Left at the Fork

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Category: Checking In At (page 1 of 3)

Checking in at: Commonwealth Brewing Company, Virginia Beach VA

The local brewers love to combine fruits with beer, and nowhere is that more apparent than at Commonwealth Brewing in the Chic’s Beach neighborhood of Virginia Beach (just a minute or two off the south end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel). There are brews with peaches, apples, lemons, blackberries, black currants, pineapple, apricots, limes, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, oranges, yuzu, Buddha’s Hand, prickly pear, and pomelo. And those are just the fruits that showed up on today’s menu of 22 beers! Check the website and you’ll find well over a hundred brews listed. Continue reading

Checking in at: Seafood City, Felton DE

Our fried flounder sandwich and crab cake sandwich were quite ordinary but it’s really unfair to judge Seafood City based on that. This place is known for steamed crabs. We stopped in at 11AM, as soon as they opened for the day, for a quick lunch. We were, of course, their first customers. And we weren’t about to tear into a pile of crabs right then – we had to hit the road. Continue reading

Checking in at: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Fairfield CT

Frank Pepe pizza was once the insider’s choice for America’s best pizza, unless that insider professed a love for their competitor down the street in New Haven, Sally’s. Then the pizza renaissance happened. America discovered days-long dough fermentation, Italian double-zero flour, hand-made charcuterie toppings, the freshest of homemade cheeses. They took trips to Naples and wrote volumes on the science and art of “real” pizza. Continue reading

Checking in at: Holmberg Winery, Gales Ferry CT

Holmberg Orchards was started in the late 19th century by Swedish immigrants. The operation is still in the family, run by the third and fourth generations. It’s that fourth generation, Russell, who has introduced fermentation to the family business. They’ve planted grapes and produce both traditional wines and fruit wines from the Holmberg orchard. Those fruit wines are notable for two reasons: they are actually made from the juice of fruit (not grape wine flavored with fruit “essences”), and they have a clear and clean taste of the fruit from which they are made. We find them particularly drinkable and enjoyable, in a country wine sort of way. Continue reading

Checking in at: Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank CT

We had a gorgeous, sunny day for our kind-of-annual visit to Abbott’s on the eastern Connecticut shore. There was once a time, many years ago, when we were able to say that we’d tried everything on Abbott’s menu. No more; they continue to add to their offerings. There’s a steamed artichoke, bowls of pasta, ribs… presumably for fish-frowners dragged here against their will. We sampled the lobster deviled eggs for the first time today: they are fine, the eggs themselves are a little sweet in a Miracle Whip kind of way, and the lobster is totally unnecessary. Which we say about lobster mac ‘n’ cheese as well. Continue reading

Checking in at: Milford Point Brewing, Milford CT

The brewery started last year, and the taproom’s only been open since April. Milford Point is a nano brewery, the term used nowadays to signify a very small scale brewing operation. For most of their first year they gave tastings, filled growlers, and sold kegs to local bars. Finally, with their tap room, folks can stop by for a fresh pint. They are Milford’s first brewing operation and, only a year later, they are, by our count, one of three Milford breweries. It’s a hot time for brewing! Continue reading

Checking in at: Walter’s, Mamaroneck NY

As David Byrne once said, “Same as it ever was.” The beef/pork/veal franks are made for them, the house mustard is dotted with relish, and the dogs are split and then grilled in buttery oil on the flattop. The unique building is a National Historic Landmark. Since 1919. P.S.: Don’t ignore the top-notch shakes! Continue reading

Checking in at: Greasy Nick’s, New Rochelle NY

What once seemed like a temporary but important setback for Greasy Nick’s — they neglected to renew their liquor license a few years ago — is now permanent. There’s no longer beer, cheap or otherwise, available at the roadside eatery! A can of downscale beer was always as integral to the Greasy experience as the fried onions on the cheeseburger and the soggy corn-on-the-cob swimming in a lake of margarine. If you’re the type who prepares for such things, remember to bring your own, or else go with soft drinks. Continue reading

Checking in at: Villa Barone, Robbinsville NJ

When Villa Barone is full, which is often, the place can be deafeningly loud. This evening we discovered a solution: try to secure a table in the corner of the room. With no diners on two of the four sides we found we could actually hear each other speak. This remains our go-to casual neighborhood Italian restaurant. Bonus: BYOB helps keep the prices down. Continue reading

Checking in at: Polish Water Ice, Seaside Heights NJ

Polish Water Ice’s specialty is water ice that’s made in and served from soft-serve machines. It’s a growing chain with two locations on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where they aggressively offer free samples. The texture really is super-smooth for water ice. All the flavors are based on sweetened, neutral-tasting grape and/or apple juice, with stabilizers and preservatives. There’s no peach in the peach ice or cherry in the cherry ice – the flavors are all artificial. Continue reading

Checking in at: Maruca’s, Seaside Heights NJ

We’ve loved Maruca’s plain slice for many years. With a little more-than-usual focused attention it became clearer to us that mild cheddar is part of the cheese mix. We don’t know that for a fact but our tongues are telling us. We hadn’t noticed this before (or was this slice atypical) but the crust, under the pie but not at the edge, had a croissant-like flakiness that was very appealing. Maruca’s, with no slow-fermented doughs or wood-fired ovens, is non-artisan pie at its best. Continue reading

Checking in at: Bouchard’s, Cincinnati OH

The mother and son team of Renee and Jodi (Bouchard? Miller? We see them listed online both ways) arrived in Cincinnati, and then the Findlay Market, from West Virginia, in 2007. Their deal is fresh pastas, flat breads, and sauces, as well as baked goods like pies, cookies, brownies, and cobblers. Some is available to eat on the spot, all is available to finish off at home. Continue reading

Checking in at: Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen, Cincinnati OH

Gramma Debbie has been selling her somewhat odd combination of comfort food and sort-of-health food in the Findlay Market since 2010. Some of her food is ready to eat on the spot; much of it is ready for you to cook or heat at home, like marinated chicken breasts, stuffed peppers, and turkey burgers. Continue reading

Checking in at: Braxton Brewing Co., Covington KY

Evan Rouse began brewing beer in the family garage at the age of 16, creating a product he was not yet legally permitted to consume. His skills improved, his reputation spread, he gained experience in the local microbreweries and, eventually, in 2015, he opened Braxton, using a garage theme in homage to his teenage hobby. Continue reading

Checking in at: Hofbräuhaus Newport, Newport KY

The beer at Hofbräuhaus was a real blast from the past for us. Most of you are probably too young to remember the days before microbrewing. Believe it or not, there was once a pretty simple choice for budding beer drinkers: standard American bland lagers or, if you wanted something with flavor, imports, usually from Germany. Those German beers, like Beck’s and Lowenbrau, were good, but when microbrewing became a thing in America, we all left them in the dust for the fresher local beers, brewed in hundreds of different styles. Continue reading

Checking in at: Villa Barone, Robbinsville NJ

The place was absolutely mobbed Saturday night! Never seen it this busy. Villa Barone has a tendency to be a noisy restaurant — there’s no carpeting — but when it’s filled to the max, and there are people waiting for tables, it is absolutely deafening in here. They were running a bit behind — although we had a reservation we still had to wait almost half an hour for a table. We didn’t really care much about that — we’re pretty easygoing — and what can you do if folks linger? Continue reading

Checking in at: Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati OH

REVIEW

Cincinnati has a long history as a brewing town. In the old German-settled neighborhood known as Over-the-Rhine, at the turn of the 20th century, there were 38 breweries. The largest of them was Christian Moerlein Brewing. Eventually, they would all go out of business, leaving hulking manufacturing facilities and warehouses behind. Continue reading

Checking in at: Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors MN

There’s actually a place called Castle Danger — it’s a community about 10 miles up the shore from Two Harbors, and that’s where the brewery was founded in 2011. When they expanded, they moved to Two Harbors. Like Bent Paddle in Duluth, you see a lot of Castle Danger available in bars and restaurants around here. Continue reading

Checking in at: Hoops Brewing, Duluth MN

Hoops Brewing just opened this summer (2017). It’s on the ground floor of the Waterfront Plaza building in Canal Park, a former 19th-century warehouse that is now primarily a hotel. Hoops’ space was most recently the Timber Lodge steak house. You have to look carefully to even notice there’s a brewpub in the building, at least from South Lake Street. You enter the brewpub proper from the hallway inside the building. Continue reading

Checking in at: Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Duluth MN

There are many brewpubs and breweries in and around Duluth but, if you judge based on how often you see the beers in area restaurants, Bent Paddle would have to be the most popular. It’s everywhere around here. A big part of that is because Bent Paddle is not a brewpub but an actual production brewery, which cans, ships, and markets their beers. The taproom is just that: a small room off the brewery, with a few tables and a short bar, where you can enjoy their fresh brews right at the brewery. Continue reading

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