Tag Archives: Restaurants

Island Inspired

18 Jun

Long Island’s beaches are awesome. It’s impossible for me to dislike the Atlantic I grew up swimming in. However, even though the word island is in the name, you can’t ignore that its definitely not of the tropical variety that people fantasize about vacationing at.

Luckily, there’s a new restaurant that brings  that tropical state of mind to Long Island: Rumba Rum Bar and Restaurant, located in Hampton Bays. The decor is not of the blatant tropical kitsch variety; but instead is comprised of dark woods, slow rotating ceiling fans, vibrant colors and water views. Sure the servers wear Hawaiian shirts, but it’s a subdued print. Live reggae music is played on certain nights, and there are specialty drink nights as well.

Primarily a rum bar, Rumba’s list of rums available is extensive. I ordered a Dark & Stormy: Gosling’s dark rum, ginger beer and a bit of lime. My only disappointment was that it wasn’t served in one of the mason jars they use to serve their house sangria. We couldn’t sample everything on the menu but my dinner date and I started off with two appetizers, the Oysters Hampton and the Duck Empanadas. The Oysters Hampton are golden fried oysters served with a creamy reggiano dip, hot sauce and and a garlic aoli.

I can’t speak for how they tasted since I will not eat oysters, but I loved the clean presentation of the dish. I ordered the Duck Empanadas under the advice of our server, who shares my opinion that normally duck is disgusting but you don’t even think that with these empanadas. He was right. The empanadas (though I think they really resemble samosas more) are a pastry filled with duck meat, peppers and spicy queso. Even though I loathe duck, it was nice to see it used in a new way since it is a locally raised meat. Even though the cuisine is island inspired at Rumba, it pays homage to the local resources of Long Island.

For an entree, I had the Jumbo Crab Cakes with a stone ground mustard, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable of the day. The crab cakes and the vegetables were the stars of the dish, the potatoes merely were alright. I think I should have ordered one of the more inspired dishes on the menu, but I can’t ignore a crab cake craving. The other entree ordered at my table was the Jerk Chicken Platter served over coconut risotto and with a mango papaya honey salsa. Apparently, this was absolutely delicious. I should have taken a picture of the empty plate.

Dessert is being saved for another night, probably when I go back to try their trio of tacos available for lunch, and hopefully one when balmy breezes float off the water and really transport me.


Irish Repertory Theater Gala

16 Jun

The Irish Repertory Theater in New York was created 22 years ago. Their mission is to produce the works of Irish / Irish American playwrights (both masters and contemporaries) for American audience, and to encourage the development of new works. Monday night was their annual gala dinner, which my family has gone to ever since my dad has become involved with the theater company. We were invited to their production of Brigadoon, followed by a dinner at Sardi’s across the street.

Of course, my family decided to have a party before the party. Appetizers and drinks at Langans Bar & Restaurant in the theater district, specifically 150 W 47th st. I ate way too much. Let’s just say appetizers ranged from guacamole or loaded potato skins to dim sum and beef samosas. If you’re looking for a nice restaurant in this district, and want to avoid the chain restaurants, Langan’s is really great. Service is super friendly and the food is very good. I should know, my family has been eating here for years.

After about two hours, we walked ( I rolled) up a few blocks to the Shubert theatre to watch the one night performance of Brigadoon.

Matthew Broderick was hosting, and I tried to get a picture, but the stage lighting basically turned him into a ghost in every shot. No facial features were to be found at all. Then the cast performed Brigadoon, the story of the scottish town that only appears every hundred years.

If you’re wondering why an Irish theater company put on a scottish play, I’m just going to quote Matthew Broderick’s explanation: “The Scots and the Irish are the same people…the Irish just knew how to swim.”

I actually love when a performance is essentially a reading, when you can see the scripts and there are no sets or costumes.  You can really focus on the words, music, and the actor’s craft.

Sardi’s was the final stop for the evening.

Honestly I was not impressed by Sardi’s. I liked the proximity to the Shubert, and trying to figure out which person the sketches on the wall were of, but it felt rather dated inside. It was also jam packed with all the tables we had to use to fit everyone. After the play, I much would rather have gone back for another drink at Langan’s.

A Tale of Two Sandwiches

24 May

Generally, I eat pretty healthy. I love my vegetables, fruits and whole grains. I go weak in the knees for goat cheese.  Even though in January I went a month without meat, I do eat it. I just couldn’t say goodbye to bacon. I just usually try to limit it to once a week or so, but this past week that number has been a little higher. You’ll see why in a few seconds.

Sunday I went down to Long Beach yet again. By the time August rolls around, I”m pretty sure I will have sampled nearly every restaurant in the West End. As much as I love the Beach House, I told my boyfriend I couldn’t eat there again. After all, I had just been there Friday and there are too many places I’ve yet to visit.  I’m pretty sure I made his day when I enthusiastically agreed with his request to go to Swingbelly’s BBQ.

I’ve seen their sign every time I walked in the area, but Sunday the smell of BBQ wafting across the street was too much to ignore. Inside the decor is fun, with the walls full of different statement making signs. It’s an odd mix of surf town vibe and down south.  Since the last time I had pulled pork was over a year ago, I knew exactly what I was going to order. Sandwich number one: Pulled Pork on a bun.

This meal arrived after our appetizer of fried pickles and I had consumed my first Shipyard IPA. I had ordered grilled vegetables to balance out the meal (and ignored all but two of the fries), but I devoted my appetite to that pulled pork. It was delicious. I had ordered it with the smokey bbq sauce (you can pick from several options), and I ate every last bite.

I can’t eat fried food and bbq every week, and there is no way I will ever even want to attempt the Swingbelly’s Challenge, but next time I have the craving for bbq I know exactly where I’ll be going.

909 W. Beech St. Long Beach


I came home later that afternoon and was in charge of cooking for my family once again. I try to wean them off of meat centric meals for every day of the week, and there is no way I could have had meat myself after that first sandwich. Instead, I whipped up Mark Bittman’s Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes from the last issue of Cooking Light.

Boy were these good. Instead of like sandwich one, which was basically meat on a bun, sandwich two was made with just six oz of ground turkey. Most of the bulk was made of grated carrots, crushed tomatoes, mashed / whole red kidney beans, and the different spices. The whole wheat buns were stacked with red onion slices, and served along with a simple side of steamed broccoli.

The two sandwiches were definitely on two different sides of the nutritious eating spectrum,but both were so incredibly good. I’m going into a food coma just remembering these meals.

2 May

Is there anything better than a waterside town filled with restaurants, at dusk in early summer?

I didn’t think so.

And for anyone who visits Port Jefferson, Pasta Pasta is an absolutely delicious option. Especially the individual chocolate and peanut butter mousse cake. Or spinach ciambelli topped with broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, pignoli nuts and grilled chicken in marsala wine sauce. Or the escargot wantons.

3 Feb

This blog has definitely been rather heavy on the art side this week, so as promised I returned to Waterzooi for happy hour last night. I had two of their Trappist ales, the Chimay Blue and the Westmalle Dubble. A Trappist ale, in order to be called as such, must be brewed by Trappist monks and only seven monasteries are allowed to officially label their brews as an authentic Trappist product.

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
  • The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  • The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.

Beer #1 - Chimay Blue

I preferred the Chimay Blue to the Westmalle Dubble, even though that one was described as having a nose of chocolate and caramel with hints of banana and date. But that’s not to say I won’t give Westmalle another chance. Along with the drinks, my friend and I completely indulged and had multiple platefuls of the free mussels and fries. Happy Hour at Waterzooi? Definitely the way to go.



18 Jan

Last night I went to Waterzooi, a Belgian restaurant that is known for their giant cauldrons of mussels. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this place: great environment, super friendly service, delicious food and an extensive list of Belgian beers. This time around I ordered the Montrachet mussels which are prepared in a white wine sauce with goat cheese and roasted red peppers ( I have to admit I ordered this just for the sake of the goat cheese). While good, I have to admit I prefer their mussels fra diavolo.

On a side note (this is nothing against Waterzooi) but I hate when the anticipation of eating a delicious mussel is ruined by finding out that the shell is empty.

Next time I go, it will be during happy hour when there are complimentary mussels and fries. I also promise I’ll start adding pictures to my posts. I just have to remember to bring a camera with me. I’m still getting into the swing of this.