Monday, August 25, 2014

Trumansburg: Crystal Lake Cafe

I recently was visiting my lake house on Cayuga Lake and made a stop at one of my new favorite places to eat while up there - Crystal Lake Cafe, one of the few restaurants at a winery on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. 

I have never been disappointed in their food, it has always been spectacular. My only complaint is that the overall restaurant experience is pretty slow so expect to wait. The food makes it worth it, plus it's a drink wine while you wait! They also offer beer , sparkling wine and a variety of non-alcoholic drinks. 

This past trip I decided to try something new, one of their specials for the night - Steak Tacos with Chipotle Slaw. Words can not describe how perfect this dish was - I am now on a mission to recreate it's greatness. The flank steak was seasoned and cooked perfectly - absolutely no chewy bits. What pushed this dish from good to great was the chipotle slaw, the sweet smokiness of it paired perfectly with the steak. 

My moms got her favorite dish here - Grilled Cheese. This isn't any old grilled cheese, it's the grilled cheese of your dreams (exciting and flavorful, but still a grilled cheese) - stuffed with cheddar, gruyere, goat cheese, smoked gouda and a tomato on sourdough bread. The bread was perfectly crispy and buttery on the outside and the cheeses were gooey in the middle. Adding the tomato helps add a little freshness to the sandwich so you are not too overwhelmed by all the cheese (is there such a thing?). The sandwich is a little rich so you might want to split this dish with someone else (my mom and Jeff split the burger and the grilled cheese).

Jeff and my cousin both ordered burgers. I stole a bite of my cousins and it was juicy and flavorful - able to stand alone and not need any toppings to make it taste good. Jeff got his fully loaded with mushrooms, caramelized onions and bacon - which added to the overall taste of the burger (instead of masking a bland patty).
Past Trips here
Lunch: Summer 2013
Brunch: Summer 2014 - get the biscuits and gravy!

4367 East Covert Road
Trumansburg, NY
The Crystal Lake Cafe on Urbanspoon
Image Map

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Washington DC: Brookland Pint

One of my favorite ways to catch up with friends is over a cold drink and something delicious to eat. I was recently invited to Brookland Pint to try out their craft beers and appetizers. I'm happy to report that it fills all requirements for a good place to hang out with friends. Never fear, although boasting an impressive menu of craft beers (24 on tap! plus additional bottles), they also offer wines and craft cocktails to appease the non-beer drinkers. 
One of the coolest things about the interior, and something that will please most of today's society is the ability to charge your phone at every table and at the bar. Each table comes with an outlet and a USB port - you no longer have to fear that your phone will die while you are out. My family would also be thrilled with this restaurant as owner John made sure to get as many pieces and materials that were made in America as possible including the same marble that has been used for the monuments and wood from trees that have been uprooted from storms!
Now the bar area and my favorite part, the bar/table along the outside where the windows can be open and there are chairs on each side. I LOVE this concept and promptly seated myself here for the night. 
The bartender and servers were very knowledgeable. Letting us taste the beers and able to provide sufficient recommendations for each of our personal tastes which is great because I love beer but I am still unsure of what I like. I had the Port City OPTIMAL WIT and the Great Lakes OKTOBERFEST (great beer for the fall with no hops). Rosie had a fruity saison beer which was delicious and the Brookland beer which she enjoyed but I thought was too hoppy. I also tried one of their craft cocktails, a Brookland Old Fashioned and my friend got a rose - both amazingly delicious. 
Now, I can't vouch for their actual entrees…but for their appetizer's and sharable bites, deeelicious. My favorite of the night was the pimento cheese on bread. I could definitely see myself eating a bunch of these while sipping on a few beers (I may have had 2….or 3 - maybe even 4 of these - hey it was dinner time). Other tasty bites were quesadillas (appropriately cheesy and loaded with tasty ingredients), chicken pate (not my thing - but a classy bite for those classy people), scallops with some a fruit salsa (sweet acidic salad pairs great with the scallops) and another favorite - lamb with tzaztki on zucchini fritters (perfection).

Would I come back? Yes, this is the perfect place to hang out with friends while snacking on delicious food and drinking good drinks. 

716 Monroe Street NE
Washington, DC
Nearest Metro: Brookland-Cua 
Brookland Pint on Urbanspoon

Image Map