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Monday, August 31, 2015

Suffern Field House

The Suffern Field House simply gives off that small town vibe. You almost expect them to call out, "Norm" when the right customer comes in and take his regular seat.  If you become a regular, I'm sure they quickly learn what you like and make sure you get it as quickly as possible.  They just have that personable feel with their customers.

They also enthusiastically support local sports teams and proudly display a bit of memorabilia throughout the restaurant.  Go team!

About the food...

Made-to-order.  The chains are mastering the art of this culinary craze.  Sub-sandwiches and burrito bowls can be assembled from the bottom up as you list the ingredients you want added.  Why not pizza?  Ok, why not wood fired pizza?

So, on the same premise, you begin with a naked crust.  You can first select your sauce, then cheese and finally from a number of meat and vegetable toppings.  Some are grouped together and given names in case you have a hard time putting items together, but really, anything goes and you are the only one who has to like it and eat it so now is the time to experiment.

For my vegetarian friend:

White pizza with eggplant, ricotta and spinach.  Yum.

For me:

Cheesy goodness that I have to show you more than once!

Fresh mozzarella, not shredded, with a mild as well as sweet marinara and torn basil.  Please, don't simply call it a Margherita pizza. This one is mine.  It was custom selected and ordered by me.

It is nearly impossible to pick up the slice and show you the ooey gooeyness of the cheese, so you will have to believe me when I tell you - it was perfect.  A nice thin crust with a bit of snap and I thought I'd stop after 2 slices.  Then I reevaluated and told myself I would only eat half of the pizza.  I'm a liar
I ate the WHOLE thing for lunch.

If you have room or a dessert stomach or an uncontrollable sweet tooth, you may also opt for a custom made Crazy Cupcake.

I was completely filled with pizza, but maybe one day soon I will make a special trip to try a cupcake.

My friend and I were Fed Well and are sure to return for a wood-fired, custom-made, specialty personal pizza.  It's not just lunch, it's a culinary adventure.

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Paraiso Latino in Pine Bush, NY

Birthdays are fabulous! You get to celebrate being alive another year and without a little luck, you can stretch those celebrations out for a weekend, a week, or more, if you are able to  separately spend time with family and different groups friends.  On this particular Tuesday night, I was honored to spend time with 2 buddies at Paraiso Latino in Pine Bush.

We've all been here a number of times and have enjoyed the buffet as well as ordering from the menu.  We love the current Tuesday night Margarita special and here is our toast (technically honoring my mom, right?) and mine is the one thoroughly rimmed in salt - yum!

Traditional House Margarita's

What to eat? What to eat?  It takes us awhile to decide, but the owner is very patient with us as she checks in and allows us time to think it over.  She also adds she can make tweeks or adjustments to dishes to suit our tastes.  Wow! 

Once we make up our minds, here is what our main courses looked like:

Beef Fajita

Served with:
Side of rice and beans

I was full simply looking at this generous portion of food.  My friend said the beef was tender and enjoyed the fresh green bell peppers and onion.

For me:
Custom Creation Shrimp Bowl

I admit it, sometimes I am spicy shy and so, I was accommodated with the base of a shrimp burrito bowl with some modifications.  I asked that the shrimp really not be seasoned and so they were quickly and simply sauteed allowing them to keep their plumpness as well as juiciness.  The bottom of the bowl was beans, topped with rice, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and the shrimp were mixed throughout.

My second friend ordered a burrito and while she enjoyed it, unfortunately the photo did not do the meal justice.

The restaurant was pretty busy for a Tuesday night - maybe it's the specials? Maybe it's simply because the food is an excellent example of Tex-Mex? Maybe it's because customers enjoy the combination of home town feel with out of town flavors?  Or option D - all of the above?

We had a great time, a wonderful meal and were Fed Well at Paraiso Latino in Pine Bush!  Happy Birthday to me and Thanks Mom!

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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?