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Saturday
Nov122016

What’s Cookin’? - Smithtown The Fresh Market Refresh

What’s Cookin’? -  Smithtown 

By Nancy Vallarella

The Fresh Market Refresh 

This past spring Fresh Market’s ownership shifted from its original owners to Apollo Global, a private equity firm based in New York.

Within the Fresh Market’s Smithtown location, changes began to better serve the needs of the local community. This past summer, the Little Big Meal was made available for seven consecutive days instead of just on Thursday. “The new management saw the increase in traffic on Thursdays and made the decision to make it available all week” states Jesse Arias, Meat Manager.  “We always make sure there is enough inventory to accommodate shoppers coming in late in the day or at the end the Little Big Meal week by providing substitutions when needed.”

Every Wednesday a new Little Big Meal deal is offered. It is a combination of ingredients to serve four for $20 requiring “little effort and big savings.” There are a variety of proteins to choose from, gluten-free and vegetarian options as well.  It is a major time saver.  All the items are located near the butcher area. The vegetables are prepped and ready to be dropped into a pan. No washing, peeling or chopping!

“The best part is…I don’t have to think.  It’s convenient, fresh and delicious!” raves Ann Mercedes, Smithtown resident and business owner.  “I shop here for everything from soup to nuts. Last year, I catered Thanksgiving dinner from Fresh Market which allowed me to mingle with extended family and not fuss in the kitchen. The food is great.” Smithtown Matters bumped into Ann sampling TFM spiral sliced honey ham, corn soufflé and 100% antibiotic free, vegetable fed whole turkey.  

This Saturday and Sunday, November 12th and 13th Fresh Market will repeat their Taste of the Holiday sampling event.  Visit the Smithtown location between 12 pm and 4 pm and sample items from Fresh Markets Holiday Catering Menu. Store Manager, Nasim Soorami is extending a $5.00 off Early Ordering Offer for Thanksgiving catering orders made during the event. 

Also on Saturday, take advantage of Fresh Market’s Surf and Turf Saturday. Through the month of November, $6.99/lb. Wild Alaska Cod and $9.99 Premium Choice Whole Beef Tenderloins.  Tuesday specials are $2.99 ground chuck and $2.99 boneless chicken breasts that are antibiotic free and fed a 100% vegetarian diet. 

If you haven’t been to the Smithtown Fresh Market recently, it is worth revisiting.  There is a noticeable and delicious effort to have you come back again and again. Fresh Market is located at 138 E. Main St., Smithtown

 

Friday
Sep162016

What's Cookin'? Smithtown - NYS Says YES To Sunday Morning Cocktails

What’s Cookin’? – Smithtown

By Nancy Vallarella

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere! - Even on Sunday Morning in New York

Bipartisan verbal back patting was the forefront of activity upon Governor Cuomo’s signing of legislation that will “modernize New York’s archaic 80-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Law” on September 7, 2016.

Senator Andrew Lanza said, “This law will modernize state alcohol laws that in many cases date back to Prohibition while cutting red tape, lowering costs, and rolling back burdensome regulations. I thank Governor Cuomo and Majority Leader Flanagan for their efforts in making this important legislation law.” 

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Small businesses and consumers throughout the state will greatly benefit from this reform of the state’s outdated blue laws that will expand Sunday brunch options and promote the continued success of New York’s service and beverage industries. I thank Senator Lanza for his efforts to get this legislation passed, and Governor Cuomo and our colleagues in the Assembly for working with us to help cut red tape and burdensome regulations so that more businesses can grow and thrive.”

Part Blue Law overhaul. Part industry support. This legislation does not hit home here in Smithtown. It falls flat but local business owners are pleased with other aspects of Governor Cuomo’s promotion of the craft beverage industry. 

The sale of alcoholic beverages at on-premises establishments on Sunday is now allowed starting 10:00 a.m. In addition, the state will make available twelve permits a year that will allow for service of alcohol on Sunday between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 am. 

With over fifty years of continuous business in Smithtown, Old Street Restaurant & Bar will not change their Sunday opening hours. They will continue to open at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays and every day. “We really don’t have a demand for alcohol before noon. I think that the law change is way overdue, and most bars and restaurants weren’t abiding by the law,” states Owner, Laura Lombardi.

Provisions to broaden retail sales by producers, and reduce burdensome fees and  regulations for wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries across the state do not benefit local vineyards; Whisper Vineyards in Saint James or Harmony Vineyards in Head of the Harbor, St. James. Both do not plan to sell wine in growlers or change their policy regarding take-a-way partial bottles. They will not increase their business hours and will not see a reduction in licensing fees. 

Six weeks ago, Harmony Vineyards in Head of the Harbor began brunch service on Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m. The passing of the new ABC laws was never a consideration. Owner David Acker and his wife had an “aha moment” while brunching in Manhattan. 

The inspiration for increased operating hours is Harmony’s spectacular waterfront vista paired with a brunch menu by Filomena Lombardi of Farm to Table Catering by Filomena located in Nesconset.  Parallel philosophies on work ethic and a commitment to quality make this organic partnership excel.  Harmony Vineyard’s brunch service has seen “linear growth” over past the six weeks. Plan on the service to continue through the upcoming seasons as they offer indoor and outdoor seating.  Harmony Vineyards does not plan on applying for the permit to serve liquor before 10:00 a.m. 

Harmony’s Owner, David Acker, credits Governor Cuomo’s efforts as having elevated the perception of the quality of New York wines. The Taste of New York program and poster campaign on the LIRR have contributed to this awareness. 

For the more information on the new Alcohol Beverage Control Laws visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-modernize-new-yorks-alcoholic-beverage-control-law

Friday
Sep092016

What's Cookin? Smithtown New Restaurant Casa Mia

What’s Cookin’? -  Smithtown 

By Nancy Vallarella

New Restaurant Casa Mia es Su Casa

Casa Mia is an oasis on the shore of Rt. 347.  It is a go-to destination for fans of Mediterranean cuisine and a respite for those caught in a sea of rush hour traffic.  Mother and daughter restaurateurs Michelle Thornton and Alexandra Plevritis, bring Greek and Italian heritage and over 40 years of their family’s hospitality history to the table.  The menu is filled with fresh fish, grilled meats, a rainbow of vegetables, legumes, herbs, microgreens and plenty of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). 

Salads range from the familiar Caesar ($12) to the exotic Warm Octopus Salad ($18). Notable starters include Braised Kobe Meatballs with ricotta cheese and crostini ($12), Grilled Lamb Sausage with cucumber-dill yogurt and flat bread ($14) and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with warm vegetable capanata and piquillo pepper aioli ($16).

Grilled, roasted and sautéed fish entrees of whole Red Snapper*, whole Bronzino*, Scottish Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass are accompanied by Mediterranean delights; roasted lemon herb potatoes, Dalmatia fig sauce, olive tapenade saffron & roasted cauliflower risotto. Seafood Bolognese and Truffled Shrimp Scialatielli complete Casa Mia’s fish entrees which range from $29 – $34. *Market Price. 

You can find Grilled Colorado “Porter House” Lamb Chops and Sautéed Osso Buco Pork Shank on Casa Mia’s everyday menu along with pasta, organic chicken and a 10oz. filet mignon dish. ($21 -$41)  The majority of Casa Mia’s sides are heart healthy; grilled asparagus, sautéed baby spinach, Sautéed “Zen Blend” (Baby Kale & Spinach, Roasted Garlic, EVOO), and roasted lemon potato ($8 – $9). More indulgent options are Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Prosciutto ($8) and Truffle Mac n Cheese ($10). 

The wine list includes local, domestic and imported vintages that pair well with dinner entrees and are especially well suited with Casa Mia’s Charcuterie Board of assorted cheeses, cured meats, pickled vegetables, nuts, fig jam and artisan bread ($19). 

Since opening this past June, Michelle and Alexandria have put together several offerings to tempt new customers to come in and have a seat.

Casa Mia’s answer to rush hour traffic - Happy Hour Specials! Tuesday through Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm. Half price bar bite menu and discounted prices on all cocktails (specialty handcrafted and rack), draft and bottled beer.  Specialty handcrafted cocktails vary and are made with fresh fruits and herbs.  

A three course pre-fix menu is offered Sunday and Tuesday for $24.95 and menu items change week to week.

Sunday Brunch serves up an array of organic and cage free egg dishes ($13 - $16) prepared several ways from traditional favorites like Eggs Benedict Florentine to in-house creations like Mia Frittata – tomato, potato, asparagus tips, mozzarella, avocado and roasted pepper.  On the sweet side, French toast is offered three ways, Almond Berry Crunch, Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter Bacon ($16). Savory dishes include a Crab Quiche & Salad ($15), Cali Wrap ($14) and a 10oz. Burger with Gruyere cheese, bacon on a Brioche bun with house fries ($15) Truffle Parmesan Fries are available for an additional $4. 

The atmosphere is warm and friendly. The main dining area with skylight seats 45 guests and an additional dining area off the bar area seats 25 guests. Hidden behind the building is an open outdoor patio that accommodates 30 with a bar. 

Overall, Casa Mia is a worthy addition to the Town of Smithtown’s dining scene offering a seasonal Mediterranean menu, handcrafted seasonal cocktails, brunch and outdoor dining that is hard to find.   Casa Mia is located at 321 Smithtown Bypass (Rt. 347), just east of Townline Road in Hauppauge. Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and Sunday for Brunch 11am – 3pm.  casamiali.com