Monday, August 27, 2012

The Blind Boar BBQ

I love barbeque.  When I say love, I mean love.  There is something about BBQ that I cannot say no to, it means so much to me.  I don't know what it is about BBQ, the food or the flavor but I just can't resist.  I have a high standard for it as well.  I know good QUE when I have it.

The Blind Boar BBQ

This place is located in a town called Norwood, NJ.  As many of you would speculate, a good BBQ place would be hard to find in NJ.  You would be right.  I have traveled much of NJ in search of good que and have turned up a handful that I can say is amazing.  

Lucky, this has reached that level.  The Blind Boar has earned a spot, in my mind, in the top 3 BBQ joints in NJ/NY area.  I know what you are saying, NY has a ton of great BBQ places.  Yes, I agree and have eaten in most to all of them already.  Blind Boar is still on my list of top 3, and that is with Dallas BBQ in mind.  

The atmosphere was great.  I felt as if I was out somewhere outside of NJ.  Yes, they had all the ornamental decor out there to sell the idea of southern feeling.  I actually enjoyed it.  When I walked into the place I was instantly greeted by a haunting aroma of BBQ.  Like the smell of their food made my mouth water instantly.  I was then greeted by the owner, Mario, and the hostess.

I walked into one of their rooms that I could only assume is their main dinning hall.  It was pleasant and made me feel very comfy.  The menu was super easy to read and understand, the only problem was that I wanted to eat it all.  They had some fantastic menu items that made me salivate.  The waiter walked over and introduced himself to us and started off with pleasantries.  He was actually very pleasant and easy to talk to.  Oh I forgot to mention, they had my favorite beer on the menu, Rogue Dead Guy ale,  that alone should make you want to go there.

I happened to be there with my friends, so we decided to order "The Killer" Combo Platter.  Which consisted of 2 types of Ribs, half a chicken, pulled pork, 4 sides and cornbread.  I was indeed very happy to see this on the menu.  That meant I was going to taste everything I wanted to eat.  Oh, this is also a food challenge.  If you were to finish this place alone within 2.5 hours, your meal is free and you get your picture on the wall.   Needless to say, challenge accepted.  I plan to come back sometime very soon to accept and defeat the challenge.  And I will document it, via pictures or video. 

Anyways, back to the food, it was great.  I haven't had this type of great BBQ in quite some time.  Their Memphis style was fantastic.  It was smoked to perfection and fell apart and melted in my mouth. Their Dr.Pepper baby back was phenomenal.  It was sweet and tangy at the same time, and it had great texture and flavor.  The BBQ half chicken was a surprise, I half expect any and all chicken to be dry.  This chicken was moist all throughout.  The pulled pork was good as well.  I love the sauce, but the pork was a little dry to my preference.  The cornbread was stuff from my dreams, it was just so good.  The four sides were good too, I wish I just had more of it.  My friends had ordered iced teas, it came in mason jars.  I fell in love once I saw the mason jars.

I cannot say any more.  I loved the place.   I loved the food.  I loved everything about it.  This is a MUST GO.  If you enjoy BBQ and good food, this is the place for you.

Here is the score:

Service: 5
Food: 4.9
Decor: 4.5
Price: 5 (great food at cheap prices!)
Total: 4.7
 Follow the link below for more info

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rutt's Hutt

I recently visited this place.  I have decided not to write a review, instead I will write a love letter.

Rutt's Hutt
To whom it may concern:

I came to visit your place of work and try your food.  I really appreciate what you gave to me.  Some would think that a hotdog is a hotdog.  They are wrong, oh so very wrong.  What you have given and or made for me was, for lack of a better term, magic. 

I do feel that your exterior and interior feels a little outdated, but it adds so much character.  I also do feel that your employees need to be more welcoming, but again part of your charm.  Something about your facility just felt like I was at a friends place.  I did also enjoy the option of having beer/liquor with my food.  Your establishment just feels like I could be there right before a Jets game.  

 Now I just feel like I must show what I bought from you. 

 Yes, Hotdog and your onion rings.  Your homemade relish and mustard was magnificent.  They came together like they were meant for each other.  Did i mention that the fact that you deep fry your dogs is just so great.  If I had a choice I would throw bacon onto it, but then again I would put bacon on everything.  The onion rings were top notch, I have had better but it was fantastic. 

 To answer your question, yes it was so good that I had to get it twice. 

So Rutt's Hutt, I heart you.  It is hard for me to say that because I have another other hotdog place that was special to me for years.  I cannot say that you have replaced them, but you have come close to beating them, only if you had chili cheese dogs. 

To sum it up.  It was a great meal for cheap.  Atmosphere is okay, an acquired taste and or open mind to go into it.  Service was okay.  I really do wish they had an option to add chili to the cheese hotdog.  I don't know why they don't do it.

Here is the score:
Service: 3.7 (They weren't rude, but they weren't nice either.  I got my food)
Food: 4.6 (Deep fried dog is great, but they didn't have the choices I wanted)
Decor: 3.8 (Not dirty, not clean.  Feels outdated.  I loved it)
Price: 5 (great food at cheap prices!)
Total: 4.3

 Hugs and kisses

 Follow link for info

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rudy's Ristorante and Pizza, Closter NJ location

Like any foodie, I love to find surprises in places that are unexpected.  I love to find that little hole in the wall with mind blowing food.  

Rudy's Ristorante and Pizza
Here is some quick history. Rudy's was established back in 1963 and pretty much seems like it hasn't changed since then.  I am sure that they have done a few things to the decor over time, but I am fairly certain that most of the stuff inside that place is double my age.  This is by far not a bad thing at all.   I actually enjoy that fact, it gives the place a certain type of character.  Yeah, it's a little dated and a little old fashioned for my taste, but it works.

Let's talk about menu, it's simple and easy to read and choose.  That earns a couple points in my book.  I don't think they have really made any real updates or changes to it in years, and that is great.

I had heard through various sources that there is a hidden star in the menu.  The Chicken Scarpariello was supposed to be an amazing dish to be had at this place.  I happen to agree. 

I do usually take pictures of my food, it is a habit of mine.  I have been debating on if I should put pictures of what I eat.  I decided only on special occasions when my words fail me shall I put a picture.  There is really no amount of words to describe what you are about to see

Yup, you see that little dish on the top right.  You are given a choice of what type of pasta you want with that monster in the middle.  Then you can also request for some nice fresh bread.  When I say fresh, I mean still hot from the oven.  The bread is all warm and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

The chicken cooked to perfection and so is everything else.  There is Italian sausage in there too that really works so well with the chicken the and sauce.  Talking about the sauce, I could just eat the sauce and be a happy little boy.  Give me a basket full of bread and a bowl full of that sauce and call it a day.

This was by far a great dish made with love and care.  It was so completely amazing. Yes, I believe this dish is built for two.  I did not care, I finished it by myself and enjoyed every little bite.  I should have taken a picture of what it looked like when I finished.  Lets just say that there was very little or nothing left on the plate.  The plate didn't need to be washed cause I cleaned the sauce with the bread.  

Okay here is the score:

Service: 4
Food: 4.5
Decor: 3.3
Price: 4.3 (good price for great food)

So a total score of 4.  Not bad for a place that is located inside a mini-mall.  I would say not bad at all.  I will definitely come back again.  Old school Italian food with lots of love and flavor.  You really have to come here to experience it.

 Follow link for more info.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Greek Village

I love finding places that feel like I am at home.  This is a place that I often pass but never really walked into until a few days ago.  I have been and always will be a fan of restaurants that cook food as if my mom or someones mom cooked it.  There is a certain amount of love that you can taste in each bite of the food.

The Greek Village
This is a nice little place that you would certainly just drive by if you are not looking for it.   Even though it is located on a main street, you would probably just pass on by without a thought.   I would say that you would be making a mistake.  

I have always enjoyed Greek food.  In fact at one point within this past year, it was the only thing I was eating.  On a whim and strong encouragement from a friend, I was asked to go eat at this place.

At first I had my doubts because it looked like any other Greek restaurant to eat in.  Actually this place looked more like a deli with seating in it.  The menu offered the same items like any other Greek place.  The good thing about this place was not only was it super clean but at that time I was eat (off peak hours), all tables were full.  That speaks volumes as that means it's popular at any given time. So my doubt turned into excitement.  

I know that the main attraction to most Greek places is the lamb.  Anyone that has tried to cook a lamb knows the difficulty level of how it is prepared.  So I order one of my favorite dishes to order, Lamb Kokinisto.  A dish that is made of lamb, orzo and some type of tomato sauce with cinnamon.  I also ordered a plate of their meatballs and Greek fries.  From what I believe, this is a well rounded meal that would show off their cooking skills and flavor profiles.  

Lamb Kokinisto:
I NEVER had lamb as well prepared as this.  I was under the impression that lamb, though good and flavorful, was a bit on the chewy side.  This lamb fell apart and melted in my mouth as if it were butter.  The orzo was prepared well, I had better orzo in my life.  The orzo needed to be cooked just a little more in my opinion.   The sauce was literally the cherry on top.  It was the glue that brought the whole dish together.  This particular Lam Kokinisto just reset my bar for this particular dish.

Can I tell you right now, that I still dream of these meatballs.  When I ordered them, I expected just regular meatballs.  I was so very wrong.  Words cannot describe how amazing these meatballs were.  A nice hard, but not too hard, crust on the outside and soft and delicious inside.  Perfection in every littler bite I had.  The meatballs came with a scoop of mashed potatoes.  The mashed potatoes had a vinegar taste to it, but combine the mash with the meatballs... welcome to flavor town.  This particular dish was the main attraction for me.  I was completely blown away from the flavor, texture and taste of it.  

Greek Fries:
Greek fries were kind of run of the mill.   The only thing that stood out was they use steak fries instead of shoestring.  

The environment is clean and very Greek (by that I mean white and blue colors everywhere).  The staff was pleasant and helpful.  The prices were better than I expected. 

So here is the score:
Service: 5
Food: 4.3
Price: 3.8

All in all 4.2

I highly recommend going just for the meatballs.  I cannot express how much I enjoyed that one dish there.  


Follow the link for info.  Unfortunately they do not have a website.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

East Coast Burger Company

Burgers.  Burgers are a staple in my life.  I have had my fair share of really bad to mind blowing burgers.  So I am always in the hunt for an amazing burger and fries combo.  I believe that a restaurant/diner can be made or broken by the quality of their product.  So when I come into a restaurant that has the main focus of a burger.  You better believe that I already have high expectations.  
East Coast Burger Company

This is a not so little place that I found in Ridgewood NJ.  I was in the are running errands and my usual restaurant was closed, so I was forced to eat here.  I honestly did not have high expectations for this place.  The exterior screamed of trying too hard to look like an old fashioned burger joint, plus the parking lot was empty, which did not bode well because it was peek lunch time.  

Ever the adventurer that I am about food, I took a chance and decided to walk in.   BEST DECISION EVER!  I walk in and see a wall full of options, so much so that I got a little overwhelmed.  That is one of the downsides to this place. Menu is great, but so large and overwhelming.   

So I ask the cashier to help me choose what to eat.  She was nice enough to point out her favorite burger and how she liked to eat it.  So I went with her choices.  I ordered their avocado burger, fries and a coke.  A nice simple meal to really get to know what they are.  

Their system isn't much different from Bobby's Burger Palace.  You order and then someone will bring your food out to you.  It's simple and easy.

The food:
The burger was cooked well.  I was not asked how I liked my burger cooked, but it was cooked well anyways.   Next time I go I will ask if I have a choice on how my burger is cooked.  Like most people I like my burger medium rare.  This burger was more on the medium side.  No real complaints though.  The taste and texture of the meat was good.  

The burger can really be broken down to it's ingredients very easily.  Potato bun, honestly my favorite type of bun; it gives a burger a sweet soft texture that no other bun can even try to come close to. Fresh avocado (good).  Fresh tomato and lettuce (expected).  Sauteed onion (good).  Patty (great).  Put it together and you have a symphony of good texture and taste.  

The fries were hand cut and fresh cooked.  Something I deeply appreciate from any burger joint.   

So all in all I highly recommend going and eating there.  I will give it a 4 out of 5.  That's a "dude you really need to go to this place" level. 

Score Broken Down:
Service: 5 (great people)
Decor/theme/environment: 3 (eh I had a chair to sit in. good enough for me.  Do not get me wrong the place is super clean I just think that the theme/decor is confused.)
Food: 4 (good)
Price: 4(relatively affordable)

So go eat and be merry.

Info about the place: follow the link.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

About me

I realize that many of you have spent a lot of time reading blogs, tweets and what have you about anything and everything in the world.  I have decided (with some encouragement) to try my hand at doing some food reviews.

So I came to the realization last night that in order for me to be taken seriously as a reviewer, you as my reader would probably like to know a little more about me.  What makes me an authority on food and all that stuff.

 I do not and will not claim that I am an expert on what is good food or bad food.  All I know is that I have eaten in many places and believe that my tastes are eclectic.  I know what makes a good burger and what makes a bad one.

So to justify and  or for you to really believe me, I am a fat kid that knows his food.  Yes, mostly I will be reviewing food in the New Jersey area, but I travel a lot for my real job so that will give me an opportunity to explore.  I can also that I have been to many countries and have partaken in their food.  I won't say my taste is sophisticated but it is well educated. 

All I can promise is that I will give you my honest opinion on food and everything that surrounds the food.  I hope you enjoy the reads.  I will be posting up one soon about a new burger place I have found.