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.

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.

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.