Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Little Spoon's Next Big Eating Adventure

I can't wait till this weekend - I am finally going to a restaurant I've been wanting to visit for months - a "reincarnation" of the once fabulous "Freehold Country Inn" -a gem of a dining experience, tucked away in the unlikely little town of Freehold in Greene County.

The new version is called the Mountain View Brasserie located in Greenville, NY, one town over from Freehold. It opened in May of 2007 by the same people that renovated and operated the Freehold Country Inn, until it was sold in August 2006. This was a legendary restaurant (take my word on this one...) – it was the kind of dining experience that truly was an “experience”.

The Freehold Country Inn served fresh, innovative dishes, prepared and presented flawlessly and served by the most professional of servers. Going there was a treat – whether it was to have the melon soup in the summer, bright and delicious and unexpected, or one of the many salads – anything but ordinary. Winter made you think of eating a more hearty dish – like the outrageously good sirloin topped with gorgonzola.. I know, I know.. sounds too rich, too heavy.. but the Freehold pulled this dish off like no other restaurant has… it was simply…”wow”…

So it is with these memories of the Freehold Inn's fabulous food and presentation, that I anticipate another great dining experience at Mountain View Brasserie - And I will do the right thing – report back for all those other food crazed fans out there – and I hope it’s good news..

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Am a Garlic Lover

Thank goodness this unassuming little Mediterranean cafe opened a few months ago on Route 4 in Troy - home of the chain restaurants...

It's called Garlic Lovers Corner and it resides in a small shopping plaza with a pet store and Pizza Trattoria (great sub platters here by the way...).

Garlic Lovers is a great little spot where you can get Mediterranean and Lebanese favorites like Falafel, Gyros, Shawarma, Couscous, and Hummus that's out of this world. And they have a lunch deal where $8 bucks gets you one entree, one side, and a soda. Not bad - especially when you consider that the dishes are fresh and made to order -

I usually go for the less evil (in terms of caloric and fat content) Falafel, or Chicken Shawarma special with a side of their amazing "salsa" - a fresh blend of tomatos, onions, cilantro and garlic.. And you always get your entree on a big delicious pita (which I try and not eat, to be good, but it's hard).

They also have a larger Dinner menus that includes kebabs - I must try those...

The ambiance is actually better than when it first opened - a new mural now graces one wall, the tables are iron wrought glass topped affairs that remind me of fancy patio furniture.. and I mean that in a positive way.. The only complaint is that it's a little on the chilly side - the all tile floor doesn't help - but I bet it's nice and cool in the summer..

And - I always leave satisfied.. and smelling a little like garlic.. which some of us think is a good thing..

Monday, January 28, 2008

Minissale's Wine Cellar Cafe - Misses the Boat

I was so excited to try this restaurant - I mean, come on, it has "Wine Cellar" right in the name -
What could be better?

Well - unfortuantely, the name had little to do with what we got -

My dining companion, who I'll call "S", agreed with me, this place was completely forgettable. Nothing was outstanding - in a good or bad way...
The bread with olive oil for dipping was fine. The salads were oversized and fresh, but nothing out of the ordinary. S. tried the homemade soup, a Pasta Fagiol - it was thin without much body.
We both had a "special" entree - me, the broiled haddock, which although cooked nicely, had an odd, stale flavor I couldn't explain.. I ate less than a third of it, hoping with each bite that unexplained taste would disappear.. it didn't..
S. 's dish was the highlight of the meal - broiled scallops in a tomato, herb broth. This was very nice - the scallops were perfectly cooked, and the broth was flavorful, not greasy or heavy.
Both dinners came with a starch (we both opted for the baked potato) and steamed veggies, which looked okay, but honestly, after the salad I had my fill of the green stuff..
The wine by the glass menu was extremely limited - especially for a place with "Wine Cellar " in it's name.. so we opted for a very mediocre Montepulciano D'Abruzzo...on special for $18 a bottle. Nothing I'd try again..
The service was fine, the atmosphere was nice and cozy, but we felt we over paid for a meal that was disappointing. Perhaps next time we should try one of the pasta dishes.. Although honestly, I doubt we'll be back to do that...

Welcome to my restaurant review blog!

After sharing my restaurant experiences amongst friends, family and co-workers, I have decided to take my many opinions "public".

So with that I welcome you to my restaurant review blog - I'll primarily be talking about restaurants in the upstate NY area - the captial region to be specific, as well as other areas, depending on where my vacation and work-related travels take me...

Hopefully these insights, of a person who truly loves to cook, bake and eat, will help you in making your restaurant choices - or, maybe they'll at least be entertaining enough to keep you coming back to read up on my latest restaurant adventures... !