Showing posts from May, 2019

ShangHai Restaurant - Fort Lee

I must have passed this restaurant at least two dozen times before my girlfriend's reminders sparked a trip one hungry evening. Admittedly we should have stopped sooner. ShangHai Restaurant is one of those great little hidden gems - nestled on the quiet portion of an otherwise busy street in Fort Lee, NJ.  Their menu offers a number of fantastic, simple, authentic Chinese dishes that will keep me coming back a few times a month into the foreseeable future. The Grub: You already know that they serve Chinese food, but let me give you a few suggestions for your inaugural trip. First, I would definitely start with their Scallion Pancakes and an order, or perhaps two orders of their soup dumplings. Both are some of the best I have ever had, and I'm counting a number of really good places in Flushing and Manhattan's Chinatown. After that, as an entree I would definitely suggest the Braised Pork Belly or Pan Fried Beef Udon which again represent the pinnacle of what Ch

Xi'an Famous Foods - NYC

I love Chinese food, as many around the world certainly do. Being from the United States however, I wasn't aware until my late teens that the food I had come to know and love was not real Chinese food. Elements of the original food still existed in the dishes we ate, but most were created here to fit an American palette. So in 2012 when I decided to move from Pennsylvania back to the NY Metro area, I couldn't wait to find some real, honest-to-goodness, legitimate Chinese food. My first stop was a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Division St. recommended to me via television by the late, great, Anthony Bourdain: Xi'an Famous Foods . The Grub: Xi'an Famous Foods offers some of the finest, fastest Western Chinese food in NYC. If you have never tried, or have wanted to try hand pulled Chinese noodles this should be one of your first stops. Most of the menu items are based around long, wide, perfectly chewy noodles made by hand - to order. Many of th

Rumba Cubana - Guttenberg

Shortly after moving to the North Bergen area from Staten Island, my girlfriend and I were on the lookout for some good, local restaurants within walking distance of our new apartment. Lucky for us, Rumba Cubana in Guttenberg was a short 3-block walk away. After a cocktail or two and a great dinner - we knew we had found a new regular spot.  The Grub: There are two things you really need to know if you've never been to Rumba - the drinks are strong, and the food is good. Really broad statements I know - but in my defense, I like strong drinks and good food and I love a restaurant that does both well. The first thing you should concern yourself with upon sitting down at your table is ordering a cocktail. The server will present you with a tablet menu with more drinks that I would care to count. Suffice it to say all the classic Cuban and Caribbean cocktails make an appearance here, but I would suggest a traditional caipirinha or mojito to start (I wont look

The Distillery - Manhattan

I don't know about you, but I happen to be a gin junkie. Actually, that may be going a little far but suffice it to say I like the stuff quite a bit. My cocktail of choice for the past few years has been a high-shelf gin-and-tonic at nearly any establishment serving booze. I also happen to like cheap lunch spots, or at least ones where you get great value for your money. With those two things in mind, let me tell you about my favorite work-time lunch spot in Manhattan - The Distillery . The Grub: Now don't get me wrong, there are a number of places to get a good burger and cocktail in the city. Probably too many to list without having to start over by the time you finished (even popular ones can go out of business!) With that in mind, working in the city one has to take into account the walking distance from work and duration of the lunch in question - which brought me eventually to the door of The Distillery . All-in-all its a very simple pub, but where it

Martha's Country Bakery - NYC

For those not in the know, today is May 15th - a day on which we celebrate the great American treasure: The Chocolate Chip Cookie. On national Chocolate Chip cookie day, lovers of the ubiquitous dessert can come together and reflect on such a perfect creation. One may find that they can pick up cookies for free in various locations across the country, if they be so adventurous. While this isn't going to be an article about that, I do plan to talk about one of the best places I have found to pick up a chocolate chip cookie, or any baked good for that matter, at Martha's Country Bakery . The Grub: In my humble opinion, Martha's is a bakery and cafe of the highest caliber. They offer an extremely wide variety of baked goods - and I truly mean that. You can find all manner of breads, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies and anything in between. While you may be able to stump them with the odd request, they will almost certainly have something to fit every taste (a

Federici's Family Italian Restaurant - Freehold

From the age of nine to around twenty-two I spent a lot of time in and around the Freehold, NJ area. Mostly at the mall and the movie theater. But also in and around the Route 9 area, and in Downtown Freehold where a number of great restaurants can be found. One of my favorites being  Federici's Family Italian Restaurant - the best pizza spot in town and one of the best in the state in my opinion. The Grub: In the mood for Italian food and in the Freehold area? Well, then there really isn't a better place to stop. Federici's has all the standard fare: a variety of pastas, salad, specialty dishes - most of which I have tried and many of which I would highly recommend. To be honest though, those dishes aren't what you should be there for - its the pizza you want. Trust me on this. They serve some of the best thin crust pizza I have ever tasted, and while I may say that a lot, it is still true. I'm definitely guilty of having a bias toward thin c