Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: Tuscany

I am PISSED OFF at Todd English for this pathetic, shitty, rip off of a meal. Seriously. Totally pissed off.

Tuscany is, I guess, the centerpiece restaurant at Mohegan Sun. Like literally a centerpiece. It's inside a big waterfall there.

That thing is fn loud, so I don't know why anyone would want to sit at these outside tables, but whatever. We ate inside where it was dark and quiet.

We had seen the tasting/wine pairing menu online, and that sounded interesting, so we got that. In fact I was really looking forward to it. This meal was going to be the highlight of the trip for me. Celebrity chef, Mohegan Sun, high rollers, lots of cash flying around. Surely the restaurant would be good, right?


There were 4 courses: (1) Caprese salad; (2) seared salmon over chickpeas; (3) beef tenderloin topped with sauteed onions and red peppers; and (4) a "fallen" chocolate cake for dessert.

The food was bow-ring, mediocre, and underseasoned. And the portions were tiny. Holy shit. It was like a lunch tasting menu. Hey, Groucho, if you're gonna serve portions that size, make sure the tasting menu is 17 courses or something, like at Maroni Cuisine.

What is especially annoying is that the a la carte dishes looked HUGE. Some chick next to us got the filet mignon, and it was the size of her head. Our filets were small and flat and shaped like a hamburger. What the f*ck is that?

The stupid onions and red peppers made the dish taste like something from Lean Cuisine. Know what I mean? Lean Cuisine puts red peppers on everything to give the bland food some kind of flavor since they can't use fat.

And those assholes really skimped on the wine. Each glass was about two sips. For the entire meal we got the equivalent of one decent-sized glass of wine each and had to pay $35 a piece for it. The food was $47 a piece.

We should have ordered a la carte and bought two bottles of wine. At least then we would've gotten our money's worth.

Normally the crap fest that we had would earn this place 2 out of 5 stars. But because the meal was such a rip off, the restaurant is getting 0 stars.

That's right, Todd English, 0 stars. So screw you and your shitty restaurant and your giant Groucho eyebrows.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review: Mystic Pizza

I've never seen the movie. Only about 5 mins. of it, probably. But this place is famous because of the movie, so when the wife and I were in the area we had to stop here.

Mystic is split into different sections. There's the stupid, touristy Old Mistick Village, which is completely phony and just a bunch of shops that have nothing to do with the area's history. (So, of course we spent like an hour there.)

There's Mystic Seaport to the south, which is on the water, and you have to pay $24 per adult to get into.

Then there's the downtown area of regular, old Mystic to the south and west, where Mystic Pizza is.

It's kind of a boring, gray building on the corner of a street. Nothing that would catch your eye. Inside, there is a decent-sized eating area, which is nice. We didn't eat there, just got take out from the counter.

The employees were very nice. And they have to deal with idiots like us all day long. A waitress took a picture of a family eating in one of the booths.I know what you're thinking, and no, I didn't ask any stupid questions about the movie.

We ordered a large half plain/half Grecian pizza. The crust is thick and bready. It reminds me of a Pizza Hut pan pizza, but with a softer crust. The cheese even looks the same. There is a pleasant hint of garlic, and I thought I tasted some Parmesan.

The Grecian part was awful. The wife wanted it. Lots of olives, some feta, some hot peppers. Yuck. She loved it though.

We were there on a nice, sunny Saturday in the summer. So the area was packed silly. We just parked by the bank across the street and were in and out fast.

4 out of 5 stars (for pizza)

Mystic Pizza
56 West Main Street
Mystic, CT

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Connecticut Food Bloggin

Spent the day up in Mystic and Mohegan Sun yesterday. We stopped at a couple places to eat, most notably Mystic Pizza and Todd English's Tuscany (at Mohegan Sun). I have a lot to say (esp. about Tuscany), so I'll be blogging about those as restaurant reviews.

Highlights: coming out $130 ahead on the stupid slots and watching Night Ranger sing Sister Christian in the casino theater.

Friday, August 14, 2009

How Stupid is This?

From time to time I'll check the links on my page to see if they're still current. Not as often as I should, considering the life spans of restaurants.

Today I checked on the Newsday: Dining link. Of course the page has moved again like it does every year. So screw you, Newsday, I'm tired of updating your link. I couldn't care less if people find your stupid restaurant section or not. Besides, I like DOD better.

Anyway, when I got to the current link and read their blog (cough, hack) I saw that some restaurant in Westbury was hosting a dinner with dishes "inspired" by Mario Batali. And Batali wasn't even going to be there. (BTW, I'm told that that particular restaurant is overpriced and not great.)

Are you f*cking kidding me? How lame is that? It's one thing to do that for a famous dead chef. But for one that's still alive and still (more or less) young? And who wasn't even going to be there? Lame ass.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Curse of the Normandie Inn

All right this is really "Mystery of the Normandie Inn Pt. 2." I didn't think of "curse" until the other day. Otherwise I would've used it for the first post. I like "curse" better.

After my first post I was talking to some people about the place. They all seem to think (1) it's cursed; and (2) it's older than the 1920's.

A lot of people have heard that the Normandie Inn is cursed. That everyone who owns it has tragedy strike them or their families, etc. They've heard about the haunting, too.

I'm told that in the 70's and 80's the place was a hangout for bikers. I don't know why. Seems like a pretty gay place for bikers to hang out.

Supposedly some bikers who liked to go there would end up dying, either in the area or some place else. I guess the others caught on that the place was bad luck and stopped going there. Then the place became a mainstream restaurant again until it shut its doors in late '03.

And look some interior decorators bought the place in 2004. When the contractors were ready to go in and renovate, the two knight statues were stolen. Five years later the new owners still haven't been able to move in. Is this the curse at work?

Also everyone I talked to thinks the building is much older than was reported in the LIBN article, which said it dates back to the 1920's. But another LIBN article (May 27, 1996--not available online for free), a restaurant review actually, puts it back in the 1800's:
The curious-looking stucco building at the intersection of Lakeland and Smithtown Aves, in Bohemia has been a landmark site since the late 1800s. Here, the oldest building in Bohemia once stood, providing a stopping off point for, so the lore goes, rum runners on a NYC to Montauk run, and Manhattan, Chicago, and LA celebrities to drink and dine during prohibition.
Besides, think of the timelines. It was supposedly built as a house for a Czech baron in the 1920's, but it was also a speakeasy during prohibition, and Rudolph Valentino slept there?

Well Prohibition was from 1919 to 1933. And Rudolph Valentino died in 1926. The timelines don't make sense. If it was built in the 1920's as a residence, Czechy boy sure didn't live there long. So it's probably a lot older than that. I suppose somebody could pull a building permit or certificate of occupancy from the Town of Islip and check.

On another note, for a while Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple used to play Renaissance music there. Below are some pics showing the interior of the place with Blackmore and his band. They are supposedly from November, 2000. The hot-ass blonde is Blackmore's wife.

Normandie Inn, the mystery deepens.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mystery of the Normandie Inn

Anyone who travels through the Bohemia area knows this place off of Lakeland Avenue, right? That kind of weird mansion, tiny castle looking, thing. It's a great building, full of nooks and crannies in the architecture.

I really don't know much about this place. I never ate there. It's been boarded up for years.

An article in Long Island Business News gives a good history. It was built as a residence for a Czech baron in the 1920's, then it was a speakeasy during prohibition, became a hotel, etc.

According to these postings it closed at the end of 2003. One poster (Nick) is probably Nick Campitiello, one of the current owners, id'd in the LI Business News article.

The restaurant isn't listed in an old 2000/2001 Long Island Zagats that I still have around. This website describes the kind of food that was served:
About: Normandie Inn is an upscale restaurant that focuses on and serves French, Italian and American foods. Expect the average entree to cost between $12 and $20.
And the place may be haunted by the ghost of a Maria, who was strangled there. I love that, of course.

The building has been sold to an interior design company, but they obviously haven't moved in yet. I think I'd rather see it as a restaurant.

Cool, narrated slide show by LI Business News.

More pics by moi:

Normandie Inn, I'm sorry I missed you when you were still up and running.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Kitchen Kabaret

Found this place in Bay Shore a couple weeks ago. It's unusual. I would call it an upscale grocery/gourmet store.

I guess. Mostly it's food stations (pizza/Italian, sushi, bakery, deli, coffee, and whatever else they have). The kind you'd see in a lot of grocery stores (except for pizza/Italian)--but without a lot of groceries around them. Or something.

Think of cocktail hour at a swanky wedding. With some groceries.

I'm sure the people there can explain it better.

It's tiny. At least the Bay Shore one. There's another store in Roslyn Heights. Don't know how big that one is.

We've tried a few things. The pasta is decent, not great. Very cheesy and mushy, of course--it's been sitting around for hours. The cupcakes and cannoli are pretty good. Lately my wife has been getting the small, layered mousse cakes every weekend.


Pizza/Italian Station

Center of Store

Kitchen Kabaret
87 Saxon Ave.
Bay Shore, NY 11706