Tag Archives: French Fries

{ Slate Bleu } ***

Escargot en Croute
100 South Main Street
Doylestown Pa 18901
215.348.0222

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My friend Liz and I constantly find ourselves asking the question, “where should we go for dinner tonight?” We live in a small town with fairly limited dining options, which leads us to frequent the same four places over and over again each week: Domani Star, Ooka, M.O.M.s, and Quinoa. But tonight we were longing to break out of our little routine so we ventured to try the French restaurant Slate Bleu.

It is by no means new to the neighborhood—if fact, it has established a sort of cult following—but it always falls of my radar because its location is slightly hidden. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

Tonight we arrived without a reservation and found ourselves seated without a problem in the elegant downstairs dining area (I prefer this downstairs bar area to the upper tier dining room, which is a bit more removed from the pulse of the restaurant). The décor is very chic and modern, and lends itself well to an impressive first-date kind of place.

After looking over the cocktail list, I decided to try the Bourbon St. Ginger on the rocks, made with Elderflower liquor, bourbon, and a splash of ginger ale ($9). The slight fizz was refreshing, but the drink was definitely potent. I also recommend the Frozen Grapefruit Martini made with absolut vodka, dry vermouth, sorbet, and grapefruit segments ($13). It is certainly pricey, but so unique and delectable that it can commend the price point.

To start we ordered the Salade Ardoise with mixed greens, figs, French bleu cheese, Prosciutto, pecans, and balsamic vinaigrette ($12.50). We had the intentions of sharing the salad, but ordered a second to each have our own after the first bite! The bleu cheese was excellent and the figs were so good with the salty ham and vinegar.

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The Escargot en Croute, a classic French appetizer of snails with garlic and herb butter baked in pastry ($12.50), was also very tasty. It was my first experience with escargot and I expected to be leery about the texture, but the flakey and buttery croute provided enough contrast for me to enjoy them. Caution: there is a TON of garlic used in the making of this dish!

Escargot en Croute 2

For dinner I ordered the Thai Steamed Mussels with coconut, ginger, and lemongrass with a side order of fries ($15.50). I found the broth bland because they used coconut water instead of coconut milk. I thought it was a bit too light without the creamy component, but the mussels themselves were nice and plump. The fries were also excellent!

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Liz had an order of the Chicken Paillarde with artichokes, nicoise olives, and saffron risotto ($14.50). She is a risotto kind of girl due to her gluten free diet, and she claims that this is the best risotto that she has ever had. As for the rest of the dish, chicken is chicken….

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Since my initial visit, I have gone back and tried the Bar Steak Au Poivre, which is a pepper encrusted petit NY steak served with fries ($20.50). I was terribly disappointed by the steak, which I requested at medium rare temp and was served more than well done. The piece of meat shrank down to nothing, but I was so hungry that I continued to eat after bringing it to my server’s attention. Unfortunately, they did nothing to rectify the situation, which I found to be a bit of a turn off and I certainly won’t suggest that anyone order a steak there. The French are infamous for under cooking their beef, so to be served so well done is a bit odd.

Steak Au Poivre

Overall, I like the idea of going back for a nice meal at the bar with a friend or on a date. Get a cocktail and either a cheese platter or one of the lighter menu items to share. I would try the mussels in traditional white wine garlic sauce next time, and steer clear of steak.

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Filed under Baking, Brunch, Buck's County, Cafe / Bistro, Cocktails, Dessert, French Restaurants, Gluten Free, Lunch Spots, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Restaurants, Take-Out

Lilly’s on the Canal ****

Outsde of Lily's
609.397.62422
2 Canal Street
Lambertville, NJ 08530
 

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Unlike most females, I’m not usually one to make a big fuss over my birthday. Sure, I like a glass of champagne and something sweet to celebrate the start of a new chapter in life, but rarely do I attempt to make formal plans and I NEVER get caught trying to split the bill with my “20 closest girlfriends” at some hoity-toity birthday dinner. Those dinners always turn into a shit-show when the check arrives and the 3 real best friends—usually the roomates—end up having to pay the remainder of the unsettled bar tab while the 17 drunken acquaintances dance away.

This year, I wanted to celebrate my 24th birthday in the normal fashion—doing something quiet and relaxing. My friend, Liz, took me for a pedicure and treated me to lunch. It was a gorgeous day so we drove out Lambertville, NJ and went to Lily’s on the Canal for some Class-A chick food. The menu features incredible gourmet salads, unique sandwiches & wraps, and delicious homemade desserts. It is an ideal restaurant to bring a woman on a date, and it is the perfect spot for a ladies luncheon.

I decided to order a modified version of the Baby Spinach Salad, which came fully-loaded with grilled marinated chicken breast, balsamic glazed Portobello mushroom cap, goat cheese, seasonal tomatoes, avocado, and balsamic vinaigrette ($14). 

Chicken and Spinach Salad 

There is not one bad thing I can say about the salad. It was all of my favorite ingredients on one plate in a perfect entrée-sized portion! The chicken was warm and juicy, and the mushrooms were seasoned perfectly. I also am a huge fan of their homemade salad dressings.

Liz ordered the same salad but got it standard issue with Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast, Balsamic Glazed Portobello Mushrooms, Buttermilk Bleu Cheese, Seasonal Tomato, Avocado, and Ranch Dressing.

We also decided to share an order of the Skinny French Fries ($5), which are cut shoestring style and fried to golden delicious crisp!

Lily's French Fries

Some of my other favorite meals at Lily’s include:

The Penne with Vodka Sauce—and I usually add chicken, but you can also choose to add grilled shrimp ($15). Like it says on the menu, “it’s an oldie, but a goodie!”

I am also obsessed with the Caesar Salad with Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Creamy Goat Cheese, Applewood Bacon, Parmesan Croutons, and Caesar Dressing ($13). It is a twist on a classic Caesar, which normally has Parmesan, but the goat cheese and freshly cooked bacon bits put this salad over the top!

The burgers at Lilly’s are also quite good, and can be ordered in several different variations. I like the Three Mini Angus Beef Sliders, which are served open face with Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and skinny fries ($12)!

Sliders and Fries

A lighter way to enjoy their burgers, is by ordering the Burger Salad (made with Certified Angus Beef or Vegetable Patty) served over mixed greens with red onion slices, guacamole, spinach hummus, and black bean salad with a balsamic vinaigrette ($12). Not only is it delicious and filling, but you cannot beat the price for what you get!

The only dish I have tried that I wouldn’t recommend getting would be the New York Strip Steak with Blue Cheese, Mushrooms, and Onions over Skinny Fries ($25). The steak was small and very fatty. It was also very oily and too way heavy with the fries.

Steak and Blue Cheese

If you can manage to save room for dessert, I would suggest ordering a slice of one of their incredible seven layer cakes: Coconut Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Truffle Cake, Chocolate Kahlua Cake—just to name a few!

Dessert Display

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Filed under Bakery, Buck's County, Cafe / Bistro, Cakes, Dessert, New Jersey Restaurants, Take-Out

The Black Horse Tavern ****

215.579.6152
101 South State Street
Newtown, PA 18940

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Happy Hour--a time, usually between the hours of 6-8, when drinks are offered at reduced prices, encouraging co-workers to mingle outside of the office setting.

This is what Happy Hour used to be–back in the 1990′s when people had jobs and could afford to keeping purchasing cocktails long after the drink specials had ended. But with the unemployment rate ticking ever higher, the definition of Happy Hour is changing: it is no longer only a place for the over-worked to release steam, it is also a valuable networking tool for the unemployed to try to find work. And bar/restaurant owners are recognizing this paradigm shift caused by the economic recession, offering better drink prices, extending discounts to include menu items, and even beginning their Happy Hours earlier in the day (before the 9-5er’s are released from their cubicles).

As an unemployed college graduate (or stay-at-home-daughter, as I prefer to say), I recognize the valuable opportunity that Happy Hours provide for networking (and budgeting) and I try to make it out to one each week. Of course, I also need to vent my frustrations of failed interviews and wasted cover letters!

Right now my favorite Happy Hour hands-down is The Black Horse Tavern in Newtown. They do it all right:

  • Starts at 5 pm, ends at 7 pm (Mon-Sat)
  • $3 drafts, $4 wines, and $6 martinis
  • 1/2 price menu items
  • Trivia on Friday nights (for free drink prizes–I won one last week!)
  • Free bar food available during Happy Hour (usually their delicious flatbreads!)

In my opinion, it’s the best deal in town and like all good things, it draws a consistent crowd. Aka: If you get there after 5 pm expect to sip your delicious martini while standing! They have an extensive speciality martini list, but I recommend the Grapefruit Bubbling Cosmo with Ruby Red Vodka, Cointreau, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice, all topped off with a splash of Champagne. It has a perfect blend of citrus without tasting artificial.

As far as bar food goes, YOU MUST GET THE TRUFFLE FRIES!!! They come topped with Parmesan Cheese and Belgian Aioli and they are to die for!

I also really like the flatbreads at this place. The Margarita is very simple but delicious made with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, oregano, olive oil, and spicy marinara sauce. It’s tasty finger food that is easy to share, and I’ve got to admit that it is better than some of the pizza places I’ve tried in these neck of the woods.

Last but not least, I also tried the Caesar Salad with crisp hearts of romaine and a garlicky brioche crostini, dressed to perfection with a Caesar drizzle. It was a great portion for like $4, which is definitely recession-approved pricing!

Although I have only been to the Black Horse Tavern for Happy Hour, I hear from my neighbors that the kitchen also makes fabulous burgers and steaks for dinner. In fact, one of my neighbors said it was one of the best steaks that he has had in years (and this guy is a credible foodie in my book!).

Bottom line: if you are looking to avoid the rather pretentious cougar scene at La Stalla, and you want better bar grub than Isaac Newtons can offer, head to The Black Horse Tavern! You won’t be disappointed.

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The Office ***

Arevalo 3031
Buenos Aires, Argentina
(+54) 2050.3942

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“Yo tengo bajón.”

What does it mean?

In the words of the wise Kat Williams, it means, “I ain’t dead. I’m gonna wake up in 20 minutes, hungry enough to eat up everything in your house.”

I’m talking about the munchies. And you can imagine (being the foodie that I am) the level of munchies that I get. I’m not gonna lie, it gets a little out of control sometimes. It starts with a singular oreo and ends with a pizza covered in ranch dressing, a grease soaked bag from taco bell, a bowl of something chocolatey but not readily identifiable, and is that peanut butter I taste stuck to the roof of my mouth? My goodness the things I do to my poor belly between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am!

I have encountered a problem satisfying the munchies in Argentina though, because the best foods (and by that, I mean most gross and fattening) are American creations often unavailable here. There are no coco-puffs, no buffalo chicken wings, no bagel bites, no Tostito Hint o’ Limes, no pretzels, no double stuffed oreos, and if you really want peanut butter, you have to purchase it from a fancy wine and cheese shoppe for the steep price of about $80 pesos (thats 3 hours of my salary, to put that figure into perspective).

But as the munchies crept up on me the other night, I had an idea. I remembered hearing about a burger joint in Canitas, serving up ‘Yanqui-esk’ concoctions such as onion rings, chicken wings, juicy burgers, and quesadillas. I wanted anything fried, spicy, breaded, and fattening, and I wanted it ASAP. So my friends and I headed over to The Office for some proper Yanqui grub.

We started with an order of Buffalo Chicken Wings, which came with an intensely hot dipping sauce (not Frank’s Buffalo sauce of course, but still satisfyingly spicy). The wings themselves were good, although Casa Bar still takes the trophy for best wings in Bs As…they import the Franks Hot Sauce so they automatically win.

Then we got 2 large orders of cheese fries for the table to share, which were a nice taste of American comfort. They were crispy, well-salted, and came topped with a delicious variety of melted cheeses. Definitely hit the spot.

Next to arrive was the basket of onion rings! (I told you I get out of hand sometimes). These were FABULOUS! Actually, my favorite menu item from The Office, which is surprising since I normally don’t indulge in this fried delicacy (but then again, I consume a lot of things I wouldn’t even admit to eating sober, when I have the munchies!). They were piping hot, the batter was thick and crispy, and the mayo dip was absolutly perfect!

Now for the main course! I ordered the California Burger with ground beef, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, and honey mustard. Of course, this was served with even more french fries! Unfortunately, the burger patty itself was dry but the toppings and sauces compensated for this cooking error. Also note, I seemed to be the only one with an overcooked burger, so maybe this is a freak thing (I’ll find out, because I will go back!).

My friends also got the BBQ Bacon Burger with cheddar cheese, bbq sauce, and a large onion ring. It look monstrous and yummy, but I was not disappointed with my burger choice!

All in all, a good place for American expats to enjoy the foods they miss and crave and a great way for Portenos to sample some proper American grub.

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Le Bilboquet *****

212.751.3036
25 East 63rd Street, New York 10021
(Between Madison and Park Ave)
 
 

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[food coma (n): the feeling of listlessness, bordering on sleep, that one feels after eating a large meal, often caused by a rush of blood to the stomach and intestines during food digestion.]

Ohh Le Bilboquet…There is just so much to say about this tiny French Bistro, which is packed with a big French attitude.  We all know that a certain level of animosity exists between the French and, as they would say, “Filthy Americans,” but Le Bilboquet proves that you don’t have to be in France to experience it!  The wait staff (all French…of course) are a group of beautiful (and arrogant) young men, who seem inconvenienced that they even have to take your order.  Essentially, you have to call them over for everything and this past time my boyfriend even caught himself saying, “Excuse me sir, can we place our order?”  That’s right, the customer asking the waiter if they can be served!!! A little backwards, no? Of course the supermodel looking man then put down his Sunday paper and came out from behind the bar to take our order, but it just feels weird.  Ohh and if you have questions about the menu, which of course is all in French, don’t expect much help from the wait staff…I asked if they had tuna tartar and he was like “of course, don’t you see it right here on the menu?!” (pointing to something in French, while making me feel uncultured at the same time).

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I messed up my star rating because all that I have done is complain…but Le Bilboquet does in fact deserve five stars because the FOOD IS INCREDIBLE!  The reality is that this place would not be packed with American patrons if it did not serve delicious food.  I always order the Cajun Chicken, which is actually orgasmic.  It is served in a delicious peppery butter sauce and is sliced down into small pieces, making it easy to eat.  Ohh and there are no bones, which is a major plus in my opinion. It is served with a small mixed green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and some of the most amazing french fries I have ever tasted.  The fries at the bottom of the pile soak up some of the buttery Cajun sauce and WOW, eating those is an experience!  I have also had the ceasar salad, which is very delicious.  However, the Cajun Chicken is a must have and even better, it is a huge portion!!

So, if you walk into this place and find yourself annoyed by the arrogant wait staff and the difficult to read menu, DON’T LEAVE!!  Just order the Poulet Cajun and I promise you won’t even be able to put down your fork to complain.  When the food comes at Le Bilboquet, the table (no matter what size) goes quiet until everyone has finished their plates.  Then to pull yourself out of the inevitable food coma, order a cappuccino or espresso (the cappuccino is amazing!!) and resume your table talk.

The prices are high (Cajun Chicken is $27), but the food quality can demand such a price in my opinion.

I have only ever been to Le Bilboquet for lunch, and the crowd ranges from youthful to elderly.  Lots of people getting dropped off in character town cars and as New York Magazine says, tons of “trust fund women with their little dogs.”  However, I have heard that the dinner scene is quite different and much more youthful because the restaurant plays loud “club music,” which makes conversations difficult. I’m young and that doesn’t appeal to me, so I will probably stick to lunches there!

Bon Appetitte!

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JG Melon *****

Cheeseburger on Toasted Bun

212.744.0585
1291 3rd Ave, New York 10021
(Corner of 74th and 3rd)

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[food orgasm (n): the reaction a person makes after taking a bite of a dish that they find especially delicious. A food orgasm usually includes one or more of the following: tilting the head back, rolling the eyes upward, gasping, moaning, and/or cooing.]


This morning, at the obscene hour of 6 am, my boyfriend and I left for New York City to celebrate my 21st birthday.The trip was a surprise gift from him and he knew that the only way to get me out of bed in time for the flight would be to bribe me with the promise of food…and not just any food…but a burger from JG Melon (he knows how I operate).So he coaxed me out of the house reminding me that the sooner we got to NY, the sooner I would be devouring my favorite burger.It worked and when we finally got to JG Melon, we were told as usual that there was a wait.But this is one wait I never mind for the following reasons:

 

A)I believe all truly good food is worth the wait—and this burger is the best!

 

B) The line moves quickly because the dinning area is very small and people don’t want to linger in the semi-claustrophobic space.

C)The walls are decorated with every type of watermelon artwork (including a watermelon handbag, which I noticed for the first time on this trip!), and so your distracted while you wait.

But lets get to the food!! The menu is incredibly small, but it doesn’t matter because the burger is the only thing you need to order…in addition to a side of cottage fries of course!! What’s a burger without the fries?!? The burger has no fancy toppings, but it is delicious in its simplicity.It is a thick juicy patty and you have the option to add cheddar cheese, bacon, or both.I always ask for sautéed onions too, but this is not a place that you can get high maintenance with your order.I once asked for sautéed mushrooms on my burger and the waitress went into a long speech on how the cooks are too busy to be bothered by such a special request (Why it’s too difficult to add some mushrooms to the pan they are already cooking my onions in, I don’t know…but I’ve never asked again).Every burger does come with pickles and raw red onion on the side though, and the bun is PERFECTLY toasted. When you finish, you’ll wish that you could rewind and experience this meal all over again….it is a food orgasm and in my opinion the greatest burger to be found. But make sure to stop at an ATM before you go to JG Melon because they only accept cash….thats right, NO CREDIT CARDS!!! But a 20 spot will do it because the burger is only about $9 and the cottage fries are $4.25. Enjoy!!

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