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Lone Bull Pancake & Steak House (Lake George, NY)

Our second morning in scenic Lake George, we had a bit of spare time to explore, so went driving a bit north along the western shore of Lake George, seeing some of the nice views, seeing a few of the larger resorts, and finding a place for breakfast. We ended up selecting one of the area’s more venerable establishments, the Lone Bull Pancake & Steak House, now approaching it’s 50th year of operation.

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Biscotti Brothers Cafe (Lake George, NY)

The very end of June had us heading out to scenic Lake George with a bunch of friends for Ohana By The Lake, a three-day celebration of Tiki culture, rum, and basic fun sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Moai (of which I am a member), held at the scenic Tiki Resort, one ofAmerica’s last best existing examples of mid-century American Tiki culture. But it also gave us a chance to explore the Lake George area, with it’s many, many mini-golf courses, scenic vistas, boardwalk, and the like. One little place we found for breakfast was just across from The Tiki: Biscotti Brothers.

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Harlem Shake (Harlem, NY)

Our last stop in NYC was a fairly relaxed burger shop on Lenox Ave called Harlem Shake. Kitty corner from our previous reviews of Sylvia’s and Red Rooster, Harlem Shake seemed like a good place to grab a light lunch on the way out of town. Harlem Shake Interior Basically, Harlem Shake is your classic 1950s-style burger diner: a modest art deco interior including a semi-functional diner counter (while it’s got the row of classic spinning stools, there’s little room at the counter itself for eating), with a little bit of an edgier, modern music selection (indeed, the autographed signatures on the wall include P.Diddy and A$AP Rocky), but one look at the menu board confirms that this is classic diner fare: a selection of burgers, patty melts, fries, milkshakes, fried chicken, and the like. There are also a handful of interesting items on the menu, like jerk chicken, hot honey chicken, and even a few unexpected twists like the Red Velvet or “Double chocolate bacon” milkshakes. But the twist here is that they are trying to really do these diner classics well: the burgers are made from Pat Lafrieda patties (as are fully half of the “craft” burgers in the city), the ice cream is from Blue Marble, and most of the sauces and toppings are made in-house. Despite the invocation of the phrase “craft burger”, these aren’t the typical half-pound-plus $20 deals sold at entirely too many restaurants, either, but the classic retro-style burger with two ~2 oz patties seared to a crisp on the griddle and served up on a toasted bun.

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Red Rooster (Harlem, NY)

Our trip to New York City also gave us a chance to check out a relatively new restaurant just down the block from Sylvia’s: Red Rooster, which has been rather well known as a good place to experience Southern food, comfort food, and a good brunch. As an added bonus, I’ve always liked the recipes of Marcus Samuelsson, the Ethiopian- and Swedish-trained chef from Top Chef several seasons ago. I didn’t realize until after dining at Red Rooster that it was one of his restaurants, so I got to kill two birds with one stone.

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Sylvia’s (New York, NY)

I’ve always had a love of both Southern cooking and the related “Soul Food”, the variant that sprang out of the 1960s as folks in various Northern cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York that had moved north in the Great Migration started to celebrate their Southern cultural tradition in music (Soul Music) and food (Soul Food). I’ve had a lot of periodic visits to Harlem over the decades, and one only has to take a quick look around Harlem to see that it has changed a lot; the demographics of 2018 are distinctly different than those of the Great Migration 1960s, and the socioeconomics different as well (the brand new Whole Foods and rising rent are testaments to that), and unfortunately, many of the institutions that sprang up in the 1960s are starting to disappear, but one of the cornerstones of “Soul Food” in Harlem is still around: Sylvia’s.

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Anchor Bar (Buffalo, New York)

As I mentioned in the previous review, over our various trips driving through Buffalo, we’ve hit most of the major “benchmark” restaurants. We’ve been to multiple places for both beef-on-weck and wings. But there was still one classic Buffalo joint that I haven’t reviewed, and hadn’t visited for several years. And that’s the birthplace of the Buffalo wing: the Anchor Bar.

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Schwabl’s (West Seneca, NY)

One of the things I enjoy about our (somewhat rare) driving trips to the Detroit area is that, whether we are opting for the US or Canada routes, both take us right through the Buffalo area. Buffalo’s a bit of a run-down metro area, but it’s got quite a good set of culinary traditions, so every time we visit I try to hit up one of the classic spots. For this trip, that was Schwabl’s, so we could get some beef-on-weck.

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Loreley (New York, NY)

One of the many items we managed to tick off of our to-do list in New York City was finally getting a chance to see the Tenement Museum (we’ll go back, each tour only shows you a fraction of the building). But as the tour was wrapping up, we were hungry for a light lunch, and we realized that the location was quite convenient for us to hit up a favorite spot: Loreley.

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Mui (New York, NY)

On our last trip to New York City, we stayed in the most wonderful NoMad Hotel just north of Madison Square Park, and on the edge of Koreatown. We planned to have an outing to Koreatown to try out one of the better Korean Fried Chicken places, but had a major wrench thrown into our plans when most of the neighborhood found itself without power. However, one place I called, Mui, said that aside from deep-fried items they could still prepare food, so we headed off to check them out.

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Cappone’s (New York, NY)

Sometimes, I’m drawn into a place due to a recommendation, or a good online review. Sometimes, it’s as simple as walking down the street and seeing a line outside a place. And sometimes, the product itself is calling to you. In this case, we had just finished a rather pleasant visit to the Whitney (in it’s new location at the south end of the High Line, making it a new gem in the meatpacking district). Afterward, we were walking down Gansevoort, and found that amongst the hip nightclubs and galleries that seem to be the staple of the modern MePa (groan, at some point all the TriBeCa/SoHo like names will be taken…), is the Gansevoort indoor market, filled with all sorts of little food stalls (including, interesting, a stand selling autentico horchata de chufa, proper Valencian-style horchatas made with tigernuts). But it was walking by the stand of Cappone’s that my eye was drawn to two things: (a) a picture-perfect slab of rare, herb-crusted roast beef, and (b) the clerk at Cappone’s carving it to make a sandwich. At that moment, a proper, rare roast beef sandwich was what exactly what I was craving, so we decided to lunch there.

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