Category Archives: Restaurants

Merrior – Rappahannock Oyster Co.

Merrior – Rappahannock Oyster Co.
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.

The Rappahannock Oyster Co. across the parking lot for Merrior.

A tasting platter with native bay Olde Salts, Sitingrays and Rappahannock River oysters.

784 Locklies Creek Rd, Topping, VA 23169, Phone: (804) 758-2871
Winter hours  – Sun-Thu, 11:30am – 8pm, Fri-Sat, 11:30am – 9pm

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J and E’s Yankee Diner

J and E’s Yankee Diner

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.

J & E’s Yankee Diner Menu and Facebook Page


Not very big but it’s a classic.


Bacon, eggs, pancakes, home fries, etc.


Traditional diner dishes – chicken salad on toast and hash & eggs plus good coffee.

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Telio Restaurant

Telio Restaurant

It was a little chilly but the sun was shining. One of the last nice days of autumn so we sat outside.



We stop at Telio at least twice a week. Today it was lamb burgers and retsina, followed by Greek coffee.


They have an extensive menu of Greek specialties including lots of seafood dishes and some very good desserts.
Telio Restaurant is at 2481 Broadway, West 92nd Street, Manhattan.

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The Tavern on the Lake

The Tavern on the Lakeimg_4264

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.

5-barThe Fireplace & Beer Taps


A strange color for a Manhattan but very tasty.


A local Bear Naked Lager in a Sierra Nevada glass.


Bridget on the bar terrace.




The Tavern on the Lake

Lake George

 The Blue Water Manor

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Breakfast at the Saratoga Race Track

Breakfast at the Saratoga Race Track


We got to the track toward the end of the racing season and spent the day there starting with breakfast – an elaborate buffet set up in THE PORCH at track-side. We could watch the horses getting an early morning workout as we ate.

Doc3The Buffet

Grits, Hash and Eggs

Grits, Hash and Eggs


After a $50 breakfast and losing every bet we made, we had hot dogs for lunch.


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Caffé Roma


I grew up in Manhattan’s Little Italy and was fortunate enough to be able to walk to two very good pastry shops – Ferrara on Grand St. and Caffé Roma on Broome St. Caffé Roma was a little more homey but I liked them both.


A few years ago, when Easter was approaching I stopped into Ferrara to see if they had started making pizza con grana*, an Easter specialty.

I asked the manager, “Do you have pizza con grana yet?”

He replied, “If you want a slice, go to the pizzeria across the street.”

I lost my temper and said “What’s wrong with you? Do I look like somebody who would go to a pasticcera for a slice of pizza? I asked for pizza con grana.”

“Senor, I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. We don’t make that any more.” As he indicated the crowds of tourists eating pastry with their early evening cappuccino** he said, “These people who come here don’t know what that is.”

So they decided to cater to their tourist customer’s pedestrian tastes instead of attempting to show them something different and traditionally Italian that they might like. That was the last time I ever went to Ferrara.

I left and walked up a block to Caffé Roma, which still hasn’t been Disneyfied with the rest of Little Italy. They had some of their tables pushed together and covered with freshly baked pizza con grana. They also still have zeppole di San Giuseppe around his feast day in March and struffoli at Christmas. They remain old school.

counter 1

Caffé Roma is a classic so don’t order like you’re in Starbucks. They serve excellent espresso, tea and even hot chocolate. For cold drinks they have the standard Italian sodas and orzata: gelato too. But it’s the pastry & biscotti you should go for, baked daily and right there. It’s been run by the same family since 1881 and I hope they keep going.counter 2

They’re located in what’s left of Little Italy at 385 Broome St. on the corner of Mulberry.

* Pizza con grana – a sweet pie made from wheat berries, ricotta and orange flower water, traditionally served at Easter time.

** from Wikipedia – cappuccino is consumed only up to 11 a.m., and Italians consider it very “strange” to ask for a cappuccino after that hour.  Espresso with milk is for little kids and breakfast. I suppose you can drink it any time, just like you can have corn flakes for dinner if that’s what you want.

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Katz’s Delicatessen


Bridget and I went to lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen a few weeks ago on a Sunday. Bad idea – it’s way too crowded on Sunday. Besides being crowded, we noticed two tour buses parked outside so the crowd included more than the usual amount of tourists. They didn’t understand how the lines worked so instead of going to the confusion at the counters we got a table. We sat next to two women from Maryland who were on a food tour. They’d just come from Ferrara on Grand St.

When they ordered two chili dogs the waiter said, “Do you think you’re at a county fair? I’ll give you some more time to think about it and come back.”

Chili dogs may have been on the menu but the waiter knew better. We ordered frankfurters with sauerkraut, pastrami on rye and Doctor Brown’s – that got a smile of approval from of the waiter.

Maybe you saw “Annie Hall.” Diane Keaton ordered a pastrami on white with lettuce tomato and mayonnaise. The waiter almost had a heart attack.


OK, it’s not cheap. If you want cheap you don’t have to go to Katz’s. But if you want to have a good laugh, look at the Yelp reviews of Katz’s. Most are 5 Star but you can sort them “lowest rated” first. The 1 Star reviews are ridiculous –

  • it was a mediocre tuna sandwich
  • they didn’t have whole wheat toast
  • it hasn’t been redecorated since the 70s
  • the man who made my turkey sandwich sent me to another counter for lettuce and tomato

Would you expect a  French restaurant to serve you sushi just because they have raw fish in the kitchen? No, it’s not what they do.

Katz's tables
Lots of free seats just before noon
Musée Cinéma et Miniature
Musée Cinéma et Miniature

One more word about mayo – Milton Berle said “Everytime someone puts mayo on pastrami, a Jew dies.”

You either got this post or you didn’t. Don’t be offended and maybe you can learn something you can use next time you go to a real deli.

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Ruby’s Bar & Grill

Ruby's - old sign
That’s me in white, having a sausage & pepper hero and a beer..

Ruby’s Bar & Grill

Ruby’s has been on the Coney Island boardwalk since 1934.  The boardwalk used to be lined with bars and restaurants like this but Ruby’s is the last man standing. We were worried that when the gentrification of Coney Island started a few years back Ruby’s long run would end but, lucky for us it’s still there and going strong.

They have a full bar with great beer on tap including Ruby’s Amber. Their menu speaks for itself – typical, traditional Coney Island food.

RUBY menu

Ruby's 4Ruby's 3


My family’s been regulars at Coney Island for a long time. Here’s a shot of my uncle, aunt and mother in 1932.

Coney Is 1932
Coney Island – 1932


Ruby’s Bar & Grill

1213 Riegelmann Boardwalk
Brooklyn, NY 11224
718-975-RUBY (7829)

Ruby Jacobs - circa 1975
Ruby Jacobs – circa 1975


The Oyster Bar

The Oyster Bar

The counter at the Oyster Bar
The counter at the Oyster Bar

The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant is still there and still a great American seafood restaurant. map

When is opened in 1913 on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal Woodrow Wilson was President It’s been around for a while. A beautiful restaurant and historic too, with its Guastavino tile ceiling.

Oyster Menu
Oyster Menu

The menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh and available at the fish market.  Complete Menu

The restaurant is divided into roughly three sections – the main dining room, the bar and the oyster bar and counter. If I’m anywhere near Grand Central at lunch time I can’t resist stopping at the counter for my usual – a beer, a half dozen of something on the half-shell and an old-fashioned oyster pan roast.  If you sit at the counter you can watch the chefs opening the shellfish and making the pan roast – some ingredients; chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter and cream. For dessert, either Key Lime Pie or Cheese Cake.

Shucking Oysters
Shucking Oysters


Cherry Stones


Oyster Pan Roast
Oyster Pan Roast


Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar

Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar

Fabbrica back bar

We were on our way to the Williamsburg Flea Market yesterday when we came across Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar.  We were hungry and it was the first restaurant we came to when we got off the ferry (N. 6th St. and Kent Ave.) It was a fortuitous find, crowded but with room at the bar.

Fabbrica bar

Their menu changes throughout the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, late-lunch, etc. I was lucky to get there when Purgatorio was on it. That’s not Dante’s poem but eggs cooked in tomato sauce. It was the first time I’d ever seen it in a restaurant. My mother made it as a standard Monday lunch, using left over Sunday gravy. She called it Eggs in Purgatory.


I looked at the dinner menu and will definitely go back – hearty Italian food, interesting industrial décor, friendly service and pet-friendly too (dogs at the bar and outdoor tables).

Williamsburg 004a