Friday, October 19, 2012

My Five Favorite Restaurants

Instead of doing a 'Best of 2012' list this year I decided to do a list of my top five restaurants. The criteria was simple, I had to have eaten at the restaurant at least four times and each time it had to have been excellent. All five have excellent food at reasonable prices and good service. The atmosphere varies from  European to Mediterranean to rustic to kitschy. 

There are four bistro/cafe type restaurants and one Burrito place. Please note that at only one do I favor a burger. 

I wrote a separate article on each restaurant and the links are below. They are listed at random as I love them all equally. Try any one of them and you will be satisfied. 

Caprice Bistro, Wilmington, NC
Beacon Falls Cafe, Beacon, NY
Greek Cafe, Middletown, NY
Nu-Cavu, Wallkill, NY

My Five Favorite Restaurants. The Greek Cafe, Middletown, NY

My friend Paula introduced us to The Greek Cafe and it has since become one of our favorite restaurants. The food is consistently good, as is the service. It is bright and decorated with pictures of the Greek Isles. 

While I do like the gyros, they do make some really good seafood, and some delightful lemon potatoes.

Lemon Potatoes
They make their own Gyro meat and it tastes fresh and delicious. You can get a traditional Gyro, but I like to get the Gyro platter which comes with a huge pile of meat on a bed of god fries with greek salad on the side. 

Gyro Platter
While I don't usually get desert, I have sampled them all. What we do now is have our meal and take home a pastry for later. The Baklava is amazing.

If you haven't been there yet, make it a point to pay them a visit. You won't be disappointed. 

My Five Favorite Restaurants. Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn, Wilmington, NC

There is nothing fancy about Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn in Wilmington. It is a simple place with tattooed employees, plenty of kitschy stuff on the walls and the best burritos I've ever eaten. Their motto is Hot, fast, cheap and easy and they deliver on all counts.

When I go, and I make sure to go at least once every time I'm in town, I have a bit of trouble deciding what I want. You see I love the Po' Boy and the Greek burritos equally. My wife and daughter love the Thai Me Up and my grandchildren love the tacos, especially when it is dollar tacos on Tuesdays. They also have the most amazing selection of salsas, all make fresh on the premises, which complement the fresh nachos. 

They have another place, Flaming Amy's Bowl, which is a flattop Mongolian grill, also amazing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Five Favorite Restaurants. Beacon Falls Cafe

We discovered The Beacon Falls Cafe close to two years ago and it has become a favorite 'go to' place. With close to a dozen visits under our belts I can honestly state that the food and service are consistently excellent.

While my favorites are the burgers, the one below was the one I named the Best of 2012, I have ventured into other parts of the menu. The Cockles were delightful, the shrimp scampi full of butter and garlic, yet not overpowering, the fried duck wings amazing and the Rhode Island Calamari wonderful. 

Bob's Blazing Burger

The restaurant is a cute little place (seating less than fifty?) and is well appointed featuring the work of local artists and photographers. The owners, Bob and Linda Nevelus, know what they're doing and they have a well-trained staff. 

Beacon Falls Burger
Bob is a retired police officer who, while protecting and serving, learned to cook and serve at the CIA. He has classical training, yet is not afraid to try different, and wonderful, things. He also has very good taste in beer and has an extensive craft beer list with daily specials.  

Shrimp Scampi
We've brought friends to BFC and they raved about it. We've recommended BFC to other friends and they also rave about it. 

Rhode Island Calamari

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Favorite Restaurants. Caprice Bistro, Wilmington, NC

One place that has to be on my top five is the Caprice Bistro in Wilmington. I looked at the menu on July 14th, 2011 (Bastille Day) after having eaten elsewhere and it was one of those, "Wow I coulda had a . . ." moment. The following week we were back and it has become a favorite.

Inside it is small, warm, romantic and friendly. On a visit during a heavy rainstorm we were seated near the window and looking out I could have sworn I was in Paris or Montreal. 

Duck Confit
Caprice Bistro is a Belgian restaurant patterned after the one the owners had in Greenwich Village, NY. They feature French classics with a Belgian twist, One of the best dishes there is the Duck Confit, shown above. It is moist and delicious. 

Pork Loin
The pork loin is tender, moist and delicious too. 

Petit Gris Escargots
The snails in roquefort are absolutely amazing. After I finish the escargot I love to mop up the sauce with the fresh bread. This could very easily be a part of my death row meal.

Love the Mussels. The picture above is an appetizer size order, we had this with a cheese plate, but my absolute favorite are the mussels Bruxelles. Made with bacon, cream, wheat beer and probably close to two pounds of fresh mussels this is an amazing dish. Add the frites and you are in Heaven.

And the deserts are delightful, if you can save room. I can't wait until I get back there in April. 

Floating Islands Desert

My five favorite restaurants. Nu-Cavu in Wallkill, NY

I thought that instead of doing a "Best of" list this year (yes, I did post my Best Burger of 2012) that I'd do a feature on my top five restaurants. I list them in no particular order and I'll start with a perennial favorite since 2008, The Nu-Cavu in Wallkill, NY.

Veal Vavu
One of my reasons for liking this place so much is the consistency in food and service. I've never had a bad meal, and I was always treated like a king. We've tried most everything there and while they do make a mean burger, my favorites is the Pescatore, a seafood dish over pasta. 

I do try the specials and my most recent was the Veal Cavu (top photo), a remix of their Chicken Cavu. Veal, eggplant and roasted peppers with mozzarella and sauce served with pasta or potatoes. 
Eggplant Parmesan
Teresa is a huge fan of their eggplant Parmesan and I agree with her that it is one of the best anywhere. 
Salad with Blue Cheese
Even the salads are good, and they give you fresh bread with an olive tapanade. Stop by and have a nice meal sometime. Tell them I sent you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Best Burger of 2012

That exciting time to announce the winners of Burgers and Brews Food Reviews Best of list is once again upon us. I will start with the most coveted prize, that of Best Burger.

Best Burger-The winner of the best burger of 2012 is Bob's Blazing Blue Cheese Burger from the Beacon Falls Cafe. This thirteen dollar beauty is a half-pound of quality beef, bacon, ample blue cheese, hot peppers, tomato and lettuce. The beef is cooked to perfection, exactly as you order it. The hot cherry peppers make your mouth water, while the blue cheese tempers some of the heat. Oh, and the fries are really good.

I've eaten at least four of these and they were all consistently magnificent. This is a two-handed, three napkin burger and I'd pair it with a nice IPA, like a Hurricane Kitty.