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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Greek to Me: Hoboken, NJ (locations all over NJ)

This might have to be the first post I make where I do not provide rave reviews, although, It's Greek to Me is pretty solid.

Right in the center of Hoboken on 5th or 6th in Washington sits Its Greek to Me.  IGTM has the combination of good and bad: pretty solid food combined with unfriendly staff and ripoff prices.

First I will cover the positive aspects of this place:  In a world of Pizza and wings you feel like sometimes you need a little variety and IGTM provides just that....gyros, baba ganoush, spinach pie, baklava, lamb kabobs, greek fries etc.  The food is pretty darn tasty, however, I constantly get that feeling that I am being ripped off.  $5 dollars for a dessert order of Baklava, $17-18 dollars for a lamb kabob platter, no appetizer under $8 dollars, no salad under $10 just has that feel to it.

My feeling is that the folks at IGTM are exploiting the young, decently compensated clientele of Hoboken and they just have that "I don't really care attitude" because there are always people in there ordering food and they do a ton of deliveries.  I remember when I was living back in Hoboken, you would order food for one person and you were hard pressed to spend under $20 bucks, that just sucks.

The staff there barely speaks english and they are a little aloof and pompous.  They also carry the same attitude that their menu carries, "I don't care if you like us or not, one of these dumb yuppies is going to keep us in business...we serve the only gyros in Hoboken"....welp, I do eat there occasionally only because the food is decent and my girlfriend needs her weekly fix of Mediterranean food, but I wouldn't recommend this place...maybe for a "once in a while" special treat type dinner.

You would think I was broke or just cheap when it comes to food, but that's not the case...I just DESPISE the feeling of getting ripped off or feeling like restaurant owners feel like they "have you by the balls".

All that being said, try out It's Greek to Me for the food, but don't make it a regular occurrence because you can find more economical options which are just as good.

Eatin' Alive Rating:

Food: 6.5/10
Service: 5/10
Prices: 4/10

Eggs in the City: Union City, NJ

In a land of tacos, burritos and chimichangas a basic American breakfast joint is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. 

Situated in a cozy little nook-like setting on the corners of 46th St and Park Ave across from a laundromat sits Eggs in the City.  I had passed by EITC a couple dozen times until I started to finally understand what was there and what was being served.

So one day I stopped in and grabbed some eggs and toast and I was pleasantly surprised.  Everything was made fresh and was perfectly greasy, but most of all the prices were EXTREMELY REASONABLE (if you spend over 5-6 dollars you are getting a FEAST).

One Saturday morning, the Bagel Queen and I had enough bagels for a while and we decided to try EITC for a little more involved breakfast and we were not disappointed.  My girlfriend got the usual spinach and onions egg white omelet and that came with a nice side of toast and some pretty decent homefries.  Me, I ordered a taylor ham and cheese (no egg) which is a staple of my breakfast selections and I was not disappointed as it was served on a very fresh everything bagel and the serving of taylor ham was extremely generous which I am very picky about.  I am very bothered by some of these bagel places that charge you 5-6 bucks for a taylor ham and cheese sandwich and they give you 2 slices of taylor ham.  EITC serves up 5-6 slices and leaves you feeling extremely satisfied.

The prices are unbelievable! The taylor ham sandwich runs about $3.75 and the omelet I believe is about $5.50 max.

If you are ever in the Union City, Weehawken (where I live), Hoboken greater area you have to come by and try Eggs in the City...the staff is extremely nice, the food is excellent and the prices are great!

Also they deliver

Eatin' Alive Rating:

Food: 8/10
Service: 7/10 (only because its diner type service, not 5 star but friendly)
Atmosphere: 7/10 (cozy nook)
Prices: 10+/10

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bagel Buffet: Secaucus, NJ

Hanging around with a girl from Bergen County, bagels become a staple of your diet on weekends whether you like it or not.  At times early on in our relationship, I felt as if I was dating the heir to the "bagel throne" when it came to picking and choosing which bagels would be eaten on any given Saturday or Sunday morning.  That brings us to Bagel Buffet in nearby Secaucus.  There isn't a whole lot you can say about a bagel shop, but when you live in or around the Hoboken area, you know that there really is not a whole lot to choose from in the world of bagels.  We had searched far and wide trying every bagel establishment this side of the Hudson, and we were always left feeling somewhat satisfied, but never actually feeling like we found the bagel hotspot of Hudson County.  Finally, we turned to our trusty pal to discover the best bagels in Hudson County were just a mile or so away in Secaucus.  Bagel Buffet sits behind 3 East Bar and Grill and Bareli's and if you didn't know where it was you would never find it.  Bagel Buffet tends to be a little pricey, but their bagels are excellent and they serve up a wide array of breakfast sandwiches, spreads, lox etc.  I brought my family there from all the way out in the woods in Morris County where finding a good bagel is no short order, and they were extremely pleased with the quality of bagel which Bagel Buffet was treating its customers to.  Overall, we have put Bagel Buffet on our food map and we have abandoned all of the impostors of Hoboken etc.

Eatin' Alive Rating:
Service Staff: 7/10
Bagel Quality: 8/10
Breakfast Options: 9/10
Pricing: 6-7/10

Topaz Thai: Belleville, NJ

A close friend suggested Topaz Thai in Belleville and at first thought I was slightly skeptical due to its location in the less than charming neighborhood of Belleville, NJ (just a few short steps from bustle of Newark).  However, I jumped online and checked out and some of the reviews of Topaz and people were raving about this place and its chef/owner "Mama" (as pictured above).  Upon arrival, we entered a small little store front in a strip mall, however, once inside you felt extremely cozy, welcomed and just comfortable in the surroundings.  The wait staff was extremely friendly and willing to suggest various dishes based on what you were looking to taste/try that evening.  We started with the Mussels and a chicken pot pie special and both were phenomenal.  The mussels were in some sort of thai spiced, white wine sauce which was definitely sweet tasting and left you wanting bread to soak it all up.  The mussels themselves tasted and appeared to be very fresh and not frozen.  The chicken pot pie was also very good and full of taste.  For our main dishes we had the Thai Basil Crispy Duck (spicy style) and Pad Basil Shrimp (also very spicy) and each of our dishes were EXTREMELY tasty.  The duck was extremely tender and covered in a great sauce, however, it was VERY SPICY.  Any other time I would have even said too spicy, but the taste was so excellent it just kept me coming back for more and I did not want to wave the white flag until it was all finished.  The Pad Basil Shrimp was also excellent, however, my girlfriend was disappointed that there were only 4 shrimp on the plate; however, it sounds like the taste made up for whatever it lacked in shrimp quantity.  For dessert, we got the fried ice cream (first time for me) and it was a HUGE ball of ice cream deep fried accompanied by a fried oreo and fried brownie.  Overall, the portions were extremely generous and the taste was truly out of this world in everything from appetizers to dessert.  I have been to hundreds of different restaurants but this was one of the best meals I have ever had, easily and we will be returning VERY soon.  Also, the prices were very reasonable and it came out to about 60-65 dollars for two people (its a BYOB).  Topaz Thai was an awesome experience all around and we can not wait to return.

Eatin' Alive Rating:
Service/Staff: 10/10
Ambience: 8/10
Appetizers: 9/10
Main Course: 9/10
Dessert: 8/10
Pricing: 8/10