, more than once, to try some of the offerings. They have twenty different burgers available, some interesting pizza combinations, and the pasta dishes looked good too. The prices are very reasonable. We ate for $21.00, tax and tip included.

Coco's Pizza Incorporated on Urbanspoon

You can find them at 3957 Albany Post Rd. Hyde Park, NY, or visit their website for more information.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Johnny Rockets, Pentagon City Mall

I was in Washington, DC over the weekend, along with twelve other adults and 147 ninth graders, on a school field trip. Yeah, I know I'm crazy. We were at the Pentagon Mall for dinner One of the chaperones suggested Johnny Rockets. Since I never tried them, I agreed and six of us went to Johnny Rockets. The other six hit a few other places.

Now Johnny Rockets is one of those fifties' retro places with plenty of chrome and formica and fake jukeboxes on the counter and the staff dress like they belong in the movie Pleasantville. They started out in LA back in '86 when the big fifties' craze in diners was at its peak. Their claim is that the burgers are fresh and hand pressed and that the shakes and malts are hand dipped. The menu looked interesting, and the prices reasonable.

I had what I think was called the Houston, or Dallas. I can't remember exactly and I can't find it listed in the online menu. At any rate, it was a burger with jalapeno peppers and pepper-jack cheese. I ordered it medium well and it came closer to well. I found it rather pedestrian. Oh, sorry. I forgot I don't use words like that on this blog. Let me rephrase it as boring. Not that it was a bad burger, I just wasn't all that impressed. I think my biggest complaint was that the bun was too big for the burger, so there was quite a bit of dead space on the bun. I hate dead space. I'd rather have the burger overhanging the bun. The meat was okay, though a bit dry, and the cheese was melted properly.

I had a vanilla shake and it was very, well vanilla. I don't mean that in the flavor sense, but in the boring sense. No real flavor. The fries were very good though. Fresh tasting, crisp, and hot.

The company website can give you information on locations and menu.

Johnny Rockets on Urbanspoon