Best Bites: Rocky Hill Inn, Ricky’s Thai, La Costeñita, Main Street, Witherspoon Grill, Antimo’s & home

Time has flown by and I’ve been dining all over the place, in addition to cooking at home (sometimes for upcoming print articles in the Packet). Here’s a photo gallery of some of the dishes I’ve enjoyed. My review of Ricky’s Thai will appear soon, and the duck noodles below were my sleeper hit. I think I appreciated them more at home the next evening (when I took the photo) than in the restaurant – amazing! I had a nice lunch with friends from work at the Rocky Hill Inn, a couple of meals at Main Street Bistro, and I finally got to try the pizza at Antimo’s in Hopewell, and really liked it. My friend at that lunch gave me a jar of her own peach-blueberry preserves, which you see below on toast. They were delicious, and gone quickly (i.e. they were toast!) (ouch!).

I am totally in love with the lobster mac and cheese at Witherspoon Grill, and order it there at least a couple times of year. Readers already know I tend to meet up with friends at Main Street Bistro regularly, and I also enjoyed their truffled mushroom mac and cheese there a couple months ago (much less sinful than most versions, have you ever noticed that they sneak healthful versions of comfort foods on you there – I love them for it!)

I faithfully return to La Costeñita up in Hillsborough for authentic renditions of dishes from Oaxaca. The pasilla relleno you see here is made with a smoked dried chile, and filled with a juicy pork mix that includes olives, raisins, almonds…so many goodies. It is fantastic, unlike any relleno I’ve had before. Owner Alicia Arango tells me she had a real surge in traffic after my review in the Packet came out.

For “interesting” grocery items, do look for Larry’s Southwestern Sauces at ShopRite in the Mexican section. So far I’ve had the mole and the chipotle, and will soon try the ranchero. They’re all natural, not too salty, and very easy to use. I just simmer it with turkey or chicken thighs (boneless) and serve over rice. In the dish below, cooked in the crockpot, I also tossed in (near the end) a jar of corn salsa from Trader Joe’s that I’d just opened and wanted to use up promptly. Pretty good idea, if I do say so…

The sausage from Brick Farm Market was a gift from a friend, she gave me a few, but couldn’t remember exactly what they were, we’re guessing chicken with tarragon? Delicious with a touch of sweetness, maybe from the herb. I just had to have some mashed potato that night, so resorted to instant, the only thing I had (I plan to experiment with that as a coating for fried food soon.) The Black Forest bacon from Trader Joe’s was very good, so smoky, it was great in the BLT I made with some of it. And TJ’s salmon patties are good, too, they come frozen but sauté in just a few minutes, and are juicy and flavorful. They look small but are pretty much all salmon I think so one is plenty for lunch or a light dinner. (I had it on a Miami onion roll from ShopRite, I just love those, one of the only white breads products I buy anymore.)

See that pasta (imported from Abruzzo) with Alfredo sauce and pancetta below? I never buy or order Alfredo sauce, but something came over me in Lucy’s during the frozen tundra of this past winter, and I bought some. Put it in the freezer and tried to forget about it. Well, I needed to make some room in the freezer, so I thawed it recently, and sautéed some pre-cubed pancetta I’d bought (in yet another weak moment), added the Alfredo, and mixed it with my good, toothsome pasta. I have to say, it was excellent, but I “compensated” with big salads on the side, Caesar one night, arugula  the next. We’ll try not to make a habit of Alfredo, however.

Trader Joe’s is the source for the pre-marinated chimichurri steak that comes with a packet of the sauce in the package. It was surprisingly good, tender and juicy, although I’d be very careful not to over cook it. I did it in my stovetop ridged grill, just to rare, and sliced against the grain, before topping with the sauce.

And the pretty Weck canning jars from Eat This at the bottom – I found them at Mrs. Greens, and couldn’t resist even though they are quite pricey. One is bacon marmalade, just opened that and it’s like getting a delicious shot of necessary protein at breakfast (I can delude myself), and I already know I’ll love the other marmalade, with saffron and cardamom, too. Checking out their Facebook and website, I see they are also sold at Cherry Grove Farm (& at Brick Farm Market). And they make lots of other things, including cassoulet! All in those wonderful Weck jars that I’ve always coveted.

Remember, just click on one of the photos for a slideshow format of these dishes. Bon appétit! (Which I recently read no one in France would say!)

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