The Iron Tomato, White Plains

Yesterday morning Mister had an appointment in White Plains, so I made plans to meet him for lunch.  Looking online, there were a ton of options, so I consulted Yelp and found great reviews for The Iron Tomato.

It fit all of the criteria: (1) walking distance from Mister’s appointment (2) quick/not too fancy (3) good reviews

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Walking in can be a little over whelming, with the shop set up more like a market or cafeteria than a standard restaurant or deli.  The shop has a great flow to it, just make sure you go to the right when you first enter to prevent fighting the procedure.

To the right of the entrance is a bakery, continuing straight there is a salad station, cold prepared foods, and some refrigerated desserts. Once you make your next right (the layout is a rectangle, more or less), there is a smoothie counter.  The next section has the deli counter, lastly a pizza counter and you’ll then return to the register area across from the front doors.

We ordered a sandwich to share, neither of us being too hungry.  You grab a number from the dispenser, and wait to order.  It was organized and efficient, even with the crowds waiting for food.  Menus are clearly displayed in several spots, so there wasn’t that moment of dread waiting to be able to see the menu and hoping that happened before it was your turn to order.

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Splitting the Iron Tomato Special was the perfect amount of food.  Crusty bread with a fluffy, oil drenched interior.  Cold chicken cutlet, savory roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella.  You can see the line of balsamic soaking into the bread on the lower half.  It wasn’t the best sandwich in the world, but it hit all the good flavor and texture points for sure.  I would definitely try an italian mix next time.

There is a seating area in the front corner, and we were given a plate at the register to help us share more neatly.  Its clearly a place that’s popular for lunch, with quick turnover.

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After the sandwich, we couldn’t resist the glowing bakery case.

We walked for a bit and ate our dessert outside, an eclair for Mister and a nutella tart for me.  It was like a melty hershey bar atop a crumbly crust, but in a way that’s way better than that awkward description.

 

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Hudson Valley Restaurant Week: Harvest on the Hudson

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Having never been to this restaurant in Hastings on Hudson before, I was excited to see if the consistently rave reviews would carry over to their restaurant week offerings.  Upon entering, we were enveloped in the warmth of candles and low lighting.  Though the space itself is massive, with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the Hudson River, it felt warm and cozy with the combination of seating at various levels, warm colors, and low noise level.

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Our table was positioned at the corner of one of the higher floor levels.  We noticed that the seating all seems to be positioned to optimize river views.  This sounds great in theory, but once it got too dark to see out the enormous windows, the arrangement was awkward.  Regardless of that minor issue, the dining room felt like a warm embrace just as the sun was setting, comfortable and inviting.

For appetizers, I went with the Spring Asparagus Vinaigrette, while Mom chose the soup, which was a butternut squash bisque with pumpkin seeds.

The low lighting made taking pictures tricky, so bear with what dishes look like!  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the description, but my starter consisted of thick stalks of tender, chilled asparagus and a creamy dressing. According to the menu, this was soft egg tarragon dressing.  What I loved about this, was that not only was the asparagus cooked to a perfect state of crisp and tender, but that the entire plate was so perfectly seasoned.  The soup, was also balanced in a way that it was decadent while not being too heavy.

My salmon entree was just as excellent in terms of flavor, although execution could have been tweaked just a bit.  The skin, could have been just a bit more crisp, while the fish itself was more than a little over cooked.  I prefer salmon to have the almost silky fatiness when cooked just enough, while this was piece resembled the texture of dry, canned tuna.  This oversight aside, the brown butter combined with capers and golden raisins was perfection in a way that thoroughly compensated for the salmon.

025The service was so efficient, most likely based on the streamlined restaurant week menus, that we were offered the dessert menu just about the same time I finished my first glass of wine (the sauvignon blanc available by the glass, really fresh and crisp).

I had the tiramisu, while Mom went with the semifredo (in all honesty we had to google what the conceptual differences were between panna cotta and semifredo)  They were both the perfect sweetness to finish a really great menu.

We realized, once back in the car, that we had finished our dinner in just about an hour, though we didn’t feel rushed in the slightest.  We were satiated without being stuffed, which is one of my favorite benefits of restaurant week.  Though you are enjoying three courses, they are sized appropriately for the price and experience. I genuinely can say I look forward to trying this restaurant as a special date night in the future, and can’t wait to indulge in the full menu.

No Snow Day

This weekend while downstate was getting walloped with snow, I had quietly escaped to Albany on Friday night.  I know I didn’t miss the shoveling, or the antsy trapped feeling, but I did feel jealous of cozy snowed in nights that I seem to have completely missed out on this winter thus far.

Mister and I made the most of our No-Snow Days by taking the dogs to the Capitol Hills Golf Course on Saturday. For anyone that lives in the Albany area, this is an amazing place to walk (its kept really clear even when it snows).

This is a great way to get in some exercise, while the dogs run and play with other dogs passing through.  Needless to say, they are always exhausted by the time we get home.  This time, the cold combined with the long walk meant out two bulldog ladies were tuckered out well into Sunday night.

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I texted Mister on Friday to insist he keep me accountable on my eating; I tend to treat weekends like a free for all in terms of treats and snacks.  This basically undoes all the great meal planning, calorie counting, and workouts I log during the week. With our trip to Puerto Rico in a few weeks, and a bikini in my not so distant future, I can’t keep inhaling cheesecake at this rate!

So we loaded up on salads, with only the occasional popcorn, fruit, or veggies for snacks.Where007.JPGSaturday night, we did treat ourselves to a strip steak dinner (courtesy of a sale at the Fresh Market), with roasted asparagus and a twice baked potato for Mister.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to limit my meat consumption, but felt comfortable with making this my weekend indulgence (instead of a parade of chocolate). For dessert, Mister had requested the do-it-yourself fruit filled sponge cakes from the Fresh Market, so I obliged.

I sliced some strawberries and let them soak in a balsamic, sugar, pepper mixture for about 45 minutes.  Then they were placed atop the little cake, topped with whipped cream, more berries, and a tiny bit of powdered sugar.

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Yum.  I promise I ate egg whites and veggies for just about every other meal. Balance baby.

 

A Miss and a Makeup

This past weekend in Albany, Mister and I didn’t have any real plans but we wanted to get out of the apartment.  I think we were both a little restless, and I’m always up to finding something to do.

Unfortunately, the cold weather put a damper on most activities, but on Saturday we were able to start with the Troy farmer’s market.  Sadly, I had made the mistake of bulking up on a huge breakfast at home, so Mister and I were having a hard time getting excited about any of the usual farmer’s market treats.

After walking around a bit, we mustered up enough of an appetite to try out Nibble Inc.  just a few blocks away from the Atrium.

Since we were nowhere near starving, we decided to split a doughnut an an almond milk latte.  (Yay lactose intolerance!)  After one bite each, we were so thankful we only ordered one doughnut.  This was a big ol’ nope for us.

I tried really hard here.  Hey its a cute place, and local, and small business, and quality ingredients.  I just hated what this tasted like.  It solidly reminded me of those first few, horrible attempts at using a bread machine. This mint chocolate doughnut was like when I try to pretend my protein pancakes (protein powder/egg whites/bananas) taste just like pancakes, cause for real they don’t.

The issue here; Nibble Inc uses a potato base for their baked goods.  Which can be great if you’re into that sort of thing.  I might very well be the only Jew from Westchester that hates knishes.  These are the doughnut version of a knish.  Mister gave up, I picked off the toppings.074.JPG

 

We tried to be sneaky about throwing away the rest of the sad snack.

I did not regret, however, following this up with a visit to Cheesecake Machismo for some sweet redemption. This place is always so good.

I didn’t hold back at all; ordered three slices and we split one per night for the three days I was in Albany.  That’s portion control, right?

Chocolate chip fasciana, s’mores, and peanut butter cookie.  We ate them in that order too. I love the thick bottom on the chocolate chip, the chocolate torte topping on the s’mores, and the peanut butter cookie crust on the third.  Those were all the things Mister didn’t like for each slice so we’re super awesome at sharing things.  Win Win Win.

Easy as Pie

I’ve made two apple pies in the span of one week.

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Above was made with a hannaford brand refrigerate pie crust, some old mac’s and a handful of cortlands.

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The second was made with apples my sister picked, and an Immaculate brand refrigerated pie crust.

The first pie, the apples were diced.  The second, sliced.

I think I like either a dice or a very thin slice for apple pies.  I’m not a huge fan of the still crunchy, under cooked large apple slices that get caught in the pie when the slice isn’t super thin.

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But I certainly appreciate the benefit of that egg wash.  Look at the beautiful golden flaky goodness going on there.  Egg wash, cinnamon and sugar.

I love that apples are so easy and so versatile.  Chop some for oatmeal, eat one plain as a snack, cover some with flour, sugar, extra butter, and cinnamon and call it a crisp.

Does anyone have a go to pie recipe, or do you just wing it like me? I usually just cut apples, throw them in a bowl with brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and mix with my hands.  I’ve made pie crust from scratch but I’ve found its not really that worth the effort.

Crafting Frosting

I’m not a huge fan of baking. It’s to precise. I’m not. But I excel at frosting.

This batch is for our volunteer dinner tomorrow night at work. What better way to celebrate a ships crew than with strong coffee chocolate frosting over a coffee flavored cupcake.

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I looked at the recipe on the back of the powdered sugar box for a general idea of ingredients. Then added them a bit at a time to the trusty kitchen aid until it looked like frosting.

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Softened unsalted butter, softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, splash of almond milk, cocoa powder, coffee extract.

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