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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The Lazy Boy Saloon: New England Clam Chowder

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As an avid lover of New England Clam Chowder, I am always interested when someone claims to have a can’t miss chowder. For this reason, I had to try the one that Lazy Boy describes as “one of the BEST chowders you’ll ever have” due to their “homemade secret recipe.”

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This chowder was a bit different from the ones you are used to having, a good thing to be sure. The first thing I noticed is that Lazy Boy is not stingy when it comes to the amount of clams in their chowder; as this bowl is proverbially crawling with them. It is always nice to be able to get full mouthful of clams with every spoonful you take, and this serving doesn’t disappoint.

There are also quite a bit of vegetables as well as some nice, tender potatoes. This chowder had the staple trait of being nice and sweet, but also had a little bit of spice to it. Those contrasting elements of both sweetness and spice do well to counterbalance each other for a unique taste with every bite.

When you go to the Lazy Boy Saloon, you will be presented with a great selection of appetizers, one of the best being their New England Clam Chowder; its a chowder that you need to try, especially on a cold winter day in White Plains.

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

 

Portofino: Plain Pizza

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Portofino Pizza & Pasta is everything that is right with the pizza world; not only do they make a great tasting pie, but the size of their slices is unbelievable.

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Yes, that is one slice that has been cut in half; when you have a slice of pizza that is nearly the same size of two normal ones, you automatically have something unique. But unique is not enough, you need quality and taste as well, and fortunately, Portofino does exactly that.

In contrast to its extremely thin crust, this slice has a good thick cheese that carries a nice element of sweetness to it; the sauce on the other hand was very special, with a flavor that is mildly savory. That sweet and savory combination really stands out in the world of pizza, and rightfully so, because such a duo deserves our attention. Not to be outdone, the amount of oil that is used in each serving is just the right amount for a slice of this size.

Another reason why this is a great slice of pizza is because its sheer size allows you to employ a truly proper “New York Fold”:

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Portofino Pizza & Pasta (located in Golden’s Bridge NY) is simply put, some of the best pizza you will ever have; and I highly recommend it to everyone. Rest assured though, this is not the only review that will come from this restaurant, tune in later this week as I take on their massive Sicilian slice.

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

Gypsy Donut: Black Salted Caramel

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So you are out and about in Nyack having just finished a wonderful dinner at Harry’s or O’Malley’s, and you are looking for a light but delectable desert; where do you go? The answer without a doubt is Gypsy Donut.

Gypsy makes by far some of the best donuts you will ever have, in fact, they blow other donut facilities clear out of the water (Dunkin who?). For a bit of anecdotal evidence, I took my friend Eric to Gypsy Donut once, and he ended up bringing some of them home with him; his roommate got a taste, and now whenever he is passing through New York, said roommate makes it a point to go out of his way for some of Gypsy’s finest…they are that good.

Today’s installment focuses on the Black Salted Caramel donut:

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This is one amazing donut; when you bite into it, not only do you get dough that is rich and never stale, but the mixture of black salt and caramel is inspired. The caramel is unlike any coating I have tasted to date, its a flavor that makes you wish that the donut wouldn’t end; and the black salt adds an extra spice to it that fits perfectly with the sweetness of the caramel coating.

If you are into coffee and donuts, Gypsy Donut and Espresso Bar is a place you need to visit, and often. Every other donut I have tried pales in comparison to the ones at Gypsy; so after you hit up one of Nyack’s many delicious dinner outlets, go get yourself a Black Salted Caramel donut at Gypsy, it’ll change your life (or at least your standards when it comes to donuts).

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