November 29, 2013

Offshore Ale Company (Martha's Vineyard)

ABF got a lovely present from a colleague this year-- Deb knew of Kevin's & my love for New England and gave him a gift certificate valid at numerous merchants on Martha's Vineyard! We decided to use this at a restaurant we hadn't tried before-- Offshore Ale Company, in Oak Bluffs.

You can help yourself to bunches of raw peanuts while you wait, and the floor is littered with shattered shells. I never really got the appeal of that, personally, but people seem to love it. To each his/her own!

We started with a bowl of chowdah for ABF, and he generously shared with me. This was tangy, creamy, and the perfect start to a meal on a cold winter's night.

I ordered a glass of Malbec, one of my go-to wines when it comes to reds. I wasn't sure yet what I'd order, but I usually enjoy Malbecs.

Offshore Ale Company brews their own beer (and offers tours!), and ABF tried one of their stouts. He really liked his stout, and thought it went perfectly with the chowder. I tried a sip of the stout and liked it okay, but still prefer wine. I'm just not a beer person, remember?

ABF's main was the Italian Sausage Alfredo pizza, with a white sauce base, slightly spicy sausage, caramelized onions, and spinach. I had a bite and this was delicious! Offshore makes their pizzas in a wood-fired brick oven, and this pizza was excellent. Chewy but crisp crust, not the least bit greasy, and everything tasted delightfully fresh.

I felt a little overwhelmed with all of the options, but ended up picking fried chicken. I can count on one hand the times I've eaten fried chicken over the past few years, but I got roped in by the promise of a fluffy biscuit and some mashed potatoes.

The biscuit was fantastic, the mashed potatoes were perfect, and the chicken was crunchy, crispy, and very well-seasoned. There was also a HUGE amount of it. We both took home leftovers, and both dishes got even tastier over time.

We made sure to save room for dessert (which is why we packed up about five pounds' worth of leftovers!) and ABF's brother and his family had raved about the warm chocolate chip cookies that come with ice cream. One serving comes with 3 cookies, each about the size of my head, and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

These were good, but I would skip these next time. If you have little ones with you, I think they'd love the wow factor of gigantic cookies, though.

Service was excellent, the mood was upbeat and energetic (a bit loud but in a fun way), and they have so many options you'll have a tough time settling on just one thing--what a delicious dilemma! I would definitely return here--and thanks again to ABF's colleague, Deb-- we quite enjoyed your gift!

Offshore Ale Company

30 Kennebec Ave

Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

(508) 693-2626

November 27, 2013

Thanksgivukkah side dish!

We have a delicious pre-Thanksgiving potluck every year at my office, and every year we are so excited to show off our cooking skills and enjoy everyone's awesome dishes. This year I went out on a limb with an interesting combo, brought to me by Chow: roasted butternut squash and pears. Pears? Yes, pears.

I was skeptical, especially when I saw the recipe also called for onions, but Chow has never led me astray. This recipe is dead simple, even though the idea of all the peeling might make you delay it until it's 10pm the night before your party (or was that just me?)
Seriously, though-- you can have this all peeled, chopped, and cooking away in no time. It took me about 10 minutes total prep time to peel and chop the squash and pears, dice the onions, and get everything going.

I deviated slightly from the Chow recipe. I don't really like rosemary. Little bits are okay, perhaps in breads or side dishes, but too much and I feel as though I'm snacking on a pine cone. So I used whole cardamom pods-- I thought they'd be a nice partner with the squash.

While the roast butternut squash is baking, you can start sautéeing the onions. Once they're clear, bring in the pears! The whole time I made this, I was thinking "This is weird. This is not going to work." I totally intended to pick up a backup pumpkin pie if this dish didn't work out the way I hoped.
However, all of those fears went away with my first bite. The roasted squash is delightful, of course, but the sweetness of the pears, along with the slightly sweet/salty bite of the onions, those extras take this dish up another notch.

Pears AND onions?? Yes! 
It's simple and simply delicious-- the leftovers got better and better every week! If you're looking for a new way to dress up your side dishes, I highly recommend this recipe! Thanks again to Chow!!
Mmmm..roasted  veggies (I ate the brussels sprouts as a snack!)
Roasted Squash & Pears (adapted from this Chow recipe)

1 medium butternut squash (around 2 lbs)
2 Bosc pears (bought a few days ahead of time)
1 small yellow or white onion
Cardamom pods (I used a small handful, maybe 7-10, instead of rosemary)
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

Wash, peel, and cut the squash and pears into cubes that are all about the same size. Dice your onion. Toss the squash and cardamom pods in a roasting pan with enough olive oil to coat, dash with salt & pepper, and baked about 25 minutes (until fork tender) at around 350.

While the squash is roasting, sauté the onions until clear (I used butter here), then add the pears. Sauté another 5-10 minutes, mixing well. Set aside.

Once squash is ready, toss all cooked ingredients together, put in serving dish. Let cool before refrigerating for later. Hint: this gets better overnight!

Happy Thanksgivukkah, Thanksgiving, or plain old Thursday-- however you spend it!

November 12, 2013


**Thanks to Brooklyn Heights Blog for posting this Queen review on their site! If you're new to Stuff I Ate, swing by my Facebook page (here!) and click 'like' to share your favorite Brooklyn, NYC, and other spots! Also, my linkwithin widget is funky today, so click  here to see my other Brooklyn Heights faves-- and leave a comment on YOURS!**
We have a new favorite restaurant in Brooklyn Heights: Queen!
This is especially delicious considering 2 of our favorites in that area closed (Ciao, La Traviata-- I miss your shrimp fra diavolo!)

That's just about all you need to know when it comes to Queen, a long-standing Italian restaurant on Brooklyn's busy Court Street. It's less than a 2 minute walk from a bevy of subway lines, so you really have no excuse for not trying it!
Right off the bat, you get this gorgeous, complimentary plate of carby delights, with a vinegar/olive oil combo on the side for dipping.
(Note--they make their own mozzarella-- and you can order a Caprese salad even though it's not on the menu-- notes for next time!)
Crispy flatbreads, crunchy breadsticks, fresh, fluffy Italian (white)bread, a darker version, and the star-- this delicious chewy and soft riff on bruschetta, crowned with a garlicky tomato sauce that just about sang. They offered us more, but we showed some restraint and demurred. I really wanted to have room for dessert, and I could easily make a meal out of that bruschetta.
We each had a glass of wine as well-- a fruity Merlot for ABF, a luscious Nero d'Avola (only $8!) for me. Perfect!
My friend J insisted that the eggplant parmigiana was the go-to dish. I don't normally order that, but on her recommendation I decided to give it a try. Holy deliciousness. Do you see that gorgeous dish? Tender, thin slices of eggplant-- not the thick, heavy,clunky versions you might have had elsewhere, cloaked in a thin, oozy layer of cheese, and of course, red sauce. I took home the leftovers for lunch the next day, and it was even better.
ABF ordered the chicken parmigiana. Why not go with some classic dishes to test this place's chops? His chicken was surprisingly juicy and tender, and I had at least two bites of this. It came with a side dish of perfectly-cooked penne with a different (yet even more delicious) red sauce. Both dishes-yum!
ABF had checked out pictures on the website that make the portions look teeny-tiny, precious, even, but we both saw for ourselves that they are huge!
The waiter told us they make their own desserts at Queen, so we both saved room. I went with the apple tart, which comes with cinnamon gelato. The tart was clearly homemade, light and delicious. The gelato was much milder than I expected- I wanted a little more cinnamon, but it was still creamy and tasty.

ABF went for the ricotta cheesecake, one of his favorite desserts overall. I've never been a fan of the texture-- I like my cheesecakes dense, heavy, and tangy. This, however, was great. I'm not saying I'd order it myself, but if you like ricotta cheesecake, you will LOVE theirs, which comes with a tangy zig zag of two fruit purées-- kiwi and strawberry this time.

We went all out on this meal, wrapping with cappuccinos (decaf for me). Everything about this meal was lovely from first bite to final sip. The staff were just as welcoming to us as to the many customers who were clearly regulars. I can't wait to go back-- and try the homemade mozzarella!

84 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 596-5955

November 08, 2013

Food Truck Friday: The Crêpes Truck

I do love a good crêpe-- sweet or savory!
I've been going to the Crêpe Truck for a while, but this is the first time it's appeared on the blog.

For the savory sample, I've ordered the Ham, Swiss & Herbs. The crêpe doesn't photograph that well, but trust me, it was tres delicieux.

As good as the ham crepe was (though I could do without the rosemary-- merci beaucoup), I'm definitely a sucker for a sweet crepe.

I have repeatedly ordered Le Triompe, which you can have with strawberries or bananas (or, like me, BOTH!)-- this is warm, delicious, and full of lush, ripe fruit.

Look at that beautiful crêpe! Perfectly browned, crispy on the edges, and full of deliciousness-- these keep me full for hours!

I've had both savory and sweet at this spot, but I always come back for the sweet crêpes!
To track the Crêpes truck, follow them on Twitter: @TheCrepesTruck!

November 07, 2013

Guest Post: Shea's Cafe & Bakery (NJ)

My latest guest post comes from my friend Mel, a woman who knows Jersey well and writes about her take on life in general at her website, "Kronfusion"-- click here and visit her! Thanks, Mel!

Nestled in the pine barrens of Southern New Jersey, not that far from Stockton State College, sits Shea’s Café & Bakery, a family-owned and operated restaurant whose recipes are a closely guarded secret. And they should be.

During a recent visit with my cousins, they took me to the much raved-about Shea’s. Locals know that you go there for the best brunch in and around the South Jersey Shore.

If you don’t arrive early – the wait can be at least 45 minutes. During my wait, I had chance to carefully examine the daily specials, written down on a chalkboard placed outside. I had my taste buds set on ordering the Crunchy Almond-Amaretto Stuffed French toast, filled with sweet cream cheese, and topped with fresh whipped cream. My morning caffeine craving was easily filled by the large endless mug of coffee.

For a little extra flavor, and to fit in my serving of fruit, I also decided to order a side of bananas foster. When it arrived, it was boiling hot and aromatic.

When the stuffed French toast arrived, it was a huge serving, which could have been split by two people (and ultimately lasted for a few meals). You will understand why the word “doggie bag” or “to go” is part of the lexicon at Shea’s. There is just so much food. I could only eat one sandwich-sized French toast.

With the first bite, my taste buds were transported through a time & space portal to a whole other Universe. It was one of the best brunches I have ever had.

My cousin MM ordered the Apple Harvest Pancakes, which are not listed on the menu, but all of the food is cooked to order, so it wasn’t a problem. And these were no ordinary pancakes (see for yourself).

Don’t be thrown by the restaurant’s sparse and unimpressive décor. The brunch will knock your socks off! Think Sabrina’s in South Philadelphia, or Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien in New York City; Shea’s stuffed French toast was *better.*

So, if you’re making a trip to Atlantic City & and want a top-Chef quality brunch, travelling off of the beaten path to Shea’s is a must!

Shea's Cafe & Bakery

195 New York Road

Galloway, NJ 08205

(609) 748-7000

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