Tag Archives: calamari

Bounty from the Sea

I’m heading out of town for the next week (Florida for pleasure and New York for work). Octosquid must live on during the interim, so please give a warm welcome to the guest bloggers that appear in the coming days. First up, we have Octosquid’s mom!

If you love seafood (and who doesn’t?), and you live near Hewlett, NY, then it’s definitely worth a trip to the Hewlett Fish Market. Here you can find a vast array of both fresh fish and seafood, as well as a plethora of delectable prepared salads, soups, main dishes, and vegetables.
Recently, I purchased some of my favorite “ready-mades” to have for lunch and/or snacking.
The marinated mussels are rich and flavorful – swimming in olive oil, loads of diced garlic, chopped scallions, and a touch of red pepper.

Savory specialty from the sea

Savory specialty from the sea

The calamari salad is a particular favorite. Not only is it chock full of firm calamari rings, but there is always a multitude of yummy tentacles as well. The fish is dressed in a light garlicky vinaigrette, and combined with crunchy celery, sweet red pepper, and black olives.
What more could you want?

What more could you want?

Picking out the best parts

While at the market, I decided to buy some fresh fish for dinner. After vacillating about the many tempting choices, I decided to go with the tried-and-true tilapia (St. Peter’s). At home I concocted a zesty marinade of olive oil, orange juice, ginger, tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. The fish rested and soaked up the marinade for about an hour.

Waiting to be fired

The fish was then grilled, and quickly devoured.

I may not be pretty, but I am delicious!

Hewlett Fish Market has been a mainstay in our family for years – I think it’s clear why!


Mother Kelly’s in Cedarhurst – Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 2)

Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 1)

A family owned business with a loyal following, Mother Kelly’s is a five towns restaurant that is never empty. With a huge menu, mainly focused on home-cooked Italian food, there is a dish for anyone who visits. Whenever I travel home, a visit to Mother Kelly’s is usually in the itinerary. The consistently great food makes it a go-to place for everyone who lives within a 5 mile radius.
Time to look at the food, but before we get into the main courses, I would be brain dead if I didn’t mention the complimentary garlic rolls and bean salad every patron receives:

complimentary starters

complimentary starters

The rolls are spiral shaped and filled with garlicky butter and herbs. I pick around the basket for the crispy pieces (like my mom), while my sister and Lauren go for the softer pieces. Regardless of the type you prefer, these rolls are insanely good. It is a near to impossible to refrain from downing the bread basket before the real food comes along. If you have zero will power and are full of garlic bread fear, it’s a good idea to stick with the bean salad. Varying types and colors of beans covered with a vinegar-y dressing make my palate scream in anticipation for a hot meal.

After a few plates of the bean salad and around 10 minutes of deliberation, Lauren and I decided to split a meal. The portions could feed 2-3 people as it is, so I was not worried about going hungry. Here’s what was delivered:

makes me melt

makes me melt

Calamari and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce over spinach (instead of pasta) – there is nothing bad to say about this enormous plate of seafood. Some adjectives that come to mind: homey, comforting, filling, healthy. This dish doesn’t force you to think too hard and that is appreciated – I just tucked into the plate of goodness and finally felt like I was home.

Per usual, I saved the best bites for last – in this case, the calamari tentacle-y pieces:

to me, this is art

to me, this is art

And my sister decided to test out her camera skills with my last beautiful specimen:



My family ordered envious dishes and I made sure to taste each one:

Mom's shrimpies

Mom's shrimpies

Shrimp marinara over spinach
Quote from mother: “it was an explosion of flavors in my mouth – the shrimp were plump, firm, salty, with just the right amount of fishiness; the marinara sauce was sweet with a touch of basil; the sauteed spinach was delightfully garlicky.” I think she liked it!
steroid clucker

steroid clucker

My sister (lovingly known as Poop) had the chicken francaise – the white meat chicken (or many chickens) had a wonderful meaty texture I don’t often enjoy.
I'm a beautiful chick

I'm a beautiful chick

My stepfather, Ricardo, ordered another chicken dish, but this one was stunningly glazed with a balsamic sauce. I loved this sweet masterpiece – a real knockout.

As if that wasn’t enough food, the Mother Kelly includes a side of spaghetti:

don't ignore me!

don't ignore me!

If you can possibly manage it (and I never can), the desserts look like they are worth a food coma:

this pic does NOT do me justice

this pic does NOT do me justice

Forget the 5 mile radius, if you can get your butt in a seat at Mother Kelley’s……..GO!

Mother Kelly’s
490 Chestnut Street
Cedarhurst, New York 11516
(516) 295-5421

Chateau de Saigon Take Two

My first meal at Chateau de Saigon was excellent. I craved the Lemon Grass Tofu dish everyday, so I was pulled back for a visit a few days later.

Of course, I had to get the tofu:


must snap a


photo before


diving in

It was just as delightful as I remembered: crunchy outer layer with a silky smooth innard, topped with a nice bit a heat.

My friend, Lindsey combined her Jewish roots with traditional soup and ordered the Pho with brisket:


meat - check, broth - check, noodles - check

It came with the expected herbs, sprouts, and flavor enhancers:



I caught her picking some of the white fat off the meat, but I believe she enjoyed the broth.
Meredith (of the home-made blintzes fame) had a salad and noodle entree:
Goi Xoai Tao Tom Thit – Shrimp (no pork) Apple Mange Salad with mint leaves, fried onions, crushed peanuts. The salad was only ok – it does not live up to C’om’s version but it is passable.


noodles, where are you?



Crispy Fried Egg Noodle with chicken – the noodles were crunchy (as advertised) and the chicken was tender. I did not love the sauce, but there was nothing wrong with it. It was just a bit glossy and a touch sweet.

I ordered the Seafood Clay Pot or Hai San Tay Cam:


covered with herbs



It came with shrimp, scallop, calamari, calamari ball, fish filet, and tofu – for the most part, the seafood was cooked correctly, slightly veering on overdone (read: rubbery). I bet this tends to happen in clay pots since the bubbling sauce continues to cook your protein as it sits in front of you at the table – you gotta eat fast!

I had a love affair with my favorite bite:


meant to be together forever


just me and you


ahhh, life is good

The main event of the meal was Lauren’s order of La Vong Sizzling Fish. There’s a lot of ground to cover so it’s coming up next………

Chateau de Saigon on Urbanspoon

La Pietra Cucina: For the Love of Soup

Many of you are probably saddened by the recent death of Soupy Sales. In honor of the comic, I wanted to dedicate this post to him.

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea who Soupy Sales is. But, I have been sick recently and eating loads of soup so the timing just worked out (don’t you just love when that happens?).

An in-house work meeting prompted a nearby meal. My office happens to be located directly above one of the best Italian restaurants in the city of Atlanta, La Pietra Cucina.

Newly renovated with a high level of service, La Pietra is a luxurious way to spend a lunch hour. Case in point: my chamomile tea came in a large wooden box, and looked more like decorative potpourri than drinking tea.

Anyway, as soon as I looked at the menu I knew what was in order: SOUP


octopus can heal

Braised Octopus & Chick Pea Soup with escarole and olivastro

Boy, this really hit the spot. There was a strong lemony note within the broth that felt great on my throat. The octopus chunks varied in size and shape, which made the process of eating a joyous occasion – somewhat like enjoying alphabet soup as a child. The chickpeas added some heft and weight to the bowl; they also soaked up some of that good broth flavor.

For my entree, SOUP!


swimming squiddies

Calamari in Sicilian Tomato Zupetto with vermentino, toasted garlic, couscous, pine nuts

How can you have octopus without squid?

I’ve had this dish before and it is a satisfying meal – a heavier feel than the octopus due to the olive oil, but the flavors pop in a different way. Large slices of garlic, halved caper berries & olives, soft couscous, and crunchy pine nuts combine in a warm tomato base that begs to be drunk. This one warms the belly.

I’m not sure if it was the back-to-back soup action or the fact that I ate OctoSquid for lunch, but I left feeling a bit warmer and healthier.

Post-Script: my lunch mates ate very well.


I'm cut by human hands

Hand Cut Pappardelle with bolognese ragu, grana padano


order envy ensued

Black Spaghetti with rock shrimp, scallions, hot calabrese sausage

Both friends cleaned their plates 🙂

La Pietra Cucina on Urbanspoon