Monday, March 31, 2014

I do so like them, Sam-A.M.

Sam A.M.
112 Morris Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302

We had originally planned on going to Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory in Jersey City. Driving up to the diner, we noticed the large line and decided it would probably be worth it. We parked and gave them our name for a wait that the hostess said would be about 30-40 minutes. We stood around staring at each other, hunger growing by the minute, and finally said what we had both been thinking; we've been in this position before and it was all too familiar. Standing at the Country Pancake House in Ridgewood, NJ, we waited and waited and when we were finally served our food, to our surprise, it was mediocre, simply huge portions. (Go there if you want over sized pancakes and omelets that fall off of your plate, but may we recommend Raymond's or Daily Treat as better options). Learning from past experience we decided to leave. We headed to our second choice, Sam A.M. As soon as we walked up, we were elated with our decision!

Sam A.M. is a small cafe style restaurant in a really quaint area of Jersey City. You can walk up and order coffee to go, fresh baked donuts and pastries, or sit down and enjoy some delicious farm-to-table style options from their menu. The menu is small, but from what we saw, everything was executed perfectly. They definitely have the right idea! We started with two cappuccinos. They had Stumptown coffee bags for sale, so we assumed they use this brand. They have great coffee and espresso! We also ordered an orange juice and a grapefruit juice. They were fresh squeezed right behind the bar, absolutely delicious!
For our meals we ordered the Omelet du Jour, which that day was cream of spinach, and the Veggie Scramble. They were both accompanied by toast and the omelet came with home fries as well. Both dishes were fantastic! Extremely flavorful and the perfect sized portions. The vegetables were fresh and the eggs cooked to perfection. The toast was thin and crispy, just how we like it! 
We originally ordered a biscuit, but they unfortunately ran out of them because this day they were serving biscuits and gravy. Instead we asked for a donut to share, they had mascarpone and dulce de leche that day, we asked for mascarpone. Unfortunately for us, they also ran out of those, but our waiter gave us the last dulce de leche donut on the house. This was very generous, and the donut was exceptional. 
If you are interested in great food made by people who appreciate the ingredients for what they are, we recommend you try Sam A.M. They take the time to create a menu that lets the ingredients speak for themselves. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Italian Gem Becomes Part of the Family

Tutto A Modo Mio
482 Bergen Boulevard
Ridgefield, NJ 07657

Everyone in New Jersey has an Italian gem that is their favorite place to go when they are craving this comforting, family-like meal. For the most part, people go to the same restaurant, know the owner and waiters/waitresses, know the other patrons, bring the same bottle of wine, even may have a specific table they sit at. We are not any different. So we know suggesting that you venture outside of your box to try a place that we recently found and like a lot is a little crazy, but we can't help it.

As appetizers, we ordered two of our favorites; a stuffed artichoke and eggplant rollatini. The artichoke is steamed and stuffed with herbs, bread crumbs, and cheese. It is perfectly tender, the stuffing and brother is extremely flavorful. It is not necessarily a "first date" dish, it's a little messy, but definitely worth it. The eggplant is sliced thin and rolled with a task mixture of cheese and herbs. The marinara sauce is tangy yet sweet, a great sauce (or gravy as some say)! 
For our main courses we ordered two of the specials of the evening: fettucini with shrimp, langoustines, and lobster in a pink sauce; and pappardella with braised short ribs. The short rib meat was extremely tender, the sauce was seasoned perfectly, and the homemade pasta was cooked flawlessly. A comforting dish that makes you feel warm on the inside. The homemade fettucini was al dente and the pink sauce complimented the seafood perfectly. Although they may not have these dishes when you try this place out, we are positive anything you order you will not be disappointed. 
For dessert, we ordered a cannoli and limoncello cake. Cannoli's are never the same wherever you order them. The shell and cream are always different and sometimes not in a good way. Tutto A Modo Mio makes a great cannoli! The shell is crispy and not bland. The filling is creamy and sweet. The limoncello cake is a great option for patrons looking for the nontraditional dessert, and who crave more tang than sweet. The cake was light and the lemon flavor was robust throughout. Both desserts were perfect endings to a superb meal. 
If you do not already have your own neighborhood Italian restaurant, are looking for a new one, or want to venture out and try a different one, we highly recommend Tutto A Modo Mio. We have eaten here a few times now, tried different dishes each time, and have never been disappointed. The staff is amazing and they make you feel as though you are a part of their family. Pick up your favorite bottle of wine and drive over to Ridgefield. We do recommend that you make a reservation, as there has been a wait almost every time we have gone. There are a few spots in the lot, otherwise park on the street. Buon appetite!