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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Communal Kitchen: Charcuterie Board and Pork Belly

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Located near the top of the Main Street strip in Nyack, New York, Communal Kitchen is by far one of the best restaurants Nyack has to offer, an thats saying something.

Let’s start off with their Charcuterie Board:

What I like the most about their Charcuterie is that it isn’t set in stone, they seem to be changing it on a regular basis. I ended up choosing some wild boar cacciatorini, soppressata toscana, duck prosciutto, raw milk cow’s cheese, and finally, goat’s cheese.

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Beginning with the cheese, the raw milk cow’s cheese was a bit dry and not creamy at all, and while not my cup of tea, was not offensive in the least, while the goat’s cheese was thick, creamy, and delicious.

The wild boar cacciatorini was really good, it has a strong, rough and wild flavor that differentiates itself from beef and pork in a major way. The soppressata was salty, had medium thickness, and had a nice spice to it, but the real star was the duck prosciutto. The duck was thick,creamy, smooth and had an element of fat that almost explodes in your mouth; utterly delicious.

Pork Belly with Miso and Kimchi

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This main course tastes as good as it looks, the pork cuts like butter, tender and moist on the inside, with a slight crisp on the outside, the pork flavor shines through and the fat content adds an even greater taste; the kimchi had strong spice to it, and the miso is creamy and delicious, and paired with the pork, makes this plate one of the best you will have.

This is for sure a must eat if you live in Westchester or Rockland Counties, and I can’t wait to go back to the Communal Kitchen for even more great food.

Chama Grill: Massachusetts

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Located in North Andover, Massachusetts, Chama Grill is a fantastic Brazilian restaurant with a great premise; you give us thirty dollars, and we will give you perfectly prepare all you can eat meat served on swords…oh, and there is all you can eat side dishes as well. You interested? You should be.

Meat One: Filet Mignon Wrapped in Bacon 

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Cooked to perfection, the filet itself is tender and juicy, and carries with it the sweetness that only properly seasoned steak can obtain; the bacon adds a texture change and saltiness to the dish. Cut into nice, small sizes, you could eat a crap ton of these.If this was the only dish they served, I would have been thrilled, but wait, there’s more!

Meat Two: Rib Eye

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Such a great piece of meat, this rib eye is rich, flavorful and very tender, as well as extremely easy to both cut and chew. I can only imagine what a full sized one would be like to eat.

Meat Three: Garlic Steak

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Easily in the top three meats of the night, this Garlic Steak was another masterful piece of culinary art. Sweet, tender and very juicy this steak has a very nice addition in the garlic flavor on it and is seasoned to perfection.

Meat Four: Lamb

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What I love so much about this Lamb was not only how well it was made, but by definition it provided a welcome flavor shock after eating the rest of the read meat. Thick and sweet, the lamb is juicy and stood unique to everything else because it comes from a different animal so it has different texture and natural flavor.

Meat Five: Pork Sausage 

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By far the smallest meat, it was by no means the least. Another welcome flavor change, the sausage is a very good dish, with a nice two-bite size portion; thick, with a nice crispy skin, flavorful meat and a nice salty exterior.

Final Meat: House Steak

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Admittedly my least favorite of the meats served, the House Steak was still quite good; tender and fatty, it is still enjoyable to eat, but pales when compared to some of the other steaks previously mentioned.

All in all this was a fantastic experience that i feel everyone should seek out. Believe me, you will not be sorry, and you will indeed eat more than thirty dollars worth of meat, making this an unbelievable deal.

The Pit Bro’s: Chopped BBQ Pork Sandwich

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The Pit Bro’s is an Eastern Carolina BBQ shop located in Mt. Vernon New York, and a bit of a hole-in-the-wall establishment; but that doesn’t stop it from making good food.

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This sandwich, while on the small side, is packed with meat. The meat is sweet, but also has a slight burn to it, a residual heat that doesn’t scorch your mouth, but has a lasting presence to be sure.

The meat is so plentiful, that it can’t be held by the soft bread, and is thus very messy. I was given the option of having coleslaw on my sandwich, and I agreed to it, which was a good idea to be sure. The slaw was sweet and crunchy, and the wetness and texture of it melded well with the heat and texture of the pork.

I give my recommendation to the Pit Bro’s and this sandwich, and I encourage people to go give it a try; it is definitely a nice lunch item to spice up your day.

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