A Friendly Morning at Relish

My close friend Colleen and I decided that we needed to get out and enjoy some breakfast together. We chose Relish in Kings Park, New York because I read a recent article about how wonderful their food is.

Relish

The location looks like it used to house a diner. When we drove up, we were lucky to find a spot in the parking lot. We had to wait a few minutes in the vestibule, but we got there before a rather large crowd walked in. So, we timed it perfectly. We were seated at a large table, which made us feel a little guilty.

I ordered from the menu and Colleen ordered from the specials. I had the Banana Nutella French Toast. It was sweet and fluffy, and completely indulgent. The Nutella was drizzled over the top and also sandwiched between the slices of toast. I loved it. The more Nutella, the better.

Relish 3

Colleen had the Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Walnuts. The pile of pillowy softness showed up and they were dusted with powdered sugar and covered in sweet frosting. She let me take a bite, so I thought that they were rich and flavorful, and she agreed. I could taste the sugary frosting and cinnamon, and I could see the pureed carrots in the pancakes. This would be the perfect fall breakfast.

Relish 1

We completely enjoyed our meals and felt totally glutenous after our stomachs were full of sweet and hearty breakfast. The last image pretty much sums up how I felt about Relish’s food. We need to go back for lunch or dinner in the near future.

Relish 5

This pretty much sums it up. 

Relish, 2 Pulaski Road, Kings Park, NY, 631.292.2740

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Toast to Toast

IMG_7042The folks in Patchogue were impatiently waiting for Toast to finally arrive on Main Street. Everyone kept harassing Terry, the owner, every time they saw him asking, “When are you opening?” He’d say, “Next month,” or “Next week,” and then finally, it was, “Tomorrow!”

Their other location in Port Jefferson, New York is known for their delicious breakfast and fondue. Unfortunately, right now the Patchogue location is only open until 3 p.m. on weekdays and 3:30 p.m. on weekends, so no fondue … yet. My fingers are permanently crossed.

You may have to wait on line to get a seat because this new spot is so popular, but it will be worth it. The decor is really eclectic with canvas paintings of farm animals in formal clothing, an old school electric chair and some steampunk details. Take a look around.

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Each time I eat at Toast, I find a new favorite. I decided pretty early in the game that I would not order the same thing at any of my visits until I have exhausted all of the items that I want to try on the menu. I visited three times so far, so I ordered three different items.

The first time, I ate the Three Cheese Trio and it was crispy and creamy. The three types of cheese are Cheddar, American and Swiss, and they are layered with tomato between two slices of toasted multigrain bread. I got a salad on the side instead of fries because I was pretending to be sorta healthy.

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Three Cheese Trio

The second time, I had the Chicken Salad Wrap. It was fresh and cool, and I ordered a Greek Salad on the side because once again, I was trying to be sorta healthy. The salad’s welcome crunch and sweetness came courtesy of some apple slices tossed in. I always order chicken salad when I go to lunch, but I have never had apples in it. I don’t usually mix my veggies with my fruit, but I made an exception for this yummy wrap.

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Chicken Salad Wrap

And, the third time I dined was during Lent, so I ate the Sweet Potato Pancakes. They were fluffy and were just like a warm hug for my belly, especially with the sweet honey butter.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

Everything sounds and looks so delicious on the menu that I already know what I am going to decide between on my next visit: The Krispy Nutella French Toast (strawberries and Nutella) or The Graham Cracker French Toast (peanut butter, bananas and caramel). At the Patchogue location they even have exclusive Eggs Benedict dishes called The Splendid Benedict and The Haberdasher’s Delight, which I am actually also considering. At this rate, I will probably have to visit a dozen more times to be able to taste everything I want, and then wash them down with the variety of fruity Mimosa options.

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The Bad Larry

I highly recommend breakfast or lunch at Toast and will continue to check off items on the menu. Fortunately, Toast allows you to order online and pick up your food, so there’s always that option. On their website, it says that “Eating Toast makes you happy,” so go find your smile.

Toast Coffeehouse, 46 East Main Street, Patchogue, NY, 631.654.7091

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

Much More Than Cows at Maureen’s Kitchen

My husband and I were actually awake during breakfast, so we decided to celebrate the end of a crappy week with a meal at Maureen’s Kitchen in Smithtown, New York. Maureen’s doesn’t have a website or a Facebook page, but they really don’t need it because the place is always packed. Good luck getting in there on a weekend. Oh, and make sure you bring cash because they are kind of old school and don’t take credit cards. When you pull up, you’ll see a large cow out front. You may have a hard time finding a parking spot, but there is an overflow lot across the street, adjacent to CVS, for your convenience.

Maureens Sign

Maureen’s Kitchen Street Sign

If you are lucky enough to get a seat without a wait, like we were because it was a Friday, make sure you check out the specials board. Your waiter or waitress might even take it off of the wall and bring it right over to your table. They want to make sure you see it because there are at least five very interesting specials available every day, like an array of omelets or Cannoli-Stuffed French Toast. And, there are cows everywhere (hence the title of this post)! You will feel like you should take a look around for Maureen and say, “Good morning” because you actually feel like you are sitting in her kitchen.

Maureens

Maureen’s Kitchen

Fortunately, they serve juice in pint glasses, not wimpy little juice glasses, so there was no reason for me to order a refill during my entire meal. TK got the #2 Breakfast which came with two perfect sunny-side-up eggs, two fluffy pancakes, two pieces of salty bacon and one well-done sausage, and he got a hearty dish of home fries on the side. He enjoyed all of it, but forgot to order toast. Oops. I tasted the home fries and they were a little smokey. I wasn’t a fan of that, but TK liked them just fine.

Breakfast #2

Breakfast #2

Home Fries

Home Fries

My meal was a special. I got the Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes with Bananas. They came out piping hot and soft. The pancakes tasted like cinnamon with the extra crunch of the walnuts and sweetness of the bananas. I could only eat half because there were three stacked up and they were rather large. It was a very warm, comforting meal and sometimes you just need to be spoiled in the morning. A few years ago, I visited Maureen’s with my aunt and had the Apple Cinnamon Pancakes. I remember that they were also delicious.

Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes with Bananas

Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes with Bananas

Many have tried Maureen’s Kitchen and everyone I’ve spoken to has enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve heard anything bad about the food ever, but some people don’t like the crowd or the wait. It is so worth it, though, so be patient. Note: there aren’t any waffles on the menu, so you may want to head over to another breakfast spot if that’s what you are looking for.

Maureen’s Kitchen, 108 Terry Road, Smithtown, NY, 631-360-9227

Doughnuts and so much more at Congdon’s

While in Wells, Maine, we decided to get out early for breakfast and stop over at Congdon’s Doughnuts for something hearty and delicious. At first, we thought we would be waiting forever because the parking lot was packed and the drive-through line was long, but we only waited 10-15 minutes for a table; just enough time to see the Chocolate-dipped Bacon and a humongous Whoopie Pie in the bakery case. It was as big as my head, no exaggeration.

Since I was in Maine, I obviously had to have the Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes and I was so glad that I did. It was the right balance of savory and sweet, especially with butter spread on top and maple syrup drizzled over them. My father had the Congdon Special which included eggs, sausage, toast and home fries, with a doughnut on the side. He chose the Honey Bun and it was fresh and airy. They make the doughnuts fresh everyday and I didn’t wait around to see, but I am sure they run out by 3 p.m. when they close. My mother had the Texas French Toast and it was thick and sweet. There was nothing flimsy about they pancakes, their doughnuts or their French toast.

We didn’t get back to Congdon’s to have more doughnuts or the Chocolate-dipped Bacon, but I will be sure to stop there any time I am traveling through Maine again, and so should you.

Congdon’s Doughnuts , 1090 Post Road, Wells, ME

Oatmeal: First time in 31 years

Real Medleys

Oatmeal lid

For those of you who are like me and think that oatmeal should be reserved for infants and senior citizens who have lost all of their teeth, I am here to tell you that there is hope.

I decided to try oatmeal again because I have been taste-testing my 6-month-old’s cereal before I give it to him to make sure it isn’t too hot, and it wasn’t all that bad. (Pureed green beans are entirely another story.)

I always thought that oatmeal was like a bowl of chewed up food: mushy, pasty and bland. Well, Quaker has come out with Real Medleys, which are little cups of oatmeal with tasty additives. Today, I tried the Apple Walnut Oatmeal and it had pieces of apple, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts in it. I actually chewed most of it. (Shocker.)

So, I may become an oatmeal eater now, if I stick to these Real Medleys. I always hear about the health benefits of oatmeal, so now I am doing something good for my body. Now, if I could only get myself to like tofu … To me, tofu is like little cubes of dish sponge. Nope. Never.

Real Medleys

Oatmeal packaging

After the Rollercoasters

After you have experienced the entertainment and rode the rollercoasters (notice I said AFTER the rollercoasters), sit down for a meal at Aunt Granny’s in Dollywood. This country buffet serves up all of the southern foods that come to mind when you think of Tennessee or Dolly Parton, if you think of food when you think of her, I guess.

The buffet included:

  • Macaroni and cheese – creamy and good
  • Corn – a little hard
  • Noodles – buttery
  • Beans – boring
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy – very tasty
  • Corn bread – bland
  • Fried catfish – good
  • Collared greens – I don’t eat them but mom said they were good
  • Sliders – good and you can add toppings yourself
  • Coconut cake – sweet and yummy

There were other items at the buffet, but I just passed them up.

Nothing knocked my socks off here, but if you don’t want to decide what to eat and want all of the southern food you can stuff your face with, this is the place to do it. If there is a next time, I might opt for their breakfast buffet instead. You can’t go wrong for $9.99.

Aunt Granny’s, Dollywood, 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd., Pigeon Forge, TN, 800.DOLLYWOOD