Saturday, March 19, 2016

Old School Italian at Angela's

Angela's Ristorante is so old school I could not find an official website or Facebook page. Maybe it doesn't matter. On a Friday night the place filled quickly with regular patrons generating a neighborhood camaraderie that testifies to Angela's staying power.

The decor is a bit dated. It looks like it was established primarily as a pizza and pasta joint and then ventured out to other traditional Italian dishes. Our wonderfully capable and affable waitress told us that the kitchen had been expanded a few years ago.

Welcome to Angela's
Welcome to Angela's
The bar/hostess station contains all the basics and generous Manhattans were served to our table. We received menus and were immediately overwhelmed. Pages of offerings and a separate page of specials. We kept looking over the veal selections.

Angela's also features a small wine list. Generally, I find that traditional Italian places have a mediocre wine list with low-end Chiantis and Montepulciano's at sky-high prices. Not here. We had some decent choices from California at prices we could live with.

From some of the dishes served up at other tables we knew portions were large, so we did not order an appetizer. We finally decided upon the Veal Pizzaiola, which was served with a choice of pasta. I chose angel hair tossed with garlic and olive oil.

So here is the thing that really impressed me. Our waitress noticed we had only gotten through half of our Manhattans when we put in our order. She asked if we wanted to have the kitchen wait 5-10 minutes before cooking our meal. We immediately said yes! Such a delight to experience that attention to detail.

We finished our cocktails at a leisurely pace before dinner arrived.

And wow! did dinner arrive. The Veal Pizzaiola was huge. Tender cutlets smothered in a crushed tomato marinara with melted mozzarella. The side of pasta was a generous serving, too, and reeked of garlic in a good way. The dish was everything that I expected: over-the-top and yummy.

Veal Pizzaiola
A generous serving of Veal Pizzaiola
Italian comfort food with lovely service and delicious leftovers for another night. Being old school has its joys.

Angela's is located at 425 N. Ridge Rd. in the Tuckahoe Shopping Center.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lunch Time at Amuse

Always great to have lunch at Amuse.

Green Salad with Prosciutto and Comte Cheese
Green Salad with Prosciutto and Comte Cheese
Curry Fried Oysters
Curry Fried Oysters

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Valentine's Trip to NYC

Well, we left before Valentine's Day, but we went for a long weekend. Of course, it was one of the coldest weekends this Winter, so we tried to stay indoors as much as possible and enjoy some long, leisurely meals.

Happy Valentine's Day!
A NYC Valentine

Upon arrival we headed to Maysville for cocktails and dinner. After imbibing a Kentucky Redbird (a bourbon and fruity concoction), I then decided to move on to the Willett Pot Still, neat. Mmmm! The food highlight was the seared beef with radish and apple. The bartenders were friendly, especially since we arrived right as they opened. We ate in the dining room for our meal and the restaurant filled up quickly. Coordination of courses proved to be a bit bumpy leaving us with multiple plates jockeying for position.

Bourbons and Ryes
An awesome bar shelf
Kentucky Redbird Cocktail
Kentucky Redbird
Seared Beef with Radish and Apple
Seared beef with radish and apple. A wonderful dish from Maysville.

Walking back to the hotel we stumbled upon Eataly. Wow! a bit overwhelming. We couldn't resist ordering the Nutella Affogato.

Affogato in the Making
Decadent after dinner dessert/coffee from Eataly.

The next morning we headed to The Met. The museum is big and contains a wide variety of art and artifacts. We were particularly enchanted with the vibrancy of the Thomas Hart Benton paintings and delighted by the Oceanic exhibit.

Thomas Hart Benton - July Hay
Thomas Hart Benton - July Hay
Kwoma Crocodile
Crocodile Ceiling Panel
For lunch we visited the Petrie Court Cafe. Tasty food, lovely service, and a decent people-watching experience.

Malliol with Blue Hat
The blue hat is awesome
Tarrica Cabernet
A wonderful Cab from Paso Robles
French Dip Sandwich
Enjoying a French Dip sandwich at The Met

After lunch we saw armored knights and Dutch masters.

Knight on Horse
The armor collection is impressive
Govert Flinck - Bearded Man with a Velvet Cap
Govert Flinck - Bearded Man with a Velvet Cap
Back to our tiny hotel room for a rest before dining at Perry St. This was our dinner splurge. A five course tasting menu with wine pairings. Unfortunately, it was way too dark to take decent photos. The highlight was a Lobster Thermidor with mushrooms, Gruyere, and tarragon. A perfect melding of flavors paired with a white Burgundy. Luscious, decadent, delicious.

The following day we attempted to walk around the city and enjoy a few outdoor sites. The frozen fountain at Bryant Park was really cool (actually frozen). And we wandered around Rockefeller Plaza.

Frozen Fountain
The frozen fountain was fascinating
Billowing flags at Rockefeller Plaza. No wonder we were cold.
We ended up at Columbus Circle with half a mind to venture over toward the Hudson River to view the Intrepid when we realized the cold weather was winning. It was near noon and we needed a place for lunch. Robert came to our rescue. Located on the ninth floor of the Museum of Arts and Design, the place is colorful and modern with a spectacular view of Central Park and NYC. We settled in to enjoy drinks, wine, food, and restaurant patrons. An indulgent spot to warm our bones. The staff treated us very well, despite the lack of reservations.

Robert Restaurant
Bright colors and funky furniture at Robert
View from Robert
What a view!
Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine splurge
Watercress and Potato Soup
Potato and Watercress Soup. The right starter on a frigid day.

Steak Fries and Salad
Steak Frites

Fur coats and shorts - NYC style
Mirrored View
Diners at Robert
 After lunch we did wander over to see the Intrepid from the outside. In the late afternoon we headed to MoMA to take advantage of free admission night. Wow! What a freakin' zoo! Busy and chaotic. The line for the coat check was at least an hour long! It was tough to enjoy the art because we were constantly jostled by other Friday night freeloaders. I was pleased to see a couple of Klimt paintings. This was the highlight for me.

The Line for the Coat Check
Waiting to check coats. We carried ours.
Klimt Graces
Gustav Klimt - Hope II
As we left MoMA we ran into a cat head. We appreciate this kind of art, too.

Cat Head
Cat Head

After chaos we needed to relax a wee bit before dinner. A glass of sparkling at the Morrell Wine Bar did the trick.

And then we plunged right back into chaos visiting Don Antonio for pizza. Crowded, loud, and busy, but delicious wood-fired pies.

Hungry Crowd at Don Antonio
The crowd at Don Antonio.
Margherita Pizza with Sausage
Margherita with Sausage. Wood-fired Deliciousness.
The next morning we boarded the train for home. Fun trip despite the cold temps. Lots more still to do on future visits.

Through the Branches
NYC - Fun Times

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tastings of Charlottesville

Tastings of Charlottesville has been around since the early 80's. It's a wine shop, wine bar, and restaurant. Folks may be put off by the dining room decor which reminds me of a last holdout from a 70's seafood restaurant.

Tastings Dining Room

But ignore the decor and enjoy lunch or dinner and fabulous wine (a $7 corkage fee on top of the retail price in the shop).

About a month ago we popped in for lunch. I only had the Lobster Bisque, but the description nailed it: Real Lobster, Real Butter, Real Cream. Period. Service with Croustades.

Lobster Bisque with Crostini

And true to the description the bisque was creamy with little lobster bits in every bite. A rich indulgence for a Saturday lunch.

Sign up for Tastings email list and be tempted to travel to Charlottesville on a regular basis.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Boulevard Burger & Brew

Retro RVA hits its full stride with Boulevard Burger & Brew. Red and white tile and roofing; round, chromed bar stools (don't forget to twirl!); and a huge neon sign make anyone of a certain age sigh nostalgically.

Retro Burger Joint

We arrived on a warmish Winter day late in the afternoon as it was opening (it's now open for lunch except on Sundays). Already the place was packed. The myriad bar stools were all taken, and we snagged the last high-topped table. Once we were seated, couples and families waited outside for a bit.

Full Bar

What makes this joint different from the drive-ins and burger places of yore (at least in the South) is the addition of alcohol. Beer and wine were available on tap and the cocktails offered the mundane to the neon Weird Science served in a chemistry beaker. The draft red wine was drinkable and very reasonable at happy hour.

The food offerings are basic: burgers, fries, onion rings, chicken sandwiches and fingers, a couple of salads for good measure. The meat from the burgers is sourced from Creekstone Farms, and it is Black Angus and non-GMO. BB&B offers a number of topping variations and, if you want to strike out on your own, they have "Just a Burger" and a list of additions to please any burger palate.

The Kelly's Classic was served with American cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion. The inside bun edges were seared and met expectations. The burger was accompanied by a little cup of pickled veggies. A nice tangy touch.

The Kelly's Classic

Of course a side had to be ordered as well and I am a sucker for beer battered onion rings. And yes, they were good.

Onion Rings

After a burger and onion rings it's usually time to stroll out of an establishment and digest the meal. But no. BB&B had adult milkshakes. So we made folks waiting for a table wait just a bit longer and indulged in a Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Milkshake. Salted caramel whiskey, creme de cacao, and soft serve in a salted rim with a caramel garnish. Whoa! So good and so very, very filling.Next time if we want a milkshake, we will go easy on the other food.

Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Milkshake

It's nice to have a burger joint on Boulevard. It makes for a bright, colorful spot in Scott's Addition that caters to a variety of folks. May the neon sign remain bright for many years.

BB&B Sign