Tag Archives: fries

Salute!: 23 N Lemon Ave, Sarasota, FL

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My family and I went here for dinner tonight after our first attempt had an hour long wait and our 2nd attempt was closed. Salute has a great outdoor eating area with available tables and we were seated right away. Our waiter came over with menus and went over the specials. None of us wanted to order cocktails so we just asked for flat water. I also asked if, when he had a moment, he’d bring over some lemon for the water. When he came back to take our orders and to bring us bread and dipping olive oil, I again reminded him that I wanted some lemon. When he came back a third time to bring us our appetizers, I asked him for a third time for some lemon. Finally, he came back with 3 slices of lemon (for our table of 4. Hmmm) and my water glass was, by then, empty. Big fail. The bus boy overheard me complaining about the timing of this and re-filled my glass. Ok. Better late than never.

For my app, I shared an arugula, endive, radicchio salad with Gabriel. It came with a creamy balsamic dressing and shaved parmesan. Very nice and fresh, but kind of on the boring side.

For my entree, at the suggestion of our waiter, I ordered the chicken parmesan with penne. It was a great portion sized- very manageable and not overwhelmingly large which I appreciated. The chicken, however was totally overcooked, stringy, dry and unimpressive. The sauce and cheese on top were mediocre at best. I’ve had better chicken parm at a diner.

For the prices here, I would not return. Just a few nights earlier, we went to Cafe Baci for the same price and MUCH better food. I guess you’re really just paying for the lovely outdoor seating here and not much more.

Oh well, they can’t all be winners.

New Pass Grill & Bait Shop: 1505 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL

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Gabriel and I stopped here for a quick lunch today before our fun day of going to see a waterski show and then to the Mote aquarium (both just down the street). It’s a great setting, right next to the Longboat Key bridge at the water’s edge. Tons of boaters dock here for lunch, beer and bait, and it was cool to see them coming and going as we ate outside under an umbrellaed table.

We stood in line for about 15 minutes waiting to place our order at the takeout counter. We decided to share a cheeseburger and a clam basket (which consisted of clam strips, fries and cole slaw). I was happy to see that they had malt vinegar– something I really love on fries that not a lot of places have available. We sat at a gulf-side table and waited for our name to be called over the loudspeaker that our lunch was ready to pick up at the side door. About 10 minutes later it was ready and we picked it up. The burger was basically cafeteria quality. The bun was better than average, but the meat patty was pretty poor. Not juicy, not flavorful, not really any better than a frozen grocery store cheapo one or one you’d get at a fast food joint. The clam strips were very good, not greasy, just super crunchy and a generous portion. The fries were also better-than-average. Super crunchy and tasty. We also shared a large, unsweetened ice tea that hit the spot.

I wouldn’t recommend coming here for great food, but for a lovely, casual setting and fun people, bird and boat watching, this is a great choice. For just under $20, I think next time we’ll choose to make sandwiches and sit at one of the many waterfront park picnic tables.

Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB): 5238 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota, FL

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I was invited to sing at an open mic here hosted by Ben Hammond so my boyfriend and I made it into an impromptu date night and went for dinner and drinks before I performed.

There was a 30 minute wait for a table at this hopping place- full of fun-loving tourists in casual beachy clothes. We went to sit at the bar while we waited and ordered cocktails from the bartender. Watching her make the drinks we realized that they don’t skimp on the booze here the way they do in NYC, and for half the price, we got double the size.

Once we were seated, we ordered a dozen oysters, sweet potato fries and fish tacos- all which were recommended on yelp.com or by the waitstaff. The oysters, though cheap and fresh, were fairly flavorless and really needed the horseradish and cocktail sauce that they were served with. The fish tacos were okay but pretty skimpy on the fish- and could have been much better if they’d added a bit of avocado or guacamole to them. They were served with a creamy cilantro sauce and salsa, but I really couldn’t taste the cilantro at all. The blacked grouper was fresh and flavorful, just too small to fill the tacos. The sweet potato fries were awesome. Super thick and crunchy and fried to perfection.

Overall, I felt that the prices were reasonable but the food was only so-so. The service was friendly and efficient, and very nice to let us sit for a long time after we finished eating to listen to the band. This is a place you come to for great drinks, a fun scene and awesome music…but not for fantastic food. I’ll be back for the music again for sure…but I think I’ll eat elsewhere next time.

Dumont Burger: 314 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY

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Every eight weeks, my boyfriend I have what we call ‘blood donation and burgers day’. We try to eat pretty healthfully most of the time, so we REALLY look forward to our iron-replenishing meal and often decide well ahead of time where our next burger will take place. This time, we were VERY excited to try the famous burger at Peter Luger’s Steakhouse in Brooklyn. I’ve had the steak there and was dying to try the burger. Well, silly me, I totally didn’t think we’d need a reservation for a Sunday mid-day burger and I was very wrong. When we arrived and were told in a fairly snotty way that it would be at least 45 minutes, we decided to leave to go to Dumont Burger instead. I’ve had this burger before- but it had been a few years, and I remembered it being one of the best I’ve ever had. I also remembered the staff being super friendly and laid back, not at all like the hoity-toity Luger’s people.

When we got to Dumont and were warmly welcomed by the waitress, we had our choice of seats in the nearly empty restaurant. I should mention that by the time we left, the place was totally full, so I suppose it’s just hit or miss regarding wait times. We each ordered a burger (mine with a side of onion rings, and topped with gruyere and mushrooms and Gabriel’s with a side of fries, and topped with caramelized onions, bacon and gruyere) and a half and half (vanilla and chocolate) milkshake to share. The burgers came out quickly, with some of their housemade pickles on the side. I’d ordered my burger medium rare and it was more like medium well, or even well done. There was no red or pink anywhere in sight and I was a little annoyed but didn’t want to send it back because I was starving. Other than that, I have no complaints at all. The burger is on a delicious brioche bun, with melty cheese and meaty mushrooms and was totally delicious. The onion rings were perfect, not too greasy, but hot and crisp. The fries that came with G’s burger were also awesome. Our milkshake, though not quite as out-of-this-world as I’d remembered, was quite good and creamy- but not very sweet. I did LOVE that it was so thick that the straw could stand straight up in it. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t get light-headed trying to suck up a milkshake with a straw, it’s simply too thin.

As good as the food was, with a bill over $40, I felt this was really overpriced. I’d be happy to pay that much in a nicer, more comfortable setting, but to sit atop bar stools in a dark, drafty, small restaurant seemed a little ridiculous. I think their prices should be much lower than they are…or the seating should be much more comfortable.

After lunch, we stopped by Dumont-to-go next door intending only to get a hot cup of coffee. When we realized that they make homemade donuts to order, we felt it was really quite important that we fill in any remaining empty spots in our stomachs with fried dough and sugar. On the suggestion of the cashier, we ordered the cinnamon donuts with dulche de leche sauce and the plain donuts with chocolate sauce. They are tiny and polishing off 2 each took about 30 seconds. We both preferred the cinnamon/dulche combo over the others. The chocolate ones would have been about a million times better if the sauce had been warm- but a piping hot donut with cold chocolate sauce seems somehow wrong to me and left a bit to be desired. I’d recommend stopping by for these anyway, especially on a chilly day when a little extra fat and carbs will feel like a big hug. Enjoy!

First Avenue Coffee Shop: 1433 1st Ave, New York NY

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Oh Yelp. You really let us down this time. I was so excited to see the 4 star reviews for First Avenue Coffee Shop. I LOVE finding little hole-in-the-wall places that turn out to be awesome and from reading the reviews, I thought that’s what we were in for. It certainly doesn’t LOOK like anything more than a typical coffee shop, but people were raving about the service and the food here so we gave it a shot.

We sat down in the back and looked over the incredibly reasonably priced menu before placing our orders. I was feeling very positive, already thinking that we’d be back for breakfast soon- and to try some of the other appealing sandwiches on the menu.

I ordered a cheeseburger with grilled mushrooms and the baked potato skins appetizer and Gabriel got a burger with fries and a milkshake. (We planned to split the potato skins)

First, they brought Gabriel a burger that was totally different than the one he’d ordered and he had to send it back. When he explained again which one he wanted, the waiter had to refer to the menu to see what was supposed to be on it. Then, my burger arrived, which was fine- although it was served with 2 tiny little excuses for pickle spears that were probably the tail end of a jar…but still no appetizer had arrived. Ooookay. I guess we’ll eat our entrees first and then have the app later. The burgers were okay- but nothing special. Neither was Gabriel’s fries or his shake. Just nothing exciting typical diner food. The service was really slow and sort of incompetent. Sorry, but just because you say ‘my friend’ before and after everything else, that does not equal good service.

Ten minutes later, 2 little pathetic potato halves arrived. They looked nothing like the photo in the menu, and were covered in little pieces of green pepper instead of the scallions that were described. We also realized that a baked potato with bacon and cheddar was actually 2 bucks LESS than the app- which was essentially one sort of hollowed-out baked potato- not a plate of the crispy skins we were expecting. We also had to ask for sour cream- which was in the description but not brought out with the dish. Although they tasted pretty good, we were pretty pissed about the pricing and complained to the waiter about it who agreed to charge us at the baked potato price instead. The whole thing was kind of weird.

Overall, we were totally disappointed with this meal- and neither one of us felt very well for the rest of the day. Hmmm. I will not going back after all. Womp Womp.

EATS on Lexington: 1055 Lexington Ave. NY, NY

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Another ‘Scoop St.’ deal bought, and this one was a real winner! This is in a location that had been empty for a long time and I’d walked past a few times since it opened a couple of months ago. It’s right near the 77th st. subway which makes it a super convenient meeting spot. Although we had reservations, it was fairly quiet for a Saturday night and we got the best table in the place with no problem. I suppose that opening a restaurant on the Upper East Side (where a lot of the locals vanish to the Hamptons) in the middle of the summer makes it very tough to gain a new following, and they were really smart to use Scoop St. to try to bring new people in.

I have to take a second to rave about our server. Laisla (I’m probably spelling that wrong) was truly outstanding and seriously enhanced our experience. She clearly likes working here and had no problem getting genuinely excited telling us about her favorite dishes. Super friendly and charismatic, even if the food HADN’T been great, I’d almost consider going back just to be entertained by her again…but the bonus is, the food WAS great!

We had a deal where we got a martini, a burger, fries, and 6 oysters each for $22. SCORE. (normally double that price) The oysters were our choice of 2 east coast selections and they were freshly shucked and fantastic. The only thing I didn’t love was that each one sat on a bed of salt instead of the usual bed of ice. This added a salty slurp to each one that was unnecessary and a bit overpowering. The burger was AWESOME with caramelized onions and american cheese. I would have liked some other fancier cheese options- maybe gruyere or blue, but it was really excellent just the way it was…except maybe a little closer to medium-well than the medium I’d ordered. The fries, which were perfectly crispy when they came out well-done as requested, were impossible to not finish. The martini pretty much got me drunkity drunk drunk after 3 sips and the extra olives were super enjoyable once they’d soaked up the vodka.

The only disappoint was our dessert, the homemade marshmallow s’mores. Although the marshmallow looked beautiful, it was not hot and melty. The chocolate component was really more of a liquidy sauce than a melted chocolate bar. The one piece of graham cracker was store-bought, not made fresh. I would have been happier with a hershey bar and jet puffs…In her defense though, Laisla had not recommended this one- she gushed about the tres leches cheesecake, and had we not already been stuffed, we would have listened to her. Next time Laisla, next time.

 

*photos courtesy of Gabriel Sanders. http://www.magicsandbox.com/enter/Magic_Sandbox.html

>Frankie’s 17: 17 Clinton St. New York, NY

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 It’s true. I rarely venture downtown much anymore unless I’m meeting someone or I have a gig. Well, luckily for me today the friend I was meeting suggested this great lower east side brunch spot. I read up online a bit, and it was clear that I may as well get my long run in early to offset the amount of carbs I was about to consume. The french toast was reviewed glowingly by so many people that I was sure it’s what I’d be ordering.
We were seated immediately and ordered lattes that turned out to be really excellent and beautiful. We shared the beets and avocado appetizer which was quite tasty, but not terribly exciting.  The French toast, on the other hand, was definitely noteworthy. Wow. Dare I say the BEST French toast I’ve ever had? Why yes, I do dare. Freshly made with bread from Grandaisy bakery did not leave anything else to be desired. Perfectly crisp on the outside and decadently eggy and sweet on the inside. A light maple syrup and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar finished it beautifully, as did the few pieces of fruit who’s purpose was clearly to ease the indulgent guilt of eating sugary bread for a meal. I was completely stuffed to the brim after only one piece and am rather excited to have the other half for a midnight snack tonight or for breakfast tomorrow.
I surprised even myself by being too full to order my own dessert, but of course I DID manage to find enough room to taste my friend’s red-wine prunes and marscapone, a dessert that really wouldn’t have appealed to me at all (what with the absence of chocolate), but was surprisingly good. The creamy marscapone was so buttery and rich that the wine-soaked prunes actually cut it with their rich, juicy, sweet flavor. Overall, Frankie’s 17 was definitely worth the bus ride down and I would strongly recommend it if you are in the area.