Friday, November 6, 2009

More Fun Playing with NY Road Food

Ah, what a long, strange trip it's been. Actually, two long trips over the past few weeks. So much to show you and so little time to upload, correct and write about it!

So, our visit to New York, which began on our wedding anniversary of October 22, is first. Once again, we decided to drive for eight hours instead of flying. This would allow us to bring home two wooden benches my grandfather made over 45 years ago, that have sat unloved and unused on a shelf in my parents' garage for years. And pizza. And anything else we ran into of interest!

And since we were driving, we had the luxury of preparing food in advance for the 30th Annual Duke Oktoberfest, scheduled for 10/24 at Alley Pond Park in Queens NY.

We arrived Thursday evening without incident and enjoyed some pizza (you've seen those photos before, so no need to repeat). Friday's dinner turned out to be surprisingly good; I regretted leaving my camera at my parents' house. We dined at The Hamlet, where the food is often wildly inconsistent and the service even more so. But this evening, the salad topped with beets and goat cheese, and my entree of veal medallions in pastry, were superb. But no photos. Sorry.

Saturday was supposed to be our party in the park - but the weather forecast was horrible, and the outlook for Sunday was much brighter. So, the party was moved to Sunday. Which meant we'd be home with my parents for dinner Saturday. My mom, who usually insists that we not mess up her kitchen, asked us to cook dinner using some local/sustainable ingredients.

We spent the first part of the day shopping. We started at Reinwalds Bakery in Huntington, to acquire rye and pumpernickel breads for our picnic on Sunday. Reinwald's is an authentic German bakery, with amazing sweets and savories. So - we also picked up an irresistible dessert for later! Other stops included AS Pork Stores, 530A Larkfield Road, E. Northport 11731, 631-266-1540, for fresh (still hot from the cooking process) Mozzarella cheese, and freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano, and Richters Orchard, Pulaski Road, Northport, NY 11768 (631) 261-1980, for freshly picked apples. We made our biggest score at Makinajian Poultry Farm. In addition to fresh farm raised chicken, we picked up some local and organic vegetables, as well as an imported Heirloom Risotto.

Dinner began with a winter squash from Makinajian.

We split and roasted it, together with some sweet potatoes that were dying in the produce drawer of the fridge.

While the veggies roasted, we prepped some onion, garlic, and shallot from Makinajian.

I prepared the chicken breast in the Chinese "no poach" style described by Barbara Tropp in her two wonderful Chinese cookbooks. We heated some Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock, and after a quick saute of the raw vegetables and the rice, cooked the risotto. I diced the chicken and added it to the pot, finished the risotto with butter and the Reggiano, and topped it with beautiful Makinajian parsley. My mother enjoyed it very much. My dad - not so much. He'd had Lobster Risotto at the club the night before.

We also enjoyed a lovely Caprese salad, using the fresh Mozzarella, with our dinner.

And then - dessert!

Reinwald's Cherry Cheese Strudel

Reinwald's Apple Strudel


The weather gods were kind to us on Sunday; we had a nearly record turnout for the Duke Oktoberfest. (The Duke Geological Laboratories began its debauched history in Flushing NY 30+ years ago, when a small group of degenerate Hunter S. Thompson fans decided to have an annual party to celebrate bad craziness. I've been partying with them since 1984, and there are now three annual events: Convention, Fiesta, and Oktoberfest. I am usually too busy cooking and drinking to take food photos, but not this time.)

The day began with omeletes from Professor Charles Merguerian, star of History Channel, font of geographical knowlege, and leader of tunneling expeditions, among other things.

We also enjoyed some gorgeous smoked salmon procured directly from the source by Fisherman Ken.

As the day progressed, and multiple beers were consumed, more food appeared than I could photograph. Fortunately, I did take these few pix, since the soup Bob made (bean soup, with bacon from our Berkshire hog and a "from scratch" pork stock) was fully cooked and just needed to be heated and served out with the two loaves of bread (dang, didn't get any photos of those).

During this part of the day, pierogies were sauteed, and Sherry's awesome potato soup was served. Victor brought his delightfully spiced chicken skewers, and even Jean got into the act by cooking up some lovely gnocchi in cream sauce.

Chef Ken (retired Officer), as per usual, provided the, uh, fart factor -

Kraut, Smoked Pork, Weiss Wurst, German Frankfurters

Ken also made a delicious Sauerbraten:

By the time the sweets came out (I MUST photograph one of Sherry's trifles one of these days), we were pretty sated.

But we are never too sated for NY pizza - especially when the party day is long. So, after darkness fell and the party broke up, Bob and I again found ourselves at Gino's Pizza, 6132 Springfield Blvd., Flushing, NY 11364-2336, to use the facilities and have a nosh before driving back to East Northport.

Bread Service

Gino's starts us with their house-made bread, even if we only order pizza. It is always hot and delicious.

Small Quattro Formagia Pizza (Four Cheese)

Tender, yet chewy crust, perfectly melted cheeses - what more can I say?

We returned to the suburbs happy. And then the Yankees won against Anaheim (and my brother and nephew were at the Stadium to watch it!).

Sunday morning was pack up time. The benches are wrapped in a moving blanket - the real reason for showing you this is the three Emilios pizza boxes stacked neatly in the trunk!

I had to have a peek!

We started the journey home with all three pizzas intact. We wended our way across Long Island, over the recently renamed RFK Memorial Bridge (known previously as the Triborough), up the Harlem River Drive, across the George Washington, and into New Jersey.

New Jersey has some of the lowest gasoline prices in the country (and legally forbids self-service), so we always gas up there. The last time we waited for our tank to get empty, we were almost out of the state, and the facilities at the gas station at which we stopped were rudimentary.

Somehow, we managed to do the same thing this time, and wound up again exiting US 80 at Allamuchy. This time, though, we turned left instead of right, and hoped to do better than we had before. We wound up at a small strip mall (Panther Valley Mall), where we gassed up and then sought a bathroom. (again, the gas station facilities weren't terribly inviting, but at least this time, there was a strip mall offering other potential options right next door).

Even though we had three huge pizzas in the car, we checked out Terranova Pizzeria - Trattoria, State Highway 517, Allamuchy, NJ 07820, 908-852-7606.

We entered and inquired about the facilities - the gentleman behind the counter pointed and off we went. Even though nothing had been said and no signs were posted - we wanted to buy something, because we appreciated the use of the facilities and this was obviously a mom-and-pop type business, which was very empty at the moment. But what to get?

Neapolitan Pizza

Sicilian Pizza

Garlic Knots


Aha - Stromboli! That was the ticket. Hopefully neat to eat.

Chicken Parm and Cheese


Mine was Chicken Parmigiana and cheese, Bob's had veggies, meats and cheese. So much for neat eating. Fortunately, the grease dropped on my shirt and not on the car.

We ate some right away while it was hot, then packed the rest away for later. After we arrived home, we re-heated and served what was left in a more civilized manner. It was freshly made from real ingredients, and the perfect ending to our long trip!

Chicken Parm & Cheese with Marinara Sauce

Bob's with Sausage, Pepperoni, Onions, Peppers and Mushrooms

I will end this post about our NY trip with whole pie shots of the remaining Emilio's pizzas, which had been in the fridge overnight by the time I took them.



Unfortunately (or perhaps, actually, fortunately) most of this pizza is in the freezer right now - because two days after we got home from NY, we were off to Chicago. More food photos to come shortly - because after playing with our food in NY, we really played with our food in Chicago!


  1. I had a project I was working on in Huntington and would actually stop at Reinwald's at lunchtime so I had something decent for dessert after dinner. Since I stayed in Commack there weren't many viable options outside of the chains. If anything, I'm a little surprised at the overall quality of the places on Long Island. Reinwald's is a favorite.

  2. @Dine - the quality of the food at Premier Diner never ceases to amaze me - if you are staying at the Hampton Inn by the LIE - it is in your parking lot. I always get fish there and I've never been disappointed.