An Italian Feast at Via Napoli

Like I said in my last post, my family is in Walt Disney World enjoying meals at a few places on-site. The decided to try Via Napoli and said it was delicious. Via Napoli is in Italy in the World Showcase at Epcot. I’ve never eaten there, so of course, I am now jealous. Just look at these photos and tell me that you aren’t jealous too …

Via Napoli, 1510 Avenue of the Stars, Orlando, FL, 407-939-3463

Top Restaurant at the Top of the Contemporary: California Grill

We travel to Walt Disney World every other year and love it every time. This year, I wasn’t able to go (since I went in November 2013), but some of my family did and they had an enjoyable meal at the California Grill in the Contemporary Resort.

The California Grill is one of the best places to get sushi in Walt Disney World and it is a great place to watch the Wishes fireworks show, other than Main Street in Magic Kingdom, of course. The restaurant pipes the music from Wishes through every night so that you can watch and listen to the show from your table. They also have an extensive wine and cocktail list.

So, without further ado, here’s some food from the California Grill …

Now, my family will know that I am not fibbing when I tell them that the California Grill is delicious. They know for themselves, and so should you.

California Grill, 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 407-939-3463

The food was smokin’ at Smoked Bar and Grill

While in Hershey, we wanted to eat at a restaurant that was not a franchise and served unique menu items. We found it at Smoked Bar and Grill in Hummelstown, Penn. The restaurant is just about a year old and so is its website, which attracted me to it in the first place.

When we first walked in, it was late afternoon, so the restaurant wasn’t empty, but there was no wait. The hostess led us to a corner table so we could keep our son in his stroller while he napped, and we were very grateful. We ordered our beverages first and I got a lemonade and TK got an iced tea. He was annoyed that he didn’t order a root beer and I was annoyed that I didn’t order a limeade. We didn’t know that there would be more options than the norm, but there were. We even saw a chalkboard with all of the craft beers on tap and several of them were beers that we had never heard of. For beer snobs like us, that is the sign of a good beer menu.

We started with wings; six Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Wings and six Orange Siracha Wings. The wings were huge with lots of meat and covered in sauce, just the way I like them. The Orange Siracha Wings were tasty and the spice was delightfully subtle. The BBQ Wings were sweet and zesty. We didn’t leave one wing uneaten.

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BBQ Wings

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Orange Siracha Wings

For our entrees, I ordered a Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries and TK ordered a Patty Melt Burger with Dirty© Mesquite BBQ Chips­. My Pulled Pork Sandwich came with cole slaw on it and I added one of the BBQ sauces from the six that were already on the table. I chose the Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce because it is my favorite. The sandwich bountiful and was a nice combination of cold and hot, tangy and sweet, and crunchy and soft.

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Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries

TK loved his Patty Melt Burger. I took a bite of it and it was juicy, and the Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce added a delicious flavor to the burger. The mustard really came through.

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Patty Melt Burger and Chips

When we finished our delicious meal, we ordered Macaroni and Cheese for our sleeping child and got the check. After appetizers, sandwiches and a few beverages, the total was $38.79 before tip. This was the smallest bill we’ve seen in a long time and we were pleasantly surprised. Angela, our waitress, told us that everyone who visits enjoys their meal and she does not get many complaints. We totally believe her, so we thanked her and told her how much we loved the place, and we swore we would be back in the next year or so. And, I still need to try that limeade.

Smoked Bar and Grill, 1201 West Chocolate Avenue (Route 422), Hummelstown, PA, 717-298-7900

Modern Snack Bar is great for pie

While taking a leisurely drive out east on Long Island, we wanted to stop for lunch and remembered that the Modern Snack Bar had delicious pies, so we thought we would try the food. Modern Snack Bar is in Aquebogue, New York on Main Road. It is an old-timey diner with padded, rotating bar stools and Mashed Turnips on the menu.

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Modern Snack Bar

The Modern Snack Bar serves local Long Island wine and egg creams. I began my meal with a Boylan Diet Cherry Soda, but unfortunately, it was a little flat, so it lacked the crispness of a flavored soda. I’ve had Boylan Soda before and they are always so refreshing, so I was surprised that I didn’t love it. Maybe because it was diet? Hmmm …

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Boylan Diet Black Cherry Soda

We started with a couple bowls of soup. I had a Lobster Bisque and it tasted like something I’ve had before. It was creamy, but there were no spices or flavors that really stuck out. It was not anything special and I have really loved bowls of chowder or bisque.

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Seafood Bisque

After I finished my soup, I got the Deep Fried Fresh Flounder Sandwich and Fries. The sandwich came out with fresh lettuce and tomato, and a side of tartar sauce. The flounder was fresh and flaky, and the breading was crunchy. I thought the flounder lacked taste because the breading wasn’t seasoned all that well, but it was definitely fresh. The fries were typical diner fries and of course, they were transporting dollops of ketchup directly into my mouth.

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Deep Fried Fresh Flounder Sandwich

When we finished our not-so-w0nderful lunch, we made sure to visit the counter and bring home a pie. I chose the Chocolate Cream Pie for $16.95. I thought that was a little pricey, but when I finally got around to eating a slice at home, it was delicious. It had a flaky crust, sweet chocolate pudding and fluffy whipped cream. The whipped cream was my favorite part. There was a good inch of whipped cream on top of the pie, almost like a pie you’d want to throw at someone’s face, but definitely wouldn’t because it was too delicious and expensive.

Mostly, we were underwhelmed with the food from the Modern Snack Bar, but the pie really made us forget all about what we had for lunch.

Modern Snack Bar, 628 Main Road, Aquebogue, NY, 631-722-3655

A summertime favorite now for every season: Flo’s Luncheonette

Every Memorial Day, I would get really excited that Flo’s was about to open at Corey Beach in Blue Point, New York. However, Flo’s has expanded and there is another location that will be open all year in Patchogue. We have visited several times already and it is only the beginning of August. The staff is really friendly and have even played with my son from time to time, and Connor, the owner is very cool. In the Patchogue location, there are indoor and outdoor tables and an indoor bar that serves beer, wine and cider. I’ve taken TK, Jax, my parents, my colleagues and my friend Catherine and her son Joey to Flo’s to enjoy the fresh and extensive menu.

Each time I visit, I try to order something new. At this point, I’ve eaten the Baked Clams, Fried Calamari, the Big EZ Wrap, Fried Beer-Battered Shrimp, Fried Clams, Sweet Potato Fries, Regular Fries and Onion Rings. My father loved the Fish & Chips and the Clams on the Half Shell. My mother gets the Coconut Shrimp every time and Catherine enjoyed the Lobster Roll. I just don’t see how you can go wrong, especially washed down with a refreshing Summer Blend.

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Out of all of the delicious meals that I’ve eaten, I’ve liked the Big EZ Wrap and the Fried Calamari best. I’ve reviewed the Big EZ Wrap before in my post: Summertime Hangout. The Fried Calamari is so good because the squid is soft and not chewy, and the breading is crunchy and flavorful. With the marinara sauce, it is a great appetizer or meal. A side of their thick Onion Rings with zesty horseradish dipping sauce is also a great accompaniment to any sandwich, wrap or seafood option.

Now you can get Flo’s in two locations and even find them at local festivals with their Flo’s to Go food truck. The only negative to the Flo’s to Go truck is that they don’t serve their full menu, including the Summer Blend, which maybe you can tell is quite important to me, but everything is still delicious nonetheless.

Flo’s Luncheonette, 225 West Main Street, Patchogue, NY, 888-FLOS-TOGO.


A Sweet Treat: Stroopwafel

Recently, I took a walk around Sayville, New York and stopped into Sweet Gourmet. They sell all kinds of gourmet treats from candy to salsa, and they have a showcase of chocolates and treats. I saw the Stroopwafel next to the register, so I decided to buy it and try it.


Stroopwafel Package, $1.69


The Stroopwafel is made of two thin Dutch waffles with caramel sandwiched between them. Two came in the package, so I shared it with friends. It was chewy and sweet, like a combination between a graham cracker and a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. I would purchase them again, even if for the sole purpose of creating an open face s’more with Nutella and marshmallows. Now, there’s a thought.


Bitten Stroopwafel

Sweet Gourmet, 69 Main Street, Sayville, NY, 631-244-0993

The Chocoholic Buffet on the Norwegian Gem

One of the special events that was on the itinerary for our week on the Norwegian Gem was the Chocoholic Buffet. On the first full day at sea on the way back to New York, they planned the white party, the family white party and the Chocoholic Buffet. I didn’t think it was a good idea to have everyone wearing white while serving them dozens upon dozens of chocolate desserts, but I don’t run or own a cruise ship, so my opinion really doesn’t matter.

At 9 p.m. the Garden Cafe Buffet transformed from a regular buffet to a full display of chocolate pastries, cakes, tartlets, puffs and even sushi. There were trays and trays of things dipped in chocolate or covered in chocolate or made of chocolate. It was kind of overwhelming, but I did my best to not eat everything that was presented to me.

What did make it to my plate were a couple of Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (good), Chocolate Cream Cups (good), a slice of Chocolate Cheesecake (very good), a S’mores Square (not good) and a Chocolate Tart (OK). And, I was able to wash them down with a glass of cold milk. Like I’ve said more than once, I was completely shocked that there was not one brownie, cookie or cupcake. They are my favorite ways to get chocolate into my belly and not one of them showed up for the party.

The Chocoholic Buffet was delightful, but there was a lot of repetition. I would’ve liked some chocolate mousse, brownies, cookies or cupcakes, and unfortunately, they were MIA. I did get my fill though, of course.