We Ate That - Food Blog:
Check out the latest meals we have stumbled upon
This post has been a few months in the making. We actually visited the Crown Victoria over the summer after hearing that they hosting weekly pig roasts on Sundays throughout the summer. Who doesn't love a pig roast?, well we do! We went there bright and early only to find out that the pig was still cooking and it would be about an hour until it was ready. As a result we settled in with some drinks and started the painful process of waiting for our pig to be done. Too bad it was one of the hottest days of the summer and we too felt as if we were roasting. That tid bit of irony was lost on us at the time. The one upside to being there early was that we were able to get some quality photos of the pig cooking. It also allowed us to learn more about the Crown Victoria as we had never been there before. It turned out to have a pretty large bar on the inside which has a large weekend brunch. It was the massive backyard that made us realize that the Crown Vic was definitely the perfect Summer bar hangout, Especially when you want to sit out side and enjoy the sun with a cool one. To top it off outside they also had bacci ball courts, cornhole and a volleyball court. After what felt like 10 hours, finally the pig was about to come off the spit, so without further delay we present the Pig Roast.
The menu at Crown Victoria boasts plenty of bar classics such as wings, burgers and nachos. They are also serving dishes like The Runny pig which is Pulled pork that is slow braised in Peak Organic Amber Ale served on a brioche bun with a sunny side egg or the Guinness Stew, made with hearty beef chunks simmered in a Guinness broth with potatoes and other seasonal vegetables. This diverse menu is perfect because there is something for everyone here.
What We Ate:
Slow Roasted Pig - in a spicy citrus marinade
Grilled Sweet Onions in a lemon marinade
Charred Fresh Sweet Corn with a spicy mayo
Homemade Corn Bread soaked in pork juices
The pig was worth the wait, it was fresh tasty. It had a slight citrus flavor thanks to the marinade and the meat was very tender. The house made hot sauce added a nice amount of heat to the pork and another depth of flavor. On our plate we had some of the shoulder as well as a rib. The shoulder was much more tender and had better flavor than the rib. The rib was a bit under cooked which is one of the common problems when roasting a pig. However we have trained our systems to handle all food borne illnesses, so we continued to eat the meant anyway. Another half hour would have finished off this pig nicely. All in all it had some good flavor and was pretty cool to see a pig roast. The corn was very good with tons of flavor that you get from good local summer corn. The spicy mayo added a nice creaminess to the corn and just enough kick. The onions were a strange side dish o serve but were cooked nicely and we enjoyed the lemon marinade they were in. The Zucchini was pretty standard and nothing really to write home about. The corn bread was awesome, when getting the corn bread we were offered i dry or wet. We had never had wet cornbread before so we asked the chefs opinion and he said wet without hesitation. The Chef knows best so we went with Wet, and he was right. Corn bread soaked in the pig juices was delicious. It added this salty smokiness to the corn bread without causing it to be too soggy. It was a great addition to the meal. The food was pretty good, but the price was a bit steep as the pig did not come with sides. We paid about $25 each for the food and would have liked a bit more than what we got. We would certainly go back so it is worth checking out especially if you are looking for somewhere to sit outside and enjoy the sun with a few friends and a handful of beers.
Should or Should Not Eat:
Crown Victoria has earned a Should Eat from us. Offering a pig roast every Sunday in the summer was awesome and with a diverse menu it should please most appetites. The food is not 5 star but it is good and coupled with the atmosphere make the Crown Vic worth visiting.
Brooklyn, NY: 60 s 2nd St.> 917.719.6072
Bellwether is one of the newest restaurants to join the Williamsburg food scene. It is owned by the husband and wife team Josh Cohen and Blair Papagni, whom over the past year have successfully opened both Calyer and St. Vitus. Manning the kitchen at Bellwether is head chef Dan Ross, from the ever popular Fatty Cue. We first heard about Bellwether from a friend who told us that the menu had an array of unique food not found on many menus. Since we can't resist trying unique and unusual foods we jumped at the chance to visit Bellwether.
The menu at Bellwether offers a selection of unique dishes, the majority of them featuring seafood with Spanish influences. These dishes include such combinations as fried oysters on a bun with tartar sauce, pickled jalepeños. Roasted blue fish with corn, nardello peppers & pickled chanterelles. Steamed clams on toast with roasted nardello peppers. If you are not a huge seafood fan there are plenty of other options such as pork sausage & bacon braised with cranberry beans & kale or a cheeseburger & fries with tillamook cheddar, red onion, b&b pickles & mayo. The only bad part of the menu is also the best part, it changes every few weeks to include seasonal ingredients and specials. With so many options we decided to get a variety of dishes and share them around the table.
What We Ate:
Stuffed Squash Blossoms - stuffed with seafood and topped with salsa verde
Marinated white Anchovies - With toasted bread & butter with sweet pickled peppers
Lamb Tartare - with fried bread, minted yogurt, pickled egg, capers & toasted spices
Spicy twice cooked oxtails - with lots of herbs, peanuts & fried shallots
Pan Seared Grouper - with a fresh vegetable salad
Braised Chicken - with cilantro & almonds
White pound cake - topped with icing and a fresh apricot sauce
Warm Chocolate Cake - filled with handmade peanut butter
The dishes at Bellwether were reminiscent of our favorite restaurant Traif. They offered fresh ingredients mixed together and cooked in unique combinations. We started the night with stuffed squash blossoms. They were filled with seafood and topped with salsa verde. The blossoms were similar to Asian dumplings, the stuffing was a salty mix of what seemed to be crab and shrimp. The mild seafood flavor mixed with the intense salsa verde provided the perfect bite to start off the meal.
The next dish to arrive at the table was marinated white anchovies with toasted bread & butter with sweet pickled peppers. We have never been the biggest fans of fish, so this dish was a bit intimidating but we decided to go for it anyway. Who would have thought we would actually like anchovies. Since they were marinated and pickled they did not have the fishiness we were expecting. The anchovies combined with the sweet peppers and toast were actually one of our favorite dishes of the night. It was light but intensely flavorfull and has turned us on to pickled anchovies at least for the moment.
We didn't think anything could make us more squeamish than trying fish, but we were wrong, next to the was lamb tartare. The idea of eating raw meat has always seemed a bit taboo. We always hear that you need make sure your chicken is not pink and that your pork reaches 160 degrees, but somehow tartare is ok. We were hesitant staring at the uncooked meat but decided that sometimes you just need to leap without looking. We took our first bite and were pleasantly surprised. Wrapped in a bit of pita you could not even tell that the lamb was not cook. The combination of spices and ingredients made the lamb taste like a freshly made gyro. We are not normally huge fans of lamb, but it was much less gamey than we thought it would be. We never thought we would have liked lamb tartare but yet again Bellwether has broadened our horizons.
After cleaning our plates, the entrees arrived to the table. The best dish we had was the spicy twice cooked oxtail with plenty of herbs, peanuts & fried shallots. It was then topped with a lime infused soy sauce. The oxtail was extremely tender but had the perfect crispy crust on the outside. The oxtail had a pleasant beef like flavor that paired nicely with the shallots, lime and cilantro. The meat effortlessly fell off the bone as we tried to soak up as much of the sauce as possible in each bite. The only way this dish could have been better was if there was more of it.
The next dish we had was pan seared grouper with a fresh vegetable salad. Since we already tried anchovies, the grouper was a walk in the park. It was a delicate white fish with a nice sear. It was well seasoned and was paired perfectly with a fresh salad of mixed vegetables. This was a nice dish, but was over shadowed by the huge flavors from the oxtail.
We also ordered the braised chicken with cilantro & almonds. Just like the oxtail, the chicken was fall off the bone tender. It was seasoned well and was braised in flavorful broth. The chicken had a nice crispy skin which helped contrast the tenderness of the chicken. While we enjoyed this dish and it was a very satisfying, it could not compare to the oxtail.
After all of the amazing food we ate, there was still dessert to be had. We made a little more room in our stomachs and dug into white pound cake with apricot sauce & warm chocolate cake with homemade peanut butter. The white cake was light and a bit plain but the apricot sauce instantly elevated the dish. It was super sweet but not overpowering. It melded perfectly with the neutral vanilla flavors. The real star however was the warm slightly molten chocolate cake filled with freshly made peanut butter. It was very rich but 100% satisfying. We could have used a gallon of milk each, but even without it we still devoured every morsel of cake.
Should or Should Not Eat:
Bellwether offers up some of the best dishes in Williamsburg. With fresh ingredients and unique combinations the food at Bellwether is a Should Eat. Bring your friends for a night of good drinks, food and a relaxed dining experience.
Brooklyn, NY: 594 Union Ave.> 347.529.4921
As many of you already know, we have a true appreciation hot dogs. We love all types and styles of dogs, but we just can't resist the allure of a deep fried hot dog. Our first post on deep fried dogs was a result of our visit to Crif Dogs. While they were really good and we loved the numerous options at Crif Dogs, they were not our first. Our first bite of a deep fried dog occurred at none other than Rutt's Hut.
We had long been told stories of Rutt's from our friend Phil. He told us of this place in Jersey that sells deep fried dogs. We of course scoffed at the idea but he proceeded to tell us the tale of Rutt's and the "ripper'. Rutt's is located right off of Route 3 and Route 21 in Clifton. It is located in this plain brick storefront that in no way resembles an inviting restaurant. The only way you know you would even know that you are at Rutt's is the glowing neon sign. Once you have found yourself in the parking lot you realize the entrance is not very obvious. On the side of the restaurant is a unmarked doorway, this is the way to the Hot Dog counter. Rutt's also has a full bar and restaurant that is completely separate located at the front of the building. That however is for another day. We are just interested with the hot dog area for now.
We must warn you, don't expect to see a sit down restaurant with tables, chairs, booths or welcoming hostesses. Instead you are walking into a small open-air room with two large counter tops to eat on with no seats. Everything at Rutt's is eaten standing up. Your friendly hostess has also been replaced with a handful of brash Jersey guys, attitude and all. It would almost seem as if you are interrupting something important when you place an order with them. This however is all part of the charm of Rutt's.
We usually like to review the full menu at our destinations but here at Rutt's we are are focused on only one item, the "ripper".
What We Ate:
The "Ripper" - a deep fried hot dog with house made relish and brown mustard, with a side of fries.
The "Ripper" is a deep fried hot dog that get it's name from the transformation that occurs as it is cooked. As the dogs cook in hot oil the outer casing tends to rip open, thus creating the ripper. This process creates a crispy, crunchy outer crust on the dogs which complements the natural flavor of the hot dog. The ripper is however not complete without a generous helping of Rutt's house made relish. This bright yellow almost neon relish provides a spicy-sweet flavor that comes from the combination of onions, finely chopped carrots, and cabbage. The relish offers up the perfect counterpoint to the salty crunch of the dogs with its sweet and addicting flavor. The "ripper' is a hot dog at it's finest, simple but extremely satisfying.
The fries at Rutt's are actually pretty plain, but still tasty. They are your classic frozen fries that you would expect to find at any concession stand across America. Nothing special here, but they do pair perfectly with a fresh "ripper".
Should or Should Not Eat:
Rutt's is home of the famous "ripper" and is a Should Eat for any hot dog lover. Rutt's may be a no frills intimidating place, but it's rough personality grows on you. You will come to appreciate it's charm and bring everyone you know. The "ripper" is one of the best hot dogs in the entire country, so be sure not to miss a chance to try it.
Clifton, NJ: 417 River Road> 973.779.8615
We have eaten pizza all over New York State and in more than a handful of states around the country. We have had thin crust, deep dish, brick oven, Sicilian and just about any other type of pizza that is out there. We have even worked in a pizza place, so we feel we have the credentials to judge any and all pizza. To have a good pizza it all comes down to using quality ingredients and serving slices fresh. As we have said in previous posts it is not fair to judge different styles of pizza against each other. Brick oven pizza can only be judged against other brick oven pizza. Regular slices can only be judged against other regular slices, and so forth. You will always see people debate the best pizza in NY and it always seems to be two different styles going head to head. We like to keep our best pizza in NY claims to specific styles and we think Paulie Geee's has the best brick oven pizza in Brooklyn and possibly the entire city.
Paulie Gee's does not receive the word of mouth and acclaim that NY's famous pizza places get, but it should. We had never heard of Paulie Gee's until this past summer. A few friends suggested we go there for dinner one night and we were game. Those of us who had not been there before were expecting your typical pizza joint in NY. When we arrived we found out it was actually a brick oven pizza restaurant. There are a handful of these in Brooklyn, all with varying degrees of pizza quality. It was not until we looked at the menu that we realized that Paulie Gee's was offering up pies that we have not seen any where before. These pies were pushing the limits of what toppings you would expect to find on a pizza. After our first experience we knew we had to take everyone we knew here, and now that we have our blog we needed to share Paulie Gee's with the world.
The first few pies on the menu are very similar to any pie you can find at any other brick oven pizza place. There is the Brian DeParma, a pie topped with Italian Tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano. There is also the Regina, which is topped with Fior di Latte, Italian Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, Olive Oil and Fresh Basil. All pretty standard toppings, but after that it starts to get interesting. Like the Hellboy, topped with Fior di Latte, Italian Tomatoes, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante and Parmigiano Reggiano and Mike’s HOT Honey. Yes, you read that correctly we said hot honey and we agree it is not often that you seen honey on a pizza. Then there is the Grapeful Dead, covered in Baby Spinach, Olive Oil, Mild Gouda, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and Pickled Red Grape Halves. If those were not interesting enough you can always get the Cherry Jones. This one is topped with Fior di Latte, Gorgonzola Cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, Dried Bing Cherries and Orange Blossom Honey. These are just a handful of the interesting pies being created here. Check out their full menu for more crazy combinations.
What We Ate:
Hellboy - The Delboy (Fior di Latte, Italian Tomatoes, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante and Parmigiano Reggiano) with Mike’s HOT Honey
King Harry IV - Italian Tomatoes, Provolone, Beef Meatballs or House Made Vegan Fennel Sausage, Sliced Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins
Hellified Porkpie White - Fior di Latte, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante, Sweet Italian Fennel Sausage, Sliced Red Onion, Chopped Fresh Garlic, Fresh Basil and Mike's Hot Honey
Mike's Hot Honey
There is something about Mexican Cokes that we can't resist. Some people claim there is no difference between these and regular cokes, but we beg to differ. We feel that you can really taste the cane sugar as opposed to the high fructose corn syrup that is used in our boring American Cokes. There is also something about drinking a Coke out of a glass bottle that makes it just a little bit better, we can probably thank marketing for that. Once we saw them on the menu we had to get one and then about two more while eating.
The first pie listed is the Hellboy, and it is by far our favorite pizza. The pizza is topped with Fior di Latte, Italian Tomatoes, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante and Parmigiano Reggiano and then drizzled with Mike’s HOT Honey. Fior di Latte is fancy talk for Mozzarella. The dough is cooked perfectly, with a slightly crispy bottom and a light and airy crust that retains a small amount of crunch. The cheese and tomatoes are both fresh and top quality with tons of flavor. There are two things however that make this pizza one of the best we have ever had. It starts with the Sopressata Piccante which is an spicy Italian cured meat which provides an intense saltiness and a level of heat to the pie. Thanks to the oven it even is a bit crispy. The finishing ingredient is Mike's Hot Honey. Regular honey would have been interesting enough, but Mike's Hot Honey is infused with chiles which imparts a amazing heat and kick into the honey. This sweet delicacy combined with the saltiness of the Sopressata and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella makes this not only one of the best meals we have ever had, but also one of the most unique pizza toppings ever. It is seriously one of the best usages of sweet and savory flavor combinations we have had in any meal. It is so addictive that once you have it, the Hellboy is all you can ever think about. In fact we are dying to have one right now.
The next pie we ordered was the King Harry IV, it had Italian Tomatoes, Provolone, Beef Meatballs, Sliced Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins. Like all of their pizzas, the dough was cooked perfectly. This pie was topped with Provalone cheese which is not often found on pizzas. It has a nice sharp flavor that worked well with the meatballs. The meatballs had good flavor and added mounds of salty meat to this pie. Then for added flavor there are the Cremini mushrooms that got a bit lost in the pie, but were tasty when found. The pie was finished off with golden raisins, that added little explosions of sweetness. Everything mixed together formed a very good pizza pie, it does not compare to the Hellboy but it can certainly stand up to any regular pie with ease.
The last pie we ordered was the Hellified Porkpie White. Hellified of course means they added in our favorite new condiment, Mike's Hot Honey along with more of the Sopressata. This pie included Fior di Latte, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante, Sweet Italian Fennel Sausage, Sliced Red Onion, Chopped Fresh Garlic, Fresh Basil and Mike's Hot Honey. We wanted to try the white pie and were rewarded with another amazing pie. Topped with two salty meats the Hellified Porkpie White provides a ton of flavor. The basil adds a nice fresh green and the garlic is not overpowering. The Hot Honey proves itself again as an invaluable condiment that we now want to put on everything. Paulie Gee really figured out the key to combining sweet and savory, and kudos for finding a great product like Mike's Hot Honey. This was our second favorite pie, but again nothing comes close to the Hellboy. Also, we have had the Cherry Jones in the past and would highly recommend giving it a try as it is another unique offering.
We also wanted to highlight Mike's Hot Honey for a second. This honey is like nothing we have ever had before. Honey is traditionally used as a sweetener in dishes since it is naturally sweet and adds its own unique flavor. Mike's is taking honey one step further by infusing it with chilies. As a result you get this sweet honey packed with a nice amount of heat that drives your taste buds wild. It is perfectly paired with these pizzas, but we have thought of more than a dozen uses for the honey on it's own. You can purchase this honey right at Paulie Gee's or order it online at www.mikeshothoney.com. We didn't buy any while we were there and now we are kicking ourselves, we see an online order in our future and be sure to keep an eye out for how we plan to use it on the blog. We can specifically see it working with a nice Chicken Biscuit.
Should or Should Not Eat:
Paulie Gee's is making not only traditional brick oven pizza but also some of the most unique brick oven pizzas you can find. Here you will find pizzas topped with golden raisins, fresh cherries, mounds of arugula and even chile infused honey. Paulie Gee's is pushing the limits of accepted pizza toppings to the extreme. As a result you should be pushing the limits of what you expect on your pie. Paulie Gee's is a Should Eat thanks to their perfectly cooked dough and amazing selection of the most unique ingredients in New York.
Brooklyn, NY: 60 Greenpoint Ave> 347.987.3747
Quaker Creek is by far one of our favorite stores/resturants. They provide the best quality cuts of meat in all of Orange County. At Quaker Creek you can order almost any cut of meat you are looking for and if they do not have they will order it for you. The store is located in the heart of of the famed Black Dirt Region in Goshen, NY. As we have mentioned before the Black Dirt is named for it's noticeably deep black soil, which is extremely fertile. Driving down Pulaski Highway, past the vast black dirt fields you will come upon a small store front. This is Quaker Creek, and if you are going too fast not only will you get a speeding ticket but you might just miss the store completely.
We first found out about Quaker Creek years ago and ever since we have been in love with them. This family owned business is churning out quality, local, homemade products and if our opinion is not enough, maybe Bobby Flay and Anthony Bourdain can change your mind. Yes, both of these culinary stars have at one time or another visited Quaker Creek. Flay visited the area well before he was an Iron Chef or throwing down all around the country. He was filming for his show FoodNation with Bobby Flay at the time. Anthony Bourdain on the other hand visited more recently and when he is not airing his dislike for FoodNetwork, he can be seen filming his show No Reservations for the Travel Channel. In this episode Bourdain was highlighting some of the best culinary spots in the Hudson Valley and ended up at Quaker Creek.
It should be no surprise that Quaker Creek has received notoriety from some of the biggest names in the culinary world, if you sell quality products people will find out. As we stated before Quaker Creek is a full service butcher shop offering only the best quality cuts of meat any where. They also handcraft the best sausages and hot dogs around. Their sausages include Kielbasa, Bratwurst, Chorizo, Audouoille, and numerous Italian styles Sausages. The hot dogs are made with natural casing which give them the coveted "snap" that we crave and as a result we refer to them as snappers. They are linking up your classic hot dogs daily, but also offer specialty dogs like Jalapeno Cheddar. If that was not enough they even make their own beef jerky. If you have never had homemade beef jerky give it a try, it it much better than anything Sasquatch is eating. Quaker Creek also makes their own cold cuts and stays true to their Polish heritage with their handcrafted Perogies.
What We Bought:
Above are the Jalapeno Cheddar Hot Dogs and in the background is the Muscle Jerky and your classic Snappers
Here is an up close look at the Muscle Jerky which offers up the perfect combination of flavor and chew to the meat.
This right here is our pride and joy and it may even look a bit familiar, it is a fresh pork belly slab. We ordered this bad boy for our Porchetta Recipe (click Here see). We learned the hard way that pork products should always be ordered from Quaker Creek. They sell only the best quality pigs which can not always be said for our local grocery stores. You can tell the quality when working with pork belly or pork shoulders. Often times lesser quality pork has a distinct aroma that suggest the pigs were not in the best living conditions. This scent tends to stick in the fat and skin of the pigs, it by no means suggests that the meat is bad to eat, but just a small reminder that there are better products on the market.
Any time we have ordered from Quaker Creek the pork has no smell what so ever. It is a just a quality, clean slab of pork that may cost a bit more but in the end is worth it for both the flavor and piece of mind. We have a huge bbq each summer and will only order our pork shoulders for our pulled pork from Quaker Creek. These shoulders are choice cuts that always seem to have the best natural flavors. This was our first time ordering pork belly from them but it most certainly will not be the last. The meat was super fresh and very clean. It made our Porchetta sandwiches by far one of the best things we have made in a long time.
What We Ate:
We kept this a bit of a secret, but not only is Quaker Creek a full service butcher shop but they also serve a revolving menu of house made sandwiches and platters. We often like to highlight these menus but Quaker Creek changes their daily, so you will have to call up or just take a chance to see what is on the menu.
Polish Lunch Platter - with stuffed cabbage, kielbasa & sauerkraut and cheese perogies.
Cheese Perogies with local onions
Kielbasa with sauerkraut
What We Cooked:
Regular & Jalapeno Cheddar Hot Dogs
The Polish Platter was exactly the type of homemade cooking you would expect to find from any Polish Grandmother. Everything was made with that hint of love that you can only get from homemade food. The stuffed cabbage was full of savory ground beef and spices wrapped up and steamed in cabbage. It was then topped with this naturally sweet tomato sauce that is produced from local tomatoes. It was a perfect combination of savory meat and sweet acidity from the tomatoes. It was fork tender and full of flavor.
The perogies looked like they were going to be very heavy but were surprisingly light. The dough was still soft but had that perfect crunch that comes from being seared on the flat top. They were filled with cottage cheese and topped with local black dirt onions. These perogies were like pillows of flavor, each bite had the light saltiness of the cheese and was complemented with the sweetness of the sautéd onions.
Then we tried the Kielbasa which is made in house. It was so flavorful and salty just as it should be. Topped with the sauerkraut and a bit of mustard, the kielbasa was a perfect bite of food. The mustard added a nice tang that complemented both the sauerkraut and the kielbasa. We could have eaten an entire plate of kielbasa. This platter was a great example of traditional polish cooking at it's best. Simple and fresh ingredients made with love.
The food we brought home was just as good. We grilled up both the regular and Jalapeno Cheddar hot dogs. The regular dogs have a classic hot dog flavor that is much fresher since they are hand made. They have the perfect snap and taste great with whatever toppings your heart desires. As much as we enjoy a classic hot dog, the Jalapeno Cheddar may actually be our favorite. Made with the same ingredients as the regular hot dogs, you will also find generous chunks of jalapenos and cheddar cheese. In fact if you look at the pictures above you can even see some of the cheddar oozing out of these dogs. The flavor is just so intense, you first get the hot dog and cheddar which work together very well. Then all of a sudden you get hit with the heat from the jalapenos. It is a great combination of ingredients and flavors, you do not even need to top these dogs with anything. We highly recommend both hot dog varieties for any day full of grilling.
Should or Should Not Eat:
Quaker Creek is a should eat for any time of the day. Whether you are looking to pick up a quality piece of meat for a special occasion or you want a homemade meal made with local ingredients. They are serving the area with the best products around while keeping their family heritage alive and well. Come for the meat, stay for the food and leave with a full stomach and maybe a hand full of the homemade jerky.
Quaker Creek Store
Goshen, NY: 767 Pulaski Highway > 845.258.3027