I Now Know Why The Chicken Crossed The Road…

chickensroad

Chicken’s Road, welcome back! Heard they had a mishap with a fire but now they’re back and in business! Which reminded me, I can’t believe I haven’t review this place yet. There aren’t many Latin American restaurants (that I know of anyway) on Long Island, so it’s great to have at least one close to home.
The place itself is small, but there’s definitely enough ample seating if you want to eat-in. I’ve only had take-out (which seems to be the norm there) but the atmosphere is nice! Everything I’ve eaten here so far has been great. They specialize in rotisserie chicken but offer plenty of other food options as well. And their prices are excellent. My usual go-to meal is the 1/4 chicken [breast + wing] which comes with two sides (there’s a lot to choose from) and a drink. All for under $10! The chicken has always been very tender and flavored nicely. As well as, they give you the “green sauce” which you can opt for spicy or mild. The spicy has QUITE the kick.

As for the sides, I mean… everything was great. I love, love, love their Maduros and sometimes will just go there for those alone. But! They also have delicious mac and cheese, arepas and rice/black beans. Also, their Pernil (pulled pork) sandwich is great – I highly recommend it.

For a casual joint, this place serves up some great LA food. The staff has always been incredibly kind and welcoming. Check this place out for sure.

Ooh, The Witches Brew

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What’s not to love about the Witches Brew? This gothic/eclectic styled coffee shop was the home to many high school hangouts several years back. There is a pretty diverse crowd here which is nice to see. The Witches Brew is everything I look for in a coffee house:
-Oversized comfy coucheswitches brew food
-Vintage decorations
-Funky menu items (food & drink!)
-Smooth music
*Awesome friends.
They have STELLAR teas here. Me being such a big Tea-Drinker, I know that every visit will be a great one. During the fall season, the pumpkin and chai make it’s guest appearance. My favorite! The cookies, cakes and other assortments of snacks are enough to convince me to travel to Hempstead anytime. Don’t forget this is a CASH only place! I have to make sure to go back here soon. It’s been a while and I’m waaay overdue for a nice chai latte and a giant ooey-gooey cookie.

Weekends can bring the crowds, so plan to wait a bit. And yes, the drinks may be a tad bit pricey but you’re paying for the ambiance, the service and good company! And as you can see by the other reviews, this coffee house is loved by many.

*I could totally picture the cast of FRIENDS hanging out here. This is like the hip version of Central Perk.

311 Hempstead Tpke

West Hempstead, NY 11552

(516) 489-9482

Sufiya’s Grill

sufiyas

For my first Persian/Iranian food experience, I’m so glad it was at Sufiya’s. From dining there, it has a predominant Mediterranean feel but with those additional cultural influences. I pass by here frequently, but never noticed this place! The shopping complex is currently renovating their storefronts, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled when driving along. It can be easily missed.

First impression? What a classy, cozy spot. Beautiful paintings/decorations with a spacious feel. And since it was a nice night outside, they opened up the front doors and let the cool brisk air in. That was a nice touch. Even though I looked at the menu briefly beforehand, I still couldn’t decide on what to eat. Oh, the choices! They have a dinner special (Mon-Thurs) after 3pm for $12.95, you can choose from an array of entrees with white or basmati rice. Very reasonable prices here.

I ended up on getting the Lamb Shish Kebab which came with Green Rice (seasoned with Saffron and other spices), a grilled tortilla and roasted veggies — onion, peppers, tomatoes. It was fantastic. To be honest, that’s the best lamb I’ve had in a long time. It was seasoned and salted perfectly. And I really enjoyed the grilled veggies… it added a healthy touch to the meal. The portions were also a good size. I couldn’t finish my meal.

We also ordered the Falafel appetizer which was very good. Crispy and flavorful. The dusting of paprika and parsley was a nice addition too. The staff were helpful and patient with my questions while I was ordering. And they really made me feel welcome there as a first-timer. I will DEFINITELY be back and I’m looking forward to trying their other menu items!

P.S. They have belly-dancing on certain nights. Sounds fun!
P.P.S. I was too full that night, BUT if you check-in to Yelp, you get a free dessert.

This Place Is My Jam!

PC: Jam Website

PC: Jam Website

Since I really enjoyed their sister restaurants Good Life and The Phoenix (see reviews), I knew I was going to enjoy Jam. They’re all under the same ownership, so I expected their food to have great flavors and with a unique twist. It’s located right along Main St./Park Blvd in Massapequa Park (near Good Life). It has a cute exterior with plants built right into the facade. As for the inside, its country meets modern. They are only open for breakfast and brunch (but doubles as a catering venue in the evening), so get there early to avoid those crowds! Hours are 6am-3pm.

It was decently crowded but we were seated right away. After perusing the menu, I decided on  the Classic Breakfast: 2 Eggs, Choice of Bacon, Home Fries & Toast. I wish they had Turkey Bacon, but oh well. The eggs were fresh (over easy) and the bacon was very crispy. But out of that meal my favorite items were the Home Fries and the homemade bread. *Sigh* that bread. It was super thick and fluffy. Very different from the bland, thin, sometimes burnt toast you get at diners.

breakfast-jam

Their Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad: Super flavorful. The meat was moist and had a good mayo to chicken ratio. I liked the addition of celery leaves and lettuce to add that extra crunch. And with whole grain mustard aioli and the homemade wheat bread… fantastic.

chicken salad-jam

The waitress explained to us that the dough for their bread is made off-site at Sugar Rush Bakery but they bake it on the premise. I opted for the whole wheat/grain. Delicious. BUT! What made it even MORE delicious was their homemade jam. (If they’re naming themselves Jam, they must have good jam. Obvious choice.) I chose the Blueberry Ginger. It came in the most adorable little cup. I didn’t think it warranted a $2 sticker, but it was worth it and I’d get it again. You could tell it was very fresh. Like picked off the bush fresh. I was tempted to ask them for a jar of it! Seriously.

Throughout our meal, our water glasses and coffee cups remained full. And by the end of our meal, our bellies were too. This cute, quaint little place is a great addition to the village. I will most definitely be back. Those Banana Candied Walnut Pancakes are callin’ my name.

Side note: Their eggs are all hormone/cage/antibiotic free. How’s that for quality?

1025 Park Blvd
Massapequa Park, NY 11762

(516) 797-2000

jamonpark.com

Pho Sho.

front-Rolling Spring Roll

PC: Yelp

You may cringe, you may laugh or you may scoff at the ridiculous amount of puns I am about to unleash in this review. You have been warned.

THIS PLACE IS ON A ROLL. (Here we go.)
One of my many food missions in life has been completed: to try Pho. I’m pretty new to everything in the Vietnamese food chain, so I went in with an open mind and stomach. I know what you’re thinking. Your first Pho experience was on Long Island of all places? Yes. And let me tell you, no regrets people. Rolling Spring Roll provided a wonderful foundation for my Vietnamese food pallet. It can only go up from here.

When my partner in crime (Steph M.) asked me to come here, I was like “Pho sho’!” First impression? Tiny. Casual. And a weird shade of green. The menu is small but covers all the essentials. Naturally I wanted to try everything but ended up settling on:
-Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi: VERY flavorful. The chicken was moist, bread was toasty and the flavors just melded together.
-Beef Pho: Great first experience. The different varieties of meat in one bowl was interesting. I enjoyed the pairing of bean sprouts, basil and jalapenos. Steph showed me how its done with the addition of hoisin and sriracha. Delicious and not too salty.

Bahn Mi-Rolling Spring Roll

Beef Pho-Rolling Spring Roll

Our waiter/comedian of the night was Joe. Joe has a sense of humor like me and our conversation went like this:

(At the beginning of the meal.)
Me: “This pho is PHO-nomenal.”
Joe: “That’s great, I’m definitely taking that one.”

(During the meal.)
Me to Steph: “Wow the music selection here is really interesting and amusing.” *
Joe: *does a little dance while he passes by*

(At the end of the meal.)
Joe: “You didn’t finish it it all?! I’m sorry but we’re not friends anymore.” **
Me:  “………wat?”

That pretty much sums up our hilarious interactions with the waiter that night. Needless to say, I will definitely be back. If you’re looking for delicious, quality Vietnamese food and you can only venture to LI, come here. This place will be pho you. Rolling Spring Roll Shop pho ever.***
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*I think I heard Bryan Adams, Bonnie Tyler and Destiny’s Child in a row.
**I’m sorry, but I didn’t think we were at that level yet… lmao.
***buzzfeed.com/arivoukydis… — you’re welcome.

189 Main St

Farmingdale, NY 11735

(516) 586-6097

therollingspringroll.com

This place is ARTrageous!

Wall-Artrageous   Paint-Artrageous

Two things I love:

1. Art (Pottery)
2. Wine

Pottery+Wine+Friends= my Friday night.

I couldn’t think of a better way to catch up with my friends from home. ARTrageous! is an adorable find in the heart of Rockville Center. It’s a fun alternative to the other sorts of debauchery we find ourselves in while visiting RVC.

Friday is BYOB* night. Call ahead of time (day of is fine) and reserve a table. They want you to come at 6:30pm-9:30pm but if you walk in a bit later that’s fine. They offer a hearty selection of snacks. We had pizza, strawberries, cake, veggies, etc. Don’t be shy about grabbing seconds**… they basically come to your table telling you to take more.

Tables-Artrageous   My Platter-Artrageous

When you walk in, to your left you’ll see an array of different pieces to choose from. Yes, some can get pretty expensive. But the average piece is about $20-$30. A little mug may be like $10 and the giant platter may cost $45. So plan accordingly. Once you pick your piece, bring it to the register where you can pay. They have a wall of paints that you can choose from (hardest decision of my day, no joke) and they display what each of the colors will look like once fired. Very convenient. Grab as many paints/brushes as you like… you can bring them to your table so you don’t have to keep getting up for more.

ARTrageous! played fun, upbeat music throughout the night. I was glad to see that even on a reallyyyy cold day (thanks polar vortex) it was packed. There were people of all ages (above 21 of course) and both men/women. My friends and I brought some Riesling and had a blast. The staff members were so nice and said that if we didn’t finish, we can always take some of the supplies home. And it takes about 2 weeks, (depending on how busy they are) till you can pick up your finished piece. I ended up painting a chip/dip plate (see pic) which was very fun. If you’re looking for a relaxing night out, I’d highly recommend coming here. I can tell people think it’s pretty pricey… but for the amount of supplies, food, atmosphere, space, service and selection of pieces… it’s worth it.

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*People don’t mess around with their drinks. I saw some women with a concoction of jungle juice. They take BYOB very seriously.
**Yes, that person is me.

5 N Village Ave

Rockville Centre, NY 11570

(516) 255-5255

artrageousrvc.com

 

Lazzat, where have you been all my life?

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How has this place been here without my knowing for TEN YEARS?! I clearly have not scoped out Nassau County as much as I thought I have. Shame oh me. I don’t take the term “hidden gem” lightly, but it most certainly pertains to Lazzat Restaurant. An authentic Indian establishment in my area is rare indeed. I owe this discovery all thanks to my Yelpers.

Inside is a very casual atmosphere. They have a few tables, but I’d consider this place more geared towards take-out. My interaction with the staff went like this:

Me: “Wow! The food looks amazing! How long has your restaurant been here? Are you new?”
Girl: “…..We’ve been here for ten years.”
Me: “You’re joking.”
Girl: “No, it’s true! People don’t believe us when we tell them!”
Me: “Well, expect to see me a lottt. You have no idea how happy I am.” *

I ordered take-out and received 10% off with my Yelp check-in. I ended up ordering Veggie Samosas, Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan. I figured I’d start off with the basics. The samosas were very flaky and a good ratio of dough to filling. Naan… well how can you go wrong? It was freaking delicious. And Chicken Tikka Masala, pretty darn good. I thought there was a bit too much oil in it, but deliciously creamy and full of flavor. They also give you a nice portion of Jasmine rice.

Everything was very reasonably priced and I will most certainly be back here. Lazzat is a wonderful find. Can’t wait to explore the menu some more!!!

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*I don’t know if the girl saw this as a good thing. Yes, I’m that overly enthusiastic customer who literally looks like she won the lotto.**
**And yes finding a close by Indian Restaurant is like winning the lotto.

1892 Bellmore Avenue, North Bellmore, NY 11710

(516) 826-6060

http://www.yourlazzat.com

 

The Phoenix

Photo Credit: @The Phoenix

Photo Credit: @The Phoenix

Despite the fact that I will miss Pomodorino terribly, I couldn’t wait to try this newly hyped restaurant right smack in the middle of my hometown. First of all, you can’t miss this place. It’s the only black and red building probably in the whole town and a few towns over. Gothic, eclectic and modern decor both outside and inside… it sticks out like a sore thumb. To be honest, the color scheme threw me off from the original color pallet of warm hues. But I heard a lot of wonderful reviews from Newsday (LI newspaper), word of mouth and of course Yelp. My family isn’t one for tapas or small plates. I however, love the idea and concept. Yes, it can get a bit pricey but the quality is impressive. I pass by this place every day and finally had the opportunity to dine at The Phoenix recently.

Considering The Phoenix is affiliated with the same owner as “The Good Life” and “Jam”, I knew the food was going to be good. Inside, The Phoenix could almost be mistaken as a punk rock/gothic -esque lounge. It was a different experience than what I’m used to, but I welcome you with open arms. My friend and I were seating right away and on a weekday night, this place was still hoppin’.

From the look of the menu, they have the “core” menu with includes an array of salads, cured meats and cheeses. Don’t overlook the fact that they have an entree menu as well. We however found ourselves eyeing the small plates menu. Being the adventurous duo that we were… we tried at least one item from the Earth, Land and Sea categories. (Average prices for tapas ranged from $7-$11 each.)

Curry Shrimp & Filet Mignon-The Phoenix        Edamame Potsickers & Brie-The Phoenix

Earth:
–Pecan Crusted Brie, Cherry-Onion Jam- Delectable. The richness of the brie paired very well with the earthiness of the toasted pecans. To top it off, that onion jam cut the bold flavors of the dish by adding a nice touch of acidity. One of my favorite dishes of the night.

–Edamame Potstickers Onion Jus, Ginger Soy- Pretty good! Not too different from other potstickers I’ve had, but nonetheless they added a nice light, refreshing element to our pallet.

Land:
–Filet Mignon, Roasted Mushrooms, Cheese Fondue on a Garlic Crostini- What a mouthful. Literally and figuratively. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, but this was downright delicious. I don’t see filet mignon often on a vessel like a crostini, but everything melded together nicely.

Sea:
–Curried Shrimp, Coconut Broth, Calamari, Poached Apricots- What a combination of flavors. Curry and coconut go together like peanut butter in jelly IMO. This small plate was also a star of the night. The spices really woke up our taste buds.

It takes a truly special mind to come up with creative combinations of flavors like these ones here at The Phoenix. I give my hat off to the chef for taking risks that have most definitely paid off. They have successfully managed to push the boundaries of flavor here and I look forward to coming back soon.

P.S. Biggest regret– not trying the Bread Pudding. Next time my friend, next time.

 

3915 Merrick Road, Seaford, NY 11783

(516) 809-9693

thephoenixny.com

Creative Concoctions at the Cortland

Courtesy of @TheCortland

Photo Credit Courtesy of @TheCortland

Cool and unusual flavors of drinks, small intimate setting, sweet snacks, friendly bartenders… The Cortland, you are SPEAKING. MY. LANGUAGE. The hype is totally warranted here.

This is the ideal spot for after-dinner drinks, a date, mini-reunions… you name it. I was immediately enticed by the small yet cozy atmosphere. Dim lighting, chalkboard menus, indie music playing… *sigh* I just love it. There’s quite the selection here: craft beers, their famous Pickleback shots (which I unfort did not get to try since I was the driver that night, but will definitely make it a priority on my next visit), alcoholic milkshakes (only available in the fall/winter) and yes… the infused drinks. My eyes were instantly drawn to the Butternut Squash & Cinnamon drink with apple cider. That just sounds like heaven in a glass to me.

While waiting for my drink, I happened to ask the bartender a few questions about these creative concoctions. I asked them how they came up with these flavor profiles. He (I’m sorry I forgot your name!) was so nice and took the time to give me a 101 on how they do it at the Cortland. As for the flavors… he said that he just thinks of foods that he likes and thinks “hey, why not put them in a drink?” That’s enough convincing for me! I was sold. And well let me tell you… they certainly know how to do infusions here. That was about one of the best mixed drinks I’ve had in a while. I was also able to try the Hibiscus and Plum which was also stellar.

At the bar from time to time they’ll have food — one of them being homemade popped popcorn. What a perfect salty snack. Throughout the week they have events, so definitely check their calendars! Here’s a sneak peak:

  • Tuesdays: Pizza & Trivia Night 8pm
  • Wednesdays: Live Music 9pm
  • Thursdays: Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament 9pm

I could easily see myself coming all the way to Bayshore just for these drinks. The Cortland is a nice getaway from the usual LI crowds and will definitely be back here sometime soon. The spiked shakes… I’m comin’ for ya next time!

27 W Main Street, Bayshore, NY 11706

(631) 206-2220

thecortland.com