Browsing: Restaurant Features

Guest Blogger Sister #3: New York City – New Discoveries

February27

I can honestly say that I didn’t have a bad meal the whole time we were in New York.  Here are a couple of highlights of new discoveries made this time around.

Matt’s Grill W55th Street at 8th Avenue

After an early morning to participant in the live audience of the Anderson Cooper show, we were three hungry travelers looking for some sustenance.  We found it just a short jaunt away at Matt’s.  What you would expect from a neighbourhood place, the bar takes up a good chunk of the room and locals greet the waitresses like old friends as they pull up a bar stool for a quick lunch.  We all selected sandwiches and fries.

D had the egg salad which was topped with ham and a slice of cheddar, I had the chicken wrap with bacon, avocado and tomato and

B had the grilled Portobello mushroom topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato and roasted onions.

Now a days there are so many Food Network shows about food trucks, and so many of them happen to be in Manhattan, I knew I had to visit at least one of these roadside vendors on this visit.  B and I took a day to ourselves to shop and found ourselves in Union Square Park at lunch time.

There were plenty of trucks to choose from but we decided on Patty’s Tacos for our lunch.

We skipped the famous cow’s tongue tostados and ordered corn tamales stuffed with chicken mole

and the cheese sincronizada (much like a quesadilla but made with two flour tortilla like a grilled sandwich.  This was served with a refreshing tossed salad.  We found a park bench to enjoy our food and watch the passers by.

Patty's Taco Truck on Urbanspoon

On the night that we were headed to the East Village to see Stomp we decided to go to the Ukranian East Village Restaurant for dinner, as it was located next door to the Orpheum Theatre. It was nice to have something a little different, which at the same time reminded me of home.

I enjoyed the wiener schnitzel that was crisp and tasty, topped with a fried egg and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables,

B tried the varenyky (AKA perogies) and D enjoyed the beef brisket with potato pancakes.  Our entrees came with salad and delicious bread so there was way too much food all around.  But what else would you expect from a Ukrainian kitchen.

Ukrainian East Village Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The last little gem we discovered was Uskudar Turkish restaurant at E 73rd and 2nd.  Unfortunately we were all so tired that night that we cancelled our reservation and I instead ran down to the restaurant and ordered our dinners to go.  When the food arrived I was so hungry that I forgot to take out the camera and snap my photos.  As a result I can’t even remember what exactly we had.  I know there was a Sheppard’s salad, humus, lamb kabob, cheese pie, but the details are blurry.  One thing for sure, it was yummy and one of my favorite meals of the trip. That may have something to do with my affinity for Turkish food. I guess I just have to go back and do a better job of keeping track of this meal next time.

Usküdar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “We are a family who start discussing our next meal before the one in front of us is fully consumed.” -Sister #3

Love-that is all.

Pizza 21st Century

February26

There was a little pizza joint that I would notice on the way to visit my Mom in EK.  She reported that the pizza from there was wonderful and I always intended to give it a try.  But unfortunately, by the time I was ready, it had closed its doors.  My big brother reported that they had re-opened on Academy Road.  In the mean time, I had spied a place that boasted freshly made pasta as well as pizza on one of my many neighbourhood walks with our big old dog.  Could the place I spotted, be one and the same?  Sure enough, big brother confirmed that it was.

This is one of our fellow Jets’ fans.  I tried 4 times to get the top of his head in my picture but as soon as I would position him for the photo, he would start walking towards me, so that he could see the results on my camera. 

With the NHL schedule having started up again, I am often looking for a quick supper idea to eat while watching the game, especially if it is scheduled to begin at 6 pm as many often are.  So I placed an order to pick up and headed out the door a half hour later to explore Pizza 21st Century on Academy and Centennial Ave. I came home with two steaming hot pies but my husband was detained at the office so I let my daughter dig in and quizzed her on what she thought.

She tried a piece of both the Meatlover Madness and the Mediterranean and her personal favourite was the latter.  She appreciated that the crust was nice and crispy (I learned that there is no oil used in the making) and that the sauce had an intense tomato flavour but was light enough that it did not over-power the distinctive toppings.  In her mind the best pizzas are constructed with the toppings on top of the cheese layer with just another sprinkling of cheese over all.  She thought that Pizza 21st Century really understood this concept and loved the topping to cheese ratio.  She added that there was every kind of meat represented in each and every bite of the Meatlovers.

There are no tables to eat your supper in the restaurant but there is plenty of parking in the back and so you can zip in and out in no time.

I was pleased to meet Vlado and his wife Duubravka, who proudly indicate that they are from Croatia.  When you look at a map of the Mediterranean, it is no wonder that Vlado knows his stuff as his former country is one of Italy’s closest neighbours (geographically speaking at least).  I came home with a variety of his fresh pastas that I am going to cook up this evening.  Next time we will order one of the Premium Pizzas-either the Supreme with fresh arugula or the Margarita featuring fresh mozzarella di buffalo cheese.  Hmmm, when do the Jets next play an early start game?

Pizza 21st Century & Fresh Pasta Store on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.”-Johnny Carson

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-New York, New York…the place so nice they named it twice

February15

On a recent trip to NYC I just had to revisit a couple of places I fell in love with on my last trip….that’s right, the food so nice, I ate it twice!

Ess-a-bagel 3591st Avenue corner of E 21st Street

What could be more New York City than a bagel with cream cheese!  There are bagel shops everywhere you go in this city.  I picked up a bagel for breakfast from the shop right outside the subway station we frequented on this stay in the upper Eastside.  The bagel was good but I kept thinking about Ess-a-bagel– the perfect bagel!  Then, about five days into my trip I found myself back in the Gramercy Park area exploring vintage shops with my travel companion when it struck me….I was walking down 1st avenue, not far from where I stayed last time…that could only mean one thing, as soon as I saw the corner of 1st and E 21st I was thrilled to see it….the bagel mother load. 

I had to stop, bought two plain bagels with a side of lox cream cheese, which fed me for two breakfasts and a lunch.  So glad I found them again!

Ess-a-Bagel on Urbanspoon

The Redhead 349 E. 13th Street (between 1st and 2nd Ave)

The purpose of this NYC trip was for my friend, whose birthday is the day before mine, and I to celebrate in a very memorable way.  When it came time to pick the location for my birthday dinner I knew automatically that I had to return to the Redhead for the best southern fried chicken I ever ate. This cozy little neighbourhood bistro was such an amazing surprise on our first trip.  It has since been featured on Food Networks – Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, where everyone raved about their shrimp and grits and homemade soft pretzels, but I think they missed the boat by  not featuring the fried chicken.

 

 The first time I had it, it was served with corn bread and a salad and this time came with a waffle and sausage.  While I prefer the first option it was all irrelevant when I tasted that chicken again. Marinated in butter milk and fried in the most amazing batter, nothing can compare. 

Ess-a-Bagel on Urbanspoon

The Stage Door Deli 26 Vesey Street (between Broadway and Park Row)

When we planned our visit to the newly opened 9/11 memorial I knew that we had to seek out the Stage Door Deli. Last trip it was shopping at Century 21 that brought us to the financial district as the World Trade site was still in a state of disarray at the time. Right next to the Stage Door there was a small memorial museum that we visited first time around.  It is always fun to visit an authentic delicatessen and hear shouting and feel the energy of the city. We all had sandwiches;

pastrami Panini,

beef brisket,

BLT

all delicious, served on fresh bread and featuring the best cured meats.

Kath’s quote:  “the first printed mention of bagels…is to be found in the Community Regulations of Kracow, Poland, for the year 1610 which stated that bagels would be given as a gift to any woman in childbirth.” -‘The Joys of Yiddish’ by Leo Rosten

Love-that is all.

 

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-Joey, Polo Park

February5

When I arrived at the restaurant to meet friends for an annual  get together, I was really glad that I got there early as we were facing a 35 minute wait. Joey’s does not except reservations and even though it was only Tuesday “tis the season” for busy restaurants! The good news – Joey’s knows how to show you great hospitality while you wait.  The host staff was friendly and encouraged me to find a seat in the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail.  I was waiting on three friends, all arriving at different times, so I chose instead to wait in the lobby.  The front hall was lined with bar stools for those who need a place to sit. The host staff came by with small glasses of rich red wine for us to sample along with tasting spoonfuls of their tempura style chili chicken to help prime our appetites for dinner.  By the time the last of my party arrived we only had a 5 minute wait before being escorted to a comfortable booth to enjoy our evening. 

 

The service was very good, with a manager popping by a couple of times to check on our experience. Our dinners were good as usual.  I had the Panang Prawn Curry Bowl with stir-fried veggies in a red coconut curry. K had the same with chicken instead of shrimp. I had been warned that the spice was a seven out of ten, but I would say it was more like a four, which was just right for  my taste buds.

S had her favorite lobster ravioli in a lemon tarragon cream sauce and

D enjoyed the butter chicken served with almond basmati rice and warm naan bread and crispy chickpea flour and caraway seed bread (the name of which now escapes me). 

Joey’s is a place this group of girls seems to gravitate to.  The menu has options for those looking for something familiar as well as dishes with Asian, Indian and Latin influences.  The high energy atmosphere makes it feel special, while the reasonable prices make it feel comfortable.  

Joey Polo Park on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I have always been punctual at the hour of dinner, for I know that all those whom I kept waiting at that provoking interval would employ those unpleasant moments to sum up my faults.”-Nicolas Boileau

Love-that is all.

Julia’s Ukranian Kitchen

February1

Polish women are amazing people and cooks.  I know this because I am the proud Granddaughter of a little Polish lady who lived until she was 94.  I hope that I follow in her footsteps because she was so robust that she actually picked peas from her garden just days before she passed away. I am quite sure that my haphazard style in the kitchen has been passed down from her, with “a handful of this” and “a pinch of that”.

Even though one might expect that a restaurant named Julia’s Ukrainian Kitchen would be owned and operated by a Ukrainian woman named Julia, such is not the case.  The proprietor is a personable Pole by the name of Joanna and she has owned this location at 768 Nairn Ave in Elmwood for over 22 years.

The familiarity with the neighbourhood was apparent with the arrival of three well-bundled girlfriends who came in with embraces and kisses for the only server.  In addition to friends meeting for coffee, the place is frequented by many laborers and this makes perfect sense because the fare of Eastern Europe is carbohydrate based and these guys need their calories for energy and warmth during a Winnipeg winter.

My lunch date (my big brother) started with a delicious chicken noodle soup which was included with his lunch.

He then sampled a combination platter which held cole slaw, sweet and sour meatballs, two cabbage rolls, five potato and cheese perogies AND garlic toast (just for good measure).

The perogies were particularly delightful with great taste and texture.  The dough casing was soft and tender and I could have eaten a dozen of them.  A sign in the window declares “Winnipeg’s Best Perogies”-they were very good but you’ll have to decide for yourself.

I do know that the just cut French fries were perfect

and the kubasa sandwich on rye bread as good as you would find at any Winnipeg social.  I actually prefer the coarse grind of kubasa but this comes from the “small points department”.

Next time I go, I intend to sample the Polish meat perogies which are called “pyzy”.  My Grandma never made theses. D has dubbed me his “Polish Princess” and the”Carb Queen” with good reason, all inherent from Grandma “Saskatchewan” (as Daughter #1 would call her).  Her specialties were potato soup, prune dumplings with melted butter and cinnamon sugar, thimble cookies filled with a dollop of raspberry jam and poppy seed roll.  And I can taste her fried chicken right now even though she has tended the geraniums in heaven for 25 years now.

Julia's Ukrainian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Throughout history, the Poles have defended Europe. They would fight, and – between battles – they would eat and drink.”-E. de Pomiand

Love-that is all.

 

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