Sunday, April 28, 2013

Burger with Crab Cake, Winner's Circle, Exton, PA

This is a burger with a crab cake on it and remoulade sauce from Winner's Circle in Exton, PA. It was good, but I really liked the photo and wanted to share it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Avanti's Restaurant, Hopewell Junction, NY

Eggplant Rollatini appetizer

We were invited out to dinner by our friend Pat to celebrate an event and she said she was taking us to one of her favorite italian restaurants, so of course we readily agreed. I like Italian, and I like it when I'm treated to dinner.

Avanti's Restaurant is on Rt 52 in Hopewell Junction in an area called Wicopee. It is a former pizza joint in a strip mall, so it is a bit unassuming from the outside but don't let that fool you. It was completely remodeled a few years ago when the new owners took it over and as a result it has a nice, warm feel to it inside. Our server was very good and we were constantly attended to by him and a nice woman who helped and kept our water glasses full. 

Vongole Oreganata
Looking over the menu, and listening to the specials, my dining companions were having trouble deciding what to order so we started with appetizers, the eggplant rollatini and the clams. Both were excellent. The clams had a lovely garlic flavor that was not overpowering. The eggplant was just right with no bitterness to it. 

Veal Sorentina
I knew what I wanted before we even got there. I looked online and saw that they offer a Veal Sorentina, one of my favorite dishes and a dish by which I judge Italian restaurants. This was a properly executed plate with the veal being perfectly cooked, just the right amount of perfect eggplant on it and possibly the best sauce I've ever had on it. It took two pieces of bread to soak up the remaining sauce and I didn't want it to end. The pasta side dish was also perfectly cooked with a delightful marinara sauce. 

Spaghetti all partenopea
Pat ordered the spaghetti all partenopea which she said was wonderful. Teresa ordered a pasta and broccoli plate that she loved. Somehow we managed to share a desert of mousse that was very rich, and very tasty. 
Overall, excellent food, impeccable service, reasonable prices and nice ambiance. I would recommend that you stop by and enjoy a nice meal. They have a website for more information. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Skull Splitter Ale from Scotland

Skull Splitter comes from the Orkney Brewery in Scotland and is a wee heavy beer. That means it weighs in at 8.5% so it isn't a light weight. It has a really nice taste, one of the finest Scottish Ales I've tasted and goes well with red meats. I had it with duck.  

From the company web site-
Appearance- A crystal-clear, rich tawny-red colour beer; a tight, smooth head with hints of red and amber colour.
Aroma- Juicy, almost fruity malt character, together with a medley of fresh and dried fruits, dates and figs, hints of ginger and cinnamon spice, hints of vanilla.
Palate- A rich, fruity, wine-like complexity on the palate includes fresh and dried fruits, warm exotic spices, and light summer citrus fruits.
Key Ingredients- Very best pale ale malt – and plenty of it – together with crystal and chocolate malts provide a rich, fruity backbone which is perfectly balanced by the spicy herbal character of East Kent Goldings hops.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Franco Di Roma, Middletown, NY

Franco Di Roma is an unassuming place from the outside, it sits in a strip mall near the Middletown Farm store on Rt 211. Inside it looks better, but is still unassuming in a quant way. We were seated in the front, they have another dining room in the back, and given menus by a very pleasant waitress. Teresa decided on the eggplant parmesan at twelve bucks and I ordered the veal sorentino at seventeen bucks. Both came with pasta and a choice of soup or salad. These are two of our favorite dishes, and we often use them as a benchmark in comparing restaurants. 

Well, both were excellent. My veal was three pieces of meat with ample prosciutto and a delicate sauce that did not overwhelm the veal. The same sauce was on the penne pasta. The eggplant was quite nice as well with no bitter taste and a nice red sauce. 

Overall, I would say this is a place you should try sometime. It is a diamond in the rough.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

McKinney and Doyle, Pawling, NY

McKinney and Doyle occupies three storefronts on the main drag in Pawling, NY. Facing the building the one on the right is the bakery and ice cream fountain, the middle one is a dining area and the left one is a bar/dining area. Inside it was elements that I really like; aged wood floors, brick walls and tin ceilings, so the ambiance is nice. Well, some of the decorations on the wall ledges could use a dusting. I could have written my name on one of the wine bottles.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and it was slightly busy. The middle section was full, but there were seats in the bar area. We had to wait a few minutes for a seat though.

After perusing the menus, it was brunch time until three, I decided on the M&D burger shown below at $12.95. It came with Swiss cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce and tomato with a side of fries. The fries were just okay, but the burger was very good. I ordered it medium and it was a perfect medium with enough seasoning.

Teresa ordered the avocado salad at $16.50. It was an avocado, pealed and sliced in half with one half stuffed with a lobster salad and the other with a tuna salad. It wasn't bad, and it wasn't great.

Overall I'd say it was good. The ambiance was good. The food was good, but a bit pricey. The service however was mediocre. I would go back again if I were in the neighborhood, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do so.