Thursday, January 18, 2018

Slurp Ramen Bar in Port Jefferson impresses with its delicious menu and stellar service....

Lynn and I stumbled upon Slurp early last fall in a fairly nondescript building that is part of a small shopping mall in Port Jefferson, NY.  The main attraction here is there extensive Ramen bowl selection which would not necessarily pique our interest as we don't go out of our way to have Ramen (Lynn likes it better than I). However, the menu also has some delicacies that were immediately appealing to Lynn and myself including a Veggie Bun which is a steamed bao bun filled with vegetables done in a Tempura style that melts in the mouth.  I enjoyed the BBQ Tofu which was enlivened by the sweet and savory Japanese BBQ sauce.

The menu also has a great side of Japanese style calamari and Fried Chicken which are both crunchy and flavorful. Lynn has enjoyed the Ramen on more than one occasion, being particularly fond of the "Slurp Classic" which included really nice pork belly.  The staff are a young, charming, attentive and attractive group who are unfailingly competent and polite.  This place is rapidly becoming our favorite lunch venue on Long Island despite it being a 40 minute drive from our house it is well worth the trip...M& L

Friday, January 5, 2018

Upstate Distilling Company makes its mark in Saratoga Springs...

While in Upstate NY over the weekend Lynn and I visited the Upstate Distilling Co. while in Saratoga Springs.  The Distillery, just over a year old is the first Distillery to open in Saratoga Springs since Prohibition. We met UD owner Ryen Van Hall who led us through a tasting of the Distillery's offerings.  Upstate Distilling uses only organic New York sourced ingredients (even their barrels are New York sourced).  We were especially impressed with the rye whiskey, which, as explained by Mr. Van Hall, was a big part of Pre-Prohibition distilling in New York State.

We took home a bottle of "Ryen's Rye" which was the best whiskey we have had.  It was a great tonic to the bitter minus 10 degree weather in Upstate.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tara Kitchen in Schenectady impresses Mark and Lynn with it's Mrroccan fare....

This past New Year's weekend was a brutal one weather wise Upstate where we visited.  One of the bright spots for us was the experience of dining at Tara Kitchen in Schenectady.  Tara Kitchen serves Moroccan fare which we love but don't indulge in nearly enough.  Owners Aneesa Waheed and Montasim Shoaib have created a place of extraordinary warmth with a dazzling menu full of exotic combinations of flavors.  Lynn and I sampled the Harissa Dip which was a fusion of the heat and savoriness of garlic along with the sweetness of cumin.  So it was with the Harissa Olives and the Lamb with Cauliflower Oranges and Black Olives.  

The service was casual but extremely efficient as our waitress attended to our every query about the food, expertly weighing in about the menu and the subtleties and nuances of the flavors and spices. The heat of the food was a particular tonic to us as the temperature hovered at minus 10 degrees just outside.  Tara's got our highest recommendation which is "If this place was near where we lived we would go there all the time."

Monday, October 2, 2017

YesFolk Tonics raise the bar on Kombucha...

Recently, Lynn and I went to Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady where Lynn and I sampled what is easily the best Kombucha we have ever had, namely the Vietnamese Wild Black Kombucha made by YesFolk Tonics in Upstate, New York.  It was a fragrant, perfume-y concoction which we delighted in without the bitterness and vinegary quality of many Kombuchas that can render the drink an acquired taste for many (at best)..  As of this writing, it is not widely available beyond Upstate so we are looking forward to the company widening their distribution into Long Island.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mark and Lynn try to keep that Summer Silly Lily feeling going into Fall...

We have enjoyed our introduction to Silly Lily Fishing Station (located on Moriches Bay) immensely this summer.  Jay and Steve, the owners have created a great venue with a witty, retro appeal that is irresistible and intoxicating. Lynn and I went there at least once a week this summer to eat at the onsite LC Barbecue food truck; have a glass of wine or beer; and to shop the Early Girl  Farmer's Market on the weekends.  Besides this, there are Boat, Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard rentals.  There is a great vintage pinball machine there and corn hole to be had. 
Now that fall is in full swing there is a sense of some of the summer activity shifting.  Still, Jay and Steve have indicated that they will try to stay open as far into fall and early winter as possible.  This bodes well for keeping the summer feeling alive a little longer....

The Happy Cappuccino in Schenectady makes Mark wax nostalgic...

On a recent visit to Schenectady, NY I had a few minutes to kill as Lynn was getting her makeup done for our friend's wedding.  I strolled across the street from our hotel where I stumbled onto a small, bohemian coffee shop which transported me back to the 90's with its alternative vibe, chess playing patrons,  attractive staff (in an avant-garde way) and the perfumed savory smell of coffee. I had a quick shot of espresso to get me over my afternoon slump which was inky and had a piquant aroma.  Great to find this Upstate gem and will try to make a point of going back to soak in some of the (for me) nostalgic vibe.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mark and Lynn wind down the summer at Greenport Harbor Brewing....

Lynn and our friends who are hardcore beer aficionados made a Labor Day trek to Greenport Harbor Brewing (there are two locations-we went to the tasting room in Peconic).  I had tasted a lot at Jamesport Brewery earlier in the day so I decided to take it easy at GHB.  I only had a pint of the wonderfully named "Devil's Plaything" which was an IPA uniquely infused with Thai Chili and Guajillo (this brew a collaboration with Michelin Star awarded April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin for her new restaurant Salvation Taco). 

Predictably, the scene was raucous but somehow civilized.  There were a lot of families enjoynig themselves playing games of corn hole and super size jenga.  We look forward to returning and trying some of the breweries other offerings which seem particularly interesting such as the Mine De Fleurs which is a Grissette (similar to a Saison as I understand) infused with Lavender and Hibiscus.... M&L

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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