House of Skip

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hello Readers!

This is just a quick note from Skip.

For a few years now, I've been writing reviews and other observations on a domain which I acquired through another site. I am transitioning to this new format and I hope everyone enjoys it.

To my new readers, I say welcome and I hope that you will find my past reviews helpful, where possible (and when I do not forget) I will post the original date of the blog review.

To my faithful readers, I hope this transition is smooth and you will be able to find all the old reviews you know and love, as well as read all the new ones. Our rating system at House of Skip (1-5 cosmos, 1 being poor and 5 being excellent) is under going some changes. We here at House of Skip want to bring you the most relevant information in addition to entertaining you. We will take some time to try out some new rating system ideas and hope that if you have any feedback you will be willing to share it (new readers too).

Thanks all for your continued (or new) support! Stay tuned for more adventures from Skip and her companion.

xoxoxo,

Skip <3

Rocky Hill Inn, Rocky Hill, NJ

The Rocky Hill Inn has both a "dining room" and a "tavern", so if you are feeling casual and just want to hang in a bar atmosphere (as my dining companion and I did last night) then you can just mosey in to the tavern and either have a seat at the bar or get a table in the rustic looking tavern.

Recently the magazine, NJ Monthly came out with a list of the Best Burgers in NJ. Rated # one on that list was Rocky Hill Inn, so you know we here at House of Skip had to give it a try.

I have to preface this by saying that the service at Rocky Hill left a little to be desired. I want to get this out of the way before I get into the burger and lose track of what I wanted to say. We waited a long time to place our order and their seemed to be mis-communication or no communication between the staff. We were given water, asked if we wanted bread (to which we replied no), another person came and gave us bread and after we gave in and each ate a piece, another person came over and asked if they could take the bread away (there was one piece remaining on the dish) and all the while we still had our menus and it was clear we'd not seen a waitress.

That aside, I loved the Rocky Hill Inn. It was a nice, casual, rustic looking place where you could have good food in a relaxed atmosphere. When our waitress finally did come take our order, she was very nice. We each ordered a beer, I chose the Sam Adams Summer Ale because I rarely drink beer anymore and I really like that one, always the adventurer by companion chose a beer he'd never heard of called Weltenburger, which was a German beer that was very tasty. We also ordered an appetizer to share, calamari and each ordered the Rocky Hill Burger.

There were a lot of people around us ordering it, I have a feeling the magazine had an impact on that. They also added to the menu "Award winning burger by NJ Monthly". Our beers came and shortly there after one of the confused looking staff brought us the calamari, the calamari at Rocky Hill Inn is breaded with corn meal, we were surprised that there was no sauce to accompany it, but no sooner had a commented on that than the confused boy appeared again with a small dish of sauce. And we are so glad he did! The sauce was the star of the dish, it was vinegar based and very tangy, it had a bit of a sweet and sour flavor to it which was great. The calamari was fresh and good, the verdict may still be out on the cornmeal, it is unique and while the calamari were very non-greasy (a big plus in our book) they were a little dry, though a good dunk in the sauce helped with that. My dining companion (who is a far cry from a chef or even cook) thought the sauce would pair well with a grilled calamari vs a breaded and fried version. I have to agree with him on that one and if I can try to replicate that sauce I may try that one at home, I'll keep you posted. :)

Now, on to the main attraction. Between the departure of the calamari and the arrival of the burgers all we could think about was getting our hands on those burgers.  We watched others come and go and couldn't wait to sink our teeth in. I will make one other note about the service- our waitress came to our table so infrequently that she completely missed us having our appetizer and had even asked the kitchen why it wasn't out yet, to which they informed her we'd eaten it already- we can only assume that she was busy with other tables? Any who, the burgers. I swear bells and sirens should accompany the arrival of these things. Nice to a nice pile of handcut fries, sits this gloriously glossy bun, under the bun is a burger cooked to perfection, seasoned with just salt and pepper, piled high with grilled onions, bacon, cheese, an egg, lettuce, tomato and pickles. My companion and I both grabbed a hold of the burger and sunk our teeth in! It is crazy, but with all that is on this burger, it is not overwhelming, each thing complements the other. The cheese is very light, there is not this big glob of cheese in the way, it is just a nice amount to give it that tangy flavor. The bacon is smoky and crunchy and adds so much to the texture. By far the richest thing on the burger is the egg, the dripping yolk adds a unique taste to the burger. With the bacon and egg my companion questioned whether this was a breakfast sandwich! I must note that dipping the fries in the yolk that had dripped on to the plate was a divine experience too. Finally, the lettuce, tomato and pickle added a fresh and cool component to the burger.

Hats off to the Rocky Hill Inn for a darn fine burger, you are now not only a NJ Monthly award winner but have the stamp of approval from House of Skip. My dining companion and I throughly enjoyed our burger and most of our experience at the Rocky Hill Inn. We would have liked to sit at the bar but it was packed when we came in and packed when we left, I guess that is a good sign. :)

Do you want to taste burger perfection? Get your butt to the Rocky Hill Inn

137 Washington Street, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553
Phone: 609-683-8930
Fax:     609-683-8931 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tattoni's, Hamilton, NJ

~Originally posted 10.12.09~
For my readers from the Mercer County area, you know that the Chambersburg section of Trenton has long been home to great Italian restaurants. For those of you that aren't from the area, you don't know what you are missing. Recently, a long time Chambersburg resident, Tattoni's Restaurant, moved into Hamilton, their new home is on Rt. 33. And oh how lucky we are to have them!

If you've been reading House of Skip at all, you know that my dining companion and I have a thing for BYOB's, since Tattoni's is one, we took the opportunity to bring an Italian Chianti with us! The decor at Tattoni's is simple, a room full of tables, walls covered with Italian scenes. The staff is great, really friendly and have their job down to a science, of course some of them have worked for Tattoni's for over 20 years. Of course, each table is provided with the customary basket of bread, we also got a nice antipasto. I was craving meat sauce something fierce, so that is exactly what I got, Spaghetti with meat sauce. The meat sauce had so much flavor, absolutely great. The pasta was cooked just right, although the sauce was so good I could have eaten it by itself, okay maybe just with bread.  My dining companion ordered the Spaghetti with Crab sauce. Now, my guess would be that the meat sauce and the crab sauce both start out as just tomato sauce and then they add either the meat or crab and let them cook together. My companion said the crab sauce was great. It did come with a whole crab on top of it, which was a little messy since it was covered in tomato sauce. We both really enjoyed our meals and I was thrilled when the waiter told us that they sell sauces by the quart, I'll definitely be taking advantage of that! Also good to note that all non-pasta entrées (i.e. roast pork, grilled fish) come with a side of pasta. So, you can have a little of everything at Tattoni's.

We will surely be visiting this place again and suggest that you do to. You will find good, homemade food in a great atmosphere for a reasonable price.

Four Cosmos for Tattoni's
Tattoni's Restaurant
1280 Highway 33
Hamilton, NJ 08690
609-587-9700


Ted's On Main, Medford, NJ

~Originally posted 3/31/09~
Ted's On Main is like a a little piece of New Orleans, right here in New Jersey. The dining room is small, cozy, and full of warm colors like golds and reds. Many of the photos and decorations are reminiscent of that of New Orleans, you can tell the French and Carribean influence.

Ted's is a BYOB restaurant with excellent staff.  The menu is sophisticated, yet simple, you won't be overwhelmed. As soon as I opened the menu I got excited, one of the appetizers was a Roasted Organic Beet Salad! That is what I started with, while my dining companion had oysters rockefeller, he said they were amazing. My salad was fresh and satisfying and my companion enjoyed his oysters as well. I was in the mood for something light, so I went with Sautéed Scallops with Butternut squash risotto, it was delicious and exactly what I wanted. The scallops were that perfect combination of crispy on the outside and fresh on the inside. At the suggestion of our waitress my companion ordered Citrus Grilled Hawaiian Butterfish with Carribean shrimp cous cous and mango key lime butter, he was not disappointed.

My dining companion had read that Ted's On Main was known for their desserts, so of course we had to find out for ourselves. Being that Ted's tries to give you that New Orleans feel, my companion decided to order the bananas foster. I found something that was calling my name, warm chocolate pecan pie! It was difficult to pass up something they called Chocolate Chip Cookie Meltdown, but I don't often have pecan pie. Both desserts were wonderful and certainly showed why people talk about the desserts at Ted's.

We had a late reservation, so when we arrived at Main Street in Medford, the other businesses were closed, but it seemed as if there were a lot of cute stores in the area. Ted's fits right into this quaint little section of town. So, don't just take my word for it, check it out yourself!
www.tedsonmain.net

Thai Orchid, Blue Bell, PA

~Originally posted 10.1.09~
On the quest for more delicious thai food, my dining companion and I enlisted the help of a friend. Upon researching several places, it was decided we would all three dine at Thai Orchid in Blue Bell, PA. We arrived at this cute and tiny little place, elaborately decorated with orchids, elephants, and all things gold and shiny. We were very hungry and had great anticipation for fabulous food, based on the fact that they are Zagat recommended. With wine in tow (they are BYOB) we took our seats and admired the decor.

Upon opening the menu, our friend declared, "I want the fortune bags", all jokes aside (I couldn't help it) they were tasty, thin fried pastry shells, tied into a bag filled with chicken, shrimp and crabmeat, served with sweet plum sauce. They were really good and the sauce was also good, a little tangy, a little sweet- that's a good combo in my book. My dining companion went with the Tom Yum soup, which he always gets a thai places, it's a spicy lemongrass and coconut soup with shrimp, lime and vegetable. He said it was salty and not as spicy as some others he's had, but overall he liked it. Since it was a little chilly out, I went with soup as well, I opted for the Thai ravioli soup, because it sounded similar to a wonton soup, it was chicken and shrimp dumplings in a broth with vegetables, the broth was a little bland and could have used more vegetables, but the dumplings were tasty.

For our entrées I ordered Thai Eggplant, which was eggplant sautéed with chicken, peppers and "aromatic herbs" (according to the menu), it was very good, the sauce was light, yet I did sense a little coconut and a little kick of spice. Like many restaurants that serve spicy dishes, the menu at Thai Orchid had asterisks next to them indicating the spice level, my dish had two. Our friend ordered Mussaman curry, which only had one asterisk, and was a red curry sauce with peanut sauce and coconut milk. Despite the fact that it was offered on the menu with chicken or beef, when our friend asked if she could get shrimp instead the waitress didn't even bat an eye, she said it would be no problem. We were all impressed with the ease in which you can make substitutions or special requests. My dining companion ordered green curry with shrimp, which had three asterisks, it was very spicy. And he enjoyed every bite! There was a lot of shrimp in both my companion's dish, as well as the one our friend ordered. We looked at the dessert menu and while it was our friend's idea, she ordered only a thai iced tea for dessert, my companion and I ended up sharing a ginger ice cream. The presentation of the ice cream was great, it is a small scoop, served in a hard chocolate shell with a mango sauce nicely swirled into a design on the plate. The ice cream was good, upon trying some our friend stated it was like "creamy gingerale" and I would say that was an accurate description. It was yummy and light and the chocolate shell gave you just that little taste of chocolate to go along with it, my companion really enjoyed the mango sauce.

So, in review, Thai Orchid is an adorable place, with great staff and wonderful food. Stop by and enjoy  the nice atmosphere and delicious Thai cuisine. And tell them Skip sent you.

check them out at:

www.thaiorchidofbluebell.com
 

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Frog and The Peach, New Brunswick



~Original post date: 2/23/09~
 
There is a reason The Frog and The Peach is called one of the best restaurants in New Jersey. They recently received 3 and 1/2 stars from New Jersey Monthly Magazine, being noted for both their food and their service in Zagat's as well.
From the moment we walked in I knew we were in for a treat. We sat at the quaint little bar, the wall lined with so many wines it was almost intimidating. The staff is pleasant, friendly and knowledgeable about their extensive wine list and extremely appealing menu.

We were seated in what is usually the outdoor dining area, but is now enclosed for the winter months. It was beautiful and quiet. Our waitress was superb, attentive but not hovering. We had a delicious black bean and artichoke puree soup, which both my dining companion and I enjoyed very much. My companion chose a lovely napa valley chardonnay to go with our meals. My meal was a butternut squash and goat cheese tortelloni, anyone who knows me, could predict I would choose this item off a menu, I love butternut squash and goat cheese, so it was a winning combination. The dish was topped with broth and parmesan cheese, I loved it, what made it unique was the chunks of mortadella ham,a little salty and added such flavor to the dish. My dining companion is equally predictable, he loves tuna and so the Seaweed crusted yellowfin tuna (rare of course) was calling his name. He loved it and said the peanut noodle cake was interesting, in a good way.

On to dessert! Of course, where there is creme brulee then my companion must have it! I tried a light, lovely almond cake that had a sweet Grapefruit Pomegranate Granité on the side. Overall, this dinner was an experience and extremely romantic. The setting of this restaurant really lends it to the idea of romance and the staff is very good at keeping the right distance to allow for that intimate feeling. In saying that this is an experience, that experience comes with a price tag. This is not an inexpensive restaurant, but if you are in the position to treat yourself, this is the place to go. The food is amazing, the service is top notch, well worth the price.

Reservations are highly suggested. As with any restaurant in New Brunswick, there is no parking, you will need to park in a public lot or as we learned, they Hyatt around the corner is also a good place to park, it is just a short two block walk to The Frog and The Peach, as is the Wolfson garage, there is metered parking on the street, but that will be difficult to come by most evenings. The restaurant also offers valet parking for a fee.

http://www.frogandpeach.com/default.aspx