Monday, March 18, 2013

Blue Duck Tavern - Breakfast

Due to being fully booked for dinner we only got to enjoy Blue Duck Tavern for breakfast on this trip. This of course was no problem because they really shine for breakfast. Currently this is my favorite breakfast I’ve ever had in the continental US.

Indoor seating was the only thing offered on this cool late winter morning. We were lucky enough to have one of the seats right in front of the kitchen. The kitchen her e is open to the restaurant and you can watch the staff as they work. This was a nice change from the usual restaurants with everything hidden behind closed walls.

For my breakfast I chose the Short Rib Hash. This was an amazing dish. It came in a metal warming dish instead of on a plate. This meant the two eggs that were sunny side up sat on top of a small pile of the short rib hash. This did make it a touch greasy, but worked rather well actually. Mixed into the hash on one side was the horseradish sauce. Next time I’ll order extra of that as it worked well with everything I ate that morning. Simply put, even with minor tweaks I’d like to see for my personal taste, this dish was amazing. I also ordered a side of bacon for us to share and an order of rye toast that I used to make sure my dish was clean before I surrendered. To drink I had a hot chocolate which was very rich and I had to cut with some milk. It was very good, but a little too rich to use as my main drink without it.

My wife ordered herself the Belgian Waffle with Glazed Pecans. She has raved about this ever since. It comes with a specialty syrup called Blis that was one of the best syrups I’ve ever had. She also ordered the fingerling potatoes to share. Sliced in half and lightly spiced, they were delicious. She had a lemon grass tea for breakfast as well that reminded us both of being in the Seychelles.

This wonderful breakfast was included in the stay at the hotel but I would gladly pay the $60 plus dollars it would cost plus tip to have it again if not staying at the hotel. Do be aware though that we witnessed guests being turned away for not staying at the hotel for breakfast so be sure to confirm you can get in or get a reservation if you’re not staying.

Also note that if you are a Hyatt Gold Passport member you can earn points on food here whether or not you're staying at the hotel.

Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 419-6755

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Tortilleria Los Gemelos

Los Gemelos is a wonderful place serving Mexican food here in Port Chester.

We have been frequenting Los Gemelos for the past three or so years.  They have always had excellent food and is one of the go to places for bringing out of town guests.

On our last visit we arrived in the early evening.  I had just gotten out of work and we were both hungry and wanted something easier than going home and cooking.  This is the usual mood for our visits here. Something very good and somewhat quick and certainly easy.

Parking is on the street on Westchester Avenue.  This is metered until 6pm on weekdays and Saturday and free on Sunday.  You can also park up Pearl Street in the lot next to Neri's Bakery.  They are also a very short walk from the Port Chester Metro North Railroad station.

When you walk in you will see the tortilla maker on the right behind the counter and seating on your left.  You have to walk all the way into the restaurant to the back to get around into the seating area.  There is no wait to be seated here.  Just come in and find yourself a seat.  Do be aware that the booths here are quite narrow.  Anyone of any size like myself or just looking for comfort will be happier in the chairs at the tables.

Once seated you'll quickly be visited by one of the waitresses.  They do have varying levels of English but you will not have a problem ordering your food and we have never had a bad service experience in here.  The menus are in both English and Spanish and offer a rather good variety.

Not being the type of place where you sit down and eat course after course, I am going to go into many of my favorite dishes here.

My wife is almost always getting a Four Cheese Quesadilla.  It is actually quite good and I would order it myself if it weren't so filling and would leave me unable to eat all my other favorites.  It comes with two cheeses to pour on top of the quesadilla as well.  One is a creamy thin cheese that acts as the glue for the other flaky powdery cheese.

My favorite dish here would be too hard to determine.  It really is a mood thing for me.  In the winter when I want something filling I always go with the Carnitas Burrito. The burritos here are rather large filling the entire bowl they're served in.

Another favorite of mine is the Al Pastor Torta.

All the tacos here are served in a double layer of tortillas.  My favorites are the grilled chicken and the carnitas tacos. They are served with cilantro and onions which round out the plate.

In short, you can not go wrong here with a fairly cheap and very good meal.

Los Gemelos
167 Westchester Avenue
Port Chester, New York
(914) 934-0372

Please note, the map below shows the marker below Pearl Street. This is actually the 2nd storefront up from Pearl, right next to Inca and Gaucho.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and TTF

Good morning all. I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know we plan to restart our posts in a week or two. Over the past month a lot has gone on here in the NYC area that has taken priority. There are still people without power waiting through the cold for normal to return. To all of our readers we wish you well and hope you and your family came through the storms in fine shape. We will be back online here shortly.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Calcutta Wrap and Roll

Calcutta Wrap and Roll has definitely proven to be quite the find.

We were originally looking for a burger place in Westchester when I stumbled upon an article from Westchester Magazine that covered a whole host of top picks. Calcutta Wrap and Roll caught our eye and we decided it was worth the drive to check it out.

We have now been here four or five times and are sure to continue coming back again.

The restaurant is located in the very back of Addyman Square in Ardsley that honestly was not easy to find the first time. But now that we have it down, we like to come at least once a week. There is usually plenty of parking although now on Sundays it is a little strained due to one of the bars and the NFL. So you might have to park at the bus station or on the street.

The shop itself is fairly small and acts mostly as a take-away. They have enough total seating for 14 with 3 tables of four and one for two. We have taken ours to go once and have sat down and enjoyed our meal there the others.

We have tried several of the dishes so far. Every order of ours includes the Vegetable Samosas. You get a small dish with two samosas in it for each order. They come with two chutneys, a cilantro based and a date-tamarind. Both are very good and match well to the samosa.

This next dish is one that I ordered strictly because it said it was a house special. I had never had one like it before but I have continued to order it each time, although only on the first visit did I eat it there. It is perfect for leftovers lunch at work for me. This is of course the Calcutta Vegetarian Roll. Basically this is a fried Paratha wrap filled with sautéed Paneer mixed with spices and onions. You can have it with egg but I have not tried it that way yet.

One of my semi recent finds at other Indian restaurants has been the Papri Chaat so when I saw it on the menu here I had to try it. To me, this is my favorite version of it and it makes another great choice for leftovers. I have had this several times although not every time. It certainly makes for a great option to cool the mouth after some of the more spicy dishes.

Another find here is their Baigan Bhartha. This is an item we had not previously found locally but always enjoy when it is available. It can come a little spicier than we’re used to but is always a must have.

I love a good saag. It is not very creative on my part, but I just really enjoy it as you always should with the food you eat. Because of this I will often debate the Lamb Saag or some other item. I have had this about 3 times so far. It is one of those dishes I truly enjoy.

I have also tried the Vegetable Biryani. This was a nice dish but a bit too spicy for my tastes. Was much nicer the next day for left over lunch though. The Chicken Tikka Masala was a dish I used to get when I was first trying Indian food. We accidentally got that instead of the Papri Chaat in our to go bag once and it was very nice as well. Not something I’d go out of my way to order, but a good dish that I’d recommend if someone’s tastes went in that direction.

All in all Calcutta Wrap and Roll has quickly worked its way into our short list of go to places when we’re deciding our dining out choices.

Do be aware that the kitchen is often closed from 3pm to 4pm on at least the weekends. This is not listed on any of the information we’ve come across yet and in both of our experiences with this the open sign in the window was lit and the door was open. We usually just decide to wait it out when this happens.

Calcutta Wrap and Roll
465 Ashford Avenue
Ardsley, NY 10502
(914) 591-2222

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Storrowton Tavern

This was a bit of a random find. We were looking for another place that didn't work out and at a loss of where to go. So we decided to check out what idines were available in the area and being a tavern it looked like it would handled whatever taste we decided we wanted. I am so happy we did.

Set inside the original Atkinson Tavern building that was brought to the site of the Storrowton Village Museum and renamed the tavern has a very old historical feel to it that fits well with the area.

The dining room was quite comfortable while you sat surrounded by antiques. The old walls did a great job holding out the weather and the fireplace took the edge off the cold from outside when the door opened.

Although still a bit busy with the lunch crowd we were quickly seated and shown the menu. This is where my eyes lit up. They featured a chicken pot pie which is one of those items when done right I truly love. This one did not disappoint as it was about the size of an apple turnover and covered in sauce.

We also ordered a cheeseburger which was quite nice as well getting the rave of being the best burger she has had in months. It was served on 2 slices of toast along with fries and a cup of mayo and ketchup on the side.

Storrowton Tavern
1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield, MA 01089
(413) 732-4188

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Downtown Pizza - Portsmouth Gas Light Co.

Downtown Pizza is in the basement of the Portsmouth Gas Light Co. They have several restaurants in the building, one per level. The restaurant is split into a dining room area and a pub area. We usually sit in the pub area due to the TVs and also what has so far been great service, although I doubt that would matter between sections.

We will often find ourselves looking for a light meal to go with a more substantial one during our day visits. Pizza is a great pairing to this requirement and has led us to try a few places in town. This is definitely our favorite.

During our first visit to the restaurant I discovered their Fox Run Mall pizza. This thing is among the best pizzas I've ever had and I am not a usual fan of toppings on pizza. The description says: "A pizza with our homemade basil pesto base, topped with mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts!" How can you go wrong with this?

We also tasted The Salt Pile. This is a white pizza that is "loaded with garlic and topped with swiss, ricotta, romano, and mozzarella cheese." My wife enjoys this one so much we have had it every visit.

When it comes to their pizzas here even a small pizza is going to be six slices of about a 12" pie. This can easily be too much for lunch for two people let alone for just one. But have no fear. The great waitresses here will gladly allow you to half and half a pizza to get two types of pies in a single one of three slices each. This is what we did our first visit and I highly recommend.

They also offer up a small pub menu to round out those that are not looking for a pizza.

Downtown Pizza - Portsmouth Gas Light Co.
64 Market Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 430-8582

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Burgers Shakes and Fries

This is a place I first found via Chowhound in a discussion of the best burgers.  Being that it was new at the time and so close to my then new home in Port Chester, I had to go try it.  So one day after work off we went.

The menu is an al a carte menu.  You have to order your patty size, and then any topping you want on it.  And for the record, ketchup is not on the menu.

This first visit lead me to order what I thought I wanted instead of what they do best.  I ordered a single with Swiss cheese, mushrooms and sauteed onions.  Well as I then wrote on another website, it was very good just not great.  I soon learned this was a function of ordering the wrong item.

On our second visit the owner Kory made mention of my online review and wanted to know what I thought would make it great.  We talked for a few minutes and he suggested I try just the burger this time without everything else on it or at a maximum just one item added.  So following his advice I went ahead and ordered a single with just the sauteed onions.  I don't know if I ever told you this Kory, but that burger was great.  It is how I order my burger every time since.

Default cooking is medium rare here.  For the longest time other ways was not even an option.  And taking my experience into account I definitely believe this is a case of where you should let the experts do their thing their way.

But the burger isn't the only star of this show.  They serve an excellent large cut french fry that is amazing.  We will typically share a small order of the fries with our single burgers.  They also have excellent brownies here.  I highly recommend you try one.

Lastly is your drink.  We have been known many times to stop in on our way out of town to pick up a shake each for the trip.  Simply put, we love their shakes.  The vanilla is by far my favorite and is also the base to all of their shakes.  You can choose from the Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate or you can go with one of specialty shakes.  My wife loves the Cinnamon shake.  It sounds pretty bad to me, but I know it is a lot better.

Burgers Shakes and Fries
302 Delavan Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut
(203) 531-7433

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