a break from reality (+ a restaurant review)

I know, I know – it’s been a over week since I’ve posted, but I escaped my hectic life and went on a relaxing family vacation to Cape Cod.  We stayed at Red Jacket Beach Resort and I highly recommend it. Our rooms were a little dated, but the location right between the river and the ocean was perfect! Plus, they had a whole bunch of activities such as yoga on the beach (which was awesome), jetskiing & kayaking (which we never got around to), and a “dive in” movie for kids (which, if I knew about the movie beforehand, I probably would’ve been jumping around in the pool with all the 7 year olds watching Despicable Me).

It was a week full of bathing suits during the day and yummy meals and touristy shopping at night – sooo much thanks to my generous parents! I had so much fun enjoying my family and some good food, but rather than blab about every detail of my trip I have put together a slideshow of photographs from the vacation on a whole and I will give a review of my favorite restaurant of the trip: Ocean House. (We also dined at The Roadhouse Cafe, The Paddock, & Alberto’s – they were all delicious, but Ocean House surpassed them by far.)

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The review…

After a fun day in Provincetown, we decided to go back to Yarmouth where we were staying and eat locally.  Unfortunately, it was a Friday night and we didn’t think fast enough about making reservations.  We called Ocean House and they told us that their dining room was full for the night, but we could do the first come-first serve deal in the lounge area.  Looking at the delicious menu that we had obtained from our resort, we decided to chance it.

When we got there we were told that it was a 2 hour wait but there was a bar right outside on the beach where we could pass the time.  We weren’t starving just yet so we decided to have some cocktails and relax.  About 25 minutes later, my dad went in to check on the wait and we were told that they were preparing our table! The hostess was so friendly and our waiter was no different.  What I liked about the service was their honesty concerning the restaurant.  When we asked our waiter for an opinion he seemed to give his true thoughts and not always lean us towards the most expensive thing on the menu.

The atmosphere was nice – modern yet beachy.  We were seated in the middle of the lounge so we felt as though we were in a chic Manhattan restaurant, but the dining area had some great views overlooking the Nantucket Sound.

FOOD. By the time we were seated our stomachs were starting to grumble so we ordered a Bento Box to start – every single thing was absolutely delicious, but my favorite had to be the lobster tacos.  For my entrée I ordered lobster ravioli in a champagne cream sauce and I finished the entire thing.  I also tasted my mom’s filet mignon with truffle fries – the meat was tasty and the fries were so rich and amazinggggg.  To finish off our meal we ordered a chocolate bag sundae.  OH. MY. GOD.  It was heavenly. The menu says that it’s for 2, but the 4 of us could not finish it! The prices were high, but having dined in New York City many times they seemed completely reasonable for the quality of food we were served.  We kept joking about how each dish would’ve been jacked up at least 10 dollars if the restaurant were located in the city.

Bento Box

Filet Mignon with Truffle Fries

Chocolate Bag Sundae for Two Four

Ocean House served some of the most creative and delicious food I have ever experienced.  Everything we ate seemed like it was made with such care. It is a good thing that Ocean House is so far from where I live or else my bank account and my waistline would most definitely be at risk!

Love my family ♥ Thank you for a wonderful vacation!

voila the bistro

A few months ago, while driving, I spotted the cutest looking French restaurant nestled in a small shopping center in Saint James. Obviously, I went home and looked up their menu and their reviews on Yelp! Once, I saw they had a prix-fixe ($30) AND it was B.Y.O.B., I was sold.

So, last night my wonderful best friend, Alicia, and I picked up a large bottle of Muscato and went on a dinner date to Voila the Bistro. Here’s what I thought:

The atmosphere was absolutely charming.  I’ve never been to France, but this is what I would imagine an actual French restaurant to look like.  (I hope one day to be able to compare.) Although I felt like the modern table settings kind of contradicted the country-like décor, I won’t complain because I love large wine glasses and I thought the water glasses and salt and pepper shakers were really cool.

The service was awesome.  I don’t know if it was just because there was only one other party in the restaurant for the majority of the time we were there, but the waitress was excellent.  Really attentive without being annoying.  I like it when a restaurant isn’t crowded, but I hate when I feel like the waiter/waitress is always watching your table.

And the food. I’m drooling just thinking about all the delicious food I ate last night.  The menu was what you would expect of a French place – escargot, foie gras, duck, and lots of Brie cheese.  We were pleasantly surprised when the waitress brought out an amuse-bouche (a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre meant to give the guest some insight into the chef’s approach to cooking; English translation = “mouth amuser”).  The mini salmon quiche definitely got us excited for the rest of the meal.

Mini salmon quiche

At first glance, I felt set on ordering the Brie cheese and caramelized onion tart as my appetizer, however, when I am given too long to look at a menu I start talking myself into other things.  Somehow, I ended up ordering the escargot.  I had never tried the dish and the waitress encouraged me that this was the place to be adventurous.  The verdict: I like eating snails. Weird!

Escargot bourgogne – walnut, garlic, and mint butter in a fillo nest

I also tasted Alicia’s braised red cabbage and apple salad, which was yummy and I loved the divided dish it was served in.

For my entrée I ordered duck leg confit with a port-balsamic glaze.  Since the first time I tried duck about a year ago, I am unable to not order it whenever it is offered on a menu. I also tasted Alicia’s fresh pasta with veggies and Parmesan cheese. They were both excellent. And the way in which the little haricots verts were so carefully placed on my dish made me happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We each finished off our meal with a perfectly sized and scrumptious crème brulee.

The entire experience was all that I had hoped for.  During dinner, Alicia and I decided that you know a restaurant is good when anything you taste is delicious, even if it may sound unappealing based on your personal flavor preferences.  Alicia was iffy about the salmon quiche and I was unsure about the escargot, but we gobbled up everything we were given.  When dining at a fine restaurant, you just have to trust the chef.

Needless to say, I will be going back to Voila the Bistro.

brooklyn heights: my new obsession; plus the first restaurant review!

Just my future apartment building along the Brooklyn Promenade.

So, I had a recipe all ready to post but my fantastic and tasty day has brought about a change of plans. Don’t worry, the recipe will still make it to the blog. It’s one of my favorites, so look forward to it!

Anyway, as I stated in my last post, it was my grandfather’s 90th birthday party last Sunday so we’ve had some relatives in from out of town. Today my parents, my aunt and uncle from Florida, and myself, ventured into Brooklyn to visit my other aunt and spend the day gallivanting around Manhattan. It was really a wonderful day. After some shopping in the city, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and then walked down the Promenade. We then ate dinner on Montague Street at Caffé Buon Gusto. So instead of a recipe today, I’ll be reviewing my experience at Caffé Buon Gusto: a wonderful Italian restaurant in the heart of the area that I fell completely in love with.

A slightly blurry picture of Caffe Buon Gusto.

Let’s start with the atmosphere. We lucked out with the weather and ate outside where they had tables set up on the sidewalk. It was gated in so you didn’t feel like you were in the middle of passersby, but you can still enjoy your fair share of people watching. I also visited the inside, which was very sleek with low lighting, but I definitely preferred the outside.

The service was great. As soon as we approached the gate and glanced at the restaurant a man with an Italian accent greeted us. We got an excellent waitress as well – personable, but not too chatty that it intrudes on your party’s own conversation.

Okay, down to the good stuff. The food. Everything I tasted today was superb. I always love when restaurants give you some focaccia and spiced up olive oil to munch on before your meal. I also ordered a glass of Muscato, my absolute favorite white wine. It was a generous glassful. I debated doing the $25 dollar prix-fixe (did I mention the prices are totally reasonable!?), but we were planning on going back to my aunt’s for dessert so I decided on just an entrée.

Orecchiette, Broccoli Rabe, & Sausage

I ordered: homemade orecchiette with broccoli rabe, roasted garlic, sausage, and crushed tomatoes in a white wine sauce. The image of my dish is not the best; it was taken with an iPhone after I already had started eating it – what can I say, the food is set down in front of me and I just can’t resist! The dish was delicious a perfect balance of the slightly bitter broccoli rabe and the sweet Italian sausage and roasted garlic.

I also tasted black linguine with lobster in fra diavolo, whole wheat linguine with peas and mushrooms, linguine carbonara with chicken, and chicken francese. Basically, I helped myself to everyone else’s meal and I will say that I would’ve been happy if I had ordered any of them!

At the end of our meal, we asked the waitress just for the check and to our surprise, and my total and utter delight, she brought out two pieces of tiramisu (my absolute favorite dessert) on the house! Another point for the service and the food, and a perfect ending to a very nice family-filled day ♥