Van Dyk’s Ice Cream, Ridgewood, NJ

I got a small, half cinnamon-caramel and half cappuccino-oreo. I will freely admit that the flavors are odd, but I will fight to the death for the right to eat them! great stuff. And as far as I can tell, locally owned, so it can’t be beat. The ice cream is fresh, creamy, screaming with flavor, and the smart-assed high school kids serving the stuff are amusing as hell, and deserve large tips. Perhaps my perspective is skewed by the large quantity of Edmeades Zinfandel that I consumed before adjourning to this ice cream palace, but damn, this stuff is good! And, there were five of us, and everyone was happy with his (or her) choice. So toss my opinion out and trust the teenagers who live and die by the ice cream they eat.

Update 9/1/2008

Because no study is valid with only one sample, I heaved my carcass off the couch and into the car for another trip to Van Dyk’s. All indications are good that there was no radical change in the quality of the ice cream, but the line was longer. And that is a good thing, because I want this place to stay in business for a very long time.

Le Pont Bleu — Saint-Pair Sur Mer, France

Less than 3 kilometers north of Jullouville, just off the coastal road, is this lovely little restaurant where we celebrated the birthday of the mayor’s granddaughter. Needless to say, we started with champagne. Perhaps that is France’s greatest gift to the world — the invention of champagne, and the wonderful idea that it should be drunk often. Americans see champagne as a festive drink, to be consumed on special occasions, and we are partly correct. But I am going to redefine what a special occasion is. From now on, it means dinner time. And lunch time if I can get away with it. Continue reading “Le Pont Bleu — Saint-Pair Sur Mer, France”

La Promenade — Jullouville, France

Where do you eat in a small town on the Normandy coast? Well, if your friends know the mayor, who is justifiably proud of this lovely beach resort 40 kilometers from Le Mont-Saint-Michel, let him make the decision. And that was a fine idea. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to try some other restaurants, because the two we enjoyed were both excellent, charming and, most important, they served innovative and interesting food.

We began at La Promenade, a seaside restaurant in a building that was used as a hospital by the Nazis until it was liberated by American forces in 1944. We sat on the patio Continue reading “La Promenade — Jullouville, France”

In A Few Days…

I’ll be able to report breathlessly on some excellent food, and probably some not-so-excellent stuff. I expect both.

Ox Restaurant In…Jersey City? [closed]

When I moved from sunny California back to the East Coast, I didn’t tell anyone that I was moving to New Jersey. I was just too embarrassed. But at least I live in a really nice part of the state, in an attractive little town. But, Jersey City? That’s about as bad as it gets, at least to those who have no idea. In reality, Jersey City has undergone a bit of a transformation, and if Ox Restaurant is any indication, it is far hipper than the Meatpacking District or Red Hook. Continue reading “Ox Restaurant In…Jersey City? [closed]”

Great Rides; Not So Great Food

The good news is that Universal Studios has some great rides, including the movie-themed rides that have become popular, but that I have never ridden…until last week. And, because they are indoors, they are lovely and cool, courtesy of a power bill that must be astronomical. The roller coasters aren’t too shabby either. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel on the property, which allowed us the luxury of cutting every line, so it really was a pleasure. I am confident that nothing could get me near one of those parks without that expensive, but fantastic perk.

But on to the food. Eh. And no, I wasn’t expecting anything great, but I was disappointed that the Continue reading “Great Rides; Not So Great Food”

Treating The Busboys Like Crap

We have 16-year-old who sleeps, eats and does his laundry (sometimes) here, when he isn’t doing what most kids his age do. What that is, I have no idea. I just hope it isn’t what I was trying to do when I was 16.  Anyway, he mentioned that one of his friends just got a job as a busboy in a popular local bar/restaurant. It’s a family-oriented place, where the focus is the food-drink combination, not the number of shots you can throw back after work. But that doesn’t prevent some of its patrons, complete with kids in tow, from treating this kid badly enough that even I, jaded and bitter, was surprised. This isn’t some professional waiter who should be held to a high standard; this is a kid trying to make some extra money so that he can buy a car, or pay for gas, or maybe even earn enough Continue reading “Treating The Busboys Like Crap”

The Lardo Pizza At Otto

I won’t bore you with a description of a very pleasant evening spent at Mario Batali’s pizza joint in the village. I will rave, but just a little bit, about his simple but delicious pizza dressed with nothing but thin slices of lardo (pig fat), a bit of olive oil and some chopped rosemary. Simple, elegant and very tasty. And don’t get high and mighty about too much animal fat. The slices were quite thin, and just perfect. Tons of flavor but not too rich. Had we ordered a pizza with any kind of meat there would have been considerably more fat on the food.

Okay, one more thing. The service was excellent — professional, relaxed and informed. If you can cage a table (it was packed at 7:00pm), ask to be seated in Lourdes’ area. She made an already fun evening even better.

Momofuku Ko (No, I Didn’t Eat There!)

David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar is a great little noodle joint that is fun to enjoy on the spur of the moment. It is certainly not a destination unto itself, but then I don’t think that it is intended to be. But Momofuku Ko, Chang’s newest restaurant, is something else entirely. Ignoring for a moment (we’ll get back to it, don’t worry) the interesting, innovative, and ultimately successful Internet-only reservations system, it is perhaps the toughest reservation in New York. Oh, maybe Babbo and a few other restaurants are in the same league, but this one is booked in 4 seconds for the entire evening (one week ahead)! And the reviewers have been almost unanimous in their praise of Ko. Gaele Greene was unimpressed, and Bruni has yet to weigh in, but most love the place. And with an $85 prix fixe you can’t really argue that it isn’t close to the top in the quality/price ratio, at least according to the critics. 

But there is a pretension that irked Greene, and I had a taste of it when I made a reservation for Continue reading “Momofuku Ko (No, I Didn’t Eat There!)”

Elysian Cafe (Hoboken)

What to do on a Thursday night in Hoboken when I am not trying to “hook-up” or get falling-down drunk? That’s easy. Ask Tommy:eats for a recommendation. And he came through like a champ!

My wife met some friends for early drinks and I drove down later to meet her for dinner. The only restaurant I know in Hoboken is Arthur’s Tavern, a fun place to go with a group, or with kids, but I can make a mediocre steak any time, so that was out. And of course Vito’s Deli (click for the music!) for the best Italian heroes on the planet. But Vito’s doesn’t serve martinis (if they did I would move to Hoboken).

Tommy pointed us towards a bistro just a few blocks from Vito’s, called Elysian Cafe. Continue reading “Elysian Cafe (Hoboken)”