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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Monday, June 4, 2012

Great Escape

Great Escape in Salem, Massachusetts is one of the better Idine associated restaurants I have had the pleasure of in a while.

The restaurant is set in what at one time was the oldest active jail in the US. They have patio seating and seats inside at tables as well but the booths are the best part. The wall alone the booth are prison bars. This made for a unique dining experience. But the star of the show was the food.

We ate here on a Sunday afternoon right when they opened. Open Table reservation although it was not needed as there was only 1 table of people when we walked in about 2 minutes early. It seems on Sunday there is not lunch menu and you are ordering off the dinner menu. This lead to us spending more than I had planned on the meal; but it was definitely worth it in the end.

I ordered the Al Capone. This was a spicy dish with sausages, peppers and freshly made pasta. I loved it. It was a large bowl and I would rather have had less of a portion for a smaller cost but I enjoyed it greatly although it was a shame to leave part of it behind. Taking it with you is an option, but staying in a hotel that we were hours from getting to prevented us doing this.

My wife had the Lobster and Shrimp Pomodoro. This too was raved about and I was honestly surprised at the amount and quality of the lobster and shrimp in it. Once again, the fresh pasta really made the dish.

Although there are mixed reviews of Great Escape online we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will not hesitate to go back. Although we will make it a point to visit on a Saturday instead of Sunday to get access to the lunch menu.

Great Escape Restaurant
50 Saint Peter Street
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 745-5022

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Al Dente

The restaurant is located on Halstead Avenue just a short ride from the train station. The place was definitely not busy but I think it was due to it being New Year's Day. We decided to choose a table in the bar area instead of the large dining room. The menu has typical Italian fare along with a blackboard filled with specials of the evening.

We began by ordering drinks; two unsweetened iced teas as we perused the menu. We decide to share the clams oreganata as an appetizer. I chose the Rigatoni Vodka and Liz chose the Gnocchi in marinara sauce with fresh mozzarella. Our waitress brought out a bread basket along with a plate of bruchetta, salt cured black olives and stuffed roasted peppers. The bruchetta and olives were quite good but the peppers were very spicy.

Our appetizer arrived steaming hot to the table. The portion was perfect for two and very tasty. The sauce was perfect for dipping pieces of Italian bread.

Our entrees arrived a few minutes after our appetizer was cleared and were large servings. My rigatoni was perfectly cooked and I must admit it was one of the top three Vodka sauces I have ever tasted.

My wife loved her Gnocchi and upon tasting some myself, I was impressed by the freshness of the pasta. Needless to say we couldn't finish our plates and asked for the remainder to be wrapped up.

Our waitress then brought us a plate of assorted Italian cookies while Liz ordered a cappuccino. The cookies were a perfect finish to the meal and my wife loved her cappuccino. This place is an excellent find and so close to our house; we will definitely be back for another terrific meal.

Al Dente
60 Halstead Avenue
Harrison, NY 10528
(914) 835-2535

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ornella Trattoria

Ornella is one of our absolute favorite restaurants.

Ornella's is a new Italian restaurant in Astoria and quite honestly a gem. The owners are friends of my brother in law. We have been here twice for family diners as well as several solo trips or with out of town friends and have loved it. The restaurant is small but comfortable; we didn't feel cramped. The walls have painted murals to depict Italian street scenes. The walls are decorated in warm colors with colorful stained glass sconces on the walls. Ornella and her husband Giuseppe welcome every customer warmly; as if they are family. The menu has some Italian favorites and don't forget the specials. The food here is excellent and you can't go wrong with any item you chose. The portions are large, the prices are affordable, the food is incredible and fresh and the service is very attentive. What I really like about Ornella's is that you never feel rushed. You can relax and enjoy each course of the meal properly; savoring every bite.

Once you have been seated and settled in; your drink order is taken. They now have a liquor license but you can bring your own wine for dinner if you choose. The waiters bring delicious fresh bread and bruchetta to the table. The foccacia bread is delicious and the bruchetta is very tasty. The hardest part is choosing from the menu and the specials....there are so many delicious items. Each course is served without rush; you can enjoy your food and wine as if you are in Italy. I dislike the American way of rushing diners to eat quickly and vacate a will not find that here at Ornella. After a delicious meal, enjoy some of their tasty desserts and a cappucino or espresso.

If you are in NYC, you must come to Ornella. It will be an memorable meal!

The waiters brought over some incredible bruchetta and a bread basket to start. The bruschetta was excellent and the home made bread was incredible. I liked the rustic bread dipped in their extra virgin olive oil. Our wine was opened and water was brought to the table as we perused the menu. After deciding on some appetizers of fried calamari and clams oreganata we ordered our main dishes. I had the Seafood Risotto; Liz and Bessie had the gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce, Rob had the Spaghetti Omadoro and Marie and Bob had the penne with chicken. The appetizers were good but nothing to rave about(this has since changed for the better) but my entrée was incredible. The shrimp, clams, crab-meat and mussels were very fresh and the risotto was creamy and delicious. Everyone agreed that their entrees were very good especially Liz and Bessie who finished their plates before anyone else.For dessert a large platter was brought over with some Italian cheesecake and Tiramisu. The cheesecake and Tiramisu was very good and we enjoyed stuffing more into our already full stomachs.

I would recommend this restaurant for its great atmosphere, god service and delicious food. It feels as if you are eating in Ornella's home and not a restaurant.

My favorite dish is the Penne con Pollo. The pasta is very fresh and the chicken is delicious.

The appetizers here are very good especially the baked clams and fried calamari. Our last visit here Giuseppe brought out a plate of lightly battered and fried Sardines; they were excellent.

My wife loves their Gnocchi Gorgonzola. The gnocchi are nice and light while the gorgonzola cream sauce is creamy and thick.

Ornella Trattoria
29-17 23rd Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 777-9477

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Monday, May 7, 2012

We've gone Live!

Travel Through Food is now live! That is right. We have finally put together our restaurant and food review website. We hope you will find Travel Through Food to be helpful and informative in selecting your dining experience. It is our goal to have new content on Mondays and Thursdays for now until we find either more writers or have specials to let you know about immediately. And so it will begin this Thursday with our first restaurant review. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. Thank you. TTF.