The Chelsea in Fairfield, CT- The Sunrise Ginger and The Hanger Steak

I named a drink for The Chelsea in Fairfield, CT during a Sunday brunch. I loved this drink and have considered making it myself. I called it The Sunrise Ginger. The ingredients are below:

Roasted grapes, raspberries, orange juice, lemon juice, ginger, sage, agave, rosemary, sugar and water.  Oh, that’s right – plus vodka if you wish.
My Sunrise Ginger has a strong shot of ginger and is a little tart and a little sweet. Such a perfect combination for me.
HANGER STEAK & EGGS / char-grilled Hanger with 2 sunny side eggs & potato hash. Best breakfast hanger steak and eggs for me! Perfectly grilled with a crispy char that is tasty enough but not yet carcinogenic. The fried eggs were firmed and runny. My plate was polished clean.  This was the special that day and shame on me for not taking better notes. I believe this was the candied began with roasted grapes. Yes, the roasted grapes in the drink came from the same batch. Unfortunately I don’t remember how the syrupy sauce was made. The candied bacon was good – say A minus? I am partially biased because I just don’t get the big strip of bacon with crispy fat.CHURROS / ‘Spanish doughnuts’ with warm chocolate-hazelnut dip. I ordered the churros for my friend to try but the blackberries turned out to be more superior. The churros were denser than what I would like.

The Chelsea performed way about my expectations on both food and service. On that Sunday, the sun came through these large old greenhouse windows and the restaurant was bathed in a warm golden glow. It made me happy. The staff were extremely friendly, hip and good looking. I especially like our waitress who has blue hair.

This experience took place at

The Chelsea
12 Unquowa Pl, Fairfield, CT 06824
Phone:(203) 254-8200

❤️Homemade Venison Taco Soup with Wild Boar Sausage- Happy Valentine’s Day from a Nonconformist ❤️

I am not crazy about February 14th as the Valentine’s Day, mainly because it’s usually too cold to wear a skirt in New York. I also take pity on all the men who have to buy things for their women but secretly really rather not to. In comparison, Chinese Valentine’s Day is on the 7th day of the 7th month in the Lunar calendar and that usually lands it in July or August when the weather is warm and my toes can be in sandals and legs without tights. No gifts have to be bought for the Chinese Valentine’s Day. When I think through the history of Valentine’s Day, I think the Chinese myth is also much more romantic, where two lovers are separated by the Milky Way and can only meet once a year on Qixi 七夕 (7th day of the 7th month) over the bridge Magpies formed for them.

Aww.

On this Valentine’s Day weekend, my wonderful friends reminded me why being a conformist can be good from time to time.
My hunter fiend, Mike, gave me a care package containing his homemade venison taco soup with wild boar sausage, Mexican shredded cheese, and chips. Gave me instructions on warming up both the soup in water and the chips in the oven.
This is the end result. The soup has both red and white beans, corn and tasted very much like chili but with a distinct taste of the venison. Yummy behind belief. This is why people hunt.

I ended the meal with dark chocolate with orange peels, one of my favorites, from my friend Dan, whom I had not seen in a long time. Maybe Valentine’s Day is not too commercial or contrived when you have good friends.

I heart ❤️ friendships and good meals anytime.

Doubleday’s in Dobbs Ferry- Brunch After A 5k Race Holiday Hustle

Ran the 5k in Dobbs Ferry, NY a weekend ago and went to brunch with some friends afterwards at Doubleday’s Restaurant & Bar on Main Street. This is a bar that is frequented and loved by many of the local residents. I was the newcomer that got to experience the magic. My friends love this place and said that the food is as good as any bar food can be. They are correct!
TWO EGGS: Sunny side up with home fries and baconEGGS BENEDICT: two poached eggs with Canadian bacon on a whole wheat English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce, served with home fries
THE BIG BREAKFAST BURRITO: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, cheddar cheese, and pico de gallo stuffed into a flour tortilla and topped with spicy salsa  TWO EGGS: scrambled with home fries

Typically, if I look at this meal strictly from the food perspective, then I would say that this felt like something I can make myself, homey that is. But if I look at this as a local place where everyone comes to feel right at home – like what a pub is supposed to be in Ireland, then this is the place because the restaurant filled up so quickly after they opened. People come because this is a place of gathering. It has a meaning that is way beyond food just like people you meet along the way in life. Acquaintances can become meaningful friends in some ways, at some point in time, if you let them. Mimosas to new friends and old!

This experience took place at

Doubleday’s Restaurant & Bar

83 Main St
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Phone:(914) 693-9793

City Limits Diner in White Plains, NY- Last Post for the December Writing Chanllege

I have never considered City Limits Diner in White Plains as a valid option for food given the variety of restaurants in White Plains. But I was happy to find that City Limits Diner is an excellent option if one wants the semi-traditional diner menu with a pleasant decor. With the Christmas decorations up and the lights dimmed, it was warm and pleasant. My friend mentioned that she uses the diner for business breakfasts – that’s an idea. It is affordable, comfortable, modern and convenient.

That is also the conclusion I have come to at the end of the meal.My goto in a diner, traditional burger and French fries
Curried egg salad on multi-grain, potato salad

The food was decent to good. My burger was slightly over done but very good for a diner. Definitely a viable choice for a casual business breakfast and a friendly informal gathering.

This is my last post for the December writing challenge, where I write a post a day until I go on vacation on the 21st. I cheated… or should I say, I changed the rules? I sometimes wrote a couple of posts a day, like today, to catch up on the prior days – the upside of creating your own challenge. I am proud that I wrote 17 posts in the past 17 days even if some of them were written in the middle of the night!

This experience took place at

City Limits Diner

200 Central Ave,
White Plains, NY 10606
Phone:(914) 686-9000

Sunrise Diner and The Bay Leaf in Allentown, PA- Reminded Why I Ran Away

I was recently in Allentown, PA, for A Cirque Du Soleil show, Toruk. The show at the PPJ Center was awesome. Yet driving through Allentown brought back memories from Freshman year in college. I spent a miserable year in Allentown, PA, for many reasons and one of those reasons is still true today. Food quality and diversity were not on par with the bigger cities then and still are not now. Here is an example of what I mean – Click here to view downtown Allentown’s food scene.

I was circling the downtown area; there were some decent looking and reviewed restaurants. We skipped Hook Seafood Restaurant & Grille Restaurant which looked the most promising from both the menu and decor. We stopped in at The Bay Leaf  since it appeared to have a good review. We were greeted by a waft of fried Chinese takeout food and a decor from the 80’s complete with dirty carpet and a juxtaposition of crisp and clean white table-cloth. It was very strange. My eyes and nose told me that this should be a cheap Chinese restaurant but it’s pretending to be otherwise. The host asked me if we had a reservation and then told me they were all booked!

My 12-year-old and I walked out of the restaurant confused, unsure why a restaurant that smelled and looked like that would be fully booked. Due to limited time, we settled at this roadside diner, Sunrise Diner on South 4th Street. We figured that we are in middle American and a diner is probably the safeties choice.Wrong again. This was my Sunrise Special of a generic cheese burger with Swiss and fries. The patty was limp.
My daughter had the chocolate chip pancake and a side of Canadian bacon. She could not cut into the bacon. She said that they dunk the bacon in grease and grilled it to a hard rock.    I guess this is what we deserved for paying $13 for a meal.

We hightailed it out of the diner barely eaten much of the food just as I did years ago as a young woman. Travelers – bypass Allentown, PA if you can.

This experience took place at

Sunrise Diner

1401 S 4th St
Allentown, PA 18103
Phone:(610) 797-2233

The Lounge at the Ritz in White Plains, NY- Surprisingly Good

I am not usually a fan of the Ritz; see my experience at The Ritz in Amelia Island, Florida. However, I was pleasantly surprised by The Lounge at the Ritz in White Plains. The food was excellent despite slow and inattentive service. The lounge area is comfortable enough and cozy enough for a long conversation.PROSCUITTO FIG FLATBREAD: Spiced orange marmalade, arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese. This was great. The orange marmalade and fig on the flatbread made me feel like I was eating something from my grandma’s house (if I had an Italian grandma.) It was chewy when you hit those sweet pieces. The prosciutto did not come through but also didn’t distract. The arugula, although pretty, distracted. Thanks to the goat cheese that tied all ingredients together.
WARM APPLE SALAD: Seasonal Brine apples, toasted pecans, cranberries, Bibb lettuce, goat cheese, citrus vinaigrette. The salad was not warm but other than the temperature everything else was perfect. I learned that I love Bibb lettuce and I can love a salad. There was the crunch from the pecans, the sweetness from the cranberries and the apples, the punch from the goat cheese and the lettuce to bridge the gaps. It was a beautiful culinary symphony.  ASIAN MIXED RICE BOWL: Vegetable medley, marinated beef, egg, sesame oil. This is Ritz’s version of a Bibimbap – surprisingly excellent. I was more surprised that it was very spicy. The Ritz honored how Bibimbap should be eaten and did not bow down to the pop culture to satisfy. Kudos to the Ritz in White Plains.

Highly recommended for people who are not in a rush and have patience. Will definitely return.

This experience took place at

The Lounge at
The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester

3 Renaissance Square
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone:(914) 946-5500

Alvin and Friends in New Rochelle, NY- Happy Hump Day with A Post Discovery Southern Meal

This was a big dinner at Alvin and Friends in New Rochelle. There were about 15 of us after a project discovery meeting. Alvin’s is always comfortably inviting with delicious southern food. I brought the group here after my last meal at Alvin’s; the experience of the slow-simmered oxtail was so good. Alvin did not disappoint this time. We had laughter, alcohol of all varieties, duck breast, skirt steak, fried oysters, Haitian piklis, and calloloo. Everything was finger-licking’ good!

Happy Hump Day! May your day pass quickly and painlessly.

Special of the Day: Grilled asparagus with tomatoes
Blackened Tofu:Black-eyed pea salad, XVOO Jerk Chicken Wings: house-made jerk sauce
Cornmeal Fried Oysters: With vegetable chow chow, lemon-caper tartarButtermilk Fried Chicken: Slow-cooked greens with smoked turkey, three cheese macaroni and cheese
Grilled Skirt Steak: Cayenne roasted potato wedges, asparagus and BBQ aioli  Shrimp & Grits: The Original Grit Girl stone-ground grits, peppers and onions, baby spinach, pot likker butter sauce
Butternut squash-Quinoa “Risotto”: Butternut squash-quinoa “risotto,’” apple cider gastriqueAuntie Barbara’s Callaloo: Coconut rice and peas, escovitch vegetables
Jerk Rubbed Duck Breast: Sweet plantain bread pudding, port wine reduction, watercressSlow-Simmered Oxtail: Coconut rice and peas, Haitian piklis

This was a lazy post (It’s Wednesday. What can I say?) but I hope you enjoy the food pics.

This experience took place at

Alvin & Friends

14 Memorial Hwy
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Phone:(914) 654-6549