by amvandenhurk | Life, Lifestyle, Restaurant Review
Obsession with Fries
Potato products are their own food group in my mind. They are the perfect food and can be prepared in many yummy ways. I like my potatoes and I love my fries. I grew up with chip shops in Ireland and McDonald’s fries in the US though now my go-to fast food fries are Five Guys. Malt vinegar or ketchup. Perfection.
But then I visited my friend Lieve in Beliguim in the early 1990s where frankly everything tastes good in Beliguim, the world of Belgian fries was opened to me. Belgians use peanut oil and double fry their fries or as they say in Belgium and The Netherlands, “frites.” The extra enough is worth it. And the toppings one could put on the fries. It just wasn’t vinegar, ketchup, or mayo, but different sauces like the tomato-based Andalouse, the spicy like Sriracha Pili-pili, the tangy BBQ-like Brasil sauce, the combination of mayonnaise with Tunisian chili, some spice, tomatoes, and bell peppers that makes Samourai sauce and finally, Pitta-pitta is aioli sauce with hints of dill. All are super. For me, it takes the fries from being a side to a full meal.
Friskie Fries Newport
Friskie Fries Newport takes the American fry into the same diva level as Belgian Frites. Friskie Fries is a meal, not just a snack. You have to be a champion fry eater to finish your container. By the way, I have, but then didn’t eat my dinner I was still so full.
I can’t say no to fries. And I can’t say no to fries with toppings. Friskie Fries is a RI-based food group. They started out with a food truck where they had great success allowing them to open a place in Providence. The Friskie Fries Group has 5-6 places. Newport is the most recent place and I am glad to have them here now. I know Rhode Island is a small state, but driving 30-45 mins for fries was a bit much for my husband so I just stalked Friskie Fries to open in Newport. They did. They are located at 404 Thames Street in Newport. A perfect location for them.
Friskie Fries Newport has toppings and sauces. They have 11 topped fries or know as dressed fries:
#1 Friskie Fries – Signature beef chili and cheese
#2 Cluck-U – Crispy chicken/buffalo sauce/blue cheese dressing & crumbles.
#3 Lil’ Piggie – Pulled pork/wasabi cucumber slaw/BBQ drizzle
#4 Disco Dottie – Poutine Handmade Vermont cheddar curd/Brown gravy
#5 Rhode Kill – NY System Weiner Bits/ Meat sauce/onion/mustard/celery salt
#6 The Alley Cat – Fresh Garlic/Olive oil, Parmesan
#7 Miss Potato Head – Sour cream/Smoked bacon/Fresh chives/Sharp cheddar
#8 Fowl Play – Crispy chicken/Mozzarella/Parmesan/Red sauce
#9 Cat’l Call – Philly Cheese Steak seasoned shaved steak/Cheddar
#10 Cinn-Fully Sweet – Cinnamon-sugar/Whipped cream
#11 S’Morsome – Melted chocolate/Mini marshmallows/Graham cracker crumbs
They also have sauces: mayo, honey mustard, horseradish, blue cheese, BBQ, sweet chili, sriracha, boom boom, buffalo, Hidden Valley ranch, and cheese.
It is fry nirvana. Is your mouth watering? Mine is. The old fashioned oyster container which today we associate Chinese food is perfect to carry fries with all their toppings. These all are a meal to themselves or sharable for two people; however, I have fry greed and eat my own.
So if you are in the mood for a fries with amazing toppings and flavors in a fun place then Friskie Fries Newport or any other of there shops throughout Rhode Island. Skip McDonald’s, Friskie Fries is all about fries. That’s their jam.
by amvandenhurk | Restaurant Review
It was a hot lazy Saturday afternoon. Perfect afternoon for sushi. We had been very busy all morning. Busier than usual on a Saturday. It was way after lunchtime and none of us were in the mood to make anything. I was in the mood for something different. After all, I can’t live on crisp bread, cheese, and avocados. OK maybe I could live on it, but that is another post. We decided that sushi sounded good for a late lunch.
Where to go locally for really decent sushi for lunch?
The key words there was decent sushi for lunch. That’s hard to come by living in a rural community in North Carolina. Not exactly top of folks’ list for favorite foods. We had found a good Japanese restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina; however, we were not in the mood to drive the thirty-plus miles one-way. Off to the Googles I went to see if there were any Japanese restaurants in Rocky Mount, the closest city to us. Of course the standard hibachi and all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets came up. Not for us. Then I noticed Tokyo Express.
You can dine-in or take-away at Tokyo Express. It looks like it was at some point a fast food restaurant, so it isn’t the most fanciest of places. We spent the meal trying to figure it out and we didn’t in the end. The decor is plain, functional and very clean. It is counter service where you place then pick-up your order. The service is friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. Always a good sign.
The menu is diverse so everybody should find something to their liking. Tokyo Express offers sushi, hibachi, and soba. The menu wasn’t vast which is good. It means the ingredients tend to be fresh and the end product is good. That’s what you want in a sushi place or for that matter any restaurant serving fish.
What we ate
Spicy Eel Roll
We went for sushi and that’s what we had. Though the soba noodles were enticing, I stuck to sushi. Next time I’ll have the soba noodles. We asked for recommendations ordering four rolls: California, spicy crab, spicy eel, and dragon tiger roll. All were made to order. And all were very good. We dipped on soy sauce instead of the yum yum sauce. We’re traditional like that.
I really enjoyed the spicy eel. The eel as BBQ’d. The spicy crab roll was nice.
Dragon Tiger Roll
We tried sometime that we never would have unless it was recommended to us: the dragon tiger roll. It is tuna and avocado that is breaded and fried then rolled in caviar topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce. It was good; however, it is something you share with a crowd. I could only have one or two pieces.
The portions were generous. We left with enough for another lunch. The price range was $5.49 to $.8.49. Well worth every penny.
I’ve got two suggestions that would improve the dining experience. The first suggestion is when dining in use actually flatware and plates. The food is worth being served on plates. Second suggestion is to have servers bring the food out to the table. Tokyo Express has great food and these upgrades would make it a dining experience.
Tokyo Express Info
2816 Sunset Avenue
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Drive Thru, Dine In, and Carry Out.
by amvandenhurk | Restaurant Review
Good Mexican Food in Tarboro NC
UPDATED August 3, 2016 – The restaurant has changed management and it isn’t as it was when it first opened. Very disappointing that this has happened since it was outstanding.
Looking for good Mexican food in Tarboro? Moctezuma Mexican Cuisine is much better than good, it is outstanding.
I’m picky about my Mexican food having grown up outside of Kennett Square, PA and Wilmington, DE with large Mexican communities. I’m not a fan of Mex-Tex cuisine. I think it is too heavy and greasy where everything is made overly spicy. So I’m skeptical walking into just any Mexican restaurant.
Due to my McDonald’s beverage addiction, I’ve been passing Moctezuma and watching the restaurant evolve from a shell into a welcoming restaurant for a couple months. Among my friends, we’ve been watching and waiting for the restaurant to open up since the other Mexican restaurant in town isn’t up to our standards. When it opened, my friends tried it and the reviews came back thumbs up. So we had to make our way there.
What We Ate
Moctezuma Mexican Cuisine’s menu is vast. Eight pages to select from.
All the meals we ate was served with refined beans and rice. The refried beans were superb. They were fresh, creamy, and light. The rice was moist and perfectly seasoned.
This is the standard for us. Every Mexican restaurant we visit we try the pork carnitas. These were amazing. The meat was moist, tender, and flavorful. Not a bit of fat anywhere.
Carnitas de Res
Carnitas de Res is steak strips grilled with peppers and onions. The meat was tender with the peppers and onions cook perfectly.
With such a vast menu, I couldn’t make up my mind, the waitress suggested chicken taquitos. It is chicken and cheese wrapped then deep fried.
Flan is another standard from me. I love Flan and its creamy goodness. Their flan is homemade and is pretty perfect. In fact, I could have just made a meal out of it. The portion, like with every dish we had, was generous, but why would you share your flan?
This is a great find and a gem for a small town. A family run and family friendly place for everyone to enjoy.
Food: Everything was fresh and seasonings were just right.
Staff: The waitstaff was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. The owners were bringing food out from the kitchen and talking with patrons. The kitchen was efficient and smooth. That’s a feat for a newly opened restaurant to be working like clock work so early on.
Drinks: While I don’t drink, they have an extensive drinks menu. I’m pretty sure they can make a pretty mean Margarita.
Price: The prices were reasonable with dinners all well under $20. For the quality and quantity of food, it is worth every penny.
We’ll be back and pretty sure will become regulars. And next time I have my eye on the traditional sopas offered as well as their seafood dishes.
Moctezuma Mexican Cuisine
1600 West Howard Avenue, Suite 7
Tarboro, NC 27886
They are located next to the Parkhill Cinema.
by amvandenhurk | Restaurant Review
Restaurant Review: Northern Neck Burger Co.
You know a good burger when you find it. And a good burger is hard to find these days of frozen patties compressed into uniformed shapes. Here comes the Northern Neck Burger Co. making a mighty tasty burger. It is a brand new restaurant in Kilmarnock, Virginia opening in December of 2013.
All they do is burgers. And well. I had the Ultimate Bacon Burger, which is applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on brioche bun. They add their special secret sauce called ‘Rivah’ sauce. I believe it is mayo, ketchup, and Old Bay seasoning. Whatever it was, it was good.
And what would a good burger be without its sidekick of a fried potato product? They do hand cut ‘twisters’ lightly seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and they were good. They came out in one long spiral making them fun to eat.
Prices are good for the quality and quantity of the burgers between $6-$10. They do have meatless burgers and children-sized portions. The atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxed and cheeky. Nothing fancy, but fun. Feels like you’re on holiday and that’s something we all can dig.
So skip the chain burger joints and go local for burger perfection.
Northern Neck Burger Co.
62 Irvington Road
Kilmarnock, VA 22482
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Restaurant Review, Travel
There is something about fried food at the beach that is so good. We enjoy our fish and chips in the Van den Hurk family. And being Irish, I’m genetically disposed to craving fish and chips. With lots of malt vinegar doused on it. To the disgust of my Dutch husband who prefers a mayo-based sauce for fried potatoes.
When I’m Rehoboth beach in Delaware, I love to eat at GoFish. It is a British fish and chip shop on Rehoboth Avenue near the boardwalk. It has been there forever by beach standards… over a decade now. It is offers the best in British comfort food: fish and chips, batter sausages and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and mushy peas. It is fresh. The coating is crisp and flavorful. All of it is fried to perfection.
Don’t forget to save home for dessert. GoFish has some amazing desserts. I didn’t have dessert this time; however, the sticky toffee pudding is wonderful.
After finishing your meal, go for a stroll on one the nicest beach boardwalks in the country. Just watch out for the seagulls… though I hear that’s good luck.
by amvandenhurk | Bread, Breakfast, Lifestyle, Restaurant Review, Travel
Salt Lake City – A Foodie Town
I traveled to Salt Lake City to speak at the National Federation of Presswomen
annual conference. I didn’t know much about Salt Lake City outside of the Winter Olympics and the Church of Latter-Day Saints. And to be honest, I didn’t really have any food expectations.
Salt Lake City is quite a foodie place. In fact, it was hard to select a place to eat due to the great selection. I had two meals outside of the conference. And I have to admit the meals at the Salt Lake Marriott City Center
were very good. They served us three meals day of varied, tasty fare. They were very accommodating to those with special dietary needs and provided nice meals. As an aside, this was one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in years. It was amazing. The rooms were lovely; the bathroom was huge. It was spotless. The staff was outstanding and very attentive. If you travel to Salt Lake City, I’d really recommend it.
Where I ate…
Back to the food. On arriving, I joined a group of wonderful women from Virginia for dinner. We walked to the nearby tapas cafe bar, Martine. Felt like an old-school European cafe. They had a simple, fresh menu. The specials were outstanding. You could chose from tapas, small plates, entrees, or a three-course prix fixe menu. I chose off the tapas menu, so I could enjoy a couple different dishes.
I started with the Creminelli Salami and Local Cheese Plate. Delightful. Everything was local sourced. The salami was made a few blocks away. The cheeses were amazing. The crusty bread brought to the table by our very well-informed server, Sara, was perfect to enjoy this plate with. I would have been happy just eating this.
I then selected the Grilled Beef Tenderloin Tips with Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette and House
Garlic Chips. The flavors were amazing. The beef tenderloin was cooked perfectly. Moist and tender. The vinaigrette worked with the beef nicely.
I can’t say no to a nice dessert. And I have to love a place, which has a separate dessert menu. I chose the Chocolate Decadence with Palmier and Mascarpone Cream. This was a flour-less cake. I found the cake rich, but not overwhelming. It was the perfect balance to the tapas.
The portion sizes worked. Though afterwards I was actually full. It was a happy full. The prices I think were reasonable for the quality of the food.
Before I speak I like to have a moment of quiet. So on the morning of my presentation, I sought a nice place to have breakfast… you know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It does set the tone. Off to wonder the streets in the early morning I went in search of the French bakery, Gourmandise. There is something special about cities early in the morning. There is a stillness. And there is nothing more fulfilling than being the first person at a bakery in the morning. All I have to say is wow. It was amazing. I don’t remember the last time I was in a proper bakery. This was a proper bakery of European standards. I think I could have spent all day working my way through the pastry cases. Yes, I wrote cases; I’ve only showed a quarter of them in the photo above right.
The basket of fresh, warm crusty rolls called my name. It was served with real butter and a selection of jams. I asked for some cheese, which they gladly shared with me.
While I love my omelet breakfast (and frankly only; because, it is healthy helping me lose weight), I prefer this type of breakfast any day. Nothing beats crusty rolls with butter and cheese in my mind.
Unless we are talking about croissants. And this bakery had three types: regular, pain chocolate, and almond. It was a hard selection to make, but I went with almond. I was not disappointed. Perfection. Moist, flakey, and still warm from the oven.
Now I couldn’t just have any drink to wash down this wonderful breakfast. I went with the chai latte. It hit the spot. Tea with spices and warm milk. Delightful.
I was in heaven. And if I died right at the bakery, I would have died with a huge smile on my face.
I did indulge a bit on this trip, but that’s OK. I’m a food blogger. I had to have something to write about, right? Let’s just say I won’t be stepping on any scales right now.
All and all a very good foodie experience. Don’t be afraid to wander around a city looking for good food. It will make your visit more enjoyable. Food is an adventure. And can give you a sense of the city.