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)

20150324_172729

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)

20160303_184645

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)

20150905_183832

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)

20150829_201154

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)

20150808_180943

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.

20151115_140228

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) 

20160507_201145

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)

20150619_192750

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)

20160308_202154

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)

20150417_164610

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)

20150622_122741

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)

20150312_184858

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

20150404_182043

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?)

___________________________________________________________

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!

 

 

Coriander: Lamb Tikka Masala

Coriander-Modern-Indian-Logo

If you are in the mood for something delicious and exotic, Coriander Modern Indian may just be the place for you. I admittedly have not had much Indian food in my life, but my visit to Coriander will certainly change that.

When I told my friend that I would be having Indian food, he implored me to have Lamb Tikka Masala, and while technically only Chicken Tikka Masala is on Coriander’s menu, they will gladly make it with lamb if you ask for it.

20151210_131711

My friend was absolutely right, Lamb Tikka Masala is a must have, especially at Coriander.

The sauce is a combination sweet, spicy, and plentiful; it engulfs the entire dish in a proverbial pool of flavor. The lamb is large, thick, and very tender, and mixed in with the sauce, it tastes out of this world. Furthermore, it is garnished quite nicely.

Traditionally it is eaten with rice, and while one can put the rice on a plate and spoon the Tikka Masala over it, I’ve found that I enjoy putting the rice in the bowl and having everything meld together. Also, try the naan bread, it is excellent.

20151210_132832

For a delicious Indian meal in a nice modern atmosphere, get yourself over to Coriander in White Plains or Larchmont; its a great place to try something new, or have a great version of an old favorite.

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

Harry’s Burritos: Steak Burrito

20150201_164148

In a country dominated by Taco Bell, it is easy to settle for burritos that epitomize “average”; but fortunately for residents of Nyack (and Westchesterians willing to cross the bridge) Harry’s Burritos doesn’t settle for anything but good, quality burritos.

To be perfectly honest, Harry’s makes what is possibly the best burrito I’ve ever had; it is loaded with all sorts of tasty morsels, and is much bigger than one would expect.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a Harry’s Burrito:

20150201_165557

20150201_165618

20150201_165631

The first thing you will notice about this dish is that unlike other burritos that tend to be long and skinny, Harry’s are short and fat; this allows for an even greater amount of fresh cooked ingredients to be included.

Along with the size, the smell that this burrito gives off is nothing short of delightful; and as everyone knows, smell is an essential part of food enjoyment. As much as I hate to keep comparing this with Taco Bell, the aroma from food served at the previously mentioned food chain just cannot compare. Harry’s food smells, simply put, better than most.

Now I had the option of choosing either pork, beef, or steak for my meat; and as tempting as the other two choices were, steak was the obvious choice here. The steak they chose was tender, juicy, and flavorful; the rice (typically my least favorite part) was cooked just right, the vegetables were crisp, and the sour cream mixed within added a nice extra element.

So if you are looking for a tasty, authentic burrito, check out Harry’s Burritos in Nyack; you will receive a delicious and filling meal that will be hard to forget.

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