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Mosaic In St. James Reopens With Its 5 Course Tasting Menu And More Space

Mosaic Quietly Reopens

By Nancy Vallarella of What’s Cookin’? - Smithtown

After a dozen years in the Saint James community, Mosaic, St. James has expanded.  Chefs Jonathan Contes and Tate Morris took the best of the original recipe and improved upon it. The new additional dining area holds approximately forty guests.   Banquette seating, a 750-bottle wine display case, dedicated service area, and restroom have been added.  All designed to accommodate dining and facilitate private parties.

The new addition is separated by a sliding custom steel barn door that can be closed off to Mosaic’s original space. A brasserie vibe resonates here. Tiny black and white mosaic tiles fashioned to display the establishment’s name is the foundation of the new bar area.  Patrons can now belly up to the bar to dine in addition to two sizable banquette seating areas.  This is the vantage point for kitchen and craft cocktail activity.

The ambience is relaxed fine dining and does not take away from the real star, the ever-evolving Mosaic 5-Course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($86/pp++ optional 5-course wine pairing add $45).

Mosaic’s dishes transcend generational dining demographic, curated with dedication, creativity, and classic culinary skill without pretension. The staff is knowledgeable and guests are accommodated with alacrity. 

Second Course from Mosaic’s Chef’s Tasting Menu, Saturday, August 4, 2018

Tuna & Golden Melon Tartar arugula, black olive, fresh mozzarella, sundried tomato muffuletta, balsamic, basil.

Congratulations to Chefs Contes and Morris for preserving the things we love at Mosaic and giving us more space to enjoy. Here’s to the next decade! Cheers.

Mosaic 418 N. Country Road, St. James 631-584-2058


Teetotalism and the Long Island Welcome Center

Teetotalism and the Long Island Welcome Center

By Nancy Vallarella of What’s Cookin? – Smithtown

Over the past sixteen months, the Long Island Welcome Center and Taste NY Marketplace at Dix Hills have had several operational and product changes. What remains consistent is an impressive facility that conveys a culture defined by history, achievements, and food. Here hospitality is key to reach the goal of driving Long Island’s economy through agritourism. 

The center’s market, Taste NY Marketplace, features premium products that have been grown, sourced or produced locally. However, Long Island’s wine and craft beer are not sold at this Taste NY Marketplace. The federal highway location and self-checkout policies do not lend well to alcoholic beverage consumption or purchase. Instead, accommodating kiosks and multimedia presentations map out locations to visit and indulge in these products.

The Taste NY Marketplace at the Long Island Welcome Center at Dix Hills does offer a significant amount of nonalcoholic, locally produced, artisan beverages.  Coffee and teas are sold both hot and cold to drink on site, to go, and to brew at home.  Also available are a variety of bottled water, cider, soda, and even kombucha. 

New York state has quality spring water sources and significant apple and grape crops. Coffee bean and tea leaf crops do not exist.  When local ingredients are not available, local producers take on the role of gatekeeper sourcing quality ingredients and then applying a technique. 

Locally roasted coffee from Giorgio’s Coffee Roasters of Farmingdale and Sail Away Coffee Co. (Deer Park) featuring iced bottled cold brew and kegged nitro iced coffee are currently available at the Taste NY Market Place at Dix Hills.  

Recent visitors found themselves tea cupping the afternoon away with a gracious host. Serendipi Tea’s Co-founder and Owner, Linda Villano was front and center dispensing product while discussing everything you ever wanted to know about tea and tisanes.  Loose botanicals of varied texture and color found only in nature were displayed among the brewed teas emitting a delicious fragrance.  Serendipi Tea’s ingredients are sourced from all over the world and are QAI organic certified.  Manhasset based since 1995. Serendipi Tea products have the distinction of World Tea Championship and North American Tea Championship winners.

This Tea Demo and Tasting was hosted by Taste NY and Serendipi Tea. This event was one of many offered by Taste NY throughout the state. For a schedule of upcoming events reference: 

Smithtown residents can enjoy Serendipi Tea’s and Sail Away Coffee products at Soul Brew in Saint James.


Vitality Bowls - Healthy Eating Opens In Smithtown

Vitality Bowls, which specializes in açaí bowls – a thick blend of the Amazon’s antioxidant-rich açaí berry, topped with a variety of superfoods – announced the opening of its café in Smithtown. The new franchise location will be the first in New York and the first for Marlene Durai, who plans to open two additional cafés on Long Island.  

“For fellow Long Islanders who are looking for healthy, great tasting food options, Vitality Bowls is going to be a major game-changer,” said Durai, who is also a certified Pilates instructor. “Vitality Bowls is unlike any other fast-casual eatery option in Smithtown. I can’t begin to describe the excitement I have to be pairing together my passions for wellness and business to open the first New York café.”

Slated to open on October 5, the new restaurant is located at 96 E. Main St. in Smithtown. The new restaurant will be the first Vitality Bowls location in New York, joining the 43 locations based nationwide.  Delivery and catering will also be available along with easy ordering using Vitality Bowl’s mobile app.

Originating in Northern California, Vitality Bowls has solidified itself as America’s superfood café – combining a dynamic, trendy café vibe with a unique collection of menu items containing high nutritional values and extraordinary tastes. Vitality Bowls offers an antioxidant-rich menu, with breakfast, lunch and dinner items made to order for each customer. All açaí bowls and smoothies do not contain ingredient fillers such as ice, frozen yogurt, added sugar or artificial preservatives, giving the purest taste possible. 

The menu features a variety of options, such as the Energy Bowl (with organic açaí, goji berries and bee pollen), the Dragon Bowl (featuring organic pitaya, coconut milk and bananas) and their signature Vitality Bowl (with organic açaí, strawberries and honey). Additionally, the brand recently debuted Egg Panini made with organic, cage-free eggs and Superfood Waffles. Plus, fresh juices, soups, panini and salads are available in each café.

The eatery will also include a full-service organic coffee bar, complete with espresso and superfood drinks that are packed with antioxidant-rich açaí, pitaya and matcha – for example, the Açaí Latte (espresso, açaí, coconut sugar, steamed almond milk) or the Superfood Mocha (espresso, CaCoCo superfood chocolate blend, steamed milk). Organic kombucha in a variety of flavors will also be available on-tap.

“We created Vitality Bowls to be a place where health-conscious individuals can go for a nutritional meal,” said Tara Gilad, founder and owner of Vitality Bowls. “We believe that healthy, great tasting food can be an option for fast casual food and we are excited to have Marlene introduce the brand in New York. We look forward to seeing her grow her business on Long Island and sharing the Vitality Bowls message with the community.”

Since launching in 2011, the brand has ignited significant growth. In 2014, the concept began franchising and now has nearly 70 locations open and in development across the country. 



What's Cookin'? - Smithtown Up In Smoke BBQ

UP in Smoke BBQ – Deliciously Local BBQ

By Nancy Vallarella, What’s Cookin’? – Smithtown

Tom Lawlorjeff MyersBy day, Jeff Myers and Tom Lawlor are local businessmen servicing Smithtown’s automotive industry Monday through Friday, for the past three decades.  In the evening and on the weekends, the two turn Pit Bosses serving up the most hometown, lip smacking, finger licking good BBQ available in these here parts.

Up in Smoke BBQ was conceived in Myers’ Saint James backyard by two cousins tinkering around with a sauce for wings. “My cousin, Larry Teta was a chemist employed by Estee Lauder. He loved to experiment and mix ingredients together.  Our sauce recipe is Larry’s. With his early passing in 2014, there are only two people in this world who know the secret ingredient that makes the sauce like no other” Myers reveals. 

In 2006, Up in Smoke was founded and then incorporated in 2009. Up in Smoke BBQ Sauce was bottled and during this time Tom Lawlor jumped on board and began getting inquiries for catering private parties and promotional events at local auto dealerships. Myers and Lawlor turned a hobby of competing in BBQ competitions (People’s Choice Award winners) into a part-time business that now employees nineteen. 

“Word of mouth grew the business from our neighbor’s yards and tailgate parties to school picnics, block parties, graduations…We have catered every kind of outdoor event” commented Lawlor. Up in Smoke BBQ looks forward to the 3rd annual cookout event at Whisper Vineyards in Saint James. 

Myers and Lawlor have been giving business to other local businesses by purchasing their proteins from Mercep Brothers Meats and baked goods from Gargiulio’s Bakery both located in Saint James. Up in Smoke BBQ is there to help raise funds for the Smithtown Children’s Foundation annual tasting event, Community Table and Adam Harris’s, Fifty Bags of Chips.

Earlier this spring they took over the little red shack once occupied by Ocean’s Bounty Seafood and Saint James Claws on 25A in Saint James. An increase in orders with larger quantities made the facility at 415 North Country Road an ideal place to expedite catering orders. Myers reports, “We found large orders like feeding athletes and fans (Stony Brook vs. Yale Lacrosse) required more space. It is an ideal location for our business. This season, we will use the space to cook and meet customers by appointment for their BBQ catering needs. Next season we hope to have a retail business here with outdoor picnic tables.”

As you pass by, look for halos of smoke billowing over that little red shack pushed back off the roadside on 25A and take a deep breath of mouth-watering aromas. Up in Smoke BBQ does not fool around.  Some of their specialties include Whole Roasted BBQ Pig, Marinated London Broil, Smoked Ribs and Pulled Pork. They also accommodate those who prefer fish and veggies. Sides like Mac-n-Cheese with Bacon, slaw, salads, Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce, and desserts round out a menu that is sure to please everyone.

Give them a call 631-834-2246, 631-278-0728 or view their website at


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