Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mark and Lynn take in "A Clean Well Lighted Place" at Sand City Brewing Company...

Lynn and I aren't big beer enthusiasts but we always are curious about educating ourselves and developing our palette.  To this end, Lynn and I met our good friends and "beer nerds" (only way to put it) at one of Long Island's newest (about a month old) brewing companies, Sand City Brewing Co. in Northport, Long Island.  We met there in the early afternoon and had a nice sampler of their offerings of which our faves were "Ryes and Tide" (my fave) and the Breakfast Stout (Lynn's fave).  The Ryes and Tide had low alcohol and a sweet flavor complemented with some bite.  The Breakfast Stout was, to our mind, very complex and dark with chocolate notes along with some coffee flavors intermingled; would be a great pairing with chocolate or beef.

The interior of the place was very cheerful, the Jets game was on, people were in a good mood.  I couldn't help but think that Sand City reminded me of Hemingway's "A Clean Well Lighted Place."


Monday, November 9, 2015

Lynn has a particularly memorable meal at the Cafe ant The Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art in Hartford...

Lynn and I had some time to kill returning from Boston so we took in the exhibits at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford. We were there around lunch time so we ducked into the Museum Cafe which was understated and cozy.  We had a nice, low key experience at the Cafe and Lynn had a memorable melt in your mouth meal of short ribs braised in apple cider with parsnips puree and roasted carrots that she is still talking about....

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mark and Lynn (plus Jackson and Sloane) unwind at the Marina in Revere....

Lynn and I had our grandchildren and we were staying in Revere where we happened upon a charming, seemingly family oriented restaraunt called The Marina at the Wharf.  For our taste, the fare very Italian oriented which is not something we traditionally gravitate towards.  Having said that, we really enjoyed our meal.  I particullarly enjoyed the Fried Calamari which had nice heat and flavor.  Lynn's grilled Salmon had nice texture and had a rich taste due in part to the dill butter.
They also whipped up a nice Negroni for me which was doubly impressive since there was some question about what that drink consisted of.

The atmosphere was great with our seating having a great view of the Marina.  The staff was very warm and attentive.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mark and Lynn spend an afternoon with Jackson and Sloane at Russell Orchards....

Lynn and I took our grandkids Jackson and Sloane apple picking at historic Russell Orchards in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  We all loved the pictureques setting, folksy atmosphere, tractor rides andlivestock.  Of course the apples were divine, pearly, rich, with amazing color and texture....

The Water Cafe at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston is a pleasant surprise for Mark and Lynn...

Lynn and I (and our grandchildren Jackson and Sloane) took in the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.  We had long wanted to check this innovative and interestingly curated museum out and finally the opportunity presented itself on a recent cold and overcast weekend in October.

To our surprise, the Museum had a first rate cafe, called The Water Cafe, where we had a really spectacular lunch overlooking the Harbor.  I had a succulent Atlantic Salmon crudo with jalapeno mint and sea salt.  Lynn had a fall-centric dish of local butternut squash, baby greens, apple and pomegranate which had a nice combination of flavor and texture.  I had a bracing French rose which warmed me up on this dank afternoon. .

Our grandchildren really loved their go to dish; chicken fingers and chips.  Truth be told, it was the best chicken fingers I have ever eaten...


Monday, November 2, 2015

Salt Kitchen & Rum Bar in Ipswich warms Mark and Lynn up on a dreary fall day....

Lynn and I happened upon Salt Kitchen & Rum Bar in Ipswich about 45 minutes north of Boston.  The place considers itself a "relative of the Gastro Pub" (from the SALT website) and this is highly accurate as it combines the coziness of a comfortable Northeastern Pub with the mindfullness and curatorial insticts of a forward thinking restaraunt.

We were considerably impressed with the offerings there such as the juicy and smoky grilled oysters;  Lynn had the "catch of the day" which was a flavorful, nicely plated piece of grouper.

I had a great autumnal cocktail with whiskey, aporel, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.  Lynn had a nice Saison from Allagash Brewing in Portland Maine which was balanced a bite and a kind of orange sweetness.  Despite the somewhat dreary weather the patrons and staff were mostly in a good mood and that, along with the food and drink helped elevate our spirits as well...


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mark and Lynn take in the Mica Marder exhibit at SIlas Marder Gallery....

Lynn and I took in the striking exhibit at the Silas Marder Gallery in Bridghampton.  The works were by Mica Marder and were portraits of fish made with a variety of media and found objects.  The works were a nice echo and tribute to the wildlife heritage of the East End of Long Island.  Catch it before it closes on October 17....

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mark and Lynn take in the Great South Bay's great brews and sporting activities...

Lynn and I had seen the eye catching graphics of The Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore, NY for several years now at various grocery stores in our area and I had made a mental note that Lynn and I should go to the brewery and sample some of their wares at the source.  We recently were able to check this off of our "list" as we ventured to the brewery's tasting room with friends from Bay Shore who were familiar with the place.

The tasting room was cavernous, but felt somehow cozy with the positive energy of those gathered to have fun and of course the potent social lubricant aspect of beer.  Our friends recommended the Kismet Saison which had a taste reminiscent of late summer.  I had a Blood Orange Pale Ale which had perfectly balanced notes of orange (not always the case in our tasting other "blood orange" brews) and a particularly unique Black Sour Ale appropriately called "Devil's Deed" which, with its combination of sweet and sour resembled more a complex wine like Pinot Noir rather than a traditional familiar dark beer like Guinness.

We endeavored to be sporting while there and had a tense, action packed game of cornhole with our friends using the GSB's customized cornhole set.  GSB has great beer and a great atmosphere....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mark and Lynn enjoy chic wares of Sagtown Coffee...

Lynn and I ventured to the Eastern End of Long Island to savor the official end of Summer (never mind the temperatures have been hitting the 90's of late).  We went through Sag Harbor and stopped for an energy boost at Sagtown Coffee.  I had a fragrant shot of espresso and Lynn had a boutique energy drink made in part with tumeric that cost as much as a decent bottle of wine but she enjoyed it and we are happy to help out the local businesses.  The chic interior was not the usual mix of mismatched couches and used books of run of the mill coffee houses but instead there were re-claimed wood tables and seating with two sizable Oriental style lions looming over the counter.  We were there on a busy Saturday but all of the clerks handled the flow of customers with good humor and efficiency. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mark and Lynn discover mushroom nirvana with 1 Up Mushrooms....

Lynn and I have always been a bit indifferent to mushrooms.  We never went out of our way to eat them or were particularly impressed with any type no matter how exotic.  That has changed.

We are really enjoying mushrooms from 1 Up Mushrooms in Sound Beach.  The farm is typically at the Rocky Point Farmers Market on the weekends and we have made a special trip there on a couple of occasions to buy them.  We have mainly gotten the "Oyster Mushrooms" which are sweet and creamy when sauteed.  Really great stuff and quickly becoming a summer staple at our house.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mark and Lynn Re-discover The Dublin Deck in Patchogue....

Lynn and I had just returned from our short trip to North Carolina and Maryland and felt more than a little exhausted for a few days ("shot" as Lynn would say).  Our natural inclination in these situations is to seek out touchstones in our life to help re-orient ourselves to our "world" and feel our life return to a sense of normalcy.  We happened to be on the way to Flo's in Bayport which is one such touchstone with its "comfort" seafood (fried clams, fried calamari and so on) when we decided to reintroduce ourselves to the Dublin Deck in Patchogue.

Our detour had been mainly about our mild curiosity about the place.  We had gone there a few times over the years and enjoyed our experiences there a great deal but had not been there in several yeas as it is not really in our local "loop."

We had a great experience there and it had enlarged a great deal and seemed more sophisticated than we remembered.  This is particularly the case with the menu.  Lynn had great fish tacos with lightly fried grouper and a savory garlic sauce,  I had a spectacular Ahi Tuna salad that had great flavor and was presented beautifully (as was Lynn's)  Our service was first rate as well.  As a result of this we are officially putting the DD back into our loop.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mark and Lynn check out the Hamptons Salt Comany...

Lynn and I got some samples of salt from the Hamptons Salt Company and were completely blown away with how exquisite they were.

We particularly loved the smoked hickory which added a nice smoldering aroma and crunch to simple fare like grilled cheese.

We also loved the black truffle sea salt which added a creamy bite to regular fare like Lynn's
Kale Salad.

Finally, the rosemary salt added great savoriness to Lynn's brownies for a nice twist on an everyday

We loved the beautiful packaging as well.  It arrived at our house in a beautiful box...

Monday, July 13, 2015

PinPoint Restaurant is our favorite new place in Wilmington, NC....

Lynn and I concluded our whirlwind weekend in Wilmington with a brunch at the PinPoint Restaurant in Downtown Wilmington, NC with our son and daughter in law Jono and Kathy.   The location has been home to other businesses and eateries over the years most notably The Deluxe. The Deluxe was part of Wilmington's downtown renaissance in the late 80's early 90's.  It was successful for a time but ultimately poor management and unimaginative cuisine coupled with a tendency to hire staff based on their looks rather than competence caused this restaurant to slide culinary and otherwise until its demise in 2012.

It was funny to be there in the same space and some of those (good and bad) memories from 20 (or more) years ago began flooding back. I was glad to see that the current occupant PinPoint Restaurant has a much better grip on their menu items, service and everything else.  It was a delightful experience starting with our raven haired waitress (from Albany!) who anticipated our needs, answered questions and helped keep us up to date about a dramatic french toast shortage that she helped rectify.

For me, the surprise was the menu.  Lynn and I typically aren't into heavy brunches or breakfast food, particularly on a hot morning in Southeastern, NC.  It was to our relief that the menu was eclectic and imaginative enough for us to get around having to order a delicious though weighty  "hangover breakfast."

I had a dozen oysters on the half shell which were large, juicy and briny.  Lynn had a cornmeal crusted catfish which was lightly breaded with an unexpected hint of citrus thanks to the citrus based cabbage.  Very filling for both of us without the caloric punch of more traditional bruches.
Jono and Kathy
The ambiance was sophisticated without trying too hard.  The high ceilings and natural light helped bring the summer heat down.  There were many other items on the menu that we were intrigued with (Tuna Tataki, Blue Crab Fritters, Octopus and Pickled Shrimp Lettuce Wraps and so on) so we will definitely be back.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Mark and Lyynn check out the A & M Red Food Truck in Wilmington, NC

At the same moment we were enjoying the offerings at the Flytrap we indulged in the A & M Red Food Truck's offerings.  Our son Jono enjoyed decadent sliders consisting of  Burgers, Bacon and Cheese while Lynn and I enjoyed a delicious taco offering with crisp cole slaw and succulent Tilapia. .
These delights paired well with the Flytrap's beer and the food truck was a first rate operation with a nice owner who seemed amused to have us take a picture of the truck.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mark and Lynn check out the Flytrap Brewing in Wilmington, NC...

Lynn and I did our swing through Wilmington, NC recently and were introduced to some nice new places to eat and drink.  These places tended to be located in the historic downtown section of the Port City.

Our son Jono and his wife Kathy were nice enough to be our tour guides to some of Wilmington's new (to us at least) culinary highlights.  One of our favorites was the Flytrap Brewing.  We had a quick drink of the brewery's Cezanne beer which was ice cold and almost fizzy and the perfect remedy for a hot summer night in Southeastern NC. The interior was chic without trying too hard to be cool.  We were in a hurry and didn't have time to try some of the other brews but we will be back.

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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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