Lazy Boy Saloon: Mc-Boy Burger

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We are back again to the Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains, New York, this time to try a well known and established pub food, the burger, or what Lazy Boy has named the “Mc-Boy.”

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A burger with a good size attached to it, the Mc-Boy is very tender and juicy, almost to the point where it falls apart as you eat it. The American cheese is melted pretty well and the caramelized onions provide a nice sweet taste.

The bacon is prepared well, crunchy and plentiful, and the iceberg lettuce adds a different kind of moisture to the burger than its own juices; the sauce, is sweet and tangy, and really brings the whole thing together.

All in all, a very good burger from Lazy Boy Saloon, and one that I would definitely recommend.

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Hudson Social: Cowboy Burger

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After having reviewed the Bruschetta Sampler, its time to see what Hudson Social’s burger menu has in store with the Cowboy Burger.

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Nestled in between a soft brioche and lathered in tangy BBQ sauce, this burger is quite delicious. The patty is very tender and juicy, the pepper-jack cheese carrying with it a slight heat, and the sauteed onions mixing well with the nice, crispy bacon.

Hudson Social definitely makes a really good burger, and I will gladly return for another in the future.

First Annual Pristine Awards

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Welcome to the First Annual Pristine Awards, where I pick the best “must eat” foods of the year based on what I have reviewed in 2015. The Categories this year are as follows:

Best Burger, Best Plain Pizza, Best Specialty Pizza, Best Sicilian Pizza, Best BBQ, Best Bird, Best Desert, Best Milk Shake, Best Mac and Cheese, Best Penne Alla Vodka, Best “Other” Pasta, Best Appetizer, Best Side Dish, Best Soup/Chowder, Best Hot Sandwich, Best Deli Sandwich and Best Philly Cheesesteak. 

Each category will be broken down into the top 3 choices, and the winner will be chosen from the finalists. Certain categories that only have one choice in them, such as Steak, Salad, Burrito, Smoothie, etc. will be forwarded to next year’s awards when they will (hopefully) have some competition. With that out of the way, on with the awards!

Best Burger: Pretzel Burger (WBC) vs. Bacon Cheeseburger (O’Malley’s) vs. Eastchester Burger (Piper’s Kilt.) 

Winner: The Pretzel Burger – Westchester Burger Co.

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While the other two choices were both amazingly delicious, the Pretzel Burger just had no downsides. With a perfect patty, delicious melted cheese, crispy maple bacon and a pretzel bun, one can’t go wrong with this choice. Besides, when a burger can make me actually enjoy an egg, that’s an extra bonus.

Best Plain Pizza: Plain Slice (Portofino’s) vs. Original Tomato Pie w/ Mozzarella (Frank Pepe)

Winner: Plain Slice – Portofino’s.

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Portofino’s combines a great flavor with an amazingly sized slice. New York makes some of the best pizza in the world, and this slice easily ranks up there with the best of them.

Best Specialty Pizza: Vodka Sauce Pizza (Luca Bella) vs. Big Mac Slice (Luca Bella) vs. White Pizza (Tarantella)

Winner: Vodka Sauce Pizza – Luca Bella 

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This slice beats out the other delicious specialties from Luca Bella and Tarantella, because the Vodka Sauce used on this slice is by far the best Vodka Sauce I’ve ever had. The idea to put this sauce on the pizza was inspired, and we are all better off for it.

Best Sicilian Pizza: Nicky’s vs. Sal’s vs. Portofino’s

Winner: Sal’s Sicilian Pizza.

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Nicky’s had thickness, Portofino’s had size, but Sal’s was perhaps the best Sicilian I’ve ever had, and certainly the best in Westchester. Light and airy, and yet somehow filling; with perfectly melted cheese and an amazing sauce, Sal’s Sicilian pizza earns the easy victory.

Best BBQ: Pulled Pork Sandwich (Jack’s *Ribfest NH*) vs. Trash Rib Teasers (Holy Smoke) vs. Ribs (Texas Smokehouse *Ribfest NH*)

Winner: The Trash Rib Teasers – Holy Smoke.

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Believe it or not, the rib teasers actually beat out a full rack and pulled pork, mainly due to how meaty and flavorful a rib Holy Smoke was able to concoct. The Texas ribs were great, but Holy Smoke gets the edge.

Best Bird: Duck Confit (Le Provencal) vs. Fried Chicken (Holy Smoke)

Winner: Duck Confit – Le Provencal.

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If I’m being honest, I don’t like eating birds that much; so many places just don’t do a good job preparing them. Holy Smoke and Le Provencal are two establishments who know what they are doing. I went with the Duck because it was simply one of the best birds I’ve ever had. In my review I described it as “the steak of birds” and in the end, that is what sealed the victory for the Duck Confit.

Best Desert: Cheesecake (WBC) vs. Black Salted Caramel Donut (Gypsy Donut)

Winner: Cheesecake – Westchester Burger Co.

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This was a harder decision than you might think; the black salted caramel is one of the most unique and delicious things I’ve ever tasted, but the Cheesecake won in part due to its light, and rich texture and flavor. The plating of the desert was also an added bonus but did not play into the decision.

Best Milkshake: Chocolate Milkshake (City Limits) vs Italian Nutella Milkshake (WBC)

Winner: Italian Nutella Milkshake – Westchester Burger Co.

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The specialty milkshake carries the day. I love chocolate milkshakes, but the Italian Nutella was just too good not to win. The flavor was unique, and  it was made so well. Both were great, but WBC’s was just better.

Best Mac and Cheese: Mac and Cheese (Piper’s Kilt) vs. Deluxe Cheeseburger Mac (Mr. Mac’s) vs. Philly Cheese Steak Mac (Mr. Mac’s).

Winner: Philly Cheese Steak Mac – Mr. Mac’s.

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Man, I wish this restaurant would come to New York! The Philly-Mac was simply one of the best things I’ve ever had. The Macaroni and Cheese portion was great, and made even better by an authentic taste of the Philly Cheesesteak.  Not only that, but it also has great re-heat value; and while I love the Mac at Piper’s Kilt, Mr. Mac’s specialty is their Mac and Cheese, and this is one of the best.

Best Penne Alla Vodka: Sal’s (White Plains) vs. Luca Bella

Winner: Penne Alla Vodka – Luca Bella

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Its the sauce. In the same way that Luca Bella won best specialty pizza with their Vodka Sauce slice, they win the Penne category with the sauce being where it was always meant to be, on pasta. It was a hard choice given that Sal’s sauce included a few extra and delicious elements, but in the end, Luca Bella’s sauce was just that much better.

Best “Other” Pasta: Spinach Ricotta Pillows (Grazie) vs. Linguine and Clams (Lago)

Winner: Spinach Ricotta Pillows – Grazie

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A country club take on spinach ravioli, these pillows were not only delicious, but presented in a wonderful manner. The spinach and ricotta meld beautifully and just made for a great pasta dish.

Best Appetizer: Speck (Lago) vs. Dueling Meatballs (Grazie) vs. Chicken Fried Steak Bites (Prohibition River)

Winner: Chicken Fried Steak Bites – Prohibition River.

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Possibly the toughest choice so far; on one hand you have a a wonderful Charcuterie dish, but you also have a fantastic meatball offering. But the Chicken Fried Steak Bites get the victory because it is one of the most delicious appetizers out there. Filet Mignon steak bites, with a deliciously crispy skin and a fantastic gravy? How could it not get the win?

Best Side Dish: Garlic Balls (PPT’s) vs. Beer Battered Onion Rings (O’Malley’s) 

Winner: Garlic Balls – PPT’s.

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The ultimate side to pizza, Garlic Balls from PPT’s are doughy, sweet, and full of Garlic. It is easily one of the most unique side dishes out there, and a must try for anyone who likes good food.

Best Soup/Chowder: New England Clam Chowder (O’Malley’s) vs. New England Clam Chowder (Townhouse)

Winner: New England Clam Chowder – O’Malley’s.

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Very easily the best New England Clam Chowder I’ve had, as it is the specialty of the Chef at O’Malley’s. It is thick, creamy, and has great clams. An easy dish to return to over and over, and I do almost every time I go to O’Malley’s.

Best Hot Sandwich: Phive All Day (Philly’s) vs. Aged Beef Top Round w/ French Onion (Melt)

Winner: Phive All Day – Philly’s: A Taste of Philadelphia.

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One of the most unique and succulent sandwiches out there, the Phive All Day wins based on its combination of traditional Philly Cheesesteak elements, but with the fantastic additions of bacon and home-made “McNabb Sauce.” (Note: This Sandwich will not be considered for the category of Philly Cheesesteak because it has too many unique elements).

Best Deli Sandwich: Sicilian Sandwich (Roosters) vs. The Godfather (Anthony’s) vs. American Combo (Anthony’s)

Winner: American Combo – Anthony’s Deli.

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Another tough choice, especially considering that the Godfather is Anthony’s signature sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, the Godfather is a fantastic Italian Sandwich (as is Rooster’s Sicilian), but the American Combo just has the “it factor” in terms of traditional deli sandwiches. The bread, as well as every meat used is fresh, and the size is fantastic. I’ve had all three of these sandwiches on multiple occasions, but the American Combo is the one that I go back to the most.

Best Philly Cheesesteak: Silver Lake Pizza vs. Royal Scarlet Deli

Winner: Philly Cheesesteak – Silver Lake Pizza.

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Easily my favorite Philly Cheesesteak, Silver Lake Pizza knows what they are doing in regards to this sandwich. The bread is crisp, the meat is thick and flavorful, the cheese is melted perfectly, and the peppers and onions are a nice addition to this juicy sandwich.

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That’s it for the First Annual Pristine Awards, thanks so much for reading and I hope to see you back in the New Year!

 

The Branding Iron: The Westerner

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Its time to visit one of the best Burger joints in Peekskill: The Branding Iron.

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This is one hearty burger. It is filling, huge, and quite good. It is so big that it is almost impossible to get your mouth around it for the first few bites.

The patty itself is pretty big and has good flavor, the cheddar cheese is melted well, and the BBQ sauce (instead of ketchup) is nice and sweet.

The onion ring on the burger has a nice crunch, and the sauteed onions were plentiful, as was the crispy bacon.

The bun is brioche and and coated in butter before it is grilled, and in keeping with the theme of the name, is branded on top. Interestingly, the brand itself smells similar to a somewhat charred marshmallow you’d have as a kid.

So if you are ever in the Northwest section of Westchester and want a good burger, visit the Branding Iron in Peekskill, you won’t be disappointed.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Anthony’s: Patty Melt

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One of America’s most popular foods is the burger, and one of its favorite comfort foods is the grilled cheese; and when put together, they become the Patty Melt, America’s ultimate comfort food.

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Now granted, there is nothing special about any of the ingredients in this patty melt, everything by itself is rather pedestrian. But somehow, when put together, Anthony’s patty melt is really tasty.

The white bread is grilled so that it is nice and crispy, while the inside is smothered in sweet, gooey, American Cheese. I chose the option to add crispy, salty bacon as my secondary meat to the tender, decently sized burger patty. Together, they form a wonderfully comforting combination of flavor and texture.

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If you are looking for a nice little comfort food to tide you over until the next meal, while providing great taste, Anthony’s patty melt is a great option. With this sandwich, Anthony’s took the plain and simple, and made it a must eat in Westchester County.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Nat’s Pub: Nat’s Burger

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I’ve been going to Elmsford for years, and every time I went, I’d drive by Nat’s Pub, home of “the best burger in town.” This of course peaked my interest and I’d always tell myself that I was going to go there. Finally, after years of telling myself this, I finally made it to Nat’s Pub.

Nat’s is a hole in the wall venue that makes some pretty good food; and after perusing the menu, I ordered “Nat’s Burger” to see if it truly was the “best burger in town.”

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Now normally I wouldn’t touch a burger that has lettuce and tomato on it, but given this burger’s moniker, I decided not to change anything.

The meat was flavorful, juicy, and had a nice size and thickness to it; you really got a good amount of meat in every bite. The cheese was melted really nicely and covered a good section of the burger. Both the lettuce and the onions added a good crunch to the burger, and the tomato added extra juiciness.

The biggest difference between this and other burgers is that Nat’s tops theirs with mustard, which added a new, spicier flavor that I am not used to; though it was not a bad addition at all.

The only “downside” to this burger was that it was on a sandwich roll instead of the traditional hamburger bun, but in no way did it ruin the burger. As a side, the fries were quite good, crisp, full bodied, and tasty.

I would definitely recommend Nat’s Pub to anyone who is looking for a good burger in Elmsford, and so far I must agree with the assessment that it is the best burger in town.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Westchester Burger Co: The Hangover

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For my 25th birthday, my friends and I decided to revisit Westchester Burger Co. and see what else they had for us to try; the Hangover at Westchester Burger is very similar to the Pretzel Burger, which I reviewed here, albeit with some very important differences.

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Nestled in between two halves of a soft brioche bun, the beef patty was tender, juicy, and cooked to be perfectly rare. Topping said patty was some nice, melted Monterey Jack cheese, bacon that was not only crispy, but carried with it a fantastic salt/pork flavor, and a fried egg that was both messy and delicious.

Using the condiments at hand, I was also able to try bites of this burger with both chipotle remoulade, and chipotle ranch, both adding a unique and unbelievable change of pace and flavor to an already great burger.

After two trips to Westchester Burger Co., I believe without a shadow of a doubt that it is one of the best burger joints around, and I’m looking forward to more visits in the future.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

New Hampshire: Mr Mac’s: Deluxe Cheeseburger and Philly Cheese Steak Mac ‘N’ Cheese

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Almost every kid in America (or Adult who was previously a kid) has had some kind of prolonged experience with Macaroni and Cheese; it is the consummate kids meal. Mr. Mac’s in Manchester New Hampshire has taken this kids meal and upgraded it into a truly phenomenal gourmet dish.

Mr. Mac’s offers many different choices and directions you can take with your Mac ‘N’ Cheese, I have chosen to cover their Deluxe Cheeseburger and Philly Cheese Steak Macs.

This is the Deluxe Cheeseburger Mac:

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Served in a piping hot skillet, this is the perfect mixture of “Seasoned Ground Beef, Cabot Cheddar, American Cheeses, Bacon, Onions, Pickles, and Thousand Island dressing topped with Breadcrumbs.”

As promised, the ground beef is seasoned well and the bacon provides that nice salty crunch; sweet onions and potent pickles each provided an additional, albeit different kind of crunch and flavor, and the thousand island dressing mixed in with the smooth and gooey mixture of cheese and perfectly cooked pasta presents a wonderful assortment of flavors in your mouth. The addition of bread crumbs as the light, crunchy topping is the best possible choice they could have made, and is the perfect topper to this dish.

And now for the Philly Cheese Steak Mac:

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The Philly Cheese Steak Mac is made up of “Shaved steak, American and Provolone Cheeses, Onions and Peppers”; and as promised tastes like an authentic Philly (with the addition of pasta).

The steak was rich and plentiful, the pasta cooked to perfection, and the thick, smooth cheese throughout provided amazing taste; the onions and peppers were flavorful and added their own brand of crunch to the Mac. The frizzled onions on top added even more crunch to the dish, especially when mixed in with the other ingredients.

Half a skillet full is enough to satisfy your hunger, and the reheat value in each of these dishes is not to be underestimated; both make for very delicious first tastings, and leftovers. Mr. Mac’s is true gourmet Macaroni and Cheese and is the perfect meal for kids of all ages; both the young, and the kids at heart.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

O’Malley’s: Bacon Cheeseburger w/ Fries

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O’Malley’s does many things well, but when it comes to beef centered dishes (Steak, Burgers, Philly Cheesesteaks, etc.), they really step their game up. Over Memorial Day weekend I visited this establishment with a couple of friends, and boy did it live up to my memory.

Burgers (like many foods) can be easily hit or miss; you can either make a really good/great burger, or a terrible one; it is very hard to find that middle ground. So going into a bar/restaurant and ordering a burger, one must be prepared for either extreme; fortunately, ours was extremely good.

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One might notice straight away that the bun is big, almost appearing too big for the burger (though I assure you the size was fine); the bun did not add anything special to the burger, but it also did not detract from the overall enjoyment (so we can call that a win). The burger itself was thick, seasoned well, and was quite juicy; I ordered mine “rare” due to my belief that beef simply tastes better that way, but my friends (who both ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger as well) can attest to just how good O’Malley’s burger is even when cooked “medium.”

The melted American cheese (one of a few options you can choose) fits perfectly with the patty; normally I don’t go anywhere near American cheese, but when its melted, it is quite good. Furthermore the bacon they used was magnifique; this was true bacon (as opposed to a mass produced fake bacon product known simply as Fakon). It was extra crispy, with a powerful taste of pork and salt that meshed well with the seasoned beef it was resting on.

Not to be left out, the french fries that O’Malley’s makes are top of the line; at risk of repeating myself, fries are another dish that is very easy to mess up; hit or miss. Often times you run the risk of soggy, mushy, or starchy fries, either with too much salt or not enough; but not at O’Malley’s. At this bar they are firm and crisp, with a good potato flavor that does not over-emphasize the starch, and is salted just right.

Burgers (particularly with cheese and bacon) are an American icon, an American staple; many people try to perfect it, but often times fail to live up to what a burger should be; but not here, not at O’Malley’s. So if you are a fan of burgers (or are simply Dean Winchester), I highly recommend heading down to Nyack and popping into O’Malley’s for a bite.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com