Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Santora's Pizza - Amherst, NY

Back in the early 80s, I spent 6 months living in Buffalo, NY, while completing my final internships at a local hospital and PT Private Practice. Everyone in the area has their favorite and personal choice for wonderful wings and pizza. My own personal favorite was Santora's Pizza. The pizza wasn't exceptional, it was good, and tasty enough... i'd have two slices of pepperoni pizza and 20 pieces of medium wings... oh my... I can still savor the taste and the flavor as I type this!

The original location I remember seems to have gone with the wind, it's a real shame, imo, but the name and restaurants live on. For those 6 months I lived there in the area, I ate at Santora's a minimum of 3x/a week and never got tired of it. Great memories and really awesome wings.

Pat Mitchell's Ice Cream - Endicott

I attended SUNY Binghamton (we called it Harpur College) back in the day during the 70s. One of the great local favorite places I'd travel to was Pat Mitchell's Ice Cream in Endicott, NY. Back then it was a small place, quaint and delivered us great ice cream flavors. Thinking of Pat Mitchell's always brings a pleasant smile and many memories of an easier life and youth.

Here is a link to a great story written about Pat Mitchell's and how it has evolved into its current operation. ARTICLE on Pat Mitchell's.

They are located here these days: 231 Vestal Avenue Endicott, NY 13760 (607) 785-3080

I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as I did. My favorite flavor was always chocolate chip, pure vanilla ice cream with chunks of chocolate... greatness, truly!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sesame Seed Crust Pizza, Anyone?? Pietro's is THE ONE!

Another gem on Long Island, Pietro's Pizza, is located on East Meadow Avenue, in East Meadow. The pizza here is different, not as cheesy as some, not as saucy as others. But it IS great! Like eggplant? My son ONLY eats eggplant here, and ON the pizza. The highlight here is the sesame seeded crust. Pietro's has been a winner here in this area for over 30 years. I've been going here since 1987 and they have never let me down. Great pizza, good prices, a great place to eat. Yummmmm....

Pietro's Website

Veniero's - America's Oldest Italian Pastry Shop

Man, Veniero's is an all-time favorite for things like Sicilian cheesecake, and Cannoli. I often have a craving for their sandwich cookies dipped in chocolate. This original location is on 11th street, just off first avenue. It's a cool place to go and enjoy some beverages and dessert. It has a different feel than Ivy's bakery which I have written about. Veniero's is noisy and quite bright, Ivy's more mellow and elegantly understated.

Veniero's has been successful for over 100 years, and quality is the reason. The pastries here are always wonderful, delicious and consistent. On the East side, it's a tough place to beat.

342 E 11th St. That's where you want to go for authentic and delicious cannoli and italian cheesecakes. The strawberry shortcake is pretty amazing, too. I think i'm getting a crave on, just thinking about Veniero's. Here is the Link to their webpage: Veniero's Bakery

One of the Best Places for Steak - Ben & Jack's

Ben and Jack's is one of my favorite steak places. I know the "common" thought is that Peter Luger's is "the" place to go, but I disagree. This place was set up and run by former Luger employees, and they've done a GREAT job of creating a classy establishment with great service and delicious food and steaks done the Right Way.

Ben and Jack's has expanded to two locations in Manhattan, but the one I go to is the original location on 219 E. 44th Street. Parking can be found there, and it is convenient to get to. This is where Cory and I go when we get a craving for amazing bacon, and really great steaks. I honestly don't think anyone would be disappointed making the trip here. Reservations are highly recommended. 212-682-5678

Great Steaks Here!

Ivy Bakery on Houston Street... Yum!!

After picking up Cory following his dance class one night, we drove down Houston Street and I spotted a bakery that was open after 9pm! I had to stop in and Man, was I glad I did. I'm always on a quest to find delicious baked goods, and Ivy Bakery really made an impact on me. It's a small place with a lounge like atmosphere where we can sit, chat and enjoy a beverage and some sweet and fresh baked goods. The owner and operator is very sweet and accommodating and offers a lot of information about her products.
I wanted to post up a pic of my favorite Pecan Pie from her, but the pie rarely lasts long enough for me to photograph it, lol. We ordered one for thanksgiving this year and it was a huge hit.

Ivy Bakery is located on the Village-SoHo border at 138 W. Houston St., near MacDougal Street, and she makes a lot of custom pies/cakes and cookies, too. She has an extensive menu and also has blackboard specials! Check them out, I am sure you would find a new spot to fill your craving for baked goods.

Ivy Bakery

Tim Tebow - Winner... NY Jets Losers

Lots of folks talking on the radio about Tim Tebow and his lack of playing time on the Jets. I watched this guy play a lot. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a leader and can be an effective catalyst for a team. I respect him for being a Winner and for being a competitor and for being a human with sincere beliefs. I look foward to the end of his time with the Jets and for an opportunity to play and represent another team.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Best Sicilian Pizza... Martino's in Elmont, Long Island

Martino's is a gem in Elmont, Long Island. A true Italian pizzeria and restaurant, I've been a fan and coming here since 1988 or so. They serve great italian made dishes and their Sicilian Pizza is in my opinion, the BEST EVER anywhere. I've pictured a slice below, they make their own special dough recipe, daily for their Sicilian slices. Plus, these slices are HUGE and taste really great. They have a nice menu of items, and their dinner specials are truly a great value. They are located in Elmont, Long Island... 1411 Hempstead Turnpike.

Fried Ipswich Clams? The Ones with the Bellies...

Bigelow's is THE place locally for fried seafood. Not just any seafood, but specifically it's specialty is the fried Ipswich clam. Ipswich clams are quite flavorful in a sandy/gritty kind of way, it's addictive and the flavor is truly unique. This place has been here for many decades, and it has fascinated me since the early 1970s.
The menu also features grilled fish and burgers, too. They offer wonderful soups, and although expensive, the pies for dessert are truly wonderful. For those folks who loved fried food? This is a tough to beat alternative. They are located on Long Beach road, and Sunrise Highway, in Rockville Centre, Long Island.

Long Island

Long island is just adjacent to the island of Manhattan and NYC. Obviously there are suburbs to the north of  NYC, but when people in this area talk about the suburbs, they usually are referring to Long Island. Long Island is a great place to live, and Long Island also has great things to see and do, and tons of great food to eat, too.

I'll be mentioning some of my "go to" places to eat some simple and hearty food. I'm hoping that people will check out the places I love, and also share some of your favorites, too.

NYs BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie

Levain Bakery is the home to NY's best chocolate chip cookie. Located on the corner of west 74th and Amsterdam avenue, I regularly make a trek here to buy a few pounds worth. Each cookie is a very cool 6 oz  each of yummy goodness. Perhaps i'm weird, but I prefer these AFTER they have cooled off. I've heard Levain Bakery now has several locations but i'm partial to the original location. It's inconveniently located for me, but always worth the trip and struggle to find parking. Hard to complain when you're biting into one of these otherworldly cookies.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

One of the BEST Chen Taiji Teachers Around

Yu Guo Shun. This man is truly a unique and special individual. Words I use to describe him are: Humble, Gentleman, Amazing Chen Taijiquan teacher, Superb Martial Artist, and Friend. He is from China, speaks mostly Mandarin Chinese, but his english is improving daily.

Yu Guo Shun is an exceptional teacher of Chinese Kung Fu. While he specializes in Chen Tai Chi, he also promotes and teaches Tai Chi Praying Mantis. He is very much a treasure here in New York City.

Famous Ray's Still Lives as Famous Roio's Pizza

The one and only Ray's Pizza from my youth in the 70s. The BEST pizza slices of NYC back in the day and regular trips were made there from high school, to college and beyond. I'm never a fan of change, and was saddened when the place was rented out to others who lowered the standards and didn't keep up the place well.

I found out this past year that the original owner decided to re open the place as Famous Roio's, and man, let me tell you... now, I make a weekly jaunt over here to get my pizza slices. OMG, each and every time I take a bite, i'm transported back in time to a better place and a better stress free and happy time of my life. How many places can do that??

The slices are thick, cheesy and the crust is the best and remains as I fondly remembered it to be. These are Man slices of pizza that will fill you up and satisfy. None of the absurd fancy, gourmet pizza stuff. I hate that nonsense. This is the REAL deal if you hanker for a slice of true NYC pizza.

Located on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 11th street.

Peaches Hot House - Real Spicy and Fantastic Spicy Fried Chicken

Peaches HotHouse is one of my favorite eateries. I try to go here weekly. The place is vibrant, cozy and tantalizes you with tasty, appetizing food that is prepared well. The food here is made from scratch. It's not always the same exact taste, but close enough! IMO, they serve the spiciest fried chicken possible that can feel like it is killing you, but after the tears and the super hot burning sensation you feel in mouth and lips, it tastes so amazing and good, Wow... it's seriously addicting if you like hot and crispy fried chicken. Sides are interesting... I usually go for the mashed potatoes, or sweet potato fries or the mac and cheese.

Dessert is good here, too. A nice assortment of pies and Cory's favorite... the bourbon cake... GREAT stuff. I think the prices are very reasonable here, and the sweet tea is good stuff. 

Peaches is located in Bed-Stuy, on 415 Tompkins Avenue. Great food, inexpensive and it's a small location with limited seating. I give it a 5 Star Rating!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A View of the Rough Parts in Brooklyn

This is a picture of Brooklyn, taken from a window on the 5th floor of a hospital in Brownsville, NY. I have a weird sense of pride working here because Brownsville is a tough place, perhaps one of the roughest in the City. It's less than 3 miles in square area, has over 18,000 residents and the median income here is about 15,000 dollars. Shootings, stabbings, violent crime and pedestrian vs car accidents happen almost daily here.
Working in this neighborhood keeps me sharp, in tune to the life around me, and is a reality check on a daily basis.

Living in New York

I've spent most of my adult life living here in New York, and I love New York with deep passion. People in New York are generally more open minded and enjoy experiencing different aspects of life, culture, food and fun. I've traveled all over the US and done many diverse activities. I have definite likes and dislikes of things. On this blog, i'll be a part-time foodie, a part-time martial artist, a part-time reviewer/ranter and share different things that catch my attention related to Life here in New York. I hope you come along and share with me the stories, blurbs, and comments I post here.