Capri Pizza Pasta, Tarrytown NY

Restaurant review

So one night after meeting some friends for a free jazz concert, we (my family and I) found the only food game in town-Capri Pizza.  It was well lit, had a huge staff and some added character, considering it was in a strip mall with a small grocery and CVS.

The place had two sections, one for fast eating and the other for maybe the knife and fork set and lingering.  They had a very healthy business.  People were in and out and the delivery guys were working up a sweat.  I was taken aback how lit the place was.  It was like an examination room in an older hospital where mood lighting had not been invented. It was not off putting however.

The tables were exposed wood and there was a barn door separating the two sections.     (Can we say borrow that idea for future DIY home)).) I was hungry so I hoped that the pizza was good.  (you know when you are hungry and shovel the food, and you cannot even remember what you ate)  It came out quick and hot.  We knife and forked it as well, because we are civilized.  So I can safely say that I will return when in that area.  It is about one block away from the entrance to 287 and across from a hotel.  Great placement!!

Famous words–I shall return.  I give it a 7.  Next time we will explore the menu.

Capri Pizza Pasta

 

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Royal Siam: NY, NY

This was a fun place.  (Compared to my previous post on Siam Thai) Here is why. So the address is (see below)……  when you get there you notice that there is a sushi place.  It was funny to us because first the sign was there but a little arrow thing looked like it was pointing upstairs.  We looked at the legend  for the building and could not see it.  Then I called the restaurant and the person said that both restaurants were in the same space, which was right in front of us.  We had also worried about it being a cash only establishment and noted the two banks on either side.  How did they get so lucky!  They took cards as well.

We walked in and there was spot lighting on the tables.  Immediately they came over and asked us what we wanted.  I ordered some mango sushi to start.  It was actually a nice refreshing start to what could have been a hot experience.  I got eggplant and beef.  My friend got scallops and shrimp. She gave the eye to the dish trying to count the shrimp and scallops to see if it was worth 18 dollars.  It was, I guess, as there was no complaining.  We also had some edamame beans.

The guests were spread out so that no one was immediately next to anyone.  That allowed for intense conversations.  I can say that with my high school gal pal, it was like therapy.  The food, the lights, the quiet atmosphere, it all made for good speaking theater.

Royal Siam: 240 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Pepper Lunch, Makati (Manila, Philippines)

What can I say about this food place!

-found in the high profile mall

-forms a line out front–yeah its that popular and there is no where to wait inside

-you have to decide what you what from the menus outside on the walls and pre-order

-the food arrives in a hot cast iron pot and the meat is raw

-you are supposed to use the heat to cook the food while at the table

great idea but it can be annoying to listen to the noise around you and perhaps watch others toil away

not a great idea if you have small kids in the exploratory phase–the sound of the food cooking, the smell, and the steam rising are enough to attract a toddler to touching the pan which would be bad

they have dessert as well

the one we visited was in the fancy mall, with a view of the outside greenery along one wall

Pepper Lunch

I would visit again.  It was good enough and the food was hot for a while.

I would give a 6.5.  .5 off is the fact that you can burn yourself if you are not careful and you are forced to make up your mind while waiting–not the worst but sometimes you can be inspired when you see someone else’s dish prior to ordering.

Pepper Lunch–you will be remembered!!

 

As a follow up-we saw this chain or a similar in Singapore and it was pretty popular as well.

 

 

First Chinese Eggplant

Fun times in the kitchen.

–no red pepper (that would have made a big difference)

-no scallions

-still awesome, daughter ate it, yay

Next time I will get my act together

THAI-STYLE FUSILLI WITH EGGPLANT AND SHIITAKE

Epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces fusilli (long spiral spaghetti) (**made rice)
  • 1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound) (**used chinese eggplant)
  • 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms (***used portabello)
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 6 vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
  • (***used regular tomatoes)
  • 1/4 fresh jalapeño chili
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves (***used thai basil)
  • PREPARATION

    1. Fill a 4-quart kettle three-fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for cooking fusilli.
    2. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle eggplant lightly with salt and let drain 10 minutes. While eggplant is draining, discard stems from mushrooms and cut caps into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut scallions diagonally into thin slices. Quarter tomatoes and chop jalapeño including seeds (wear rubber gloves). Rinse eggplant and squeeze dry, discarding any liquid in bowl.
    3. Boil fusilli until al dente.
    4. While fusilli is boiling, in a large non-stick skillet cook gingerroot and garlic in oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggplant and mushrooms and sauté, stirring constantly, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add scallions and sauté, stirring, until eggplant is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, jalapeño, basil, and salt and pepper to taste and cook just until heated through, about 30 seconds.
    5. Drain fusilli in a colander and in a bowl toss with sauce.

  • UPDATE,  I GOT NY ACT TOGETHER AND DID THE BASIC DISH OF EGGPLANT, PEPPERS, ONIONS, THAI BASIL AND GROUND BEEF. FAMILY ATE IT.  SMILED FROM EAR TO EAR.

    Siam Thai–Scarsdale NY

    So on our way home one day we wanted non normal food–we had exhausted the fast food lot and we were out so we looked in the area for some noodles as well as other Asian foods.  On a strip we pass occasionally, there was a place with a decent yelp rating as well as the price point we were okay with.  So with that said, we came upon Siam Thai.

    It had windows on the sidewalk so we could see straight in.  There were about 4 sets of people.  We walked in and were waiting to be seated and you know when they acknowledge you and you kind of wait or they indicate where you can go, that did not happen.  We have a toddler so we thought they might have had a better table for us to use but since there was no action on their part we just grabbed a 4 top in the main walkway so that we could fit the high chair that they had.

    So the place is simply decorated and it is rather white all around, which is a change. Most restaurant are dark. This place felt like it was a country store selling linens. What also got me was the muffled speaking of everyone.  In a restaurant usually there is music to drown out the speaking and to create a white noise as well as mood.  Well I heard everyone speaking.   I was kind of quiet at first since I felt like everyone was listening, but then I forgot and joined right in.

    We ordered some of our favorites and I believe that my husband did not get what he ordered.  He took it in strides and did not complain.  The food was okay.  It can be a pass next time.  Also the weird atmosphere was just that, weird.

    Was it worth the money, as compared to some of our other favorite places, I would say only half half.  I say that because we will try to find another place so we will not have to go there again. It can be the place of last resort.

    It is not bad- so I would say a 5.

    Be weary of places that are a cross of zen and the Hamptons.

    Thai Food is great!!

     

    Grandmas Restaurant Cortland NY

    So while I was working at my food company a few years back a friend told me about Grandmas.  I had to try it out.  I love diners and one with a whole menu of old school favorites.  Check out this article and you will see what I mean.  (not grandmas but a sad story as well)

    diner die out

    So last time I visited I had a Reuben sandwich and that was great.  This time, it was an Italian menu starring Pizza.  I almost took my husband and left.  I was so disappointed.  I was looking for some comfort food.  I drove 20 minutes to get that and well I could have gone locally and had something I was familiar with.  There were only 4 -5 pies and it looked like one type of cheesecake.  Man was I bummed there.  It was Friday night for goodness sake.  When is their busy night/time.  There was only a handful of people there and some questionable so that does not bode well.

    I guess my grandmas run is over.  I have to look for a new diner.

    It is a sad day for greasy, piled high food and fries.  You can get fries with anything.  Oh on this visit the waitress was very nice and accommodating.  As other diners noted in reviews, but that does not make up for the food.

     

    Pok Pok, Brooklyn, NY

    first you notice the area around POK POK

    yeah, so good luck if you can afford the area

    I mentioned to my husband–one can always dream

    nice streets, people outside, clean,  neighborhood feeling

    some homes had nice curb appeal

    Pok Pok is on the edge of an area and immediately in front is a container area port/storage area

    It is on the corner but when you actually go to the back, it looks like it takes up a double lot. Not sure if it really does.  Kind of cool actually. You walk in and it is dark but just enough light and you pass a bar then a galley area which houses rice cookers. You continue to the back and there is a small eating area and then continues sideways to an outside area and there are about 6-10 tables of varying sizes, then a kitchen immediately on the side of that.

    It was funny to me as I could not tell if the waiter was part owner etc, or if he was a regular worker. Maybe there just have good staff like that.

    So down to the food: we first had some spicy nuts.  That was a good start and when I saw it on the regular menu I almost burst, not free.  Luckily someone reminded me that ours was complimentary.  Then my dad (it was dad’s day) had spicy boar and a salad of a sorts.  My sister and her husband had pork belly  and rice. My husband and I shared a coconut based something with vermicelli, shrimp balls and pineapple. Yummy. I alternated with some of the wild boar my dad offered the table.  Our table had hot wings as well to start.  Here are the official menu items.

    Kaeng Hang Leh  18
    Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry with ginger, palm sugar, turmeric, tamarind, Burmese curry powder and pickled garlic. Rich and exotically spiced, a Chiang Mai classic with Burmese origins.

    Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings (Available spicy) 16
    Natural Draper Valley chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese table salad. Based on Pok Pok PDX cook Ike’s recipe from his home in Vietnam.

    Muu Paa Kham Waan  18
    Boar collar meat rubbed with garlic, coriander root and black pepper, glazed with soy and sugar, grilled over charcoal and served with chilled mustard greens and a spicy chili/lime/garlic sauce. Northern Thai drinking food.  

    Khanom Jiin Sao Naam   20                                                                                                        Thin rice vermicelli with pineapple, ginger, white turmeric, green mango, dry shrimp, Thai chilies and garlic, topped with a sweet/sour dressing and turmeric coconut cream with house made fish balls. refined hot season favorite from Central Thailand.

    Everything was good.  The boar meat was spicy and was definitely something to take in strides.

    It was about 140 or something like that before tip.  5 adults and one pint size.

     

    Would I go there again, of course.  Now that I have tried these few dishes, its time to try some others.  Also, they are supposed to have good drinks, so next time, train is in order.  I hope they have a cover for the back because when the weather is off point, they lose a decent amount of seating. I am sure they have an app or hack for that. 🙂

    I would give it about a 7.  I

     

    Self Censorship–Shiraz Persian Restaurant, Elmsford NY

    With yoga pants, paint stained, I decided to Self Censor.

    Immediately upon entering you notice a dimly lit separate dinning space under recessed lighting in a gray and white space. As we went through the galley area I peeked into the dining room and felt that I may not be up the the part in my yoga pants. The manager (jeans and white shirt) looked at us and before he even spoke, I mentioned that maybe I was under-dressed. So they offered the back room space and I felt it was only fair out of respect for the establishment as I was a little under dressed. It was fine and actually was a great space to contain my toddler.

    So the area we sat in have a long a table which probably operated as a party space as it has room for 20 and it has space to lay stuff down by way of a ledge. Also you never really have to interact with the front guest unless, like we found out, they leave through the back where their cars are parked.

    Okay so on to the food. Great dinner for what we ordered, which was not super fancy. We had stuffed dates (walnuts and blue cheese); King Kabob for two: beef fillet kabob, chicken kabob, koobideh kabob, saffron basmati rice, and roasted tomato: and chicken salad. It was good as we all cleaned the plates. We also has dessert-why not, my mom was with us and she is an ice cream child and we wanted to try something new. We tried Halva & Ice Cream- Combination of pistachio halva & one scoops of saffron ice cream.

    Halva was interesting. Here are the thoughts going through my head while tasting:chocolatey sweetness, piercing but definitely like a sandy powder and dry pistachios accents.

    I was pleased with the food and would like to go back and try something different. The people are nice and accommodating and they always kept checking in on us. They also did not turn up their noses when I asked for sweet wine with my dinner. Sometimes you just want what you want.

    Location-not much parking in front and as it is on a small strip at the beginning of town. On the side street and in the back is additional parking. I believe they owned two shop spaces so the second one was Shiraz Gourmet market. That will be for next time.

    taro turnoff

    Taro Turnoff

    In my quest to be better and to speak up I embarked on being someone else for a little while. So my family and I made a plan to walk on a known trail as a way to pass time with each other and to see all the interesting things you see when you are just wondering.

    Being a frozen yogurt person, I stumbled upon a place close to the start of the trail. I had already planned to get yogurt earlier on but this was a calling. On the way in we saw an advertisement for bubble tea. We have tasted bubble tea in a few places but never in a yogurt and crepe shop. yogurt shop

    So I tried taro, cookies and cream,  and European tart frozen yogurt. My husband opted for the taro bubble tea. Well we watched the girl make and an realized that it was a powder and she made it  with milk plus crushed ice. When we got outside and my husband was drinking it he made the comment that it was severely watered down and he could barely taste the taro. Well, my taro yogurt it was strong and familiar. So I kept telling my husband that if it is bad he should say something. He kept saying no it was okay but I could see him sulking with his lightly flavored ice milk. So I made up my mind to let them know and also to satisfy my husband with the taro yogurt.

    I went in to the place got the replacement yogurt and then barked into my complaint. I asked them if it was supposed to be strong and the guy muttered something about it being kind of strong. I told him that my husband was disappointed and that I am getting the taro fro yo to replace the drink and to get a proper taro flavor. Well the girl looked at me with some weird disbelief and the guy apologized and he said the taro fro yo was on the house. I told him that I was in the food business and was a little bit of a critic. (unnecessary but it made me feel like king of the hill.) So I went outside and presented the taro fro yo to my husband.

    So now we were out to just walk around the town, so much for the trail. We walked to the main area and saw bubble tea again and this time it was in a Chinese restaurant. So we indulged and we were satisfied. It was the almost real deal. 12 dollars plus my spending.

     

    if you are going to do it, go full tilt (no half a… here)

    3 PLACES TO OFF RADAR TO EAT-WESTCHESTER

    So to all the people living in the Westchester area–lower that is, here are a few finds that can satiate your hunger for some inexpensive food, decent portions and a real authentic feel.

    One day we were in Yonkers and after going to Longhorn Steak House and Red Lobster we opted to YELP it and see what the people were saying.  So we ended up in the back of Mount Vernon at a Brazilian place called Chalanas that operated partly like a churrascaria. There was a little area where the guy was cooking meat on spits and also grilling.  It was the size of a bathroom and that was all the space he needed.  Then they had a buffet area: plantains, beans, roast pork, roasted chicken, potato salad, two kinds of rice, and the list goes on.  So we had some of both (the cooking meat and buffet) and we only spent 19$-my husband and daughter were with me.  We were filled and satisfied.  It was not fancy but the place was small and felt like 95% local people, which is great as there were no pretensions.

    The second place is in Hartsdale at 10 Cross Street.  It is a small Mexican Restaurant. (Laguana Gourmet) Its so small, it is inside a house practically and partly.  There is no grand parking scheme, so only a few people at a time and probably a lot of people walk as it is close to major apartment complexes. (guessing?) It is off of Central Avenue almost hidden away.  The first time we went, we were not sure where it was.  The food counter area is like a small parlor with only a few tables to sit -2 really.  Then up a  1/3 set of stairs to the right is a small room that has tables around the perimeter-maybe 8 and that is where we sat. The few times we have been there it has only ever had one other set of people there and sometimes none. (sitting down but people going going to the counter to pickup)  The food is good however.

    The third is in Port Chester and it on the main drag, Main street towards the Greenwich line to be exact.  This one is our go to for Peruvian–Pollo A La Brasa.  (right next door is a bbq place and that is good to but we are doing South American  (plus Mexican) restaurants in this blog)  It is like a large cafeteria but with a mirrored wall.  Whenever we went it was always 75% plus full.  Our favorite dish is Lomo Saltado.  We had the chicken  (Pollo Saltado) but the beef (Lomo) is the best.  They also have their own drinks. That is fun as well.  Street parking is paid parking so just get prepared.

    So give them a try and if you visit or know someone who has visited, please feel free to comment.