Tag Archives: tomato sauce

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


Antico Pizza Napoletana: Meet Giovanni di Palma


front of the house


back of the house

Oh, what a night – I spent the evening with Atlanta’s #1 pizza maker, Giovanni di Palma. He is quite a guy: gregarious, proud, generous, welcoming, but above all, utterly humbled by the mass amounts of positive buzz his small pizza joint has created. He mentioned interviews, photo shoots, magazines, and blogs, that have bombarded and overwhelmed the down to earth crew. Giovanni has but one word to say to the city of Atlanta, “Grazie.”

Giovanni happened to remember my anchovy-loving ways so he invited me to the back room to check out the scene.


Then the fun began:


don't drop it!


the master is watching


help me out, man!


handing over the reigns

It was heavy!

Kind-hearted Giovanni also let me touch his beloved dough. Soft stuff.


career change?


wearing the opposite of the correct color for this activity


trying to smuggle flour out on my pants

The boys were more than happy to oblige to my demands:


blue + red = purple

As if it could get any better, we were treated to an espresso and cannolis while we read the framed Vince Lombardi quote on the wall:




side view cannolis


frontal cannolis


words from Mr. Lombardi

At this point, we all know that Antico serves up the best pizza Atlanta has to offer. In fact, for all I know they’ve got the best pizza in the south. We also know that when you go to Antico, you stuff yourself with the aforementioned pizza until you can barely breathe. Fair enough. But I urge you – try the cannoli, biscotti, and especially the sfogliatelle. You will not regret it; and you can do it! See how well I did:


all gone


it's not a struggle to get this down

Antico Pizza Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Frozen Meal Series: Kashi Vegetable Pizza


boxed food

I need more frozen food in my life – high quality, low cost, healthy, and delicious frozen food. There are more nights than I care to admit where dinner in a combination of pantry/fridge odds and ends. These meals leave me unsatisfied and most likely overfed. I’m looking for brands I can trust – brands with commercials that show people cycling, hiking, looking healthy, and most importantly smiling about their food. Kashi is one such brand. Known for their cereal (think GOLEAN (crunch)), Kashi has won over countless Americans aiming to eat healthy on a budget/time constraint. Let’s see how the hot food fares:




I'm thin, are you jealous?


hot stuff


closer look

First, let’s cover expectations. My last pizza dinner was at Antico Pizza Napoletana – that just ain’t gonna happen in my kitchen, coming from a box in the freezer. Second, let’s cover the positives. Kashi does not lie – the crust is THIN, the cheese covers enough ground, and the sauce is decent. Third, let’s get to the negatives. Vegetables are not the highlight of the pizza – the ‘trio’ of mushrooms consisted of 7 or so mushrooms that all looked like the same type while the spinach would not be Popeye approved. Also, we(Lauren) burned the crust so a fair assessment could not be made.

While this meal would not fall under the Dreaming About category, it was sufficient and it succeeded in meeting all of my requirements (although maybe slightly south of delicious). I would eat it again, but I won’t be craving it.

Antico Pizza Napoletana – what tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and crust should be

I followed the Atlanta food-nuts to Antico Pizza Napoletana this past weekend. I’ve read the reviews, blog posts, yelp page, and tweets from the fans of this new place. Hardly no marketing or advertising and the place is causing quite a stir; in fact, I would call it an uproar. And the uproar is well deserved because the pizza is good; INSANELY good.

We ordered the Margherita D.O.P. and the Marinara. The former was what you would consider the basic – tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil. Excellente! The Marinara was my choice. Simple as can be with tomato sauce and white anchovies. The taste of the crust is flawless and is charred in just the right places (and I am not a bread/crust lover). I could not leave one bite leftover.

mid meal

mid meal

mid meal

mid meal

Ingredient quality could not get any better, and they are not hiding anything regarding their processes. While eating, I stood next to a women chopping garlic.

working hard

working hard

On the other side of the room, cans of San Marzano tomatoes lined the wall.

fresh as can be

fresh as can be

I peeked into the kitchen to catch a snapshot of the 3 ovens flown in from Naples, Italy.

hot stuff

hot stuff

The seating arrangement is quite unique in that there are no seats. There is, on the other hand, a large ‘standing room only’ table where communal eating takes place. And it is a joyous time, because the pizza puts a smile on everyone’s face. There is a condiment stand at the center of the table that contains olive oil, freshly chopped garlic, oregano, spicy red peppers, and grated Parmesan cheese.

take your pick

take your pick

I absolutely died for the spicy red peppers and fresh garlic (but I also smelled for a few days).

The only complaint I can muster up about Antico is that the volume level of the authentic Italian music makes it hard to carry on a conversation during dinner. And this is the sort of place you will want to talk to your dining partner about after each and every bite. So if they dropped the volume by a few notches, it would be pure perfection (as far as pizza is concerned).

Antico Pizza Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Squid Dinner guest starring tomato sauce, spinach, & garlic

Squid in a bag

Squid in a bag

Apropos first post: a home-cooked dinner that consists of squid. This is where a meal fits all my needs: it has health aspects (spinach) and it incorporates creatures of the sea.

I purchased the “squid in a bag” (photo above) from the Dekalb Farmer’s Market in Decatur Georgia hoping to create a decent weeknight meal that would quench my desire to eat at a restaurant. Cooking these suckers was not very hard or time-consuming (and I am VERY lazy when I get home from work) so that’s saying something.

Step 1: Wash the slippery suckers

Squid filled with h20

Squid filled with h20

Step 2: Cut ’em up

Rings Rings Rings

Rings Rings Rings

Step 3: Gotta add some garlic for flava
Squid Dinner 042

-at the same time take a bag of washed spinach (bought it in a bag) and throw it into a pot with the heat turned up to get rid of some of that spinach volume.
Squid Dinner 054

Step 4: Garlic in the pan heating in some olive oil, and get those squiddies in there too
Squid Dinner 043

Step 5: Take a jar of tomato sauce (your choice) and throw it into a pot – this will be where your meal will end up.

Red sauce in a pot (classico form Costo)

Red sauce in a pot (classico form Costco)

Step 5 & 6 go together: Toss some seasoning (used Old Bay) onto the spinach and lemon juice on the squid



After it cooks for a few minutes move the squid and spinach into the red sauce, cook a couple more minutes and voila:

(actually from Giacomo's in Boston)

(actually from Giacomo's in Boston)