Thursday, June 28, 2012


Cooperstown Diner
136 1/2 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY

My husband and I went to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday.  Cooperstown is a great small town. During the tourist season the men seem to outnumber the women by 50 to 1.  Before you single girls get your hopes up let me just say the majority of the boys are about 12 - you know little leaguers.  And 12 year olds have hearty appetites so restaurants abound.  We needed a little insight to help us decide.

While waiting on line to enter, we got to talking with a very nice museum tour guide and we asked him where we should eat in town.  He said he eats in 2 places - The Cooperstown Cafe and the Cooperstown Diner.  Before I could say another word he said "If you want a good burger go to the diner.  I eat there everyday."  I love a good burger so the diner it was.  If you blink you might miss this place - its what we call a hole in the wall, but worth looking for.

How do I describe these burgers?  Fitting for a Major League ball player!  In a word - huge.
My comment when the burger came was "Oh my my!"

The yellow is mustard I covered the cheese and bacon with.
We both ordered the deluxe burgers with lettuce, tomato and a side.  I got mine with the gluten-free no bun bacon and cheese with a side of cole slaw option; my hubby got his burger with bacon and onion rings.  He loves onion rings and these were just the way he likes them - real onion rings, sliced thick and batter dipped.

The website says that this is "the biggest burger in the smallest diner"  It should add best to that statement . This is one of the best burgers we have had anywhere.  It's about half a pound of 100% pure beef cooked perfectly to order.  My hubby and I were pondering just how they might go about cooking something this thick so perfectly without burning any part of it.  It was juicy and cooked as ordered throughout, not just around the edges.

We also ordered 2 fresh brewed iced teas. Yes they were fresh brewed and yes they came with free refills.  As you can see from the size of the burgers - we skipped dinner last night.

Bottom line -
Lunch with 2 platters and 2 drinks, tax and tip - $27.00
Would I eat there again - yes but I would probably share the burger.
Special attraction - go for the burgers or breakfast (which is served all day)
We dined on June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Joseph Leonard
170 Waverly Place

On this Thursday Annie and I tried a place recommended by Annie's sister Susie.  As Susie said "Girrrlll, you've gotta have one of their drinks"  followed by and the food was . . .
So off we went - west on Christopher Street, where the streets intersect in ways that only occur in the West Village of Manhattan, until we came to Waverly Place.

From the outside the place seems very small but once you become part of the dining room it seems to open up wide.  We sat on the second tier by an open window overlooking a triangle of green on Christopher Street.

Girl - the drinks.  The cocktails are fresh, inventive and hard to choose a single one.  But choose we did and settled on a K'Naan which came with a very nice story about its creation and naming.  It has dark rum, maple syrup and smoked pineapple - 3 of my favorite things.  The smoke flavor was unusual.

We started with appetizer's.  I had deviled eggs on an arugula salad with white anchovy.  The eggs were cooked perfectly with yolks of creamy goodness flavored with just he right amount of dijon mustard to give it a bite but not enough to linger too long.  They were served atop a bed of delicately dressed arugula and halved grape tomatoes.  Annie had 6 of the freshest oysters, from MA. She paired them with a nice spinach and parmesan salad dressed in just the right amount of balsamic and herbs
The smokey pineapple didn't set right with Annie so when I ordered my second K'Naan, she ordered a glass of Rose Cava served in a saucer type champagne glass.  We loved the kitsch of the glass - it so fit the ambiance of the restaurant.  As we sat their sipping our drinks and waiting for our entrees I felt like I was sitting in a restaurant in Grand Case, St Martine. Yes - its that kind of good.

For entree Annie had crispy braised pork hock. It was a pork shank that was so tender it just fell off the bone atop a bed of arugula.

I ordered the skate wing (fish) atop frisee.  It came to the table breaded, as I held my breath and pointed, Andrew the waiter said "rice flour".  I just about squealed in delight - delicious.

We were served a side order of shredded and sautéed brussell sprouts lightly topped with sriracha.  Again delicious.

So we ate past room for dessert once again. Surprise!

I think I want to have dinner here for my birthday.

Bottom line
Dinner with 4 drinks, 3 appetizers, 2 entrees tax and tip $170.00
Would I eat hear again - Definitely
Special feature - The ambiance of the entire establishment is fabulous.
We dined on June 14, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012


168 West 4th Street (just west of 6th Avenue)

This Thursday Annie and I found Tio Pepe while wondering east on West 4th Street.  As we were looking at the menu posted at the entrance, we were warmly greeted and invited in.  We couldn't resist the charm of both the host and the atmosphere.

We sat at a tiled top table near the front of the restaurant.  The storefront windows were completely opened adding to the cafe charm.  But this is not a small place.  They also have a garden greenhouse in the back.  The decor is Castilian Spanish by way of Mexico.  And to some degree so is the menu.

Annie started with a straight up Mojito.  I opted for the Tequila version with sprit and orange juice added to the Mojitos sugar, lime and mint.  Chips and a nicely spicy salsa came also.  Both were yummy.

We shared nachos for an appetizer.

You never know what you're gonna get when you order nachos.  Everyone uses the same ingredients - its the architecture that varies.

These were the kind that are individually made, each with its own healthy piling of creamy black bean, melted cheese and topped with a ring of jalapeño.  In the center of the plate was some shredded lettuce and sour cream.  Good for this type nacho.  Just the right amount of each ingredient on a just the right amount of crisp chip.  I wondered why there was no guacamole on the plate and then saw the mobile table side guacamole station roll by.  Guacamole is made fresh to order at ones table.  (Next time!)

Annie ordered the Mariscada en Salsa Verde but asked for the Ajillo sauce instead - no problem.  The dish was lobster, gulf shrimp, clams and mussels in garlic and olive oil.  Annie loves shell fish and lobster.
It must have been good cause she picked that crustacean clean, not an occupied shell left on the plate.

I ordered Lubina a la Vasca - sea bass, clams, mussels and gulf shrimp in parsley, garlic and white wine.  As usual I talked to the waiter about my gluten intolerance and was told that there was no flour or various other gluten products in our selections.  And if I wanted my dish prepared another way that would be no problem.  The sea bass was perfectly cooked as were the shell fish.  The sauce was light and not distracting and the fresh peas added just the right amount of fun and color.  I enjoyed it very much.

Both entrees came with yellow rice - which was soft and creamy in texture yet not at all mushy.
Very good food along with very nice customer service.  Water glasses were filled promptly when they got low, plates were cleared as they were emptied and the staff were very attentive even though they were 2/3 full.

Bottom line
Dinner with 2 drinks, 1 appetizer and 2 entrees including tax and tip $100.00
Would I eat there again - Yes
Special feature - Atmosphere - people watching if you opt for the front dining room, romantic if you opt for the garden.

Monday, June 4, 2012


94 Christopher Street
between Bleeker and Bedford Streets (closer to Bleeker)

A nice little spot tucked away in a tiny west village storefront. But the real attraction for us came with the word “Garden” on the sign we spotted in the window as we were wondering west on Christopher Street.
The Garden is in back of the restaurant.  It’s covered with a canopy and green house type thing, well hidden from city life. The area is planted with a few nice plants. A drawback is that boxwood is not my favorite scent to have around food, a factor not made better by the incense sticks that were lit by the wait staff and placed around the yard.  Not overwhelming enough to deter us as the incense faded and we quickly became accustomed to the plant life.
As it was early in the evening we lucked out on happy hour and enjoyed a couple of $5.00 Mojito’s.  Very nicely made with fresh lime, mint and a juicy piece of sugar cane about 7” long that quickly became a tasty chew toy.  Warning – they are healthy, you can just taste the rum.
Moving on to the food.  We each ordered an appetizer and shared them.

Annie ordered the Ceviche.  It was made with shrimp, scallop & calamari, slithers of red and orange peppers, onions, cilantro & lime juice. It was a tad too spicy - and I like spicy. Annie’s standard for great Ceviche is that it should make her feel like she’s on tropical vacation.  This one missed.  It was still good – just no vacation.
For appetizer I ordered Chorizo.  I explained to the waiter that I was Gluten intolerant and he said no problem, it was not made with any wheat or wheat products or stuff like that.  Out came nicely prepared chorizo sautéed in caramelized onions sitting on 2 slices of bread.  (Sorry no photo) I scooped mine off the top without half of the item touching the bread and queried the waiter about my entrée, again he assured me that the entrée I ordered would be OK.

Annie ordered Roast Suckling Pig from the standard menu.  It came with yucca and a side order of rice made with black beans so the rice looked blackened.  The portion was healthy. Pork was moist but a little bland, the rice was made very well but the standout on the plate was the yucca.  Yucca can be dry, this yucca was moist and very flavorful.

I ordered the seafood special – shark with mussels accompanied by yellow rice with asparagus.  The shark was very good. The mussels were cooked just right and
arranged around a timbale of rice that sat in the middle.  Annie loved the way the rice looked with its rich orange color against the bright green cylinders of asparagus scattered throughout. Did I say the shark was very good? The mussels were moist and the rice was as tasty as it was colorful.

We were too full for dessert so we opted for a stroll north along the West Side Promenade picking up 2  coffees along the way.

Bottom Line
Cost for 2 drinks, 2 appetizers and 2 entrees with tax and tip $94.00
Would I eat here again – Yes
Special feature - Garden