Monday, May 26, 2014

blown away by puffer.

On our drive home from Saturday's wine region exploration, Jay Cardinal and I were getting pretty hungry. Fortunately for us, the formidable Lobster Roll of Amagansett fame has a North Fork sister. Lobster Roll Northside has a slightly different vibe, with more of countryside farmhouse restaurant feel. The food, fortunately, meets the same expectations. We were absolutely in love with the delectably flaky puffer appetizer--- this is a must-order. The conch fritters were a wee bit greasy (and a little too, well, conch-y) for our taste. DH had no complaints about his lobster roll, which was consistent with the one we had in Amagansett. I really enjoyed my clam "strip" roll. While not as tender as the Ipswich clams had at Bigelow's, they were still very sweet and the fry breading was great.

Come for the puffer--- we had some great fish, but this offering in particular was a special find. I know we'll be back ...and soon.

Lobster Roll on Urbanspoon

crannoli=love *

Long Island at long last has its pastry, and it's a triumvirate of your favorites: the cannoli, donut and croissant. Rising to a challenge on K98.3, Sweet Surrender Bake House's Helen and Tanya came up with this concoction, and it's a winner. The crannoli a nice marriage of innovation and tradition, as the donut base and chocolate frosting have that wonderful "old school pastry" taste. The pastry is substantial, yet more airy than dense, and the cannoli pieces on type lend a neat textural element. The cannoli cream filling, a pride of Sweet Surrender, really put this thing over the top. DH and I must confess we are not big cannoli cream fans, but Sweet Surrender's has a mild, rounded flavor suited to any palate.

An incredibly cute treat that makes me smile.

Sweet Surrender Bake House on Urbanspoon

i'll go with ssam of that...

Confessions of a Korean drama addict... a lot of food and rice wine makes its appearance in such shows. Like subliminal messaging, I found myself drawn to having some. Fortunately, one doesn't have to trek all the way to Flushing to get decent Korean food. Right here in Stony Brook, we have Ssambap.

I've been on several occasions and am pleased to report the service is gracious as ever. They also really make an effort to educate and answer any questions one may have about Korean cuisine. The portions are most generous and the prices, reasonable. I've enjoyed the Bulgogi (marinated shredded beef) bento box ($12-13), as well as the Japchae (diaphanous sweet potato noodles in vegetables and meat, $15). The carbonated unfiltered Korean rice wine product, mokkuli ($15), was very interesting and well suited to the Bulgogi, though I'd advise those with more finicky palates to stick with soju. After a meal, check out their beautifully maintained fish tank--- their exotic fish are quite a sight to behold.

Ssambap Korean B.B.Q. Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 22, 2014

new cocktail: spring awakening.

T minus one day...

In celebration of the long-awaited Spring we've had, my mixologist of a husband created a cocktail which is a nice partnership of flavors: sliiiiightly girly yet entirely drinkable by either gender without losing self-respect; herbaceous yet not overwhelmingly so; cheerful yet not too perky.

Jay Cardinal's 'Spring Awakening'
-1 part Vodka
-2 parts Santa Cruz (tm) Organic Peach Lemonade
-Splash of Rose's Sweet Lime Juice
-Medium Splash of Dolan's Dry Vermouth
-Splash of Fresh Ginger Juice
-Fresh grated Nutmeg, to taste

A pretty cocktail for a pretty season.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

coastal vilage star: the white-weathered barn.

T minus two days until Lawnguyland becomes everyone's golden playground. As Memorial Day commences, us Suffolk County folk start scratching our heads at how the traffic can possibly get busier. (It does.)

Still, I can totally see why everyone wants to be here in the summer.

Today's CVG Star honors a shop that both locals and summertime tourists will really enjoy.

The White-Weathered Barn
41 Front Street
Greenport, NY 11944
(631) 477-6811

This unique boutique is good local karma at work. Shopowners and artists themselves, Rena and Jason Wilhelm are committed to highlighting regional artisans, many of whom are from Long Island. They offer a number of in-house custom made products, including beautiful wood signs. I fell in love with the little tongue-in-cheek charms, made from antique silver seafood forks and appropriately stamped "north":
Such a fun conversation piece to add to a chain or charm bracelet.
Less than $25, it's a great way to support local craftsmanship. I wear mine a lot.

The shop has a breezy, wabi-sabi feel that suits any homeowner looking for antique, natural or coastal d├ęcor.

Beautiful local prints, canvas totes and wine bags, silk shawls

Unique handmade jewelry pervades the boutique... well as linen waters, soaps, scrubs and candles in a variety of scents.

A dreamy mantelpiece offers inspiration for home decorating and features candles,
mercury glass arrangements and other wares that are for sale.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

tulips at hofstra.

Since moving to New York two years ago, I've wanted to attend the Dutch Festival at Hofstra so I could see the beautiful tulips that dot the campus. But since Hempstead isn't exactly a stone's throw from Town of Smithtown, I've relented. Fortunately, our travels took us to Hofstra the other evening for a concert and we got to enjoy these beauties beforehand.

There were many more varieties, several unusual trees (including imported weeping Japanese conifers) and various other flowering plants, but I only took a few shots. Indeed, it's worth the trip to campus. One thing I found curious was the number of feral cats. Mr. Cardinal, a Hofstra alum, explained that their care was deeded to the University. Pretty interesting! (As long as they don't take a drive on the Northern State eastbound have a party at our chicken coop, it's all fine by me.)

meals worth walking off.

While the primacy of Maureen's Kitchen as Smithtown's breakfast/homestyle restaurant has been assured, it's easy to see why relative newcomer, Javier's Cafe, does a brisk business. Tossing aside the Buddhist saying of "Kill your teachers", Maureen's alum Javier Viera actually embraces the formula that worked so well at the Smithtown's premier homestyle joint.  I've come in to the cafe on three occasions. They handle weekday service well; it's in the weekends where we've experienced a few timing peccadilloes between the waitstaff and the kitchen. I've had croissant french toast and pancake specials with chocolate and fresh fruit that have been absolutely delightful. Coffee is nutty and delicious. If you're craving a decadent breakfast, Smithtown, keep Javier's on your shortlist when things get too zooish at Maureen's. They will pleasantly surprise you.

Javier's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Townline BBQin Sagaponack made for a yummy conclusion to a recent East End trip. After taking in the wonderful scent of the wooden interior, we were treated to expedient cafeteria-style service. We went with the combo platters. Portions could have been a little more for what we paid, but the ribs and moist brisket were stunning. Cornbread was flavorful although a bit dry. Jay Cardinal enjoyed his Collared Greens, while I went for the baked beans (also excellent). If you're looking for a no-frills and relatively inexpensive dining option out East, add Townline BBQ to your to-do.

Townline BBQ on Urbanspoon

After a leisurely drive along the Rockaway Peninsula and into the South Shore of Nassau County, Mr. Cardinal and I were in need of a fast lunch. As luck would have it, we crossed paths with Bigelow's, a fried fish shack on the Oceanside-Rockville Centre border that's been amusing palates with the same fried clam recipe since the 1930's. (In truth, the interior itself doesn't look that much younger than the recipe). As you grab a seat in this intimate little place (sort of like seafood's answer to Stewart's Root Beer) you instantly feel transported to a different time. Friendly and speedy customer services ensures that the formica countertop in front of you doesn't stay empty for long. Naturally we tried and fell in love with the fried Ipswich clams. They were incomparably fresh, moist and juicy inside. (Thinking of them weeks later still makes me smile). I wish you luck getting a seat at peak hours--- this gem is hardly hidden, and for good reason!
Bigelow's New England Fried on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 2, 2014

time for a facelift...

...just kidding! But the CVG blog was overdue for a facelift.

I'm having a lot of fun playing around with my artwork and trying something new, hence the new visual layout. (Yep, I drew the Twitter icon and the other little guys.)

I hope that by cleaning up the layout, purging the expired blogs on the list, and adding the search option makes life easier for everyone.

Looking forward to updating you on several new restaurants soon... and there are a few Coastal Village Stars that need some doling out!

Enjoy the gorgeous weather, Long Island.