Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Taste of Mamaroneck

I hate being stuck at home when I'm not at work.  If it's a miserable cold winter day I don't mind being inside, but if the temperatures are above freezing and the roads are drive-able, you can bet I want to be doing something - anything - other than sit at home. 

I don't spend large amounts of time on the weekend at home, as everyone knows, because I'm out riding all weekend.  Riding gets me out of the house and keeps me active.  The only time I'm not riding is because because I have another event to attend or the weather stops me (and if the weather is bad enough to stop me from riding, it's a day I don't mind sitting at home).

Events conspired to keep me away from the horses this weekend.  It wasn't the weather and it wasn't any sort of family commitment.  I had to stay home because the Tappan Zee Bridge, currently undergoing a massive reconstruction project, was closed for two days.  If you are not from around here and don't know what the Tappan Zee Bridge is, you only need to know one fact.  It is a major part of my commute to the barn.  So I was going to be stuck at home on a spring weekend with no plans to do anything else.  I had to spring in to action.

Fortunately, my town provided me with a convenient activity for a rainy Sunday in May.  Sunday was my town's 10th Annual Taste of Mamaroneck Wine Trail.  I had always been curious about this event, but never went to it because I was always out riding.  It was a happy coincidence that it would take place on a rare weekend that I couldn't be out riding.

My town has plenty of restaurants.  I have reviewed many of them here on this blog.  There are others I have never tried.  There are a few that I like but don't visit often.  I liked the idea of being able to spend the afternoon trying a little bit of everything.

It was a cold, wet, day.  It wasn't the kind of day I had hoped for. This is the kind of thing you prefer to do on a glorious spring day.  However, eating and drinking can be done in any kind of weather.

 We were provided with maps and a list of participating restaurants.

 Finally the trolley arrived and we boarded and headed for our first stop.

The first restaurant was Andrea's 25 North (reviewed here).  The owner was not prepared to be the first stop on the tour.  He had wine ready to be poured, but the chef had not even arrived to cook us anything.

We were offered chianti or rose to drink.

The kitchen staff did arrive eventually.  They appeared to be cooking some fettuccine alfredo and it smelled divine.  Just before they were ready to serve it, the trolley arrived.  The chef begged us to stay, but we decided to board the trolley and move on.  It would be too long of a wait for the trolley to come again and it was a bit too far of a walk in that weather to just walk to the next restaurant.

The next stop was the Sedona Tap House.  They occupy a space that was once an Applebees and long before that, a Ground Round, so the location seems to lend itself to chains.  This chain restaurant just opened its doors this week, so their timing was perfect to introduce themselves to the neighborhood.   I'm not fond of chain restaurants, but this place had a nice (if somewhat noisy vibe).  They had a clear focus on draft beer.  It was like an southwestern version of The Yard House.

They offered us a beer or a cider.  I tried a cider called McKenzie's (I think).  I really liked it and would try it again if I ever had dinner here.  They didn't offer us any food.  They just gave us a $5 coupon.  I saw one or two of my tour companions try the menus, but we moved on and hoped to be fed before we passed out drunk.

We decided the next stops were close enough to walk to, so we stopped waiting for the trolley and headed to the next stop.

The next stop was Push Fitness.  That seems a bit ironic.  We jokingly asked as we walked in if they were offering workouts to counteract the eating and drinking.  There were no workouts, but they did offer some cheap wine and some cheese and crackers.  They certainly did get their name out by participating in the event.

We headed back to the center of town and hit Lum Yen, one of the oldest and most established Chinese restaurants in the area (and the owner is one of my long time equestrian friends).  They had some wine offerings at the bar, but at this point, all we cared about was having some real food.  Fortunately they provided some lo mein, fried rice, and General Tso's chicken.

Our next stops were the town's two major competing bakeries.  First we stopped at my favorite, Boiano's, where we had cannoli and cookies.

The next bakery was Artuso's.  This bakery is bigger and has multiple branches.  I like it less than Boiano's as their baked goods tend to taste more mass-produced.  Nonetheless, they offered some rather tasty cakes to sample.  There was chocolate, cannoli, strawberry, and black forest.  I had the chocolate, which you can barely see at the far end of the table.

Right up the street was Cafe Mozart   (no website, so I gave you the Yelp).  This is another well-established long-time neighborhood staple.  They have an extensive menu of coffee and coffee specialties along with a pretty good (although not store made) dessert selection.  They also provide decent light fare and dinner specialties accompanied by a full bar.

The owner was right in the doorway with wine selections and he suggested which snacks would go with them.  I had some red dessert wine with a bite of French toast.

I was excited to go to the Smokehouse Tailgate Grill next.  I do love their food even if I don't always love their ambience (reviewed here).   They have some of the best ribs I ever ate and I secretly hoped I might get some ribs here.

We arrived to find a staff member pouring wine and making quite a show of it.  He offered a Long Island merlot, an Argentinian malbec, and a pinot grigot whose origin I can't remember.  After a pleasant sip and chat, I hit the food table.  These were the best bites of the day.  We had steak bites on cornbread and pulled pork sliders.

The next place was one of our most favorite local spots, 360 American Grille  (reviewed here).  They had their wine selections out on their back patio (with giant umbrellas shielding everyone from the rain).  I drank some dry Spanish rose` along with an unusual grape-based vodka.  They gave all guests plates of barbecue brisket, brussels sprouts and black bean salad.  The brisket was so melt-in-your mouth tender.  360 has been really trying to up its barbecue game now that they have the Smokehouse as competition.

Next stop was Hash O' Nash.  I hadn't eaten there in over a year (reviewed here), so it was nice to revisit.
They offered some of their delicious falafel along with the standard hummus and pita and some chicken kebobs.

They had a selection of regional wines.  I sampled two here.  One was Lebanese (white wine with an almost lemony, tangy edge) and the other was Morrocan (also white, but fruitier with a sweet start and a slightly bitter finish).

At this point we could barely walk.  The tour consisted of two more restaurants, a beer megastore, a local distillery, and a cigar lounge (NO!).  We decided to do the last restaurant at the end of the strip and call it a day.  Every place else was away from the main strip and we would have to wait for the trolley again.

We ended up at Enzo's.  This restaurant has been in our neighborhood for years and we never bothered to eat there.  We have our established favorite Italian places and rarely venture outside that zone, so it was good to finally see if there was a reason we have avoided Enzo's all these years.

I downed a final glass of white wine and sampled their small buffet of pasta bolognese, fried zucchini, fried tomatoes (who knew Italian restaurants could do fried tomatoes so wonderfully?), and mussels (well, I didn't actually eat the mussels).

After that we stumbled home and took a long nap!

Overall it was an enjoyable day, but nicer weather would have improved it.  I also think it would have been more fun if we had a few friends with us.  It was a bit dull with just us.  I'm glad I finally did it, but I probably wouldn't do it again unless I were with a bigger group.  Still, I think it's a good idea and I'm glad the town has this event and hope they continue to do so.


Emily said...

Oh my gosh, so much good looking food. I'm drooling! I really want that Chinese food, though. I have yet to find any good Chinese in STL.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

What a pity. I would think a big city like that would have some good Chinese here and there. I'm sure you'll find a great place in your many travels.