Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Whole Foods in Jericho is the only Whole Foods on Long Island. Mark and Lynn were thrilled to find it and were thrilled to see the kind of exotica that the place made available like fresh ground Almond Butter, exotic beers, interesting bitters, offbeat cheeses as well as some nutrisou and varied take out food. There were a lot of pushy customers but we figured that was the price you pay for living in NY (particularly Long Island).
Well, the store has gotten old and much less appealing. The friendly knowledgeable help we were so impressed with a couple of years ago seems to have moved on. There also seems to be less in the way of new products or food. No new meats, no new fish, nothing new with regard to vegatables, not much in the way of new cosmetics, well, you get the picture. In the meantime, run of the mill chains like Stop and Shop and King Kullen have upgraded their offerings so that their produce, fish, meat and the like are competitive with Whole Foods (at a price that is often noticeably lower).
One thing has not changed and that is the annoying, pushy customers who would break your neck to get the last pack of arugala from Satur Farms (after which they would drive away in a Prius plastered with OBAMA stickers). Lately, every time I go there I think of the epsisode of Seinfeld where George makes reference to the jerkstore...
Here is the contact info but don't say we didn't warn you.
429 North Broadway
Jericho, NY 11753-2106 USA
Porter's in Bellport has become a favorite of Mark & Lynn's for a number of reasons; Crisp and casual service, a well-run dining room, sharp hosting, a solid menu with some imagination and now finally Porter's has one of the most interesting drinks on Long Island by the name of a Dirty Blue Vodka Martini.
The concoction's secret weapon is a number of Blue Cheese stuffed olives which give the drink a briny, salty quality that is both refined and rakish. The excellent staff there do a great job making it and on a recent cool Saturday night the drink managed to be a delicious treat after a long day.
PORTERS on the lane
19 Bellport Lane
Bellport, NY 11713
The Sawmill Restaurant on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington, NC is the kind of place that would be a cult hangout in NY or one of the Burroughs 1. Retro feel-Check 2. Cheap, comfort food-Check 3. "Authentic" (ie working class) customers-check-
Places like Freeman's and the Rusty Nail pour thousands into making bars and restaurants that seem ramshackle.
The Sawmill is the real thing-Great, offbeat food (the best fried oysters I have had), good coffee and warm, efficient service (a miracle in Wilmington) have made the Sawmill a real favorite for a breakfast or hearty lunch in the Port City. The location, on the way to and from Carolina Beach also makes the place stand out as there are few restaurants of note in this part of Wilmington.
I can't wait for some guy to move to Brooklyn and create an authentic Southern style restaraunt and call it Sawmill 2 or something like that...
5611 Carolina Beach Rd, Wilmington, NC 2841
The Dixie Grill in Wilmington, North Carolina has OK food, just don't expect much from the service...
The gentrified Dixie Grill in Wilmington has upgraded its profile since I moved from Wilmington offering a menu that has the likes of Mediterranean Salad and Sweet Potato Pancakes. The food is a definite improvement and you won't leave smelling like smoke and grease like the good old days. However, the service is so bad (at least with regard to the waitress we had) that you may long for the good old days. We had a hard time getting our menu, our coffee, and our check; the most amazing thing, however, was the difficulty we had getting silverware. This after we had been served. I finally got up and picked it up off a station about 6 feet away from us.
Again, here is the contact info-don't say you weren't warned...
116 Market St
Wilmington, NC 28401
Used to be that when Mark and Lynn needed a good caffeine fix (in Wilmington) they would head to Port City Java, a coffee house that is as omnipresent as Starbucks on our own Long Island turf. The coffee drinks were good, and there was some exceptional Asian Style Chicken salads as well.
On our most recent sojourn to Wilmington it seemed that the regional coffee giant had slipped noticeably all the way around. The coffee was watery and had basically no taste. It seemed that the menu had been reduced and the upkeep of the places seemed shabby and careless. Worst of all, the places smelled like cleaning fluid; being clean is one thing, smelling like a college dorm is quite another.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
A great seemingly underrated player in the North Fork (Long Island) universe; the Jamesport Manor Inn has many great things going for it. First off, the setting is nice and is off the beaten path enough to make it feel like a slightly clandestine destination. Second, the service is some of the smoothest and subtlest we have ever experienced anywhere on Long Island. Finally, the food is near perfection. We ate there during the recent restaurant week and had great duck and oysters. The place has been apparently rebuilt after a recent fire, but the spirits of the place remain and the sense one has is dining in a kind of haunted house...Not an experience for anyone, but intriguing and a very sophisticated feeling for the adventurous.
Jamesport Manor Inn
370 Manor Ln, Riverhead, NY 11901
Mark and Lynn have enjoyed Snake River Products from Boise, Idaho on a number of occasions with family. Most recently, we just had a Kurobuta ham for Easter. This ham is made from the Japanese Black Hog and is 100% Berkshire pork. This breed of hog dates back from its use to feed Oliver Cromwell's army. The marbling, taste and consistency are so exceptional that this particular type of ham is often termed the "Kobe Beef of Pork." Snake River uses its own particular home grown type of cure and the ham is smoked with exquisite care using authentic hard wood chips.
The result was a crowd pleasing centerpiece (for a tough to please crowd!) this past Easter for Mark and Lynn's family...
Monday, April 6, 2009
There are some very good wine stores in and around Brookhaven. Pope's in Medford has a tremendous selection with some tough to find spirits like Aquavit and Tito's Vodka. Holbrook Liquors homely warehouse location (next to BJ's) has some of the most interesting wines around the area (and are constantly getting new selections at good prices).
Despite this, there is no great, hip wine store in the area. That is until now with the recent opening of Quench in Patchogue. Quench features an interesting selection of first rate wines and spirits. We have been just a couple of times but we already have our favorites: The Hudson Single Malt Whisey (bottled by Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner, NY), The French Maid Wines and Sofia Copolla Blanc De Blanc...
We intend to follow up on this short report with some more stuff about the intereting owners who hail from Brooklyn.
90 West Main Street, Patchogue New York 11772 (631) 569 2574
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Links of note from M & L...
- 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...