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

 

Ginger and Lemon Grass

So our day started out with music class for my toddler and then we were supposed to go to the Japanese Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  Well we got through the music class, then my husband decided to do some detours.  After that and an hour plus time passage, we decided to head to Brooklyn.  Yeah, because we can, and well right before we crossed the bridge, we started to examine our plan.  There was already traffic, it was warm outside (oh late April weather), we were starting to get hungry, and also we knew that it would be at least an hours drive from that point.

What to do, what to do!!  So we racked our brains and decided that going to the festival at that late time would not be that great as all the cool stuff always happens early on as well as we would only get to enjoy a few hours.  Also, it was 30 dollars per person.  That would be 90 dollars just to enter and then if we wanted to buy food, who knows, and parking if we could not immediately find a spot.  It was looking like an expensive and trying day.

So because of the traffic, we had a few moments to think. We turned to Yelp and Trip Advisor.  So we found ourselves in Whitestone, NY.  It is in Queens, off the Bridge.

We came upon this restaurant. We were excited as there were people waiting outside, which is a good sign.

We sat close to the corner and just smelled all the wonderful odors. We wasted no time in ordering. The taste of the curry dish we ordered reminded me of the ones I had while travelling. The chicken curry included bamboo shoots as well as sweet potato–that was great on day 2. I had a stuffy nose so only randomly did I taste the food but the following day, post stuffy head, the food was better. We had one of the spicy short rib sandwiches, which was large and had a strong 5 spice taste. That we liked. We also had the seafood and chicken pancake as well as spring rolls.

I noticed the fake but cool herb garden on the wall. It actually inspired my husband. The restaurant also makes this refreshing drink that includes water, cucumber, ginger and possibly one other ingredient I forgot. (nice differentiating feature)

What everyone seemed to be eating was the broth with a large bone in it. Not my thing but I am sure it was great as that many people cannot be wrong.

The service was decent and the place was nice in terms of decoration. It is a small place, so not much wiggle room and large groups need not apply. Parking can be a challenge but that just means a longer pensive walk from your transportation. The bus does pass by it though. It is in a partly residential area so only if you drive by it accidentally, will you see it. Its not on a main street.

The small menu works well. When I am hungry I am easily frustrated if I have to turn through a book.

It would be a repeat visit but it is kind of far from our normal routes so maybe other people can make it a regular place if they live in the area.

 

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.

 

 

Lido–Harlem NY

So we had our first family get together in a long while and it was actually 2 families.  My parents, my husband and I, my sister and my dad’s cousin and husband. We needed a place that would fit 9 people and we also needed it not to be to ridiculous–expensive.  I could not promise that and I also did not look at the bill in the end.

So I like the interior and the coziness.  I am becoming used to having to reserve every time I need to eat out in Manhattan.  When you only have a few days to book, it is close to impossible.  It is disheartening when you have to find a place and no space is available.

So onto the review.  The host as usual, waits to seat the whole party.  We got a booth and believe me, it fit us to a t.  We had to wait for part of the family to arrive and the restaurant was patient with us though we had a limited time.

It was good for breakfast but just good.  I had pancakes and there was only one kind offered.  I am a cook so I add blueberries to my pancakes as well as some nuts and I bring some funky syrup to the table.  All in all, I am not a fan of paying a ton for food that is really easy to make.  As my cousin said, I can make this at home.  Some times I really feel like inviting everyone over to the house and making them breakfast–breakfast of champions .  Check it-ham frittata, sausage with fennel or something, croissants and wheat toast or fresh banana bread, yogurt with mueslix, and sangria or fresh fruits.  When a restaurant starts doing this spread family style then you can charge me 17+ dollars.  (pancakes 14$, plus order of bacon 6$, $20 total)  Bam, enough said.

Lido gets a 6.  It was decent enough but nothing memorable, at  least concerning the dish I ordered.  Place was nice and homely.

Can I tell you what gives Lido its other reason to be remembered,  it is across the street from Levain Bakery. levain bakery  I love Levain.  Simple menu and well made products.  They are like a factory just pushing out product.  They have it down to a science such that the store is 85 percent production facility and 15 percent sales space.

So I will visit Levain again but will try another place for brunch.

My favorite things!!

 

 

Instapot, some thoughts

boy was i excited to get it

we  (husband and I) got it for our christmas gift

it arrived while we were away and we daydreamed of it while driving down the highway in Europe (of all things)

we got home and it sat in the box for about 4-5 days

it sat outside of the box for a few more days

now i am hesitating to use it

hmmm, i watched a few dozen videos about making spaghetti and meat sauce, and… i will still make my spaghetti and meat sauce stove top (the sight of spaghetti floating in sauce just was not a turn on)

i am however going to make spaghetti and meat sauce once just to say i did it

the only things i want to use it for are pulled pork, beef stew, duck and any kind of whole chicken roast–

as a trained cook/chef, it might take all the fun out of cooking–fast is not always satisfying

so, i leave you, in a half and half feeling –happy but not happy about my instapot

bye for now, no pressure

 

p…ss…  i will keep you posted on my trials..

 

Enthaice Restaurant

So can you guess what kind of food!

Funny thing happened the other day.  I was walking and someone mentioned the name Enthaice.  I was eavesdropping at that point and was like “I ate there.”  At least it sounded like the place I ate at but there was no way to tell for sure.  So that was just a conicidence as I ate at Enthaice two weeks ago.  Let me set the scene.

It was a Friday evening and my husband came home early from work and we were up North.  We left home before the height of the evening rush and then got caught in a pre-evening rush.  So we avoided traffic as best we could but had to travel through all the major thoroughfares that would have traffic. Hmmm what to do, what to do!!  So after about 45 minutes in the car (more or less) we ended up in Astoria Queens.  Who in their right mind would go to Astoria Queens on a Friday evening at the height of rush hour–oh,  us. It was like Manila or Calcutta.  Oh I have been to Manila and sat in rush hour traffic–ridonculous is all I can say.  You can take a conference calls or you can proof essays or learn a language all in the time you sit in traffic if you do it day in and day out.  So back to the story.

We had to deal with a 5 point intersection and can you believe that at the time we were at a light, an ambulance decided to try and pass.  It was like Beijing,  no one moved and there was no space to move.

Parking was going to be a nightmare.  Here goes part two-the street we were on had an ambulance stopped and it blocked the way.  About 5-7 cars were in front of us and our view was obstructed. People started backing up down the street and behind us was the nasty intersection.  WTF. As luck had it,  someone backed out of a parking spot and we pulled in.

Stay tuned for the restaurant review!

Part two of Enthaice!

-restaurant has large garage doors of glass but still manage to be warm innside

noodles were the bomb, you I said it

chicken was average

pinapple rice wiht beef was pretty delivioud as well, a little greasy but hey, if that is the price I have to pay for some decent tasting food,–add a little grease to your life (kiding)

reminded me of a factory–lots of iron work,  tea cups and the like handing form teh light fixtures

metal and cast iron thing

the color was a dark copper

very dim lighting

can see right inside from outside

some shairs for waiting ourside

Enthaice Thai Kitchen-The Review

Part two of Enthaice!

The Restaurant Review
-restaurant had large garage doors of glass but still managed to be fairly warm inside

-smallish place so small isles and tables somewhat close together

-the place reminded me of a factory–lots of iron work, with tea cups and the like hanging from the light fixtures

-very dim lighting

-can see right inside from outside

-some chairs for waiting outside

-noodles  with beef were the bomb, yo I said it (Pad Woosen)

-bbq chicken was average

-pineapple fried rice was pretty delicious, a little greasy but hey, if that was the price I had to pay for some decent tasting food,–add a little grease to my life.

I would give it a 6.5 for food.

Decor received a  6.5.  Dim is great but actually directed lighting on the table might have been cool. (Flexible hanging lights)

Service gets a 7.5.  It was fast and they came back when thy said they would.
I would like to revisit.

Okay so a word of advice, go during the day if you can, take the train and bring an appetite, there are lots of fun things on the menu.