O Sole Mio

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2194 Nesconset Hwy
Stony Brook, NY 11790

We already reviewed the garlic knots for this place in a previous entry, however we definitely wanted to come back to try their actual PASTA! What other great opportunity would we take rather than when we visit our alma mater again? And this time, we had some extra taste buds from our friend, Mary.

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On this bustling Saturday night, the place was crowded in the front because of the take-out/pizza parlor near the entrance.  On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for some nice lighting and fancy sit-down dining you can go ahead and speak with the hostess.

That’s what we did!  We received some complimentary garlic knots,slices of bread, and bruschetta upon seating, as well as a plate of some good olive oil to dip.

There were many many choices of pasta, so we took a bit of time to decide.  Here is the menu for your review.  Our first choice was the appetizer Fried Ravioli.  Our server was nice enough to be patient with us and gave us some space to decide.

Mary ordered the Pasta Siciliana and Vic/I got the Alla Vodka.

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Fried Ravioli
Filled with ricotta cheese, lightly breaded and fried to perfection. Served with a side of tomato sauce for dipping. $8.99
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Pasta Siciliana
Served with pan fried eggplant in a filetto di pomodoro sauce with Rigatoni $12.50
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Alla Vodka
Pink cream and vodka sauce with a touch of meat with Linguine $13.50

Pinky says 4/5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg

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I definitely recommend this place to who ever loves pasta (like I do).  Oftentimes I have these huge pasta cravings and now I wish that I went to O Sole Mio more while I was studying at Stony.  Actually, perhaps not because I would say that this place is not that cheap, but the portions are huge.  I would probably be more broke than I am now!  Great atmosphere and service for a good special occasion meal though.  The pasta that I had was really heavy.  This is not for the weak!  With everything, less is always more because I felt really disgusting near the end and felt like I was drinking heavy cream.   I could barely finish it, even though the waiter split the meal into half for Victor and me. BUT I WILL STILL HAVE IT AGAIN! Mm fat.

I tried some of Mary’s pasta and I loved the taste too.  The eggplant went really well with the sauce, despite the fact that I am not a big fan of eggplant.  The ravioli was just alright though.  I’m not sure what else they could have done to it to make it more special, but perhaps it was just because of the regular marinara sauce it was served with.  It was pretty pricey for only a couple of pieces.  The garlic knots in the beginning of the meal were again delicious, just like the last time we had them!

Victor says 4/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail

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Although this isn’t my first time here, it’s my first time in the restaurant portion of this Italian Restaurant/ Pizza Take-Out.  I actually wish I have gone here more too. The food here is just always so good. I just assumed this was mediocre,  since it was always advertised around the college we were at. Everything about this place is just wonderful. The pizzas here are like the (good) pizzas in New York City with the thin crust and perfect amount of cheese.

If you’re coming here to sit and dine, its a completely different atmosphere compared to the pizza take-out section. It actually feels like you’re in a fancy restaurant. The waiters are wonderful and are always stopping by to see if everything alright (which it was!)

The garlic knots,  slices of bread, and bruschetta were quite delectable.

The fried ravioli was okay, I guess. I don’t know what to really expect. I’ve always heard people rave about fried raviolis, but it didn’t stand out to me.  Maybe I’m just not the biggest fan of ricotta cheese.  Pinky and I ordered the Alla Vodka and the waiter was kind enough to split our plate into two dishes! I actually really enjoyed this dish and I think I could have finished one whole plate by myself 😛 The sauce was sweet, but it was really heavy and thick for a sauce. The added cheese gave it a more creamy texture. Everything just seemed right about this pasta. Nothing was overcooked and it just went well together. I’d get it again if I came here! I tried Mary’s pasta too! The taste wasn’t quite memorable, but I’m not the biggest fan of eggplant either.

So if you’re in the area, come check this place out for their pizzas, pastas, and everything else!

20131206_183220Thanks to Mary for chilling with us! And for letting us borrow your phone for these pictures…haha

Bayou Staten Island; GATOR WHAT?!

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1072 Bay St
Staten Island, NY 10305
Menu

Once you come into this dimly lit restaurant, there is what it seems a mysterious aura it gives off…It would remind you of any high class restaurant located in the heart of Manhattan, although this place is in (out of all places) Staten Island!

The decor consists of many masks that remind me of masquerades and numerous mardi gras beads hanging against a brick wall.  Also, there are full-size old classic style movie posters.

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Near the back, there is additional seating and to the side the restrooms are not labelled “men” and “women”, but labelled something else. See for yourself!  Outside the restrooms, there are awards hung on the wall..but not very much room to gaze at them.

Apparently, they serve dinner 3-course prixe fix meals, however Vic and I came during lunch time.  It serves as a quiet romantic atmosphere and the staff are quite nice.  Once seated, the host gives you the menu and a drinks menu.

{What about their specialty though??? Read on!}

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sweet potato fritters (daily lunch special $8) dinner price; $9
sweet potato fritters (daily lunch special $8) dinner price; $9
gator burger $12 includes sweet potato fries or curly fries (salad is additional charge)
gator burger — yes a GATOR BURGER {mixed with pork} — $12 includes sweet potato fries or curly fries (salad is additional charge)

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This was a rather interesting find for me.  After living on Staten Island for so many years, I didn’t think there would be any exquisite restaurants besides your usual diners. From looks of the exterior, you probably would have no idea what it would look like inside. For me, it was like stepping into another world.

Walking in, you already begin to hear the jazzy and soul music. On the left, you have this giant mural of Louie Armstrong with a bunch or awards and plaques.. and on the right, you have the bar before you even step into the actual restaurant section.

After being seated, you see a lot of things you won’t see in your typical restaurants: Mardi gra beads everywhere , Masquerade masks along the walls and lights, old movie posters, an alligator gypsy, and much more! It does seem a bit understaffed though because our waitress was also the bartender.

For the appetizers, I ordered sweet potato fritters. It was recommended by several people after reading some reviews on Yelp, so I guess I had to try it out! Basically, it’s a sweet potato ball with pieces of sausage mixed into it that’s deep-fried with spicy mayo sauce on top. I guess it’s bit pricey for something that seems simple, but they made it pretty good in my own opinion. I was actually completely imagining something else when I ordered it. I was thinking of little fritos or something. The fritters have a nice crispy texture, but once you bite into it, you get to the core of the sweet potato ball. Its smooth and not too sweet. It’s quite delectable and the spicy mayo makes it so much better. I definitely think that they could have added more spicy mayo to it because it was just so good. The pieces of sausage gave the fritter the salty taste it needed.

So for the entree… I ordered a Gator Burger. Before everyone gives me crap like “oh isn’t that seafood” or “alligators are endangered” or whatever…. IT’S SEAFOOD AND IT’S NOT ENDANGERED. I also know that it lives in the water most of the time and blah blah blah. Yeah…. I was well aware of what was going to happen after eating this burger.

So…. enough that… The gator burger was rather interesting, the least to say. It’s pork and alligator meat that’s been mixed and seasoned into a patty. It was put on a large toasted English muffin with lettuce and tomatoes with curly fries as a side. The burger had a crispy outer layer, but the inside of the burger was extremely soft and tender. It was like nothing I ever tasted. It was very salty and herb-y however. I had to add a bunch of hot sauce so it wouldn’t be as salty. It just had unique taste because I never had pork or alligator for a burger before. The burger was okay, but it was difficult for me eat it. Like as if my own soul was like fighting with my body as if broke some royal decree. Each bite seemed harder than the next, so I sorta ate the burger as quick as I could after the mid-point. I guess if I wasn’t really thinking about it that much, I probably would have enjoyed it bit more.

I guess if you want to try something different, you can check out it this place. I would still recommend despite my weird experience with gator burger. The atmosphere is quiet and romantic and food is decent. It’s not extremely expensive either. Give this place a go if you’re into Southern food!

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French Quarter $8.95; Grilled chicken, Brie,onions and roasted peppers — includes sweet potato fries or curly fries (salad is additional charge)

Pinky Says 3.75/5

This place was definitely a fancy restaurant and I kept thinking that Manhattan would be a better place for this kind of food.  Despite the fact that there were forks and knives falling everywhere in this place (clumsy busboy) — they were nice to us and were professional.  Despite its classiness atmosphere, they were using these — brown paper towel table linings beneath our plates.  Strange….Sorta drops the classy level down for me. When Vic told me that this place offered GATOR burgers I was like WHAT. HOW and WHAT.

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The fritters came by first though, as our appetizer — they were very very mushy inside like sweet mashed potato while simultaneously being very crispy outside.  However, I didn’t really like the fact that it was $8 a plate haha. I believe I could just make that myself! I actually wanted more of that spicy mayo it’s served with.  They were laid upon some strangely colored lettuce…

Okay, I ordered the French Quarter because I thought it was going to be healthy.  I was really being dumb because how can anything with awesome to-die-for brie cheese EVER be healthy? It was probably the most unhealthiest sandwich ever! Haha.  There were two pieces of grilled chicken NOT one.  The pieces were cooked to perfection, being STILL moist and not of cardboard texture.  It was of course not a very lady-like meal since the whole thing was covered in grease and I couldn’t get a hold of it because of its ginormous size.  I would have enjoyed some lettuce or any other vegetables other than the red peppers though.  There were overwhelmingly big pieces of red peppers and very few onions !! — The thing I dislike the most is soggy buns and the bottom piece of bread was SOAKED. It was crazy filling though…only could eat half of it.

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I did like the sweet potato fries though.  They were not mushy, but crisp and hot to touch.

I tried also a bite of the gator burger…was not very satisfied — as I encrypted an image of a baby gator with all its scaly skin pulled apart. Oh, no…It was strangely very salty.  Don’t think I could have handled a whole patty of that.  It was mushy..and salty..beglhlegeh.

Roller Jam USA

DSCN3595RollerJam USA
236 Richmond Valley Road, Tottenville
718-605-6600
www.rollerjamusa.com

This very interesting and unique venue is located at the most Southern tip of Staten Island, Tottenville.

Rink newly opened in July 2007 and renovating in early 2013. And unless we’ve lost track of things, RollerJam has been the only indoor, year-round roller rink in the city almost since it opened.

Reported to be a bit small and has a non-wood floor, but has plenty of leather couches for relaxing on when off your skates. It already seems to have become fairly popular and is drawing good crowds.

RollerJam USA has also an arcade near the right of the place and features free pizza on Fridays, as well as a full bar for the adults with their kids.  As quoted before, RollerJam is only one of very few roller rinks in NYC and draws many people even during late nights.  Rental of skates and admission is total $14.  Lockers cost extra.  BRING SOCKS! Once you enter turn to the left and give your street shoes to the staff member and he/she will ask you your shoe size and what kind of skates; rollerskates or rollerblades?  There is also an option to use wristguards or helmets.

Victor says: 2.5/5

I think it’s pretty cool that roller skate rinks like this still exist in the world, but the atmosphere can be crazy in here.

First off, it’s located Staten Island. Not to hate on Staten Island or anything, but the tolls here are just off the hooks (P.S. I come from Staten Island). I have seen the toll for the Verrazano Bridge go from $6 to like $15 in a less then a decade.

I guess enough ranting of that. When I went here, it just looked so sketchy. It’s literally a warehouse with the glowing words  “Roller Jam USA” on the side. The price can be little expensive too. If you don’t have your own skates, it’s about $15 with rentals. I think it’s $10 if you have your own.

The workers here aren’t very pleasant and don’t seem to enjoy their job. I was yelled at by one of the workers for stopping on the side of the rink… but that was only because I was waiting for someone.

The song selection isn’t the greatest, but I guess that’s what the kids are into nowadays. There was an alarming number of middle school kids there when we went, but that’s probably because it was a Friday night. As I noted before, it can get crazy on the rink. People are zipping and tripping left and right of you. Those who are obnoxious  push and shove their way through you. And…. the rink is also pretty small!

This place is definitely in need of some major improvements. But if you asked me, it could be a cool place to hangout if you come at a hour with not many people.

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Pinky says 2/5

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Please refuse me admission! – Pinky

I am biased.  I am not very much a person who craves adventure and having to be surprised to be brought here, wasn’t so…good for me.  The place is really decorated in a tacky manner and is almost like a time capsule into the 1970s. Even their legit roller skates looked like they were going to fall apart at any second.  There is a reason why these are all closing down lol.  Not being a SI native, I did not know that children stay out so late at roller rinks.  These kids were crazy and crowded the whole area! When I was a kid, I was not holding hands with boys and staying out until 11pm!

DSCN3603The staff there was not very professional either, mouthing off in front of the kids. Although I am supposed to be rating the place, I cannot help but be turned off by foul language from a staff member.  Don’t even get me started on the horrible DJ.  I cannot have a good time with horrible music.  Not going to come back here anytime soon.  One, I cannot skate, worse than ice skating…!!! Two, it’s like in the middle of no where…LOL. 

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