Osteria Costa, Las Vegas NV

Osteria Costa

Iced Tea

Warm Bread – Olive Oil

Housemade Mozzarella – Caponata, Peppers, Olives, Grilled Bread

Beef Carpaccio – Arugula, Truffle Pecorino

Insalate Frutti di Mare – Shrimp, Calamari, Lemon, Seasonal Greens, Tomatoes, Radishes

Tuna Crudo – Orange, Olive Oil, Black Olive, Arugula

Fritto Misto – Crispy Shrimp, Vegetables, Lemon, Tartar Sauce, Cocktail Sauce

Focaccia di Recco – Flat Bread, Stracchino Cheese, Olive Oil

Meatballs – Whipped Ricotta, Basil, Pomodoro, Grilled Bread

Salsiccia Pizza – Sausage, Fennel, Onion

Piccante Pizza – Salame, Calabrian Chiles, Honey

Rigatoni alla Norma – Pomodoro, Eggplant, Basil

Linguini & Clams – Garlic, Chiles, Lemon

Fettuccine – Neapolitan Beef Ragu, Pomodoro, Pecorino

Corvina Acqua Pazza – White Sea Bass, Tomatoes, Basil, Onions, Peppers

Pollo Parmigiana – Breaded Chicken Breast, Pomodoro, Housemade Mozzarella, Basil

Garlic Potatoes – Parsley

Broccoli Rabe – Garlic, Chili Flake

Roasted Mushrooms – Olive Oil, Rosemary

Eggplant Rollatini – Breadcrumbs, Pomodoro, Mozzarella

Olive Oil Cake – Whipped Cream

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake – Whipped Cream

Neapolitan Cookie Gelato – Rainbow Cookies

Tiramisu – Dark Chocolate Crisp

To any local in tune with the Las Vegas dining scene it seemed only a matter of time before Portofino shuttered, the combination of its out of the way location, poor marketing and an older Casino virtually guaranteeing only regulars and those in-the-know would seek it out, yet a mere thirty two days after closing its doors Chef Michael LaPlaca and team are back with Osteria Costa and although only three days in at the time of this writing it is safe to say what’s past is in the past but that there are plenty of good times ahead.

Located in the old Samba Brazilian Steakhouse between Pantry and the Buffet, an expensive build-out with a bar and lounge that extends up to the gaming floor backed by a more formal dining area and open kitchen, Osteria Costa continues a recent trend in moving Italian Cuisine from North to South and towards the sea, several months of research and recipe development helping to create a menu that reads lighter than Portofino with a price point that is also more accessible.

Focused on the Cuisine of Naples and the Amalfi Coast with a menu divided into six sections, a collection of housemade Pastas the largest but surrounded by Salads, Pizza, Antipasti, Secondi and Sides, it was after greetings from familiar hostesses that guests were led past the Wood-fired Pizza oven to a slate four-top in direct view of the kitchen, general manager Chris Zadie looking dapper as ever in a three-piece suit and overseeing a team of ladies and gentlemen mostly familiar from his prior front-of-house.

Looking over the menu and realizing more than one visit will be necessary to fully sample its breadth, a table of four likely able to walk away completely satisfied by a Pizza plus a couple Salads or Antipasti plus an equal number of Pasta or Entrees, it was with eyes bigger than stomachs that a six course menu was selected, Iced Teas plus glasses of Sangiovese refilled as necessary and the meal starting off with Warm Housemade Bread featuring a robust Crust and delicate crumb that paired well with Olive Oil but even better when grilled and served next to Housemade Mozzarella or Chef LaPlaca’s peerless Meatballs ported over from Portofino.

Sticking with the light and sharable theme throughout Antipasti and Salads, though any of the $10-20 plates could easily make for a healthy dinner or snack prior to the show or club, it was with a light head of Truffles that Costa’s Beef Carpaccio found itself in the company of Fiamma for the best at an Italian Restaurant following the closure of Olives while the Insalate Frutti di Mare, peppered Tuna Crudo and golden Fritto Misto all took fresh Seafood and let it shine amidst good Produce without too much manipulation.

Showcasing a 900°F wood oven along the right side entering the restaurant, a quartet of Pizzas plus classic Focaccia di Recco emerging from the fire hot and lightly charred, it is with little more than Flour, Water, Salt and a bit of Olive Oil that two distinct styles of Crust are created, the former pliable with a puffy cornicione while the less well-known product of the city it is named for outshines any local version by being Cracker-thin and crisp despite a thick layer of Cheese.

Moving next to Pasta, the purchase of a top-end extruder allowing Chef LaPlaca to create nine separate versions in-house daily, it is somewhat unfortunate that neither Gnocchi nor his signature Agnolotti made the jump but remaining true to the region fans are not left wanting for choices, a mistake with the Pasta Water first seeing Rigatoni a bit too saline though the re-fire was textbook al dente with subtle spicing while the Linguini with Clams and ribbons of Fettuccine were spot on from the start with the latter not afraid to show a meaty sapor and all the better for it.

At this point fairly well sated, about half of the Rigatoni and a few twirls of Fettuccini both packed to-go, it was with two of six Secondi plus all four Sides that savories concluded, Michael’s billing of the Eggplant Rollatini as “the best thing on the menu” at first seeming a little overzealous for a $6 item written in a six-point font but in reality fairly true as the thinly shaved Vegetable and gooey Mozzarella ate like the lightest Mozzarella stick one can imagine, though the White Sea Bass in Tomato Water and thick-cut Mary’s Organic Chicken Parm were not shabby themselves, nor were the boiled, smashed and fried Potatoes teaming with Herbs and Garlic.

Declining Coffee or Espresso after a long day and plenty of Iced Tea, the online menu and Social Media images of Dessert slightly different from Osteria Costa’s actual offerings, it was with 4/5 of the menu served that eyes widened at a portion-to-price ratio far more generous than expected, just $5-$7 for Cakes and Sweets that cost double elsewhere and highlighted by lightly sweetened Olive Oil Cake plus chalices of Gelato and Tiramisu that are perfect for sharing given their substantial size, though if one is forced to pick just one the Tiramisu was said by a few to be the best they’ve tasted in Las Vegas.

FOUR AND HALF STARS: Undoubtedly the best first-week experience in Las Vegas since Yusho, a lot of research and several familiar faces assuring an almost seamless transition from Portofino, Osteria Costa offers an incredible value on the dollar compared to the average Casino Restaurant without skimping on quality, quantity or experience – now hopefully MGM’s marketing department, locals and tourists will give Chef LaPlaca and his team the respect they deserve.

RECOMMENDED: Housemade Mozzarella, Fritto Misto, Focaccia di Recco, Meatballs, Piccante Pizza, Rigatoni alla Norma, Fettuccine, Corvina Acqua Pazza, Garlic Potatoes, Eggplant Rollatini, Olive Oil Cake, Tiramisu.

AVOID: The Chocolate Cake featured in Social Media images and Nutella Zeppole listed online are not available while Roasted Mushrooms were a bit too salty, as was the first run of Rigatoni.

TIP: Mon – Sun 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Osteria Costa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Osteria Costa, Pasta, Pizza, Pork, Portofino, Portofino by Chef Michael LaPlaca, Portofino Ristorante, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Truffle, Truffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gelatology [10,] Las Vegas NV


Samples: Carbernet Sauvignon, Rich Dark Chocolate Cake, Foie Gras, Avocado, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Blueberry Donut, Milo, Vegan Mango Tajin Sorbetto


Chocolate Cheesecake Bite

Sticky Toffee Pudding and Caramel Popcorn

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blueberry Donut

Baci di Dama Cookie

Honey Comb

On Saturday Las Vegas bid farewell to one of its most visionary Chefs and pleasant small business owners, Desyree Alberganti packing her bags to join family in Indiana but reportedly leaving Gelatology in good hands as guests were treated one last time to a smile plus Prosecco, Cake and her world-class Gelato.

FIVE STARS: Truly the end of an era, Gelatology’s story beginning with Desyree at Art of Flavors, one hopes new ownership can continue to live up to high expectations.

RECOMMENDED: For the past three years, basically anything.


TIP: Social Media will remain active at @gelatologylv.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Gelatology Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Gelatology, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Waffle, Waffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A.Y.C.E. Buffet, Las Vegas NV



Pork Bao Buns / Congee with Scallions / Pork Potstickers / Pina Colada Fritters / Braised Beef Poutine

Buttermilk Pancakes and Brioche French Toast with Strawberries, Raspberries and Maple Syrup / Bananas Foster Waffle / Cream Cheese Blintzes with Blueberry Compote and Vanilla Yogur

Ham, Pepperoni, Mozzarella Stromboli / Chili Pie / Breakfast Quiche / Smoked Sausage / Bacon / Sausage Links / Hash Browns / Buttermilk Biscuit / Four Cheese Pizza

Grilled Pita Bread, Babaganoush, Hummus / Spring Rolls, Sweet & Sour Sauce / Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings / Cheetos Crusted Street Corn / Flaming Hot Cheetos Street Corn

BBQ Pulled Pork / Cornbread / Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese / Pork al Pastor with Guacamole and Cheese Taco / Chicken Fajita Taco

Cinnamon Roll / Blueberry Scone / Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich with Caramel and Chocolate Gelato / Oreo Coupe / Brownie Sundae Coupe / S’mores Coupe

Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Soft Serve / Chocolate Mousse Cake / Tiramisu Coupe / Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting / Mini Cream Puff / Rice Pudding Parfait / Peanut Butter Cookie / Sugar Cookie / Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

As part of an ongoing arms race for tourist dollars it was shortly after Station Casinos took over The Palms that change was underway, the conversion of 24/7 Café to Lucky Penny followed by an announcement that Alize would shutter to make way for one of America’s greatest Italian Chefs plus the opening of A.Y.C.E. on December 22nd.

Described as a “celebration of All-You-Can-Eat” and a significant departure from Station’s Feast brand of Buffet found from Red Rock to Green Valley and everywhere in between, A.Y.C.E. features a spacious floor plan bolstered by clever artwork and recipes created by Executive Chef Joseph Kudrak, the Cuisine divided across seven stations including the Greenery, Hearth and Roastery plus World Pan, Smoke & Fire, Revival and Sweet & Light.

Priced at $8.99 for Breakfast, $11.99 for Lunch and $17.99 for Dinner or Sunday Brunch when using Station’s Free Players Card, a few bucks extra for those unwilling to sign up, guests arriving at The Palms will find A.Y.C.E. at the center of the property and although lines run a bit slow during prime time the average wait is far less than Bacchanal, Wynn or Wicked Spoon while service once inside is fairly typical, Beverages always taking a bit longer to fill than expected though empty plates disappear fairly quickly.

Doing a nice job with the build-out, open kitchens and live stations visible behind several of the sections including a unique “Revival” area that offers cold-pressed Juices, Vegan and Vegetarian fare, it was after perusal of the whole line-up that a plate was selected, bottomless Coffee included in the cost of admission plus Water refreshing the palate between tastes from the World Pan including creamy Congee plus convincing Coconut Fritters plus Pork Buns while the Potstickers were unfortunately a bit flavorless, though Poutine performed well with fresh Curds and Fries that held their own.

Taking an alternating savory and sweet approach before realizing Breakfast turns over to Lunch at 11am on Saturday, the Buttermilk Pancakes which are also offered in Gluten-Free format outperforming Brioche French Toast that appeared to have been sitting out for a while, two highlights from Breakfast included individually portioned Waffles smothered in Bananas Foster Sauce as well as Cheese Blitzes every bit as good as those at Canter’s whether on their own or topped with Berries available fresh or as Compote.

Rarely impressed by Buffet Italian, though A.Y.C.E.’s stone oven and Chef maneuvering items with a peel certainly adds a bit of authenticity, it was with a bit of surprise that Stromboli offered gooey Mozzarella plus two types of Meat inside a respectable Crust even though the Cheese Pizza slice was a bit undercooked and flaccid, the Breakfast Meats and Potatoes from nearby par for a Buffet while the springy Quiche, fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit and Chili Pie beneath a Cornbread Crust were all quite good.

At this point witnessing a substantial changeover, nearly 2/3 of the Breakfast items slowly phased out for Lunch, it was on the advice of a friend that Salt & Pepper Wings as well as Spring Rolls from World Pan were investigated and found to be as good as what one might find at any place on Spring Mountain Road, the Babaganoush accompanying warm Pita a very good rendition though Hummus was fairly flavorless while Mexican Street Corn was cleverly presented though hit and miss, the regular Cheetos version featuring mushy Kernels while the Flaming Hot version was better, though both would likely be better with fresh Cobs during the proper season.

Mixing stations a bit to try a few additional savories, the bounty of items far too large for a comprehensive tasting in one visit, fans of sweeter Barbeque should not miss Pulled Pork that was visibly being roasted behind the hearth while those who like a bit more smoke will likely be impressed by Al Pastor presented alongside Condiments for making Tacos, the Macaroni and Cheese unfortunately compromised by Noodles that had not been cooked thoroughly enough with those Carbs set aside in favor of moist, dense Cornbread.

Missing out on Breakfast Pastries due to the transition to Lunch, though that certainly does not mean A.Y.C.E. is lacking for sweets, it was budgeting capacity that plate six featured a Scone, Cinnamon Roll and scoop of Bread Pudding made from those Rolls that is better than any Bread Pudding tasted in Las Vegas in quite some time, the Apple Cobbler also faring well beneath a swirl of Soft Serve while the build-your-own Ice Cream Sandwich station is at least as good as Sweet Addictions or CREAM with better quality Ice Cream – or in this case Gelato – than both.

Rounding out the morning with a few more small Desserts, the S’mores Coupe too sugary for even the most overgrown sweet tooth, those looking for something a bit more nuanced would do well to investigate the Rice Pudding Parfait, Tiramisu or Chocolate Mousse Cake, though in terms of unexpected “wow” factor it is tough to top the Oreo Coupe that manages to replicate America’s favorite Cookie in flavor without weighing more than half an ounce.

FOUR STARS: Priced at about 50% of Bacchanal or Wicked Spoon but offering a great variety of well-prepared Food it will require a second visit for Dinner to determine A.Y.C.E.’s overall place in the hierarchy of Las Vegas Buffets, but so far The Palms is two-for-two on their rebrands and whether one wants to go all-in or focus on healthy options the new Buffet fills its everything-to-everyone role better than most.

RECOMMENDED: Mini Waffle with Bananas Foster, Cheese Blintzes, Chili Pie, Salt & Pepper Wings, Babaganoush, Cornbread, Pork Al Pastor, Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding, Caramel Gelato, Oreo Coupe.

AVOID: Macaroni and Cheese, Cheese Pizza, French Toast, Pork Potstickers, S’mores Coupe.

TIP: Boarding Pass Members should keep their eyes on the mail for BOGO Buffet Coupons.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


A.Y.C.E. Buffet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in A.Y.C.E., A.Y.C.E. Buffet, Bread Pudding, Breakfast, Coffee, Cornbread, cupcake, cupcakes, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, pancake, Pancakes, Pizza, Pork, Tiramisu, Waffle, Waffles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Davey’s Ice Cream, Brooklyn NY

Davey’s Ice Cream

Samples: Roasted Pistachio, Cookies & Cream, Speculoos Chocolate Chip, Ultra Babka, Nutella Chocolate Chunk

Homemade Peanut Butter Pie Milkshake

It was 2013 when David Yoo opened Davey’s Ice Cream in the East Village and although several artisan Ice Cream Shops preceded and followed few have managed to expand throughout the city, a total of four locations now ranging from SoHo to Greenpoint with the Bedford Avenue shop particularly convenient on the way from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the L-Train.

Known for a strict adherence to quality standards that sees every small-batch made on-site using a lengthy process, his partnerships with local businesses producing a multitude of flavors across the years including Ultra Babka featuring Bread from Moishe’s, it was during a sunny day in late January that the Scoop Shop was found empty save for a young clerk singing along to tunes overhead, her happiness for a customer almost tangible as she served up sample after sample including the particularly impressive Roasted Pistachio and Speculoos Cookie Butter studded with Chocolate Chips.

Exiting the world of Graphic Design to pursue baking and Ice Cream, the fact that so little of the shop screams “Instagram” a breath of fresh air considering Yoo’s background, it was after tasting a few more spoonfuls that the decision was made to go all-in on the $10.25 Davey’s signature, a whole slice of housemade Peanut Butter Pie topped in two scoops of French Vanilla plus a measure of Organic Milk and Fudge before being spun down into a creamy concoction likely to clog the straw repeatedly but nonetheless worth every cent and calorie.


Davey's Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Brooklyn, Davey's, Davey’s Ice Cream, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, New York, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Empellón, New York NY


House Cold Brew from Counter Culture

Queso Fundido with Steak Tartare, spicy Corn Nuts and housemade Corn Tortillas

Sticky Rice Tamal with Red Chile Duck Confit

Octopus Tacos with Celery and Salsa Verde

Corn Ice Cream Taco

Canela Ice Cream Sandwich

When Alex Stupak left wd~50 to open Empellón many were skeptical, a celebrated Pastry Chef quitting the world of fine dining to make Tacos decried as disingenuous by folks who’d never even eaten his Food, yet in hindsight everything has seemingly come full circle as Wylie is making Donuts in Brooklyn while Alex owns three Restaurants including his polished new flagship in Midtown.

Opened in late-winter 2017 and since earning high praise from fans and critics for not only the Cuisine but a stunning two-story build-out decorated in colored glass and sculpture around an open kitchen, the upstairs quieter and built for Power Lunchers while the main floor gives those more interested in Food a true visual feast, it was minutes past 1:00pm that a seat was taken directly facing the line, several bodies engaged in tasks across the various stations.

Certainly not a concept striving for authenticity or the tabs many seem to think a necessity of Mexican Food, the menu prices comparable to Cosme with dishes that stretch the boundaries of tradition by way of great ingredients and the sort of technique learned at Alinea or wd~50, it was with the Lunch crowd beginning to thin that a waiter approached to make suggestions, the $38 Lunch Prix-Fixe actually a fairly good bargain even with an extra Appetizer and Dessert added on.

Receiving a controversial Three Stars (out of Four) from Pete Wells, though criticisms of the Restaurant from others seem more indicative of the entitlement of modern times than a real indictment of Stupak’s creations, it was with freely refilled Cold Brew in-hand that the meal began with Empellón’s current take on Queso Fundido, the melted blend of Cheeses stretchy and saline but nicely balanced by hand-chopped Beef and spicy puffed-Corn added for texture.

Not a house of shortcuts, the Corn Tortillas visibly being made just as they do it in Mexico, it was after four loaded folds of Cheese and Meat that a little extra was scraped from the bowl before moving on to the Prix Fixe Appetizer “Tamale,” a controversial twist replacing Masa with Thai-style Sticky Rice and topping it with tender Duck in a complex Red Sauce, everything about the dish executed well, just the naming questionable.

Joked about by many as thinking anything can be a Taco, the list of options ranging from Pastrami and Falafel to Hashed Browns or Steak with Onions, it was on the server’s suggestion that Octopus was selected among the rest, two charred Tentacles presented on Tortillas with ribbons of Celery and nutty Salsa each finished in three bites before moving on to a fairly forgettable Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwich and laborious Corn Ice Cream Taco that is reminiscent of Kettle Corn but texturally every bit as remarkable as Cosme’s Corn Husk Meringue.


Empellón Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Counter Culture, Counter Culture Coffee, Dessert, Empellón, Empellon, Empellón Midtown, Empellon Midtown, Food, Ice Cream, Mexican, New York, Octopus, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Blue Stove, Brooklyn NY

The Blue Stove

Maple Bourbon Walnut Pie

Snickerdoodle Cookie

Chocolate Crinkle Cookie

Ranger Cookie with Oats, Raisins, Chocolate

Carrot Cake with Raisins, Pineapple, Walnuts

Spiced Guava Chess Pie with Orange Crème Fraiche

Located in trendy Williamsburg and serving guests for nearly nine years, a long time when considering the rapid gentrification that turned Brooklyn into Manhattan’s near-equal in terms of dining and rent, it was after another meal that a twenty minute walk found The Blue Stove, its location near I-278 at first seeming a bit distant from other businesses but in reality just 4-blocks from an L Subway stop.

Occupying the corner of Graham Avenue and Withers Street with hours beginning at 8am on weekdays or nine on weekends, an all-day affair offering both sweet and savory Pastries in addition to Coffee, Tea and Espresso, The Blue Stove is owned and operated by Rachel McBride Beyers who opened the space in hopes of providing guests the same warm memories she recalled as being baked by her mother throughout the Chef’s childhood.

Rustic yet welcoming in décor, the cases and racks all worn with cracked crown molding above and the eponymous enamel stove standing proud on one side, it was shortly after 11am that the compact eatery was found roughly 1/3 full but soon to get busier, a large list of options at first posing some difficulty in deciding what sounded best but eventually yielding six items with some for then and the rest saved for later.

Friendly as relates to service, a low-volume Soundtrack of classic rock entertaining patrons as well as staff seen hand-rolling dough in back, it was no more than five minutes after settling the bill that items were boxed and a warmed Slice of Pie presented, the combination of toasted Walnuts, Bourbon and Maple Syrup packing a buttery Crust from top to bottom with far less sticky filling than the South’s often cloyingly sweet Pecan version.

Planning to simply snap photos and get a taste for the rest at this point, a fool’s folly as that ‘taste’ quickly escalated to several bites of Carrot Cake that finds its sweetness in Fruit and a thin ribbon of Cream Cheese Frosting, it was showing some restraint and setting aside approximately half that attention turned to an item labeled “Spiced Guava Chess Pie with Orange Crème Fraiche,” each layer individually intense and creamy in its own way but the combination unlike anything ever experienced with sourness melting away to a sweet finish perfumed by Anise.

Slowly savoring each bite of the Chess and debating another slice for the road, a line of six patrons the eventual deciding factor in avoiding further endangering hopes of enjoying lunch, it was almost six hours later that three of Chef Beyers Cookies were tasted, the Snickerdoodle a bit dry and disappointing but rife with Cinnamon while the chewy Chocolate Crinkle and house-special Ranger were both quite good, the latter in particular as its Butter content seemed magnified by finishing Salt rather than muted by Oats, Raisins and Chocolate Chips.


The Blue Stove Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Blue Stove, Breakfast, Brooklyn, Dessert, Food, New York, The Blue Stove, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday in Brooklyn, Brooklyn NY

Sunday in Brooklyn

Sticky Bun

Maple Cheddar Biscuit

Brussels Sprout Toast, Persimmon Sambal, Almond, Fried Egg

Malted Pancakes, Hazelnut Maple Praline, Brown Butter

Although the closure of Isa was certainly a blow to Brooklyn’s rapidly developing Restaurant scene it did not take long before another eatery sprouted up in prime real estate at 348 Wythe Avenue, Chef Jaime Young of Atera plus partners from Major Food Group launching Sunday in Brooklyn late-2016 and quickly making a name for themselves with not only hipsters but also neighborhood families.

Developed as a three-meal space focused on accessibility and sustainability, everything from nose-to-tail cooking, pickling and dishes featuring Bone broth, Stems and Seeds featured at Breakfast, Midday or Dinner, it was shortly after entering the rustic looking space around 10:00am that a seat was offered in back near the Bar, a pair of Vegans nearby discussing their options with three Real Estate Agents holding a meeting to their right and a family of four tucking into surprisingly large portions on the left.

Featuring an open kitchen complete with wood-burning oven plus a Coffee counter and to-go window showcasing skills honed in Boston and New York, a period of time with Tony Maws at Craigie on Main plainly evident in the Restaurant’s concept as well as Young’s cooking, it was having already scouted the menu online that decisions were made quickly, two housemade Pastries arriving shortly thereafter on a branded wooden board, the Sticky Bun soft and subtly smoky with restrained sweetness while the $5 Biscuit was excessively priced, though nicely layered and complex in its flavors.

Undoubtedly the sort of place to offer Avocado Toast, though the modern Breakfast-staple will likely soon be featured at Denny’s and IHOP, it was taking a different approach that Sunday in Brooklyn additionally presented a slice of housemade Bread topped in shaved Brussels Sprouts plus roasted Almonds on a base of Persimmon Sambal, the light heat and funkiness likely not everyone’s cup of Tea in the morning but all of it working incredibly well together beneath a Sunnyside Egg.

Not a ‘cheap’ Restaurant, but also not particularly expensive given the location, products and portions, it was finally in Young’s signature stack of Pancakes that any residual appetite was invested, the stack of three individually griddled rounds raised by Baking Powder and tinged with Malt incomparably light and fluffy beneath a liberal pour of thick topping that tastes equal parts Maple Syrup and Hazelnut Butter.


Sunday in Brooklyn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Brooklyn, Dessert, Food, New York, pancake, Pancakes, Sunday in Brooklyn, Vacation Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lucibello’s Italian Pastry Shop, New Haven CT

Lucibello’s Italian Pastry Shop

Rainbow Cookies

Vanilla Custard Zeppole


Baba Au Rhum with Vanilla Cream

Chocolate Chip Cannoli

Serving the fine folks of New Haven since 1929 it was en route to New York from Mystic that a detour was made for Lucibello’s Italian Pastry Shop, its current location at the corner of Grand Avenue and Olive Street home since 1959 with the Faggio Family in charge for nearly sixty years.

Now run by Peter Faggio, his father Frank the creator of many of the Bakery’s recipes including several old-world classics rarely discussed in the era of Instagram, it is immediately upon entering the brick building that one is transported to a different time in history, two women behind the counter ready to assist guests and a tall male gathering items for what appeared to be a fairly sizable catering order.

Perhaps not as acclaimed as Frank Pepe’s on the national level, but locally held in high regard for not only its longevity but an adherence to tradition that has seen little change over the decades, it is recommended that first timers take a few minutes to peruse the options and ask questions before composing an order, the various Italian Cookies all lining one case and sold by weight while Pastries fill another with a assortment of Fillings.

Priced lower than similar shops in Boston, Brooklyn or Philadelphia and generally more friendly it was after weighing all options that five items were requested, boxed and tied, first tastes featuring a Zeppole done right with light Pastry sliced and sandwiching eggy Vanilla Custard that was selected over Chocolate or Vanilla Cream.

Admittedly suspicious of the prefilled Cannoli but willing to risk it, the shell thankfully not as soggy as feared but still not as good as it could have been if filled-to-order, it was from here on that Lucibello’s showed best, the Rainbow Cookies weighty and nicely balanced without any artificial Almond extract detected while the Sfogliatelle and Baba were opposite ends of the texture spectrum, the former shattering to the tooth and lightly perfumed in Citrus while the Cake filled with Vanilla Cream was soft and sopping wet with sweetened Liquor.


Lucibellos Italian Pastry Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Mystic Pizza, Mystic CT

Mystic Pizza

Pepperoni Slice

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

Although Hollywood magic has recreated sunken cruise ships and built entire universes of superheroes it turns out that Donald Petrie’s 1988 film Mystic Pizza is based in reality, the shop built in 1973 by the Zelepos family still standing at 56 West Main Street and even having spawned a sibling out in North Stonington plus a vast line of merchandise.

No doubt buoyed over the past thirty years by the movie, a mundane coming of age comedy featuring Julia Roberts that stands as a local point of pride, it was sometime after dark that guests entered the take-out side of a space that was otherwise empty save for two clerks, the promise of “a Slice of Heaven” immediately suspect as Cheese, Pepperoni and BBQ Pizza slices sat languishing under a heat lamp.

Friendly enough in terms of demeanor and décor, information pamphlets about the Restaurant and movie available alongside take-out menus, it was mostly ignoring the kitsch while peering into a tank of African Cichlids that a brief wait took place after exchanging just over $5 for a Slice plus a Cookie, the former visibly abused and likely hours old with overly sweet Sauce plus run of the mill Pepperoni on a Crust that was buttery in a style reminiscent of Pizza Hut.

Taking just two bites of the slice prior to pitching the rest in an outside Trashcan, the idea of simply leaving a pile of browned Cheese that can be easily replicated by overcooking a Frozen Pizza on the counter briefly entertained but eventually deemed too rude, it was turning attention to Mystic’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie that salvation was sought, the crumb a little dry but the flavors definitely there, though certainly not something worth going out of one’s way for.


Mystic Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Oyster Club, Mystic CT

Oyster Club

Farm to Hearth Whole Wheat Bread, Housemade Cornbread, Herb Butter

New England style Quahog Clam Chowder, Bacon, Celery, Potato, Fresh Parsley

Bibb Lettuce Salad – Anchovy and Garic Dressing, Parmigiano Reggiano, Farm to Hearth Croutons

Housemade Prosciutto, Fermented Chili Honey, Stone Acres Peanuts, Fried Bread, Parmigiano Reggiano

Goose Fat poached Stonington Scallops, Celery Leaf Powder, Goose Prosciutto, Fermented White Pepper, Pandan Vinegar

Butter Roasted Carrots, Black Garlic Parsnip Chips, Mystic Cheese Co. Darwin, Honey-soaked Maitake Mushrooms

Spaghetti, Prosciutto, Red Onion, Black Pepper, Parmigiano Reggiano

Garlic Knot

Zeppole, Powdered Sugar

Toasted Coconut-Rum Pot de Crème, Whipped Cream, Orgeat Almonds

Coffee-Pecan Malt Blondie, Bourbon Caramel, Whipped Cream, Cocoa Nibs

Almond Brown Butter Cake, Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise, Whipped Cream

When any serious diner does her or his research on Mystic two names are repeatedly the center of most conversations, Chef James Wayman and Dan Meiser who opened Oyster Club in 2011 and virtually changed an entire city’s food culture overnight.

Now the proud owners of three Restaurants including Engine Room and the recently debuted Grass & Bone, the later complete with a Butcher Shop that on this particular evening saw Chef Wyman cooking a special Dinner alongside Boston’s Jamie Bissonette, it was several minutes early for a 6:00pm reservation that two guests were welcomed to the converted carriage house at 13 Water Street, the warmth of the foyer bolstered by a fireplace with dining room left and Bar to the right.

Open nightly from 4pm for Happy Hour, dinner beginning at five and Weekends also offering Brunch, it was with coats checked that guests were led to tables in a room heavy with wood, a list of Cocktails presented along with menus that change daily to reflect the market, one of them more lengthy and the other a bargain $25 Pasta Prix Fixe.

Treated to the cooking of Sous Chef Dave Vacca given Wayman’s busy schedule, though the executive Chef’s fondness of Charcuterie and local sourcing played a prominent role, it was after lengthy perusal while weighing appetites that the decision was made to order one Tasting and further supplement from there, the total tab of $145 including one Cocktail a veritable bargain and Dinner starting off with the first of two complimentary Baskets of Bread including a Cornmeal variety just as good as that at Engine Room.

Deferring the meal’s course to a friendly and informed waitress, her honest answers about portion sizes helpful in allowing a party of two to sample a wide swath of the night’s offerings, it was with Oyster Club’s famous Quahog Clam Chowder alongside Salad dressed in Anchovies plus crispy Croutons that things got underway, a large bowl split into two portions at the kitchen’s discretion proving thinner than most and all the better for it as Clams and Bacon came through unmuted by Cream, Potatoes or Seasoning.

Refreshing share plates and silverware for each course, a request easily accommodated with the room less than 1/4 full, course two featured a duo of daily specials including pieces of housemade Prosciutto layered amidst Toast, Hydroponic Greens and Peanuts plus a touch of hot Honey, the quality of each ingredient magnified by the others and a trend also witnessed in room-temperature Scallops poached in Goose Fat served with cured Bird Meat and a light dressing imbued by Screwpine.

Told that Oyster Club’s Tagliatelle is something of a signature but at the time more interested in housemade Spaghetti served simply with Prosciutto, Peppers and Onions next to a buttery Garlic Knot, the flavors all present but the end result admittedly a little underwhelming, course three concluded savories by way of roasted Baby Carrots wrinkly and tender beneath Root Vegetable Chips along with local Cheese and “Honey-soaked” Mushrooms, a never-before-seen idea that surprising worked well in this context.

Rounding out the evening with Dessert but no Coffee, a long day of driving to follow and sleep at a premium, suffice it to say that the Tasting Menu’s lone choice was more Funnel Cake than Zeppole while the regular Menu fared far better, an $8 Blondie topped in boozy Caramel and Whipped Cream probably best shared given its richness while both the Pina Colada-esque Pot de Crème or signature Almond Brown Butter Cake with a texture akin to Sticky Toffee Pudding are so good that one per diner is well advised to prevent battles for the last bite.


Oyster Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Engine Room, Mystic CT

Engine Room

Carolina-style Hush Puppies – Black Pepper Sauce

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes – Warm Icing

Chicken & Waffles – Buttermilk Brined Breast, Cornmeal Waffle, Sesame-Honey Hot Sauce, Sunnyside Egg

Grilled Sweet Potato Bread

Cornbread – Maple Butter

When any serious diner does her or his research on Mystic two names are repeatedly the center of most conversations, Chef James Wayman and Dan Meiser who opened Oyster Club in 2011 as well as Engine Room along the Mystic River just two-and-a-half years later.

Known by locals and tourists as *the* place for Burgers as well as libations including the area’s best collection of Bourbon and Beers-on-Tap, a rotating selection of sixteen along with Wine, Bottles and Cocktails plus customizable Bloody Marys creating the hook for a Brunch of Seasonal Fare, it was with reservations at noon that a brief wait was circumvented for seats at a banquet, regulars on both sides already a few drinks in and even the half-eaten plates on their tables still visually quite appealing.

Toqued by former Oyster Club Chef Chris Vanasse and housed within refurbished confines of the Lathrop Marine Engine building, exposed brick and cement par for the course in trendy restaurants but given a nautical slant in this case, it was after greetings from a youthful female waitress that Water was poured and menus assessed, several novelties laid out alongside Omelets, Bennys, Hashes and Sandwiches.

Listing purveyors as “The Story” online, a philosophy that “ingredients shape the cook” particularly modest for the sort of dining not found in-town ten years prior, it was while listening to unnecessarily-loud music overhead and customers attempting to be heard over it that round-one was presented, five orbs each of Carolina-style Hush Puppies and Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes freshly-fried and served hot with Dipping Sauces, the former better for $2-less and easily amongst the best one will find anywhere thanks to the aromatic spices and lightness of frying.

Serving fast as crowds grew thicker, the population of Mystic clearly infatuated with dining out on Sundays as both RISE and Bleu Squid had also been packed, it was in three plates that Entrée and Sides were presented after packing two Donuts to go, the grilled Sweet Potato Bread used to make Engine Room’s French Toast fairly dull on its own but both Cornbread and a fried Chicken Breast atop two Waffle-wedges performing well, the latter a little steep at $15 even though it uses good ingredients but the thick corner-piece worth every penny for its moist Crumb heavily saturated by a gob of Maple Butter.


Engine Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bleu Squid Breakfast & Bakery Café, Mystic CT

Bleu Squid Breakfast & Bakery Café

Bleu Squid Blend Coffee by Mystic Coffee Roasters

Apple Almond Bread Pudding with Whipped Cream

Sweet Corn Pancakes with Blueberries and Derby Farms 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Carrot Cake Cupcake with Walnuts, Raisins and Cream Cheese Icing

Snickerdoodle Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing and Cinnamon Sugar

Located in a retail village near the Mystic Aquarium, one of those odd collections of stores propped up almost entirely by tourism, it was in further exploration of the city that the GPS was pointed to Bleu Squid Breakfast & Bakery Café, the arrival at Olde Mistick Village simple enough but actually finding the Restaurant more a matter of luck as it resides around back with no sort of signage providing guidance.

Recently expanded and renovated after serving the community for nearly a decade, locals and visitors alike enticed by the promise of gourmet Grilled Cheese and Fancy Cupcakes for dine-in or carry-out, it was just prior to 9:30am that a two-top was offered in a back section served by a pleasant middle-aged woman, the fact that the place was packed on a cold winter day and already selling out of specials suggesting good things.

A far less crowded space than RISE, and one with a menu nearly 3-fold longer without even considering Pastry cases packed top-to-bottom, it was after brief perusal of dishes and confirmation that Grilled Cheese was “not available until after eleven o’clock” that the decision was made to go Carbohydrate heavy, the first of several Mugs of house-blend Coffee sweetened to preference going well with everything, but the last slice of warm and custardy Apple-Almond Bread Pudding in particular.

A bit perplexed as to how griddling a Sandwich differs from French Toast, or how melting Cheese with Lobster is more complicated than making an Omelet, it was setting aside the server’s suggestion of a $19 Yorkshire Pudding-Lobster Benedict that the $9.75 Stack of Pancakes studded with Corn and Blueberries was ordered including $2.25 extra for pure Maple Syrup from Vermont, the flavors probably slightly better during warmer months but still quite good with a nice yeastiness to the golden-browned Batter.

Unable to leave without at least tasting Bleu Squid’s much-talked-about Cupcakes, well over a dozen flavors available every day of the week beginning at 7am, it was having been warned that Buttercream was sweeter than average that the decision was made to invest in one themed after the Snickerdoodle Cookie plus Carrot Cake topped in tangy Cream Cheese and chopped Nuts, the former definitely living up to its name but definitely better after removing half the Frosting while the Raisin-speckled Spice Cake was great as served.


Bleu Squid Breakfast & Bakery Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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RISE, Mystic CT


Grilled Coffee Cake Muffin

Cakey McPancake – Chocolate Buttermilk Pancake, Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, Butter, Bobo’s Maple Syrup

Returning to Mystic for day four of a trek through New England it was on a rainy Sunday morning with Sift closed that Breakfast was ordered at RISE, their claim of “Breakfast + Lunch Elevated” potentially accurate for a sleepy seaside town propped up by tourism during the Summer but nothing more than an example of “Big Fish in a small pond” syndrome in general.

Located on Water Street downtown since August of 2016, a space near Hollywood-famous Mystic Pizza and Oyster Club plus most of the city’s shopping creating no shortage of foot traffic even during Winter, it was arriving just fifteen minutes after opening that RISE was already found to be bustling, a seat at the thin rail near the door offered and accepted with an invitation to pour one’s own Coffee ignored as a result of the Restaurant offering no artificial sweeteners.