Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival 2010

We just got back from the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties New York and you can probably smell the garlic reeking out of me from a mile away. Garlic everything. I had garlic clams to start, followed by a hot dog with garlic salsa. Next we shared a steak sandwich (not as flavorful as I would have liked) followed by garlic ice cream. That's right, garlic ice cream. What they do is mix roasted garlic into vanilla ice cream. The roasted garlic has a sweet taste made even sweeter by the ice cream. They have garlic gelato which may be better, I'll try that one next year. Oh, I had a garlic and beef empanada at the end. See where the smell is coming from?

In between these delightful things we tasted garlic, had shots of garlic vinegar, and sampled garlic flavored dips, cheese, and all sorts of tasty things. We also saw chef Ric Orlando do a cooking demonstration. He's a champion on the TV show Chopped and he's in the final four for the top chef. I'll post a picture of him cooking after the final airs on Tuesday. He made a risotto and strawberry, chocolate and garlic desert that tasted interesting. Plus, he gave some great cooking tips.

Overall, we had a great time and the weather was perfect. If you've never been, keep it in mind. The Garlic Festival is held on the last full weekend in September and is open from 10:00 to 5:00. Check out the website for more info.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ruby Tuesday, Middletown NY

Okay, Ruby Tuesday is a chain and I've been avoiding reviews of chains for some time now. There is a reason for that. Sometime it seems that no matter what chain you are in, the menu is the same. I don't mean from location to location in the same chain, what I mean is that it doesn't matter if you are in an Applebees, a Ruby Tuesday, or a Friday's, the menu is similar. So are the prices and the service. Some chains have a slight edge over others, for example I like Chilis because of the consistency and I like Ruby Tuesday because of the Triple-prime burger. That and the fact that it is one of the last bastions of the salad bar. Oh how the salad bar has fallen into decline. Remember when almost every restaurant had one? Even the Wendy's in Newburgh had a salad bar.

Speaking of salad bars, have you ever watched people at a salad bar? It's amusing. You have the pile it on people who make a huge plate and salivate over it. Then there are the ones who think they are creating a work of art. Look at their faces, the pride they take in their creations. Today one woman held her plate up to her husband and said, "Now that's a salad." It was pretty the way she arranged it, but I think she thought she was Rembrandt considering the pride she took in it. Maybe I'm more of a Picaso at the salad bar since I have stuff all over the plate, or a Dali and it looks all distorted.

Okay, so back to the meal. My favorite is the Triple-Prime burger. I always order that with fries and I usually get the salad bar for an extra three bucks. Teresa usually gets one of the soups and the salad bar. Today however, we had a twenty-five dollar gift card so we explored other options on the menu. I got the New Orleans Seafood, pictured above, and Teresa got a chicken dish. We added the salad bar and the bill came to thirty-five dollars, plus tip.

Back to that salad bar once again. I had two plates so I filled up. That was a good thing because the portions were small. The shrimp on my plate lived up to their name, no oxymorons here. Teresa's chicken was moist and good. My Tilapia was well cooked. The onion rings were crispy. The asparagus was overcooked and the mashed cauliflower was gritty. Okay, we have been watching too many episodes of Chopped because we were trying to decide which of our meals would be chopped, and which would move on to the next round. Desert didn't look interesting enough, so there wasn't a next round. In retrospect, I should have gotten the burger and Teresa should have gotten the soup.

Service was good, well except that I never did get that water refill even though I asked three times. I've found that the Middletown location (the freestanding one in the Orange Plaza) is one of the best I've been to. The salad bar is well stocked and the service is good. I'll go back for the burger sometime and post a picture, and a review.

Update- I did get back for that burger and wrote a review with photo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some of my favorite burger photos

These are just a few of the pictures I've taken this year and I wanted to share them again. I love the brown tones of the bun and fries accented by the green and reds of the lettuce and tomatoes. I'll be adding a few more to the collection soon. They are appearing in no particular order.
First up is the Nu-Cavu Restaurant. They let you add what you want, and of course I added bacon and blue cheese.





To the left, the Beacon Falls Burger from Beacon Falls Cafe. Nice choice.











A favorite is Bacchus in New Paltz and I had the burger with bacon and blue cheese, of course. I like the way the bacon is licking the onion ring in this photo.








The Drafting Room in Exton, PA. Great food and an amazing selection of beer.













Appetites on Main in Exton, PA. Reasonable priced, good food.











Main Street Bistro in New Paltz. This is the Guaca Baca burger. Muenster cheese, guacamole, bacon, fresh bun and a really good burger. Cheap prices, good service, neat atmosphere.