Clemente Italian Bakery – South Hackensack, NJ

I am neither Italian nor from New Jersey and I am certain that I will never truly understand how good Clemente Italian Bakery in South Hackensack, NJ. After reading all the reviews I just couldn’t believe that any deli was really that good. I mean what can you possible do with a cold sandwich.

Not being from the NY/NJ area visiting an Italian bakery is an experience all in its own. This is a local and non-local favorite for picking up cheeses, meats and other goodies to keep any Italian household running smoothly. Honestly I had no idea what most of the items in were. The cases were filled with olives (so many varieties I was amazed), meats of the cured and prepared variety and cheeses. This section is also home to “salads”, where in the midwest we would have five different kinds of potato salad, these were made of anchovies, veggies and honestly I have no clue on some. All looked delicious but I’m only so brave. To help out the newbs like us there is a large deli sandwich menu. I had seen a picture on Yelp of the mozzarella and after arriving I knew that was for me. I chose sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella, Josh went the same route but added salami.

I have no idea how something so simple could be so good. The flavors were fresh and strong, Josh commented on how savory the meat was. We enjoyed them so much that we went back the next day for lunch. This place is nestled into a more industrial part of Meadowlands Area and a don’t miss. I will admit it was a bit intimidating and the staff is a bit impatient but they are super busy and trying to get everyone served as quickly and as well as possible. I was not offended but I did feel like I was doing it “wrong”. If you are in the area for any reason, make the time to stop.

Dolce & Clemente Italian Market on Urbanspoon

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Food and Furniture

Most mornings while taking the pooch for a walk I tune into a Minneapolis public radio station called The Current. It’s a way to keep up on what’s happenings in a city I miss. Plus they just make good radio. A few times I’ve caught one of the local foodies giving the 411 on what’s new in the area. A restaurant called Parka was the hot topic last week. It’s the spawn of a few local food superstars, always trying to find what makes a hipster hop to the next thing. The food might be awesome but what was really making waves was that they share space with a trendy home interior store. While that is cool, I’ve been there and done that.

A few years ago, while in Athens, TX, I had a similar experience dining at Sweet Pea Bistro. Located at one end of a shabby chic boutique called Sweet Pea collection, they offer a variety of savory options including crazy pastries. Since my visit they have added some aesthetic elements that give the cafe area and the shopping areas definitions. When I went they tables butted right up against the displays. I found it a bit strange but the food was good. So why not grab a tuna fish sandwich while picking up a mother’s day gift.

Is this a sign that we are becoming lazy diner?  A location must have something more than good food to spark our interest?

Sweet Pea Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Seed Kitchen and Bar – Marietta, GA

It was a bit surprising to find such a nice restaurant tucked into a strip mall but that’s just a first look. It’s not your typical strip mall in your typical neighborhood. For an outsider it may not be apparent that this area is quite affluent. The adjacent Whole Food should have given me a clue. The storefront is simple and well marked with the Seed Kitchen logo, a red sunburst with a large “S” in the center. We were immediately greeted and seating on the patio.

Our waiter Brian was delightful, helpful and seemed excited to have first time guests. He briefed us on the menu and specials. Taking time to point out that the menus are seasonal, they strive to us as much local produce as possible and the chef likes to keep a local influence in his dishes. Brian pointed out that using local produce allows the restaurant to lower their costs. I did notice that. The menu prices were a few dollars lower that you would expect at a comparable place. Their website gets deeper into all of these elements,


We started with Deviled Eggs, a creamy delight topped with smoked salmon. The menu did say that they would be accompanied with a jalapeno sauce but we didn’t taste much heat or tang that would expect with deviled eggs. All and all they were very light and a perfect starter on a midday meal.


Josh went for the highly recommended House Smoked Brisket Hash, but it wasn’t a hit for him. His commented were that the brisket was a bit bland and the other “hash” ingredients didn’t mingle well. They seasoning on the potatoes didn’t enhance the brisket.


I couldn’t resist the daily fish special – Speckled Ocean Trout accompanied by signature side item of brussel sprouts and cauliflower. The sided had a wonderful smoky flavor but without a bit of fish with each morsel the saltiness was a bit strong. My dish was smoky, salty, fishy and yummy; everything went well together and was perfectly light.

Seed Kitchen & Bar was delightful and the perfect place for lunch.  I would highly recommend for comfortable environment and delicious menu.

Seed Kitchen & Bar

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Bistro 42 – Asheboro, NC

I posted not too long ago over on our main blog about how we find places to eat on the road. We don’t rely on recommendations from locals but do check out With any user fueled site you are bound to find gaps in the information. That information gap lead us to Bistro 42, honestly it just sounded interesting. Usually locals complaining about the price of food is a sign that dining is closer to our style. I can’t take full credit for deciding on Bistro 42, we did ask a local about it too. Well enough of that, let’s get to the juicy part.

I can tell you with total certainty that after our evening at Bistro 42 I felt for the first time that I’m missing out on something by not eating meat. We were seated at a small hightop table by the door, punishment for not making a reservation. I of course pouted a bit but a yummy bottle of wine shut that right up. Their wine and beer selection are as diverse as the menu. I’m having a great deal of trouble putting the cuisine into a category. I’m going to put the Modern American stamp on it.

Our very friendly and laid back waitress was eager to share the specials, which was capped off by a Chef’s Recommendation. I decided the Mahi Mahi was a good fit for me and Josh just couldn’t resist the recommended special of pork chop. My fish was light, with delicately seasoned veggies and a creamy rice. Very good over all and a nice small portion. What we did not expect was the hulking two inch think slab of heaven that was plated in front of Josh. Lovingly grilled and accompanied with sautéd onions and mushrooms. After watching Josh’s eyes roll back in his head I just had to have a nibble. I still can’t believe he was willing to share.

That nibble has sent me onto a dangerous road. Do I fill my belly with delicious fleshy morsels and live with constant gas or just recall this bite with glee and longing. This was an epic meal, a perfect dinning experience that will be cherished from some time.

Bistro 42 on Urbanspoon

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The What For

I had a meal last night that has gotten me all inspired to start talking about food again. I’m no foodie, I am just like most of you, an average diner. I expect good service, I tip very well for it, and I want good food that has not been drowned in sauce to cover something nasty up. I have never worked in the restaurant industry and I’m a shitty cook. However I have eaten my way across the fair nation and want to share a little bit of my expierience with potential diners. We eat out because we have too not because we choose too.

I want the best your community has to offer.

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Wynkoop Brewing Company – Denver, CO

If you were given two whole days off in the Denver area and you were a fun-loving couple like us where would you head.  LoDo that’s where, so that’s just where we put our feet down for an afternoon of food and brews.  After walking around a bit and looking at a fun cowboy clothing store it felt like about time to stop for a drink.  What better place to wet your whistle than a micro-brewery.  After using the wonders of modern technology we found ourselves strolling down the sidewalk to Wynkoop Brewing Co.  This place was packed to the gills including the patio, it was a beautiful day.  After being greeted by a bubbly but busy waitress the decision was made to hit the sampler and add the pretzel bites.

Josh and I have very different tastes in beer, I prefer the wheat and he goes to an IPA.  While there are a few special varieties we are both agree on like Magic Hat #9, a sample fleet usually lets us taste and find a few each we like.  Unfortunately not here, we both only liked the signature Light Rail Ale.  Most of the brews were too heavy, too bitter or flat.

While we didn’t enjoy the beers it was still fun.  The staff is great and you can easily have a great time.

Wynkoop Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Posted in 2 Mugs, Colorado, Denver Area, Micro | 4 Comments

Tricky Fish – Charleston, WV

Thought it might be fun to live blog a meal for once, that and I’m dining alone. This is our third visit to Charleston and each time have hit a different area of town. Having our exhibit at the state capital complex is fun but makes it difficult for both Josh and I to get away for lunch. I have been sneaking up the block to a trio of dining establishments. Bluegrass Kitchen drew me in first, then onto Frutcake and to round out the family I’m at Tricky Fish. All three are no nonsense “we try to serve you good food” places.

Tricky Fish is more of a carry-out place but I placed an order and grabbed a table. I’m sure you’d be shocked that I went for the Mahi-Mahi tacos, never right. Certainly have a baseline for these by now but what got me excited was the availability of crunchy shells. Takes me back to my Taco Johns days.

For about $10 I got these two beauties with beans and rice, I little high but oh well. The side was a little boring, not accusing anything here but it tasted a bit from a package for me. However I digress, you came to hear about the fish right? Perfectly spicy chunks of grilled fish that were covered in a light pico and topped with a white sauce are what you get. A winner in my book. Charleston is lucky to find all three of these gems clustered together. What we have here is another West Virginia visit that did not disappoint.


Tricky Fish on Urbanspoon

Posted in Seafood, West Virginia | Leave a comment

Hangar One – Wichita, KS

Here is a tale for you, an epic is you will; taking a co-worker you don’t like out for their birthday!  Those of you who are regular readers may have picked up on what I for a living that always me to travel so much.  My husband and I work in event marketing, while we have our own clients there are times when we must strike out and help another couple with their tour.  Such a task took us to Kansas and into the company of some folks that I would not normally choose to dine with.  Not that Wichita doesn’t have it’s perks, @Kimbrs lives there, a dear friend!!!  However I digress back to the evening saved by a wonderful waitress.

We had the terrible timing to take over a tour on someone’s birthday so after a day of working with them we had to take him to dinner.  Oh for a couple who travels so much you would think that would be a blessing, it is when you are joined by friends like the Campbells not when are you dining with a guy who hits on the waitress.  She was wonderful taking his completely inappropriate comments and getting up the perfect meal.  The food was good but this poor girl put up with so much.  At one point in the meal he got up and started talking to the tables around us!!!

Please give Hangar One a shot, the service saved the day.

Hangar One Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Posted in Kansas, Steakhouse | 1 Comment

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue – Kansas City

When going to dinner at a highly reviewed restaurant the expectations can get a little lofty, such was the case for Fiorrella’s Jack Stack Barbecue.  We couldn’t find a bad review in the plenty we read, one should always be aware that when some folks are going out to eat they just want food they don’t cook themselves.  The area and restaurant itself are very nice and we were looking forward to being seated.  That took a moment, another good sign, so we went to the bar to wait.  I was greeted by a sight that warmed my heart; Schlitz on Tap!!!!  Some of you may recall I spent some time as a Schlitz girl and truly love the beer.  I also collect Schlitz memorabilia.  So needless to say I had a few and this place was off to a great start.

After being seated we dove into the menu Josh picked ribs, this is a BBQ joint folks and I settled on the catch of the day, Catfish.  A guilty pleasure of mine and figuring they would know how to do it right I was excited.  Well that’s where things started to fall apart, the catfish was out.  I wonder if they even had any, this is a ribs place after all, my dish was replaced by Salmon and we moved on.  I wish that I could say all was well after that but in fact the meal was just sub par.  Josh commented that the barbeque sauce tasted way to much like ketchup and I would agree, it had no back to it.  Not that we are big barbeque experts but we have been to rib joints all over the country and to a rib festival.  Josh knows a thing or two about good sauce.  My fish was terrible to top it off.  The manager did comp us a dessert but by that time we weren’t hungry, wish she had just gotten us a round.  That is one huge separation between us and typical dinners, we go out for a dinner not for a dining experience.  Dessert is rarely on the list, except for pie!!!!

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue (Crossroads) on Urbanspoon

Posted in BBQ, Kansas, Kansas City Area | Leave a comment

Spats – Parkersburg, WV

If you want to spend a lovely evening in Parkersburg than Spats is your only option, not just because of the fact it’s Parkersburg but because this is a gem.  Located on the ground floor of the Blennerhassett Hotel in downtown you pass through the lovely jazz bar first before reaching the dining room.  We have dined there before but on our last visit took the opportunity to sit on the patio and enjoy the band.  When you start off with a lovely bottle of Shiraz it’s hard to go wrong.

One feature about this restaurant I love is the seasonal menus; something always jumps out at me.  One real delight was the patio menu, a grouping a fresh hot and cold dishes that were perfect for summer weather.  I went for one of the flatbread pizzas, one covered in smoked salmon!  We all enjoyed the dinner; service could have been a little better.  We often go to dinner right after working, sometimes a little dirty and often in jeans.  Most of the time the staff doesn’t seem to be bothered by it but every so often we get a snooty waiter who thinks we’ll skimp on tip.  Just goes to show that you never know who is at your table, might be blogging about it!

Spats Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Posted in Modern American, West Virginia | Leave a comment