Friday, May 23, 2014

Sal's Place- Highland, NY


We had a couple of friends recommend Sal's to us, so I put it on the short list and today was the day to stop by for a visit. I have to remember to thank our friends as we were quite impressed with Sal's.

It's not a big place, just a neighborhood bar with some TVs and tables. It isn't fancy either and at six o'clock on a Friday night it was a tad noisy from the rather large bar crowd. The menu is somewhat extensive with plenty of Italian dishes priced at average prices. What I wanted was a burger so we each ordered one. Teresa ordered hers with grilled onions and I got mine with cheddar cheese and bacon. The burgers come with fries at $8.99 and add $.50 for each topping.  The total bill came to twenty-one bucks, tax included.

What surprised me was that the waitress brought us a bread basket and the burgers came with a small salad. I had mine with the house-made creamy blue cheese dressing and it was one of the finest blue cheese dressing I've ever had. So far we were off to a good start.

When the burgers came they were large, hot and tasty on a fresh kaiser bun. The meat tasted fresh and you could tell by looking at it that it was hand-formed with the delightful irregularities in the shape. The fries were crisp on the outside and nice and soft in the middle, just right. 

Service was good and as we ate Sal, in his chef coat, walked around greeting the diners and checking on everything. Friendly place. We will be going back again soon.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Smashburger


In comparing medium sized burger chains; Five Guys, Jake's Wayback Burgers, Shake Shack, Smashburger, and Steak and Shake I must say that Smashburger is my favorite with Jake's a close second. However, I have not yet tried In and Out yet as they are on the West Coast. 

At every one of those places two can eat well for about twenty bucks, give or take. What I have found is that the quality and flavor at Smashburger is the best.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pippa's Sports Cafe- Danbury, CT


Pippa's Sports Cafe in Danbury is one of those neighborhood places where locals go to watch the game, down a few beers and have a meal. It is also a place where you can take the family for an inexpensive meal after the Little League game or soccer match. It is not one of those sanitized, standardized, cookie-cutter chain places. Sure, it's a bit shopworn and could use some remodeling, but it is clean and has the feel of a faded pair of jeans or a well-read dogeared book. There are TVs all over the place and most of the tables even have a small one at the table. 

We stopped by for lunch and we sat out on the front porch as the weather was just right for a fresh breeze. After looking over the menu we decided on burgers. Teresa got the Red Sox burger with roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese while I ordered the DP burger with bacon and Swiss. 

Both burgers were good with a nice char on the outside, but mine was overdone from the medium ordered. It was okay though, not dry at all. The fries were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, plentiful, and seasoned. Overall, two good burgers for twenty bucks with friendly service.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Paraiso Latino- Pine Bush, NY


My boss told me that I have to try Paraiso Latino in Pine Bush, that it was very good, and he was right on the mark. We stopped by on a Friday evening when they have a buffet for eleven bucks. 

We sampled nearly everything and our favorite was the chicken enchilada with tomatillo sauce. It had a slight heat that didn't overpower the flavor. The chipotle chicken was good, the pulled pork was reminiscent of a Carolina style with a vinegar taste, the fajitas were tasty, and the chimichangas and burritos excellent. 

There was even a small selection of deserts featuring sweet chimichangas and rice pudding.


Overall, very good food, perhaps some of the best Mexican in the area with nice people. We will certainly be going back again.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Joe Willys Seafood House- Fishkill, NY

Calamari

Joe Willys in Fishkill is a place we have driven past for years never really giving them a thought until one day we saw them on Restaurant Impossible. This intrigued us and I put them on my short list, unfortunately it took quite some time before we got there. What made me stop was that my friend Michele went there with her husband for their fifteen anniversary. When I asked her about it she said she liked it and that she would go back. Since I trust her tastes we decided to try them and I can say that we are certainly glad that we did. 

Shrimp topped salmon
We were greeted at the door by a very pleasant young lady who seated us. She was followed by our equally pleasant waitress who gave us water and menus. It took a few minutes to make our decisions so we started with the calamari appetizer at $10. It was a bit different from the traditional calamari rings as they cut the body of the squid into strips, bread them, and deep fry. Doing it this way is risky, but if executed properly the calamari has a crispier snap than the tentacles (and looks prettier). This was quite good.

I ordered the shrimp topped salmon at $19 and I liked it. The shrimp was actually small bits of shrimp in a puree that crisped up in the oven. The salmon sat on a bed of amazing mashed potatoes and spinach that was loaded with garlic and was excellent. My only comment was that the salmon was a tad overcooked for my taste, but I like my salmon a bit more rare than the average person. I am quite certain that I could have requested it medium rare. 

Shrimp Francese

Teresa ordered the shrimp Francese at $18. She had a choice of rice, pasta, or spinach and the spinach (the same one I had) was her choice. This dish was amazing. The shrimp was fresh-tasting and perfectly cooked with an addicting lemony taste that was just right. Both entrees came with a rather large salad as well. The house balsamic was quite nice.

Overall, a very lovely dining experience. The service was excellent. The food was amazing at reasonable prices ($50 for two entrees and an appetizer). The ambiance was nice, sort of a casual chic with people dressed up and others in sweat pants. We will certainly go back again as there are a few more things I want to try.