Monday, February 17, 2014

Americana Diner- Middletown, NY

French Onion Soup

A Rueben at a diner, it doesn't get much simpler than that. Whenever I try a 'new to me' diner I always go with a Rueben, a burger, a gyro, or an omelet. Any of these are simple and so easy to get right, yet so many don't. I use these dishes as a benchmark and I must say that the Rueben I had at the American Diner today was quite possibly one of the best I have sampled. 

Rueben Lunch Special

We went for lunch and one of the specials was the Rueben for under eight bucks which came with fries, soup ($1.50 extra for the French Onion), and desert. The sandwich was what they called a half sandwich sitting on only one slice of bread. It was plenty filling though with copious amounts of fresh, moist, lean corned beef, just the right amount of Swiss cheese, and fresh sauerkraut. 

Dish of sides

The onion soup was good, tasted home-made, and Teresa liked her bean soup. We were stuffed so we took the rice pudding home with us. Service was good and friendly, food very good, prices reasonable. We'll be back again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Red Ginger- Newburgh, NY

Spicy Tuna Roll
I have a few friends who rave about Red Ginger so it has been on my short list for some time now. On the eve of a snow day, and a day in which neither of us felt like cooking, we decided to stop by on our way home from shopping and see what the buzz was all about. 

Red Ginger sits in a strip mall and it is bigger on the inside than it looks and the decor well appointed. We were seated right away as there were only two other tables occupied. The service was friendly, but the waitress kept apologizing for how slow things were as they were quite busy and that they could use three more people. I wasn't quite sure what she meant, but we perused the menu and finally made our choices. 
Alaska Roll
We started with an appetizer of steamed pork dumplings, which were okay, but nothing special, in fact a bit bland. Teresa ordered the steamed broccoli and chicken and since it comes without a sauce (you have to add one at extra charge) it looked a bit dry. The waitress brought us two sauces after a mishap at the next table (they delivered my shrimp dish to a woman who was allergic to shrimp) at no charge and the red ginger sauce was, in my opinion, quite good. Teresa said that the chicken was good, but that the broccoli was just okay. 

I decided to try three different rolls instead of the usual sushi/sashimi plate. My choices, at $5.75 each, were the Alaska Roll, the Spicy Tuna Roll, and the fried shrimp Tempura Roll. All three were good, the best one being the tempura, but nothing spectacular. It was also a bit late in coming as they had mixed up my order with the neighboring table and I had to wait for them to either make a new one, or to reheat hers for me. Perhaps I was missing something that everyone else sees in this restaurant.
Shrimp Tempura Roll
Overall, I would say that Red Ginger is okay. I would also add that there are other places I would go to before returning as the sushi was better in those places (Mr. Sushi, Sushi Village, and Yobo to mention a few), and the prices at these places are better. I may go back to Red Ginger though to see what I am missing and I will update if I do.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Putnam House- Bethel, Connecticut

Sirloin Burger

The Putnam House in Bethel Connecticut is one of those neat colonial American restaurants, the building dates back to 1852 and was once a hotel near the train station. It reminds me of some other places we've been before in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. 

I decided to go with the sirloin burger at $9.25 (add .50 each for the bacon and gorgonzola cheese). I ordered it medium and it came out a perfect medium with plenty of cheese and bacon. It was quite good indeed. Teresa had the cheddar sliders at the $9.75 and they were good, but a tad undercooked for her. She didn't specify a doneness, one usually assumes sliders will be overdone, so it wasn't the restaurant's fault the they were a perfect medium. The fries that came with both were hot, fresh, and tasty. 

Cheddar Sliders

Overall, good food at reasonable prices, warm, nostalgic ambiance and good service.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Twisted Soul- Poughkeepsie, NY

Caribbean Baguette with sausage

A friend who once lived in Poughkeepsie recommended Twisted Soul and since I trust her tastes, I put it on my short list of places to visit. Well, today was the day and I'm glad we stopped. 

Twisted Soul is an interesting, and eclectic, fusion of soul, Caribbean, and Asian foods. They specialize in small plates and it took a few minutes to decide what we wanted. While we were thinking we were greeted by Chef Ira Lee, the owner, and he was very friendly and helpful in making our selections. You order, and pay, at the counter and they bring the food to the table.

Teresa chose the chicken Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich, and she said it was very good. I took a taste and agreed with her. We shared a beef empanada which was also quite nice. I had the Caribbean Baguette at $9.50. It was pulled pork, cilantro, a Caribbean sausage and cheese (plus more things that I forget). It was quite tasty indeed with a sweet taste and many flavor notes. 

They also have an extensive cupcake menu and while they looked good, we didn't have room to indulge. Next time, and there will be a next time. Stop by and see what I mean. They have another restaurant across the street called Intro which looks interesting.