Thanksgiving is days away, and before I state what makes me thankful, I would like to take a moment to admire the bird of the hour, the turkey. A turkey is the bird that millions of Americans will be gathering around, but why exactly do we eat a turkey of all birds? I know that turkeys are delicious, and they are rather large birds so they can feed many, but I like to wonder what the day would be like if we just ate chicken or duck. One of the major reasons for turkey being eaten on thanksgiving is because, during the early years of this continent’s colonization, these birds were quite plentiful and native. The early celebrators of the holiday possibly had easy access to the birds, and due to the large size of these fowl, I’m sure they were extremely thankful for their bounty. While I don’t exactly like turkeys since they are known for chasing people around, I still find them quite tasty, so I definitely can’t wait to “dig in” this Thursday.
All you can eat buffets are places where you can pay a set fee and eat for a virtually indefinite amount of time. These restaurants differ from your average eatery as they forgo the paper menu and allow the customers to simply take what they want. The idea for a buffet was created by Herbert Cobb McDonald in 1965, and these eateries have become standard fare for years. The idea in for a buffet seems absurd, but when you think about it, a profit is always a possibility when everybody pays the same price but not everybody eats their money’s worth. There are many types of buffets out there, the “all you can eat” model can be seen in everything from soups to traditional Japanese cuisine, but not all buffets are created equally. I love to eat at buffets, but there are some that just don’t leave room for most people to eat much. I understand that some people like to eat spicy foods, but I’ve had all you can eat curry before, and while it was tasty I did find myself regretting the decision to go for all I could eat. All you can eat dining has become a great American tradition, and while some may call this type of consumption gluttonous, the owners and the patrons of these establishments will gladly continue to put their money into these interesting restaurants.
It has been a long time since I had some great barbecue, and today I decided to head to a nice Upstate New York “barbecue joint” called Holy Smoke BBQ. I was a bit apprehensive about going to this place, since barbecue restaurants are often “hit or miss,” but after learning about their large portions of St. Louis style ribs I had to give it a try. I went into the restaurant with the intention of just trying their signature ribs, and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and size of the meal. Most people go into a barbecue restaurant strictly for the meats, but I am one of those rare individuals who has to try all of the sides. The mac and cheese was probably the best I have ever eaten at a barbecue restaurant, and considering the amount of eateries I have patronized, that is definitely quite a feat. The service was excellent and the meat was extremely juicy and well seasoned. I generally am not much of a rib eater, but for these ribs I would gladly make the 45 minute trip from NYC again. If you are ever in the Mahopac, NY area, check out Holy Smoke BBQ you will not be disappointed.
Chick-fil-A is a fast food restaurant that is famous for their ads featuring cows urging humans to “eat mor chikin.” Chick-fil-A has been around for years now, but until today they did not have any legitimate public locations within New York City. Not many New Yorkers were aware that there is a Chick-fil-A within the NYU food court, so most people had to wait until they ventured out of New York State before they could get their hands on one of those famous chicken sandwiches. I was never a huge fan of traveling a long distance just to get some fast food, but Chick-fil-A has managed to gain a noteriety that few other fast food chains could ever attain. New York City’s first fully loaded public Chick-fil-A restaurant is now opened in Manhattan, and I expect the lines to be very long for a very long time. The interesting thing about opening a new restaurant in New York City is how popular it can become, and how long the popularity can last. The location of the new Chick-fil-A is also extremely conducive to the chain’s inevitable success as it is right in midtown Manhattan, close to all of the tourists traps and business. I know the lines will be long, and the trip down to midtown is not exactly ideal, but I will certainly find my way to the new restaurant at least twice before the end of the year. I know some New Yorkers may find the idea of going to midtown for some fast food to be absurd, but I’m sure they will gladly make the trip once they have tasted one of the best fast food chicken sandwiches around.
I love traveling, I find it incredible that there are so many places to see and people to meet on this planet, so I try and get out as much as possible. One of the things I find most interesting about traveling to new countries and places is the cuisine. This planet has a diverse range of entrées and thanks to the travels of explorers and traders long ago many of these meals have similar ingredients and styles. As much as I hate the term “foodie,” it is the best way I can describe my affinity for food and it’s different flavors. Whenever I go anywhere I make it a point to try the local cuisine, especially if the meal is completely foreign to me. The way I see it, a trip or a vacation, isn’t just about exploring a new locale, it is also about experiencing the differences from your normal life. I know my stance on food would be difficult to take for a person who is allergic to various ingredients, but thankfully, I am allergic to nothing and very willing to try any food at least once. Traveling is an activity best done with others, and I love going to new locations with family and friends, my only qualm with traveling in a group is dealing with the taste preferences of others. Nothing bothers me more on a trip than the idea of eating fast food or standard American fare as a meal. Whenever I have to eat something I could have easily gotten at home, I feel cheated, it is almost as if I am only getting half of the trip experience. Traveling can be a fun and educational experience, and as with most new experiences, it is best received with an open mind or you may miss out on what makes it fun.
I love cookies, and the Oreo is arguably the king of all cookies, over the years Nabisco has given the cookie different twist in an effort to drum up publicity on the already famous cookie, but few have hit the mark like the new smores Oreo that was just released. I would consider myself an “Oreo connoisseur,” I have eaten almost every iteration of the cookie, from the terribly over sweetened birthday cake Oreo to the surprisingly delicious pumpkin spice variety, and none have managed to both taste like their target and still keep the Oreo feel like the smores version. The smores Oreo is the first Oreo to have anything other than a standard cookie shell, this Oreo stays true to the smore by having chocolate and marshmallow filling flanked by two graham crackers. I always enjoyed eating graham crackers as a child so this tiny change to my favorite cookie was easy for me to try, and even welcomed for a bit of a change of pace. Out of all the different cookies or cereals I have tasted that claimed to be smores or smores flavored, this Oreo is the most authentic to the original. The only thing that would make this cookie better is if it was possible to heat the marshmallow cream. If you are a fan of Oreos or a fan of smores I would definitely recommend picking up this cookie, it will be available for a limited time, and based on the availability of past Oreo flavors, I can attest to the fact that the company sticks to their limits.
There is an event going on today in New York City that mixes sports with bacon in an amazing display. Today is the Beer and Bacon classic, it is an event that travels to different baseball stadiums throughout the country boasting some of the finest bacon delicacies the mind can imagine, as well as an impressive variety of craft beers from small local breweries. I attended the event last year and immediately decided to return after tasting the bacon wrapped elk burger. The Beer and Bacon classic is a perfect time to get a chance to roam around a baseball stadium and grab some delicious eats, while playing games and chatting with friends. This year’s event has expanded to the upper decks so there will be much more to see, and more interesting bacon based snacks to try. This event is amazing for anyone who enjoys bacon and doesn’t mind sampling a few exotic beers and treats, but needless to say, this is not much of an event for a vegan, almost every meal available involves some sort of meat product with a bacon twist added. This year I am most excited to try out the bacon accented snacks, last year there was a bacon and ice cream shake that was quite tasty and interesting. There are millions of delicious treats that can be created with the addition of bacon, I am going to make sure I pace myself correctly and try out all of the event’s fantastic meals.
Today was a long day of eating as I travelled around New Jersey, trying out some of the food made famous by the Travel Channel and The Food Network. The first stop was a restaurant called Stuff Yer Face, that is known for making gigantic 18 inch strombolis. Stuff Yer Face offers their own delicious iteration of the nacho, known as the Potacho, which are basically nachos made with thick cut potato chips as opposed to corn chips. The potachos were delicious, heavily topped, and perfect as a starter or as finger food for a sporting event. While the potachos were fantastic, I came to this location in order to try the stromboli. The strombolis were very large, and the sauce and toppings were extremely tasty. The sauce used in these strombolis is a special recipe that has a bit of a sweet taste to it, and the toppings are generously spread about the roll. I really enjoyed the Stromboli but if I had to nitpick I’d say the dough was a bit lacking in flavor, while the toppings and sauce more than made up for the dough, the few topping less bites I encountered had to be powered through. The next place I went to was Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, made famous from The Cake Boss television show. This shop boasts a full array of cakes and brownies, as well as fancy designer cakes for special events. Carlo’s Bake shop gets a lot of hype due to the television show, but this bakery reminds me of many other Italian bakeries similar to the ones I can find around The Bronx. There are many good bakeries that a similar to Carlo’s but they just don’t get as much notoriety. The thing I really love about Carlo’s Bake Shop is their prices, they are extremely reasonable considering the popularity of the shop, even though it is famous the prices make this bake shop feel like an everyday neighborhood bakery. I would definitely recommend both of these locations to any foodie with a mode of transportation and a desire to try some interesting foods of New Jersey. I spotted many interesting eateries around New Jersey, I definitely will be back to sample everything, but in smaller portions.
Candlelight Inn is a cozy eatery tucked away on the bustling Central Avenue of Scarsdale, New York. After hearing about the famous Candlelight wings for years I finally got the chance to stop in and give them a try. The first thing I noticed about candlelight is the amount of space, the restaurant are is small, seating only about 30 patrons, but that hasn’t kept it from being wildly popular in this part of New York. This restaurant is always busy, I was lucky enough to be able to grab a spot inside since I was in the area just as they opened their doors today, and I was well rewarded with some great eats. The menu of candlelight is quite extensive, featuring many classic American dishes as well as some Italian favorites, and while I was impressed by the menu I was there for one thing, the wings. Candlelight Inn handles wings a bit differently than most eateries I have been to, while most restaurants serve half wings, candlelight serves full wings, fried and doused in a delicious sauce. I tried their mild wings, which were great, I also tried their teriyaki/buffalo mix wings and I was blown away by the unique flavor. The teriyaki and buffalo mix was almost like a glaze, it was a perfect marriage of flavors that was quite mild and tasty, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys teriyaki but doesn’t want too much of an overpowered flavor. Candlelight Inn is a restaurant that is perfect for anybody craving wings in the Bronx or Yonkers area, the wings are crispy and tasty, and overall a much more rewarding meal than chain restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings. Candlelight Inn is a small restaurant, so if you find yourself in the area prepare for a bit of a wait, but trust me it is well worth it for the wings.
Today is National Pizza Day! And while I don’t know who appointed pizza a day I am grateful that others share my affinity for pizza. I grew up in New York City, the home of the slice, and while I have eaten pizza in many forms and in many countries, I can confidently say New York pizza is the best pizza I have eaten. New York pizza is known for having a thin soft crust, but not too thin, with light sauce and plentiful toppings. I also love deep dish pizza, but since I have never had an “authentic” deep dish pizza from Chicago, I can’t really speak on how it stacks up to its New York brother but I can say it’s not real pizza. Deep dish pizza, while delicious, and packing enough carbs and toppings to feed a small nation, is more of a pasta or soufflé really. I know I am fully writing out of New York bias when I say this, but pizza needs to be foldable, and eatable with bare hands. If I need a fork to eat my pizza neatly, then I have failed my city. As it gets warmer I plan to take a pizza tour of New York City, I estimate roughly 9 pizza shops in my neighborhood alone so it will take a while. I hope to soon be able to head out to Chicago for a deep dish but for now, I will enjoy national pizza day here, in New York “Pizza” City.