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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Breakfast in Bed - Atlantic City, NJ

Just the idea of breakfast in bed sounds ridiculously indulgent and decadent to me. The idea of it has always sound to me like the ultimate in feeling positively spoiled and waited on.  Since this was another perk of our room in Atlantic City, we couldn't help but participate.

Sunset in Atlantic City

We looked at the menu the night before and I called to leave a message on the room service voice mail with our order and delivery time.  However, I had no idea that I had transposed the last two digits of our room number...

When what I thought was the scheduled arrival time of our meal came and passed, I became well, annoyed.  After 15 minutes or so I called to check on the status of our breakfast and was told of my mistake.  I could feel the heated blush of embarrassment creep up my face as I was told, "We called the room number you gave us and were told you did not order breakfast." 

Well, that's because I gave the wrong room number and now I've disrupted someone's vacation AND I still don't have breakfast. Ugh.

The person I was speaking with was forgiving and understanding and my mistake was quickly corrected.  

Our breakfast arrived:

Something about those silly metal cloches - makes me feel important or royal or well, like a pampered guest.

Pancakes for the Mr.

Eggs Benedict for me

Berries and Cream - um, yes please!

In this case, it was about the overall experience more than the food. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the meal did in fact taste great as well.  It arrived hot and we enjoyed eating at a leisurely pace, without crowds, before heading out.  Fed Well, we then enjoyed the remainder of our day in Atlantic City.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Guy Fieri's Chophouse - Atlantic City, NJ

Imagine booking an overnight stay in Atlantic City based on the fact that I can eat at Guy Fieri's Chophouse for dinner? Well, that was exactly what happened when the Mr. and I set out for a quick weekend get away last month.  

Making our dinner reservation on-line for Flavor-Town was effortless and I requested a table with a view.  Here's what we saw:
I had checked out the limited menu ahead of time (the full menu is not available every day) as well and pretty much knew what I wanted.  The Mr. needed a little time, but we were both able to find appetizers and main courses (though I had an appetizer as my entree).

Personality on a placemat...

and the menu

To begin -

Fun take on the standard bread and butter 2.0 with a pretzel bun and zippy mustardy alternative to plain old butter.

Lobster Knuckle Chowder

Fabulous.  A word I reserve for truly wonderful events and occurrences, but this soup certainly qualifies.  Creamy, substantial, layers of flavor, mixed textures - all the elements you hear the big food guys talking about, well, they showed up in the chowder.  Crunchy croutons served on the side were a bonus so I could control how much softer they were allowed to become by not letting them bask in the silky soup broth.

Classic Wedge Salad

The Mr. started his meal with this salad and I was going to politely decline sampling it because I am not the enthusiastic fan of bleu cheese that he is and it seemed to be drowning.  However, upon closer inspection and taste, the dressing was indeed pungent, but could easily be moved aside by taking off the top layers of crispy iceberg and leaving them for the Mr.  The star of the plate was that tomato. Meaty and firm, the flesh was ripened perfectly and most importantly, tasted like the tomato you imagine when you think of this summertime favorite.  Indeed, it could be served naked on a plate and diners would line up to have a slice.  Simply perfect.  Thank you to the farmer.

The Mr.'s Main

Shut the front door and have some fries!

Crispy outside, tender and flaky potato that had just been fried to the perfect golden brown.  Oh my.

Pork Belly Slider Appetizer

I had my magical potatoes with the pork belly sliders that are intended to be a starter.  Thanks for letting me break the rules and do what I want.  It really does make me that much happier and helped us both feel Fed Well.

We didn't see or meet Guy.  I'm sure he was busy taping, driving, dining or doing something to keep himself crazy busy, but if you let yourself imagine it, you could hear him telling you what he thought of each dish and narrating the ingredients and steps of preparation. I'll see him next time on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Red Lobster - Middletown, NY

Chain restaurants.  Overall, the Mr. really avoids them as much as possible.  Sometimes I can coax him if I have a coupon because after all, who doesn't love a bargain.  Other times, they are simply really convenient and one of their best features is consistency.  If you like the biscuits in one Red Lobster, you will like them in every Red Lobster (or if you dislike them, you will never change your mind).

Our younger son was able to spend a month studying in London. On the night of his return, he unpacked his bag like Santa Claus, gave us all a small gift, and simply wanted to sleep in his own bed.  The next night, I thought we could catch up with a casual dinner and so Red Lobster was our destination.

My meal began with a Mojito (which may have been made a bit murky with quite a bit of fresh mint) and the previously mentioned biscuit.  I happen to love them - don't judge.

We all had various food options to begin.  For the Mr. a salad and soup.  I had the same New England Clam Chowder and while the flavors are maybe not as bright or clear as those you may experience in a privately owned restaurant in a tiny coastal town, they are solidly good and predictable.

Main Course Mussels for me.  Although this dish is an appetizer, I have learned over the years that most times, the customer is always right and can mix/match things to suit their own appetite and tastes.  The mussels were fairly good and the flavorful liquor and broth remaining in the dish was quite satisfying.

We heard stories about tourist attractions and various foods our son experienced in England.  We simply enjoyed spending some time together after 4 weeks living apart and it felt a bit like dining in a friend's kitchen rather than a formal restaurant's dining room.  Nothing wrong with that.  We felt Fed Well and satisfied in being together.

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BBQ with Friends

What is the best recipe for a small gathering with friends? A mix of sun and shade, something refreshing to drink, a few good dishes (preferably something easily made in advance so you don't have to be scuttling about and leave your friends either wanting to help or alone while you slave away in the kitchen) and an easy atmosphere. The Mr. and I recently went to a friend's house and experienced the perfect barbecue.

I am not a wine enthusiast.  In fact, this is one culinary area where I suspect I would fail if I were to attend formal training.  I know red wines leave me with a pounding headache and I have a very narrow window of enjoyment between sweet and white wines.  My friend did pour me a nice white and didn't think twice when I asked for just a few ice cubes (I prefer it as cold as possible and if the ice dilutes the flavor, I'm perfectly fine).

The first bites we were given were prepared by the lady of the house; about a pound of bite size venison chunks which were seasoned and quickly grilled thus giving them the nickname, "speedies." Though game meat often has the reputation of being well, gamey.  These were identifiable as venison, but to me, they did not have any negative flavors tagging along.

Stories were told, one by one, and we took turns listening, commenting and enjoying as the time quickly passed and it was time for the main course.

Sausages and kielbasi were grilled by the man of the house while bowls of side dishes he prepared earlier, were passed around the table.

Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

The corn salad was by far my favorite dish and though I have requested the recipe just to make sure I don't leave off an ingredient, as of now, I'd have to go by the items I can identify in the photo. Everyone is a little short on time these days and really, who wants to write out a recipe?

Grilled Mixed Veggies

Simply grill up the veggies you like and toss with a little balsamic. I'm sure our host did more seasoning then I am mentioning, but if you can keep the flavors simple, they really do sing on the tongue. This dish was gobbled up.

I brought a bowl of sliced tomatoes with a bit of onion in an Italian style dressing.

We had a wonderful meal on their back deck on a summer Sunday.  Everyone felt content, relaxed and Fed Well.  What could be better?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lakeview House - Orange Lake, NY

It was a long, cold, harsh, and snow covered winter.  Now, it is full blown summer weather in the Northeast and for the very first time, I was a passenger in a cool convertible as a friend and I headed off on a sunny weekend and went out to lunch.  

Sun shining, breeze blowing, little green sports car and conversation flowing.  

I'd been to The Lakeview House on Orange Lake this past winter during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and wanted to return and try dining al fresco.  My friend was agreeable and so our lunch trip begins.

We are seated in a shady area and can clearly see the lake.  Once in awhile a boat or jet ski goes by, but mostly all is a bit quiet and peaceful.  We are given regular menus and a list of specials to choose from, but first a cocktail.  A blend of ingredients, one of which was lemonade, with an adult upgrade. Refreshing without the bite of too much alcohol.

Soup. Yes, soup.  While some may think weather dictates the menu, I can always eat soup and this seafood carrot and ginger cup of goodness was well worth breaking the conventional rules of reserving soup for winter.

Shrimp Tacos

Fabulous smoky and vibrant flavors come from the shrimp seasoning then are cooled by the fresh greens and avocado in every bite.  The shells are so filled with ingredients they try to escape out the top and back of the shell while you are eating.  This is a two handed, full concentration needed effort and exactly what I hoped for when I ordered the dish.  Fully satisfying.

Salad with Grilled Chicken

With a selection of dressings, the salad appears to be both a generous portion of veggie and chicken. I'm certain if the contents of the plate were weighed, one might be surprised by the total.

Orange Lake

For whatever reason, I wanted to walk right down to the dock, take my shoes off and swing my feet in the water.  I'm sure this behavior would be frowned upon, but the urge was there.


Again, making a choice that may not seem to fit with the season, I had a lovely cup of cappuccino. Indulgent? Perhaps.  After all, this is a leisurely lunch treat, not a workday where you simply shove food in as fuel to get you through the day.

Creamsicle Pie

Finally, the most memorable course of the meal and one that could arguably be called the most seasonally appropriate, a huge slice of Creamsicle Pie.  Graham cracker crust layered with orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and orange slice. STOP! It was insane. Delicious, creamy, refreshing and genius.  I've since had food dreams of the Creamsicle Pie.

With full bellies and content with our chat we said farewell to The Lakeview House and left feeling Fed Well.  I am glad to have revisited this local gem and dined outside.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quick Breakfast

I can't tell you how many times I have stood in front of an open refrigerator door or the pantry and just wanted a tasty food item to simply jump out at me, ready to go, easy to eat while satisfying my craving for either a particular flavor or simply the need to chew.  Sometimes, you simply have to be creative.

I gathered a wrap, a banana, the peanut butter and chocolate syrup.  In the past, I have substituted Nutella for the peanut butter and syrup.  I have also used honey instead of chocolate.  Thing is, you can do this with whatever ingredients you like and as a bonus, it is just as portable as a pre-packaged granola bar or breakfast bar.  

It only takes a minute to prepare yourself a health snack or breakfast that will leave you feeling Fed Well.

Pizza Plus in Pine Bush

Dough, sauce and cheese.  The fewer the ingredients, the more important they are in providing a perfect pizza.  I don't know the secret recipe at Pizza Plus and it may very well include more than 3 delicious ingredients, but what I can share is, I'm glad to have them and so far, fabulous flavors!

A few months ago, my older son and I attended the Pine Bush Chamber of Commerce meeting held in Pizza Plus' restaurant and I was able to sample the following dishes:

Again, seemingly simple foods brought together to create a harmonious bite.  The meats and cheeses were just the right texture and the olives were salty goodness.  A great finger food for networking with local business owners and their representatives.

Fresh salad.  Colorful, bright, and a nice combination of peppery, savory and the sweet burst of grape tomatoes.  Nice.

I also appreciate the attention to detail in setting up a buffet.  Flowers, display signs and an orderly flow all make it seem like an indulgence rather than a simple business meeting.  Extra points for caring.

But really, when all is said and done, the taste of the pizza is really what matters and Pizza Plus handles the scrutiny my son and I give their offering.  The dough was perfect, not charred, but cooked and the sauce is sweet and delicate with cheese that passes the stretchy test.  A nice chew and yes, we went up a second time for more.

Toppings, toppings and more toppings with endless combinations available. 

Daily specials keep things lively.  Note: this photo is now a bit outdated so call ahead  or check their website here and confirm what today's special really is and so you are not let down.

Overall, we loved Pizza Plus and have been back on our own.  We also look forward to future take out.  Welcome to the neighborhood Pizza Plus and thanks for leaving us feeling Fed Well.

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