Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cayuga Lake Creamery

Cayuga Lake + Creamery = Amazingness. My family has had a lake house on Cayuga Lake forEVER and it's a favorite vacation place for everyone to come together. This is just a recent discovery, probably the past 5 years. Since discovering this place, we usually go every night while we are on vacation - it's tradition. Plus swimming around all day - we need the extra calories for energy :)

They let you try samples of the ice cream so I usually will sample 1-2 or two different flavors.
That being said - I usually stick to the cookie dough. Absolute amazingness and plentiful in cookie dough and chocolate chunks
Coffee ice cream below is a fav of my uncles when he needs a "buzz" of energy. If he doesn't need the caffeine he usually gets the cookie dough. I do have to say they do a pretty darn coffee here - you can see the coffee in the ice cream if you look closely- it is rich full bodied yummyness.
They also make a pretty darn good brownie fudge sunday - a favorite of my moms! 
I cant vouch for the food, but I go to the Creamery for the get ice-cream, and they do that wonderfully. They have creative flavors, great quality and homemade ice cream, which is all you need in life sometimes. If you are in the Cayuga Lake area this is a must! I suggest the cookie dough :)

They also have a scoop card which is awesome, I love rewards cards :) *update 7/6/15 - their rewards system is still online, but they will still recognize the scoop card*

update: I went here again later in the week while on vacation and my cousin and I got to the Creamery 15 minutes before it opened, but the manager let us in to get ice cream....great customer service for ya!

8421 State Rte 89
Interlaken, NY

Cayuga Lake Creamery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mark and Picklebacks

I went to visit on of my best friends one weekend (don't forget about this too), and we ventured into the city Saturday night to go to an exhibit, Dialog in the Dark (life changing), eat dinner and try the famous Pickle-backs (ok we didn't come here specially for that, but when one of my friends told me it was down the road from where we were eating dinner, I had to stop by). 

Dani had actually been to this exhibit (Dialog in the Dark) a few times and when we arranged a weekend for me to come up she said that she had something life changing for me to do. I quickly researched it and I was down to go. Basically it takes you on a "tour" of NYC through the steps of a visually impaired/blind person. Sure we can all close our eyes and pretend for a moment to not be able to see, but this exhibit gives you the chance to "walk a mile in their shoes." I can't even imagine for a moment what I would do if I lost my eye sight, but this exhibit was refreshing and for a split second gave me a look into what a life without sight would be like. It's hard to explain, but if you are ever in the city when this exhibit is here, or in another city where they have the exhibit I highly recommend taking a moment and trying it out.

One of my childhood friends, my brother from another mother lives/works in the city so he was able to come meet us for dinner at a slider place called Mark. Perfect, delicious and quick, what more do you need?

I ordered the Bacon Double Slider $5.50. Taking a page out of Rachel Ray's book, Yum-O. Everything a slider should be-gooey cheese and delicious bacon.
I also got a side of fries $3.75.
My friends also tried the Chili Cheese Fries $6.00 and they raved about them.

They also had different ketchup/dipping sauces on the table. The four that they had were Ketchup, Chipotle Ketchup, Jalapeno sauce, and BBQ sauce. I love the Chipotle and the Jalapeno.
For me the Double Slider and the side of normal fries was more then enough for a complete meal. Jimmy suggested that people normally get 2-3 mini sliders for a normal meal and split fries with someone (boys and their never ending stomachs).

Perfect laid back slider place for a relaxed dinner that will not break the bank in the city. They also have shakes, beer and wine but I just stuck with water because I had a cold and we had celebrated St Patty's day earlier in Hoboken so we were all a little worn out.
33 St Marks Place
New York, NY
Mark on Urbanspoon

Jimmy lives in the Tribeca area...JEALOUS, so he knows all the fun places to go around the area. My friend D lives right outside the city so she was grilling him about all the cool bars and stuff there. He brought up Picklebacks(jameson chased with pickle juice) and after hearing about them from this lovely blog, I immediately put in my request to try this place. After dinner we wandered over to The 13th Step Bar and Grill to try the shots. 3 shots of Jameson with chasers of pickle juice for $10.50, great deal.
I am not really sure how I feel about the pickle juice chaser though. I think I prefer the Jameson on its on without a chaser. Great experience nonetheless. However, the bar was not a place I would come back to. It kind of reminded me of a out of control frat party, the bathrooms were trashed already at 9 o clock. I went to go use it, and the toilet seats were half off the toilets, floors were sticky, tp and broken glass everywhere.

Anyways...great trip, I am making another trip to NYC/Hoboken in a couple of exciteddddddd!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

St Patty's Day in Hoboken, Pizza ALLL DAY: Bennys and Giovannis

In early February I visited on of my best friends who lives in Hoboken and it just happened to be the weekend they celebrated St Patty's day. They celebrate it a week or two earlier then the 17th (so they don't compete with NYC maybe??) and it is quite an adventure-people come from all over.

People wake up earlyyyyyyyy to start drinking. We woke up around 930/10 and headed to the liquor store to pick up some goodies and get some Pizza from Benny Tudino's for breakfast (can you tell how wonderful of a day this is turning out to be). It was pretty good, better then you can get from most places in NOVA. The only downside was that it was cold, guess they didn't heat it up before they gave it to us.
When we were walking to the party, we stopped by Benny's so I could take a picture of the outside, and they pizza guys in the window kept on getting me to try and take photos of them tossing the dough, so I of course humored them and did it. 
(201) 792-4132
622 Washington St
Hoboken, NJ
Benny Tudino's on Urbanspoon
After that we ended to a ALL day St Patty's day party where they had a ton of wonderful food and Pizza place numero dos for lunch-Giovanni's. This place was AMAZING. There was one chicken and one plain cheese. Both great :) 
And as a side note for this party, I did my first Keg Stand EVER. I never did it in college but for some reason it felt right here...maybe because people started chanting my name. 
And later around 11ish when we got back after exploring some of the city, we ordered pizza from Giovanni's again. This time we got half Hawaiian and half Cheese. Both Amazing. 

This is the pizza I have been waiting for all my life. Not quite but it was pretty darn amazing, I am seriously jealous we do not have this sort of quality pizza in day. 

(201) 714-4232
603 Washington St
Giovanni's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Curry Turkey Burgers & a Burger Down

After having a wonderful night out thanks to Foodbuzz's 24x24 and perhaps eating a little too much it was time to take it easy Sunday. I had taken the leftover raita from Rasika and thought that I could use it on a turkey burger, but I was trying to think of an exciting twist. Seeing as we just had Indian I thought about using Curry to stick with the theme for this weekend.

Although the picture is not too pretty, trust me this burger was delicious, and having a raita on top made the burger even more amazing. This burger is simple to make and packed full of flavor.

Sadly this amazing meal did have a causality. Lili was excited to eat her burger (because it was delicious..duh!) and did not pay attention to the fact that her chair was hanging a little bit over the pool. Bang! Almost fell into the pool-luckily she saved herself...sadly the burger did not make it.

Curry Turkey Burger

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
1lb ground turkey
6-8oz plain greek yogurt
1T Curry powder
1T cilantro
Salt and Pepper (just give a few shakes/twists for each)

1. Preheat grill/grillpan to medium high heat. Mix together all ingredients and form into patties.
2. Cook for about 5 minutes on both sides or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.
3. Cover with Raita and enjoy!

I usually eat my burgers without buns due to personal preference but leaving the bun off is a good way to save calories. I have not yet mastered a recipe for Raita, but here is a good one that has gotten a lot of good reviews :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rasika....Indian Feast in DC

When I got chosen to dine out on the renown Rasika I was ridiculously excited. For those of you not familiar with the dining scene in DC, Rasika is an extremely popular restaurant. It's one of the top 10 restaurants to dine at (in DC) on several lists (ie the Washingtonian and Zagat) and the owner, Ashok Bajaj has an impressive resume-recently declared by the Washingtonian as Washington’s Restaurateur of the Year! Along with this awesome title he a slew of other awesome accomplishments/awards. Look at any review website and you will see Rasika with shining reviews. 
I called to make reservations the next morning and I was hit with a feeling of dread when they did not have ANY tables available for any time Saturday the 23. Panic started filling in, but I talked to the hostess on the phone and she said that if I came when it opened I had a good chance of sitting in the lounge, first come first serve style seating. I knew it was popular but not THAT popular-ignorance on my part I suppose. 
I was panicked because this dinner is a part of the foodbuzz 24x24...24 bloggers selected to participate in a meal in the same 24 hours...what if I couldn't get in the restaurant? Lili did not have any fears about not being able to sit and somewhat helped me stay level headed through the two weeks before we dined. 
When we got there I had Rommie jump out of the car to reserve us a seat while Lili and I parked. We walked in and for a moment I had a wave of panic hit me because I saw him seating in the waiting area. The host let us know that he had a quaint table by the window that we were welcome to that was reserved for a party at 7pm, so we had to be done by then. Figuring that we had 2 hours we jumped at the chance to sit there (better lighting for my photos!!!) At this point (~5:15ish) the lounge and bar were empty and they were not quite full when we left at 6:45. 
Once we were seated the server came to our table and I asked him about the popular items. He not only told us the dishes that Rasika was known for, but his favorites as well (which I liked-it shows that a server really knows the menu)

Hands down one of the most popular dishes from the restaurant is the Palak Chaat $10 Crispy baby spinach / sweet yogurt / tamarind / date chutney. Words can not explain how amazing this dish tasted. Everything from the textures to the flavors, managing to be both sweet and spicy, were amazing and I have never had anything quite like it. 
On recommendation of our server (said it was one of his favorite items on the menu) we decided to get the Lamb Kathi Roll $12 Tandoori lamb / roti / mint chutney. Another wonderful dish. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the minty chutney was one of the best versions I have ever had. I might have classed it up and had a spoonful or two separate from my dish ;)
For the third appetizer we decided on the Ragda Patties $8 Spiced potato / chick peas / tamarind date / mint chutney. This was delicious as well but not as stand out as the previous two. I did like the combination of the potatoes and the chickpeas. 
Somewhere around this time we decided on ordering drinks. Lili got an ice tea $2.50. Very orginal flavor-our waiter let us know it had something to do with the Star of Africa-however it tasted like cough syrup. Rommie ordered a King Fisher beer $6 thinking it was Indian-but the label said it was brewed in Boston or something along those lines-just your basic light beer. I ordered a cocktail-Hemingway's Cure $12 which was ok, it had a very strong alcoholic flavor to it.  
On the side we ordered a small Mango Chutney $2.50 and a Cucumber Raita $4. None of us were fans of the chutney, it was too cardamom (spice) heavy. However the raita was amazing and a hefty serving-I actually took the leftovers home. 
You can't eat Indian without Naan so we ordered one serving $3. It was one piece, enough for probably 2 people. It was just your typical naan.
Another "hands down" recommendation was the Black Cod $26 Fresh dill / honey / star anise / red wine vinegar. I was hesitant at first seeing as I am not a huge fan of fish, but after countless reviews read recommending this dish and the server solidifying them I am glad we ordered it. The fish was delicious-it literally melted in your mouth. There was not a overly fishy taste to it (one of the reasons I shy away from fish) and the seasonings were a perfect match-they perfectly complemented each other. 
Being one of R+L's favorite dishes, and one that I frequently order when I go to Indian restaurants we decided to do the Chicken Tikka Masala $17, description...National Dish of England. This was good, the flavors were more complex then your typical Tikka (in a good way!) but other then that it didn't stand out to me. 
For the last dish, I wanted to get something with lamb and the waiter recommended Lamb Roganjosh $18 Caramelized onions / tomato / garam masala. Another stand out dish. The lamb was perfectly cooked and the curry that came with it was amazing...another spoonful moment of happiness. 
Just to switch things up we ordered a small size of the Dal Makhani $6 Lentils / tomato / garlic / fenugreek. This was delicious, not being a huge lentils fan I loved this dish. 
Basmati Rice comes with the curries so they just put it in a bowl for us to share-again your typical basmati rice. It's also available to order on the menu. 
Even though we were thoroughly stuffed we decided to get two of their desserts...and boy am I glad they did. The first one that popped up was the Chocolate Samosa $9. This was delicious, the moment you cut into this, chocolate wonderfulness oozed out. Although delicious, this reminded me more of spanikopita then a samosa (in dessert form of course).
The next was Apple Jalebi (Beignet) with Cardamom Ice Cream $9. Another delicious choice (minus the cardamom ice cream of coursE). The fried apple slices were heaven. Even though we were all stuffed, we somehow managed to demolish both of these desserts. 
And of course what meal at an Indian restaurant is complete without a Mango Lassi $4. Rasika's version was delicious! I loved the fact that it was not watered down by being put in a glass full of ice. It was creamy, mango goodness in a glass. 
As proof of our happiness of the dishes, and a somewhat embarrassing admission of our gluttony here our the empty plates from our table. 
Rasika's food went above an beyond the high expectations that I had. The food was innovative, creative and original. Waitstaff was helpful and kind, not snooty like some tend to be at hot spots. I asked the our server several random questions about the dishes and he was able to answer them all without hesitation and with a genuine smile on his face. Some dishes were pricey but they were high quality and cooked well. My favorites were the Palak Chaat and the Lamb Roganjosh. 

Reservations can be very hard to come by, especially for a Friday/Saturday night- I would suggest planning far in advance if possible-I have heard that people make them 1-2 months in advance. If you don't have a reservation, plan on getting there early to get a seat at the bar or in the lounge. Definitely worth a visit if you are planning a trip to DC (just remember to plan ahead!)

On a slightly awkward side note, Rommie let us know that the men's urinals had ice in them...anyone know why this is?
I'd like to thank foodbuzz once again for sponsoring this amazing meal and letting me share it with all of you guys! 

633 D Street NW
Washington, DC
Rasika on Urbanspoon

This is also part of my To Do List for 2012 that I was able to cross off!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

To Do List 2012

Since this year is halfway up, I thought I would compile 10 restaurants and 10 things that I really want to make and hopefully I will get somewhere on my list before the end of the year. 

1. Rasika in DC 6/23/12
2. 2 Amys in DC 9/1/12
3. Good Stuff Eatery in DC 9/2012
4. Hill Country BBQ Market in DC 11/2012
5. We the Pizza in DC
6. Vaso's Kitchen in Alexandria, VA
7. Zaytinya (actual sit down, not just for restaurant week)
8. New York Pizzeria in Trumansburg, NY 8/12
9. Ben's Chilli Bowl in DC
10. A ramen restaurant NYC Momofuku Noodle Bar July 2012

1. Falafel
2. Beef Stew
3. Lamb Fettah
4. Carrot Cake
5. Corn salsa
6. Buffalo Wing Chicken Soup
7. Hummus
8. Strawberry Blondies
9. Homemade Take Five's
10. Chicken Kabobs

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Caesars Pizza

After seeing countless commercials and receiving about a million ads in the mail for Little Caesars Pizza I decided that I would finally give it a try seeing that one just opened right by my house. The appeal of Little Caesar's is that you do not have to call ahead, you just stop by and pick up you want and it's ready.

We decided to do the family offering for $9 which includes crazy bread, a pizza and a 2L of soda (Pepsi products) and then we got a second pizza for $5 since we were feeding 5.

We got one cheese and one pepperoni. Both were good, worth the $5 for the pizza. The fam all agreed that this was pretty good.
The "crazy" breadsticks and "crazy" sauce were amazing. I may or may not have eaten 4/8 sticks that were in the package. Needless to say that was the majority of my dinner (I tried a slice of cheese so I could comment on it)
Verdict? For the price everything was pretty good. I prefer this over frozen pizza and since it is located right next to my grocery store...if I am ever in the mood for frozen pizza-I will prob just walk over and pick up this instead. What I got convertibility fed a family of five with a few pieces left over for $14, I would say that is pretty good and it was kid friendly. You just need to keep in mine this is a place of as "fast food" and you will be happy. 

7436 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003