Delicious lunch at Bluestone Bistro! Pan seared salmon was to die for as was the Crown Maple pot de creme dessert. Check them out in Poughkeepsie!
Addicted to coffee? Check out the New York Coffee Festival, being held this weekend September 25-27 at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue.
The festival will feature hundreds of free samples from the highest quality specialty coffee and food brands. In addition, there will be more than 70 innovative exhibitors (Starbucks Reserve, La Marzocco, La Cimbali, Pacific Foods, La Colombe, Steampunk, Joe Cofee, Toby’s Estate, Irving Farm, and more) as well as the Coffee Masters NYC barista competition.
More details can be found below.
Uncle Sam’s in New York City has declared September 18th – 24th “National Cheeseburger Week.” During “National Cheeseburger Week,” Uncle Sam’s will introduce three fantastic ways to celebrate:
In honor of National Cheeseburger Day tomorrow, Foursquare analyzed its location data to reveal the top 50 burger joints in the US. Minetta Tavern in New York City comes in as #1 on the list of best burgers, followed by Burger Joint , Shake Shack, J.G. Melon, 5 Napkin Burger and The Spotted Pig. A list of the top 10 is below. There’s plenty of New York City places on here – check them out!
Today, to celebrate National Filet Mignon Day, Morton’s The Steakhouse is offering $1 petite filet mignon sandwiches in the bar area of its restaurants. I can’t think of much that sounds better than this deal. Hurry, because the offer is only good for today. Morton’s has 73 locations worldwide so I’m sure you can find one nearby.
Restaurant: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana – 59 Federal Road, Danbury, Connecticut and Multiple Locations
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana has quite a history and is easily one of the best-known pizzerias in Connecticut. Known locally as Pepe’s, it still stands in its original location in the Wooster Square neighborhood of New Haven, CT, as well as restaurants in various cities across the state.
The Danbury location has a simple, green and white interior with an open kitchen. The centerpiece of the bustling kitchen is an enormous coal-fired oven.
Pies are placed table-side on an oversized tin baking sheet. From there, it’s help yourself as you dig in.
I chowed down on a pizza topped with sausage and mushrooms. While Pepe’s has a rich history, I was unfortunately unimpressed by their pizza. I found the crust to be floppy and the whole pie to be tasteless.
Other detractors are the silverware and plates. Pepe’s skips out on providing anything more than the basics – forks, knives and plastic plates. My biggest complaint is that the plastic plates are so tiny that a slice of pizza falls off the sides. Can’t you invest in some bigger plates?
I was excited to give Pepe’s a try, but unfortunately I left slightly disappointed. The pizza was pretty bland and the tiny plastic plates and lack of anything more than the basics had me thinking Pepe’s is trying to do whatever it can to save money and rein in the profits. Suggestion: buy some plates that at the very least fit a slice of pizza and invest in some silverware other than forks and knives. Maybe a serving utensil for the pizza?
Restaurant: Coals Grilled Pizza – 35 North Main Street, Port Chester, New York
Pizza can come in a bunch of varieties – from the famous Chicago deep dish to thin crust. Coals Grilled Pizza, with its original location in the Bronx and latest in Portchester, NY, serves up a unique variety of pizza, with a hand-stretched crust seemingly made of pita bread. I recently checked out the Portchester location.
The interior of Coals is fairly plain, with a quirkiness to it. A bar lines one side of the long and narrow restaurant, opposite a solid red-painted wall. The restaurant is definitely bright. Ample sunlight is let in through skylights dotting the high ceilings. Aside from a few random paintings strewn across the wall, a chalkboard menu and Presidential placemats, there isn’t much to the place. From what I’ve been told, the interior is fairly similar to that of the previous tenants.
On a Sunday afternoon, Coals was empty. I’ve heard this place is packed at night – mainly because of its “no reservations” policy – leaving diners to show up early in hopes of snagging a table.
For a pizza place, Coals has an extensive beer list, with beers on tap from across the country as well as from local breweries. I quickly ordered the sampler – a tasting a four beers of my choosing. This came out on a chalkboard-coated plank, allowing the bartender to transcribe the name of each beer. Nice presentation.
Up next was a pile of addictive Brussels sprouts, fried and tossed with some delicious sweet sauce (I wish I remembered what this was) as well as walnuts and raisins. These were delicious. They were very sweet, not too salty and had a nice crunch to them. For anyone that refuses to eat Brussels sprouts, I challenge them to try this dish and tell me they don’t like it. I need to figure out how to make this at home.
A plate of fresh house-made mozzarella, arugula and roasted red peppers added a touch of color to our table. This was all equally delicious. Whenever someone puts a huge ball of fresh mozzarella in front of me I’m not going to complain. I was very impressed with the portion size. I’d order this to start off the meal every time.
The pizza is where Coals really differentiates itself. We ordered two pizzas – margherita and smokey joe. The first thing I noticed was the crust. Coals uses hand-shaped grilled pita bread (if it wasn’t pita bread it sure looked and tasted like it) as its crust. This dough is rolled until it’s very thin and grilled over a coal fire so you can see the grill marks.
The pizzas seem to glow as they arrive at the table. The dough is clearly brushed with olive oil and this, along with the melted cheese, helps to give off this inviting sheen. They’re cut into long rectangular slices and are so thin I quickly over-indulged. So much so that I lost count as to how many slices I ate!
The pizza was incredible. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now. I can’t begin to tell you how good this crust was – the grilling gave it a nice charcoal flavor. The pizza is extremely light but packed with flavor. Loved it!
Our waitress, Samantha, never left our glasses empty and was at the ready to make sure everything was up to par. Since the place was empty we had the opportunity to really take our time, hang out and relax. There was never any pressure to wrap- up and leave.
Appetizers average around $10 and pizzas range from $11 to $15. The value is staring you right in the face. I would have expected the prices to be at least a solid $5 higher all around. Great value with extremely reasonable prices. Keep it up.
Coals takes pizza and gives it a twist with a unique version of your typical pizza crust. As I’m sure you can tell, I loved their version and thought it really helped allow you to taste all the ingredients of the pizza without having to chew on lots of dough. Kudos to Coals. I definitely will be back and recommend checking them out. I may just have to experiment in the kitchen and try to cook up some of this type of pizza myself.
Restaurant: Jonathan’s Restaurant – 2499 Jericho Turnpike, Garden City Park, NY
I’ll admit, Long Island isn’t one of my favorite places in the world. However, I recently found myself venturing out to the Farmingdale area to watch my dad cash in on a LivingSocial deal for flight lessons. A lunch stop was of course a must, and we decided on a place I’d previously been with Hailey and her grandmother, Jonathan’s.
Jonathan’s is a big place. There is a large, main dining area with tables scattered about and booths lining one wall as well as partially separated areas which are often used for private events. The tables are all covered in white table cloths and, while you can get away wearing jeans and going more casual, it feels as if Jonathan’s tries to class itself up as much as possible.
We arrived at the restaurant for a late lunch (around 2 p.m.). Aside from our group of 7, there were only five other tables in the place, as well as a larger party (I think bridal shower) in one of the partially separated dining areas.
The first piece of food that draws your attention is the bread placed on each table. Who doesn’t love a good bread basket? This one had a bunch of different varieties but the winners were the onion rolls. These were loaded with an incredible amount of onion pieces that coated the entire undersides of the rolls. The result was a heavily oniony flavor.
I was trying to be a little bit healthy this afternoon (after consuming four or five rolls of course) so I opted for a salad. I ordered:
A sliced grilled chicken breast as well as green apples were placed on top of the salad and sprinkled with candied pecans and the dressing. The highlights of the salad were the large amount of grilled chicken (major plus) that was very moist and seasoned to give it a nice flavor, as well as the candied pecans. (I’m convinced you can candy anything and it will be delicious.) Unfortunately, one of the major downsides of the salad were the mixed greens. I know is wasn’t eating a spinach salad but I would have preferred some more color from the lettuce. A great majority of the greens were practically white. Additionally, the green apples weren’t as green as I was hoping and this detracted from their overall flavor. I’m not sure exactly how healthy this salad was with the candied pecans and honey mustard dressing, but it tasted pretty good and did the job filling me up.
The service at Jonathan’s was terrible. Our waiter, Caesar, disappeared for long periods of time and was the opposite of attentive. It took us forever to order our food and drinks. When we received the wine menu to try and order another bottle of wine before our meals came out, Caesar was nowhere to be found. He did return to see if we wanted another bottle, but it was well after everyone had finished eating. Sorry, Caesar but you missed your opportunity. We then had to flag another waiter in order to clear our dishes after our waiter disappeared once again. It turns out, our waiter was also staffing the private party being held in one of the partially separated rooms. This is all good and fine, but when the place is practically empty and a large waitstaff is roaming the floor, someone needs to pick up the slack or specific waiters need to be dedicated to the dining room so they’re not pulling double duty.
Jonathan’s is priced around what I would classify as high-mid range. Entrees were in the low to mid $20s and my salad was in the high teens. The value is there though, with everyone at the table saying how happy they were with the quality and taste of their lunch options.
I’m not going out of my way to visit Jonathan’s. Yes, the food and atmosphere are good, but the service disappointed me and we weren’t happy about that. There are lots of options in the vicinity and next time I’m in the area I will be giving a new place a try.
Rossi’s Deli – 45 South Clover St, Poughkeepsie, NY
When it’s fall in the northeast there’s no better place to go than the Hudson Valley to see the leaves change color, pick pumpkins and have a weekend of fall fun. I went to college at Marist and had the luxury of calling the Hudson Valley my home for four years, and the luxury of living close to a Poughkeepsie-staple, Rossi’s Deli.
Rossi’s is your classic Italian deli and store on steroids. It’s not a very big place, but everything they sell is straight from Italy and absolutely delicious. Aside from pasta, cookies, and other Italian treats, they have a deli with hot food prepared daily as well and their signature sandwiches.
My sandwich of choice at Rossi’s is a chicken cutlet with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and balsamic on focaccia. It may sound simple, but all of the ingredients on this sandwich will blow you away. Chicken cutlet after chicken cutlet are piled high on a enormous round piece of focaccia bread. This is then layered with a generous amount of mozzarella, roasted red peppers and balsamic. It’s then placed on a panini press for a little while so everything gets slightly heated, the cheese melts and the bread gets nice and crispy. The result, an enormous sandwich that is making me hungry just thinking about it. Each bite of the sandwich delivers a big crunch. The roasted red peppers give it a sweet taste while the balsamic makes it a little tangy.
This is by far the best sandwich I’ve had in the Hudson Valley and is on par with my favorite sandwich shop in New York City, Alidoro. Whenever I’m up visiting Poughkeepsie Rossi’s is a must-visit. While the sandwiches are on the pricy-side, $10+ for what I ordered, you get your money’s worth in not only sheer size but quality. I highly recommend Rossi’s and will be back as soon as I can!