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Welcome Back To Braun’s Kitchen In Cutchogue, L.I., New York Featuring The New Menu Of Executive Chef Michael!

Let me start by saying it was first Executive Chef Michael’s crab cakes that we loved that drew us back to the Braun Kitchen.  Although now, I must say as we experience the dishes off his new menu…it’s not only the crabcakes that will keep bringing us back!

Most recently, I experienced the best roasted brussel sprouts ever! His crab cakes and brussel sprouts will take you to Idiom City!  And…with this new menu, you can be sure the visits will be on a more regular basis…whether take-out or in!

As I’ve always said about The North Fork & Long Island’s wine country starting back in the 1980’s when we first started to visit on a regular basis…It is ever-evolving. Every time Sandy & I think we had/have seen it all, something new in the world of food, wine or nature came/comes into play. Some of the destinations we’ve enjoyed and that I have written about over the years out here on the North Fork have gone away or changed ownership. Luce Hawkins (the name given to the restaurant at Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport for the Chef Keith Luce), The Jamesport Manor Inn and now the new chef and menu here at Brauns Kitchen that gives me the opportunity to continue to write about the…again…ever-evolving NOFO!.

 

Gone…but certainly not forgotten!

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://phoodographsandfinds.com/just-say-yes-and-you-get-clovis-point-potato-leek-soup-and-keith-luce/&sa=U&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwipx5y5louFAxXFEFkFHdyiA60QFnoECBcQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1_gKfPXjTt3N5fI8T1_c83

The Jamesport Manor Inn on the NOFO of Long Island, New York…Quite Special!

 

That said, it gives me great pleasure to bring you back to the new Braun’s Kitchen with Executive Chef Michael and his new menu!

“Hello folks…and welcome to my new home!

Before Braun…I started off at The Suffolk Culinary Arts program and then went on to learn quite a bit from the owners Joe and George  at The Sea Cove Restaurant in Center Moriches for the next two years, I then went on to work with the owners Jerry & Jerry Jr. at The Mermaid in Riverhead and at the pictueresque waterfront Cowfish Restaurant in Hampton Bays. Today, I still keep in touch with all my fellow food connoisseurs that I so much enjoyed working with over the years since we shared so many good food times together!”

Now…before I show you some of the new dishes on the menu… I have to introduce you to four new fans of the Braun’s Kitchen. It just so happens, by chance, when I was interviewing Executive Chef Michael for this blog entry, these fellas pictured below (Michael, Patrick, Kyle and Cole left to right) happened to have just taken a 45 minute drive from Shoreham, L.I. to come to Braun’s Kitchen at the recommendation of their history school teacher Mr. Mitchinson because they love driving around trying new food places. They were told they had to come here because the fried cod was delicious. Simple enough, yes?

In their words, “We are all so glad we came because the food was phenomenal” and they couldn’t “wait to tell Mr. Mitchinson all about their culinary experience!”

Hey everyone…Meet The Braun Fans Four…Michael, Patrick, Kyle & Cole! You know what they say about happy people…yes? Thanks again fellas for wanting to be a part of this review!

I must also introduce you to Executive Chef Michael’s most enthusiastic fellow foodies who help him help you to enjoy the dishes they create for your next foodgasm. Yes…There IS such a word 🙂 *****

Folks…meet another happy face… fry, saute’ & grill cook…Analis!

…and moving on: Meet fry cook & food runner,Luke…Food runner, gracious hostess at the counter and more, Stephanie…Hello again Analis…and PHAB Sous Chef Edy!

 

Toasted Almond Cake anyone?

 

NOW…Here a some of the dishes created by Executive Chef Michael from his new menu at The Braun Kitchen!

Filet of Lemon Cod Francese’ (prepared with capers upon request) over pastaaaaah!

Fried Calamari the Braun Fans Four thought was the best they ever had!

A quite popular Fried Flounder Sandwich

One of Executive Chef Michael’s latest addition to his new menu…A Shrimp Roll…served with french fries!

 

Wow! Grilled Salmon Filet with Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes

Creole Style Buffalo Shrimp

 

Next up…and new!  Wha? An Angus Beef Burger at Braun’s Seafood?  YUP!…

Looks wonderful…but until I have one I’ll have to hold off. Update forthcoming soon!

OK folks…Got the burger this evening (3,29.24), but I’m afraid if I say out loud here that it was excellent…the place might get too crowded and they’ll be out of inventory the next time we go in.

Seriously!  At the risk of the crowds we may have to work around, we have no choice but to categorize the BRAUN BURGER as “EXCELLENT”! Way to go Chef!!

BTW folks…A more healthful ketchup that is served by Chef Michael at Braun Kitchen has NO High Fructose Corn Syrup!  When was the last time you saw that?

Check it out…

Crab Cakes! Oops…did I show these already? Sorry…can’t help it 🙂

 

 

Okay Folks…are you ready to meet the superstars at our favorite seafood destination? Namely, The Braun Seafood Company Fish Market with the arrow in the pic pointing left!

Meet ANNE MARIE…DEBBIE…BARBARA…CATHY and the Last Of The Best…TOMMY!

A sincere smile that exudes happiness! You know what they say about happy people…Yes?

 

Look at those Braun Lobsters!

Ohhhhh…such sweet Lobster too!

And for dessert…

My Cutchogian Sweet Dream and Fish Queen Cathy scores BIG with her literal Sweet Dream rice pudding…Yes…rice pudding!

Here’s there website if you would like more information about Braun Seafood & Kitchen…

http://www.braunseafood.com

 

Well…that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed the read!

*****Foodgasm is a neologism that indicates a pleasurable and euphoric feeling of satisfaction that occurs during the consumption of particularly amazing and delicious foods: this pleasure is sometimes accompanied by vocal noises and a variety of facial expressions.Wikipedia

PLEASE feel free to comment in the COMMENT box below. Really would love to hear from you with any input 🙂

Mangia Bene’

Chef Bert

MasterChef Contestant Is Top Shelf Food Blogger

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille…Another Restaurant Favorite Of Ours On Sanibel Island, Florida…And Back After Hurricane Ian!

It was truly heartening to see our Mucky Duck English Pub back in action again on our latest trip to Captiva. Another restaurant favorite of ours was Doc Ford’s at the South Seas Resort…however they were not quite as fortunate when it came to Hurricane Ian’s forces. They were gone  and not until we were half way through our visit did we discover totally by accident as we see it on the side of the road that Doc Ford’s had rebuilt in Sanibel around the area where we actually first experienced them 12 years earlier in 2012!

Saying YES in Sanibel & Captiva, Florida

OK…so we went right in and were greeted by a host of gracious (I can’t say workers cos they seemed to be loving what they were doing…and when you love what you are doing…it’s not work) restauranteurs starting with Hostess Natalie. Such sincere grace! Pictured with her and below is/was our garcon, Chris.

Once again folks…you know what they say about Happy People, Hostesses and Garcons!

Hello to Flavio!

As I said, we have our favorite dishes in the different restaurants and I couldn’t wait to taste again what I first experienced on my first visit a dozen years earlier.

It was their Lime Panko Crusted Seared & Baked Fish Sandwich served with a side of rice & beans and slaw. And…as in 2012…with my side of their deliciouso pinapple salsa! See the photo of this dish in the above attached link  “Saying Yes In Sanibel @ Captiva, Florida”.  Yup…it was the same 🙂

Gotta show ya the pinapple salsa up close…

Sandy ordered a wonderful “Tropical” salad which we have to say we don’t remember…but was sumptuous enough to come back and have it again on our way off the island heading home.

On another visit I fell in love with…

 

Say Hey Paula!

 

 

The history behind Doc Fords is in the link I wrote above in 2012. Check it out and I think you’ll appreciate this restaurant not only for the wonderful dishes they offer…but the story behind their existence.

That’s about it folks. Please feel free to comment or even add to what I have written if you wish…in the Comment Box just below!

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

MasterChef Contestant Is Top Shelf Food Blogger

 

The ‘Lucky’ Mucky Duck English Pub on Captiva Island, Florida, USA!

Welcome to Captiva this year 2024 and we look forward to your come back!

 

Now…more than ever…Love is in the air as the islands start to come back!

It was a true miracle to see how one of our favorite restaurants survived the force of Hurricane Ian in September of 2022. Of course survival is relative. Our Mucky Duck lucked out big time compared to the devastation to so many communities in southwest Florida and especially to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

According toCoastal Conservatory, a family-run website dedicated to sharing the beauty and goodness of living in Southwest Florida…”What a miracle The Mucky Duck survived. Lots and lots of sand, but not one shingle was lost on their roof!”

https://coastalconservatory.com/

Mucky Duck Hurricane Ian

We first experienced the magic of the Sanibel & Captiva islands on the west coast of Florida in 2012. We loved the South Seas resort on Captiva and vacationed there until we decided to buy a timeshare in 2017 for the month of January.

Another reason…all the wonderful restaurants and stories I could write about on Captiva and Sanibel!

Our go to for a burger anytime…and of course… a beautiful sunset at dinner time was the Mucky Duck. To see their live BeachCam just click their link here www.muckyduck.com

 

Sandy and I each had our favorite dishes at so many other restaurants, so writing about and sharing my/our food experiences over the years here was also a perfect fit for my www.phoodographsandfinds.com blog.  I’m thinking now about why I never wrote about the Mucky Duck and the only thought I can can come up with is that they were always sooo busy I was not able to establish the kind of relationship I liked to have with the folks inside that  I/we were able to create this year since many of the  locals and tourists are not quite back yet because of Hurricane Ian. Thus…much less crowding made it easier to talk to everyone.

That said…let me now introduce you to all the gracious folks inside who made our visits this year enjoyable each time we visited.

You know what they say about happy people…yes:):):)

Meet Lori…ie…”LC”. Just like in a true ‘English Pub”, she greets you with your favorite draught…and a 🙂 !

Meet Katelyn & Jessi…more smiles and pride in their Mucky Duck apparel!

Such personalities make coming in to order dinner, for our table on the sandy beach, fun!  Now…meet Bob & Dan!!

Okeedokee…so moving onto the menu. There really are so many wonderful dishes here, however I only write about what we order and enjoy. That said, here are our faves!

Hands down…one of the best burgers anywhere!

Grilled Chicken

Phab Chili!

I have to let you know that we had not been to our place in  Captiva in 4 years becuse of Covid and Hurricane Ian. It had to be timing for us to first come back to the Mucky Duck when  Sunset Tunes solo artist Peter Redpath was performing his country, folk and rock music with a focus on melody and story telling. Sincerely Love Love Loved!!

Ok folks…say “Hey” to Peter @ www.sunsettunes.com

Goodness…both literally and figuratively… I almost forgot! After checking the menu for dessert and at the recommentation of Lori…we couldn’t resist the creme brulee. So… to Lori, Bob, Dan, Jessi,  Katelyn and Peter…Sandy & I say Thank you all for your fine reception this year and for sure we are in each other’s future!

 

OK folks…

Hope you enjoyed the read. We’ll see you again next year and we hope, wish and pray for much success in bringing the islands of Sanibel & Captiva back!

 

Please feel free to comment in the “comment” box. Would love to hear from you!!

Chef Bert

MasterChef Contestant Is Top Shelf Food Blogger

 

 

 

Remembering Peter…ie…Pietro! A “Pizzaiolo” & Local Phood Hero To His Community

 

I walked into Pietro’s for a couple of slices of pizza on December 31st, 2021. At that moment the phone rang behind the counter and I heard the words “he’s gone?” The look on the face and the subsequent conversation was shocking. Peter had passed.

I’m writing this today because Peter…ie…Pietro deserves to be remembered as the one of the most gracious and endearing persons to grace our world.

What I mean when I say Phood (food) hero was that he made sure his community didn’t go hungry during the most critical days during the Covid pandemic.

Local Heroes In The World Of Food That Deserve OUR Support…According To Me!

 

He truly had a wonderful fan base and was regarded by so many!

Short and sweet…

Rest In Peace Dear Peter and, at least with me, know you are thought of virtually every time I hear the word pizza…especially your Chicken Francese slice!

Woahhhh!!!

 

The 3rd Best Creme Brulee In The USA & The 31st In THE WORLD Has Established Itself With Chef Dave’s Original Recipe At Vincent’s Clam Bar In Carle Place, Long Island, New York!


Once again we find our way back to Vincent’s in Carle Place. This time, however, this iconic restaurant deserves an introduction to those of you who may not be familiar with it’s history that began in 1904 in New York’s Little Italy. Giuseppe and Carmela Siano emigrated from Italy with hopes of creating a better life for their son Vincent. With a love and desire to share their knowledge of how to prepare and serve the food they missed from back home, they began selling seafood from a pushcart on the corners of Mott and Hester Streets in New York City.

People began coming from near and far to sample their calamari, scungilli, shrimps, mussels and clams; all prepared with their soon to be World Famous Mild, Medium, and Hot Sauces. Because of the overwhelming success of their business, they decided to move into the storefront on that same corner naming their new restaurant after their son and The Original Vincent’s Clam Bar was born.

Today that “Old World Tradition” continues at The Original Vincent’s Clam Bar in Carle Place Long Island. From artisan pizzas to an array of salads, pastas, seafood, and Italian specialties, the menu at Vincent’s is as diverse as it is delicious.

One particular new dish where Chef Dave is quite successful in manipulating and finessing his ingredients to surprise his patrons is Snapper Abruzzese. How does this look?

                          Egg Battered Shrimp & Snapper Served In A Light Lemon Butter Sauce With Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, Seared Gnocchi & Red Grape Tomatoes 🙂

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite’s anytime is steamed calamari…and in the back of my head I simply can’t wait for Chef Dave’s creme brulee dessert 🙂   Hello again Nicolette!

 

Oversized portions of innovative and creative dishes as well as traditional favorites are prepared in an open kitchen in full view of everyone dining It’s recommended that you leave some room for dessert because the homemade cannoli’s, tiramisu, napoleons, apple pie and Chef David’s own fired table side crème brulee are well worth the wait. 

OK Now…

Are you ready for Chef Dave’s caramelization process? So you are aware, what makes this dessert unique is the process of caramelizing a consistent fine ground sugar topping with a kitchen  blowtorch just before serving. This creates a fine brittle crust on top of the smoooooth chilled custard base and is what defines this truly beloved dessert!

 

So now let me now introduce or should I say re-introduce you to Vincent’s Executive Chef Dave and the most  Gracious proprietor Bobby who are both happy to make sure their culinary delights keep you coming back again and again.  

On this particular day I walked in for lunch (of course Dino is singing That’s Amore’ in the background) and to pick up from Chef Dave his quite famous homemade ‘hybrid’ cheescakes and was pleasantly surprised to see Bobby. I’m definately feeling quite welcome again with his gracious demeanor, and before he got too busy I just had to get us together for another selfie. Like it?

Bert with the ultimate host & proprietor Bobby & Chef Dave

Another look at Chef Dave,,,and the ‘world’s best hybrid cheesecake’ derived together in Chef Dave’s Culinary Kitchen with the late great American actor and comedian Dom DeLuise.

Carmine’s NYC Executive Chef Dave’s Famous Cheesecake, Emma’s Butter Cookies & A Quick Stop to See Ronnie @ Ben’s

 

Click the link below (seen in red) for a look at one of my past visits to Vincents with Bobby and a surprise visit from a Soprano!  What the ?

 

I have to say I was quite happy to see that Vincent’s was alive and well on Long Island and I now make it in as often as I can. Trust me when I say lunch is quite impressive for the price. In many restaurants, lunch specials are lower in cost because the portions are smaller. Not here. Lunch portions are still big enough for two and by most people’s definition…huge!
One recent afternoon while sitting in my usual spot at the food bar, a fellow with a familiar face walks up to me and says with a smile “you’re sitting in my seat” (there’s actually a small brass plate with his name on it where I was sitting). For a split second, I felt like Charles Grodin lying on a beautiful beach in Miami enjoying some afternoon sun  in the 1972 movie “The Heartbreak Kid”, when Cybill Shepherd approaches him and says “You’re on my spot”. 
It happened to be Joe Gannascoli from the Soprano’s TV series at Vincent’s celebrating the release, and signing copies, of his new book “A Meal to Die For”. Of course I bought the book!

http://phoodographsandfinds.blogspot.com/2015/01/sauce-is-king-and-much-more-at-vincents.html

 

OK…so without further ado…let’s move onto the main attraction for this particuar entry as expressed by www.tasteatlas.coma global food website espousing the virtues of the best food anywhere in the world?

 

How about I show you right here…

 

 

 

 

 

Well folks…that’s about it! Hope you enjoyed the read and would love to hear from you in the COMMENT box below with any input.

Mangia Bene’

Chef Bert

MasterChef Contestant Is Top Shelf Food Blogger

 

Passion Rules With Giovanna Russo Pasta Sauce At Riverhead’s East End Food Market!

The intense desire…ie…passion…to have folks taste the pasta sauce made by these Sicilianos had me singing That’s Amore and I wanted to start dancing the Tarantella.

Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-lingAnd you’ll sing “Vita bella” (Livin’ a beautiful life)Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tayLike a gay tarantellaLucky fella…

You smilin’ too:)

The passion behind their entire team made it impossible not to want to taste everything they were offering. Fresh garlic sauteed in their EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) with their sauce was deliziosa and delizioso! That said, let me introduce you to some of the products I tasted and truly enjoyed.

I really wanted to talk to these fellas and get to know more about their products…but they needed to spread the passion to so many others I had to understand their need to spread themselves thin to meet and greet all the potential customers at this wonderful market!

Fellas…

I’ll be back and I’ll get to know more about your family history…where it all began and where it’s going. I also have to come back since owe you $25 🙂

Wanna know a bit more about Giovanna Russo…check out their Instagram page

https://www.instagram.com/iamgiovannarusso/

 

As always folks…feel free to comment in the COMMENT box below. Always love hearing from my readers!

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

Another Fabulous Phood Find…Latin Fuzion Restaurant On Long Island’s North Fork Town Of Southold

One thing I always look for in a restaurant is a certain level of creativity in the kitchen that stimulates and surprises patrons with recipes that manipulate and finesse ingredients to reach a level of individuality that sets them apart.

I recently discovered such a restaurant in Southold, N.Y. on the north fork of Long Island and I’d like to share this phood find with my readers. I had actually eaten there once before with my daughter and grandkids and we all enjoyed whatever we ordered. It was a quick taco and salads outside and I truly didn’t have the opportunity to analyze each dish as it was such a quick “bite to eat”…and go.

This time was different. This was the first time I joined a group of gentlemen friends and neighbors who meet monthly under the name of ROMEO (Really Old Men Eating Out) and they find their way into the local restaurant scene for what will hopefully be a true dining experience. With that state of mind in play, we can all experience the potentially different levels of creativity that come out of the kitchen and, as it was at  Latin Fuzion, with dishes not even on the menu. It’s worth noting that the word Fuzion in the name of Justo’s restaurant as it relates to his ability to prepare so many different types of dishes embracing  “Tex-Mex, Latin American AND Mexican!

Such was the case with this dish that took the proverbial cake when it came to something I and many of my fellow foodies had never seen before.  And…in the words of my/our fellow foodie who placed this order,,,… “I ordered a plate not on the menu of my own design. Beans, shrimp, over-easy eggs and avocado accompanied by warm yellow corn tortillas. His own independent review…”Very enjoyable. Friendly and knowledgeable service. Great selection of food and choices.”

After checking out this dish, I could see very clearly Chef Justo’s (in the red cap with wife Vicki) ability to manipulate and finesse his ingredients to create dishes that are not on the menu. The use of the word Fuzion (or Fusion…as it relates to food) is quite apropos here since fusion is simply a form of cooking that combines contrasting culinary traditions or techniques into a single dish! Thus…your grilled shrimp, egg and bean dish along with your Greek salad coming soon:)

Meet Chef Justo & his wife Vicki. I could tell these folks are energized by the social world and from my point of view the #1 social occasion of the world is…You may have guessed it… FOOD! 🙂

I ordered a grilled vegetable burrito in a bowl and it was phriggin’ phabulous!  I’ll take the rap for my abundant use of Cholula hot sauce 🙂

Some dishes were just what you would expect and want to see…however what was unanimous was the most positive feedback from my fellow  ‘Really Old Men’ diners.  Everyone enjoyed what they ordered.

When was the last time you saw a Greek Salad in a “Latin” restaurant? Chef Justo also serves Caesar and Cobb salads!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful Greek Salad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple order of French fries was as good as it looked!

 

Chef Justo’s Steak Burrito

 

Each one of these desserts that we all shared were as delicious as they looked!

Lastly…Validation from Mr. GP Lane…The #1 accomplished food authority in the town of Southold and in his own words…at Latin Fuzion “The food is fresh and consistent. There is no pretense. Honest food fairly priced”. In the event you have never heard of Mr. Lane…it’s all right here from my post back in September, 2020. You’ll have to scroll down through many farm, food and wine destinations here on the NOFO, but all you have to do is stop when you see “About Food” and Mr. GP Lane in his foodie museum shop smack dab in the middle of downtown Southold.! Oh yes…and don’t miss the Catapano Dairy Farm visit with Karen Catapano during our annual North Fork Foodie Tour.

Trust me…Have I ever led you astray?

A Day In the Life Of Sandy & Bert And Those Who Wanted To Join Us On The North Fork Of Long Island, N.Y.!

Ohhh. I almost forgot to mention (because I forgot to take the picture) the endless bowls of tasty and colorful chips and salsa.

Now…Ladies, Gentlemen, Sons, Daughters and Grandkids…please meet the ROMEO  Harvest Pointe cast members 🙂 You know what they say about happy people…yes?

 

That’s it for now folks! Get ready…more restaurant reviews to come assuming they live up to our great expectations.

Thank you fellas for inviting me. Looking forward to our next foodie adventure together!

Bert

Wanna know more? Check out Chef Justo’s website!

https://www.latinfuzionrestaurant.com

 

As  always, feel free to comment in the Comment box below!

Come on folks! It’s the Perfect Time to pick your own at BHAVANA BLUEBERRY FARM!!

It’s really so unbelievable what surrounds us on the north fork (NOFO) of Long Island.

Pancakes with my BHAVANA Blueberries and topped with my fave DORSET Barrel Aged Maple Syrup blended with my fave McCutcheon seedless black raspberry preserves!

www.dorsetmaplereserve.com 

So many of the NOFO destinations I’ve written about over the years in phoodographsandfinds.com are filled with virtually everything to do with nature. Literally, the vineyards  of Long Island’s wine country and the vines of all kinds of food products surround us and keep evolving. You don’t even see the density of destinations like this in Europe that you see right here on the NOFO.

That said…short and sweet…I’d like to introduce you to another Phabulous FIND at Bhavana Berries in the first town settled on this Long Island…Southold. Bhavana Berries is a 30+acre organic  blueberry orchard and is open Thursday thru Sunday to the public…ie…UANDME…from  July to late  August.

Meet James…one of the proprietors at Bhavana. You do know what they say about happy people…yes?

http://www.bhavanaberries.com/

 

To my friends…come visit and I’ll take you out there for what will be a truly exciting experience. To anyone who reads this…trust me! Have I ever led you astray?

Enjoy!

Chef Bert


See the COMMENT box below with any input and hoping to see you soon! Of course we would like to hear from you 🙂

 

Carmine’s NYC Executive Chef Dave’s Famous Cheesecake, Emma’s Butter Cookies & A Quick Stop to See Ronnie @ Ben’s

In the world of restaurants I’ve always believed that there needs to be a certain level of creativity in the kitchen to stimulate and surprise patrons with recipes that manipulate and finesse ingredients to reach a level of individuality that sets them apart.

Experiencing many of Executive Chef Dave’s culinary delight’s at Carmine’s in NYC from 1992-1999 as well as Corporate Chef Dave’s creativity at Vincent’s Clam Bar, I can personally tell you he knows how to finesse ingredients to reach a level of individuality that sets his dishes apart and he applies the same creativity to Chef Dave’s Famous Cheesecake.

http://phoodographsandfinds.blogspot.com/2015/01/sauce-is-king-and-much-more-at-vincents.html

Check this out:

According to Chef Dave it’s a hybrid cheesecake because it’s made with 3 cheeses of which 2 of the 3 are “made from scratch’. While a chef at Carmine’s he met many famous and infamous celebrities since he would always come out of the kitchen to say hello to his customers. My cousin Chef Mitchell who partnered with the actor Michael Caine to open up the South Beach Brasserie on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach was the same way, as he would always pop out of the kitchen to meet and greet so to speak.

Getting back to Chef Dave, he popped out of his kitchen one evening to meet and greet celebrity comedian Dom Deluise. He then brought him back into the kitchen and that was the beginning of the creation of this cheesecake recipe. Yup…the truth!

My take of this recipe so you can try to imagine the texture and taste…it’s a cross between both the American style and Italian style cheesecakes we have all tasted. What stands out for me and others who I have treated to this recipe is how he manipulated and finessed the ingredients to create his gently textured and flavored cinnamon crust made with his own homemade and crumbled graham crackers. PHAB!

After picking up my cheesecake I found myself inspired enough to want to bake some cookies from granddaughter Emma’s traditional homemade dough that was in my freezer from Thanksgiving…

…and while on the way home a quick stop for some of Ben’s Famous deli mustard where I just happened to run into founder Ronnie D.

A queeek hellooo and I was on my way home inspired enough to start writing again after a one year hiatus.

So…what better way to start again but with Chef Dave’s beloved Famous Cheesecake. Welcome back and it’s nice to be back!

Want some?

Here’s your contact information:

https://www.facebook.com/chefdavesculinarykitchen/

-Send an email (Subject: Cheesecake) direct to: chefdave628@yahoo.com

or text (Subject: Cheesecake) to: 516.807.2799

Comments are always appreciated. Please feel free to use the “comment’ box below.

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BILL’S PANE-DEMIC SOURDOUGH BREAD On The NOFO With A Side O Personality!

When was the last time you traveled anywhere and saw loaves of fresh baked bread being sold on the side of the road?

Anyone recognize the background pic? You will 🙂

Sandy & I had to look twice to make sure this was what we saw. We immediately decided that after we made our stop for my favorite dark chocolate covered marshmallows and her milk chocolate raisin clusters and dark almond bark at the Candyman in Orient that we were gonna stop on the way back and check out this bread stand on the side of the road.

Folks…I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It simply is never ending what we find out on the ever evolving north fork of Long Island. Either it’s something or some place that Sandy learns about by reading or, in this case, a phind totally by chance at Bill’s Pane-Demic Sourdough Bread Stand in East Marion! Did I say East Marion…again?

Over the years we have found other destinations in this hamlet in the Town of Southold and it truly feels like home with all the places we have found not only here, but all over the entire NOFO. In East Marion, it all started years ago with Serge and Susan’s Lavender By The Bay.

Perfect Time for Lavender By The Bay in East Marion, L.I, N.Y.

 

Then came Angela’s Garden Fusion/Marion Gardens for Organic Herbs…

Then…most recently… The “Undoing” Beach!

“The Undoing” Find: Coincidences abound in East Marion On The Ever Evolving NOFO

Next up in East Marion and our latest phind…Bill’s Phabulous  PANE-DEMIC Sourdough Bread!

Ok…so we’re on our way back and make a quick (and safe) U-turn. I get out of the car with a $5 bill in my hand ready to try one of his loaves and am greeted with smiles by Bill (The Baker) and, as it turns out, one of his loyal lady customers there to pickup bread she had ordered.

There’s no hard sell here…only bread and smiles. Today, however, Bill is out of his best selling sourdough loaf, but he did have ready to go his cheddar sourdough. Sounded good enough to me and after a few cordial words with Bill and his lady customer…and a pic or two (if it’s food I’m always taking pics for a possible story), we’re on our way home.

After tasting his bread in the car on the way home, Sandy and I both thought this stop was worthy of a new blog entry to share and with more information to come about our new food phind here. Bill’s customers are all by word of mouth or by folks driving by like us…and you can find Bill and his sincerely phabulous bread on Main Road nearby the East Marion Community Chapel (10420 NY-25, East Marion) and only on weekends!

To Bill…

Can’t wait to get back again to experience more of your sourdough bread. See you soon!

 

As usual…Please feel free us the COMMENT box below. Always love the input from readers!

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

 

Beef Ragu Or Beef Bolognese? That Is The Question!

 

Updated 6.29.23

I sent this entry to our buds Lori and Steve and they noticed the beef quantity was missing…DUH!  Thus both recipes quantities have been adjusted since I entered 2 lbs. of beef when both should have read 3 lbs. Saaaawy!

So…let’s go…

In my early teens when I first started cooking meat sauce with spaghetti it was relatively simple. Saute’ some garlic and onions in any olive oil…add chopped beef and tomatoes and everyone was happy.

 

As time went by I became more educated about food and ingredients and technique. Like anyone, I simply wanted to make the best sauce I could and picked up on the way sauce was made by researching the many different ingredients and techniques used by the top chefs. Next came  “Bolognese” and then “Ragu” and the vast list of ingredients used by so many chefs over the years still make it quite difficult to define a ragu or a bolognese sauce recipe. A perfect example:  Top chef Marcella Hazan and her application of nutmeg to her famous bolognese recipe!.

Lets fast forward to 2010 when I decided to try something other than chopped beef and/or veal and pork, It all started after enjoying a beef braciole dinner with some friends.*** Although you can use pork for this recipe, we were served the flank steak version and we loved it. It was then that I decided to make what I would call a flank steak ragu*****

The traditional differences between Bolognese and Ragu is Ragu is made with much less tomato and for me it’s the addition of veal or beef stock in water to compensate for less tomato and it’s juices.  Ragu also cooks a lot longer and on a much lower heat setting.

 

My Bolognese Sauce

 

  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  •  1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 lbs. chopped beef (I like to use 90%-10%)
  • 1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 small (or 2 large) cloves garlic, sliced or pressed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 #10 size can of Alta Cucina or Valoroso peeled plum tomatoes (from Restaurant Depot) or 3 28 oz. cans of San Marzano DOP Italain peeled plum tomatoes if you can’t get to Restaurant Depot (all tomatoes either sqeezed by hand for chunky style or pureed to a less chunky texture with a hand held immersion blender
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

 

BetsaPasta Flank Steak Ragu Recipe (As seen in Parmesan.com**)

The main ingredients that are pretty much staple for me in a Bolognese or Ragu are onions, carrots, celery (otherwise known as Mirepoix), EVOO, red or white wine, sometimes garlic sometimes no garlic, and tomatoes or tomato paste. Nowadays, there is no one recipe that defines a Bolognese or a Ragu…despite the “tradition”…since it’s a never ending quest by chefs to stimulate and surprise their patrons with recipes that manipulate and finesse all these ingredients to reach a level of individuality that sets them apart. 

 

So here’s my latest Ragu for now

Serves 6-8 as a main course

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2  lbs. chopped beef sirloin  (90%lean/10% fat)

1  cup veal or beef stock. This is a flavor I enjoy from “More Than Gourmet”.  You can use any veal or beef stock you enjoy

1 large carrot (coarse chopped)

1  medium onion (coarse chopped)

3  celery heart  stalks (center cut coarse chopped)

2 large finely chopped or pressed cloves of fresh garlic or no garlic (up to you)

3/4 cup of white wine like pinot grigio

1 28 oz. can of really good tomatoes (“DOP San Marzano”) pureed or 1 quart of peeled fresh tomatoes pureed (more readily available in summer time

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 oz. sweet unsalted butter (added at the end of the cooking process)

3/4 cup Mascarpone’ (added at the end of the cooking process)

 

 

Technique:

-Add ground beef to your cooking pot with one cup of water and half of the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and squeeze the beef by hand for a few minutes to make the beef as smooth as possible. It’s not really a flavor thing, but more of a texture thing which I thought worked. Then cook on a medium high heat adding 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and stirring frequently until the meat is browned and there is very little or no liquid at the bottom of the pot.

-Lower the heat to medium and add the stock, all the vegetables, garlic and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Cook about 15 minutes stirring to prevent anything sticking to the bottom of the pot and until the onions are caramelized and the veggies are soft.

-Add the wine and cook for about 5-8 minutes until the wine is cooked off and little or no liquid is sitting at the bottom of the pot.

-Add the pureed tomatoes…reduce the heat to VERY low (between simmer and low) and cook for about 2 hours stirring often enough to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

-After 2 hours the sauce should be quite thick. Add the Mascarpone’ and butter and don’t be afraid to add a little water (up to 1/2 cup) if the sauce appears to get too dry before the two hours of cooking time is up.                                .

-When serving…simply stir together your sauce into your choice of pasta (I’m liking either a blend of shapes or a pappardelle is nice too) and adding  the rest of the EVOO, a bit more salt and fresh pepper to taste. If you want, you can add some of the starched pasta water to the pot to adjust the moisture to your liking. Serve with plenty of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Mangia bene’!

OH…one more thing. If you’re a basil lover, feel free to chiffonade some basil (I’d coat the basil with EVOO first) and top off the pasta along with your Parmigiano 🙂

 

As always…would love to hear from you with your thoughts, ideas or suggestions in the COMMENT box below.

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

 

 

 

Unchanged:

Perfetto Density Cake Doughnuts By Doughology Of Lynbrook, L.I., New York…SAYS ME!

Let me start by saying when it comes to doughnuts, I really had no recollection of eating any other kind of donut other than those I would find at Dunkin’ Donuts or our NOFODOCO out east on the NOFO. That all changed recently when I discovered the cake based doughnut at Doughology.

With some quick research I found out there are yeast based doughnuts (Dunkin’ & Krispy Kreme) and the cake based doughnuts I recently discovered when meeting Chris at his Doughology Donut Truck!

You know what they say about happy people…Yeth 🙂

He had come with his famous all over Doughology Donut Truck to my granddaughter’s birthday party and I was treated to a small selection of his cake based doughnuts that caused me great wonder. Maybe I should just say the were simply Maaaaaaavelous!

Check out these doughnuts he made for me. Chocolate and vanilla covered doughnuts covered in fresh coconut and their interpretation of a jelly doughnut! Come on now…it was one fabulous jelly doughnut sandwich that stayed fresh for the few days it took me to finish them!

Here’s a close-up of both 🙂

Look at that!!

Because of this discovery I felt compelled to do a bit more research…and I read Bon Appetit magazine wrote that you are either a cake doughnut fan or a yeast doughnut fan.

They write that in the world of pastry lovers, the cake doughnut versus yeast doughnut debate ranks right up there with chocolate chip versus peanut butter. Each side has its proponents, who will argue fiercely that yeast doughnuts are better because they’re lighter, and won’t stick to the roof of your mouth, or that cake doughnuts are better because they’re more filling, more dunkable, and more like cake. My opinion…coming right up!

Check out some of the other flavors packed into his Make A Kid Smile Doughnut Truck…and I know you can see that invisible smile behind that mask right here:

…and smiles here…

Getting back to the opinion of Bon Appetit…

Frankly, I’m not so sure you have to be a fan of one doughnut style or the other. The bottom line here is that I found a new doughnut style by virtue of the cake base at DOUGHOLOGY that I “knock your socks off” enjoyed and now I’m a fan of BOTH styles of doughnuts.

So…to Chris & Co…I/we say thanks for producing my/our new favorite cake based selection of doughnuts…and we certainly hope to see you again soon!

Take GOOD care…and Stay Safe 🙂

To all of my readers: Would love to hear from you with any comments in the COMMENT box below.

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

Just Lovin’ The Gourmet Whaler Bakeshop In Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York!

It’s been quite a while since Sandy & I took a stroll on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor. Usually we drive through this cozy & picturesque little hamlet of a town on our way to Huntington, or pair it with a visit to the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery*** or the arts & crafts fairs put on by, among others, the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department. On this day…we ran into my next phood find for your ‘dining’ pleasure. Without even tasting some of these scrumptious looking baked goods here, I have a pretty good eye when it comes to what food tastes like by the way it looks…and you’ll see the update(s) right here!

 

For now…the best pretzel Sandy ever ate!

 

So we drive into CSH (no problem parking in this town). As we are perusing the shops on the main street Sandy spots a pretzel through the window of the Gourmet Whaler restaurant and bakery…and when Sandy sees a NYC style pretzel (I can’t describe it any other way) we stop. Fast forward a few minutes later and she looks up from her outside table and says to me as I walk out after marveling at the tantalizing selection of baked goods, “this is the best pretzel I’ve ever had”. That said, I went back in and bought the last few pretzels to share with the family at home and to see if there was anything else we might want to take home with us.

Check these out!

Cr(Y)um Cake

Need I say…Denise’s Famous Carrot Cake

Needless to say it was easy to find something else in their Thanksgiving  special ‘hero’ sandwich made with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy….and good enough to write about.

Phab!

Let me say there are few exceptions when writing about any restaurant that I decide to include in this blog after only one visit. The main reason…for now…the best NYC style pretzel resides right here at the nautically themed Gourmet Whaler!

Check out their complete coffee, smoothies in the summer & beverage menu!

Whoaaah! Vanilla Egg Creams! Where am I?

It’s not over. What will bring us back here, besides the anticipation of tasting more baked goods to start, is the genuine warmth we found in all the folks who work here…including the proprietors Denise and her husband Kevin, Max & Natalie and the sincerely happy baker Katherine. You know what they say about happy people…yes? It all filters down from the top!

Say hellooo to gracious proprietors Kevin & Denise!

Meet Max & Natalie out front!

Say HEY to the Queen of Yummy…Katherine!

See you folks soon! I’ll be looking to try that “Elvis Sandwich” on your fresh baked bread that I saw on your menu featuring peanut butter, Nutella and bananas 🙂

https://gourmetwhalerny.com/

 

Oh yes…while you’re in town there are a few fun destinations very close by that you could visit before or after your fabulous breakfast or lunch at the Gourmet Whaler. Just across and down Main Street is the Cold Spring Harbor Fire House Museum.

https://www.cshfirehousemuseum.org/

So you are aware…there are 181 fire departments on Long Island and 175 of them are made up of all volunteer members. Since I’m a former Fire Commissioner for Muttontown in the East Norwich Fire Department and I’m a big proponent of supporting your local volunteer fire departments, it would be a fun way to educate yourself on fire prevention and at the same time support and salute the generations of residents who have been and continue to be a “volunteer”.

At the same time enjoy “Lots of fire history and lore surrounded by great restored equipment, photos and historical artifacts. It’s a big little museum”.

Meet Bob at the Cold Spring Harbor Firehouse Museum…Love that Greeting!

Say Hey to Tom waving at us from the back of the museum! Hey Tom!

It’s simply a proud state O mind!

Just a 3 minute walk east down Main Street on the same side and you have The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum…

https://www.cshwhalingmuseum.org/

…or just a 3 minute ride west there is the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery the kids would love!

Photo of Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery - Cold Spring Harbor, NY, United States. Fish

http://cshfishhatchery.org/

Goodness! Between the CSH Firehouse Museum, The Whaling Museum and the Cold Spring Fish Hatchery, you can actually spend a whole day here and you have the Gourmet Whaler waiting for you for breakfast and/or lunch 🙂

 

A Reminder: In these times of Covid and especially with the variants surrounding us all, please wear your mask when requested and follow the protocols that keep us all as safe as possible! 

 Mangia bene’

As always, please feel free to use the comment box below.

Chef Bert

Alta Cucina Brand Tomatoes by Stanislaus or DOP San Marzano? My choice: Alta Cucinaaaaah!

Who doesn’t LOVE Italy? Who doesn’t love the food in Italia?  (noun. the Italian name for Italy) What food worldwide is enjoyed, appreciated and loved by more people than any other country? Yup…you’ve got it! Italy.

Mind you now…we are taking nothing away from the cuisine of France or Greece or any other country for that matter. All I am saying here is that most folks like Italian food because it’s prepared with Italian produced ingredients that most folks enjoy. Needless to say, the perception exists that the San Marzano tomatoes produced and canned in Italy are the best.

First…A bit about the revered San Marzano tomato: Sweet, pulpy, low in acidity, and containing few seeds, they are said to be extraordinarily good for making sauces—and for many years the only ‘recognized’ name in the canned-tomato game. The long, meaty tomatoes are actually structurally distinct from most other plum tomatoes, containing only two seed pockets instead of the typical five. In near mythical fashion, traditional Italian farmers grew and grow them in the volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius, which famously erupted in AD 79, leveling the Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in a vicious flood of molten lava. Out of all that devastation comes the beauty of San Marzanos. It’s that volcanic soil and the microclimate—fanned with sea breezes from the Gulf of Naples—that accounts for their prized balanced flavor that defines tomatoey (yes…there is such a word 🙂 ) intensity and just the right amount of sweetness and acidity, 

In Italy, tomatoes labeled as “San Marzano” must adhere to strict DOP*** guidelines, which governs where they’re grown and how they’re processed. If you try growing the same seeds—“San Marzano” refers to both the plant and DOP—elsewhere, you just won’t get the same thing. In short, they are known as the world’s best canned tomatoes…and I love ’em!

***DOP. Denominazione d’Origine Protetta | Protected Designation of Origin. The DOP label guarantees that your favorite cheese, prosciutto, olive oil or tomato in this case is produced, processed, and packaged in a specific geographical zone and according to tradition. Each step, from production to packaging, is regulated.

Super Chef Cousin Mitchell of Maxwell’s 148 fame and partnering with Michael Cane to create The South Beach Brasserie loved his fresh Cooper’s NOFO veggies & tomatoes this summer…and loves Chef Bert’s Alta Cucina’s too!

https://www.shutterstock.com/editorial/image-editorial/michael-caine-at-south-beach-brasserie-miami-america-1996-378515b

Stock photo of MICHAEL CAINE AT SOUTH BEACH BRASSERIE, MIAMI, AMERICA - 1996

Stanislaus shows appreciation to their customers with these beautiful Holiday gifts!

Betsa Pastaaaaah!

Bottom line here…

I love Italy and virtually everything food that is produced in Italy as most of us do…including the genuine San Marzano’s. I have to say, however,  the best tomatoes I have ever tasted out of the can (If a tomato tastes great directly out of the can, to me that is the tomato that will make the best sauce/gravy) is the Alta Cucina brand .tomatoes produced by Stanislaus in California. I use these exclusively and the results are unmatched even compared to the genuine DOP San Marzano’s.

From Stanislaus:

“Stanislaus has produced the closest thing to Old Italy grown in California. These tomatoes are the Stanislaus’ answer to true San Marzano tomatoes.

Alta Cucina® is filled with naturally sweet, tender, ultra-premium plum tomatoes in a light “naturale” style juice. Their exceptional fresh fragrance, exquisite flavor, and delicate “melt-in-your-mouth” texture right out of the can set the Gold Standard by which all other plum tomatoes are judged. For additional sweetness, Alta Cucina® is hand-packed with fresh basil. We also extensively hand-sort Alta Cucina® for identical consistency, can after can. Truly the finest, most consistent plum tomatoes available anywhere!”

 INGREDIENTS:

Vine-ripened fresh plum tomatoes, tomato juice, fresh basil leaf, salt and naturally derived citric acid.

A little tip…

Be careful! You must see  “DOP” on a can of genuine San Marzano tomatoes. The name is used on many cans of tomatoes that do not meet the Designation of Origin requirements. There is even a can of tomatoes called San Marzano that aren’t San Marzano’s at all.. Goodness gracious…how could they?

They can be secured from Restaurant Depot for a price of about $24.00 for 6 #10 cans (6 lb 6 oz ea. or from Amazon for $14.99 each. Amazon is expensive compared to Restaurant Depot…however I’m not shocked as I’ve seen retail gourmet shops charge upwards of $20.00 for these large #10 cans of tomatoes in almost any brand.

 

As always, would love to hear from you with any comments in the comment box below.

Mangia bene’…

Chef Bert

Betsa’s Mildly Sweet & Yummy Marinated Cucumber Salad

This is a very simple recipe and because its so simple, it’s flawless!

I suggest you look for firm fresh picked cucumbers in the summertime as they actually do taste better than the everyday cucumbers found in local stores all year long. Either way and at any time of year it’s all healthy & fresh! Being the apple cider vinegar fan that I am and that I use for other recipes like my “Memorial Day Potato Salad” ***, this vinegar definitely lends a wonderfully crisp taste to cucumber salad.

Try to eat whatever you have prepared in 3-4 days to maximize the crispy texture of the marinated cucumbers. For maximum flavor I also suggest eating them after they have marinated for at least 8 hours. I prepare them in the evening and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight to be eaten the next day.

Okay! So nice and simple…

-3 very large or 4 medium size peeled and thinly sliced cucumbers with a crinkle cutter

Amazon.com: Crinkle Cutter, Wavy Chopper Cut Knife, Stainless Steel Wavy Slicer, Vegetable Potato Cucumber Carrot Garnishing Knife, Home Kitchen Wavy Blade Cutting Tool: Home & Kitchen

Ingredients

-1.5 cups of Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar

-3 Tbsp. Kosher salt

-1 cup organic cane sugar

-1 small red onion or 1 large shallot thinly sliced

-a few turns from a fresh pepper mill (I use red, white and black pepper blend)

-2 cups of cold water and 1 cup hot water (total 24 oz.)

Preparation

-In a large bowl add sugar and salt to one cup of hot water and stir until dissolved

-add the 2 more cups of cold water

-add the apple cider vinegar

-add to the water of dissolved salt and sugar the thinly sliced red onion or shallot

-add all of the thinly sliced cucumbers

Toss gently until evenly blended and then cover with plastic wrap letting the plastic wrap sit directly on the mixture . This will make sure everything gets marinated evenly.

*For those of you who might think this is a lot of sugar or salt…realize this: These ingredients are used to flavor the vegetables and most of the sugar and salt are not ingested since you don’t drink the marinade. As well, after you have made this recipe you are free to adjust the sugar, salt or vinegar amounts to your taste.

Well…that’s about it. I’d love to hear from YOU if you have a recipe or suggestion! Please feel free to comment in the “comment” box below.

 

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

***”Memorial Day Potato Salad”

Memorial Day Potato Salad With Fresh East Norwichian Dill

 

 

BRIDGE LANE BUBBLES @ Bridge Lane Wine Will Satisfy All Taste Buds. Trust Me…Have I Ever Led You Astray?

Between vineyards and wineries, keeping up with the changes on the ever-evolving North Fork of Long Island, and as well the South Fork, is an adventure.

Each time we travel out east to our favorite destinations, we notice changes and additions that always intrigue and that ultimately gets me on the computer to stay on top of all the new additions. In my desire to stay updated, the first winery that pops up on one of the Long Island wine websites is Bridge Lane Wine.

Coincidence? Yeth. Why……because that’s what this entry is all about!

My first pic of the Bridge Lane tasting room…

A little background:

The taste of North Fork wines have come a long way from those very early days when New York wines were in their infancy.  Today, the region relies on Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with white varietals such as Chardonnay and Riesling to produce its awarding-winning wines.  Although the region continues to produce wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, ‘many vintners are moving to blends.’ just like what we are seeing here in the  Bridge Lane Bubbles blend of Reisling, Muscat & Seyval Blanc.***

***Seyval Blanc is a hybrid grape extensively grown in New York, where it is produced as dry  white wine. It is often touted as having a flavor profile somewhere between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

In all the years we have been patronizing Long Island wineries, we never made it to Lieb Family Winery which was established all the way back in 1992. Produced by the now Lieb Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island, Bridge Lane is named after the farm road adjacent to one of Lieb’s vineyards and is Lieb’s second label. Gonna have to get to Lieb someday soon 🙂

At Bridge Lane…they produce 6 wines – a white merlot,  unoaked chardonnay (my kind of chardonnay), sauvignon blanc, dry rosé, red blend and a sparkler – all in a fresh, light, dry, fruit-forward style.  It’s this ‘sparkler’ that we have defined as our latest wine find at this Bridge Lane winery on the NOFO and it all started with a can of their rose’ wine with lunch at the North Fork Shack just down the road.

Outstanding Burger & Shallot-Dusted Fries at The North Fork Shack in Southold, L.I. N,Y., USA

We frankly had no idea where Bridge Lane wine was located and it was just by chance that we saw it and decided to pull in and check it out live and in person. Something to be said for the adventure in keeping up with the additions…even thought they’ve been there for years.

As Sandy was finding a place to sit, I asked her what wine she wanted to taste and she said “surprise me”. When I walked in and saw all the canned wine choices on top of the rose’ we tasted at the North Fork Shack, I/we had a good feeling based on my/our recent first experience(s) with NOFO canned wines. Specifically, we’ve enjoyed  all the cans of wine we tried at Pindar and felt most of these these “fresh, fruit forward” and young wines were quite enjoyable.

Meet Sweet Scarlett & Alethea @ Pindar Vineyards on the NOFO!

Simply as matter of record, it should be noted  the first cans of wine on the NOFO were developed by Lieb Cellars.

Lieb Cellars Launches Long Island’s First Canned Wines Under Bridge Lane Label

So I was greeted graciously by “Delia”, the “Tasting Room Captain”…and after just a few questions about their canned wines, I decided on BRIDGE LANE BUBBLES! Just the name might have influenced my choice…but either way…it was a prodigious choice 🙂

Say Hellooo to Delia and her invisible smile 🙂

The first word from Sandy after she tasted it,,,”Delicious”! Me? Woah! Nice!

What exactly was so impressive since everything is subjective and everyone’s tastes are different? It’s simple. The splendid taste and, for me in addition to the splendid taste, the fine bubbles. They were subtle and didn’t explode in your mouth. I quickly compared this wine to the best of the Prosecco’s…eccellente…and yes…some champagnes…excellent is excellent in French 🙂

What’s most interesting to me over the years is how the the red blend wines on Long Island have really taken hold of everyone’s taste buds, To see blends taken hold in the world of white wines is only logical.

Our friend John who lives out on the NOFO only likes dry whites. Guess what? He just found a new not so dry white that he now loves!

We bought a few 4-packs and…no joke…every single person who we shared this wine with absolutely fell in love. Do I need to be specific?  🙂

While we were about to leave I noticed a group of ladies about to leave as well. I approached them to ask if they would be kind enough to pose for a pic simply to enhance the story and perhaps just to continue the celebration.

As you can see, they were gracious enough to accommodate. So…to Julie and her friends celebrating Julie’s Bachelorette…I say thank you…all the best and stay safe!

The brand new sitting area at Bridge Lane Wine

It was time now for me to leave and Delia was kind enough to throw me a peace sign. A definite fellow state O minder.

Thanks much Delia…See you again soon!

The Tarry Tavern In Tarrytown, N.Y. … Simply Phab!

Each year we find ourselves enjoying a trip north up into the Hudson Valley in Spring & Autumn with our friends Sharyn & Joel because we absolutely love the Arts & Crafts Fair at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown and their scores of exhibitors.

Last year’s Spring & Autumn shows were cancelled because of the Covid pandemic and to say we were looking forward to getting back up this year would be an understatement.

This year, however, was different. Because of Covid the visits were timed in 2 hour intervals for all visitors (one also needed proof of vaccination) and it turned out the only time available for us was the 4PM to 6PM slot.  I believe timing plays a very important role in life. My mantra: Life is Timing…and I’ll get to that shortly.

There were less exhibitors this year, but that doesn’t mean their fashions, accessories and jewelry, functional and sculptural ceramic, glass, metal, fiber, wood, paintings, drawing and printmaking exhibitors were not as impressive as always.

 

Oh yes. let’s not forget about Leprechaun Sheepskin…and sooooo many more!

Besides this fine array of exhibitors, we very much look forward to the long row of gourmet food specialties, tastings from local distilleries, wineries, cider houses, bakeries, chocolatiers and one of my favorites…Dorset Maple Reserve and their wonderful selection and blends of Vermont maple syrups!

 

So…here we are 2 hours later and guess what? It’s dinner time…and we decided to grab a bite before traveling home. We asked the security team for a local restaurant they thought was good and they said there were plenty to choose from and we should have no problem finding one we liked after seeing some menus. Graciously we thanked them and off we went into Tarrytown for dinner. Just a few minutes later we arrive and…OY… most of the restaurants with outdoor seating are full.

Here’s where my “Life Is Timing” comes into play. You look down the street and it’s a virtual restaurant row. There just happened to be an outdoor table for 4 (Sandy, me, Sharyn & Joel) at the Tarry Tavern. I can’t say I was crazy about going to eat dinner at a ‘tavern’ since a tavern is defined as “an establishment for the sale of beer and other drinks to be consumed on the premises, sometimes also serving food; a bar or pub”. 

Nevertheless, we sat down and hoped for the best. Guess what? Cheers to the best!  Say Hello to Henry…The proprietor of Tarry Tavern!

Another definition of love…Bread, Wine and a nice bottle of EVOO…ie…Extra Virgin Olive Oil 🙂

So…Are you ready?

Check out these dishes we just happened to choose:

Classic Iceberg Wedge

Blue Cheese Dressing, Applewood Smoked Bacon & Cherry Tomatoes

Seared Yellowfin Tuna

Roasted Fennel, Piquillo Peppers, Black Forbidden Rice & Carrot Purée

Seared Maine Sea Scallops

Four bumper sea scallops on a bed of creamy herbed risotto

Oops!…Pic missing…Saaaaawy!

 

Cavatelli Pasta With Braised Short Rib  Ragu

 

Creme Brulee w/Blueberries and Raspberries

Seriously…The BEST CREME BRULEE!

 

A quick look inside…A mural depicting their regard for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables!

After reading a bit about the Tarry Tavern, I think the best description is “American cuisine, but drawing some inspiration from French and Italian culinary traditions”. Should you ever have the opportunity to visit Tarrytown or perhaps check out the Crafts Fair like we did…and then visit Tarrytown …this restaurant is a “find”….as in PHOODOGRAPHS AND FINDS. YUP…Everything we happened to order was truly enjoyable as was the gracious and efficient service right here at the Tarry Tavern in Tarrytown, N.Y., US of A 🙂

All of the above seen and said, I was impressed enough to seek out the owner…Henry…and he graciously (it must come from the top) accepted my offer to write about our experience in his restaurant.

So…to Henry and his staff…I/we say Thank YOU for a wonderful dining experience and your fine reception. You now have 4 new customers and we will certainly look forward to returning and spreading the word…starting right here!

https://tarrytavern.com/

 

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

 

 

 

 

 

“A Feast For The Eyes” Said Ted At The BAHR GALLERY in Oyster Bay, L.I., New York, USA!

So get this…

It’s Sunday morning and I’ve got to get over to the Oyster Bay Farmers Market for my fave bread & butter pickles at the Horman’s Best pickle booth.

Sandy decided to come along for the ride and I have to say if it weren’t for her decision to come with me, I probably would not have had my mind blown.

Btw…The phrase ‘blow one’s mind’ is rooted in the hallucinatory drug scene of the hippie 1960s. Originally the phrase could describe the effects of a drug like LSD and later covered any pleasurably shocking mental experience.

Ok…so back to reality 🙂

I go back to the car and drop off my pickles and see Sandy walking out of the Bahr Gallery across the street from the market. She says to me casually and points ” you’ve gotta go in and take a look around that art gallery” I look across the street and see a poster with the words Grateful Dead and a little sign that says “Hippies Use Side Door”. That certainly was a Welcome sign for me. Being a former ‘Hippie’, I made my way in!

Circa 1970~

I walk in the door and found myself totally astonished, astounded, awestruck and..er…mind-blown!

One major iconic Grateful Dead Poster…

Grateful Dead (Skeleton and Roses), September 16-17, 1966, Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco. Artists: Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse.

The last time I saw anything like what I was experiencing now (iconic San Francisco music posters from the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s) was in a poster shop in San Francisco in the 1980’s (the exact year I don’t remember)…and when I purchased a Moody Blues concert poster that I still have today.

Immediately I introduced myself to the gracious fellow who greeted me and asked him his name. “Teddy” he said. He just happened to be the owner, Mr. Ted Bahr, of this mind-blowing art gallery. I immediately visualized my next blog entry and when I told him I write a food blog, he offered me a “Feast For The Eyes Tour”. I liked the pun, thus the entry title. Thanks Teddy!

While walking around totally amazed at the posters I was seeing I was wondering  out loud why I never knew this was here and why I never saw an advertisement or story about this particular Bahr Gallery show in my own proverbial backyard? He then proceeded to show me an article out of Newsday and another one from the Oyster Bay Herald that we just happened to have had delivered to our house the day before and that we had yet to read.

OK…so here we go.

For those of you who may be curious enough to wonder where inspiration for these posters came from, it seems to have been inspired by an art form known as Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau was an art style that was most popular between 1890 and 1910. It was a reaction against the academic art, eclecticism and historic-ism of 19th century architecture and decoration and it was often inspired by natural forms such as the sinuous curves of plants and flowers. I think of curves in plants and fibonacci  patterns immediately come to mind.

Flowers, curves, peacocks, updates of Art Nouveau images from the past (including skeletons and roses as seen above in the Grateful Dead poster with the skeletons and roses) made the perfect visual accompaniment for the acid-flavored Romanticism that took root during the Vietnam era. Even the fonts were poached from turn-of-the-century graphic art. Famous 60’s designers like Wes Wilson confessed their admiration for modernism, “the idea,” Wilson told Time in 1967, “of really putting it all out there.”

Inspired largely by Art Nouveau masters and the Viennese Secessionist lettering (font) style seen here (Vanilla Fudge) and developed by Alfred Roller, Wilson developed his own visual language, pairing bright clashing colors and billowing shapes with letters that looked like they were caught mid-swirl.

vanilla-fudge.jpg

He was among the “big five” Haight-Ashbury poster artists (namely Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, and Wes Wilson), who defined the iconography of the hippie counterculture scene that took hold around the Summer of Love and some are represented right here in Oyster Bay at THE BAHR GALLERY.

What was the Summer of Love you ask?

More than 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco in 1967. Music festival attendees were called hippies, and many sported tie-dyed fashions. Psychedelic rock was the music of the Summer of Love…and in the words of the Chambers Brothers…there was Peace & Happiness too 🙂

Check out Wes Wilson’s mind-blowing (if I DO say say myself) from a 1960’s poster featuring the Association, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grassroots and Sopwith Camel that just makes me smile. As well, check out some of the other artists coming right up!

…and here we go! Look at all the acts in every one of these shows…

On display and available right here at The Bahr Gallery…

Woweeyowski!

From this weeks Oyster Bay Herald…April 23-29, 2021 !

I just had to stick my Moodies Poster in here with the signatures of all the original members…ie…Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge & Mike Pinder’s signature (seen at the bottom).

There are really soooo many more artful posters in the gallery, but I think you get the picture.

The Bahr Gallery is right next door to another unique establishment, Billy Joel’s motorcycle museum (20th Century Cycles). The Bahr Gallery is open 1:30-5:30 Friday through Sunday and during the week if you make an appointment with Ted. Just e-mail him at ted@bahrgallery.com. Billy Joel’s is open 10-4pm Saturday-Sunday.

Additionally, these phab posters are online at the Bahr Gallery website, www.bahrgallery.com, and they have a Facebook and Instagram @bahrgallery. But if you can get there in person, it’s absolutely, positively and unquestionably “worth the trip!”

In closing…

To Teddy I say a most sincere thank you for the your wonderful tour and your fine reception! And…to all of my friends who share the same State O Mind as me…this is most definitely a show you do not want to miss. Trust me…Have I ever lead you astray?

 

Please feel free to Comment below.

LOVE, PEACE & HAPPINESS…and GET VACCINATED!

 

Mangia bene,

Chef Bert

www.phoodographsandfinds.com

 

 

 

 

Chef Sharyn’s 10th Hamantashen for Purim Anniversary With Mr. Smoooooth!

Let me begin by including the very first Hamantaschen Bake-off from March, 2011…yes, 2011!

Hamantashen Time @ Sharyn & Joel’s

 

Purim 2021, February 25th and it was time for our annual Hamantaschen Bake-off @ Sharyn & Joel’s home. We had all gotten our vaccines and felt confident enough in these times of Covid to get together. PS…the kitchen door was open for a little extra air 🙂

Say hello again to Chef Sharyn & Joel…The host & hostess with the most and mostess!

So the way it happens is Chef Sharyn bakes for her family prior to my arrival. When I arrive and walk into the kitchen, it’s then that I start the baking process by using her recipe to bake for our family and walk out with 50 or 60 Hamantaschen. I get a refresher course each year since she’s the head baker and I’m simply following her recipe.

For this year there was a surprise. Sharyn had decided to add one more filling that turned out to be טָעִים מְאוֹד…ie…wonderful! It was Nutella!

Believe it or not, I had never eaten Nutella. My perception was that if it was flavored with hazelnuts I wouldn’t like it. Never liked flavored coffee…ie…hazelnut coffee…and that was my mindset when it came to Nutella. Boy…was I surprised at how much I enjoyed these.

Now…A bit about the recipe…

Chef Sharyn has been using this hamantaschen recipe since 1992 from Temple Israel in Lawrence, L.I. New York. The recipe has evolved just a bit over the years because her sons Andrew & Garrett (of Andrew & Garrett fame) and Mr. Smoooooth liked extra filling and cutting 2″ rounds just didn’t cut it. 🙂 Today they are closer to 3″ rounds and filled with close to 2 teaspoons of all the wonderful flavors.

Now after reading what I wrote in 2011, I remember filling these with preserves. Hmmmmm…gonna get permission from Chef Sharyn to see if I could work my fave Bon Maman preserves into the next Hamantaschen Bake-off. I think after reading about the Bon Maman family, it might be a bit easier to gain her approval to work these into her recipe. Whaddayathink?

Parfaitement douce Bonne Maman French Preserves…My Favorite!

Sooooo…to Chef Sharyn I say sincerely…

Thank YOU for another wonderful baking experience and Sandy & I hope you & Joel had a Happy Purim!

purim background with masks, rattles and hamantaschen - hamantaschen stock illustrations

Say hellooooo to Mr. Smoooooth 🙂

As always…comments are appreciated either here in the box below…or on Facebook or Instagram

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert



                    

Marinated Grilled Artichokes, Fresh Mozzarella, Campari Tomatoes On Romaine Leaves With A Raspberry Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette

It snowed pretty hard the other night…so Sandy & I decided to eat at home. It was easy enough. Who doesn’t like fresh mozzarella with tomatoes?

Question was…served with what? Sandy decided on a couple of BetsaPasta Famous 🙂  meat-a-balls from the freezer…and after perusing the options in the fridge, I decided on marinated artichokes. Done!

It came out nice enough to post…so here’s the dressing recipe…short and sweet!

1/4 cup EVOO

2 tsp. Manodori Balsamic …or any other (must be) fabulous balsamic

2 tsp. white raspberry infused balsamic glaze

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Pinch Kosher salt and 2-3 turns from a fresh pepper mill

Mix vinegar’s, mustard salt & pepper in a bowl…then add oil.

Stir until dressing is totally emulsified and thickened

Drizzle over the below ingredients:

-3-4 Romaine leaves laid out on your plate

-3-4 thin slices fresh mozzarella

-3-4 tomatoes (depending on size and how much you love your Campari tomatoes:-)

-Artichoke hearts and-or stems (sometimes hard to chew outer leaves tossed)

 

Please note: It’s winter time and my go to winter time tomato is Campari, They are readily available in your local supermarket! Trust me 🙂

Tomatoes, Campari

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

Comments always welcome …directly below…

Meet Sweet Scarlett & Alethea @ Pindar Vineyards on the NOFO!

Just for the sake of sharing…I simply can’t help but write about the constant and consistent finds on what I call the ever evolving north fork of Long Island. Actually, I’ve been writing about my/our experiences & finds on the NOFO for the last ten years and a casual stop this afternoon to say hello to the folks at Pindar Vineyards yielded another discovery…actually two discoveries! We discovered Sweet Scarlett wine (one taste was all it took. Sold!) and cordial (no pun intended) Alethea, Pindar’s sister, whom I had never met before.

I guess I was so fixated on Summer Blush that I totally missed seeing Sweet Scarlett, Pindar’s mildly sweet red blend.

You know what they say about happy people…yes?

Meet Alethea…sister of Pindar,,,the host with the most with a couple of their favorite wine choices! Sincerely, there’s always something to be said for a fine and most cordial reception at Pindar with Pindar.

Although we have always…like most of you…bought our wine in bottles. in the last couple/few years we have noticed the growing trend of wine in cans and only last summer did we try wine in a can at Pindar Vineyards. “Summer Blush” was a wine we first discovered in bottles at Duckwalk Vinyards (the sister vineyard to Pindar) on the South fork almost 25 years ago. Now Sandy and I share a 12 oz. can without having to concern ourselves with drinking more than the occasion warrants since it’s not a whole bottle we’ve opened. Actually…quite convenient 🙂

A quick little aside about canned wines:

The popularity of canned wine started at The Francis Ford Coppola Winery in California with the debut of the Sofia Blanc de Blanc (Sofia is Coppola’s daughter.)…but the major spike in new entrants is more recent. The number of winemakers canning wine grew 180 percent (from 125 to 350) between June 2018 and June 2019, according to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based wine-in-a-can research firm WICresearch,  a leading researcher in the wine-in-a-can market. From what I’ve learned, the best canned wines are typically made to be fresh and fruity in a style with little to no oak contact, and most should be consumed within 12-18 months. An extra added attraction: the cans are recyclable!

Another queeek little aside:

I actually never put this pic in any of my blog entry’s, however since Coppola is relevant to this entry, here’s a pic of a gift from Director Coppola to me back in 2007 through my longtime friend…Chief Pilot Bob Barry who, for years, flew Francis around the world. Cool, huh?

Next up…Greenport for a quick take out for some Lucharitos Mexican by the pier

We then, after walking through the town, traveled out to Orient for a walk and a beautiful view of Orient beach where we also picked some surprisingly beautiful shells.

On the way back we stopped off at The Candy Man in Orient for dessert 🙂

Another lovely day trip on the NOFO ended with our usual stop for coffee at The Hampton Coffee Company in Aquebogue. A nice Autumn shot!

The winemakers note: Sweet Scarlet is a red wine that is “user friendly”. Serve it chilled (we prefer it this way) or at room temperature. The color is scarlet, the taste is slightly sweet, and the nose is “HEAVEN”. Serve it with barbecue foods, hamburgers, Italian foods, especially red sauces and hot spicy foods.

Sounds to me like this wine would also make a wonderful Sangria! Don’t want to get off on a tangent, however here is a simple base ingredients recipe for Sangria according to Cooks Illustrated:

-2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced; remaining orange juiced

-1 large lemon, washed and sliced
 cup granulated sugar
 cup Triple Sec (Using Brandy or a combination of Brandy & Triple Sec may work for you)
-1 bottle (doesn’t have to be expensive) fruity, medium-bodied red wine (750 milliliters) like Sweet Scarlett, chilled
There are sooo many recipes for Sangria that you may want to defer to the computer to pick a recipe that sounds good to you with more specific preparation instructions.

Wanna know more about other wines we enjoy at Pindar…especially their Pythagoras Red Blend? Click here and scroll about 3/4 of the way down:

A Day In the Life Of Sandy & Bert And Those Who Wanted To Join Us On The North Fork Of Long Island, N.Y.!

 

See you again soon…and as always, please feel free to comment below.

Mangia Bene’

Chef Bert

 

 

 

CHARLES CHIPS Classic Potato Chips Are Back @ ABOUT FOOD in Southold, L.I., New York!

Charles Chips – A U.S.-based manufacturer of chips which had been around since 1942 and somehow disappeared in the early 1990’s…is back!

Yes…these same classic Charles Chips and the flavor YOU remember from the 1950s and ’60s are once again available for your snacking satisfaction right here at ABOUT FOOD on the NOFO…and for a price less than anywhere else!

Wanna know more? Click this link and scroll half way down to ABOUT FOOD! 

A Day In the Life Of Sandy & Bert And Those Who Wanted To Join Us On The North Fork Of Long Island, N.Y.!

 

On BOTH Visits…Calm, Courtesy & Invisible Smiles Ruled at The NYC Metropolitan Covid Vaccine Clinic

In these COVID times I once again find myself veering away from my recipe, hidden gem destinations and restaurant review entry’s. Credit simply needed to be given today to those folks who really deserve mention for duty above and beyond at The Metropolitan Hospital.

Inspired by these times of COVID that we are all sharing, I was compelled to do the same thing back in December, 2020 to recognize “Local Heroes In The World Of Food That Deserve OUR Support”.

Local Heroes In The World Of Food That Deserve OUR Support…According To Me!

On this momentous and historic….yes, historic day… Sandy and I drove into NYC so I could receive my first Modena SARS-COV-2  immunization. Even though there is no FDA-approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19 (it has been approved for emergency use), my belief is…

You’re either going to get COVID or you’re going to get a vaccine…

So get the vaccination for your sake and your family’s sake! BTW…As of this writing around midnight of the same day, there is no side effect other than I can feel where I got the shot in my arm.

Update: The morning of the 23rd…the slight pain is gone!

My experience at The Metropolitan Hospital Covid Vaccine Clinic went exceedingly well and I needed to take the opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the people who took care of me for the 1 hour and 20 minutes I was with them.

Say Hello to Dorothy! Yes…there are smiles under those masks…

Hello again to a smiling Tanesia and Marlene. Hellooooo ladies!

So it went like this…

I was cordially greeted by Tanesia B. and asked to fill out a pertinent information form that everyone needs to complete. Any questions I asked were quickly answered and with a smile!

After about a 20 minute wait, I then sat with Marlene C. to review the form I filled out to make sure all the correct information was received and recorded. Again, any and all questions were answered graciously and I was then promptly introduced to the definition of happy… RN Dorothy O.

After Dorothy’s cordial greeting and a few more minutes of questions, answers and smiles too, I was given my vaccine and was then walked to a close-by within eyesight POST VACCINE 15 minute waiting area.

I know all those smiles I experienced were there to help create the calm that I felt and that, according to Marlene, was among their primary goals. Thank YOU for your attention and care and know you are all a credit to your work and to Metropolitan @ NYC Health + Hospitals!

In closing, I have to say it’s been one heck of an all good thing 24 hour period this fine January 20-21, 2021! Oh yes…one more thing! At 9:21 and 21 seconds it will have been the 21st second of the 21st minute of the 21st hour of the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st Century! Whew!!

To Dorothy, Tanesia and Marlene…All the best to you and your families for a Healthy & Happy 2021 and beyond…AND…to our new Biden-Harris Administration. Congratulations and the best of luck to us all!

See you again next month for my second vaccine immunization injection  🙂

 

Part 2 : February 17, 2021

Well it’s almost a month later and I was scheduled for my 2nd vaccine dose on February 18th.  Rather than have to re-schedule for an unknown date (couldn’t reach anyone on the phone) because of a predicted snowstorm for the 18th, we decided to drive in the day before in the hopes of securing my 2nd vaccine dose.

Upon arrival, I became a bit concerned because of the long line that I hadn’t experienced on my first visit in January. At that point, I explained my circumstances to the ladies who were receiving patients at check-in and was extremely relieved to find out that I could receive my second dose.

Whew!

Because of the unexpected visit, I was informed it would take a bit longer to work it out and after a relatively short wait, ‘Carey’ introduced me to ‘Karis’, the RN who would be administering my shot. Of course what else am I going to talk about in the few short minutes we have together other than food (the #1 social occasion of the world is always met with a smile or two). In that short time frame with Karis I was given the name of a Thai restaurant she enjoys by the name of Bangklyn on 105th Street & 2nd Ave. and in turn, I suggested a fabulous slice of pizza at Salvio’s on 78th Street and York!

One Phenomenal Slice of Pizza That Stands Alone at Salvo’s Pizzabar in New York City!

 

Guess what…

In that short time frame, my shot was administered and I had to move on to the waiting area to make sure there were no immediate side effects and to make room for the next patient.

While waiting, I again (as I did on my first visit) asked for assistance in quickly…and I mean QUICKLY…rounding up all the folks I worked with and who took care of me so I could again give credit where credit was due to our local heroes*** at The NYC Metropolitan Hospital Covid Vaccine Clinic!

***In my book…a hero is someone who gives of him or herself, often putting his or her own life at  risk for the greater good of others!!

From left to right…and with their invisible smiles…

Meet…Keris, Katrina, Carey & re-introducing…Tanesia!

…and of course…

Re-introducing Marlene…and me 🙂

Hey Dorothy! Sorry we missed you for your cameo. Maybe next time…who knows?  Maybe I’ll be back for a “booster” OY!

FYI…The only side effect was as it was on the first vaccination dose…a pain in my arm where the needle went in. It lasted for 2 days and is now dissipating.

To you all…I/we say:

A SINCERE Thank YOU For Working So Tirelessly To Improve The Health And Safety Of Our Country!!!

As always, please feel free to comment in the box below.  Would love to hear from you!

Thank you!

Chef Bert

 

Challah French Toast With Fresh Blueberries, Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup and Seedless Black Raspberry Preserves

There are many different choices of bread and several ways to finesse flavors to suit your palate when it comes to making French toast. Popular additions are vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and/or confectioners sugar, honey, and I’ve seen Triple Sec, Grand Marnier and Baileys Irish Cream added to the standard milk and egg mix.

French Toast

This Particular French toast recipe is inspired by my favorite pancake in the whole wide world for the last 65 years…yes… 65 years and as seen here…

http://phoodographsandsandfinds.blogspot.com/2012/10/du-pars-pancakessimply-best.html

For a long time, a blend of maple syrup and boysenberry syrup was my favorite on pancakes and when I made French toast it was usually just maple syrup. Seedless boysenberry preserves were not easy to secure back In New York and so I found myself starting to enjoy much more easily obtainable seedless black raspberry preserves. Bottom line:  Blending these preserves with maple syrup then became my go-to topping for both pancakes and French toast.

What bread I choose to make the absolute best French Toast is Challah bread and here is the recipe for 2 without all the possible additions…ie…SIMPLE!

Ingredients:

-Challah bread (2 center cuts 3/4″ thick). The pieces get smaller as you get towards the ends of the loaf, thus you have to compensate for the size. Thus, try to have any slices you use be similar in overall size to the original two center cuts of bread.

-1 extra large or jumbo egg

-1/4 cup milk

-Sweet unsalted butter

-Cinnamon

-Your favorite maple syrup

-Seedless black raspberry preserves

Process:

-Beat the egg and milk together with a few shakes of cinnamon (to your taste)

-Dip & flip both pieces of bread into egg/milk mixture to absorb most, if not all, of the liquid blend. While doing this, set your frying pan to medium low  and coat with melted butter.

-When the butter is hot, add the liquid absorbed challah bread to the hot pan and cook approximately 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Lift bread to see the color matches what you see directly below in this pic.

Challah Bread French Toast

Flip and immediately add more butter (I use a stick of butter and rub into the frying pan) and swirl the challah to quickly coat the bottom with the butter. Cook for another 2 minutes and if it looks done, remove and place on a plate.

-Add a bit more butter and the blueberries and swirl around for just about one minute until they look like this.

-NOTE: When making one slice for 1 serving as seen directly below, follow the same process as above OR add the blueberries (and butter) at the same time you flip your toasted challah bread.

Berries and French Toast

-Add your maple syrup or maple syrup and preserve blend and serve.

Maple Syrup

Preserves

These next two pics represent a 14″ x 17″ poster plaque I purchased from the DuPars, Studio City, Los Angeles (home of my fave pancakes!!!) location back in 2000 as I just really needed some mementos of my fave pancakes ever with boysenberry syrup to take back home with me to New York.

Poster

Poster Notes

Consistently Phenomenal Slices of Pizza That Stand Alone at Salvo’s Pizzabar in New York City!

Sandy & I had to pay a visit to Manhattan last week. It just happened to be lunch time and we decided a quick slice of pizza in the car was in order. No less than 10 seconds later…and by chance… I spotted Salvo’s Pizzabar on the corner of York Avenue & 78th Street.  2 seconds later I spotted a parking space. Perfetto!

So I jumped out…dashed across the street and into Salvo’s I went. As soon as I walked in, staring me in the face was a slice of pizza reminiscent of what I/we usually see on our trips to Italy.

More specifically, slices of pizza with raw veggies and cherry tomatoes seemed to be the norm for many pizza restaurants all over Italy. In this instance with reference to Salvo’s, the red onion and cherry tomatoes brought me right back to Verona, Italy.  You can see what I mean after seeing these pics I took in Verona.

What was totally eye opening was that each slice of Salvo’s pie was topped off with fresh burrata…yup burrrata.***

Trust me…Salvo’s tasting as good as it looks! Check out those small pieces of sauteed fresh garlic too..

***Just so you are aware…Burrata is an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella (shreds of fresh mozzarella soaked in sweet cream) and cream,  giving it an unusual, soft texture.

Boom! Done!!

Short and sweet folks…It’ll be a while before we get back to the city because of Covid, but for sure when we do…it’ll be with a visit to Salvo’s.

Ohhh my Goodness! How could I forget?? The taste was semplicemente meraviglioso…ie…Simply Marvelous!!  Grazie mille to Sal & Kevin for communicating with me so I could write this entry and I/we  look forward to visiting again!

 

OK…Queeek Update! We were in the city last week and timing wasn’t so great. No burrata slices available. It’s ok though…we worked it out so our timing was great for a bruschetta slice.

After all…Life IS Timing huh huh!

Nice!!

OK Folks…a 2.17.2021 Update! Back in the city for Covid vaccination Part 2…and another visit to Salvo’s!

This time, we were lucky enough to secure a few of our fave slices…and a pic of Chef Paco!

I know you’ve not seen anything like this anywhere. Something also to be said for consistency at Salvo’s.

Hey Chef Paco…whaddayathink about this salad I made the other night for a new slice of pizza? Of course with your famous red onions 🙂

Wanna know more about Salvo’s? Just click here 🙂

http://www.salvosnyc.com/

Would love to hear from you with any comments in the box below…

Mangia bene’

Chef Bert

 

We Brought In a Happy, HEALTHY & Safe New Year 2021 With a Fun Friends Zoom Dinner

A few weeks ago, we made plans to celebrate New Year’s eve at a romantic bed and breakfast out on the NOFO of Long Island’s wine country. Those thoughts were put to rest and plans cancelled when the COVID-19 infection rates started to spike and hit their highest levels since spring. Instead, we stayed home and participated in a Zoom virtual New Year’s eve celebration hosted by our friends Fran & Elliot. It was ‘virtually’ like going out to dinner with the same friends we were out to dinner with celebrating the incoming 2020….namely Fran & Elliot, Sandra & Scott and Sharyn & Joel.

You know what they say about Happy People…Yes? 🙂

The time actually flew by with two hours of stimulating conversation, vino and appetizers (which included a goat cheese and red pepper jelly on crackers and baked truffle brie with artisanal whole wheat  bread and grilled marinated baby artichokes)…and then it was time for the main course!

Of course we all had to go and prepare, thus we all raised our glasses to toast to new beginnings, new resolutions, a Happy & HEALTHY 2021 and said nitey-night!

But hey…it’s not over yet!

Here’s what we all prepared 🙂

Fran & Elliot’s Braised Short Ribs with leeks & carrots in a Port Wine sauce w/mashed potatoes 🙂

Sandra & Scott’s Vegetable Paella

Sharyn & Joel’s Chicken Francese & Chicken Balsamico Con Funghi

 

BetsaPasta ‘Half-Truth’ Grilled Barrel Cut Filet Mignon Bistecca alla Fiorentina Style With Lemon & EVOO

No worries…the sweet butter is in there along with “light” sour cream, milk, salt ‘n mill pepper 🙂

Bert's Secret Thanksgiving Veggie Recipe

Happy & HEALTHY New Year!  PAYING IT FORWARD is also another way to “B Kinder in 2021!”

Grilled Chicken Salad With Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Peaches & Vidalia Onion Relish With Raspberry Balsamic Glaze Dressing

It may be a relish…but no matter what they call it…peach and raspberry always go well together and you simply can’t go wrong with onion or a bit of onion flavor in virtually any salad. Maybe that’s why some salad dressing recipes similar to this one see fit to use onion powder. As I’ve said before and as it is with any new recipe, you need to try different ingredients to help finesse the flavors to reach a certain level of individuality that sets your recipes apart from others.

Until now, I was simply enjoying a couple of teaspoons of this relish now and then that I had discovered at About Food, my favorite mini-museum of unique foods out in Southold on our phab NOFO.

All the while, I’m trying to figure out where to apply this tasty blend in a recipe and then, after thinking about the ingredients, it hit me today to try it in this particular salad. Guess what? It worked!

That said, here’s my recipe for 2 servings. I had romaine in the house, so that’s where we’ll leave it for now cos I enjoy the crunch of romaine in virtually any salad. In summertime, perhaps we’ll give other lettuces a try.

Ingredients:

-6 oz. grilled chicken

-1 small head organic romaine

-1/4 cup of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

-2 tsp. raspberry infused white balsamic reduction

-1 tsp. my fave Manodori balsamic vinegar. Use your favorite, but it must be a good  balsamic!

-Pinch of Kosher salt and a couple/few grinds from a fresh pepper mill

-2-3 oz. fresh mozzarella

-1/2 cup roasted peppers

-6-8 cherry tomatoes

-2 heaping Tbsp. Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish (slightly drained of the liquid it sits in)

Simple technique:

In a small bowl, whip up the oil, vinegar’s, salt & pepper. Because the balsamic glaze is so thick, it helps emulsify the blend.

-To the cleaned and dried lettuce leaves, toss in 1/2 the dressing to coat…then add chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, roasted peppers and top off with the vidalia onion and peach relish. Then, on top of the salad, drizzle in a circular motion the rest of the salad dressing…and serve!

Here’s also a pretty quick and easy way to prepare roasted peppers. Btw…I like red as they are the sweetest. I also like color…thus the yellow/gold combo 🙂

-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

-Add thin sliced garlic to a 1/4 cup EVOO infusing the oil with the fresh garlic flavor

-Simply slice your peppers in half from top to bottom. Cut away the core and the membranes inside of the peppers and very easily wash out the seeds under the running water in the sink. This process takes just a few minutes.

-In a roasting pan, place the peppers face down on foil or parchment paper and roast for at least 25 minutes (give or take a few minutes because all ovens are not the same) until you see the skins start to blacken like you see here in this pic. Make sure they blacken as they will peel easier.

-Remove from the oven and place in a sealed paper bag or a bowl sealed with plastic wrap for about 30-60 minutes. The size of your peppers will dictate time.

-Peel off the skins, place peeled peppers in a bowl and toss with the garlic EVOO. A pinch of Kosher salt and a couple turns from a fresh pepper mill will finish them off nicely.

That’s’ about it folks…Comments are always appreciated in the COMMENTS box on the HOME page.

Mangia bene!

Chef Bert

 

 

 

 

Local Heroes In The World Of Food That Deserve OUR Support…According To Me!

Desperate times call for…heroic measures. When the corona-virus pandemic really hit the United States in March, 2020 forcing shutdowns, curtailments and general upheavals across all onsite dining segments, the industry responded not by folding its tents but by stepping up and fulfilling the mission of making sure customers—at least the ones still around—were served.

There are so many to mention and I’m sure I will be adding to this entry as the many months go by.

The first in the world of food that I continue to marvel at is one local restaurant right here in Oyster Bay…namely Pietro’s Brick Oven Pizza.

Fresh Out of Brooklyn is Pietro’s Brick Oven Pizza in Oyster Bay! Yaaaaay!

The owner Peter…ie…Pietro was and is a non-stop food-prep machine who felt he had an obligation to meet the demand of those who needed his food service in this time of Covid where nobody really knew what was going to happen next.

Say Hellooo to Pietro 🙂

To this day, he and so many others in the food world are doing what they can not only to survive, but to help others…like us…to survive.

As Sandy and I cautiously travel about, we can’t help but notice other restaurants and those in the world of food service like Pietro’s who are there to serve their community at virtually any cost.

There are too many to mention, however the individually owned and operated restaurants should be your focus. Why?… because whenever you buy local, you’re putting money back into your community and neighborhood. Every dollar spent locally circulates within the community through profits, jobs, and charities.

Also keep in mind that while chains or franchise restaurant owners have the entire corporation to fall back on in a pinch like what we are all going through now, an independent owner has no one. A chain restaurant’s primary responsibility is to drive profits for its shareholders, who are most likely not locals…ie…you!

So with that I would like to give credit to some of the individually owned and operated Long Island restaurants and others in the food service that  I/ we have gotten to know and ask you to support these heroes as we do.

Besides Pietro’s, let’s give recognition to some other Long Island locations like Sip n’ Soda in Southampton, the North Fork Shack in Southold, La Piccolo Cantina in Bayville. and a couple of fabulous new NOFO phinds for us…ie…The Wayside Market in Southold and The Watershed Kitchen & Bar in South Jamesport!

Just Lovin’ the Traditional Burger, Ice Cream & Personality at Sip ‘n Soda in Southampton, L.I. New York

Bert with Mark. Yes….there is a smile underneath that mask 🙂

Outstanding Burger & Shallot-Dusted Fries at The North Fork Shack in Southold, L.I. N,Y., USA

Phoodographs and Finds: A Truly Phab Burger & Shallot-Dusted Fries at The North Fork Shack in Southold, L.I. N,Y., USA

Say Hellooo to Samy & Ryan. You know what they say about happy people 🙂

Up next…

Piccolo Cantina Bay…formally La Cantina in Bayville, Long Island, New York is another individually owned restaurant that specializes in wonderful Mexican AND Italian specialties and who deserves a spot in this entry for their tireless efforts in feeding us all during this Covid crises the whole world is experiencing.

Say Hello to Chef Jose Morales!

Pics were taken pre-Covid

Here’s a few of our favorites!

Chicken Francese with Capers (or no capers) over Linguine

Burrito Supreme

Penne’ Bolognese

Say hellooo Pasquale & Isabella…a father/daughter team with passion, humor and genuine good taste!

Can you imagine? After travelling out to the NOFO for the last 20+ years, we only recently discovered the Wayside Market this last summer (2020) and have visited just a few times since then. Enough times, however, to sense that what comes out of here is among the best…if not THE best… anywhere!

On our last trip, we were greeted by Pasquale’s in his own inimitable way. A big fat smile! We were looking for a special blend of beef and/or brisket and/or short ribs and struck gold!

Enuf said. Trust me. Just get out there …and besides supporting another individually owned food business that deserves your support…you will strike gold too!

After all, you know what they say about happy people…YES?

Long Island Press article October, 2020

From one who can appreciate the Long Island Press 🙂

MasterChef Contestant Is Top Shelf Food Blogger

Take care Pasquale…See you again soon!

Jamesport on the NOFO of Long Island is home to many restaurants that I/we have reviewed. In this blog you will find the foods we enjoyed at Jedediah (at the time Luce Hawkins, named after Jamesport’s “Native Son” Chef Keith Luce) Hawkins, Grana Trattoria Antica, Mainroad Biscuit, and The Jamesport Manor Inn.

They are all among the independently owned establishments who serve their community and deserve your support. To this list, I would like to include the folks at The Watershed Kitchen & Bar in South Jamesport as our latest find!

Says Patricia with 🙂 Welcome to the Watershed in The BayBreeze Inn!

Sandy discovered The Watershed in The BayBreeze Inn by chance and we decided to give it a shot and celebrate Joel’s (of Sharyn & Joel fame) birthday with a Watershed lunch.

We simply don’t eat at restaurants much anymore because of Covid and our plan was to take it out and eat it on the beach. When we arrived, the wind was blowing at the beach and there was (not surprisingly) a chill in the air that provided us the incentive to perhaps sit at Watershed outdoor table in the sun. As we are pondering, out walks Carlo.

Let me tell you about this gracious Italian dude! After about just a minute or two, Carlo set us at ease with our safety concerns and we felt quite comfortable enough to be served outdoors.

Carlo singing Buon Compleanno in Italian 🙂

Our lunch turned into a real celebration of Joel’s birthday because of Carlo and his grazioso comportamento Italiano! So much so that when we were ready to leave, we all started looking around for a gondola to transport us through the NOFO waterways.

Say Hey To Chef Nick!

Simply put, and thanks to Chef Nick, we enjoyed everything we ordered and the afternoon turned into a major social success. So much of a success that Sandy & I had to go back just a couple of weeks later to validate our taste buds. Confirmed!

Here’s a few shots to tantalize your taste buds. Ready?

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Roasted Carrots and Phriggin’ Phab Brussel Sprouts

Plain & Simple…Grilled Salmon

Before I left, I had to seek out management and talk to the fellow team members in order to express our appreciation for what they do, to let them know how much we enjoyed our visits and to ask if it was okay to tell others about our experience at www.phoodographsandfinds.com

The response was a gracious yes!

More Invisible Smiles with Mo, Janeiro, Charlie and Chef Nick! 🙂

In closing this chapter and with more to come…remember what I said above…

Individually owned and operated restaurants should be your focus. Why?… because whenever you buy local, you’re putting money back into your community and neighborhood. Every dollar spent locally circulates within the community through profits, jobs, and charities.

Want more information…just click here:

https://www.thewatershedli.com/

For us, there’s something very special about my/our next hero. All of those I’ve entered so far have been from Long Island. The reason: we simply didn’t feel comfortable traveling into environments where the larger volume of people lived. Since we live on Long Island we were familiar enough with the local (and relatively local) destinations that it created for us a more comfortable ability to travel more safely. As a result, the 5 city boroughs would have to wait.

It seems so unreal that it’s been a year since we have been able to enjoy a visit to our indisputable favorite food destinations on Arthur Avenue, however we felt for us that now (February, 2021) was time to go back. Remember…this entry dedicated to those food destinations who not only needed to support themselves, but those who felt a need to stay open in order to support their community.

So…to our list of “Local Heroes In The World Of Food That Deserve OUR Support”…we proudly add Ivana’s Pizzeria on Arthur Avenue’s famous (according to me) restaurant row.

We first discovered Ivana’s back in September of 2013 and whenever we went over to the Botanical Garden’s with the kids and grandkids, it was Ivana’s that made the day’s visit to the ‘The Beautiful Bronx’ complete. Besides loving the pizza, we were all able to reap the benefits of a most welcome environment which came right from the top.

Folks, let me introduce you to Frank, the proprietor of Ivana’s, seen here with brother Corrado.

This pizza was prepared by brother Corrado for a flight to California…yup…to Alan in Los Angeles!

Say Ciao to Corrado…pizza master extraordinaire 🙂

Thank you to Robert for helping to keep Ivana’s moving smoothly

Oops…I musta blinked 🙂 Either way…Grazie mille Frank for the usual fine reception. We’ll see you again soon.

Phood Phind at Ivana’s Pizzeria…ie Pizza Heaven on Arthur Avenue in "The Beautiful Bronx"

Thank you Peter, Mark, Samy & Ryan, Jose & Family, Pasquale & Isabella and Patricia, Chef Nick, Carlo, Mo, Janeiro, Charlie, Frank, Corrado and Robert along with all your cast & crew for your and their tireless efforts in taking care of our/your local community. If this state of mind permeates within your own local community, we have all won!

NOTE…The pics of Pietro, Sami & Ryan, Jose & Co were taken pre-covid.  

 

As always, we would love to hear from you with any comments. Simply see the COMMENTS box below 🙂

 

Thank you…and PLEASE Stay SAFE!!!

Chef Bert

Lovin’ My POWER POKE in Syosset, L.I, New York!

What exactly is poke? Food & Wine magazine calls poke a “raw tuna salad,” but looking past the New Yorkification of the local Hawaiian pupu, you’ll realize that it’s so much more than that. “Poke,” pronounced POH-KAY, means “to cut crosswise into pieces” in Hawaiian.

In the beginning, it was sushi, then came the pokéTraditionally, if I wanted sushi or sashimi I would go to a Japanese restaurant and  enjoy my salmon or tuna either fresh sliced and/or wrapped in rice in the form of rolls. I only discovered Poke Bowls a couple of years ago in Manhattan and liked all the choices that I could add to my salmon or tuna. To me it was like a sushi salad bar, however in a much more controlled and safer environment as opposed to the typical salad bars one would see in New York City.

Simply put…Poke Bowls, at their most basic level, are made up of a base…typically either a brown rice or white rice (I like a bit of each in the same serving), cubed raw sushi-grade salmon or tuna and Asian toppings like soy sauce and seaweed. There are really up to 2 or 3 dozen choices of toppings primarily in the form of veggies.. fruits…and then some! A little tip: I like to try and enjoy my poke bowl bowl while the rice is still hot and the fish is still cold.  

So back in March, 2020 I…like most of America and the world…stopped commuting because of the Covid pandemic…ie…no more poke bowls. It was back to sushi for many months until I spotted Power Poke while driving on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset. Wow…gotta try it!

I pulled in back in the beginning of November…met Jenny…and now it’s one of my go to spots for lunch and tonight it was dinner. After a few visits, the consistency impressed me enough to let you all know where to go for your next Poke Bowl.

That said…meet Jenny (there is a smile underneath that mask) with my go to salmon Poke Bowl. Check out their “Signature” dishes on the menu. Phab!

It was hard to get the photos I usually like to get to show you all the choices/toppings that are made available and that was because they are so well protected with plexi-glass between you and the food because of what’s going on nowadays. Maybe I could work something out to address that, but for now I just didn’t want to wait any longer.

Enjoy folks! Trust me…Have I ever lead you astray?

http://www.powerpokeus.com/location/syosset/

Feel free to comment! Just open up the COMMENTS box on the Home Page…would love to hear from you!

Chef Bert

 

“The Undoing” Find: Coincidences abound in East Marion On The Ever Evolving NOFO

In September of this year I put together what I felt was a pretty cool compilation of places to visit on the “ever evolving” north fork (NOFO) of Long Island. Keeping in mind phoodographsandfinds was developed back in 2010 to specifically talk about my restaurant food photos and recipes, Finds was all about cool places to visit off the beaten path…usually related to food…and more effective ways to navigate them for optimum enjoyment. Occasionally there would be a “Find” that was worth writing about that had nothing to do with food…and this entry is one them.

Let’s go back a couple of weeks to when Sandy and I started to watch an HBO series called “The Undoing”. Not really knowing what it was all about, I, for one,  was looking forward to a fun series since Hugh Grant, whose movies I enjoy (Love Actually, About a Boy, Music & Lyrics and Notting Hill)  was starring along with Nicole Kidman and Donald Sutherland.

What I/we wound up with was Hugh Grant’s character being accused of a brutal murder that grabbed our attention and where we are now looking forward to each episode. What I found just as unlikely…yet enjoyable…was Nicole Kidman’s singing of “The Undoing” title song.

(To see the vid click link…then click IMG 0743 (11).mov at bottom left of screen)

https://phoodographsandfinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IMG_0743.mov

OK…I just had to set the scene for the reason I wanted to write about this (what has turned into being) three-fold coincidence.

Coincidence 1:

While we were watching the episode before last, we found at that there was a scene filmed out on the NOFO in East Marion. Sandy and I commented to each other that next time we were out east (which is almost weekly throughout the summer and at this time of year) we would look around to see if we could find the house that was used in the movie. Sandy did a little research and during this day trip that started out in Orient Point and then through Greenport, we found our way around into routes that would lead us to the beaches of East Marion.

Sandy & I starting off in Orient Point

Really…a nice candy shop with a wonderful selection!

The first road we found was Stars Rd. which lead us into Aquaview Avenue which lead us into these wild cuties and then on to Rocky Point Road.

When we got to Rocky Point Road, a quick right turn led us to one of the typically steep stairway entries to many of the NOFO beaches and Boom!…Done! We were at Southold Town Beach at Rocky Point.

OK…so what next?

We got out of the car and no joke! The house that was used in the film was right there. Not an easy sight…but the way I/we recognized it was by seeing the outdoor deck through quite a bit of the foliage as you will see in this pic. I also recognized the rock formations on the beach.

 

 

Yup…this is the house with what was at one time a 19th century light house!

There just happened to be a local lady jogging and in a casual conversation with Sandy, she validated that this was, in fact, the house. Exciting times. We found it…ie…phoodographsandFINDS!

Coincidence 2:

So coooool! To find this spot for a movie we were enjoying and to know it was in an environment that we know and love and that simply never stops evolving was only compounded by coincidence #2.

Are you ready? As we were heading out down Rocky Point Road, we see 2 destinations that I have written about right here @ www.phoodographsandfinds.com On the left and literally just a few hundred feet from Main Road Route 25 is Marion Gardens and known as The Garden Fusion…home of phabulous organics  and home of my yearly grab of lettuce leaf basil and seen in my BetsaPesto 2020 entry.

Are you ready again?

As we hit Main Road Route 25…staring us in the face is Lavender By The Bay. Un-phriggin-believable!

Perfect Time for Lavender By The Bay in East Marion, L.I, N.Y.

So get this….Everything I’ve just written about above can be yours to view and enjoy on Rocky Point Road in East Marion on the NOFO!!

Ok…here’s the coincidences of all coincidences!

We discovered “The Undoing” scene set this last Friday, November 20th. This entry was scheduled for this weekend. So…are you really ready for coincidence # 3?

This morning, we get this email from North Forker Magazine!

Whew!

Not finished yet: Moving right along to December 6, 2020 from this morning’s Newsday newspaper article…

It’s not quite as crystal clear as seen in the above article…but yes…same spot!

OHHHHHH…BTW…Almost forgot: The New York Times was in on this too 🙂

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/22/arts/television/the-undoing-review.html

As always folks, I would love to hear from you with any comments you may have. Just click

“COMMENTS” on the HOME page!

Mangia bene’

Bert

 

Finally! Betsa Cole Slaw in The Year of Covid 2020

 

I’ve never seen a dish that had sooooo many different possible recipes…NEVER! Perhaps this is why I’ve never really found success in formulating a cole slaw recipe that worked FOR ME…and why I haven’t posted one until today!

There is no way I can get into all of the variations and types of “Cole Slaw’ recipes and so I’ll focus on the one that impressed me the most but was never quite able to figure it out. This is one recipe  that was given to me about 15 years ago by ‘Aunt Bea’, whose cole slaw we loved but could never quite figure out the proportions because they didn’t come complete with them. I could never get a straight answer regarding proportions or specific brands or types of mayo, vinegar or sugar that were used and I would get results that were different every time based on ingredients I chose to use.

Here is the recipe I was given way back when…

AUNT BEA’S COLE SLAW 
 
INGREDIENTS: 
 
grated cabbage 
grated carrots 
mayonnaise 
vinegar 
sugar (you can use SPLENDA) 
 
Proportions: 
rounded tablespoon mayonnaise 
shallow tablespoon sugar 
level tablespoon vinegar 
 
Blend sugar and mayonnaise together 
Add vinegar…….Mix well 
Add grated cabbage and carrots 
Taste……if you have to add anything, make sure that it is in the same proportions 
 
I usually start with 3 tablespoons, and then add as needed. 
 
Refrigerate so that flavors will blend 

 

Ok…so here we are today (2020)…and after researching recipes with basically the same ingredients and after trying many different types of products…I’ve finally been able to narrow it down to the ingredients that make  cole slaw the way I like it. Simple and with only 5 ingredients.

So folks…here goes!

Note: To make sure this recipe works, prepare a day ahead of time and let sit in the refrigerator overnight!

INGREDIENTS

-1 4+ lb. head of green cabbage…quartered and core removed in each quarter

-4 large carrots…shredded with carrot peeler and then chopped coarse (center core of carrot is not used since the exterior portion of carrots are always sweeter)

-1 cup of organic turbinado sugar

-1 cup organic BRAGG apple cider vinegar

-2 cups Mayonnaise/50% Hellman’s Mayo & 50% Hellman’s Light Mayo

PREP

-Quarter your head of green cabbage and slice 1/4″ thick and some thinner. I like different thicknesses. Add your coarse chopped carrots

-In a bowl, stir sugar into vinegar until melted. Add mayonnaise and stir until you get a smooth dressing consistency.

-Add ‘dressing’ to cabbage and carrots and toss until cabbage and carrots are completely coated

-Let sit in refrigerator for at least 3 hours and then toss again. Let sit in refrigerator overnight for best results…according to me 🙂

NOTE: Ultimately, you can adjust this recipe to your taste and note that although there appears to be a lot of mayonnaise and sugar…remember there is over 4 pounds of cabbage and 1/2 pound of carrots. Additionally, if you are concerned about calories and/or sugar, it’s OK to leave the juices/dressing at the bottom of the bowl to reduce this intake. Either way, just make sure you let it sit overnight and tossing at least twice in the process to make sure the flavors are evenly distributed throughout before serving.

For maximum flavor and minimum calories/sugar, toss before serving and let sit for a few minutes so dressing can sink back down into the serving dish.

Yield: Approx. 4.4-5 pounds

 

 

 

 

 

A Day In the Life Of Sandy & Bert And Those Who Wanted To Join Us On The North Fork Of Long Island, N.Y.!

 

 Welcome to the NOFO of  L.I., N.Y., USA! 

 

With the exception of January into the beginning of April, there is nothing as corking, peachy and as sparkling…ie…wonderful…as the North Fork of Long-Island. In April and through the end of December this world is filled with endless destinations and an ever evolving landscape.

In March and April, we start picking out our purposeful plants and flowers with Bill @ Hidden Ridge Plants in Ridge, L.I., N.Y. (https://www.facebook.com/hiddenridgeplants/), with Cris @ Peconic River Herb Farm https://www.prherbfarm.com/  and with Helen’s Greenhouses and Flower Farm on Union Avenue in Riverhead.  Besides our purposeful bumble bee, hummingbird and butterfly magnet plants, we like to balance out our aesthetics with our fave mandevillas… 

Mandevilla Tropical Plant Giant Crimson Red Flower Starter image 0

and hibiscus!

How to Grow Vibrant Hibiscus

https://www.thefarmersweb.com/helens_greenhouses.html

OK…so let’s begin our “Eternity Road”  journey!

April is National Gardening Month  as plants come out of dormancy and the colors start to take over the landscape. May brings in full bloom flowers and folks are getting psyched for the Memorial Day holiday. You know the story…how does it go for June? 

June is bustin’ out all over
All over the meadow and the hill
Buds’re bustin’ outa bushes
And the rompin’ river pushes
Ev’ry little wheel that wheels beside the mill…

…and that includes a ride out to the Carousel in Greenport!

I don’t have to spell out the summer on the north fork. It’s a destination 24/7 and many of those destinations reside right here in my https://www.phoodographsandfinds.com blog.

There is absolutely something to be said for the ever expanding bounty of local ingredients and food technology that exists right here on the NOFO. Being literally surrounded by the fishing and  farming and the new and existing wineries and breweries, the North Fork has evolved into a foodie paradise. With an emphasis on the ‘local seasonal cornucopia that is available, restaurants have become world class bastions of freshness’.  White, rose’ and blush wines are excellent and red wines are steadily improving from year to year, especially in the world of Bordeaux style red blends. Of course it’s always a matter of taste what is excellent and when you have been coming here as long as we have, you get a pretty accurate sense of excellence.

July, August and September is harvest time for unbounded fresh fruits and vegetables. The end of September and  October continues the major harvesting adventure with apple picking along with pumpkins and gourds coming into Halloween. November has Thanksgiving and the farms are still open along with the restaurants and vineyards. Around Thanksgiving, many of the farms close up for the winter…however the anticipation of the holiday leaves excitement in the air and that keeps the fun state o mind wide open along with the wineries, breweries and hard cider mills.

Now that we’ve set the calendar scene, a typical day trip can include many NOFO destinations that would be impossible to list in this single entry.  Thus…we will take you on a typical day trip starting with our favorite spots and along the way we’ll stick in some more website favorites that will offer you the ability to choose from so many more destinations.

What you will experience in this particular entry is one of many possible days in the life and Sandy and me with some of our friends on the North Fork. In 2020, We do have to come out in separate cars and respect the rules of safety by wearing our masks and remaining ‘socially distant’.  Still, however, a great time is had by all.

In between the featured spots I picked for this entry, you will find phoodographsandfinds links interspersed within for other local destinations that I’ve written about from past visits over the years. Feel free to guide yourself accordingly and check ahead of time…especially in these times…the hours of operation of your choices.

More entries with more NOFO destinations will be forthcoming in future entries…so please stay tuned!

First and foremost and starting off RIGHT NOW in September and October you can get out for peak apple orchard picking. Try, however, to avoid weekends if you can as the wait for entry and traffic can become a bit frustrating. Either that or go very early after checking the hours of operations from any of your choices. Among the choices, our first pick (pun intended) was Woodside Apple Orchards in Jamesport and we had a phabulous time picking fresh apples right off the trees!

Woodside Orchards

729 Main Rd, Aquebogue, NY 11931/Cider Tasting Room

116 Manor Ln, Jamesport, NY 11901/Apple Orchard 

Ya think?

BTW…here’s a list of cider mills on the NOFO. Peak hour is now through Thanksgiving and besides this Woodside Orchards and other soft apple cider destinations…there’s also the hard cider on tap throughout. Oh yeah…Woodside has some powerful nut free chocolate chip cookies too! They’re as good as mine with or without nuts  🙂

 

My recipe from the NOFO!

Truly Soft, Chubby & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies With Chopped Walnuts = Yum Again!

Check out some of these locations if hard apple cider is on your ‘to do’ list.

Woodside Orchards

Farm-grown hard cider on tap

729 Main Rd., Aquebogue, (631) 722-5770

woodsideorchards.com

Rumor Mill

Hard cider made with North Fork apples is available at both Bridge Lane, 35 Cox Neck Rd., Mattituck, and Lieb Cellars, 13050 Oregon Rd., Cutchogue.

(631) 734-1100

rumormillhardcider.com

Riverhead Ciderhouse

Hard cider made with New York State apples in flavors like Captain Cook’s Razz Ma Tazz and Benjamin’s Best.

2711 Sound Ave., Calverton, (631) 591-0217

riverheadcider.com

Bedell Cellars

You may find cider made by Bedell winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich on tap at the winery’s sister location, Bedell Cellars Tap Room at Corey Creek. Call ahead.

45470 Main Rd., Southold, (631) 765-4168

bedellcellars.com

 

OK…Are YOU ready?!

Since most of us come from the west on the Long Island Expressway, we’ll make stops on the way out and then continue all the way out to Orient Point. If things aren’t in perfect order and you miss something on the way out, you can certainly hit ’em on the way home!

So…back in July of this year while ‘traveling eternity road’ (our name for the vast eternity of farmland going east on Sound Avenue), we discovered for the very first time what some say is the “Best Kept Secret On The North Fork of Long Island”…

The Andrews Family Farm

1038 Sound Ave, Calverton, NY 11933

On the way out again just last week, we planned another Andrews stop and discovered their “Fall Harvest”. Something to be said for timing!

Starting Labor Day through Late October is FALL HARVEST … Featuring…

Fresh-Picked Herbs & Vegetables  

Take a look at all those unique green leafy vegetables in the back!

Fresh Cut Bouquets & Sunflowers 

Their sunflowers that eve…

Mums & Montauk Daisies

Heirloom Pumpkins & Fall Squash

Phabulous Gourds & Indian Corn

Ornamental Kale & Cabbage

Roasted Corn on Weekends 

Say Hey to Trenton, Dillon, Ed & Cole. Promise! They were absolutely smiling 🙂

 Also featured…

Corn Stalks & Straw…Seasoned Firewood …Fresh Baked Pies…&…

Fresh Local Eggs & Honey 

Friday through Sunday – call to pre-order!

While we were there last week, Sandy decided to inquire about a tie-dye hibiscus plant she spotted being used for display in a planter with other flowers.

Unfortunately it wasn’t for sale, but you can bet we’ll be back there next year for one or two of these.  As it turned out, the lady Sandy approached to inquire happened to be the proprietor of Andrews and at that point we could see where all the social graces came from…not to mention the overall beauty of this farm.

With that, let me introduce you to our proprietor Denise …who was gracious enough to let me take this pic of her with daughter Rose.

You know what they say about happy people!

Oh yes…saving the best for last…or should I say the last of the best!

Still comes from the top…

Meet Sage…creating smiles for all the customers as he frolics about 🙂

Want more info…just click their link…

https://www.andrewsfamilyfarm.com/

Moving right along…

The Peconic River Herb Farm

2749 River Rd, Calverton, NY 11933

For flowers, herbs,  peace and so much more in their “Outside In” garden shop…here is a destination that will excite you and calm you all in the same visit.

For flowers and herbs, their Nursery Mission says it all.

-To enable and encourage people to experience the peace and joy of gardening by providing a wide variety of healthy, reasonably priced plants that are garden worthy and will do well in our climate. (USDA zone 7)

-To encourage experimentation and exploration in the field of gardening by supplying a large diversity of plants and seeds.

-To provide through our display gardens, experienced staff, signage, online and printed materials and gardening consultations as much assistance, information and inspiration as possible.

-To encourage, both by example and education, ecologically responsible gardening practices such as:
Biological and cultural controls of insects, diseases or weeds
Decreased water use with xeriscape*** planting

***a style of landscape design requiring little or no irrigation or other maintenance, used in arid regions

Soil improvement through composting, organic soil amendments and mulch
Ecologically balanced  landscapes; increased biodiversity and preservation of native and heirloom plant varieties
-By helping, however modestly, to increase the number of gardeners and land given over to garden plots, and the diversity within these plots, we hope to contribute to a healthier, happier and more beautiful Long Island environment.

For ‘so much more’, just walk right into their “Outside In” Garden shop with local spices, honey and vintage goods for garden and home.

Meet Lois…first introduced to us at the PHF Vintage Market

 

 

For peace, it’s just a short walk to the edge of the Peconic River with picnic benches and comfortable arm chairs that will give you the opportunity to sit back, relax, take in the view (birds and all)… and BREATHE!

…Early April…Very early in the season

Wanna meet the owner? Just ask for Cris and tell her Sandy sent you!

Pre-Covid 2019/Shell-fie Time at the Winter Riverhead Indoor Market with Cris & Audrey.

You know what they say about Happy People…yes?

 

Onward to…

Hubbard’s Farm Stand

Meeting House Creek Rd.
Riverhead

Lovin’ the Pumpkin Sheddy!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Farmers-Market/Hubbards-Farm-Stand-100294074982282/

 

Next Stop…Pie Central USA!  BRIERMERE FARMS

4414 Sound Ave, Riverhead, NY 11901

I’m really not a pie person, however if one is going to start loving pies…here is your starting point!

Briermere Farms is a fruit farm and bakery on the North Fork of Long Island. All of their pies, bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, jam, and jelly are made right on their farm from scratch. There are no pre-prepared ingredients or fillings bought for use. Most of the fresh fruit used in their bakery is grown right there on their farm. Fresh veggies in the summer make this a definite stop all year round except for January and February when they are closed.

Peach Cream Pie…Simply The Best!

You know what they say about Happy People…Phab & Phamous Blueberry Muffins!

Sandy & Kathleen

Uh-Oh! Covid-19 comes to Briermere in 2020

Diana with another winner…Blueberry Crumb Pie!

Safety First during Covid! Say Hi Sharyn 🙂

Next Up…Small Holdings Farm

965 Main Road, Aquebogue, NY, 11931

 

So check this out. This place is like a mini-museum of one-of-a-kind “country cottage antiques” for inside and outside of your home.

Say Helloooo Sherron! Call her cell phone number directly to inquire @ 516-639-9392 
Here’s their website for more information: