Lombardi’s Trattoria: classic Italian cuisine from the heart of Italy

 

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On a frigid February evening we ventured out to seek the warmth of some comfort food and the company of good friends. We wanted some classic Italian food and had heard about Lombardi’s Trattoria right over the New York border in Connecticut.
While known for its delicious wood fired pizza, many diners come here for their old fashion and classic Italian cuisine. The chef also gets creative with some twists on dishes that keep the classic Italian menu interesting.

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Fresh baked bread

Lombardi’s Trattoria is owned by the same family for twelve years and are originally from a town near the isle of Capri in Italy. All the dishes have that homemade touch and the sauces, pastas and the desserts are made by the chefs. The fresh baked bread that started our meal was soft and delicious and served with olive oil. It was an indication of the meal that lay ahead.
There is a raw bar for seafood lovers filled with fresh fish daily. I had to try the fresh lobster cocktail which was a raw bar menu special that evening. Two tender lobster tails with a light red sauce was presented over crushed ice and lemon wedges. It was delightful.

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Lobster tail appetizer

We also shared a delicious eggplant rollatini with three cheeses and herbs in their signature marinara sauce. This would make a great entree. It was excellent. Our other appetizer choice was Maryland Crabcakes that were light and crispy with a perfect pairing with a creamy remoulade sauce, and finished in the brick oven for a tasty crispy taste.


For the main entree I chose a special for the evening which was blackened sea scallops over saffron rice with spinach, sundried tomatoes and topped with roasted garlic. This was truly a delicious and tasty dish and had the perfect blend of herbs and spices. It too was finished before serving in the brick oven.

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Scallops over saffron rice

Another choice was Chicken Saltimbocca with proscioutto de parma and aged provolone in a sage and white wine sauce with mashed potatoes and veggies. On the menu this dish is Veal Saltimbocca but the chef was happy to substitute chicken instead. It is a pleasure when the kitchen will alter the menu to keep the diner happy. The dish was really great.
Chicken Marsala with fresh mushrooms with a side of pasta rounded out entrees. The portion was large and tasted like Mama made it. A number of the dishes are finished off prior to serving in the wood fired brick oven and add a special flavor to each dish.

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Chicken Saltimbocca

We were having such a good time that we had to try dessert as they are freshly made at the restaurant. The tiramisu is not to be missed as it was light and airy and one of the best I have tasted in some time. Another fun dessert was the flaming creme brulee which was impressive not only in its presentation but taste as well.

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Flaming Creme Brulee

Trattoria Lombardi’s is a casual place that caters to families, groups of friends, and couples with a friendly staff and a cozy atmosphere. It is a family owned place that cares about its customers and wants you to be happy and feel like you are part of the family.

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Trattoria Lombardi
22 Main Street Reading Ct (just off Rt 7 and the Ridgefield border)
203-544-9447
http://www.lombarditrattoria.com

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You Will Die Laughing at “Murdered By the Mob” an interactive experience

Are you a fan of Mob movies like the The Godfather, Goodfellas, or the series The Sopranos? Do you wish at times you were part of the drama that takes place in these shows? Well you can if you spend an evening with the talented cast of “Murdered By the Mob”

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This show takes place at the Arno Dinner Theatre, 141 West 38th Street NYC, in the lower level of the Arno Restaurant. The show includes dinner and dancing and you are part of the show from the minute you sit down. Guests are seated at long tables, “family style” and you might find one of the cast members sitting at your table much to your surprise.

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Vito seated at our table

The setting of the play is a restaurant where there is a party being thrown for the new mob boss, Johnny Scudato who is taking over for the now deceased “Don”, Paulie. Also at the party, is Johnny’s wife Bunny, Vito the family consiglieri (who was seated at our table),  Rocco(the brother in law), his girlfriend, Cookie , and Dona Rosella the widow of Paulie. The party is going along fine when the lights go out and a murder takes place. The police arrive and Detective Romano takes over. The laughs are non stop as Detective Romano who is brilliant at improvisation as he really engages the audience in the action. The audience is  constantly laughing as he interrogates the  both members of the audience and the cast trying to solve this mystery.

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Detective Romano trying to solve the mystery

In between all the laughter, dinner is being served and drinks are flowing. Dinner which is included in your ticket price consists of rigatoni ala vodka, Chicken parmagana , a side dish, and coffee and cookies. A veggie and low carb meal is available and should be pre ordered. There is a cash bar for wine, beer and cocktails.

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The audience is part of the play

Audience members interact with the cast, dance at the party for the Don, are interrogated by the Detective, and are even asked to try and solve the mystery and win a prize. We had a fantastic time and were laughing almost the entire time of the two and half hour performance.

If you want to be part of a “mob hit” , then this is the show for you.

Also check out their upcoming Mystery event at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York.
For tickets and information :
Murdered By The Mob
Arno Dinner Theatre
141 West 38th Street NYC Phone # 1-800-687-3374
www. murdermystery.com
http://www.thenewyorkmobshow.com
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Los Jalapenos: A new Mexican restaurant in New Paltz

 

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During a recent visit to New Paltz, I walked by this restaurant and decided to go in an give it a try. Los Jalapenos is a Mexican restaurant which opened in October 2015 and joins the many restaurants in the lively New Paltz dining scene. I had heard good things about this new restaurant and thought lunch would be a great time to explore their menu. The restaurant is a nice cozy place with a Mexican motif and sits about 40 patrons inside. When warmer weather arrives dining will expand onto the outside deck off the side of the building.
All of the menu items are fresh and made to order . There are typical Mexican dishes as well as some interesting specialties to try.

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Fresh Guacamole in a stone bowl

To begin with we sampled the homemade guacamole which is prepared table side with fresh avocados and is served in a unique stone bowl. The waiter who prepared the guacamole can adjust the flavor or amount of spice to your taste. We also tried as an appetizer the Grilled Chicken and cheese Quesedilla which was served with salsa, jalapenos and guacamole. Everyone at the table agreed this was a great choice.

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Chicken Quesadilla

For entrees I ordered the Shrimp enchiladas with a mild red sauce. There were large pieces of fresh shrimp inside a soft tortilla. It was a nice change from the regular Mexican restaurant fare, and the freshness of the ingredients made for a healthy choice.
The steak fajitas were another choice and was served on a sizzling platter. I was told it was extra spicy and served with pepper and onions. You can ask the waiter and they will modify your dish to your wishes (ex: less spicy, more sauce).


A Beef Burrito with cheese was another selection as was the Shredded Chicken Chimichangas which were fried, but were light and crispy and not at all greasy. It was served with salad, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. Al the dishes really hit the spot and are served with rice and refried beans which are made fresh daily. The meat is all marinated in advance and it makes all the difference in the flavor.

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Chimachanga

Although we were quite full, we shared a Mexican dessert called Bonuelo which is a flour tortilla with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, bananas, strawberries and whipped cream. What a sweet and interesting conclusion to our lunch.

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The dishes at the restaurant are nicely presented and service was great. The freshness of the food and the presentation really sets Los Jalapenos apart. Wine and beer are also available, and a full bar is expected in the near future. If you are in the village of New Paltz for sightseeing, apple picking, hiking, mountain biking, or just exploring, come check out Los Jalapenos.

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Los Jalapenos
25 North Chestnut Street (RT 32) New Paltz, New York

845-255-9000

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The Turk: Authentic Turkish cuisine comes to Mt. Kisco

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A recent entry to the lively restaurant scene in Mt. Kisco, NY is The Turk, located in the heart of downtown right on the corner of South Moger Ave. and Kirby Plaza. The Turk which opened in August 2015 is an eatery offering authentic Turkish cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and preparation. Among the offerings are kebabs, hummus and various grilled meats that are prepared with a variety of spices and herbs, and the overall effect is rich in flavor and not too spicy .
The entire restaurant has been renovated from top to bottom and has a touch of Turkish themed decor blended with modern finishes such as bamboo floors, stone walls, and Edison bulb lighting. There is a small corner of the restaurant called the Turkish Corner, IMG_1550

with two tables, benches, pillows and Turkish plates and pottery which is where we decided to sit.
The friendly waiter brought us a plate of soft and warm pita bread. With the bread was a small bowl filled with a blend of olive oil, red pepper, garlic and spices in which we dipped our pita bread. Very tasty starter to our meal. As it was a cold winter day we started our meal with a bowl of lentil soup which consisted of pureed red lentils, Turkish seasoning and fresh herbs. It was thick and had just enough spice to warm you up on a chilly day.

 

We shared a Mediterranean salad which had fresh lettuce, red cabbage, shredded carrots, tomatoes. and feta cheese and lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. Another nice item to try is the Shepherd Salad- chopped tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers, onion and parsley in a vinaigrette dressing. It was quite the tasty dish. We also tried the Sigora Borkek (Cigar in Turkish) which is a pan fried filo pastry stuffed with feta cheese and parsley. It was quite enjoyable.

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Sigora Borek

For our entree we had a chicken kebab dish and a mixed grill kebab platter which had both lamb and chicken. This was served with rice and bulgur, and . healthy greens. With the dish was a dipping sauce made from yogurt and dill and it was a nice way to compliment the spices on the meat.


We ended the meal with some Turkish tea and some dessert. The Kazandibi was a crème Brule type dessert was light and creamy. We also sampled the Baklava pistachio which combined pistachio, walnuts and syrup in a filo pastry which created a delicious way to end the meal.

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Turkish cuisine is similar to other Mediterranean cuisines (such as Greek) with its emphasis on lean meats, fresh ingredients, lemon, olive oil and vegetables. The Turk is a great place to sample a variety of delicious authentic Turkish dishes right here in the Hudson Valley.

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The Turk
20 South Moger Ave. Mt.Kisco, NY 914-864-1900
http://www.theturkny.com
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An evening of fun and song, “Always…Patsy Cline” at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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An excellent musical is now playing at the Westchester Broadway Theater in a limited engagement. Always… Patsy Cline is a biographical musical of the short music career of the late Patsy Cline. The play was produced off Broadway in 1997 and has been in numerous productions throughout the U.S.   This production features the music of Patsy Cline which ranges from country, rockabilly, early rock and roll, and even gospel. The evening is filled with 27 different songs split between Acts One and two and the story of the rise of Patsy Cline is filled with humor and the touching relationship of a fan and her idol.
The musical is interesting in the fact that there is only two actors on stage, and a four piece country and western backup band. The story of Patsy Cline is told by Louise Seger, a house wife from Houston Texas who meets Patsy at a Texas club during a performance and a friendship blossoms which is continued through the years by mail. Louise serves as the narrator of the play and it is she who weaves the story together between the many musical numbers. Louise is played by Susann Fletcher an actress whose impressive resume includes numerous Broadway credits (Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business, Guys and Dolls, Goodbye Girl), as well as numerous national tours and television appearances. Ms. Fletcher is brilliant as she engages the audience head on, pulling us into the play. She even comes into the audience to dance with an audience member during one of the musical numbers. She is both touching and very funny, and her ability to ad lib when necessary kept the audience laughing.

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Erin McCracken plays the role of Patsy Cline, and though her speaking parts are limited as Louise narrates the story, Ms McCracken sings every one of the 27 songs in the performance. Ms. McCracken’s voice is outstanding and she really channels the spirit of Patsy Cline. Her vocals are rich as she takes on a number of genres. She really scores with Patsy’s hit “I Fall to Pieces” . In Act Two, her rendition of “Crazy” (written by Willie Nelson) is mesmerizing. Her prior performance as Patsy Cline at the Ocean State Theatre is evident as she seems comfortable in her role. During one of the songs, the stage lights dim and a swirling mirror ball provides the lighting as Patsy and the band transform you from 2016 to some small theater performance in 1961. It is quite the evening.

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If you don’t know all of Patsy Cline’s songs there are other familiar numbers in the performance that you will  remember including, “Your Cheating Heart” (Hank Williams), “Stupid Cupid”(Neil Sedaka), “You belong to Me” (recorded by Cline and also The Duprees), and “Shake Rattle and Roll”(recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets, Elvis and others). All are delightful as is the direction of Amiee Turner and story by Ted Swindley.
Always…Patsy Cline is a fun musical but it will only be at the Westchester Broadway Theater until February 28th, so book now. Dinner is included with your ticket purchase and parking is free.
Westchester Broadway Theater
One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York 914-592-2222
http://www.broadwaytheatre.com

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An evening for Chocolate, dessert and Wine lovers!

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A nice way to celebrate Valentine’s day is to celebrate it early by attending the 8th Annual Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lover’s Evening. The event takes place on Thursday February 4th from 6 pm to 9pm at the Stamford Marriot Hotel in Stamford Ct. This annual event is the largest chocolate tasting event in Fairfield County.
This event allows guest to sample chocolate and desserts and sample wines from 70 different vendors. There will be entertainment provided, music, door prizes and shopping. .Representatives from restaurants, bakeries, chocolatiers, and food markets will be there. So ticket holders can sample and then purchase their favorites from the many vendors. With Valentine’s Day less than 2 weeks away, it is a great way to pick up a unique or special gift, and have fun as you do!
The emcee of the event will be Chef Plum, from Plum Luv Foods and a Food Network regular.
Tickets to this event are $45 or $80 a pair. and can be ordered online at http://www.dessert.brownpapertickets.com
All proceeds for this event will benefit Pacific House a men’s shelter. The shelter provides meals, shelter, and social services , and housing placement to both men and women in Connecticut.
Some come out and celebrate early and know that you are helping a great local cause. Age 21 and over for this event

Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lover’s Evening
Stamford Marriot Hotel
243 Tresser Blvd Stamford Ct.
ticktets: http://www.dessert.brownpapertickets.com
shelter info: http://www.shelterforhomeless.org

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Chinese dining like you remember (only better) at Imperial Wok

Many of us grew up going to a Chinese restaurant and they seemed to be everywhere. In the last 15 years or more there has been a culinary shift toward sushi, Asian Fusion, and other forms of Asian restaurants. And while take-out places still offer the classic Chinese-American favorites there are however those of us who still desire a sit down Chinese restaurant that serves the standards as well as some interesting newer dishes.
A recent visit to Imperial Wok in Somers, NY confirmed that this cuisine is still in demand. Imperial Wok offers all the traditional favorites as well as sushi, tempura, Teriyaki and house specials. Vegetarians are welcome as almost 20 veggie and tofu dishes are offered. The waitress explained that dishes can be modified to taste, amount or type of sauce, substitute different vegetables, spices or more . Every dish is made fresh and can be modified to order.

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Seafood Soup for two

Our party of four came for lunch and tried a number of delicious items on the menu. As it was a cold winter day, we started with soup. Wonton soup (a traditional favorite) was fresh, not salty and prepared with thin wrapped wontons that melted in your mouth unlike the thick chewy wontons often seen in wonton soup. We also ordered Seafood Tofu Soup for two which was hearty but light, and featured egg white, peas and seafood. A real winner.

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Steamed Vegetable Dumplings

We followed up our soup with Steamed Vegetable Dumplings a tasty dish for those looking to keep it light. Each steamed dumpling was filled with finely chopped veggies. Very healthy choice. We also sampled a new dish for us, a Chicken Vegetable Wrap. This plate involved the diner taking a leaf of lettuce, adding chicken cooked in a brown sauce with pine nuts and spooning it onto the lettuce leaf and then rolling it up like a wrap.

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Chicken Vegetable Wrap

The contrast of crispy lettuce with the chicken and pine nuts was quite satisfying. A hoisin sauce on the side was also provided.
We moved on to main dishes with an old favorite and some new (for us) dishes as well. Sesame Chicken which is a Chinese restaurant staple was crispy, perfectly cooked and delicious. Also ordered was the Korean BBQ Beef, which was wok sauteed, then served with fresh mushrooms on a hot sizzling plate.

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Korean BBQ Beef

 

 

A third dish, Mango Chicken was a real interesting and flavorful choice as the chicken was prepared with fresh sliced mango, pea pods and bell pepper. Lastly was Club Seafood a dish of mixed seafood (Lobster,shrimp,scallops,and shrimp) served with veggies in a white sauce. A seafood lovers delight.

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Mango Chicken

 

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Club Seafood

For Sushi lovers there is a sushi bar (which I understand will be expanded) and there are numerous rolls available including the standards and a long list of Special rolls.

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for  that traditional sit down Chinese restaurant with special dishes and an emphasis on fresh ingredients and preparation, you should visit Imperial Wok in Somers.

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Imperial Wok
13 Heritage Hills 202 Center Somers, NY
914-277-8900
www. IWSOMERS.com

 

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