Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sushi Village- Poughkeepsie, NY

Sushi with a fish-eye lens

My brother-in-law has been raving about Sushi Village for some time now so we decided to stop by and try them.  It's a small, unassuming restaurant that serves all-you-can-eat sushi for twenty-one bucks. I wasn't all that hungry so I ordered the sushi and sashimi lunch at thirteen dollars. It came with four sushi, four sashimi and a spicy tuna roll with a small salad and miso soup. It was very good indeed, some of the best I've had anywhere. 

Teresa doesn't like sushi so she went with noodles and chicken. It was okay, but nothing special and she said she should have had the hibachi. Next time.

Overall, excellent sushi at good prices. The service is a bit odd, the sushi came out to me a good ten minutes before the cooked food arrived, but they were friendly enough. We'll be headed back sometime soon, but this time I'm going with a few people who like sushi and getting the all-you-can-eat special. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Poughkeepsie Ice House Revisited

Fish and Chips

We first hit the Poughkeepsie Ice House in February of this year, you can check out the original review here, and we really liked it. So today was a beautiful October day and we decided we wanted to eat outside on the river and the Ice House immediately sprung to mind. It turned out to be an excellent choice as they were as good as the last visit and the view of the river was amazing. 

Chicken Caprese Panini

My original thought was to have the Bridge Music Burger again, but as I was reading the menu a plate of fish and chips passed by on the way to a neighboring table and that made my decision. I was not disappointed as the fish was nice and moist with a crispy crust (they were battered with Mother's Milk Stout) and the fires were really good. Teresa went with the Chicken Caprese Panini and she said it was good. Both meals totaled out at $25, plus tax and tip. 

It's nice to see that they have maintained the quality they started with and we will definitely be going back. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Olive Garden- Middletown, NY

Endless salad bowl
I don't usually do chain restaurants, and I haven't been to one in a very long time. It's been even longer since I've been to an Olive Garden. What brought us in this time was the special wherein one orders and entree for $12.99 and gets a second entree to take home. You also get either an unending salad bowl or soup with breadsticks. Add to that the fact that we used to really like Olive Garden and went there often with the kids when they were younger. 

On entering we were seated immediately, there were plenty of empty tables, and given menus. I looked around and observed that the decor looked a bit stale and dated. It was clean, except for the silverware which we asked to be replaced, but tired looking. Our waitress was friendly, and efficient. We looked over the menus and decided to go with the specials. 

Five-cheese ziti al forno

I ordered the five-cheese ziti al forno for my entree and the smoked chicken with roasted peppers over pasta to take with me. The Ziti was a bit undercooked for me, I do like al dente but this was a tad underdone to even call it that. The cheese and sauce was clumpy and bland. It actually tasted as if someone had opened a frozen dinner, plopped it on a plate, and popped it in a microwave. The chicken dish was my lunch the next day and it was marginally better, but still like a frozen dish. Just a frozen dish from a better manufacturer. 

Mezzaluna ravioli

Teresa got the mezzaluna ravioli, one to eat there and one to take home. I tasted it and it was better than my ziti, but not by much. 

My overall impressions? The service was good and the prices of the specials dirt cheap. The ambiance was faded and tired, yet reasonably clean. The food, however, was lacking. I would call it pedestrian, but that would be pretentious. Perhaps it could be better described as a sanitized and Americanized version of Italian food created to be non-offensive and safe for the weak of palate. Or perhaps simply what many Americans consider to be Italian food, not bad, but not really good either. You will leave full, but not satisfied.

Now I remember why we avoid chain restaurants. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Greenwich Wine and Food Festival Pictures- and some comments

We had the pleasure of going to the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival on October 5th with the intention of watching and writing about the burger cook-off. We did catch part of the burger event, but along the way we had a bit of a sensory overload.

Bacon wrapped figs stuffed with blue cheese over brandy.

We arrived at eleven thirty and the gates opened at twelve so we talked to a nice couple from Rhode Island who write a wine blog while we waited and watched the line build up behind us. Now being amongst the first in we had a distinct advantage going through the Culinary Village tent, there was no crowd as yet. 

Bloody Caesar
This gave us the chance to sample without being jostled, as was the case later in the day after the crowds built up. And there was plenty to sample, both in food and spirits. Quite a few wineries, multiple vodka companies, and some gin purveyors were giving out rather large samples of their wares. Later, at the burger event, there were several beer companies giving samples.

There were some favorites that I went for, like the Octopus, and I got adventurous as well trying a fried head cheese slider and some tongue. An event like this is a good place to get adventurous and explore new options. 

Fried head cheese slider

Of course as we were sampling we were grabbing business cards and making notes as to what restaurants we would be visiting in the future. That's another reason we like these events as we can broaden our culinary horizons.

Between our rounds at the Culinary Village tent we popped over the CT Bites Blogger Village to view some interviews with celebrity chefs. Duff Goldman, The Ace of Cakes, was the first we saw and he was interesting. 
Duff Goldman
And next up was Chef Graham Elliot, of the Masterchef show, who had dropped about a hundred pounds. He was quite interesting and gracious enough to pose for a picture with my wife which made her day, and some of her friends a bit jealous.

Graham Elliot
Then it was back to grazing and it was more crowded, a hotter, under the tent. That didn't stop us from picking up on what we missed the first time through. 

We did find some new things, and had a second helping of our favorites. 

Quail Eggs
The quail eggs were very nice, as was the tuna below. By now it was time for the burger event to start so we left the tent and headed for the smaller tent.
Ahi tuna
The Burger event was in a smaller tent and when they started serving you would have though that the hundreds of people lining up for burgers hadn't eaten in weeks. We did manage to press in and I tried three burgers. The one below was okay, but a bit dry. I tried a spicy one from a famous restaurant and didn't like it. Too dry as well.
Nice burger
This burger, shown below, was amazing. Nice and moist and full of taste. By this point it was too crowded, and I was juggling too many plates already, to sample more and get the full effect. 
Amazing burger
Overall it was a really nice experience and the event was for a good cause, The Hole in the Wall Camp.