July 16, 2013
This last weekend was full of family and traveling. It was also full of great restaurants and food. I wasn’t able to cook anything but I had plenty of opportunities to go outside of the box and try some new things. I was deliciously surprised at how wonderful everything tasted.
Our first dinner out was at a place called The Boatyard in Ithaca, NY. It’s located at the tip of the Cayuga Lake. They have a good variety of foods and my only regret was that I did not take any pictures. To start with we had Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls and Sizzling Potato Chips with Blue Cheese sauce. The egg rolls were crunchy with just enough heat, filled with chicken, and a nice blue cheese and hot sauce dipping sauce. The Sizzling Potato Chips were not what I expected but so yummy! Potato chips shaken in a bag with Blue Cheese, Gruyère, and Parmesan and dropped on a really hot cast iron pan. The cheese sizzles and melts, and the fragrance makes you drool. I told my nephew that I had to try to re-create this very soon! Dinner was Ahi Tuna with a pear slaw and jasmine rice. The tuna had been cooked to perfection and the pear slaw was a bit of sweet and crunchy, which was an excellent accompaniment. Dessert was a sizzling chocolate chip cookie with warm caramel sauce. All I can say is, if you are ever in the upstate region of New York, you must stop by The Boatyard and grab a meal. YUM!
To continue our trip we drove to Long Island to kiss and hug the husband’s grandchild. Of course seeing our little Pickle was the highlight of the weekend, but throw in bacon, egg, cheese on a roll, a slice a pizza and bagels with scallion cream cheese and you’ve got what New York is all about. I absolutely love the Italian markets and the deli’s up there and we always take a trip to pick up a cooler full of sausage to bring back. And this time we added rice balls and homemade pancetta to round out the experience. I cannot wait to use them!
Our last night there we decided to go full Italian for dinner. With a little discussion, we decided we would go to “da noi” in Islip, NY. And what an excellent choice that was! It’s a quaint little place that holds no more than twenty tables. We were greeted warmly as soon as we walked in and the owner, who has a thick Italian accent told us the specials of the night. As soon as we sat down, drinks were ordered and the very best Bellini I’ve ever had was brought to me. Along with our drinks, they brought homemade bread and oil for dipping and bruschetta. The tomatoes were so sweet I knew the evening could only get better. My husband decided to start out with baked clams casino and I got their fig, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella appetizer. The clams were good but we decided I had made the better choice. The sweetness of the figs and the saltiness of the prosciutto mixed with the creaminess of the mozzarella was exquisite. I think they had made the mozzarella five minutes before they brought it out.
For dinner, Peter ordered the veal saltimbocca and I ordered lamb ravioli with a champagne cream sauce and grapes. I was a little hesitant in ordering that because it wasn’t anything I had ever had, but again, once we tasted everything we decided that I had chosen the best dinner option. The homemade ravioli was light but a perfect al dente and the lamb was tender and moist. I still have not quite figured out the ingredients in the champagne cream sauce but I will….it tasted amazing. And surprise….what a beautiful addition the grapes were! For a finale they brought us each a glass of chocolate wine. That in itself was the richest dessert. Thick and creamy like chocolate milk but it had that adult pleasure taste we all love to have in our after dinner drink. Perhaps you will never get to experience what we did, but I hope you can. If you are ever in this area, please make sure you get reservations and go for one of the best dinners you will ever have. I am so glad we have family that lives there, because I want an excuse to go back. It was absolutely amazing in taste, presentation and customer service and I would put this in my top five of restaurants I have been to.
So I didn’t have time to cook this week, but I hope I tempted your taste buds with my travels. Weekends with family are the best, but when you mix it with excellent food, you can’t beat it! Love to all my family and can’t wait to come back and see you again…..and can you make reservations for four?