New Rochelle Diner – Breakfast Review

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The “new” New Rochelle Diner opened directly across from the Home Depot over a year ago. Getting into the diner parking lot is a bit tricky, when turning around the bend from Main Street towards the Home Depot.  The entrance comes up fast so be ready for it.

The diner’s interior is popping with bright orange accent colors along with oversized photos of New Rochelle.  I loved the retro feel all around the diner, inside and out.  I met two friends for breakfast there a few weeks ago.  Their breakfast menu provided a wide and diverse selection of interesting items. Coffee is very important to me at breakfast.  It has to be good!  The coffee was okay, a bit too strong and not flavorful enough.  The second cup was better.  One friend ordered the pancakes, which she noted were cooked perfect and of generous size.  My other friend ordered a fresh mushroom omelet with home fries.  The omelet was well done and flavorful, home fries were average, just potatoes without onions or peppers.  I ordered the waffle.  It was cooked to my taste, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  While the diner had real butter, they did not have real maple syrup.  (Most diners will have the real maple syrup for an extra fee.)  Frequent refills of coffee were offered, and Angel our waiter was very attentive and friendly.  The ladies rest room was spotless and very eye appealing, really done up right.  In my book, if the rest room is really clean, I assume the kitchen is as well.  Our bill came to $30.39 for three people, very reasonable.

Don’t wait for the next time you are going to Costco or Home Depot to visit the New Rochelle Diner. Make the New Rochelle Diner your place to go all the time!

Where do you go to breakfast? Please share the name and town of your favorite breakfast spot in the comment section.

New Rochelle Diner, 850 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY 10805,

914-637-7525

Moms in Cars Getting Coffee – Bluestone Coffee Co. Breakfast Review

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Jerry Seinfeld’s show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, is one of my favorite binge TV addictions. After reading about the You Tube videos, my hands flew to the keyboard and I got hooked after the first episode. I now watch them on the Crackle channel on TV so I can get a dose of happiness in less than 30 minutes. I’m a huge fan of some of the great comedians featured in the show, and have become a fan of many more that were new to me.

My friend, Maura, lives in New Jersey. When I realized that an episode featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert was filmed at a coffee place in Jersey, I knew it was a sign! I immediately contacted Maura and asked if the Bluestone Coffee Co. in Montclair, NJ was close to where she lived…and happily, it was. After some coaxing (ok, begging) she agreed to come with me to the Bluestone Coffee Co. to do a breakfast review. Along with the begging on my part, I also had to practically pinky swear not to talk to everyone we met. This is usually very difficult for me, but those are the sacrifices I make for Somebody’s Mom.

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We set out in Maura’s 2009 grey blue Chevy Malibu, the interior, unforgettable, because I forgot, the horsepower, I have no idea and really don’t care. Jerry would not be very proud of me, since I lack any and all car knowledge which he always talks about at the beginning of his show.
There was metered parking available on the street in front of the Bluestone Coffee Co., and a charming outdoor space dotted with black wrought iron tables and chairs with colorful flower center pieces and sugar sticks adorning each table. I confess I couldn’t resist snagging a couple of sugar sticks in my bag to research on the Internet later, of course, when Maura wasn’t looking. The atmosphere inside and outside was very Bohemian and relaxed. It felt like a favorite neighborhood hangout, very busy for a Thursday morning. Inside were bluestone tiles centered by wooden framed tables, hence the name Bluestone Coffee Co.

Maura felt like an early lunch and I felt like a late breakfast. She ordered the BLT on Texas toast with honey mustard on the side. I ordered the Zucchini Parmesan Frittata served with rosemary potatoes and toast. I chose the challah bread toasted without butter. To my dismay, they had no real butter pats, just the mystery whipped diner concoction – (is it butter, is it margarine? no one knows for sure). For our coffees, I ordered a delicious decaf cappuccino, and Maura ordered the special coffee for the day, Sumatra, a bold strong brew, but pleasantly pleasing to the palate. The Frittata was very good, but resembled a zucchini omelet with sprinkled parmesan on top. The rosemary red potatoes were more of a dinner potato and not a home fry breakfast potato. Not the way I prepare them at home, but good nonetheless. The bread tasted freshly baked and didn’t need any butter, which worked out for me. Maura’s BLT was superb, and she thought the accompanying honey mustard dressing was homemade with strong notes of both honey and mustard. All in all we had a very enjoyable experience. At $22.89 without a tip, our breakfast was reasonably priced for a specialty breakfast place. The rest room was unisex, never a favorite of mine. It was small and conjured up memories of those turn of the century tenement bathrooms you might see in an old movie, with the plunger right next to me ready for quick use. Happily, I didn’t need to use it on my visit.

It was a beautiful day and Maura knew of a cute bookstore close by, so we took a walk around. The bookstore could have been right out of the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movie, You Got Mail, bookstore. It really was that adorable, with kids reading books in the children’s section and cute little necklaces and writing pads for sale. Everyone seemed happy who was working there. Cashing out, I had bought Maura a gift of a necklace with a little bird, because she likes birds, and behind me, she cashed out with a gift for me of a writing pad I had admired a few minutes before. It felt like we were on a mini vacation, browsing in the bookstore, walking around town, eating out.

We may not be comedians in fancy cars, but we are moms in regular cars getting coffee and laughing at everything and nothing. Not much different than Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert, except for the fact we are not famous, (yet), if you ask me!

Bluestone Coffee Co., 123 Watchung Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042 (973) 783-3523

Watchung booksellers, 54 Fairfield Street, Watchung Plaza, Montclair, NJ 07042, (973) 744-7177, http://www.watchungbooksellers.com

Sugar sticks from SUGART http://www.sugart.us

RITA’S RISOTTO BALLS

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Rita's Risotto Balls

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print

3 tablespoons butterDSC04318
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
3 cup + 3 ounces water

3 egg yolks
1/ 2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Italian bread crumbs
Canola oil

1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add risotto and cook a few minutes. Add some of the water just to cover the risotto and simmer. Continue sly stir with a wooden spoon. As the risotto thickens, add more of the water at about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition of water is almost completely absorbed before adding the next. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes or more and most of the liquid has been incorporated, continue to cook a few more minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Do not overcook. When done, remove rice from the stove and scoop into a bowl.
2. Cool the risotto completely, not warm, cool (wait a few hours). Option – cook risotto and store in refrigerator overnight, before continuing recipe.
3. Take the cooled risotto and stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg yolks, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a spoon. Use your hands when ready to roll the risotto balls. Make them 1 to 1 1/ 2 inch round. The risotto will be sticky. Then roll the balls into the Italian bread crumbs. Place the risotto ball on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. This recipe makes 30 to 36 balls, depending on the size.
Place cookie sheet of balls into refrigerator for another hour.
4. When you are ready to fry, heat canola oil in a pot or deep fryer. Fry 6 to 8 balls at a time in the fryer basket for 3 to 4 minutes. Check balls, they should be a golden brown color. Drain the balls on paper towels. Serve immediately while still warm. Option – serve homemade tomato sauce on the side for dipping.
5. ENJOY – You say Rice, I say Risotto, either way it tastes Buona!

©  This recipe courtesy of Somebodys-Mom.com

Risotto Balls? I have had risotto and I have had rice balls, but risotto balls? My reaction exactly, until I tasted Rita’s last Christmas. I’ll never forget the lovely experience of my very first risotto ball.

Maria, my good friend for many years, had her mom staying with her over the holidays. I stopped by for an impromptu visit to say hello and spread some Christmas cheer with a platter of my homemade cookies. Of course, within minutes, I too was offered some of their cookies, but I declined since I was just about cookied out. However, when I was offered what appeared to be a rice ball, I was intrigued and went for it. I thought to myself, wait a minute – hold the show. I didn’t see the familiar sight of meat or peas in this small and delicate ball. The appeal was instantaneous, and I scarfed it down. I knew then that I had to make them myself!

Maria’s mom, Rita, has been making these risotto balls for years, just as long as her own mother, Gelsomina, had before her. Generational recipes handed down from mothers to daughters are my favorite kind of recipes. When the Christmas holidays ended and a new year began, I kept thinking about those risotto balls. Maria, I begged, “Can you get me your mom’s risotto ball recipe?” Finally, I got the call I’d been hoping for. It was Rita calling from her home in Florida, “Maria told me you want my risotto ball recipe.” When I asked her what brand of risotto she used, her response was, “I don’t know what it is, but they sell it in Florida.” Ya gotta love it!

After making the risotto balls, and receiving my family’s praise, I thought to myself – honestly, they’re good, but Rita’s are better. I believe this is one of those dishes that will get better over time. In fact, I’m pretty sure that after another 10 or 20 years, just maybe, my risotto balls will be just as good as Rita’s!

Rochelle Coffee Shop Breakfast Review

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I live in New Rochelle and I read my local New Rochelle paper, The City Review faithfully. I want to know what is happening in my hometown.

In the summer there was an article in The City Review written about a new diner and coffee shop that opened. The picture of the owners, Taso, Helen and Spiros Michialis, struck me as nice friendly people. As I read the article, I paid attention to the fact that they are open seven days a week early in the morning, and serve breakfast. We all know, Mela and I love to meet for breakfast. We now had a new place to check out.

On a recent Thursday morning, Mela and I pulled right into a parking spot in front of the Rochelle Coffee Shop inside the Quaker Ridge Shopping Center, located right near the Post Office. Immediately upon entering the coffee shop, we noticed its cozy, retro diner décor. Almost all of the stools at the counter were taken with what seemed to be regular customers, who were relaxed and chatting away. Mela and I took a seat at one of the many booths.

We were off to a great start with the coffee, which was tasty and smooth. Later on I asked Helen about the coffee and she told us that her husband and she herself tasted a lot of coffees before deciding on which one to serve. After all coffee is part of their name, so it better be good and it was.

The breakfast menu had a large selection to choose from. Mela and I chose a waffle and a spinach mozzarella egg white omelet with home fries and 7 grain toast to share. Everything was delicious. But in our haste to enjoy breakfast, I forgot to take a photo of the dishes.

My second trip to the Rochelle Coffee Shop was with my friend, Vivian. We shared the Challah French Toast and a western omelet with home fries and 7 grain toast. Truthfully, the coffee tasted even better the second time around if that is even possible. Everything was cooked to our liking. You just have to ask and your home fries can be made crispier. There is real butter pats but no real maple syrup. Surprisingly the syrup they do use is not too sweet, as some commercial syrups can be. Since my first visit to Rochelle Coffee Shop, it has become my go to place. Helen is always friendly, gracious and easy to talk to, which makes it an extra special treat to patron there.

Mela and my breakfast was $13.80, without tip, which I feel is very reasonable. Apparently, there is a special starting at 6:00 am and ending before 11:00 am breakfast Mondays through Fridays.

The sign, “Friends Gather Here”, hanging on the wall of Rochelle Coffee Shop, really is the place to go to for this new friend!

Rochelle Coffee Shop, 8 Quaker Ridge Road, New Rochelle, NY 10804 (914) 336-2727

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The Original Pancake House Breakfast Review

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We’re back! Mela and I are hitting the road again in our quest for some good eating breakfast joints.

My co-worker, Larry, a very trustworthy fellow foodie who’s really into no holds barred breakfasts, told me about a new place that opened recently in White Plains called The Original Pancake House. Larry had dined at The Original Pancake House in Rockland, and told me I should check it out.
We set out on a recent Sunday morning to find what we always hope will be our new “go-to” breakfast place. Could it be The Original Pancake House? We found metered parking right in front, and parking is free on Sundays….sweet! Parking any day other than a Sunday at 9:00 am may be difficult.
There was a large, welcoming poster in the window that we couldn’t miss, but nothing permanent at that time. Our waiter, Greg Hoffa, from White Plains, was upbeat and solicitous. The coffee was served quickly, and we both agreed it was a strong cup of Joe. The place was on the chilly side, so the warmth of the coffee (along with our jackets) served us well until they cranked up the heat a bit. We were impressed by the simple, contemporary décor and everything appeared to be new and clean.

Our order consisted of a Broccoli Cheddar egg white omelet that came with 3 average sized buttermilk pancakes. All omelets come with pancakes. While broccoli cheddar omelets aren’t listed on the menu, they had no problem letting us substitute ingredients. It’s always a good sign when you can change up something on the menu. Toast and home fries were extra, but with pancakes, who needs them. The omelet was very fluffy, and the broccoli was fresh, not frozen, and had just the right bite to it. Happily, the cheddar was not overwhelming either, which we’ve experienced at many diners.

The pancakes were disappointing as they lacked flavor and were slightly doughy rather than fluffy. This is a pancake place after all. We commented to the hostess and she said it was the first time she heard that, and this could have been an off batch. The one item on the menu that was new to our breakfast jaunts was the Dutch Baby. Mela never had one and I love them. It took a little convincing to get her to try something new. Well, Mela tried it, and she liked it! We both loved the Dutch Baby with real maple syrup. It was excellent! Over all, the presentation of the meal was visually enticing. By 10:05 am, the place was packed and a crowd of people was waiting to be seated.

At $32.89, without tip, our breakfast was about average for a specialty breakfast place. Even though the pancakes were not as fluffy as they should be, we decided there was potential enough for there to be a next time. Dreaming of that Dutch Baby right now!

The Original Pancake House, 170 Hamilton Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 683-3770

Cicero’s Eggplant Rollatini Pizza

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I venture over the Tappan Zee to Rockland County about every six weeks to get my hair done by Paul De Carlo, owner of De Carlo’s Salon. He has been doing my hair for over 30 years, and our relationship is one of customer and stylist, and one of friendship between two who share a passion for cooking. When I settle comfortably in his chair we always end up talking recipes, entertaining, family, and everything in between.

For as long as I can remember, Paul always has coffee, tea, and baked goods neatly displayed in a welcoming corner of the salon…there for the taking. Surprisingly, there is another generous tradition observed by De Carlo’s Salon on Saturdays; pizza is served to all interested customers around noon! Who does that? Paul orders pizza from Cicero’s which is a few doors down from his shop in the same strip mall in Bardonia. One can always find plain pizza while the more adventurous will find eggplant rollatini pizza. The pies are cut into 10 slices instead of 8, making the eating process a little easier and adding a touch of class to the whole experience. The first time I tried the eggplant rollatini slice, it was heaven. At my home, I’ve tried to duplicate this special pizza, but I can’t manage to recreate those perfect little eggplant rollatini pinwheels like Cicero’s. They really burst with flavor with each bite.

The last time I got my hair done at Paul’s, I ordered an eggplant rollatini pizza pie to go as a special treat for my family. Everyone loved it. Some dishes cannot be reproduced at home, and this is one of them. Just like getting my hair done. I trust no one with my hair except Paul and my daughter-in-law, Christine, who also does hair: Only the best for this gal.

I gave up trying to make this special pizza at home, but I can still get the best ever eggplant rollatini pizza from Cicero’s after I get my hair done at De Carlo’s Salon. Talk about a double feature!

The next time you are in Rockland, venture over to Bardonia and stop in to DeCarlo’s and Cicero’s. You’ll leave with hair to envy and a pizza you will be hooked on for life!

DeCarlo’s
59 Bardonia Road
Bardonia, NY 10954
845-623-1353

Cicero’s
71 Bardonia Road
Bardonia, NY 10954
845-627-3436

Bentleys Cafe in Tuckahoe – Breakfast Review

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I arrived 20 minutes early to meet my friend, Janet, for breakfast on a pouring rainy Saturday morning in Tuckahoe at Bentley’s Café.
Sitting in a back booth, I was greeted by Dawn Mullen, from Yonkers, my waitress. With her bright smile and blonde hair, she was a little bit of sunshine on really dismal day. I sat quietly sipping the most delicious coffee, really smooth and not a bit bitter, waiting for Janet to arrive, just observing everything around me.

Bentley’s Café gave me that small hometown feel the minute I stepped in the door. There are booths, tables and stools at a counter, with a nostalgic décor. The place reminded me of my own Queens neighborhood soda shop that we used to get egg creams and ice cream sodas. (After browsing the menu, I can confirm they do indeed sell egg creams, ice cream sodas and milk shakes.) At one point, Dawn and the staff behind the counter were having a good laugh together, which is always a good sign. No one wants an unhappy person serving them. As customers started coming in, I noticed Dawn was bringing them there beverages before they even asked for it, obviously regulars, who greeted her like a friend.

After Janet arrived and settled in, her first comments were the same sentiments as mine about feeling nostalgic. We ordered a Swiss, bacon and onion omelet with home fries, one slice of rye and one slice of whole wheat toast. Janet and I ordered buttermilk pancakes. Dawn suggested the blueberry pancakes and we ordered one of each. The omelet was cooked perfectly, the onions were sautéed and the cheese was evenly melted throughout the omelet with delectable home fries on the side. Our pancakes were full of flavor as well as the fresh blueberry pancake.
We were offered coffee refills no less than 3 times. I had to switch to decaf from drinking too much coffee but it was too good to pass up. The cost for breakfast was $22.25, without tip which I felt was more than reasonable.

Bentley’s Café sadly had no real butter, or real maple syrup, but they more than made up for it by being a comfortable, cozy café with good old fashioned home cooking served complete with a smile.

Where do you go to breakfast? Please share the name and town of your favorite breakfast spot in the comment section.

Bentley’s Cafe, 111 Lake Avenue, Tuckahoe, NY 10707
(914) 961-9641