songbird's crazy world Long Island restaurants NaBloPoMo October 2014

songbird's crazy world

life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Food Fair!

One of the rewards for hauling myself to work in NYC:  Dine Around Downtown.
This was an outdoor food fair,  which took place the other day at Chase Plaza.  But unlike the typical street fair, this event was sponsored by some of the finest restaurants in lower Manhattan.   Each participant had a small tent offering incredible food at reasonable prices.
I had pepperoni pizza from Adrienne ' s Pizzabar and incredible grilled lamb chops with cumin - citrus sauce from Harry ' s Cafe and Steak.  Wanted to try the crab mac and cheese from Bobby Van's Steakhouse,  but the line was too long.  The shrimp and grits from Route 66  Smokehouse also sounded intriguing.
Ultimately I chose to get some dessert to bring back to the office.  Incredible,  rich French pastry from Financier Pattiserie.  Yummy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Roommate redux

So now the hermit crab has emerged. There was some yelling and screaming. And then he turned into a sad, lost and confused soul.

Drew has no idea where this is going.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy October!

It's definitely one of my favorite months. So this year I thought I'd do NaBloPoMo for October. The Blogher event. All you have to do is write a blog post every day for the entire month. Very simple, right?

Wrong. When I'm blogging for myself I can be quite productive. But when I commit to NaBloPoMo, I sometimes struggle to find sufficient topics to meet the goal. Hopefully this time around I won't hit writer's block.

The theme this month is "crunch". The crunch of autumn leaves. The crunch of a fresh, delicious apple. And as the temperature drops, even the air feels crunchy.

I love the cool, crisp days. Days that require a sweater or light jacket. Nights when the air is so crisp that the stars look like diamonds. The flaming colors swirling among the trees. The aroma of logs burning in a fireplace. Pumpkins on the porch. Apple cider and pumpkin muffins.

This year the month begins with the solemnity of the High a Holy Days, and ends, as always, with the spooky, silly fun of Halloween. And who knows what may happen in between?

It's a spectacular time of the year. Bring it on!

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Dirty Burger

Located in the Fairway shopping center, this is a pleasant little restaurant, with a large "to go" counter as well as seating in a modern, comfortable room adorned with comic book art. It was fairly busy on Saturday night, but we had no trouble getting a table.

The menu focuses on burgers and fries, but other items, such as steaks and salads, are available as well.

"Dirty" means they dust the food with their special seasoning blend. It's spicy, but not "hot", if you know what I mean -- there is obviously some pepper in the mix, garlic, interesting flavors. And most items can be ordered "clean", meaning without the seasonings.

We started with pigs in blankets, ordered clean. The hot dogs were served in puff pastry and accompanied by Dijon mustard.

We also ordered the wings, served "dirty" with BBQ sauce. The wings were accompanied by a blue cheese dressing and carrots and celery. Nice bite to the wings, pleasantly cooled by the dressing.

We ordered our burgers medium rare and "dirty". The meat was served perfectly pink, the seasonings a subtle touch. The buns were so soft and fresh that it was difficult to cut my burger in two -- after the hot dogs and wings, there was no way I could eat the whole burger. My burger, topped with Swiss cheese and grilled onions, was so juicy it was literally dripping.

Fries were crisp and tasty, no need for the seasonings. I didn't care for the truffle mayo, but their store-made ketchup is much tastier than the standard tomato ketchup.

Lots of leftovers, of course. And we didn't order dessert -- pretty standard ice cream items.

Yes, another "find". We will be back.

  • Dirty Burger on Urbanspoon

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Baseball and schmaltz

So Derek Jeter's 20 year career has come to an end.

20 years playing shortstop for the Yankees. 20 years of impressive baseball that will ensure his entry into the Hall of Fame.

But more important, 20 years of exemplary character. Of leadership. In an age where so many professional athletes are involved in questionable, or scandalous, behavior, Jeter is a true role model.

Thursday night was the big night. Yankee Stadium, his last home game, a crowd that has loved him since he first donned pinstripes. And a bottom of the 9th clutch hit that won the game.

But I like today's game even better. Last game of the season, up at Fenway, enemy territory. Jeter's last at bat, he hits an RBI single, and is taken out of the game for a pinch runner. And the Boston fan chant his name.

You know you've done well when your arch rivals show you that kind of respect.

I can't wait to see what he does next.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

My latest nail polish look

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mara's Too

A good friend of ours is known to explore new dining options, and she frequently makes recommendations. Her most recent recommendation: Mara's Too in Wantagh.  And I'm glad we listened.

It's a small, storefront place with an adjacent small parking lot. At 8 PM we had no trouble parking, but at lunchtime on Merrick Road ... Parking could be problematic.

Inside there are a handful of tables -- I wouldn't come here with a large group -- and a large bar area. We're not whiskey drinkers, so we skipped over the pages and pages of the menu devoted to that beverage and headed straight for the food -- an interesting mix of Texas/Arkansas barbecue and Louisiana/Cajun cooking.

This time around we stuck with the basics, that is, ribs. I ordered a half rack of St. Louis ribs, Drew ordered a 3/4 rack of baby backs. Both were dry rubbed and cooked to falling-off-the-bone tenderness. Two barbecue sauces were brought to the table - tangy Texas and spicy Arkansas. The spicy sauce had a bit of a kick but wasn't overwhelming. You get a choice of jalapeño cornbread or Texas toast; we both chose the garlicky goodness from Texas. Smoked beans were excellent. Hand cut fries were tasty and not the least bit greasy. Cheesy grits had just a little too much cheese, but were otherwise delicious. Each dinner was served with a whole chili pepper. Loved how our soft drinks were served in Mason jars.

The assortment of pies for dessert sounded yummy, but as usual, we were too full.

Service was friendly and efficient. And I believe it was the owner who stopped by our table to make sure we were satisfied.

Overall impression -- a nice neighborhood restaurant with an interesting menu, well worth the visit. Next time I want to try some of those Cajun/Creole dishes.

  • Mara's Too on Urbanspoon

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