Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas in Westbury, NY- Needs A Little Somethin’ Somethin’

Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas in Westbury, Long Island has what appears to be the perfect makeup for an excellent delicious food adventure… From its name (wine bar & tapas – trying to impress much?), the location (a popular mall location for foot traffic), the interior of the restaurant (open ceiling, dark wood, and accent lighting), the awards (OpenTable and Wine Spectator), the menu (you will see), to the web site (fresh, great UX, and bright beautiful photos), everything is set up to appeal to the young and hip crowds, including families.

But do you know what Spuntino lacks? Authenticity. #SpuntinoFoodie Spuntino is like the millennial- competitive down to the core with its setup/life, gears toward the community, tries to please the people, and is still looking for what makes it/each person authentic and unique. I don’t think Spuntino has arrived yet. It may soon.

As you see below, my friend and I ordered a combination that showcased Spuntino’s prowess.
PROSCIUTTO & MOZZARELLA: Topped with capers and red pepper. Not bad for the classic. The mozzarella could use an upgrade. It was a little hard.DUCK CONFIT POLENTA: Duck confit, mushroom ragu, Asiago polenta, toasted hazelnuts, Parmigiana Reggiani. I’ll be real honest here. The dish sounded good but was not terribly memorable. The polenta was watery like baby food. I remember digging for the duck. I love duck confit and wanted to love this duck, too.CHARRED OCTOPUS: Farro, olives, celery and cherry tomatoes with lemon vinaigrette and parsley oil. Too few pieces of octopus. The use of Farro threw me off; it took away the octopus. I also think the use of celery is not harmonious with the octopus; the celery stood out. Celery’s crunchiness went poorly with the protein. I love charred octopus and wanted to love this octopus, too.
PORK CHEEK: Slow-braised Asiago polenta, fried Brussels sprout leaves. Pork cheek was excellent albeit too salty. It was cheeky and tasty. My favorite for the night.

I was reminded how pleasurable it is to dine with an old friend who is also a foodie. From the time I sat down to the end of the meal, I was engaged and the critiques on the food flowed seamlessly and in sync. In summary, Spuntino did everything right by the book but needs to find that special somethin’ somethin’ to call its own.

I heart ❤️ foodies friends and restaurants on the verge of greatness.

This experience took place at

Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas
1002 Old Country Rd
Westbury, NY 11590
Phone:(516) 228-5400

H Mart in Williston Park, NY- Tasty Sashimi and Great for the Pocketbook 

I shop at Asian grocery stores, from time to time. When I am out in Queens, I tend to go to H Mart in Williston Park on Long Island. H Mart is best for one reason: You can buy reasonably priced sashimi and indulge/gorge until your heart beats with delight. You can buy all the accoutrement and make the plate real pretty. This plate consists of tuna, salmon, octopus, yellow tail, seaweed salad, and the “smelly” daikon salad (My co-workers had a huge issue with the daikon salad when I brought it into work one day.  They threatened to go to HR to stop me from eating the smelly food!) Of course, I also had ginger and wasabi. All in all, this plate was less than $50. The effort to cut up the sashimi was minimal. The presentation was beautiful.

So why wouldn’t you do the same, if you are a sashimi fan and eating out in restaurants is not always economically viable?

The H Mart in Hartsdale (Westchester, NY) has a hot food court (My post on Reliable Food Court Eating). That’s also an excellent option for delicious Asian food with ingredients straight from the supermarket. This is as close to Asian local/home eating as one gets in the New York ti-state area.

This experience took place in

H Mart
400 Hillside Ave
Williston Park, NY 11596
(516) 699-0270

P.S. This is my 6th of 17 challenge, writing one post a day until I go on vacation this month.

Pizza Village in Montauk, NY – Awesome Homey Food Under $20!

Day two in Montauk: After a busted beach afternoon on Day one, I went for a long walk/run on the Old Montauk Highway. Montauk is beautiful but is not the North Carolina Outer Banks. I need my own stretch of isolated beach please.

Luckily, I ended up at the Pizza Village in the center of the town. There was not much open on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the beginning of May. Pizza Village is the only one that was still open and serving food. Challenge: I only had a twenty-dollar bill with me and could not eat everything I wanted.

Italian Wedding Soup: after running in the 50 degree weather, a bowl of hot soup made me felt warm and homey. It was more than decent and it was hot. It was around $5.

Special of the Day: steak sandwich on a hero with red peppers. This was a pizza joint and I think it’s rather cute that they had specials for the day. This sandwich was awesome. The bread was toasted and crispy at the end. The steak was marinated in its own sauce plus the red pepper juice. The red peppers were still crunchy but infused with the same juice. It was delicious. This was about $10.

The food was much better than expected from a pizza place. Really homey. I would definitely return but do a take-out instead. The ambiance of the seating area has left a lot to be desired.

I still had $5 to spare. Time for desert. 🙂

Pizza Village
700 Montauk Highway
Montauk, N.Y. 11954
Tel: (631) 668-2232
Email: pvmontauk@aol.com

Princess Diner in Southampton, NY – It’s Been A Long Day

In my transition to being single, I took up traveling alone to rejuvenate the soul. In the beginning of May, I had a weekend trip to Montauk, NY, the tip of Long Island. Having been a New Yorker in the past 20+ years, I am still such a newbie to Long Island. On the long journey on Route 27, I came upon Princess Diner which was the first sign of civilization before I hit the upscale and well-groomed town center of Southampton.

As I did in my prior Wanderlust trip, I traveled whenever I felt like it; I did what I wanted and I ate when I was hungry at whatever place that was in sight. This included eating my first meal at 3:30pm after having a rigorous SoulCycle workout and a long drive in the sun, at a place that called itself the “Princess Diner.” Really?

My go to breakfast or comfort food: scramble eggs, ham and home fries, plus wheat toast/butter/blackberry jam. Honestly, the food critic in me says that this was at best average – the eggs were too watery and tasteless (I salted!). The ham was good but I am sure they didn’t raise the pig, slaughtered it and then cured the meat. The home fries were just potatoes. The menu is generic diner and the parking lot looked bleak. However, this dish hit the perfect spot when my body was sore and spirits awoken. For that, this bland dish was memorable and soothing.

This was playing in my SoulCycle class that day as I cycled toward the finish line. It’s been a long day without seeing you, my friend.

This experience took place at

Princess Diner
32 Montauk Hwy
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 283-4255