Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Brooklyn Institution, Berger Style: Roll-N-Roaster, Brooklyn, NY

A Berger birthday is cause for a celebration and for Little D's 4th birthday the first stop was a Brooklyn Institution: Roll-N-Roaster. Any place with hyphens in its name piques my interest. A place with hyphens and free parking, is a must stop.

At noon on a cold and sunny Saturday, though, we were not the only ones with Roll-N-Roaster on the brain.  Alas, we had to feed the meter for a parking spot right out front, but it was worth the $1.00 to not have to wait for that free parking spot.

When I saw the parking lot line, I feared the ordering line and was pleasantly surprised to see it was relatively short.  We quickly ordered in the back of the restaurant, found a seat and listened for our number to be called.

The boys and I sat in front of the big window and played with our newly acquired balloons (not just for birthday boys, for all kids) while we waited.  This is Brooklyn at its best: we saw everything from multi-generational families out for their Saturday lunch to an eccentric man literally dressed like a fish.  What I'd really like to do is visit here at 2AM, purely for the people watching.

The menu ranges from burgers to roast beef to fried shrimp to pizza.  Lemonade and champagne.  You want it, they probably have it.

Of course we wanted the whole menu, but sampled only the following:
- Roast Beef Sandwich: JB was slightly disappointed here.  The roast beef, which was supposed to be juicy, seemed dry.  In our ordering panic, JB had forgotten to order the Cheez (yes, Cheez) which I think was needed.  They pride themselves on their fresh Kaiser rolls which seemed on the ordinary side.
- Chicken Fingers: Again, ordinary, but satisfying.  A little honey mustard went a long way.
- Burgers: Per our younger critic, Big Z, the burger was "great, awesome, meaty".  He's 5 and never met a burger he didn't like.
- Fries: The fries here were circles not sticks.  I was worried the boys wouldn't touch a new shape, but a fry is a fry is a fry.
- Corn Fritters: BEST thing on the menu.  Fried cream corn=bite-size perfection.
- Lemonade: Amazing and fresh. Sadly, no refills. (Yes, we asked)

We had some winners, we had some losers.  Will we be back? YES.  I definitely want some champagne with my corn fritters next time.

Until our next Berger,

2901 Emmons Ave  Brooklyn, NY 

Side Dish: If you go on your birthday, you get the chance to "spin the wheel" for a prize. Prizes range from $5 to $25 off your meal. But you need ID.  Little D at age 4 doesn't carry ID, so they wouldn't let him spin.  So note, if you bring a child on their birthday, you need a birth certificate.  Dumb policy, IMHO.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Quicksie NYC Lunch: Le Pain Quotodien, New York, NY

On the go fast lunches are easy - sandwich at the deli, made to order salad, dare I say drive-thru. But sit down fast lunches with waiter services are hard to find, except in New York City.

At Le Pain Quotodien, a chainlet of sorts, we sat, ordered and were delivered our delicious bowls of spring pea soup accompanied with a mini baguette, in a matter of minutes.

More time for chatting and eating vs. chatting and waiting.

We did wait for a long time for our check though, which made us long for their amazing pastries. But self-control and meetings prevailed, so next time.

In a rush? Try it.

Until our next Burger,

Locations across the US, but the NYC 3rd Ave & 44th location happens to be extremely speedy and convenient for a work lunch.

An Experience: Hampton Coffee Experience Store, Southampton, NY

am not a coffee girl. JB is coffee-obsessed, especially lately. So when in between soccer practice and apple picking I suggested we hit the Hampton Coffee Experience & Café in Southampton,  JB agreed. The boys were harder to convince and lobbied for the diner, luckily, this time (FINALLY) the parents won.

Nestled between a strip of car dealerships, the cafe is large and airy, if not a little stark and sparse.  A few leather chairs, two large communal tables and a row of counter-side stools comprise the seating options.  The coffee choices are plentiful and the bean varieties are on display doubling as décor. But I was here for the food. 

A few miles further down on Montauk Highway in Water Mill, another branch of Hampton Coffee offers a full restaurant and it appears that they prep the food there and send it over to be warmed up.  We ordered two sandwiches – a sausage, egg and cheese on ciabatta and a turkey, bacon and swiss on a whole wheat pita.  And some bagels for the boys. 

The bagels came out first, obviously.  They were large and fluffy, and they, combined with cars zooming past outside and the spinning stools, kept them entertained. 

Our sandwiches arrived cold.  The tops were warm but ice cold on the inside.  We sent them back for another round in the Panini press.  Upon return, they were up to par.  My turkey sandwich was light and tasty, despite the bacon and swiss.  JB enjoyed his sausage sandwich and immediately wanted more.

Hampton Coffee also is known for their desserts, so instead of another round of sandwiches, we opted for dessert.  A homemade chocolate chip cookie for Big Z, a large Lemon Square for me and a Chocolate Croissant for JB - Yes, Yes, and Yes. 

By the way, JB did have some coffee.  Two cups of the French Roast and recommends it heartily.
Given the season, they also now have pumpkin coffee.

Great fuel for our pit stop. 

Hampton Coffee Experience Store & Café
749 County Road 39A
(next to BMW of Southampton)
Southampton, NY