Sunday, October 23, 2011

Escargots avec le lard, le beurre, l'ail et le vin

A little different recipe this time as I used bacon to add a new dimension to the flavor. I used less butter than usual since the bacon added fat with more flavor. The next time I may substitute a  hoppy IPA like Hop Devil for the wine to see what that does. The beer might just elevate the flavor.

1 can snails
1/2 half small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs parsley
1 cup red wine
2 strips cooked bacon, chopped up
1/4 stick butter cut into pats

Marinate the snails in the wine for an hour in the fridge, covered. Place snails in oven safe dish and add a little of the wine from the marinade. Spread onions, garlic, parsley, and bacon on top. Add pats of butter to top. Bake at 450 for about fifteen minutes. 

The bacon adds fat, and a flavor note, making less need for butter. Quite tasty with a more delicate taste than the traditional escargot de bourgogne. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Italian Stallion from The Winner's Circle in Exton, PA

Just thought I'd share this photo of the Italian Stallion Burger from The Winner's Circle in Exon, PA. It has sausage and pepperoni mixed in the meat so it tastes a bit like a large, flat meatball. Quite good. The picture was interesting though as I switched to portrait mode in the color balance and shot it at ISO 800 with no flash at a 30th second f2. I thought the color saturation came out nice. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Best of the Hudson Valley, 2011

Cowboy Burger at Ward's Bridge Inn
It may be a bit early in the year for this, but I saw that Hudson Valley Magazine did their Best of 2011 list so I thought I'd come up with mine. Mine is more of a list for regular people. This is the Hudson Valley edition and I've included links to the reviews. Some of the reviews are older, but I've been to every one of these places this year and I've based the winners on this years visits as well as consistency over time.

I'll be doing the best overall that I've eaten at from NY to NC closer to the end of the year.

Best Burger- The Cowboy Burger at Ward's Bridge Inn in Montgomery, shown here. This was a stiff competition and I chose the winner based on flavor, presentation, price and most importantly because it comes properly cooked. When I order medium I want it medium. The Raccoon Saloon was so close that I may have to do a comparison someday.

Best Greek Restaurant- This goes to The Greek Cafe in Middletown. They make their own gyro meat fresh. Prices are reasonable, food is wonderful and service very good.

Best Italian- Once again I have to say that the Nu-Cavu in Wallkill is my favorite. Eggplant, seafood dishes, chicken, whatever I've had there is good. Coming in close were Napoli's and Gloria's Griddle in Vails Gate, The Cauldron in Montgomery and The Olde Erie House in Middletown.

Best Diner- The Alexis Diner in Newburgh, hands down. I've eaten there close to a hundred times and I'll be back another hundred. A close second is the Cup and Saucer Diner in Pine Bush.

Best Pizza- Guido's Pizzeria in Walden. Union Square does make a very good brick oven pizza though and Cosimo's is good as well.

Best Chinese- Ming Jie House, Walden.

Best German Restaurant- The Gunk Haus in Highland. Yes, they overcooked my burger but everything else was amazing, including the view.

Best Fast Food- Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Newburgh. Well, they aren't that fast but they sure are good.

Best Local Beer- Keegan Ales Hurricane Kitty.

Best Mexican- Maya Cafe and Cantina in Fishkill.

Best Barbeque- Holy Smoke, Mahopac.

Best Cafe/Bistro- Beacon Falls Cafe. In Beacon of course. They have a neat brunch on the weekends too.

Best All You Can Eat Buffet- There is none. Well, none that I am aware of. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Best of Wilmington 2011

Winnie's Burger
It may only be October, but since I won't be back to Wilmington again this year I thought I might as well do the Best of Wilmington 2011 a bit early. The results are informal and based solely on my personal tastes.

Best White Tablecloth Restaurant- Caprice Bistro Well, it is more of a bistro but I'm going to classify it as a fancier restaurant. Classic French food at reasonable prices without the pretentiousness usually associated with French food. Well, it really is Belgian so that may explain it. Try the duck.

Best Burrito- Flaming Amy's The best burritos anywhere. Try the Po'Boy.

Best Breakfast- Goody Goody Omelet House I've heard the burgers are good there as well, but I can't speak from experience. What I can say is that the omelets are great.

Best Gastropub/bistro- The Eat Spot The best onion rings I've ever had and they came with a delicious burger. I would have named them best burger, but I had to give the nod to Winnie's Tavern.

Best Burger- Winnie's Tavern A little out of the way, and the opposite of upscale, but worth the trip and the experience. Amazing burgers, sold dirt cheap. The photo at the top is the Winnie Burger. A half-pound of heaven for about six-fifty.

Best Donut- Britt's They have one type of donut, glazed, and it is amazing. Also, they are not in Wilmington. They are in Carolina Beach.

Best Beer/bar food- Front Street Brewery A good place to eat as well, especially for the half-priced appetizers. Try the crab cakes, in fact try everything. I've been there a few dozen times and everything was good. One of the best brew pubs I've been to.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mahoney's Irish Pub and Steakhouse, Poughkeepsie, NY

Emmett Mahoney's Irish Pub and Steakhouse in Poughkeepsie is located in the old train station, right next to the new train station, near the waterfront. I've heard about it for a while and we almost went there once. It turned out it was around Saint Patrick's Day and there was a parade so the place was mobbed so we didn't. Well, today we stopped.

I didn't get much of a look inside since it was such a nice day that we decided to eat on the patio. We were given menus and the waiter went to get us the water we wanted. When he returned we ordered. I got the Celtic burger at $10.95 which had Irish cheddar cheese and rasher (Irish bacon) with fries and slaw. I ordered it medium and guess what? It was well done, but it was a juicy and flavorful well-done so I let it go. Dry well-done and it would have gone back. The rasher gave a nice flavor and the fries were crispy. Teresa ordered the Jack Daniels Panini at $11.95 which was made from a tender cut of steak and was quite good.

Overall the food was good, service was good and the prices reasonable. Stop by and give them a try. They have a website for information.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Greek Cafe, Middletown, NY

I may have mentioned a time or two that I really like Greek food so when my friend Paula recommended a new Greek place in Middletown I got all excited. You see, Paula is Greek and she has eaten in Greece a few times so she should know. Well, I put it on my short list of places to visit. Today Teresa was out shopping with Paula and she texted me to meet them there, so off I went.

The Greek Cafe is in a strip mall on route 211, just outside of Middletown in a storefront that once housed an Italian restaurant that we ate at years ago. When I went in I realized they had done a complete makeover and the restaurant was bright and well decorated with some photos of Greece. There was Greek music playing as well. We were greeted and seated promptly and the waiter gave us menus and water.

We started with the stuffed grape leaves (domadakia) at $6.95 and there were five very nice ones on the plate. I ordered the gyro platter at $9.95 (much cheaper than most places) and it was one of the best I've had. The plate was full of fresh homemade gyro meat (not the typical gyro meat, a nice flavor with just the right amount of spices and cut a bit thicker) on top of french fries with a salad on the side and pita bread.

Teresa got the spanakopita at $9.95 and I tasted it. Very good. Paula had the chicken Santorini at $12.95 with roasted lemon potatoes on the side. She said it was delicious and applauded the dish.

After dinner we did something we rarely do, we got desert. Three of them to share. We had the baklava, the Kataifi (that's the one that looks like shredded wheat) and the Galaktoboureka. Each were $3.75 and delicious. All three had a honey flavor and our favorite was the Galaktoboureko which had a custard with a taste similar to an Italian sfogliatelle.

Overall it was a great experience with good service, good prices and great food. At more than one point the owner came over to make sure everything was okay. We will certainly be back again, and again. The Greek Cafe is going to be one of our favorites.

Two other points; they have free wi-fi and the men's room was spotless. They have a website for more information.

Update- We were back for dinner on 10/15 and it was every bit as good as the last time, possibly even better. They are consistent.