Second Annual Pristine Awards

 

Awards

Welcome to the Second Annual Pristine Awards, where I pick the best “must eat” foods of the year based on what I have reviewed in 2016. As opposed to last year I will be changing up the format a bit to help keep this short and sweet. If a category is underrepresented in my reviews this year (Eg. if I ate a food item/category last year and not this year, or there were no new options), then they will not be mentioned here (for last year’s winners, click this link).

Best Burger Winner: Pretzel Burger (WBC) 

Runner Up: The 5 Napkin, 14 Spice Stuffed Burger (The Cobblestone)

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The Pretzel Burger takes it for the second year in a row, the Cobblestone’s offering put up a great fight, but Westchester Burger Co. has seriously perfected this amazing burger.

Best Specialty Pizza Winner: French Fry Pizza (Silver Lake Pizza)

Runner Up: Philly Cheesesteak Pizza (Silver Lake Pizza)

Former Winner: Vodka Sauce Pizza (Luca Bella)

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I mention former winner and runner up because of the immense respect I have for the now closed down Luca Bella and their Vodka Sauce pizza, that being said this was hands down the best specialty pizza I had this year, nothing else comes close. The combination of french fries, bacon, ranch, chives, and two kinds of cheese is fantastic, and is a whole lot better than should be allowed.

Best BBQ Winner: Cider Spiced Ribs (Whetstone Station)

Runner Up: The Trash Rib Teasers (Holy Smoke)

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What else can I say about these ribs that I haven’t already said? As I wrote in my review, “Smothered in sauce, these ribs are near perfection. The BBQ sauce is sweet, with a semi hot (but not overpowering) cider spice.” Can’t beat it.

Best Bird Winner: Duck Confit (Le Provencal)

Runner Up: Fried Chicken (Birdsall House)

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Our second two-time winner, this Duck Confit remains the best bird I have ever had, and the most steak like bird I’ve seen.

Best Desert Winner: Cheesecake (Westchester Burger Co.)

Runner Up: Maple Bacon Ice Cream (Birdsall House)

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Believe it or not, the runner up race was harder to pick than the winner! There were a lot of good choices this year, but the cheese(cake) stands alone.

Best Penne Alla Vodka Winner: Sal’s (White Plains)

Runner Up: Doubleday’s.

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To be honest, if Luca Bella were still around, there would be no contest; Sal’s is great, but Luca Bella was something else. That being said, Sal’s has become the best Penne Vodka in Westchester County, and is deserving of this victory for sure.

Best Non-Beef/Bird Meat Winner: Rack of Lamb (KEE Oyster House)

Runner Up: Pork Belly with Miso and Kimchi (Communal Kitchen) 

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Truly the best lamb I’ve ever tasted; from the rich red tenderness of the meat, to the succulent bone and citrus infused panko crust, this is a meal to behold…and then devour.

Best Appetizer Winner: Chicken Fried Steak Bites (Prohibition River)

Runner Up: Charcuterie Board (Communal Kitchen)

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Still one of the most amazingly flavored appetizers out there, I’ve been longing for it ever since I first tried it. While it is not readily available on the menu (it is seasonal), it is still the top appetizer around.

Best Steak Winner:  8 oz Filet Mignon (Ruth’s Chris)

Runner Up: 8 oz Filet Mignon Au Poivre (O’Malley’s)

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You can’t go wrong with a prime cut of steak that is served on a sizzling 500 degree plate. For awhile O’Malley’s was going to take home the title, but then Ruth’s Chris came back into my life during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week; and I’m so glad she did.

Best Soup/Chowder Winner: New England Clam Chowder (O’Malley’s)

Runner Up: Roasted Tomato Soup (Ruth’s Chris)

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I know I’ve said this a lot, but this is simply the best New England Clam Chowder I’ve tried. The roasted tomato soup was great, but the “chowdah”at O’Malley’s is simply amazing.

Best Hot Sandwich Winner: Phive All Day (Philly’s: A Taste of Philadelphia)

Runner Up: Ale Roasted Cheese Steak (Lazy Boy Saloon)

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Another two-time winner and with good reason, this is one of the most unique sandwiches out there. Take your traditional Philly and add bacon and secret sauce to it nd you have a Phive All Day. Wonderful.

Best Side Dish Winner: Garlic Balls (PPT’s)

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Another two time winner that is totally unique; doughy, sweet, and full of Garlic. This is a great side to pizza and even a great dish to bring home by itself. Truly deserving.

Best Philly Cheesesteak Winner: Silver Lake Pizza

Runner Up: Tighe’s Tavern

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The final two-time winner, and my favorite Philly that I’ve had, this sandwich from Silver Lake Pizza is top notch, and has yet to be beat (maybe when I visit Philly?)

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

 

 

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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.

Luca Bella: Big Mac Pizza

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New York is one of the pizza capitals of the world; you can get good pizza just about anywhere. But it is because of this plethora of good pizza that truly great pizza can often fall through the cracks and go unnoticed. All too often the best pizza shops do not get the business that they deserve, due to so much competition; which really is a shame. Luca Bella doesn’t deserve that fate.

Luca Bella makes great pizza.

Today we are focusing on their Big Mac pizza; they also make excellent Plain, Sicilian, Philly Cheese Steak, and Vodka Sauce slices among other things, so stay tuned for further reviews.

This is Luca Bella’s Big Mac:

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Looks amazing right? Having had this slice on many an occasion, I can tell you that Luca Bella has found a way to make their slice not only taste, but smell like you just ordered a signature burger from McDonalds; I’d argue it actually tastes and smells better than the real thing.

Their meat is fresher, their vegetables are crisper and more flavorful, and the sauce is on point and out of this world; but the key? Look at that crust, it is a perfect, crispy version of a hamburger bun. It is a great touch that adds the cherry on top to an already great concoction (did I just make a food analogy about food?).

Even my friend Eric who is one of the biggest food snobs I know and would never willingly go to McDonalds (childhood aside), was amazed at how authentic and spot on this slice of pizza truly was; a high compliment from him.

When it comes to taste and aesthetic quality, the Big Mac pizza from Luca Bella is easily a **** 1/2 star slice and is a must eat. So if you are ever in White Plains and fancy a different kind of pizza, pop in to Luca Bella at 206 Mamaroneck Ave., and you will not be disappointed.

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