Sunday, December 14, 2008

O Christmas Tree



Eleven days until Christmas! Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? This year, we decided to go straight to the local farm (figured it was a little more eco-friendly since the trees are grown right here on Long Island)!

Our tree came from Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm, in Mattituck, but there are several farms as you head out east. We think our Christmas tree is the best ever, but we might be a little biased.

At Shamrock, kids can ride the train around the farm, visit Santa (on the weekends) and have hot chocolate and popcorn.  

The trip can be fun for parents too.  There are lots of little towns and hamlets you can visit while you're on the North Fork.  If you start your day early enough you might even think about stopping at some of the wineries before you get to the farm.  Oh, and don't forget to go over to Briermere for a pie on the way home (what's better than starting your day with wine and ending it with pie?). 

FARM LOCATION:
Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm
20685 Main Road
Mattituck, NY  11952
631-298-4619
631-298-4118

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Robke's Country Inn



Ok people, we all know times are tough and everyone is looking for a deal, right?  Well, we found a place that will satisfy your hunger and your wallet. Robke's Country Inn, located in Fort Salonga, has $10.00 lunches (and, we might add, these are lunches that seem like dinners)! 

We went recently for lunch on a Saturday afternoon and were quite excited about our discovery. The portions are HUGE and TASTY. Most of the food is Italian and has been ever since the place was sold by a German to an Italian from the Bronx in 1978.

We'd suggest the Egglplant Rollatini or one of the pasta dishes, but everything looked delish. 

Happy eating!

Robke's Country Inn
427 Fort Salonga Road
Northport, NY 11768 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pickle Festival




Every year there is a pickle festival at Smith-Gardner Farm in Greenlawn.  We finally got the chance to go! It's a great festival for kids because they enjoy seeing the old farmhouse, riding on the hay truck and participating in the face and body painting. And, of course, the pickles are delicious. We bought a container of dill pickles and a container of spicy ones. We recommend both.  

Don't despair if you missed the festival this year. You can still purchase the pickles at the Huntington Farmer's Market, which takes place on Sunday mornings from 7 - 10 am until Thanksgiving. 

If you're more into historic places than pickles, visit Smith Gardiner Farm, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and maintained by the Greenlawn-Centerport Historical Association. For hours and tour information contact the Association at 631-754-1180.


FARM LOCATION:
Located on the corner of Little Plains Road and 
Park Avenue in Greenlawn


Praying Mantis


We just thought it was cool when a praying mantis decided to rest for a while in the yard.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jericho Cider Mil, Inc.


Fall is here and that means it's time for apples, pumpkins and pie! We know just the place to get all these goodies too. Head over to Jericho Cider Mill in Jericho, Long Island. Be sure to bring home the cider, pumpkin pie and fruit spread. Oh, and while you're there, don't forget to order a frozen apple drink. We're not exactly sure if this drink is called a "slushy," but it has that consistency. We promise you this drink is nothing like a 7-Eleven slushy, it's way more delicious! Drinking one of these babies is like slurping a cold, crisp apple - what's better than that on the perfect fall day? 

CIDER STAND LOCATION:
213 Route 106
Jericho, NY  11753
516-433-3360



Monday, September 8, 2008

West Neck Beach


After a day of rain and wind on Saturday, we were itching to get out of the house. Luckily, Sunday was gorgeous and we headed to Caumsett State Park, and then to West Neck Beach.

Like most North Shore beaches, West Neck has its share of rocks and shells along the shoreline, but we like this beach for swimming, paddle surfing and kayaking. West Neck beach is not as protected as some other North Shore beaches because it opens directly into the sound. This makes for a few more waves (definitely not like the South Shore but perfect for getting some exercise). 

The surrounding area is also great for walking, biking or running. Directly outside of West Neck Beach there is a walking path that goes along the causway that leads to Caumsett. The walk provides great views of beautiful birds on both sides (like Egrets and Osprey) as well as nice views of the water. On sunny days folks are almost always fishing on the rocks. 

A walk on the causway, along the beach or in Caumsett State Park is a great activity for any time of the year but, at least for now, we're holding on to summer as long as we can. 

WEST NECK BEACH LOCATION:
off West Neck Road
Lloyd Harbor, NY 11724
631-261-7574

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blue Point Brewing Company


We celebrated the end of the summer with a little brew ha ha at Long Island's only microbrewery in Patchogue. The ten year old Blue Point Brewing Company, owned by Mark Buford and Peter Cotter, has a great selection of good brews available for tasting and purchasing. After spending some time in the tasting room, we left with a jug of Toasted Lager and a jug of Oatmeal Stout (and we'd highly recommend both).  Copper in color with hints of caramel, malts and hops, the Toasted Lager is a World Beer Cup Winner and Blue Point's signature beer. 

Don't take our word for it though, taste the microbrews for yourselves. Blue Point's free tasting room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3pm to 7pm and Saturdays from 12pm to 7pm.  Tours are also available.

BREWERY LOCATION:
161 River Avenue
Patchogue, NY  11772
631-475-6944

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Flip Flop

Well folks, summer is almost over and we're as upset about it as you are. Luckily we found this pair of hotflops at Main Street Florist in Huntington. These hot little numbers cheered us up on the spot! To get rid of your end-of-the-summer blues, check out hotflops.net and then head over to Main Street Florist to find your own favorite fabulous flip flops.

STORE, FLORIST and NURSERY LOCATION:
475 West Main Street
Huntington, NY 11743
Nursery: 631-549-4515
Florist: 631-271-0160
Landscaping: 631-351-0184

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sculptures by the River


Next time you're in Riverhead visiting Atlantis Marine World or the East End Arts Council, stop at the Peconic Bay Riverwalk. To get there, you'll have to go back to Main Street and head toward the bay.  
Although the Peconic can be seen directly behind Atlantis, the Riverwalk extends beyond the aquarium fence. That is why you'll need to walk a little further to fully enjoy the area. 

The walk is both relaxing and mysterious. There are approximately eight (maybe more) carved, wooden sculptures, which can be seen along the dock. Nobody seems to know who made the carvings, but they definitely make for some interesting conversation with the locals. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coffee Break

THIS LOCATION IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED

If you like little secrets then you might like Tillie's Eatery. Located in one of the alleys off of Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor, this hidden coffee shop is a good place for a break on a sunny day. Sit under one of the umbrellas outside and enjoy tea, coffee and a snack.


We've heard that Tillie's is owned by Trattoria Grasso's Restaurant (which is more prominently located along Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor). While this coffee shop does serve breakfast and lunch, seating is very limited. We've only had the coffee and tea (Green Mountain Coffee and assorted bagged teas from other vendors). For a more serious meal, we suggest going to nearby Huntington. But, if you're craving a cup-o-joe and you want some charm to go with it, Tillie's is worth the stop.


CAFE LOCATION:
181 main Street
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
631-367-1219

Monday, August 11, 2008

Victoria Bakery


It seems like Victoria Bakery, located in Huntington Station, is always crowded. The place is tiny, but there are tables outside that are full all of the time. After driving by the bakery numerous times, we decided to find out what all the fuss is about, and we're glad we did. 

We aren't sure if the food is El Salvadorian, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or a mix of all four. We just know it's good. At the risk of sounding like total idiots (we tried to ask questions about what we were eating, but couldn't really communicate too well in Spanish), we decided to tell you about this place anyway. We figure that food is a language everyone can understand (of course ordering might be another story, but as long as you can point or speak Spanish, you're fine). 

When we walked into Victoria, we expected the place to be full of cakes, pastries and cookies. Instead, we discovered a few specialty sweets and a whole case of steaming, hot shrimp, meat and vegetables. There was also a woman grilling fresh tortillas (not the egg tortillas or the Mexican tortillas, but the thicker, smaller floury kind). The food looked delicious and the place smelled great. At that moment, the main attraction became clear. However, since it wasn't quite lunch time, we opted for the sweet stuff. 

The guava cake, the pineapple pastry (which looks like an apple turnover) and the rice and coconut cake are all very good. The guava cake, filled with chunks of guava or guava jelly, is a moist, sweet and spongy, yellow cake. The pineapple turnover is light and flaky. The rice and coconut cake, which is sprinkled with sesame seeds, is the most dense of the items we ate and has the perfect sweetness. Of course, this is the first time we've tasted goodies like these, and they seemed yummy to us. We wondered, is there anywhere else to get them on Long Island? 

We're looking forward to going back to try the more savory dishes soon! If you get there before we do, we'd love to hear your thoughts. For now, all we can say is that we liked what we tasted and that's why we're telling you about it.

BAKERY LOCATION:
1735 New York Avenue
Huntington Station, NY 11746
631-470-2112


 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Makinajian Farm


We've already told you about farm fresh products from Jamesport. Today we want to tell you about a farm that is a little further west (which means even those of you coming from The City can enjoy some farm fresh deliciousness without going all the way to the East End). Makinajian Farm, located off of Cuba Hill Road in Huntington, has wonderful fresh eggs, goat cheese, vegetables, fruit and poultry. They also sell locally made honey, syrup, bread and pie! 

If you're concerned about where your food comes from (and let's face it, these days, we all should be), then go to Makinajian. When you arrive on this farm, you can see the chickens, ducks and other animals roaming freely on the property. The farm is also certified organic. 

Sure, the items at Makinajian Farm may be a little more expensive than the average supermarket but, then again, this food is definitely above average. And, when it comes to our family's health and the health of the environment, we want the best for both. Don't you?

Be sure to call ahead if you'll be coming from out of town. Makinajian is closed on Monday, open Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 
6:00 pm.

FARM LOCATION:
276 Cuba Hill Road
Huntington, NY 11743
631-368-9320

  

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sally's Cocofé in Huntington

THIS LOCATION IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED

The chocolate café trend is spreading (and we're not complaining because we love chocolate)! Maybe you've been to The Chocolate Room in Park Slope or Carroll Gardens or maybe you've been to Max Brenner in Manhattan. If so, you've probably thought it would be nice to have a place like this closer to home (that's what we thought). Now we do. And, with all the coffee houses on Long Island, it's nice to have a more interesting option and still get your caffeine fix. So, if you like chocolate (and if you don't, we're sorry, but that's just strange unless you're allergic to it, and even then, you probably still like it), try Sally's Cocofé on Main Street, in Huntington. 

We haven't tasted everything, but we can say that the Mexicana Spice, which contains nutmeg, chili and a little vanilla, is DELISH! The Mexicana is the perfect mix of spice and chocolate without being overly sweet. If you are looking for a caffeine boost, also order the Cocofé Bicerin with chocolate, espresso and a little whipped cream. It may keep you awake for a week, but it's probably worth it.

The drinks are large. The Mexicana Spice is VERY generous - big enough that you might gain 50 pounds trying to finish it (sharing might be a good option here). There is a regular and large size Cocofé Bicerin. 

Sally's Cocofé also sells chocolates (which aren't made on the premises, but look scrumptious) and serves light vegetarian dishes such as pizzas, soups and salads. We decided that Sally's specializes in chocolate drinks and coffee so that's what we'll be ordering there. We can't wait to try the rest of the menu items!


CAFE LOCATION:
273 Main Street
Huntington, NY 11743
631-546-7541

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nisen Sushi

THIS LOCATION IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED




Serious sushi-lovers will want to know that the dishes at Nisen Sushi in Woodbury contain the highest quality fish we've tasted at any sushi restaurant (so far) on Long Island. You can argue that there are other good places (and we know you will), but before you do, just do us a favor and go to Nisen. We're not saying that there aren't decent sushi restaurants on Long Island, we're just saying that the sushi and sashimi at Nisen is a cut above the rest. Before we go on, it's also important to note that there are two Nisen locations (one in Woodbury and and one in Commack). Both restaurants are good but this post focuses on the Woodbury location, which has a more varied and creative menu.


For those of you who have sushi-snob friends visiting from the big bad city, take them to Nisen Sushi (okay it's in a Woodbury strip mall, but once you're inside you won't know the difference). With its trendy atmosphere, DJ and lounge area, this restaurant has a New York City feel and menu. Perhaps this is why Sushi Chef, Osan Wang, who came from Megu in Manhattan, is at home here. And, while we're talking about the chef, you should definitely try one of the Chef's Selections, or Omakase, if you can. These plates are not only works of art, but the fish is melt-in-your mouth delicious.

For those of you who prefer your food cooked, the black cod (another clue that the restaurant is a bit trendy) is as good as it is at Nobu in NYC. We'd also recommend the vegetarian tasting plate (with no added salt). It's delicious.  

Prices range from $25-$100 dollars per plate. The restarurant also has a fairly extensive sake menu.


RESTAURANT LOCATION:
7967 Jericho Turnpike
Woorbury, NY 11797
516-496-7000



Saturday, July 26, 2008

Georgio's Coffee

THIS LOCATION HAS MOVED TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

1965 NEW HIGHWAY
FARMINGDALE, NY. 11735

Did you know that we have our very own coffee roaster on Long Island? Until we came across Georgio's Coffee, neither did we. Located at 146 West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station, this fine find is very easy to miss if you don't know it's there (and, if you like coffee, it would really be a shame to miss it).

Owned by Georgio and Lydia (a husband and wife team), this unassuming shop carries a wide variety of fair trade, organic and farm direct coffees that come from Columbia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii, Yemen, Peru and many other places around the world, including the Galapagos Islands. (Yes, that's right - the Coffee is grown on the Galapagos Islands.) Some tea, which is blended by Lydia, is also sold at Georgio's.

Lydia and Georgio are very knowledgeable about coffee and seem to have very good relationships with the farmers growing the beans sold at their shop. Pictures of the farms hang on the walls of the store and Georgio and Lydia can tell you about how the coffee is grown, picked and roasted. There are even samples of the coffee at various stages around the shop.

Georgio's has a few small tables so you can definitely hang around and drink a cup of coffee there but, by the time you're done drinking, you'll want to take home a bag. The place smells delicious and the coffee tastes wonderful. The only thing bad about Georgio's is that you'll be addicted on your first visit!


STORE LOCATION:
146 West Jericho Turnpike
Huntington Station, NY 11746
631-920-2077

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Night at the Casino


When it comes to the survival of the area's marine life, we don't like rolling the dice unless it's happening at Casino Night! Friends of the ocean, we know you've been fishing for ways to help support The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in its mission to rescue and rehabilitate stranded seals, sea turtles, dolphins, porpoises and whales ever since we told you about them in April (and for those of you who just like to gamble, here's your chance to feed the habit). 

Next Friday, August 1st, at 7pm, The Riverhead Foundation is hosting its annual Casino Night fundraiser at Atlantis Marine World Aquarium. Head out to Riverhead on Friday night and spend the weekend exploring the East End (Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport is a great place to rest after a night of gambling if you can get a room - HINT)!

The $150 Casino Night ticket includes dinner and cocktails as well as $100 in playing chips. Play your cards right and all proceeds go to support the mission of The Riverhead Foundation. There will also be a raffle and silent auction for the guests!

To purchase tickets, go to Riverheadfoundation.org or call 631-369-9840.

Good luck!

LOCATION:
431 East Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
631-369-9840


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beautiful Wreck




If you like to eat in diners with character, Tim's Shipwreck Diner is definitely worth a visit (probably more for the atmosphere than the food, but that doesn't stop us from going back again and again). Known as the Northport Diner in the 1920s (after being relocated to Long Island from Massachusetts), the place (now over 100 years old) was renamed Otto's Shipwreck Diner sometime in the 1970s. Several years ago, it became known as Tim's Shipwreck Diner (when Otto retired and passed on the business to his son).  

Running the joint out of an old fashioned dining car, Tim maintains a tight ship. Though there is a huge menu of options for your dining pleasure, we like the pancakes, egg sandwiches or blintzes for breakfast and the egg salad sandwich, fish-n-chips or turkey sandwiches for lunch. The best treat at Tim's is the homemade cornbread and jam (it's surprisingly yummy),which is brought to your table with breakfast (when available). 

If you'll be going to Tim's on a weekend, get there early.  The breakfast crowds are already lining up out the door by 10:00 am. Once seated, be sure to order with caution. Tim doesn't like picky eaters and most likely won't customize your order. Like we said, Tim runs a tight ship and you don't want to find yourself overboard!


RESTAURANT LOCATION:
46 Main Street
Northport, NY 11768
631-754-1797

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wining and Dining

THIS LOCATION HAS PERMANENTLY CLOSED


We've written about Northport before, but today we want to tell you about a new wine shop and tasting room there called Northport Tasting Room and Wine Cellar (NTR). Aside from having a very interesting and good selection of wines from Austria, Africa, Greece, Israel and elsewhere around the world, the staff is attentive and knowledgeable and the overall concept of this shop/tasting room is quite original.


Focused on selling and serving wines from unusual locations, the folks at NTR have literally made the store the heart of the space. Surrounded by glass windows, the shop becomes the center of the building. As guests sit at the bar or at tables to taste wine or enjoy it by the glass, they can look into the shop to view the bottles for sale. 


Since you might not have sampled many wines from the regions featured at NTR, attending a weekday tasting could be fun and educational. Otherwise, come on a Friday or Saturday and order a couple of glasses to have with a meal - we're sure you'll find a wine to take home. 


Eating and drinking at NTR is a luxury we debated keeping all to ourselves (we're telling you, these guys are very smart). At NTR, not only can you enjoy delicious wines, but you can also order dinner from almost any restaurant in Northport Village, including Maroni! That's right - go to NTR on a Friday or Saturday night, order a great bottle of wine and enjoy your favorite entree from Maroni, or another restaurant in Northport, and have it delivered directly to your table. 


Now, that's what we call wining and dining! We just hope that it takes a few years before the locals figure it all out.


WINE CELLAR LOCATION:
70 Main Street
Northport, NY 11768
631-261-0642

  

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Old Secret in Kings Park


What may be an old secret to some (and you can tell by looking at many of the folks here that they've kept it for a long time), is very new to us! This place is real gem, and it's also a little tricky to find so pay attention.
Located in Kings Park, there is an area along the Nissequogue River that will make you feel like you've been transported to a small resort beach. The water is clean and the terrain is diverse. Rocky with patches of grass in some spots and sandy with clear blue water in others, the river is the perfect place for explorers, swimmers, fishermen, sun lovers, boaters or kayakers (although you'll have to launch your kayak from the nearby ramp at Nissequogue River State Park if you're not from the Town of Smithtown). There is a town parking lot immediately upon entering the beach. There is also state parking a little further up the hill (you'll see it on your left when you enter the beach parking area). If you are not a resident, you can park your car there.

To get to this spot, take 25A east. Pass the entrance to Sunken Meadow on your right and keep going. Turn left at Old Dock Road until it ends.

When you arrive at the end of Old Dock Road, you'll see Short Beach across the River and the charming Old Dock Inn to your right. Here you can enjoy lunch, dinner or drinks while sitting inside, in front of one of the picture windows that highlight the beautiful view. 

The luncheon specials at Old Dock Inn are reasonably priced (ranging from $10.95 for a very large seafood stuffed Portabella Mushroom appetizer to $16.95 for a Cold Lobster Plate). The selections on the menu mainly contain seafood, but there are also burgers if you're not big on fish. The food is okay, but spending the day by the river is definitely the main reason to come here, and when you do, we're sure you'll discover why this is one of the best kept secrets on Long Island.

RESTAURANT LOCATION:
798 Old Dock Road
Kings Park, NY 11754
631-269-4118