A New Disney Favorite at Boatwright’s

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After a full day at Legoland in Florida, we returned to Walt Disney World property to arrive for our dinner reservation at Boatwright’s at Port Orleans Riverside. My parents have eaten at this restaurant and RAVE about it. By rave, I mean that my mother said that the Shrimp and Grits is the “best thing” she has ever eaten. Well, challenge accepted, mom.

I don’t know what came over me, but I ordered the Amelia’s Salad to start my meal. Now, I am not the biggest salad fan and this salad had items in it that I was not a fan of. It was a spinach (like) salad with bleu cheese crumbles (don’t like), sliced apples (like), pumpkin seeds (like) and a house vinaigrette (like). The mix together wasn’t my favorite, but I know some of my girl friends would like it.

Then, the pièce de résistance arrived! The melding of the flavors from the smoky Tasso ham, the creamy cheese, the sweet shrimp and the blend of herbs and vegetables made the Shrimp and Grits simply delicious. I’ve had grits before, but they were never as flavorful as these. I would go back every time just for this dish

Everyone else enjoyed their meals, obviously that includes Mom. When we returned home, TK said that the General Fulton’s Prime Rib was the best meal he had all week and that’s a pretty lofty statement.

Boatwright’s will now be a staple when we visit Disney World. Well played, Mom.

Boatwright’s at Port Orleans-Riverside in Walt Disney World, Florida


A Tropical Treat at Kona Cafe

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On our first night at Walt Disney World in Florida, we dined at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort. I love the theming of the resort because it reminds me of my honeymoon in Hawaii and I have a lot of fabulous travel memories from that trip.

We had to wait a few minutes for the hostesses to accommodate us, but we showed up with more people than my reservation listed, so it was appreciated. Our group of 11 was seated at a very long table and we all fit nicely, and we are not a small family by any means.

I started my meal with the Samoan Corn Fritters that I was excited for, but they had a little bit of a soapy taste, so I ended up giving them away to my cousin and aunt who liked them. I did, however, taste one of my uncle’s Sticky Wings and those were delicious. I like saucy wings, so they were sweet and enjoyable with a good amount of meat.

For my entree, I decided on a sushi roll because I read the menu before my trip and got excited about the choices. I ordered the Crab Rangoon Roll because I usually like Crab Rangoon from Chinese restaurants, so I thought this would be an interesting twist on the dish. Everyone’s food came and my dish was still missing, so the manager paid me a visit. He told me that they dropped my roll on the floor and were making me another one. I was glad that they didn’t choose to serve me the dirty one, but that would be the complete opposite of the Disney way. Not one minute later, the waiter showed up with my roll and it was piping hot.

This sushi roll was not like other rolls because it was deep fried. That’s right, deep fried in tempura batterThe crab salad on the inside was creamy, and the tempura shell on the outside had a great amount of crunch. I loved it because I need a little texture to my sushi and I also don’t like when the seaweed is the first item to touch my tongue. I unselfishly let TK try a piece and he said it was not real sushi. Well, it was definitely rolled up and cut into pieces, so that was enough for me to consider it sushi. I immediately regretted sharing it with him.

I washed it all down with a Kona Longboard Lager and it was the perfect beer and reminder of my honeymoon days in Kona. This restaurant is a great escape to the tropics.

Kona Cafe, Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Florida

Kilwins is killing it

Kilwins just opened up a location in Patchogue, New York and it is positively lovely.

The aroma of chocolate tickles your nose as soon as you walk through the door, so you know you are in the right place. There are display cases full of fudge and items drenched or dipped in chocolate. They have a variety of ice cream flavors and even one called Patchogue Mud. I’ve seen Patchogue mud, and this looks a million times better.

The owner told me that they were in the process of making fudge, so that’s why it smelled so delicious. Whenever I am in a bad mood from now on, I will just stop into Kilwins and that smell will lift my spirits. It’s a plan.

That is the Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Twist and a Peanut Butter Drop. The Peanut Butter Drop was eaten first, obviously.

You cannot see them in the picture, but there were tiny crisps in the drop that really added to the texture and taste. If it wasn’t almost Christmas, I would have asked for this from Santa. John, the owner of this location, said of these little delights: “No one makes Peanut Butter Drops like we do. These are unique to Kilwins.” And, I say keep that recipe a secret forever because these are too good to share. I didn’t.

Kilwins, 74 East Main Street, Patchogue, NY, 631.627.8584


A lovely stroll to Comfort Kitchen

While we had a little bit of time between arriving in Saratoga Springs, New York and our friend’s wedding, we took a walk around downtown Saratoga and decided to get a quick bite at the Comfort Kitchen.

Located through the Saratoga Marketplace, this bistro has a trendy menu and a diverse craft beer selection. Since we weren’t familiar with most of the beer offerings (except the Blue Point), the cashier asked us what we liked and made suggestions. I believe that it is important when you serve a variety of beer to know what kind of beer it is, what other beers are similar, what it actually tastes like and what it definitely does not taste like. As a beer snob, I appreciate good beer hospitality and the folks at Comfort Kitchen get it.


Lunch at Comfort Kitchen

I chose the Southern Tier Live and TK chose the Newburgh Cream Ale. We are beer opposites. I like cloudy, sour and refreshing beer. He likes strong, substantial and smooth beer. The Live was more hoppy than I like and TK wasn’t crazy about the ale, but there were no porters or Hefeweizen on the menu, so we were satisfied.

For lunch, I ordered the Turkey Reuben and TK ordered the Turkey Club, and we both ordered House-Made Tater Tots. My sandwich was a great combination of sweet and smokey. I could taste the sweetness of the apples in the cole slaw and the saltiness of the cheddar cheese. The flavor of the rye bread was strong and the texture was crisp and crunchy. And, to top it off, the pickle slices thrown on the side were my favorite kind—sour with  A LOT of vinegar.


Turkey Reuben

TK said he enjoyed his Turkey Club just fine, but he ordered it without their Herb Mayo, so it was probably just like any other turkey sandwich.


Turkey Club

Now, we get to the most important item of the meal: The Tots. The House-Made Tater Tots were the best I’ve ever tasted. TK agreed. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were nothing like the tots you can buy in the freezer section. These tots were carefully crafted as a side dish for the sandwiches, but they deserve the spotlight, the bold font and the headline.


House-Made Tater Tots

If you are strolling along the many quaint and classy shops in downtown Saratoga Springs, the Comfort Kitchen is worth a try and maybe you will have enough room to try the S’mores in a Jar because, unfortunately, I did not.

Comfort Kitchen, 454 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY, 518.587.1234


Sour Pickles


Real Tennessee BBQ at Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

There was one request that my aunt had for our trip to Tennessee: Eat BBQ. So, I did a little research and found Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que. It had everything that we wanted: Fried Pickles, BBQ Chicken, Ribs and Mac and Cheese.

A Smackeral of Sauces

On our first afternoon in Tennessee, we decided to head over there for dinner and we were so glad that we did. I even dressed my daughter in a gingham dress so she could match the BBQ décor. We started our meal with the Trail Head Combo. It included Deep Fried Pickles, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings and Hot Wings. The wings were not really hot, so I handled them just fine. The pickles were pretty small, so they were great to just pop in my mouth. The mozzarella sticks were like any I have had and the onion rings were crispy and had a great crunch.

Trail Head Combo

For our entrees, we were all so excited to try the BBQ items on the menu. My mother’s meal came with both fries and onion rings, so she was pretty satisfied with her choice of the Slider Trio. It had burnt ends, Carolina pork and sausage.

Slider Trio

My choice was the Chicken and Ribs Combo and I chose the Deep Fried Corn and Spicy Macaroni and Cheese as my sides. The corn was buttery, but not salty. I love roasted corn, so this was similar but sweeter than the Long Island corn that I love so much. I enjoyed the ribs, but when I added the Honey Q4U sauce, they were even better. I like wet rub BBQ better than dry rub. The mac and cheese was creamy with a hint of spicy pepper. This was some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had because it had a little kick to it, but it maintained it’s salty cheesiness as well. The chicken was great. It was basted in BBQ sauce, so there was no need for dipping. It was cooked perfectly and very moist. The biscuit that came with my meal was like the Cheddar Bay Biscuits that Red Lobster sells and everyone loves. It had a a great salty garlic flavor. I tasted TK’s Baked Beans and they weren’t my favorite because they were sweeter than other BBQ beans that I’ve enjoyed.

Chicken & Ribs

Big Daddy’s Ultimate Combo

My dad’s meal came with something called Hog Legs and they were just little legs of pork that he said were pretty good.  Aunt Rosie and my dad also had the salad bar with their meals and I was able to try the Tomato Bacon Soup. I usually like chunky tomato soup, so I enjoyed this, but I didn’t taste any bacon.

Tomato Bacon Soup

Tomato Bacon Soup

I was very happy that I was able to choose Bennett’s for our Tennessee BBQ experience. Fortunately, I read a bunch of positive reviews before I added the restaurant to our itinerary. My family congratulated me on another great pick. You’re welcome!

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que, 2910 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN

Flapjacks Revisited

Back in 2010, we paid a visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and enjoyed breakfast at Flapjacks. I liked it so much then that I reviewed it. Take a look.

Rustic Chandelier

Rustic Chandelier

This time, we took the whole family and enjoyed breakfast. It is a Flapjacks, so I had to order Flapjacks. Duh. I got the Mixed Berry Pancakes. Four pancakes came with the order and a variety of fresh berries. I spread the butter all over them and poured some syrup on two of the four. I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish all four. I was surprised to find out that the pancakes were actually Blueberry. It was a pleasant surprise because they were delicious and fluffy.

Mixed Berry Flapjacks

The wait staff was so friendly and accommodating, I even overheard a conversation that a waitress had with a customer. It went something like this:

Waitress – “Sir, I will be right with you.”
Patron – “Thank you. I appreciate that.”
Waitress – “I appreciate you.”

I found the conversation so refreshing to overhear because I am from New York and you don’t hear this very often, especially in the hospitality industry, but we really should.

Apple Juice

Apple Juice

There are a number of Flapjacks locations in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, so it will be pretty simple to wander in and get yourself a hearty and delicious meal.

Flapjacks, 1016 Parkway, Sevierville, TN, 865.774.5374

Mannino’s is Great for Dates

After a long week, TK and I made plans with our friends to go out for a double date to Mannino’s in Oakdale, New York. It was a Saturday night, so when we arrived there was a one hour wait to be seated as a party of four, but fortunately, I was able to find a seat at the bar and enjoy a glass of Riesling beforehand. It was cool and refreshing, and I could feel myself relaxing more and more with every sip. Thank goodness.

White Clam Combo

       White Clam Combo

The food at Mannino’s is reasonably priced and very good. There is a great variety of dishes to enjoy, including the seafood and pasta dishes which are quite delicious.

We started our meal with the Rice Balls and the Clams Oreganata. The Rice Balls were small but crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside; exactly how they should be. The Clams were smaller than I like, but they had a great taste to them. I preferred the Rice Balls to the Clams Oreganata.

I guess I didn’t get enough clams because for my entree, I ordered the White Clam Combo. It had linguine, an assortment of different-sized clams, bay scallops and shrimp submerged in garlic, wine and oil. I made sure to empty all of the shells first to get them out of the way. This dish was very enjoyable and I finished the whole thing, even though it probably could have used a touch of salt.

TK enjoyed the Frutti Di Mare. It was chock full of seafood with shrimp, crab meat, clams, mussels and scallops. I made sure to take a snapshot of it before he started eating and he was super annoyed with me. That didn’t last and neither did his entree.

Frutti Di Mare

    Frutti Di Mare

After this delicious meal, we decided to make it a habit to go out on dates and to go to Mannino’s.

Mannino’s, 1575 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, NY, 631.218.0909