Monday, August 15, 2011

Press 195 - Rockville Centre, Long Island

22 North Park Ave
Rockville Centre Long Island

Consider this a makeup review for Press 195 in Rockville Centre. My first visit to this restaurant, was when it had first opened at this location. To make a long story short, it did not go well. I had complained about my experience, and a $25 gift certificate was sent my way in order to be more impressed by Press 195 the second time around. I certainly appreciated the quick response from the management, and decided that tonight was the night.

We strolled in on Saturday night when most R.V.C spots are hopping, press's vibe bordered on de-pressing. We were seated immediately in the back where only a few other tables were occupied. Our waitress, Amanda (perhaps an indication that this meal would be amazing) greeted us in an enthusiastic manner, which was much appreciated.

This restaurant in particular is where we spent our first Valentine's Day. We were anxious to see what changes had been made, to to transition from Gabrielle's Brasserie & Wine Bar into panini mania. The set up was exactly the same as far as the tables were concerned, but they had added almost a stain glass tile on half of the ceiling of the restaurant. It gave off a rustic vibe with high tables in the front of the venue, and an outside garden for those who want to eye gaze under the sunset =) It's a casual scene where the servers wear black t-shirts and jeans.

After our 4 games of bowling, by the way since we are also about sharing our love, we took advantage of the 99 cent games which are offered in r.v.c from 2pm-6pm Monday through Friday. Scoring a 105, my all time high, I was starving!

With nothing on the table to hold us off, we ordered the guacamole, which interestingly enough is called the veggie salsa when you look over your bill later on. Shortly after, a large basket of warm chips headed our way with two tiny condiment sized plastic cups. On one side, we have the guac and on the other end you will find their salsa. The guac left little to be desired as it was brown (add some lime juice people come on). It definitely didn't seem like homemade guacamole. It was alright, as was the salsa, a bit on the spicy side, but overall this starter didn't cross the finish line for us. We were left with a mostly filled basket of chips which had pieces of fresh wilted parsley and julienned carrots sprinkled on top. Are you confused too? Join the club. However, if you should want more guacamole or salsa, feel free to ask, as our attentive bus boy informed us that the cups are that small to make the dish look pretty, but you can have as much as you want.
Our panini's came out, along with our belgian fries while we were still munching on our chips. Personally I think there is a reason it's called a starter, and I'd like to finish it before my meal comes out......

First off, our paninis were! Allowing my panini to cool off, I decided to munch on a french fry which was calling my name in it's mini fryer styled basket! Meh, they were alright, I had higher expectations since on the menu they appeared to have quite an ego explaining "double cooked for the ultimate fry, try them once and you'll be hooked." Well, I wasn't, so calm yourself.....

I ordered the #15, out of the 40 panini options, that you have to choose from. Ranging from $9-10 dollars. I'm easily swayed when it comes to goat cheese, which is why the portabella panini with baby arugula, goat cheese and a garlic & olive spread seemed like a no brainer. However my panini also underwhelmed me this time around....again. The portabella was tough, and the arugulas bitterness border lined on burnt, which overpowered the whole taste of the panini. As always there wasn't enough goat cheese, and the garlic & olive spread didn't stand out at all for me.

Dino ordered the number 9. This had roast pork, monterey jack cheese, onions, jalapenos and a roasted garlic spread. The roast pork was pretty dry, but the roasted garlic spread was tasty. Dino said he could spread that on anything and it would make it taste better. This was a decent sandwich for you roast pork lovers, but if you don't like onions, do not get them on this sandwich. It seemed to overpower all the flavors. The roasted garlic spread and the kick of the jalapenos really made this sandwich work. All the panini's also came with a side of cucumber salad. Nothing special in our books.

To each his own they say and in this case, I think that this will be our final try of Press 195. There are lots of choices which may tempt you, and some will argue that these are the best paninis ever! I have to disagree as I am a true fan of Paninis and Bikinis in Long Beach, but I was willing to give another town a chance. For us the meal didn't hit a high note, and I don't think we will be returning.

As always, Extra Love...even if it was a little tough this time


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cafe Formaggio Carle Place, NY

Cafe Formaggio
307 Old Country Rd, Carle Place, NY 11514
TEL: 516-333-1718

Two Italians, a Filipino, and a Hawaiian walk into an Italian restaurant...

This may sound like the opening to a joke, but there was nothing funny about Cafe Formaggio in
Carle Place, New York. Growing up, I frequently ate at Spago which was the previous
restaurant at this location. It was a delicious family style Italian restaurant, which
received two thumbs up from this girl! Perhaps it was the attachment to the old
establishment, or the fact that the parking lot only has valet, either way it has taken us
over a year to eat there. This week’s goal was to find a delicious Italian restaurant, so
that chains like Olive Garden can stop making money off of insulting dishes, and a real
home cooked spot can benefit for a change..........Let’s dig in.....

After valet parking our car, we were greeted by two young girls who were the
hostesses. We were unable to be seated because the other “two-some” of our “foursome”
(Let’s keep it PG people) were running fashionably late. When our table was ready our
friends were still on there way, but one of the girls showed us to our table saying, “I
don’t want you to have to wait again for another table.” I was pleased by her kindness in
accommodating us because rarely can you be seated without your full party.

Shortly after being seated, our waiter greeted us. and then....HALLELUJAH! A bread basket was placed in front of us filled with garlic knots, focaccia and mini pizzas. It also came with a side dish of olives, homemade hummus, and chunks of Parmesan cheese! Oh how I love my
Italian heritage!

The menu reads like a book. Seriously, I think that every Italian dish ever created
was on it, so be prepared to feel slightly overwhelmed. Order yourself a fun frozen cocktail or a glass of wine to make the process a bit easier.

A common cuisine misconception is that Italian food easy to make, but I completely disagree with that philosophy. In fact, I am never satisfied with Italian food because in my mind no one
makes it better than Mommy!

Did Cafe Formaggio fill our tummies with satisfaction? Relax everyone; let’s
break it down for you starting with some appetizers. Your usual antipasto, fried zucchini,
and mozzarella are on there, but meatball sliders in a puff pastry, what?!?! Four mini meatballs rolled our way, and boy was I delighted! The meatball itself was great; it had excellent flavor with perfect consistency, and a beautifully red traditional sauce! The puff pastry bun was also a hit, put it together and what do you got, meaty-ball-boppity-boo! Just don’t make the same mistake that my friend Jess did by attempting to cut the slider in half.....I know and she’s a pastry chef! Leave it whole and enjoy two delightful bites!

The calamari arrabiata came out, and it was tossed in hot cherry peppers with a roasted garlic and marinara sauce. The deep fried calamari was swimming in the delicious sauce, while the peppers gave it the right amount of kick. I would definitely recommend this classic dish with a bit of a spin. Make sure you have more than 2 people eating this appetizer. It was quite filling, but delicious!
Off to a promising start with a scrumptious meatball and a tasty traditional marina
sauce we were excited about the main course. For me, I stuck with pasta ordering the
ravioli alla verde: fresh homemade ravioli in a spinach cream sauce. Upon first glance, I
was slightly frightened by the green eggs and ham color of the sauce, but the old saying
holds true, Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. The ravioli was awesome and fresh, and if
they weren’t, well then kudos for fooling me. They were cooked perfectly in a full of
flavor sauce. I am quite a fan of spinach, but this increased my love of the vegetable
with it’s depth of savory goodness.

All pasta dishes range from $15-$25 which in my mind will never be fully justified. Solely because I know how inexpensive pasta is, BUT with the enormous serving sizes that they provide you with you will feel less jipped.

The other Italian ordered the chicken rolladue; A chicken breast stuffed with
ricotta spinach topped with melted mozzarella on a bed of mashed potatoes in a madeira
wine sauce. The chicken was juicy and delectable with a tasty spinach stuffing. The
sauce, which resembled a marsala sauce, was on point as well. This was a very
successful dish which was enhanced by a classic mashed potato side. After all, isn’t
everything better when mashed potatoes are on the plate?

The Hawaiian went up against the Veal Osso Bucco: Veal Shank served over
Italian risotto with a demi glaze sauce. The shank was super tender, and sat right on top of the risotto, allowing all its flavors to soak right into the risotto with the peas and carrots. The shank even came with marrow in bone, served with a little fork to make it easier to eat the delectable goodness. It was a little bit of a pricier dish, but if you want your shake for your shank, try it out!

Dino the Filipino tried the veal parmigiana. Here’s hoping I don’t have to explain
what parmigiana is to our readers, am I right? This dish can easily be unpleasant
when eaten out, but this was just like grandmas! Tender slices of veal came out, which you couldn't even tell, as it was smothered in mozzarella and pomodoro sauce. Along side was a mixture of vegetables and some roasted potatoes. This was your classic veal parm dish, although Dino said he would rather have had it with some pasta instead. The vegetables seemed out of place, and the potatoes needed some ketchup, not pomodoro sauce. Nonetheless, it certainly filled his belly.

The meal ended on a high note, as our stomachs were too full to attempt the
dessert menu. With the usual options of cheesecake, tiramisu or cannoli there weren’t
any items worth unbuttoning our pants for (so to speak).

The decor leaves little to be desired, and it could use a face lift. I’d say it’s going for a Tuscan feel, but the dreary drapes and curtains surrounding the space created a boring vibe overall. If Jeffery Lewis from Flipping Out walked in there, he wouldn’t be impressed that’s for sure.

We loved the staff as they were both friendly and attentive. My water glass
always remained full, and our table was quickly cleared. An applause to you, Cafe
Formaggio for satisfying not one but two stubborn Italian stomachs! Oh and the
Hawaiian and Filipino were also pleased =) DnA Approved! If the prices were a bit
lower, we’d be regulars, but with entrees in the $17-$25 range, I think we’ll still be
having Sunday dinner at home with an occasional bite at Cafe Formaggio.

Ciao For Now,

With Extra Love,


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quick Hello!

Hello There To fellow bloggers & our loving readers,

I hope you are all having a marvelous Sunday! We are hoping for some feedback on an idea that we have, so let us know what you think. We know you are reading, we just don't know who "you" are so feel free to let us know your thoughts about anything & everything!

We are tossing around an idea of creating a business card referring to our restaurant review blog. My thought is after we have paid our bill, we will place a business card in the checkbook that reads something along the lines of, "You've been blogged, check out our review at" What do you think? It can't hurt right? We have received some great feedback, and our blog has been mentioned on other sites reviewing certain restaurants. Perhaps this would be a good way to spread the food and love. Have an awesome day, keep eating, loving & reading!!! Expect a review of Cafe Formaggio in Carle Place later this week!

Extra Love,


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

9 Restaurant NYC

9 Restaurant
800 9th Ave New York City

Some call it Thirsty Thursday, we prefer Tasty Thursday. Why waste time on drinks, when you can explore an inventive spin on American cuisine at 9 restaurant in New York City? Finding a tasty spot before heading to the theatre is no easy task, but as always we were up for the challenge. Now it seems that ninth avenue is not short on restaurants with the number nine in the name so make sure you are at the right spot.

Upon entering 9, we were seated immediately, and we were greeted by our friendly waitress. We were accompanied by some of our family, which made us a group of seven. The restaurant was mostly empty, and we were seated by the door. As it was a beautiful city night, the doors and windows were all wide open. A few members of our party were a bit warm, so we had asked if it would be possible to lower the air conditioning in the restaurant. A few moments later, the manager approached us and abruptly stated, is there a problem? We quickly asked him, and he intelligently stated, “Well you’re seated by the doors which are open and it’s a warm night.” My god I think he’s got it; an attitude that is.....thanks for nothing!

The menu had several intriguing dishes, in particular the crowd was memorized by the description of the crab mac & cheese. It arrived in a small casserole dish which looked and smelled amazing! It was super cheesy, and just had the right amount of crab meat. It was a delicious start!

While waiting for our meal with no bread basket AGAIN to keep my mouth busy, I decided to ask a few questions about the chef. I had recently read a small blurb about the restaurant, comparing the chef to other well known masterminds like Todd English, and I became intrigued to learn more. The waitress’s response was, “Oh his name is.......oh my goodness I can’t think of his last name right now.” Akward! As she went to fellow servers for assistance, they were also speechless. Perhaps I am being harsh, but how embarrassing; I feel that everyone should be knowledgeable when it comes to where they are working, especially when a person’s reputation is on the line.

Here-comes-the-food (sorry we have been to numerous weddings lately).
Now onto the entree, my eyes were immediately drawn to the chicken & dumplings dish mostly because that’s not a meal that you see or eat very often! We will also have the cod, short ribs, and 3 orders of the lobster cavetelli please.
I allowed my mind to wander while waiting, and I pictured a deep bowl with fluffy dumplings in it, and while that was not what arrived, this dish was a new spin on an old classic. With the skin still intact, the chicken was sliced into thick rounds accompanied by a side of sautéed kale, and four dumplings. The chicken was juicy, and the skin was a crispy golden brown, but the center had dark lines which were unappealing to me. After trying each component separately, I enjoyed it all. Personally, I feel that the perfect bite is the only way to take on this dish. The dumplings had a similar appearance to a pot sticker, and they were quite flavorful. Kale is definitely an acquired green, as it is very bitter, but the cooking of it really complimented this side.

Every dish was beautiful, especially Dino’s short ribs. Two tender pieces of short ribs sat on top of whipped mashed potatoes, and each bite made you want some more. I highly recommend this dish for the meat lovers. You will not be disappointed!

The lobster cavatelli
was served just right. Big portions with lots of delicious cod and lobster pieces!

The cod was cooked to perfection. It came with some assorted vegetables which included some baby bok choy! We recommend this dish if your in the mood for some fish! No complaints here.

The staff couldn’t help but notice that we were taking pictures of the food, and a few moments later we were given a 9 shot glass! We’ll take it, our first free gift woo-hoo go DnA! Okay so it looked a bit cloudy & possibly used, but it’s the thought that counts.

We all wanted something sweet after our comfort food meal, and we indulged in the mini ice cream cones, maple doughnuts with white chocolate drizzle, and the peanut butter chocolate bar. Four mini cones came out each a different flavor including orange, caramel, white chocolate, and vanilla & chocolate swirl. Can you say adorable? I wish that I had my own mini cone maker, and all of those flavored ice creams would be a great bonus, they were delish!

From refreshing to parched, the peanut butter candy bar was also yummy, however it did not win over the crowd. It was extremely rich without any cut from that chocolate peanut butter power.

Time to dive into doughnuts! They had unbelievable flavor, they were a bit dense but so satisfying. Did I mention they were still warm? The ice cream on the side offered the perfect balance.

Our experience at 9 had it’s ups and downs but the food spoke for itself. It was delicious, inventive, visually appealing, and extremely filling. While the pricing is on the higher end expect to spend $20 plus each for all entrees, but it will be worth it. I know I was a bit hard on the staff, but I will say overall, they were very friendly and they even added a few jokes here and there. The vibe of the restaurant has a hip feel with the graffiti wall art, all it needs is the crowd to really finish the atmosphere.
Go check it out for yourself!

With extra love!