Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's get Ripped and Thai One on Ole Chap


HAPPY NEW YEAR to all! It's January and time to hit the road. First stop was a quick flight into Baltimore, MD followed by a short car ride into Bowie, MD. where I hooked up with customers Barb, Keith and Charlie for a nice dinner and get ready for the week we will spend together. Prior to the visit, I entrusted Charlie to come up with the perfect dinner spot, only trouble was, the choices in his mind were limited, and he thought he could pull a fast one by recommending a chain restaurant for us to go to. Luckily Barb acted swiftly and informed Charlie that chain restaurants don't work for Triple M and he best find an alternative. Barb, being Barb decided to take on the task herself and suggested to Charlie that we go to Rips Country Inn.

Rip's is known for their Family Restaurant, expansive Fine Wine and Spirit Shoppe, Delicatessen and Lodging. All located conveniently between Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis.The facility was fashioned after the horse country that once surrounded it. Bowie, in it's heyday, was home to the racetrack. Stepping inside the restaurant is like stepping back in time.

Not haven eaten much all day I was extremely hungry and couldn't wait to order. After looking over the menu, discussing all the options with Creig and David (also working with them this week) I settled on Chicken Chesapeake; which featured two sauteed chicken breast, topped with crab meat, imperial sauce and then baked golden brown. While waiting for the meal, we feasted on rolls and muffins, then a salad. Times a wasting, my hunger growing and that is when the main course came out. A funny thing happened as I took my first bite, according to Keith (bright eyes) who is now laughing out loud uncontrollably said my eyes rolled clear into my head as if I was in a trance or possessed! Imagine that, having that kind of reaction to food! Suffice to say, the meal didn't last that long as I wolfed down every last bit of it. Delish!!!!!


After a long day visiting stores and going from point A to B to C and so on, I was ready for lunch. In my mind, if I'm close to the Baltimore area, I'm taking a detour to head to Chaps Pit Beef

Chaps Pit Beef was established in 1987 . Chaps was a 12 X 15 shack with no electric, and or phone. They simply had beef, ham, and sausage served with joy and the hope of seeing delight, and enjoyment from the faces of their customers. In the beginning chaps struggled, but soon had electric, and a phone. Over the years chaps has grown, as well as their menu serving Hot Dogs, Mexican Ham, Fish platters, and much much more.

In this case, my detour took over an hour out of my way, but it was well worth it. This was my second trip to Chaps and on this occasion, I was ready for one of their subs. After contemplating exactly which sub to go with, I settled on Guy's Triple D. A beautiful full length roll stuffed with beef, corned beef and Italian sausage! Add to that, some horse radish sauce and a side of mac salad, heaven was awaiting for me. I chowed down in no time and was now starting to think (hold tight) I'm finished eating for the day!!! Who was I kidding????


With my belly full, I'm ready to hook up with Barb and Charlie at a store in Falls Church, VA (another hour plus trip)! We got to the store did our walking and talking and now it was 5:30 and time for dinner. Barb was in the mood for some spicy food and recommended we go Thai!!! Thai? the Moan Man doesn't do Thai. No, never, not going to happen! Unfortunately, for those of you that haven't met Barb, she usually gets what she wants and in this case it was no different! So off to Lemon Grass Restaurant. Being a virgin to the Thai cuisine, and hearing how it can be spicy at times, I figured I better go light. So I planned out my strategy to go with soup and some sort of seafood concoction. When I got to the restaurant, it appeared just like any oriental locale. I sat down opened my menu and looked for those items that would match my planned strategy. Success!!!, there it was Thai lemon grass soup (shrimp, chicken or seafood with hot & sour lime juice, mushrooms, lemon grass flavor) and the sauteed seafood combination (with spicy sauce, shrimp, scallop, squid and basil leaves). Can't go wrong there, or can I? I guess I missed the asterisks after each of my choices that designates that the selections are hot and spicy. The soup came out and I prepared myself for a nice light flavorful broth. I plunged right into it and took a big ole spoonful, it didn't take long for the spices to literally take my breath away from me. I sprang for my ice water and downed it in seconds flat! I'm was in trouble and not only did I know it, so did Barb, Charlie and Brad. The funny thing was, the soup was delicious and I couldn't stop myself from finishing every last drop of it.Yes, it paralyzed me, but such is life. Once the soup was gone they brought out the main dish. This too I found to be very tasty and very spicy. In fact, when I left the restaurant, I wasn't sure I would be able to taste anything for days. I must say however, as I sit here writing this article, the only thing I can think of is going to have some Thai food!!!

It's off to Virginia Beach, VA next week and already my mind is wondering what culinary delights are awaiting me. Visit back next week to see which foods and where made me moan.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Un Pezzo di Cielo Nel North End

By now you have probably heard this from me or if not me, my daughter (the self proclaimed food snob), growing up in an Italian family has its perks and its curses. The curses I am speaking of is trying to find a good Italian restaurant that would rival the taste one becomes accustomed to from their youth. Nothing could ever beat the soups, sauces or Italian dishes your Grandma, Mama or your multitude of Aunts could make. Unfortunately, as one grows up and moves out of the nest he must find a way to carry on the tradition of duplicating those wonderful specialties or pass them on to someone that can actually cook. I for one, am very fortunate to have a wife that picked up where Grandma, Mama and my Aunts left off and has kept me happy for over 27 years. That being said, what does the Moan Man do to find his pasta fix when he's on the road. Well, if I was in Boston all the time it would be easy. You see, one only needs to go to the North End to find a piece of heaven(title of the blog). So you may ask me, what did you find there Triple M?

Located in North Square, the oldest square in America, a quite retreat located steps from busy Hanover Street. With it's cobblestone streets and gas lampposts, North Square is one of the most romantic spots in the North End and Boston (would have been nice to be there with my wife).

The cuisine at Gennaro's is traditional Italian home cooking. So as they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. This was not my first rodeo at Gennaro's and I was primed all week for this. But let me digress here and tell you how I almost made the biggest goof up of the week. You see, I knew where I wanted to go, I just wasn't sure how to get there. So after Kevin finally found a ramp garage to park at ($28.00 for about 2 hours) we headed out on foot for Gennaro's. Once we got into the North End the going was easy, except the restaurants are so close to each other we walked into the wrong one! Luckily, I caught my mistake at the last moment and told the host to sit tight as I needed to make a quick call before being seated. Exit stage left, went around the corner, and there was Gennaro's. In we went and as we were being seated, I asked to be seated in the upstairs section.

Our waitress came over with the menu and that's when all the debating started. You see I had to choose from too many of my favorites. So I started asking myself, "MM if you can make this at home, why have it here"? Good question, but I wanted to have all of the following:

Anyone of these would have been good, I just thought I should go against the grain and get something I wouldn't necessarily make at home................

What I settled on was Sausage and Peppers Al Forno. A beautiful concoction of rigatoni pasta in a red sauce with, peppers, onions, topped with goat cheese and baked to a golden perfection. Mama Mia I was in heaven! I wish I could explain to you the taste of this dish, but anything I try to put in words would fall short. Lets just leave it at...Per cenare presso Gennaro è quella di essere trasportati in Italia!

Only one thing left to do once dinner was finished, off to Quincy Market for a home made cannoli and a cup of coffee.

A perfect ending to a perfect dinner! I'm speechless at this point and can only leave you with this tidbit. Next week, it's back to Boston!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beantown Bliss

Well here I sit in my hotel room after yet another day on the road. I have been waiting and waiting until the inspiration has hit me again to pick up where I left off in January. You see, I have been bombarded over the past 8 months from my faithful readers (and I guess there are more of them then I realized) as to when I will ever write again about my many moans caused by those special meals that get me going. Well, the time has FINALLY come!!! Before I start back, I must put in a plug for my lovely Sweet-pea who has followed in her fathers footsteps and started writing about her passion.....FOOD!!! Imagine that, another Lembo enchanted by food! Do yourself a favor and go to her blog and see what her and her roommates are up to in the culinary world. is where you can find it. I promise, what you read will bring you all back to what family and friends are all about. I love you Sweet-pea!!

So I landed in Boston Monday morning (8:00 AM) and I knew that I would be in an area that would offer up some great places to dine. The problem was, I was hungry right then and there so I figured why wait for lunch and directed Kevin to take me to Mike's City Diner for breakfast. I had read up on this place and was told that the corned-beef hash was the way to go. So not being the one to second guess anyone, CBH it was. Out it came with two beautiful poached eggs on top winking away at me. A side of home fries, whole wheat toast and it was let the party begin!! I guess I don't need to tell you what I experienced was nothing short of spectacular. After the first bite that familiar growl started working it's way up from my toes and by the time I realized what was guessed it, it was moansville all over again. Could it be that Triple M was back?

As I worked through the day with Kevin, much of the time was spent on the road traveling from one store to another. During that "down" time it gave us plenty of time to review what might be on the docket for dinner. Much discussion went into this and it was decided that a trip to Cambridge was in order. Why Cambridge you may ask? How about a visit to Harvard or something like that? Nah, for us, it was to visit Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers. A Harvard landmark since 1960 that dishes up 7 ounces of pure heaven in about 29 different ways .

Some of the choices we had to choose from ranged from

(rise to the occasion!) with blue cheese dressing, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and french fries.

(lying in wait) pizza burger with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, & french fries


Now it’s your fault) with Swiss cheese, grilled sauerkraut, Russian dressing, & french fries

(lady gag me) with provolone cheese, grilled peppers, and sweet potato fries

plus many more. I chose the Jersey Shore, which came with bacon, cheese, grilled mushrooms and onions. Add to that a side of onion rings and I was ready for the second round of moans to begin. You will all be happy to know, the moans came in waves. Poor Kevin, I'm not sure he was expecting the outcry that came from me! I am sure you know that in the tiny crowded joint, the moans quieted down the crowd as they looked around to see what sick animal got into the place. Yes a hamburger can be that good!!!

Well now Tuesday is upon us and its time to think of another location to wet the ole appetite. You see, all along I have planned to go to the north end for some down home cooked Italian food and I'm sure tonight is the night!! Except at the last minute, I call an audible (must be football season) and tell Kevin that we are heading to Chinatown. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? You got to be kidding me about this one. Go back into hibernation Triple M! Well hold on and take a look at these beauties that I ordered from the Peach Farm Restaurant and then tell me I was off my rocker;

What you are looking at is Won Ton soup and my main course, of 4 Gems in a Nest! The gems being, pork, scallops, shrimp and chicken. One taste of the soup and the 4 gems and I was talking (in this case, writing) Chinese!! 這頓飯讓我非常呻吟是如此。Simply translated... This meal made me moan so very much.


On to the North end for some Italian food tomorrow night. Stay tuned!