Windows on the Lake blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, lending a serene, pastoral air to everything from Thanksgiving dinners to weddings. Two stories of floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Lake Ronkonkoma and the grounds that hug it. Manicured gardens beckon diners for a post-prandial stroll among colorful foliage and babbling brooks.
Those grounds also usher brides and grooms to the outdoor gazebo, where they say their vows and wrestle for the title of "Head of Household." In the Rainbow Room, however, the line between indoors and outdoors seems to vanish altogether. A ceiling painted like the sky looms over a hardwood dance floor ringed with white-clothed tables?and the illusion extends to the pastoral murals that alternate with the room's floor-to-ceiling windows.
For four decades, Benkert’s Classic Delicatessen has been loading patrons with ample portions from a menu of breakfast eats, salads, sandwiches, and hot-lunch dishes. Customers can jump start their day with two eggs any style ($2.50) while gulping complimentary coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and surfing the free WiFi on a free wireless surfboard. For midday breaks, specialty salad sandwiches cover beds of bread in quilts of egg ($4.25) and shrimp ($6.25) salad. Gourmet wraps and sandwiches ($6.95) include the Fat Tony, packed with six cold cuts, mozzarella, peppers, greens, and vinaigrette, and protected by a hero bun toasted for its noble deeds. Hot sandwiches such as the barbecue chicken ($5.75) are hearty enough to scare away the most intimidating hunger hauntings. Accessorize entrees with sides of mac 'n' cheese ($4.99/lb.) or mozzarella sticks ($3.99), and cross the finish line with a sweet slice of pound cake ($1.95).
Fully licensed by the New York State Department of Education, Allstar Bartenders Training educates students in the art and science of mixed-drink pouring and presentation. Apprentice mixologists get acquainted with the functions of different bar tools while learning which cocktails should be shaken, stirred, or whisked using a handful of uncooked angel-hair pasta. Allstar's seasoned tenders aid students in memorizing the recipes, garnishes, and matching glassware of the most popular concoctions. The school's classrooms resemble mock cocktail lounges with ample shot glasses and jukeboxes, giving students a realistic setting to practice drink vending. Allstar treats its graduates to complimentary lifetime job-placement assistance and refresher courses.
A brick oven, a collection of classic Italian recipes, and a slew of fresh ingredients. Those are a few of the things that make meals special at Boccone Pizzeria & Ristorante, but they're far from the only ones. Many come simply for the family-friendly atmosphere, knowing they can relax and share laughs across plates of linguine and veal marsala. Arguably, one of the main focuses in the kitchen is on specialty pizzas that range from the traditional Grandma pie to the inventive Seafood Oreganata with scampi sauce, shrimp, and clams.
When the judges; scores came in, Sugar Rush Bakery's Andrew Mincher finished in second place on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Going into the competition, he thought, "This is what I do and I thought, I’m going to have fun doing it." His positive attitude—and his recipe for banana-rum cupcakes with peanut-butter buttercream frosting—paid off.
The recognition came as a hefty endorsement for the brand-new owner of the former Di Monda Bakery. Mincher recently bought out the business with his dad and brother so that he could make cupcakes his way. Inside, customers find him doing exactly that, whipping together delicious cupcakes and other sweets such as cookies and fresh-baked breads. He decorates his creations with chunks of chocolate or cheerful frosting faces that seem to ask, "Do I look cute in this foil?"
1019 Cafe's vittle wizards fill their lunch and dinner menus with a selection of delectable dishes ranging from pasta and hamburgers to lobster tails and filet mignon. Noontime noshers can split starters such as garlic-and-oil steamed clams ($10) before wrapping hands around a marinated-steak sandwich slathered in melted mozzarella and flanked by french fries ($13). During dinner, majestic meal toppings hold court over a kingdom of sumptuous dishes, commanding an almond-crusted flounder to bow before a sweet mango salsa ($19), or a juicy 14-ounce filet mignon to dance under a drizzle of decadent mushroom-merlot sauce ($30). A low-carb menu keeps things lighter than a feather-filled balloon, and a kids’ menu satisfies the most petite of patrons.