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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mark and Lynn get wistful about Early Girl Farm...

Lynn and I had discovered the farmstands for Early Girl Farm (one located in East Moriches-one in Bellport) and quickly fell in love with the great and interesting produce grown by the farm over the loving and watchful eye of Patty Gentry who owns and operates EGF.  Lynn and I became particularly enchanted with Patty's poetic emails about what was being grown on the farm. 

As much as anything we were impressed with the pure visual poetry of the Early Girl offerings.  Everything was beautiful and was intoxicating for us on an aesthetic level.  

 Sadly, Early Girl's farmstand season ended in late August.  The memories of their wonderful bounty reamains strong in our food loving souls... M& L

Great Flats Brewery in Schenectaday impresses Upstate...

On our recent trip to Schenectady in Upstae New York we happened upon Great Flats Brewing.  I had actually noticed the place earlier in the day as it was conveniently situated next to the Yoga Studio that I managed to get to a couple of times over our out of town weekend. 

We had a flight of their offerings of which we particularly enjoyed "Summer in Schenectady" which was a Saison that was crisp and refreshing on an unseasonably warm Upstate New York Saturday (the "Great Flats IPA" the lowest alcohol offering that day was equally refreshing but with some appealing notes of pine).

. In addition, the intereior, with its clean lines and open space was chic and cheerful; a counterpoint to some breweries which produce great beer but are lacking in atmosphere and aesthetics.  The staff was helpful in explaining some of the selections to us and amiable even on a busy afternoon perfect for drinking beer.

M& L

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Swell Taco in Patchogue impresses Mark and Lynn...

I had gotten Lynn take out at Swell Taco in Patchogue a couple of months ago and she was impressed by the fish tacos.  As a result and was sure she would like to dine there at some point.  Lynn, sometimes unsure of new places was hesitant to try Swell Taco out.  Finally though, the memory of the great fish tacos helped pave the way for our recent visit there.
As soon as we entered Swell Taco became our new favorite place.  The ambiance took us far away from Long Island and transported us to a surf shack in Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay.  A hypnotic surf documentary played on the flat screen near the entrance; a "Swell Taco" branded surfboard floated on the wall over the bar; the attentive staff sunburned and seemingly just off the beach; a back patio that is the epitome of surf chic. 
Oh right, the food. We loved our fish and shrimp tacos as steal at 3.99 apiece.  The drink menu was half off during happy hour and we were particularly impressed with the wine list which was exceptional for such a casual place.   We are looking forward to coming back for sure.... M&L

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Underwood Rose' is a great tonic for the hot Long Island Summer....

We just discovered this fun, late summer treat.  Underwood Wines Rose' in a can.  We fpund it very portable hauling it to the beach and to paddleboard and of course it is fine on a hot summer day in the backyard.  It had a nice tinge of cherry and the can seemed to help the wine get very cold very quickly. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The transcendent Thai Spice in Wilmington save Mark and Lynn's night....

Lynn and I were starving one night during our recent trip to Wilmington. We had little interest in going out as we were exhausted and felt like take out was the way to go.   Our daughter in law recommended Thai Spice.  We ordered  Seafood Salad and Pad Thai.  Both were exquisite.  The  Seafood  Salad balance all of the exotic flavors beautifully and it's chill was a great tonic to the humid North Carolina night.  Lynn's Pad Thai had a lightness that is rare in this dish which is often top heavy with noodles.   The dining area was charming and hopefully we will be able to dine there the next time we are in the Port City.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mark and Lynn visit Wilmington's Rx again...

The food scene in my hometown Wilmington is hit and miss from our perspective.  This is particularly true in the downtown area which has a lot of energy and a thriving night life but sees a lot of establishments come and go.  One of the more established restaurants in downtown is Rx whose name is a call back to the building's previous history as a pharmacy.  We had eaten there a couple of times during a visit a few years ago and were pleasantly surprised that it still was around as many established Wilmington eateries (Catch, Cafe Phoenix, Deluxe) had shuttered within the last few years.  

The menu tends to be heavy in the way a lot of Southern cooking tends to be heavy with a lot of fried foods, pork and sauces. Much of Rx's offerings are locally sourced which is great, however the menu has a too cute affectation with regard to identifying these sources (e.g. "Stefan's Heirloom Tomatoes") which Lynn and I found mildly annoying. Despite the comfort food leanings of the menu Lynn and I found the okra fries a great starter with a light, almost tempura battering.

We did manage to get a nice Tuna Tartare which was a surprise considering the comfort food loaded menu.  The bar also made me a nice negroni without batting an eye.  The wait staff and hostess were great.  Very attentive and poised even on a busy Saturday night.


Mark and Lynn discover the sublime Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda

We ventured South recently and we are always interested in finding new culinary adventures.  We found a sublime place in Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda, Maryland.  We indulged in their generous happy hour with Thai Style Mussels that were buttery and ample. 

We also made our decadent way through 18 Chesapeake Oysters which were sweet and succulent.

Finally, I had a potent sample of an infusion of orange and whiskey which was amazingly fragrant  had a nice burn. 

Our attractive waitress was very nice and attentive and the atmosphere was sophisticated with great lighting and aesthetics but somehow warm and relaxed.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The North Fork Table and Inn Food Truck generates a perfect early summer vibe...

Lynn and I had lost touch with one of our old favorites The North Fork Table and Inn.  Not for any real reason other than the usual distractions of our life and maybe just a fundamental interest in focusing on trying new places to eat and drink.  Our interest re-visiting this North Fork institution spiked as a result of our curiosity in checking out their food truck (which has been there awhile) and maybe seeing what action hero Chef Stephen Borgadus was up to. 

Our experience was sublime.  The Truck menu has traditional offerings but with a twist or two (Fried Chicken Sandwich with Chipotle Aioli/Black Bean Burger with Cumin Lime Cole Slaw).  Lynn had Bahn Mi with Smoked Pork Loin and Sricaha Mayo while I had a hefty salad with grains and crispy onions.  We had an exceptionally great glass of Rose from McCall Vineyards to puncuate a perfect early summer moment...

M& L

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Early Spring Treat from the Dark Horse in Riverhead....

Chef Jeff Trujillo of the Dark Horse   in Riverhead made this delectable Easter buche with Chocolate Ganache. (Hand delivered by Lynn's boss and Jeff's Uncle Dwight)...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Toro Tapas & Tequila makes a great first impression....

Toro is a new Tapas and Tequila venue just off the main drag in Patchogue.  We had noticed it a couple of times, but it is off our usual routes so we ended up making a special point to try it with friends.  Simply put, Lynn and I were blown away.  We stuck to their inventive tapas menu where highlights were a savory brussel sprout dish with cheese finished with a hint of aromatic oil ("Coles De Brusellas") and smoky  peppers that has just the right amount of seasoning and heat.  We also savored lightly breaded fish croquettes with a lemon aoli ("Croquetas De Pescado").

 The service and atmosphere was sublime as well.  We have returned already on a couple of occasions as this place is quickly becoming one of our local favorites.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Little Creek Oysters in Greenport gives the traditional Oyster Shack a hip spin...

Lynn found the Greenport, NY gem that is the Little Creek Oyster Farm and Market from a post on The North Forker and it lived up to our expectations and then some. We had two dozen local Oysters on the Half Shell that were briny and bracing on a dreary, rainy day.  The atmosphere was warm with an interior that would have made Wes Anderson proud. Vinyl records lined one wall and a sophisticated turntable shared space at the bar ("Vinyl Night" is a frequent event on Thursdays).  The attractive and engaging owners spoke with us about all things oyster.  I shucked our second dozen dumping the shells into a bucket with emblazoned with  "Shuck Yourself."  After our two dozen and a couple of local beers we reluctantly went back into the baleful late February cold looking forward to our return...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Zombie Blood Sriracaha impresses with bold flavors....

I love hot sauces and I am always anxious to sample new ones whenever they come across my radar.  Around New Year's I picked up Zombie Blood: Sriracha Verde (by Vital Eats) while in Saratoga.  It has a nice combination of jalapenos, green pepper and apple cider vinegar which gives it notes of sweetness that sets it apart from other Sriracha sauces.   The company makes a number of interesting sauces that I will try to order or pick up next time we are in the upstate region....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Bartlett House in Ghent makes a great first impression on Mark and Lynn

Lynn and I went slightly out of our way to pick up some crosiants and the Cherry Apricot Jam at the recently opened Bartlett House in Ghent, New York.  The Bartlett House has a particularly intereseting backstory having been opened in 1870 as a hotel for railroad patrons and having been featured in some of Walker Evans' work around the turn of the century. We ducked in and out but were very impressed with the atmosphere and the menu and will make a point to return there before summer.

\M& L

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bellport Beer fills in the blanks of Mark and Lynn's brew knowledge....

Lynn and I aren't prolific beer drinkers but because of some of our beer aficionado friends we have tried different beers in the past year or so (many of them at Long Island breweries which continue to pop up with great regularity).  When we want something unusual for ourselves or as a gift we head just down the road to Bellport Cold Beer and Soda (AKA "Daves Bellport Beer"-Dave being the gregarious, knowledgeable owner).  We have always had great service and have found some of our favorites like Dogfish Head's briny, puckery Namaste offering which we enjoy mainly with seafood and shellfish.

Visiting BB is always a learning experience and it is nice to have passionate individuals running this operation in our community.  The place constantly gets new offerings and there are always a plethora of beers on tap to experience.


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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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