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Archive for the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ Category

This month’s Bathroom of the Month Award goes to Slice, The Perfect Food! While not the fanciest or most polished in terms of loo decor, I walked out of that bathroom feeling like I had visited 1 part carnival, 1 part artist studio, with a dash of wacky/artsy boudoir (see the red crystal chandelier). And with the renegade Muppet art, the only thing missing was this. The large mirrors, tidy appearance, and parquet ceiling sure helped too. But honestly, this bathroom is all about the experience. Go check it out, and while you’re at it, order a Miki.

And if you need other suggestions, let’s review our week’s adventures:

On Monday, it was Marmo’s Birthday, and we gave you a Marmo Special: Farfalle with Sausage recipe.

Tuesday was all about pizza, and we checked out John’s Jersey establishment.

On Wednesday, the Landmark Loews Theatre and Sapthagiri Indian Restaurant hit a home run double feature and make my millennium.

Finally, we hone our crane kicks for the Gramercy Tavern review on Thursday.

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Today we have a little treat for you – a Jersey City treat.

On a recent outing with some friends, our friend Justin waxed poetic about the Landmark Loews Theatre in Jersey City. He went as far as to say it was his favorite place in New Jersey.

Really?…

Well, it might now be one of mine. Opening its doors in 1929, the Landmark Loews is more “Movie Palace” than “Theatre”. It is a decorative masterpiece that seats over 3,000, complete with balconies and broad, winding staircases.

And they still show films there. You can check out the full schedule here, but I went for a viewing of Beetlejuice, which I haven’t seen in forever. Let me tell you, both Beetlejuice and the Landmark Loews have something in common: they stand the test of time. It was quite an impressive experience to watch Tim Burton’s 1980’s humorous horror flick in this film cathedral.

It even has a display case filled with vintage candy wrappers! Food, design, crazy decoration and 1980’s flicks all in one outing – I could barely contain my glee! In fact, I didn’t contain it, and was bouncing around the place like a child hepped up on old-school Root Beer Barrels.

Justin also mentioned an Indian restaurant in the vicinity that we should check out called Sapthagiri.

I will say two things:

1. I don’t know that much about Indian food.

2. I FRICKIN’ LOVED this place. And here is why:

All the food we tried was excellent: well-prepared, plated, and demonstrating a wide range of tastes from sweet and mild to spicy and tangy. And the people were incredibly nice. And I am referring to BOTH the waitstaff (who brought us bonus mango-yogurt drinks) and the patrons (a nice Indian family seated next to us offered to help us out with the menu and point out all the good stuff  – SCORE!).

Here are some stand outs:

The Dahi Poori: these were crispy little buckets of the thinnest dough filled with chana, potato, tamarind and mint sauce. Upon biting into them, the savory and sweet filling ran into your mouth – a fine combination of flavor and texture.

Onion Kulcha: White flour bread topped with onion, red bell pepper and cilantro and baked in a clay oven. This was like the Indian version of pizza. The dough was so soft and flavorful, I couldn’t get enough. And check out the char spots! Some Neapolitan pizzerias I know of should take note.

Mango Lassi: This was the mango flavored yogurt drink. I admit, I was skeptical of it at first. I don’t usually enjoy drinking yogurt. But I downed this thing mighty quickly. And would do it again.

The Experience: The Shawshank Redemption – The Happy Ending

In conclusion, take a trip to the Jersey side for the Landmark Loews/Sapthagiri double feature. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into those very helpful patrons to point out all the tasty stuff (hint: everything!).

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This week’s review is of the Light Horse Tavern, in downtown Jersey City on 199 Washington Street.  Elana and I felt like staying in Jerz for the night, yet with the nightmare that was Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day still fresh in our heads – we needed a change of scenery.  A short drive to the seemingly quiet(er) neighborhood of Paulus Hook achieved just that.

The Scene: The interior is vast and the energy is vibrant.  It’s a high ceilinged loft spot, with a porch like mezzanine providing a slightly more intimate setting for those patient enough to wait for a seat (which we were).  The tavern itself boasts a full bar (which was quite packed) and flat screen televisions for the sports focused patron. It’s dimly lit, with lots of wood, brass ceiling fans, and artwork.  Like the good looking love child of a sprawling law library and an Irish pub.  Elana and I waited about 20 minutes prior to being seated upstairs.

The Grub: We kick things off with a Seafood special (half portion) which was still a generous offering of Blue Point Oysters, Muscles, Shrimp, and Clams  – both little neck and cherry stones.   We loved the freshness and perfect salt levels of the oysters.  The shrimp were crisp and plump.  And my muscles absolutely stole the show; larger than normal and impressive under the hood.  As for the restaurant’s muscles… they were pretty glorious as well. (Hee hee)  The clams, particularly the cherry stones, Elana and I struggled with.  Very overwhelming and fishy – like I was making out with a sponge soaked in week old bay water.

We follow this up by splitting an appetizer of butter poached lobster gnocchi. The gnocchi was soft, yet had a great elasticity to it.  Our lone complaint about them was that they had not been ultimately rolled with a fork, and thus did not have those subtle grooves to lock in extra flavor.  But that’s just some Italian food snobbery, really.   The accompanying sauce was creamy (but not too thick) and the lobster was sweet and meaty.  The dish also included some mushrooms which delivered truffle-like taste.

For an entree, Elana ordered the Duck breast with a pear and fig shallot jam. The jam is a grainy glob of goodness. The duck itself is good; the middle section being a shade better than the ends, which were a touch tough. But the meat has a crisp skin, and a sweet tasting center.  And it’s a big piece of meat. Lean too, not fatty, and wading in a sweet wine reduction sauce.

And then, I sank my teeth into the Pork Belly, which was honestly so good, that it almost could not be processed with a normal brain. It sat there, in a syrupy wine reduction sauce, looking like a layered lasagna of cooked up meat fat – threatening to call in a Lipitor subscription at the nearest pharmacy upon its mere ingestion.  But I wasn’t scared.  And I’m glad I wasn’t.  It tasted like Bacon Filet Mignon, if it existed.   It had a burnt, buttery crust and was light in weight, yet had a powerful and perfectly salty taste.  When I go back, I’m getting this exact dish.  It was surrounded by some fluffy and crisp spatzle, mixed in with flaky, fried brussels sprouts.

As for the bathrooms, Elana took one for the team and checked ’em out: “the Pepto pink, multi-stalled restroom sported an interesting (note mannequins!) array of art and extra furniture. The facility was very clean and orderly, but could use a bit of an update to bring it into the 21st century of bathroom design.”

A word about the service here. It was very good.  Our waiter made excellent menu and beer recommendations, having a great familiarity with each.  Food arrival was prompt and we never felt rushed.  A definite plus.

For dessert, Elana and I  cross the street to Satis (a newer restaurant to the area) for their gelato.  Satis has an adjoining gelateria next to their restaurant which we scoped out earlier and vowed to try.  So we did.  The hazelnut and peanut butter chip gelato was smooth, creamy and not overly sweet.  But Elana’s “cannoli” flavored gelato was grainy and sugary.  The inconsistency among the flavors was puzzling, but we left feeling generally pleased (and we forgave them for using an ice cream scoop instead of a spatula to dispense our gelato).

Satis aside (the gelateria is pictured directly above), the Light Horse Tavern was a very pleasurably experience, consistent with the high praise I had been hearing for quite some time now from friends.  It really is like a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-all type joint, very suitable for the casual beer and high caliber meal alike.

Overall ExperienceThe Shawshank Redemption

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This month’s BATHROOOOOOM of the MONTH goes to Co. Restaurant. Not only do their pizzas get top marks, but their bathrooms top the charts this month with a pleasing combination of dark red subway tiles, random art (like a visual non sequitur) and fancy accessories (lemon scented hand soap from C.O. Bigelow). My favorite part was the paper towel cubby hole. Nice work, guys. For our full review of Co. Restaurant, please click here.

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Ever since I read Jim Lahey’s book, My Bread and baked many of the recipes, I’ve been a bit obsessed with Mr. Lahey. Nothing crazy – no stalkerish tendencies. Just a serious admiration for the man’s bread baking talent. I headed up to his restaurant Co. in Chelsea to sample his bread – and PIZZA – first hand.

On a scale of 1-1,000, can you guess how excited I was? Place your bets in the comments section.

The Scene:
Pushing away the velvet curtains at the front door reveals a delightfully warm, pizza-smelling atmosphere that fogs up the windows with bread-baking steam. All around me is friendly chatter – not too loud not too quiet. Perfect for either a friendly get together or a date.

The attentive hostess greets me with an ETS (Estimated Time of Seating) – about 30 minutes, and I take a seat at the bar to await a friend.

Caramel colored wood paneling graces the walls with an interjection of one mirrored panel leading to a window through which you can peep the wood burning oven. This same oven is projected on the wall above the tables like a movie screen – like one of those Yule Log DVDs. Customers have apparently asked to buy a copy of the recording, but it’s not for sale, as you can hear the owner cursing in the background if you listen closely. In my opinion, this only adds to its kitchy charm.

Sam and Dave are crooning on the sound system and I hum, “Hold on (pizza), I’m coming….” to myself as one of the “company people” (identifiable by their matching brown t-shirts) ambles up over to take our order. We select:

The Grub:

First things first: BEER. I’ve been dying to try Kelso beer ever since I started following them around on Twitter. Luckily, Co. happens to serve Kelso Nut Brown Lager, which we promptly ordered a growler of (growler is a new term for me and basically means a helluva big jug o’ beer). We were very pleased – it complemented everything we ordered, especially the Popeye pizza (more on that below). We easily polished off that growler.

Next up: The Cannellini Bean and the Chicken Liver Toasts.

I LOVE chicken liver. You might remember me mentioning this around Thanksgiving time. It’s a weird thing to love, I know, but I really do. Co.’s version did not disappoint: pure perfection, whipped to a frosting-like consistency while still offering that signature tangy taste. As an added bonus, the spread was very generously applied.

The cannelini beans were like a meat broth stew (minus the broth) – bean bolognese, if you will. And I did! And would do it again, please and thank you.


Pizzas:
We selected the Margherita and the Popeye pizzas.

The Margherita was a perfect blend of tomato, mozzarella and parmesan with large basil leaves resting on top. The crust was crispy, charred and moist all at the same time, and the mozzarella had flavor – actual flavor all its own! I dubbed it King Pizza of the night.

The Popeye (pecorino, gruyère, mozzarella, spinach, black pepper and garlic) was a study in delicious contradiction. The spinach, both crispy and tender, was a perfect balance to the tangy and gooey gruyere. For added fun, the spinach seemed to have been marinated in oil and garlic.

And they have sundaes! I enjoyed a vanilla and salted peanut topped with caramel sauce, cream and pomegranate seeds.

The Bathrooms:
I was happy to find the bathrooms as orderly and well-constructed as the pizza (yes, I know that’s a weird thing to say). Clean, modern and supplied with fun extras like C.O. Bigelow lemon-scented hand soap and ART (that’s a crab in the framed photo).

The Experience:
The Shawshank Redemption – The Happy Ending

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