A few years back, on the way to a weekend in Upstate New York, we pulled off the Taconic Parkway to stop for lunch. We went to a strip mall in Hopewell Junction hoping for a diner. No luck, but there was a deli – the S and J Deli. We thought we’d get some sandwiches and eat in the car.
When we walked in we were glad to see that they had a few tables. We were ever more glad to see what kind of deli it was. There shelves were stocked with imported pasta, olive oil and other Italian delicacies. The guy behind the counter saw that we were overwhelmed with the choices when he asked us what we wanted and suggested fresh mozzarella and capicola topped with sautéed broccoli rabe on Italian bread. What a great combination. They even had Manhattan Special, an espresso soda usually only available in NYC Italian neighbourhoods.
It was a much better lunch that we ever expected. I saved their address and this became a standard lunch stop for all our trips to the Adirondacks. We were there again just a few days ago and had a fresh mozzarella, fried eggplant and roasted pepper sandwich with a sprinkle of balsamic – perfect. No website but they have some great reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor and others.
Kitchen 21 is a new addition to Coney Island. Not typically what you’d expect but I think it will be a good fit. It’s in a landmarked Spanish Revival building on the Boardwalk that opened as a Childs Restaurant in the 1923. In contrast to the exterior, the interior is done in a modern industrial style.
It has a Café for take-out, the Parachute Bar with a great selection of beers on tap, the Community Clam Bar for seafood, the Test Kitchen with food by guest chefs and a rooftop bar. When we were there the crowd was made up of tourists, hipsters and enough Coney Island regulars to keep it real.
The service was attentive and friendly. We had fried calamari served on a bed of arugula with a sprinkling of balsamic, then lobster rolls done just right.
After lunch we went to the roof for a drink – bright and breezy with a view of the Boardwalk, beach and the old Parachute Jump.
I grew up going to Coney Island and Kitchen 21 is not something that I would have ever expected. I hope they do well because I intend to go back.
Kitchen 21 in on the Coney Island Boardwalk at the foot of W. 21st Street.
I grew up on Mott Street, just around the corner from Ray’s Pizzeria. It was a few doors from where my grandmother lived on Prince Street. I remember when it opened, in the same storefront where my barber, Luca, had his shop. Luca retired and Rayfie opened his pizzeria and eventually made it larger with an expanded the menu. It was great having a good pizzeria so close to where I lived.
For years, in New York, there’s been a dispute about which “Ray’s” pizza was the first one. It’s gone now, but based on my experience and backed-up by this old New York Times article, the “Original” was Rayfie Cuomo’s on Prince Street. I hope this settles some arguments.
From Le Fond’s website – “Colloquially, cooks refer to the browned bits that form at the bottom of the roasting pan as the ‘fond.’ Cooks deglaze the pan with wine and scrape up those bits with a wooden spoon. This is where deep, complex flavor is generated and that is why the wooden spoon is the symbol of Le Fond restaurant.”
Chef Eric Prokscha in the kitchen
We went to Le Fond for the first time last week and we’ll be sure to go again. It was hard to chose from their creative menu but we ended up with perfect selections. Octopus fennel soup for me and Bridget had pork belly with apples and greens for starters. We followed that with beef short ribs, and duck ragout with pappardelle. We shared an almond cake at dessert accompanied by coffee and madeira.
Pastai means ‘pasta makers.’ The perfect restaurant for a Saint Joseph’s Day (March 19th) dinner. In addition to great appetizers, they served pasta con sarde (sardines) and sfigne de San Giuseppe, a traditional pasta dish and pastry that my Siciliana friends always had on Saint Joseph’s Day. It may not be exactly like your grandmother made but still very good. And their wine list includes some excellent Sicilian selections.
I found Flamenco on Hollywood Boulevard. Not that Hollywood Boulevard, the one in Hollywood, Florida. Buleria is a small Spanish restaurant with a large tapas menu. We ate there twice on our last visit to south Florida. You can get a table, snack at the bar or sit outside. There’s friendly service, a relaxed atmosphere and entertainment.
Tapas are appetizers or “snacks” that are served cold or hot and can make up an entire meal. The idea is to have lots of different dishes to be shared by the whole table.
Located near the mouth of the Rappahannock River on the Chesapeake Bay, Merrior specializes in oysters. The restaurant is located just yards away for the water where the Rappahannock Oyster Co. harvest their oysters. We were there for lunch on a chilly day in February so we didn’t sit outside on the oyster shell patio but the restaurant was warm and cozy.
Although specializing in local oysters by the piece, half-dozen or dozen, the Merrior menu goes way beyond that.
As we were driving through Massachusetts recently, I glanced to the side of the road and when I saw it, couldn’t resist stopping at the Yankee Diner. It looked like a classic and it was. The staff were friendly and professional and the food was cheap and good.
It’s located at 16 Worcester Rd, Charlton, MA. Their hours are 6 am to 2 pm, Saturday to Thursday. They stay open until 8pm on Friday night when they make a dinner special and it’s BYOB. When we passed through the special was prime ribs.
The lake that The Tavern on the Lake is on, is Lake George in the Adirondacks. We often stay at the Blue Water Manor, partly because of its great location and also for its excellent tavern. We recently spent a week at the Blue Water in one of their cabins on the lake.
We probably ate at the Tavern on the Lake at least once a day.
The Fireplace & Beer Taps
A strange color for a Manhattan but very tasty.
A local Bear Naked Lager in a Sierra Nevada glass.