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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Craving noodles at night? Seo 34 Ramen!!

Posted by on Oct 30, 2011 in New York Eats | 4 comments

Hey all! So once again, I’m back from fall break and am in the midst of tests, tests, and more tests. Yay! One thing I’ve learned is that snacks are unavoidable. Especially late night snacks. Freshman 15? Heck yea! Before leaving for college, some awesome church people (JP and Uncle Wesley, if you guys are reading this, yes I am referring to you guys) took my mom and I out for a midnight meal. And yes, the store Seo 34 Ramen doesn’t open till around 11 pm, so only eat a light dinner beforehand! Now, I am crazy about ramen. I adore it. So I had extremely high expectations for this small late night ramen store. Was I satisfied? Ooooh yea. The outside of the store is relatively simple and in a classic Japanese style. The inside also followed the same style, with little paper dividers and plain wooden tables and chairs. Since it was pretty late, we just got a simple meal: For our appetizer we had little wontons that were basically pork covered with noodles dipped in a light sweet soy sauce. Just for the sake of filling our bellies we also got some grilled chicken. Yum. Pretty good, but not the star of the meal: The restaurant offers two ramen choices: salt or soy sauce. Since I prefer eating light foods at night, I got salt. So good people! The noodles were chewy and had a springy texture, none of that mushy overcooked stuff. The pork was fatty and juicy,and the egg perfectly yolky with a slight miso flavor. The soup itself was slightly too salty for my taste, but complemented the noodles well. All in all, a very satisfying bowl! I would definitely recommend everyone to check this place out. Although a bit pricey for $9.50 a bowl, it made me happy. I can safely say that I returned home with a very full belly =] Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Leave comments, so I know what you guys think. Any suggestions or requests? Talk to me! Seo Ramen 249 E 49th St (between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave) New York, NY 10017 Neighborhood: Midtown East   (212) 355-7722 – Jas Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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Village Creperie

Posted by on Oct 22, 2011 in New York Eats | 0 comments

The Village Creperie is the place to go if you’re hoping for “a unique European taste in Huntington”, or if you’re simply just craving some crepes and are in the Huntington area. This little cafe offers both sweet and savory crepes, as well as breakfast crepes – all with fancy French names such as the Parisien. On the side, they also have one or two soups of the day to choose from if you’re feeling the munchies for something warm. Of course, this means that we needed to get both a sweet and a savory crepe to taste the full selection.  The Picasso is a sweet crepe filled with honey, walnuts, and fresh bananas with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top. Picasso himself was probably grinning from the grave when we emptied our wallets and shelled out $6.95. I was surprised at how thick the crepe was, having expected a thin and delicate crepe for a dessert. Though I was pretty happy with the choice of filling. Walnuts made for an interesting texture for the rest of the crepe while complimenting the other ingredients as well. It’s no wonder that baked goods like banana nut muffins are so popular. The stuff just tastes good together — ‘nanas an’ nuts that is.  Instead of getting an ‘official’ savory crepe, we made do with a breakfast crepe. A simple scrambled eggs and sausage which tallied up to $5.95. Like the sweet crepe, our breakfast crepe was also thicker than I’d thought it’d be but when compared to the Picasso, the Picasso’s crepe was definitely more on the delicate side…as a sweet crepe should be! I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with good old egg and sausages, but it reminded me of hot pockets almost.  All in all, the crepes weren’t half bad though the price alone would make me hesitate to think of it as a regular joint to frequent. For an occasional snack to fulfill a craving? Sure. Check out the Village Creperie’s website here. Village Creperie 335 New York Avenue Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 423-3057 ~ AJ ~ Pictures taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Caffé Concerto

Posted by on Oct 15, 2011 in London Eats | 3 comments

You know, I never realized just how much I like ice cream until starting this blog and noticing just how often I’ve posted about some sort of frozen dessert now. Thinking back to our trip to London and considering how the weather was actually pretty chilly sometimes, the fact that I ordered a hazelnut gelato instead of a nice hot cup of tea or coffee clearly tells me that: I freaking love ice cream. But really now. Just look at that beautifully served ice cream. How could I regret ordering that? If anything, the rest of my family were looking on with woe as they thought to themselves ‘Damn, why’d I order that cake/tea?’  Caffé Concerto seemed to be a pretty popular cafe considering how we saw one every few blocks. What really made me notice it at first wasn’t the fact that I kept seeing the name of the store everywhere, it was the display in the storefront that caught my eye. The first thing I saw was the glint of gold, but it was the peculiar shape that caught my attention. Upon closer inspection, I realized excitedly that it was actually a pyramid of golden cream puffs. Sadly, in the rush of my discovery with the addition of general laziness from being on vacation, I completely forgot to take a photo of their display. Thankfully, this is where Google comes in handy! Do you see that? Okay, it might be a little hard to make out but the golden cone in the upper left corner of the display is what I’m talking about. Those are dozens of cream puffs that have been painstakingly layered and built up into a precarious cone of cream filled pastry and then spray painted with edible gold. Or so I believe. Obviously a cafe with such an impressive cream puff display must be the cafe to go to. So we did.  Because it’s awesome. But mostly because it was around the corner from our hotel. Yea, my family basically consists of a group of lazy bums and we’re not afraid to admit it.  While the cafe itself was stylish and elegant both inside and out, the most important thing about it — the cakes — were a complete disappointment. Contrary to the spectacular display in the window, these cakes were nothing extraordinary. In fact, the cakes were even a little on the dry side. Talk about a let down. As for the tea? We had ordered a pot of tea, assuming that it’d be similar to ordering a pot of tea in the states. Meaning that we were going with the assumption of one pot being able to easily fill at least two cups without any refills of hot water. Thus the surprise when our pot of tea came and it was cute but most importantly tiny. These teapots were made to fill exactly one cup of tea, and while the tea itself was nothing to complain about I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t worth the money. Then again, we didn’t stay around long enough to find out whether we’d be able to get a free refill.  All in all, my gelato won the spotlight that night. Smooth and creamy, the rich and nutty flavor of hazelnut kept our spoons dipping in for more. It was like taking fresh hazelnuts and concentrating the flavor so that it exploded on your tongue without being in the least overwhelming. The waffle cone was slightly stale and took away from the general satisfaction of enjoying the ice cream to the fullest, but I think I’ve complained...

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