Equus in the Castle Hotel & Spa, Tarrytown, NY- Outstanding Food and Service

Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown, NY is such a beautiful place. It is a picture perfect fairy tale hotel – a corner room at top of the castle with windows on two sides overlooking the Hudson River at sunset. I felt like Rapunzel letting down my hair and letting my prince up. The Equus restaurant is really something – deserves a top rating and review. It was perfect… even the French fries.

Unfortunately, this meal was eaten so long ago that these items have rotated off their current Summer menu. I had to reconstruct the meal from pictures and memory.imageFrench Fries, like the authentic fries from the good French bistros.imageSome sort of squash soup. This was delicious. I remember the taste and smoothness but not the ingredients.imageLobster Salad with foam. Also excellent. The lobster was tender. image Lamb… I really regret not writing the ingredients down. This was the best dish of the night and possibly the best lamb that I have had this year. I remember being surprised at how good it is and how impressed I was. The dish itself when described to me sounded heavy but it turned out to be just right. The grain that accompanied the lamb balanced out the red meat well. It was so good that I thought of thanking the chef!imageCobb Salad: Avocado, Bacon, Cucumber, Onion, Blue Cheese, Shrimp. Good and fresh.

Well worth the money. Outstanding food and service. Outstanding hotel and staff. Highly recommend both.

This experience took place at

Equus
Castle Hotel & Spa
400 Benedict Avenue
Tarrytown, NY 10591
914-631-3646

Wanderlust Grand Cayman- Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill in Rum Point Beach

Having had multiple mediocre meals in Grand Cayman, I finally landed on something very delicious, at Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill. Rum Point beach is a local favorite; it is serene, clear blue water and sky with bewitching sun and music. It took me out of NY; took me out of being me; took me to a point in time where everything was perfect. This was serenity.

SPICY RED CONCH CHOWDER, garnished with chives. Hot, hot, hot but simply just right. Yum. BLACKENED FISH SANDWICH: lettuce, tomato, onion & mango mayo. Delicious. Fresh. So much better than the blackened fish at the Lobster Pot at less than half the price.EL CUBANO: roasted pork, smoked ham, swiss cheese, dill pickle & mustard. Best Cubano sandwich I have ever had. The mustard and the pork made it perfect.

Loved Rum Point in Grand Cayman. Loved my Cubano!

Rum Point Wreck Bar & Grill
Rum Point, Cayman Islands
Phone:+1 345-947-9412

Wanderlust Grand Cayman – Lobster Pot Restaurant and Wine Bar in Georgetown

Do you know that cabs in Grand Cayman are often old beat-up minivans that are driven by an elderly couple who will talk your ears off? I think their names are Leslie and Neil. Not only are they cab drivers, they double as sightseeing guides and food critics. Because of Leslie and Neil’s welcoming and embracing attitudes toward the tourists, we jumped off at the closest restaurant, Lobster Pot in downtown Georgetown. In fact, I escaped the cab and left my friend in the cab to pay. I waited at the curb for at least three minutes before Leslie and Neil let my friend out.Marinated Queen Conch: Lobster Pot’s traditional Cayman style recipe. Kind of not a fan of the traditional recipe. Too sweet and the conch too chewy.Daily Fresh Ceviche: Finely diced fresh catch of the day tossed in limes and spices with crisp bell peppers, cilantro and red onion. Acceptable.Captain’s Catch of the Day: Grouper(?) served blackened Cayman style with chef’s vegetables and golden fried plantains. The blackened fish was acceptable but too black peppery spicy. The plantains were soft and ripe.    I was stupid. I asked for the daily catch to be grilled. It was tasteless even after I salted. I don’t understand how freshly grilled fish can fail but they did. Poor fish – they sacrificed for no reason.

Leslie and Neil, originally from the UK, are long time residents of Grand Cayman. They drove us around downtown Georgetown which was a disappointment – it looked desolate and gaudy, reminded me of Virginia Beach. They also highly recommended the Lobster Pot which was another disappointment. Lobster Pot was set up right by the water. We sat on the deck overlooking the deep water in the dark with a huge yacht in the distance. There were musicians playing guitars and singing for the guests. The air was warm. The breeze caressed my face.

The Caribbean does not agree with me- Leslie and Neil were blasting heat in the 78 degree weather.

Lobster Pot Restaurant and Wine Bar
245 N Church St,
George Town KY1-1107
Cayman Islands
Phone:+1 345-949-2736

Wanderlust Grand Cayman: Anchor & Den of The Marriott Beach Resort on the Seven Mile Beach

I really should be more grateful.

Earlier this year, I was at the Grand Cayman enjoying the radiant sun, wearing sandals when New York was freezing and gray. I ended up at the Anchor & Den  having a late afternoon snack. The wait staff composed of people from around the world: Germany, The Philippines, Scotland, Mexico, and the other Caribbean Islands. It was a beautiful resort: open, airy, sunlight filling all the windows, white sand beach, gourmet chocolate bar, artisan cocktails, impressive artwork on the wall, and many many well-dressed and smiling tourists.Jamon Iberico on garlic bread. Delicious Jamon. The garlic bread was too garlicky – not suitable after the first piece.Tartines: Black mission fig and bell peppers, nicoise olives, curry herb paste on homemade grilled sourdough. Fantastic. Sweet and soft with a tangy and salty aftertaste.

I really should be more grateful but I was not. Why? Because it felt all too perfect and too made up. I may be naive but I do know the world does not look like this.

Anchor & Den
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
389 West Bay Road Box 30371
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Phone:+1 345-949-0088

Thai Spice in Norwalk, CT – Authentic Food Served by Teenagers

This was a funny little experience. I ended up in this stretch of suburban sprawl in Norwalk, CT, hungry. Looking around me, there were corporate parks, bad Chinese food take outs, genetic diners, fast food joints, liquors shops and massage parlors. As I was getting desperate, I saw Thai Spice, squeezed in between an empty office front and a massage place. The menu looked authentic and I went in. imageTod Mun: fried fish cakes, cucumber salad and crushed peanuts. The restaurant was empty and all the wait staff were in the back, eating dinner. They didn’t care to take the order; didn’t care whether there were utensils on the table; didn’t bother to even place the dish in front of me. The slid my big bowl of soup across the table to me – like slow motion bowling.imageNua Nam Tok: beef, lettuce, onions, lemongrass, roasted rice and mint. So good. The onions were strong. The beef was tender and the roasted rice smoky.imageThai Green Curry: coconut, vegetables, lime and green curry paste with shrimp.imageThai Boat Noodle Soup: beef, beef balls, rice noodles, and beef broth. Almost as good as the Vietnamese Pho and Taiwanese beef noodle soup. The broth was tasty. The noodles were infused with the beef aroma. It was very satisfying!

Despite the service, the food was amazing. Authentic, delicious and fresh. If this were a take out place or a strand in the food court, I wouldn’t complain at all. But with the restaurant set up, the dismal service by the teenagers was disappointing. I seriously consider skipping out on the bill because I didn’t think they would have noticed. I also considered calling the restaurant owner – I doubt the owner would be ok with paying all these people to not serve the customers.

This experience took place at

Thai Spice

Parkway Plaza Shopping Center
345 Main Ave #2,
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 846-3533

 

River Tavern in Chester, CT – Goooooooooooal

A friend of mine convinced me to drive two hours to Chester, CT (population < 4k) to try out River Tavern, a farm-to-table New American restaurant. I was impressed. I did not imagine such well-executed dishes from an eclectic menu could exist in the middle of nowhere. We spent a lot of time discussing where the customers of this restaurant could come from.image Chester, CT is an hour away from New Haven, CT. This is a little town with only one main street and one busy block.image River Tavern is very particular about everything, from the tea-pot, tea cups to how much the wait staff know about the menu. They are knowledgable and extremely detail oriented. You can tell that the owner has high expectations and the staff cares deeply.imageRiver Tavern’s menu changes daily. Thank goodness I took pictures of the menu on Feb 28th. This is the Smelts: Fried smelts with celery root remoulade, rye crisps, dill + lemon. You may think fried smelts are heavy… Yes, that is possible. But you have not tried them with the dill + lemon sauce. It was excellent!imageP.E.I. Mussels: sautéed with merguez, garlic, chilies, oregano, tomato paste + wine. I ordered this dish because I have never seen Prince Edward Island mussels cooked with merguez before. Unfortunately, the merguez was used in the pot and not served to the customers. Even more unfortunately, I could not taste the merguez in the broth nor the mussels. Other than that, this was an excellent dish as well.imageSoeltl Farm Beef Burger: cheddar cheese, homemade pickles, ketchup + green on brioche, served with french fries. Best burger ever! Cooked perfectly medium and juicy. The homemade pickles were awesome. The fresh veggies were just better on the  burger than those that are a day old.imageFalafel: fried + served with hummus and a cucumber, lettuce, pickles onion salad, spiced yogurt sauce, pine nuts, lemon + olive oil. Decent to almost excellent.

Interestingly, they also listed Pho on their menu and I was tempted to order Pho in the middle of nowhere CT. After I grilled the server again and again on how the Pho is prepared, I decided to go against it because they ran out of Hoisin sauce. I believe I made the right choice since the burger really scored! This reminds me of listening to the soccer games on the Spanish radio station… Gooooooooal.

Highly recommend it.  Will go back again and again.

This experience took place at

River Tavern
23 Main St
Chester, CT 06412
Phone:(860) 526-9417

Curry Chicken with Mac and Cheese – An Unbelievably Good Combo That Warms the Heart

Would you have considered eating curry chicken wings with mac and cheese?

No! I wouldn’t either. But it was such a delicious combination when the umami in the cheese complements the spiciness in the curry. The fat in the wings added the smooth texture to the pasta. The meat on the wings balances out the fat and the simple carbohydrate. It was darn good!imageWhat the combo looks like when mixed together. That’s right – you must mixed the two. For those of you who don’t like your food touching each other, this dish is not for you.image Mac and Cheese just fresh out of the oven.imageCurry cooking in the pot with the chicken. Tasted too spicy and not enough balance – but not so fast – mac and cheese took care of that concern easily.

A friend of mine made this for me. Not only was it savory and delicious, it also warmed the heart. Friendship rules. Thank you.