A BIG BURGER IN THE BIG CITY… LUNCH AT THE SMITH IN NEW YORK CITY

The Smith

1900 Broadway, New York, New York

www.thesmithnyc.com

This weekend, my dad and I went to New York City.  While we were there we visited the The Intrepid Museum, stopped at my dad’s office and saw our friend Kendah, who was visiting from Paris.  But first, we were hungry and needed somewhere close by and good to try, so we decided to eat at The Smith.  My dad had eaten there before and said it was good.

The Smith serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and it’s very hip!

It was 11:30 and I was pretty hungry so I decided instead of the brunch menu, it was time to order from the lunch menu.  Here’s what I had:

THE BURGER DELUXE

A Burger with Bacon, Cheddar, Special Sauce and the Works with Fries

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It was delicious and it was BIG!  I was amazed that I could finish it.  The Fries were golden and crispy.

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Thanks Tina for being our server, and for being SO nice… we’ll be back soon!

The Sunday Diner Rating (out of 5)

FOOD * * * * * (5)

SERVICE * * * * * (5)

LOOKS: * * * * * (5)

BATHROOM: * * * * * (5)

PS: At the Intrepid Museum we took a tour of The USS Growler Submarine. It was really cool to see what life was like under the sea.  But, if the Growler was a Sunday Diners restaurant, I’d give the bathroom zero stars! Luckily, it’s just part of the exhibit. 🙂

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GET STUFFED! AT THE CORNER RESTAURANT IN MILFORD CT

The Corner Restaurant

105 River Street, Milford CT

www.thecornerbrunch.com

I had heard that The Corner Restaurant in Milford was named The Best French Toast in Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine, and since most of you regular readers know that I LOVE French Toast — we HAD to try it and good thing we got there early!

The Corner is in Milford, close to the train station, and across from the Wepawaug River.  It’s a pretty part of town.  The Corner is a cute and cozy place that is decorated to make you feel at home.

We sat down and checked out the menu, which had a lot of exotic choices, but today I was hungry for their award-winning Stuffed French Toast.

I had “The Trio” (which won the award) and is…

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  • 1 slice of Apple, Cinnamon,  Raisin and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
  • 1 slice of Strawberry & Banana Stuffed French Toast
  • 1 piece of Tres Leches Vanilla Cake with Whipped Cream and Fresh Strawberries
  • Fresh Maple Syrup

Everything was delicious, but I liked the Tres Leches cake the best – I have to be honest – it was as good, maybe even better than what I had in Mexico.  It was really an award winner with me, and like the French Toast I was STUFFED!

Dad had the Eggs Benedict… I tried them and they were… Eggcellent! 🙂

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The restaurant was really busy, but we were lucky to get there early and got a table.  Soon, there was a line of hungry people out the door.  Even though it was busy, I was able to speak with Michelle Lebel who has owned The Corner with her husband, Amer for 17 years, and was super nice to me!

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Of course, I asked her what her favorite was…

“I love spicy things, my favorite dish is the South Indian Spiced Pulled Duck”.  

Why do you use so many exotic things on your menu?

“I think that food that might be weird to us, might be normal somewhere else in the world. I like new tastes, so we try to make our menu somewhat different from most places.” 

“This Mother’s Day,  The Corner will have a special menu with some great new things like Alligator Jambalaya, South African Hash, and lots of Crab dishes… It’s our most popular day of the year… so get here early!”

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Michelle’s Favorite

The South Indian Spiced Pulled Duck Wrapped In A Bacon Layered Tortilla      With Scrambled Eggs and A Mild Cheese

Thanks Michelle for an awesome breakfast and taking the time to speak with us.  I also want to thank our server Jill who was great!

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The Sunday Diner Rating (out of 5)

FOOD * * * * * (5)

SERVICE * * * * * (5)

LOOKS: * * * *  (4)

BATHROOM: * * * * (4)

 

THE GRANOLA BAR OF WESTPORT… RAISES THE BAR ON BREAKFAST!

The Granola Bar of Westport

275 Post Road East, Westport, CT  

www.thegranolabarct.com

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When we think of breakfast at Sunday Diners, we usually think of eggs… pancakes… and oatmeal… but now we can add granola to that list,  and The Granola Bar of Westport is THE place for that and much much more! Started by Julie Levitt and Dana Noorily, who own OATS Granola, The Granola Bar, is a really fun and different place to have breakfast and…did I mention that it’s REALLY Good?

The Granola Bar is in Westport’s Playhouse Square, and has a really open feeling with very high ceilings and book shelves that have their own granola as well as chocolates, caramels, teas and other fun things for sale.  There are statues of Buddha and really cool books on the shelves as well.  I noticed one called “Concrete” which looked really interesting.

The menu has a wide variety of brunch and breakfast items, like paninis, eggs, fresh-baked goods, wraps and salads… but what I was here for was the granola… and one of their awesome smoothies.  Here’s what I had…

THE TASTING

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It’s Four shots of their Homemade Granola with a side of Greek or Regular Yogurt (I had the Greek Yogurt) and a side of Fresh Fruit (Strawberries and Blueberries).

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Clockwise (start at 1:00)

Cinnamon Honey…Toasted Coconut…Dark Chocolate…Vanilla Almond

PB&J SMOOTHIE

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Strawberries, Peanut Butter, Banana, Vanilla & Milk… in a VERY tall glass! It tasted exactly like having a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich… without the bread!

Dad had…

THE HALF BUBBY

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The Granola Bar’s House-Smoked Salmon on half of a Bagel with Chive Cream Cheese and Onions and Capers.  Dad loved it, but wished it was a Full Bubby!

He also had a…

NUTELLA LATTE

IMG_1460Made with REAL NUTELLA!  I got to try it… it was delicious!

I spoke with both of the owners, Julie (l.) and Dana (r.), who were very nice to me even though they were really busy (which is great sign because it means the place is really popular) and asked…

IMG_1472How did you become partners and friends?

Julie said:

“We both have daughters that are six-years old.  We met at a birthday party and started talking.  Dana used to work in finance, and I told her about my idea to start a granola company… so we decided to work together, and became partners first… and now we’re also really good friends”

I also asked what their favorite flavor of Granola is… and they both love theToasted Coconut.. 

“It’s really unique, but also really simple”.

Finally, I asked about the Buddha’s…

“The Granola Bar was designed by Lisa Friedman , we wanted the place to have a warm and cozy and positive feeling, so that’s part of that”

Well, I really felt warm and cozy there, in fact, we could have stayed ALL day… but before we left… we had to definitely try out… what else?

IMG_1467A Granola Bar… Granola Bar!

Freshly made with their own granola and Chia seeds — VERY GOOD, Sweet & Crunchy!

Thanks so much Julie and Dana and the staff at The Granola Bar of Westport especially Victoria!

The Sunday Diner Rating (out of 5)

FOOD  * * * * * (5)

SERVICE  * * * * *   (5)

LOOKS: * * * * *   (5)

BATHROOM: * * * * *   (6)

(PS… The Bathroom is also REALLY Cool)

CM GOURMET MARKET AND CAFÉ IN WESTPORT IS MORE THAN JUST CHOCOLATE… (BUT DEFINITELY HAVE THE HOT CHOCOLATE!)

The CM Gourmet Market and Café

580 Riverside Ave. Westport, CT 06880

www.cmgourmetmarket.com

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This morning I woke up wanting a breakfast with a little kick to it and I also wanted to try out a new place that I saw when we reviewed Saugatuck Craft Butchery in our last post.  So both my wishes came true… but I got a third one when we got there … CHOCOLATE! Sweet, delicious HOT CHOCOLATE! And here’s why…

The CM in The CM Gourmet Market and Café stands for Cocoa Michelle.  Michelle Weber is a well-know chocolate maker here in Westport.  She has a small café and chocolate shop right across from the Westport train station that is really popular with commuters, and now she and her husband Frank have opened an terrific market and café.

When you first walk in you see an almost endless supply of goodies like maple syrup, spices, her own coffee, pasta and other yummy treats.  There’s also fresh pastas, vegetables, prepared food to go… and an amazing cheese selection.   Then you go back into the café…. where you feel like you’re in your own home.  Everyone is really friendly and it was filled with customers including a lot of kids (She also had Wiki-Stix which kids love). But the food was exceptional!

Here’s what I had…

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Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Hash

Which is made from Pulled Pork, Sweet Potatoes, Piquillo Peppers, Cippolini Onions, Pimentón, and it was topped with a Sunny-Side Up Duck Egg!

The pork was really tender, and the peppers and sweet potatoes made it both hot AND sweet.  So I did get the kick that I was looking for.  Even though, I never had one, the duck egg didn’t taste any different than a chicken egg, but it was a bit bigger- and when you mix in with the the pork and potatoes it makes the whole experience better.

To drink I had a freshly made Cocoa Michelle’s Hot Chocolate which is made with her cocoa and steamed milk – it was just like the ones I had in Europe. When I told Ms. Weber how good it was she gave me some of their really thick chocolate the kind you usually dunk churros in…

IMG_0462It was SO rich… my dad had to take it away from me — but I think he did that so he could drink it himself 🙂

Dad had…

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Omelet Très Soigné

Which is a 3 egg omelet, with crushed rosemary-marble potatoes, buttered brioche with goat cheese & fines herbes – he loved it.

IMG_0464I spoke with Michelle Weber, the owner and asked her about how she got started in the food business

“My mom was a chef, so I was always surrounded by good food.  When I moved away from home, I need to find something that I could do that was different so I could bring something home for her for family dinners, so I started making chocolate.”  

“When I opened Cocoa Michelle, a lot of the commuters started asking me to serve food as well, so we listened to them.  And since I live close to here, there really wasn’t a good market nearby, so my husband and I decided to open the Market and Café.

I also asked Ms. Weber what she liked for breakfast…

“I love what you had, the Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Hash”.

That seems really popular, cause our server really loved that too!

The Sunday Diner Rating (out of 5)

FOOD  * * * * * (5)

SERVICE  * * * * *   (5)

LOOKS: * * * * *   (5)

BATHROOM: * * * * *   (5)

Thanks so much Mr. and Ms. Weber!

“MEAT” THE BEST STEAK YOU’LL EVER HAVE AT SAUGATUCK CRAFT BUTCHERY IN WESTPORT

 

SAUGATUCK CRAFT BUTCHERY

580 Riverside Ave 
Westport, CT

www.craftbutchery.com

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Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport is a great place to shop if you’re looking for awesome meat. Everything at Craft Butchery is organic, pasture-raised and comes from local farms… and it’s all butchered right in front of you like they used to do at old-timey butcher shops  — so you know that everything is perfectly fresh.  They also believe that you should use the whole animal for food… so they use every part, as I found out.  We have bought meat from there before, like hamburgers and steaks but we have never tried the full Craft Butchery experience at their Café, so I was excited.

The Café is next to the butcher shop and offers delicious breakfast, brunch and lunch specials like burgers, egg dishes, and even salads – but the menu changes – so there’s always new things to try.  Just like the Butchery, the kitchen is open, so you can see your food being cooked right in front of you.  The good news is they will now also be open on Sundays from 9:00 – 3:00 so it’s perfect for Sunday Brunch. And now… the food

I had…

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Steak & Eggs – With the Eggs served “Toad in a Hole Style” in a Bacon Brioche.  It was THE BIGGEST steak I ever had!  It might also be the most delicious steak I have ever had. It was cooked to the perfect time and temperature, medium rare, and it was really juicy.  The eggs and brioche were perfect with the steak and were a little runny just how I like them.  To drink I had a Karoo Red Tea which comes from Norwalk CT.  They really do use LOCAL products at Craft  — Even the iced tea!  Guess what… I finished almost all of it except a small piece of steak that I took home.

Dad had…

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The Wich! Eggs, Craft’s own Bacon, and a little Cheddar on a Kaiser Roll. Dad really enjoyed it.  After, we split some Simple Sausage… made by co-owner and “Sausage King” Paul Nessel.  You could tell by its taste that it was homemade.

We shared a table with a very nice woman named Elayne Prince who was having Chicken & Waffles – she told me that it was THE BEST fried chicken she ever had — we are SO coming back for that!

IMG_0298I spoke to the Owner and Head Butcher, Ryan Fibiger and asked him what his favorite things at the cafe are…

He said, “It would be our Chicken and Waffles and our Steak and Eggs, but I also really like our Crispy Pulled Pork…  Even our salads are good… if you’re not feeling like meat.”

I asked him, “What do kids like?”

“The bacon egg and cheese sandwiches” are really popular with kids.”

IMG_0299Then… the real fun started, when I asked him what the weirdest thing to butcher is.

He said “Head cheese… the name sounds really horrible, but it’s really good. I persuade a lot of people to try it.”

Then he took me on a tour of the meat locker and told me that…

“We make the most delicious Guanciale it comes from the jowls of the pig – it’s like bacon but better”

Mr. Fibiger also told me that they only buy and butcher whole animals, and at the beginning of the week the locker is full, but by the end of the week everything is gone.  That’s amazing, but I could understand because this morning the Butchery was packed! 

Saugatuck Craft Butchery is located on the Saugatuck River right near the Westport Train Station – which makes it convenient if you’re coming up from New York City.  The staff is really nice and friendly and there was a lot of kids there.  They also have classes in sausage making and butchery if you would like to learn the art.

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Thanks so much to Mr. Fibiger, Mr. Heppermann, and everyone at Saugatuck Craft Butchery — we’ll be back VERY soon!

The Sunday Diner Rating (out of 5)

FOOD  * * * * * (5)

SERVICE  * * * * *   (5)

LOOKS: * * * * *   (5)

BATHROOM: * * * * *   (5)

Plus… It was… THE BEST STEAK I EVER HAD!

OMNOMCT + SUNDAYDINERS = HIGH VOLTA-GE BRUNCHING AT VOLTA IN STAMFORD!

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VOLTA – Gelateria Creperia
30 Spring Street, Stamford Ct

www.volta.us

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OMNOMCT

www.omnomct.com

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Today’s Sunday Diners is a very special first for us!  Last Sunday, we got to do two very exciting things, we got to try out VOLTA in Stamford which makes awesome crêpes and gelato…  and best of all, we went there with our two favorite bloggers OMNOMCT’s Kristien and Dan Del Ferraro

Before we talk about VOLTA, here’s a little bit about OMNOMCT.  OMNOM is an award-winning blog about food and restaurants in CT.  It’s really fun — definitely check out their story on eating A Burger a Day For The Whole Month Of May!  Now THAT’s a commitment! Dan and Kristien, have been big fans of Sunday Diners since we have started. They always comment on our posts, sometimes they tweet about us and always have great suggestions about new places to try.  They’re also very good people!

Dan and Kristien thought that it would be fun if we blogged together about a place  – and they suggested VOLTA – which they have been to before and liked a lot.  We’ve been waiting to do this for over a year… and on this Sunday here we are!

VOLTA is modern looking space which reminds me of when I was in Europe.  They play cool music and there are pictures on the walls of Italy — like statues, a Fiat, and scooters. The first thing that you notice when walk in is the HUGE selection of Gelato!  I was thinking… I’m definitely having some of that later!

VOLTA is not only a Gelateria, but also a Creperia AND a Juice Bar! So, to start I had a Fresh Carrot-Orange Juice.  It was so fresh and orange, I thought that I would turn into a carrot. Dan and Kristien and my parents all had cappuccino… I got to try the foam which was extra foamy.

Then it was time for the main course. Dan, Kristien, my Mom and I had Crêpes!  Kristien had Goat Cheese, Egg Sunny Side Up, Mixed Greens, Mushrooms and Spinach. My Mom had Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese, Dan had the Prosciutto, Scrambled Egg, Mozzarella Cheese and Mixed Greens.  Want to guess what I had? I had the Nutella Crêpe with a side of Applewood Smoked Bacon. Dad, had a Croissant with Eggs, Cheese and Bacon… I guess he wasn’t in a Crêpe-y mood today! 🙂

My Nutella Crêpe was delicious, the bacon was crispy and thick — and everyone LOVED their brunch choices.  Now that we ate, I interviewed OMNOMCT and they interviewed me. Be sure to check them out today… they had some pretty crazy questions for me!

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I asked Dan how OMNOMCT got started.  

“Kristien and I go out to eat a lot, and when we did, we always were telling our friends online about the places we went to. Soon, our friends were starting to think that we went out to eat ALL of the time!  

So, Kristien and I decided why don’t we share the places we go to with other people to, so we started OMNOM.”

IMG-20130519-01508I asked Kristien, “What is her favorite dish at VOLTA?”

She said, “What I had today, the Goat Cheese Crepe – I love Goat Cheese and it’s extremely healthy!”

Kristien is very nice, she works in advertising, so we talked a little about my advertising project at school  and she gave me some good tips.  Then I showed her some funny dog videos on youtube because she loves pets!

So with our interviews done… it was time for Gelato!  VOLTA, makes their own Gelato, and it’s awesome.

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I had Dulce De Leche, Lemon, and Mint Chocolate — Dan had Salted Caramel and Dad had Nutella.

I asked Santiago, our server, what his favorite gelato flavor is

He loves the “Gianduia” which is a Chocolate Hazelnut flavor. 

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Thank you so much Dan and Kristien for such a great experience, we hope that we can see you again soon… How about we grab Burgers!?!

 Sunday Diners/OMNOM Rating 

FOOD * * * * * (Five Noms)

SERVICE  * * * *  (Four Noms) 

LOOKS * * * * *   (Five Noms)

BATHROOM * * * * *  (Five Noms)

The Baltimore Crab Cakes Vs. The San Francisco Rustica Welcome To “Benny Bowl 2013” At Rosie In New Canaan

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Rosie, 27 Elm Street, New Canaan CT www.rosienewcanaan.com

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Today is Super Bowl Sunday and the Baltimore Ravens will be playing the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.  Here at Sunday Diners… we’re live in New Canaan at Rosie for the 2013 Benny Bowl!  But… we’ll get to that in a minute after we tell you a little bit about Rosie.  Rosie has been open since 2004 and is owned by George and Rosie Nammack. I have one one word for Rosie and it’s… AWESOME!

The first thing you notice when you walk into Rosie is the art on the walls and all of the delicious baked goods on display like muffins, cookies, whoopee pies and especially their Famous Carrot Cake.  The art is by a local artist named David Stevens who paints in a very colorful style and likes to paint people with dogs… there’s even a painting of a pug (which is what my dog Coco is).  Rosie is a very comfortable place, it’s really great for kids, they even have games, toys and books for little kids.  The staff is very friendly and they really make you feel at home.  And now about the food!

Today’s menu had lots of great choices, but since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, my dad and I decided that we would have our own battle pitting two different types of tEggs Benedict on the menu against each other and so, The Benny Bowl was born!

Louisiana Crab Cakes Benny

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My choice: Representing the AFC and the City of Baltimore (with a little bit of New Orleans) the Louisiana Crab Cakes BennyPoached Eggs, on Crab Cakes with Hollandaise Sauce.

Eggs Benedict Rustica

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Dad’s Choice: Representing the NFC and the City of San Francisco, The Eggs Benedict Rustica — Poached Eggs, on a Crusty Baguette, Thick-Sliced Peppered Bacon, Roasted Plum Tomato, Fresh Basil, Hollandaise Sauce and Cracked Black Pepper.

Both were so good, if this was a real football game we’d go into overtime!  I’ve never had Crab Cakes for breakfast before – they had a little kick to them (get it?) – but they were really good, I also tried Dad’s Rustica and it was really great too.

And Now For The Halftime Show (Not Starring Beyonce)

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For the halftime show, instead of Beyonce we had a really special treat; a fresh from the oven Ginger Scone with Maple Butter and a real Honey Comb (made by real bees!)  I never knew that you could eat the honeycomb itself — it was a really great combination.  To drink I had a Chocolate Steamer with Whipped Cream and Cinnamon – YUM!

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I spoke with Rosie Nammack, and  asked for her Benny Bowl 2013 pick;

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She said, “I would say it’s a tie, but I really like the Rustica, because I’m Sicilian!”

I also asked her, “What time do you get in to start baking in the morning?”

Rosie told me that, “I get in at 5 AM, to start baking… you really have to be a morning person for this job!” 

Rosie’s favorite restaurants are the Whelk and Le Farm in Westport and she told me all about her other favorite, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

She said, “There is no menu, they give you a list of ingredients and then ask you what things you like and they make it for you, everything is fresh because it comes right from their farm.”  

I also spoke with Mr. George, who told me that, “Rosie is like an extension of our home, which is what makes it so special”

We were so full, that we did not get to try their Famous Carrot Cake, but we took some home for dessert when we watch The Super Bowl.

Rosie invited me to come back and spend a day working in her kitchen – that would be a lot of fun, so maybe you’ll read about that in in a future post.

Thanks to everyone at Rosie for such an excellent meal!

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The Sunday Diner Rating (Super Bowl Edition) 

FOOD * * * * * (Touchdown with a Two-Point Conversion!)

SERVICE  * * * * * (Touchdown With The Extra Point!)

LOOKS * * * * *  (Touchdown!)

BATHROOM * * * * *  (Two Field Goals

PS: GO RAVENS!