Ciao Baby

Posted by on Nov 19, 2011 in New York Eats | 0 comments

Something I’ve noticed that most Americans seem to have in common is that we want things to be larger than life. Towering skyscrapers, luxurious living, speeding-around-town-in-a-hot-rod-with-some-super-model-girlfriend-in-the-passenger’s-seat…but who cares about any of that when it comes down to giant portions of food? Personally, being able to get more for a buck is always a win in my book, but I’m sure we all look for quality as well as quantity. Or at least I do, possibly because I’m a picky snob. (Or am I? That is the question. Mwahaha…ahem…) After being introduced to giant meatballs on Man vs. Food, we had to check it out for ourselves. Softball sized meatballs simmering in a savory red sauce for hours before being served up on an overflowing bed of pasta – how could we possibly resist! Upon arriving at Ciao Baby, a chic little family restaurant, we were raring to dig into their infamous dish — Nonna’s Old World Meat Platter ($35.95). It was huge…we definitely weren’t disappointed. Ecstatic more like. Each and every one of their dishes were served in portions so big that it’s impossible to leave without a ‘doggie bag’. Then again, if you’re actually able to finish everything…more power to ya. With two different links of sausage on the side, it was like a meat lover’s pasta dish on steroids. Three giant meatballs were the star of the dish, and one bite showed that it was everything we expected it to be. Soft, tender, and packed full of flavor. You would think that such a large ball of meat would be tough or undercooked, but the way the meatballs disappeared said otherwise. However, meatballs aside, the overall dish wasn’t nearly as impressive as it was hyped up to be. The ziti was cooked perfectly al dente, though you can request them to be cooked longer if that’s what you’d prefer. The sausages paled in comparison to the meatballs, to the point where they seemed no better than a store-bought brand. Yes, that is just how good the meatballs were. Overall, I can probably nom on those meatballs all day, but I could easily pass on the rest of the dish. Nonna’s Old World Meat Platter aside, the rest of our dinner was pretty phenomenal. All of the dishes were served on generous platters and heaping portions, there wasn’t much to complain about when it came to the food itself. The service was great, and they were very flexible with their menu as everything was literally cooked to order (pasta was al dente or not, the type of pasta used, the inclusion or exclusion of certain ingredients according to personal preferences). If it’s impossible to squeeze in the necessary time to whip up a Thanksgiving dinner, then keep Ciao Baby in mind as a potential restaurant to eat at for the holidays…or just any occasion really!  Check out their menu here! Commack 204 E. Jericho Turnpike Commack, NY 11725 (631) 543-1400  Massapequa 50-74 Sunrise Highway Massapequa Park, NY 11762 (516) 799-5200   ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Bad Dawgs

Posted by on Nov 5, 2011 in New York Eats | 5 comments

Have you ever had a hot dog craving? But not just any hot dog. I’m talking about a hot dog that’s got so many toppings heaped up on it that you can’t even see the sausage anymore.  Bad Dawgs advertises itself as a store serving up “The Baddest Dawgs On The Planet!” with “Gourtmet Hot dogs and More…”, and true to their word they had plenty of different topping choices available.  The Border Collie Dawg (Do you even need to ask why we chose that?) was topped with chili, nacho cheese, raw white onions, real bacon bits, and jalapenos. It looked amazingly tasty and full of potential to clog arteries. The Chow Chow Dawg, topped with chili, lettuce, tomato, real bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce, looked slightly more healthy but still damn appetizing. Both of our bad dawgs came at a shocking $3.75, which is probably where the magic of advertising ‘gourmet’ hot dogs came into play. The hot dogs honestly weren’t all that bad. It was messy eating and finger-lickingly satisfying, but would I go back again? For nearly $4, probably not. Despite all the great toppings, the hot dog itself wasn’t anything special. You could easily purchase a pack at the grocery and then add your choice of toppings. If anything, I’d probably stick to 7-Eleven’s quarter pound hot dogs…and abuse the cheese and chili machines while I’m at it.   Then again, Bad Dawgs may very well find me returning for their loaded fries with a fork at the ready. Topped with chili, melted cheddar, bacon bits, and raw white onions for a grand total of $4.99. Still pretty pricey but mm-mmm good. Again, the fries weren’t anything spectacular and like the hot dogs, it was really the toppings that made it worthwhile. But if you’re in the Huntington area and too lazy to put together your own loaded fries and hot dogs…Bad Dawgs is the place to go. Best of all, you get a “Buy One Bad Dawg and Get One Bad Dawg Free!” card with your purchase. Well, that’s definitely one way to make sure you get people coming back. Find the nearest Bad Dawgs near you with their snazzy website. Bad Dawgs 44 Gerard Street Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 923-1201  ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Yogurt Crazy

Posted by on Oct 8, 2011 in New York Eats | 3 comments

Like I said in last week’s post on Rita’s Italian Ice, frozen yogurt has become my thing lately and Yogurt Crazy’s crazy yogurts are a slightly healthier option than Rita’s Italian Ices…well, depending on your choice of toppings anyway. This cute little shop offers a plethora of different flavors that thoughtfully include choices that are nonfat, low-fat, or no sugar to suit their customer’s wide range of demands. With unique flavors such as Butter Brickle and Snickerdoodle, this is a place where you’ll be coming back again and again in order to try your hand at the endless combinations. Upon entering, the first thing you’ll notice are the yogurt bowls stacked right in front of the entrance. This is your cue to grab one and head for the yogurt machines to start filling them up. For those who are more health conscious, Yogurt Crazy makes sure to list all the nutritional information of each flavor for your convenience. You can literally be filling up your cup and feeling guilty at the same time, all while noting the amount of calories you’re about to ingest. Not to worry though, your tastebuds will soon be too happy to care.  After you’ve gotten your pick of flavors, turn around to be greeted by their toppings bar. The selection is almost intimidating at first sight. With fresh nuts and fruits, to an insane amount of different sweets and candy toppings, saying that it’s hard to choose what to arm your yogurt battalion with is an understatement. Finish it off with your choice of sauces, like the good old fashioned hot fudge or whipped cream. (Does whipped cream count as ‘sauce’?) So far, my favorite flavor is definitely the Peach Mango Tart. It’s light and pleasantly fruity, plus there’s mangoes in there and you just can’t go wrong with mango. You can’t really see it in the picture, but we also got Raspberry layered underneath the Peach Mango Tart. It was a bit on the tangier side with a bit more texture due to what I’m guessing to be teeny tiny ground up raspberry seeds, but I’d definitely get it again. Topped with some strawberries, mangoes, blueberries and mochi, our other yogurt wasn’t nearly as healthy with its sprinkling of Oreos and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Though we still had some strawberries and mochi, that’s gotta count for something right? Yogurt Crazy’s selection of flavors are changed every few days, so it is quite possible to try out all of their flavors by visiting often. For me, they’ll most likely be staying on my ‘To-do’ list for quite a while due to the sheer amount of different flavors available. But someday, someday I will conquer Yogurt Crazy and their full course menu. I suppose the only downside to this place is that they charge by weight. Meaning the more you pile on, the more you’ll be shelling out of your wallet. Well worth the few extra bucks in my opinion. In fact, this place may very well have topped Red Mango in my book. What’s more, you get a little stamp card. “Purchase nine cups of frozen yogurt valued over $3.00 and receive $3.00 off the tenth yogurt purchase.” My advice? Bring friends and share the same stamp card. You’ll get to your tenth yogurt in no time. Check out your nearest Yogurt Crazy location here. ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Rita’s Italian Ice

Posted by on Oct 1, 2011 in New York Eats | 3 comments

The last signs of warm summer are starting to fade away into cloudy and rainy days as fall approaches. Soon enough, we’ll be sipping from mugs of hot cocoa while snow falls outside and the holidays will be on us in no time. But before then, why not relish the last bits of summer while we can? How? What better way than enjoying something cold and fruity –  like a cup of delectable Italian ice! Italian ice has become my thing lately, along with frozen yogurt as healthier alternatives to ice cream (not that I could ever turn down ice cream…) and Rita’s Italian Ice has stolen the spotlight as my favorite go-to place. Not only is their Italian ice deliciously smooth and their flavors tantalizingly tasty, but what really makes Rita’s different is their custard. Rita’s serves their Italian ice with the option of adding custard to the top and bottom of the cup, nicely sandwiching the tangy (mango for me) ice in between creamy goodness. The custard is deliciously thick, almost like frozen cream without the oily aftertaste you get from devouring a mouthful of whipped cream. Yet it’s surprisingly not cloyingly sweet at all. I know that some people feel that sweets aren’t truly sweets unless they’re overwhelming sweet (Okay guys, let’s start counting how many times I can use the word ‘sweet’ in one sentence!), but I prefer lighter foods in general. After tasting Rita’s, no other Italian ice joint has been able to compare. Ralph’s Italian Ice across the street? They don’t stand a chance, both in flavor and service as well. Did I mention that the employees at Rita’s are always more than happy to help you? It’s no wonder that there’s always a line of customers outside their tiny little shack while Ralph’s sitting area is forever empty! Rita’s closes for the winter sometime in mid-October, so if you plan on trying them out there’s only a few more weeks left! They open again in the middle of March but just the thought of months without Rita’s…I think I better go and sate the craving before then! To find your nearest Rita’s, check out their website here. ~ AJ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Cold Spring Plaza Delicatessen Breakfast Sandwiches

Posted by on Jan 18, 2011 in New York Eats | 5 comments

A belated Happy New Year!!! wish to all, and hoping that your holidays were fantastic! They do say better late than never right? Holding on to that belief…here’s a very late post. The first for S.S. Munchies’ new year! Also, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has read, commented, or even subscribed to our blog right now. Seeing that the blog actually has views, as well as reading your comments…that’s really the primary factor that keeps us posting! Please support us yet again this year! =] Now on to the stuff about food… Right about now, I think some of us may be suffering through the post-holiday blues…or busy moaning and groaning as school/work continues anew. Though this time, sadly, there won’t be any big holiday breaks to save us from the crushing, mind-numbing insanity of daily routine. So how do you all start your day off? With an oversized mug of coffee? With a healthy alternative of fresh fruits? Or…are you a fan of the breakfast sandwich? Mmm, someone needs to remind me not to write these posts when I’m hungry… Needless to say, the breakfast sandwich is rather appealing to me. After dropping by and trying various places on the way to and from Queens and Long Island, as well as a few out of the way locations, the Cold Spring Plaza Delicatessen is the best we’ve had so far. Not only does it taste better than most (Those guys really know how to make their sandwiches!) but the price by itself already gives them a few bonus points. One large coffee, a two meat with egg and cheese sandwich, and orange juice. Get this, the orange juice comes complementary. Sometimes we get one…sometimes they give us two…hey, if we’re lucky we get three! What’s the damage you say? At some places we’ve gone to, that can cost as much as around $8 (orange juice not included). Yet here, the total comes up to around $5. A $3 difference in a meal can really add up. Not to mention that I’m, uh, poor and thus when it comes to money I turn into Scrooge. Did I ever tell you guys that I really like orange juice? Their sandwiches and coffee are both delicious, we get free orange juice, and it’s probably cheaper than a breakfast combo at Burger King…not to mention healthier too. So I don’t know. I think this place is awesome but the final say will be from you (yes, you -points through the monitor-). I’ll let you guys decide. ~ AJ ~ P.S. For those of you wondering what kind of sandwiches we got. Turkey, bacon, muenster cheese, and two eggs on a toasted roll. Yum. Cold Spring Harbor Delicatessen 15 Harbor Road Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 (631) 367-3533 Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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