Showing posts from July, 2019

Culinary Minefield: Dining Out with Allergies and Food Intolerance

Who doesn't love going out to eat? I'm sure there are a handful of people out there, but I for one (obviously) very much enjoy the experience. Not the aspect of getting waited on, not in the slightest - I'm interested in tasting something I've never tried before. Being immersed in another culture, someone else's mindset, an unfamiliar or interesting space, at least for the short while - is a unique pleasure. I relish the opportunity to explore in what could be considered a relatively accessible and affordable way, at least compared to taking a flight somewhere. These experiences can become quite challenging however if you, or someone you know, has had the unfortunate diagnosis of a food allergy or intolerance. For some it can erase the joy from dining out, and for some it can prove fatal. Source: CNBC There are some interesting and startling statistics to keep in mind regarding food allergies and intolerance today. According to Food Allergy Research and E

Jade Island - Staten Island

As a general rule, I happen to be a proponent of trying to find the most authentic version of a cuisine possible. Be it Italian, Chinese, or even American, I'm not a fan of fakes or of low effort, dumbed-down versions of the food I should be eating. That said, every so often an Americanized Chinese restaurant creeps into the fold despite my best efforts to keep them away. One such restaurant - Jade Island in Staten Island, NY ,  stands a thankful bastion of tradition, hearkening back to years I can hardly remember - or wasn't around for. By the way, If you thought that tiki-themed restaurants were gone for good, brace yourselves - you're in for a treat! The Grub: If you have eaten Chinese food in the USA before, you know exactly what you're in for at Jade Island . All the classic dishes make an appearance: wonton soup, chop suey, chow mein, lo mein, beef with broccoli, chicken with cashew nuts - all of which are just as good, if not better than where you probably

Compton's Pancake House - Stroudsburg

When you're in college, following up a hard night of drinking with a quality breakfast is of paramount importance. During my college years, I was lucky enough to be in the Poconos region of northeastern Pennsylvania, a place where high-quality, low-cost breakfasts are actually pretty easy to find. What isn't as easy is picking the place where you want to become a "regular," a place you can point to as your breakfast go-to. Mine is a little spot called Compton's Pancake House in Stroudsburg, PA. The Grub: From my intro, and their name you have probably gathered that Compton's is known for its pancakes. So much so that owner Compton Ferreira , a self described fanatic, adopted the restaurant's slogan: "Peace, Love, Pancakes." After breakfast here, you will be saying the same thing, trust me. They offer a healthy variety of the golden discs, from the classic full stack to the much-beloved chocolate chip, to more unconventional choices like

Frisson Espresso - Manhattan

Spending any amount of time in New York City, one becomes keenly aware of the part that coffee plays in the day to day lives of the citizenry. In the streets, on the sidewalks, in the halls - the typical white paper cups hugged by brown paper sleeves, blue-and-white Greek patterns, and clear plastic iced beverages seem as ubiquitous as the humans holding them. More important though, is understanding that while coffee can be found nearly everywhere here, not every cup is created equal. With that in mind, stop by Frisson Espresso and see just how good coffee is supposed to be. The Grub: Coffee from Frisson is simple, no frills and very, very good. As a self described "coffee snob" - I can immediately tell when someone cared when they made their coffee and exactly how much they cared. I do so by asking myself a few questions: Did they use the correct bean to water ratio? Was the coffee over or under extracted? Was the proper temperature used to brew? Just a taste gives

Avo's Grill - Cliffside Park

Another reinvented neighborhood spot, Avo's Grill underwent a major renovation and menu revamping about a year ago. The interior is now carries a chic, modern style with a beautiful black-top bar. The front of the restaurant opens in nice weather so you can dine al-fresco and still be indoors. Service is excellent, this is the type of place where the wait-staff remembers your orders and food preferences - a serious boost to any dining experience. Food at Avo's can best be described as elevated Mediterranean with a Turkish twist. While there are a number of stellar things on the menu, one of the first things to try is an appetizer portion of their garlic dill fries. No kidding, they are probably some of the best fries in Northern NJ.  Another excellent starter, especially for sharing, is the Meza Plate - which comes with Hummus, Babaganoush, Tzaziki, Mouhamara and Pita Chips. Moving on to main courses, the Fatoush salad is a great, light choice and comes with chopped lett