Posts tagged pasta

Martorano’s (Atlantic City)

Our first food stop on this Atlantic City press tour, we went to Martorano’s at Harrah’s casino. To be honest, I was a little intimidated when I saw a picture of the owner, Martorano. I do not want to cross this guy.

But this place is awesome. It’s fancy with a bunch of TV screens showing mobster movies. There are no prices on the menu, which meant it’s good and expensive …which from what I understand was a selling point. The wine menu did have prices …to which the waiter kept pointing me to the $700-800 bottles of wine. I quickly scanned the menu, because I didn’t want to be the asshole who ordered the $700 bottle. I chose the cheapest one I could find –$175.

Yo Cuz is Martorano’s catchphrase. It’s a tattoo on his arm and the name of this awesome martini. Get it with the Black Truffle Cheese Olives. Todd is so hooked on these, he won’t stop talking about them. He’s going to try make his own, but I keep telling him I think there is vermouth in it because it’s a martini. He won’t believe me.

02 Yo Cuz Martini - Martorano's

Then they kept bringing out the food. I think these are the best Meatballs I’ve ever had. They are so much better than the places in my Brooklyn Italian neighborhood that I thought were awesome.

I was so stuffed by the time the big tray of Fried Calamari came out, which tasted almost like General Tso’s. Then it turned they haven’t even brought out the entrees. Wok the heck!?

Ah, it was so good, so stuffed. The best Italian experience I’ve ever had. The restaurant even turned into a dance club at some point during our long meal. It reminded me of those Brighton Beach Russian restaurants that are half disco, half restaurant.

There was a real pretty girl across the room that I felt kept looking over in my direction. So I got up when everyone was starting to dance. Looked over in her direction, trying to look cool by taking a sip of my Yo Cuz martini …then missed my mouth and spilled it all over my shirt. It was smooth …the drink that is.

When we were leaving, I totally forgot we were in a casino this whole time.

Martorano’s – 777 Harrah’s Blvd (in Harrah’s Casino) Atlantic City, NJ 08041


Desy’s Clam Bar

It’s interesting reading the reviews of this place on Yelp. People either love it or hate it. But some people even come from far away to eat here, which is weird because it’s always empty every time I pass. My boss is one of those people who take the trip out to Williamsburg for this restaurant. Weird. But apparently, this place is related to the old popular Little Charlie’s Clam Bar in Little Italy.

Sam and I went to try it out right after I had some dental work. My mouth was numb and drooling. The place was empty. I had very low expectations.

They have relatively cheap beers. $3 Domestic and $4 Imported. Nice.

The waiter asked us what type of sauce we wanted with our bread. I said hot. But he was like, “Um, let me bring out the Medium and Mild first.” Cool, medium was decent, but I still wanted to try hot. Dang. Hot came out and it was basically hot chili oil. Like imagine if you ordered your pasta with that hot chili oil think it would be like spaghetti sauce. Weird. I mean, it’s cool they serve that because I like to dab a little. But no way is it a “sauce.”

The Calamari was pretty good. But that biscuit it comes with was hard as a rock. We couldn’t figure out how to break it. Just know that if you order meat or seafood, you should pay the $3 extra for the pasta. Because otherwise, you get that hard biscuit.

Which brings us to our entrees. Sam ordered the Angel Hair Frutti di Mare (Seafood) $17 and I got the Chicken Eggplant Parmigiana over Linguini $16. Sort of pricey, but it was a ton of food. I ate maybe 1/3 of it and was full.

You know, it really wasn’t that bad. A lot better than I expected. It even got packed. So much that people were waiting for like forty minutes for a table and even bussed the previous tables so they could sit down. Yeah, the one waiter was overwhelmed. He didn’t they’d be so busy. I thought it was weird that people were willing to wait that long even after getting pissed off. But I think they came all the way from Staten Island.

Desy’s Clam Bar – 562 Grand St (btwn Union Ave & Lorimer) Brooklyn, NY 11211

…So coincidentally I had some dental work done and Crest emails me to see if I want to give away some Crest 3D White products that whitens teeth in two days. I was going to a before and after video, but I later realized I’ve been using Crest 3D White Toothpaste for a while now. I’m actually on my second tube in a 2-pack. I didn’t know. I just usually buy what’s on sale. Anyway, I guess it works. The lady who cleaned my teeth said she was surprised I haven’t been to the dentist in six years, because my teeth were pretty white.

Well I know how it important is to take care of your teeth. I was dying of tooth pain. Like ready to smash my head against the wall. So I do have some Crest 3D toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash for you guys that I’m supposed to give away on this food blog. But dang, it’s really not worth my time to walk twenty minutes to the post office, wait in line and pay $3 for you to get it. So if you ever run into me, just ask. I might be carrying. …That toothbrush is surprisingly really good. A lot of brush surface, like using a BBQ grill brush.

Crest 3D White

Tio Wally Eats America: Dino & Francesco’s Pizza and Family Restaurant

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Moosic, Pennsylvania.

Greetings from Moosic, Pennsylvania
N 41° 22.475’ W 075° 42.111’ Elev. 820 ft.

Whenever the crew of the SS Me So Hungry wants to know where to go for something good to eat we ask the guys on the (loading) dock. So it was that we were sent to Dino & Francesco’s, a family run Italian restaurant in a (the?) shopping center in Moosic.

I was sort of confused the first time I went. “It’s in the shopping center at the bottom of the hill, right where the road forks, next to K-Mart,” he said. I drifted into the parking lot and saw K-Mart, a Dollar Tree and a Big Lots. But where’s the restaurant? I guess it was the fairly understated (by comparison) sign that threw me. But I found it.

I’m glad I did.

The first time I visited I ordered a sort of “Sampler Plate” that was a non-menu item on the Specials board that day. I don’t remember what it was or how much it cost but I certainly remember that it was spectacularly good.

The specials they were offering this time didn’t rock my boat at all: Half sandwiches of chicken or beef cheesesteaks with soup or salad or fries or whatever for $6.99. So I ordered directly off the menu.

I selected the Sausage & Peppers Parmigiana ($10.99), which comes with a choice of soup or salad. I chose the Cappaletti soup.

The Cappaletti the only soup that’s a standard menu item; they offer two or three additional homemade soups every day. The soup consists of plump little tortellini’s stuffed with minced beef and chicken, in a clear chicken broth. I’d had it before and … what can I say? It’s exquisite. Simple and to the point. Delicious.

The Sausage & Peppers Parmigiana is likewise heavenly. It’s a generous plate of classic, slightly hot Italian Sausage buried under melted Mozzarella cheese with just enough bell peppers to offer a taste of each with every bite. And the sauce is really great, too.

For $2.99 I added a side of pasta to the mix. The Ziti I ordered came out perfectly cooked, still slightly wet, with just the right amount of their great homemade marinara. I don’t know what it is about homemade marinara but, when made correctly, it’s truly a soul food in and of itself. It makes me melt gooier than cheap cheese under an infrared salamander.

The service is great, too. For example, I wanted a to-go box and the waitress asked “May I box this for you?” Sure, I said. Then I asked if it would be possible to get some more garlic bread. “Absolutely,” she said. She came back a few minutes later with what was easily the equivalent of a half-loaf of garlic bread wrapped in aluminum foil. Geez, Louise! (Her name was actually Nikki; Skippy loved her.)

I had so much of that great garlic bread left over that I ended up putting forkfuls of tuna salad that I’d bought at Braum’s. It was kind of like a cold cheese-less tuna melt. Seriously good stuff, Maynard.

Dino & Francesco’s is a hidden gem, one the locals certainly know well; they greet many customers by name. With any luck I’ll never go there again — I hate Pennsylvania (in a land yacht)!

I wonder if Dino and/or Francesco would like to relocate to somewhere flatter?

And so we roll.

Dino & Francesco’s, Birney Plaza, Moosic, Pennsylvania

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar isn’t That bad

The NY Times review of Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant is trending. The review is over the top. It reminds me of those snarky Pitchfork reviews from a few years back. I don’t know if they still write that way. I got turned off.

Anyway, Sam, Chris and I really wanted to try the restaurant after reading the review. Can it really be that bad? There were a lot of people there for lunch today. I imagine the review sparked some interest. A lot of young hipsters and business folk in suits.

The place is huge. The front of the building has a big loud television screen and fits right in with Times Square. They sat us in the back. It kinda looked like a nicer Applebee’s or Outback with some Tin Can Alley Disney feel.

I gotta say, after reading the Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews, I was a little scared of the service. But they were really attentive today. I felt like our waitress was smiling at me a little too much maybe. But I did look pretty cute today. Also I’m sure Guy came in and whipped everyone into shape after the NY Times review. So I wonder if that also carried over to the food.

We started off with the Fried Calamari. Right after I ordered it, I saw the party next to us leave with a pretty full plate of the Fried Calamari still left on the table. I thought, “Oh shit, it must suck.” But it was actually pretty good. We enjoyed them. I like the Garlic & Pepperoncini Chili Sauce that came with it …which I think is just mayo, mustard and shredded cabbage/coleslaw. It was really good for dipping. I saved the rest for my burger and fries that were to come.

Chris ordered the Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta ($21.50). The plate in the photo makes it look really small. I guess it was kinda small for the price, but this photo makes the food look ridiculously tiny or the plate looks ridiculously huge.

Sam ordered the Rotisserie Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Chicken plate ($17.50). It came with mashed potatoes. I think this looked the best and probably the best value out of all our meals.

I ordered the Guy’s Big Bite Burger with Rojo Ring, where the Rojo (onion) ring is on the burger ($17.50 …although it said $19.50 on the bill. Maybe it costs more with the Garlic Fries? I’m not sure. I thought it was coming with the fries, because I had a choice of Seasoned Fries, Garlic Fries or Onion Rings. Maybe their computers are messed up. Anyway, the menu says it’s cheaper). The burger has the Donkey Sauce on it that the NY Times review makes fun of. It was a little squirt on it. I think it was kind of like a sweet BBQ sauce, but less BBQ and more Hoisin. Burger was decent, but maybe seems like a waste to use Pat LeFrieda meat and cook it well done. Burger was better with that Fried Calamari Dipping Sauce. They should just put that sauce on everything. I love mayonnaise.

Overall, the food was pretty decent for the type of restaurant it is and where it is. Much better than other touristy restaurants I’ve been to in the area like Bubba Gump, Jekyll & Hyde and Red Lobster Times Square. The food at Guy’s is overpriced, but in line with those other touristy restaurants.

We had a decent meal and finished everything. The experience was nothing like the review. But maybe they turned everything around after Guy came back to crack the whip.

Here’s Guy’s response to the NY Times review on MSNBC this morning. What’s with the tourist that calls us pompous New Yorkers? Why the hell are you visiting New York if we are so pompous? He really loved the Pretzel Chicken Tenders.

Was the NY Times article unfair? Maybe. But I haven’t eaten here four times yet. I would have liked to see this guy’s review of Mars 2112. I thought the critic Pete Wells was a comedian at first, but I’m thinking of Pete Holmes.

Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar – 220 W 44th St (between 7th & 8th Ave) New York, NY 10036

Tio Wally Eats America: Alfredo’s Pizza & Pasta

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Lewisville, Texas.

Some people are so unique, so special that they’re hard to describe. Such is Freida, the gregarious owner (along with her ultra-low key husband, Richard) of Alfredo’s Pizza & Pasta in Lewisville, Texas.

I was introduced to Alfredo’s by a woman I went to high school with and her beau; I believe they’re possibly the handsomest Hog-straddling couple in Texas. I stop and visit them whenever I pass through the Dallas area if time permits.

On the way to the restaurant she described Freida as “one of those people who calls everyone ‘sweetie.’ You’re going to love her,” she said. She then told me an anecdote that turned out to exemplify Freida to a T: The first time she went to Alfredo’s she wasn’t able to finish all of her food. So she got a to-go box and asked Freida, How do I reheat this? “I can’t tell you. It would put me out of business,” Freida snapped, and walked away. A short time later Freida returned and said, “I like you, so I’ll tell you.”

It being my first time there, I was really looking forward to meeting — or should I say “experiencing” — Freida. Unfortunately she wasn’t there.

The next visit, however, I had the good fortune of meeting her. And she was everything my friend said. Alternately warm and no-nonsense, it was obvious she didn’t take crap from anybody. In fact, when I gave her some good-natured lip she was quick to let me know that her sons, who work in the restaurant, knew karate. It was hard to tell if she was serious about what seemed to be a not-so veiled insinuation that, on her orders, they’d happily take me out back for a good thrashing and probably toss me in a dumpster, but I got the message. Truth is, though, that Freida is a genuine sweetheart who not only seems to remember every customer who’s ever come in, she treats everyone like family.

On my third visit to Alfredo’s Freida demanded to know what I’d done with the pictures of her I’d taken previously (which she was none too happy about. And as you can see by the photo of Richard, he too was excited to have his picture taken. “Thanks,” he deadpanned.). I detected a complete lack of trust in my propriety in the use of her image. Evidently, in addition to being a motherly type, Freida is also an excellent judge of character.

The food at Alfredo’s is great tasting and a great value. Every time I’ve been there I’ve ordered either Veal Parmigiana ($10.25) or Eggplant Parmigiana ($8.50). The entrees are served with a side salad and a side of spaghetti, along with really, really great homemade bread (rolls).

I also usually get to-go orders of either Meat or Cheese Ravioli ($7.50 and $6.50, respectively), or an order of each. The raviolis are huge, about 3-inches around, and very generously stuffed.

My friends always order pizza when we go. I haven’t tried it but they say it’s great. The thin-crust pies sure look tasty though.

In addition to pizzas and pastas, Alfredo’s also makes hot and cold Subs, as well as a handful of both appetizers and desserts. (Damn, I just noticed they have a Sausage and Green Pepper Sub on the menu — my favorite! I guess I know what I’ll be ordering next time.)

Alfredo’s, which is open seven days a week, is tucked away in the corner of a little shopping mall. Although you have to look to find it, once you do you will be back.

By the way, I would’ve taken more pictures the last time I was there but I was sort of afraid … of Freida. Without reason, of course.

And so we roll.

Alfredo’s Pizza & Pasta, 2305 State Hwy 121, Ste 225, Lewisville, Texas

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Savino’s Quality Pasta – Cheese Raviolis

This place is always closed when I walk by, but I finally made my way to Savino’s during open hours. Couldn’t wait to try them. I’ve heard the raviolis are cheap, fresh and good.

I asked the lady for a box of 30 Cheese Raviolis ($5.25). She told me to grab it out of the the freezer myself. Then I asked how she cooks it, with some salt and olive oil or with marinara sauce? She looked at me stupid and said, “No, you boil them!” I knew that. I meant how she prepared them. I asked a container of their homemade marinara sauce ($4). That’s what I get for walking in with Rusty after a few mini vodka bottles. We probably weren’t the kind of customers she was accustomed to.

The raviolis were really fresh and restaurant quality. I’m not a fan of the marinara sauce though. A little watery. But at the same time, I can see how it tastes like homemade Italian sauce. It’s good in that sense.

Savino’s Quality Pasta Grocery – 111 Conselyea St (btwn Leonard & Manhattan Ave) Brooklyn, NY 11211

Ciao!! Bella Napoli Restaurant

Sam asked where to get pasta. I mentioned Bella Napoli. I’ve never had it. I’ll come along. He got the rigatoni. I got a nice portion of Lasagna for $6.50. Pretty good stuff. It took me about two hours to eat it. But a lot of that time was accounted for talking to one of the interns at the office. It was his last day. He asked for my advice on work. Instead I gave him advice on life. That could have been a life changing moment for him. For better or for worse, I don’t know. The food kept up. Cold lasagna, still good.

Bella Napoli – 257 7th Ave (btwn 24 & 25th St) New York 10010

Super A Beef Ravioli in Meat Sauce

The sale tag says C-Town, but we were in an Associated that just changed their name to Bravo! Supermarket. And is Super A a West Coast supermarket chain?

It wasn’t the sale that drew me these Super A cans of pasta, it was the labels. Besides the old fashioned generic design, I wondered if the food really looked as good as the flash photo’d picture. It does!  But surprisingly, the Beef Ravioli wasn’t as bad as I expected. Tasted like Chef Boyardee. I still have a can of Spaghetti & Meatballs if anyone wants it.